Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Problems from Urgency in Philosophizing


Due to the shortness of our time on Earth, or our natural propensity to jump to conclusions, or many other possible reasons, there is great urgency to not be at variance with others.  We form habits when trying to resolve these variances, such as, subjectivism, relativism, misology, that can become threatening to all rational discourse, and, not to sound alarmist, but over long amounts of time the adoption by society of these habits can even begin to be a threat to humanity itself.
Anxiety of some degree is always present for us when we perceive a task to be completed, and anxiety is to be relieved by bringing the task to its conclusion.  When we are in disagreement with others we naturally want to no longer be in a position to doubt our own perspective, which produces anxiety for us.  Sometimes we wish to conclude in order to continue carrying out a task, and time constraints may often make it necessary to resolve disputes quickly.  The concerns of subjectivism, relativism and misology mentioned above are all easy substitutes for reasoning that allow one to avoid all anxiety in the matter, as well as all real deliberation.  I say that these are all substitutes for reasoning, since they all usurp and undermine, in one way or another, what is required in reasoning – that a common position is possible.
Philosophizing certainly must assume that a common position is possible between those who are engaging in it, and while philosophizing there is not necessarily a clear call to action, which makes it hard to see why one must be so urgent in coming to a conclusion by adopting subjectivist, relativist, or misological tendencies, and most people agree on this point it seems.  Yet there are more subtle tendencies than these sophomoric ones, to list a few: projecting ones hidden agenda onto others (usually by accident), being suspicious others possessing hidden agendas, taking others to be irrational.
Ultimately I do not wish here to clear up all of these concerns, though I hope to do so over time.  For now I wish to urge considering the basis of argument and dispute so that as members of a community we may be clear on what expectations we have when we enter into discussions.  This will totally obliterate subjectivism, relativism and misology within the realm of discourse (these outcasts will need to build an edifice all for themselves in principle), but will help us to be clearer about avoiding the more subtle errors that we encounter, errors that I will term errors of suspicion.  Maybe it will also help to relieve the urgency we often find in our discussions.

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