Reply to Yang’s Prior Post

Yang mentioned that Yang and I dismiss the notion that people do not change for philosophies, but the extent to which people genuinely change can be…questionable. As I was typing that last sentence, a litany of examples came to my mind.

Take for instance the many motivational videos on, say, Youtube. One video might (and one does) convey that social media and cell phones are decreasing quality time in real life, with its message receiving applaud from the nameless on the internet. My guess is that it doubtlessly succeeded in spreading awareness, but for it to change people’s views such that action is taken is dubious at best, a rare sight to be seen, if my intuition serves me correctly. This is because, as David Hume wrote, “reason is and ought only to be a slave to the passions”—a notion which I’ve seen reinforced often.

Whether David Hume is right in his “ought” judgement, it is hard to deny that an undesirable, yet not without virtue, philosophy (of the continental sort) would have any genuine impact on a susceptible person if that person’s senses are prior to her reason. I figure a genuine impact might be the case only if the stars are aligned.

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Our Approach to Eastern Philosophy

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If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, then you might know that Yang and I take a more analytically-inclined approach to eastern and western philosophy. Ideally, what this entails is similar to developing a formula or working through an algorithm, but instead the work is done with propositions (there is no clear cut cardinality and arithmetic…and people think philosophy is easy!). Sometimes, though, time doesn’t allow for fully explaining everything such that the most coherent and strong view is formed or readily apparent, so we think it might suffice to introduce ideas into eastern philosophical discussion. This can be seen with Yang’s post about morality in Taoism.

Continue reading Our Approach to Eastern Philosophy

Multiple Interpretations of the Zhuangzi

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Surprisingly, the Zhuangzi has its own article on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, but after reading it, Hui and I thought it to be contrived or misinterpreted.

Continue reading Multiple Interpretations of the Zhuangzi

An Idea to Wander Homeless

Make what you will of this piece, but I think it portrays the solitude and weariness of homelessness.
Make what you will of this scene, but I think it portrays the solitude and weariness of homelessness.

My mother said that she would open a homeless shelter, if she were to win the billion dollar lottery. Coincidentally, I had been musing about being homeless two days earlier.  Continue reading An Idea to Wander Homeless

Eastern Philosophy: Not Mystical But Metaphorical

Mount Sanqing, an important Taoist Mountain, can create a sense of magic with its greatness.
Mount Sanqing, an important Taoist Mountain, can create a sense of magic with its greatness.

To many people, Philosophical Taoism and Buddhism are full of strange and fanciful ideas; it may seem absurd that a bird or a mouse could be the reincarnation of a relative or that people can achieve immorality by living stress-free, but these ideas and many others are taken out of context, only allowing potential seekers of “spirituality” and onlookers to engage with the concepts in a straightforward manner. This leads people to think that these philosophies have some sort of “magic” in them.

Continue reading Eastern Philosophy: Not Mystical But Metaphorical