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Why philosophy is an ideal travel companion for adventurous minds

Travelling And Philosophy

Recreational and exploratory travel has two main motivations; travel for 'change' for new experiences, leading to inner transformation, and travel to 'show', which revolves around displaying your experiences to others.

Exploratory travel, seeking out unknown, exotic and unexplored places, has its mental equivalent in philosophy, which is also about exploring the unknown, internally.

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Why philosophy is an ideal travel companion for adventurous minds

Why philosophy is an ideal travel companion for adventurous minds

http://theconversation.com/why-philosophy-is-an-ideal-travel-companion-for-adventurous-minds-131266

theconversation.com

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Key Ideas

Travelling And Philosophy

Recreational and exploratory travel has two main motivations; travel for 'change' for new experiences, leading to inner transformation, and travel to 'show', which revolves around displaying your experiences to others.

Exploratory travel, seeking out unknown, exotic and unexplored places, has its mental equivalent in philosophy, which is also about exploring the unknown, internally.

The Same Journey

Travelers and philosophers are pushing the limits of their knowledge, seeing how the world works. There is an undeniable link in exploring the oceans and even other planets, and in crafting radically new questions delving into the mind's uncharted territory.

The tools may be different, but the essential journey is the same, with travelers affecting philosophy and philosophers affecting travel.

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How we perceive philosophy
How we perceive philosophy

When most people think of philosophy, they believe philosophers simply argue about arguing. Philosophy is viewed as impractical and irrelevant to current issues.

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Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell

"Science is what you know. Philosophy is what you don’t know."

Defining philosophy

Philosophy is examining our understanding of reality and knowledge. Philosophy consists of three major branches:

  1. Metaphysics - What is true about existence.
  2. Epistemology - How we can know that it is true. Epistemology has given us science, logic/reason, economics, psychology, and other theories of knowledge.
  3. Ethics - What actions we should take as a result of this knowledge. Ethics contains concepts such as democracy, human rights, the treatment of animals, and the environment.

When you order your thoughts into a coherent belief system, you are engaging in philosophy. To criticize philosophy, you must rely on philosophy.

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We cannot understand ourselves if we do not understand others. Getting to know others requires avoiding the twin dangers of overestimating either how much we have in common or how much divides ...

To travel around the world’s philosophies is an opportunity to challenge beliefs we take for granted. By gaining greater knowledge of how others think, we can become less certain of the...

To travel around the world’s philosophies is an opportunity to challenge beliefs we take for granted. By gaining greater knowledge of how others think, we can become less certain of the knowledge we think we have, which is always the first step to greater understanding.

We should not be afraid to ground ourselves in our own traditions, but we should not be bound by them.

We should not be afraid to ground ourselves in our own traditions, but we should not be bound by them.
Philosophy of food
Philosophy of food

Philosophy of food is found on the idea that food is a mirror.

Eating reflects the making of a self - the many decisions and circumstances that lead us to eat the way we do...

Food as a Relation

Food is a relation to organism and circumstance.

  • Food is bound to vary from moment to moment. Coffee and pasty are a fine breakfast or afternoon snack. Yet, most of us won't enjoy it for dinner.
  • Circumstances are bound to involve contradictory principles. You may buy only organic food, but on vacation, you crave burgers and fries.

Therefore, any given food relation is the mirror of an eater, and it represents the eater's needs, habits, convictions, deliberations, and compromises.

Food Ethics

Ethical convictions can shape our diets.* Would you eat a cat or a horse? Why or why not?* Your reasons are likely rooted in ethical principles, such as feeling outraged that someone can do such a thing.

Vegetarians conform to a particular diet to prevent unjustified violence being done to animals.

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One of the reasons why Stoicism is enjoying a revival today is that it gives concrete answers to moral questions.
Aristotle gave us an alternative conception of happiness

It cannot be acquired by pleasurable experiences but only by identifying and realizing our own potential, moral and creative, in our specific environments, with our particular family, friends and colleagues, and helping others to do so. 

"Zombie"

The word comes from the Hatian folklore and refers to a corpse animated by witchcraft.

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P-zombie as a Foundation to Dualism

If a p-zombie is logically conceivable, a physical body minus the mental, then this possibility could support dualism - an alternative view that sees the world consisting of not just the physical but also the mental. In other words, since a world of zombies is imaginable, all behaving purely at the physical level, why did evolution produce consciousness in humans?

The Physicalism Analogy: A Proof to Dualism
  1. Physicalism says that everything in our world is physical.
  2. If physicalism is true, everything in out world is physical including consciousness.
  3. But we can conceive of a “zombie world", a physical world without consciousness then,
  4. Physicalism is proven false, because our world consists of both physical and mental attributes.

The existence of consciousness is a further, nonphysical fact about our world.

Defining Eudaimonia
Defining Eudaimonia

Eudaimonia is a term which comes from Aristotle’s work called ‘Nicomachean Ethics’ and means individual well-being and happiness. It combines the prefix eu (meaning good) ...

Plato And Eudaimonism
  • Plato believed that because we feel unhappy internally when we do something wrong, eudaimonia is the highest feeling of moral thought and behaviour where there is real happiness from within. Happiness, according to him, was about living in the pursuit of various virtues, central to flourishing.
  • Plato never mentioned the term eudaimonia, but his writings on the concept of courage, justice, wisdom and moderation point towards the same domain of wellbeing.
Aristotle And Eudaimonism

Aristotle in his many works has provided numerous interpretations of eudaimonia, explaining it as something reflecting the pursuit of virtue, excellence and the best within us. According to him, eudaimonia is a rational activity aimed at the pursuit of what is worthwhile in life.

Having an intention to be virtuous was an important factor for eudaimonia.

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Nihilism

Nihilism means "nothing." It is the lack of belief in meaning or substance in an area of philosophy.

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Existentialism

Existentialism originates from Soren Kierkegaard and Nietzche. It focuses on the problems produced by existential nihilism. For instance:

  • What is the point of living if life has no inherent purpose? 
  • How do we face the knowledge of our inevitable demise?

Existentialism emphasizes individual existence, freedom and choice.

Stoicism

Stoicism was popular in ancient Greece and Rome and is practiced by many in high-stress environments.

Stoicism focuses on how to live in a world where things don't go as planned. The idea is to accept all the things beyond your control and to focus on what you can control.

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The Hard Problem of Consciousness

Consciousness could be described as the feeling of being inside your head, looking out, or of having a soul.

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Between Science And Philosophy

The problems of consciousness straddle the border between science and philosophy.

  • Some argue that conscious sensations, such as pain, don't really exist, others, that plants and trees must also be conscious.
  • A handful of neuroscientists have come to believe that the problem is about to be solved if we are willing to accept the conclusion that computers or the internet might soon become conscious too.
Ignoring The Problem

Science has been trying to ignore the problem of consciousness for a long time.

  • In the 1600s, René Descartes declared that nothing is more obvious and undeniable than the fact that we are conscious. Your consciousness can't be a fantasy. At the same time, your consciousness does not obey any of the usual rules of science. It doesn't seem to be physical. It can't be observed or really described. Descartes concluded that it had been bequeathed to us by God.
  • This Cartesian dualism remained the assumption into the 18th century. But it was unacceptable to the secular scientist that took the position that only physical things exist.
  • As late as 1989, the British psychologist Stuart Sutherland declared that it is impossible to specify what consciousness is, what it does, or why it evolved.
  • In 1990 Francis Crick and Christof Kock mentioned in a paper that most of the work in both cognitive and neurosciences makes no reference to consciousness because most don't know of a useful way of approaching the problem.

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