En réponse à Philippe Caquant : >I can't see that philosophical or religious >speculation brings us any progress into knowledge or >living conditions. Then go back to your cave and don't even think of painting the walls with handprints and animals! :))) . You have a completely incorrect idea of what philosophical speculation is. > We might say that scientific >speculation does. Scientific speculation is rooted in philosophical speculation! There's a reason the first scientists were all philosphers! Without philopsophy, we wouldn't have science, we wouldn't have education, and as Ray said, we would still be hunter-gatherers (maybe not a bad state when you don't know anything else, but I still prefer how I live now :)) ). > I'm thinking of people like >Archimedes, Newton or Einstein. Newton was very much a philosopher. His scientific work is just a small bit of everything he wrote. People who dismiss philosophy as ludicrous often forget that. Something else is that science doesn't bring you ethics. And science without ethics is one of the most dangerous weapons we have. Only philosophy or religion can bring you a sense of ethics, and I prefer philosophy in this case, because it asks the individual to look for those ethics himself, rather than impose on him the ethics of someone else. So in this case, philosophy is extremely important and useful, and I wish it was more commonly taught. Also, philosophy is not about reading others and take what they wrote for granted. It's about thinking for yourself and take responsibility for those thoughts and their consequences, it's about developing your view of the world in a reasonable and well-thought manner, rather than just sit there and go with the flow without even considering what you're doing. In other words, it's about living as an adult, rather than a child who lets others take decisions for him. Another thing: if it wasn't for some people "losing their time" with ludicrous philosophy, we wouldn't have democracy nor human rights. What did you say about philosophy being useless? > But this I think can >only be a special kind of knowledge, the one our brain >can conceive. Our brain is not fit for certain tasks, >just as our eyes are not fit to perceive infra-red, or >X-rays, or other wavelengths. We can make tools to >improve perception, but what tool could be make to be >more clever ? Just the same as we can make our body stronger than it originally is through sports. Just as our body is capable of things we would often find extraordinary, our mind is capable of extraordinary things, given the right training. Even a genius like Einstein wouldn't have done what he did without a bit of training of his mind first. Philosophy is the sports of the mind. Just like doctors will tell you that a bit of sports is good for your body health (despite the fact that sports is just a waste of time, isn't it? ;) ), philosophy is necessary for the mind's health, for helping it to open itself to wider ranges of knowledge and interest. The brains is a tool that breaks only when you don't use it. > How could we conceive something that >would conceive things that we cannot conceive >ourselves ? Looks hard. Actually, not that hard. You seem to have an extremely strict idea of what the human mind can do. Because you can't conceive something doesn't mean your mind is made in a way that it can't ever conceive it. You may after all think you'll never be able to carry something heavier than 50kg (just an example. Take your personal limit instead), but with the right training, it is a limit easy to break (other humans have carried much more than that, so there's no reason you shouldn't be able to, unless specific condition). The same is true with the mind: you can train it to open itself to things that it couldn't conceive earlier (do you think people in the Middle Ages could have conceived things like computers, like the Internet, like the nuclear bomb? No they couldn't, because they lacked the right training). The limits of our mind are far further than you think. But to push away the limits of your mind, you need to begin thinking for yourself and questioning everything around you. And you cannot do such a ludicrous thing, since that's philosophic speculation ;) . > Maybe one day, after all, but >I think I'll be dead by then (and so maybe I'll know >first ! haha !) I pity you, with your thinking that there's nothing you can do to widen the range of your understanding. No surprise we argue so often... >And, if I may say, if we had followed only the >philosophical and religious speculators in the past, >we WOULD still sit in the dark ages (some yet are, as >it seems). What *is* philosophy in your opinion? Philosophy is by definition the art of thinking by yourself! You don't "follow" philosophical speculators (actually, the world as it exists *now* is the direct result of simply following the philosophical speculators of the past. Get over it), you use their findings to grow your own personal view of the world. You use their understandings to widen yours. Philosophy is not a closed state. It's not something old and rusty, that you have to treat as sacred. Philosophy is yourself, thinking and developing an understanding to things you didn't understand before. In many ways, science is just a branch of philosophy, which tries to understand how the material world works. Philosophy is much wider, and because of that it's much more relevant. > Nothing terrible about it: today glorious >days will perhaps be the dark ages for our grandsons. >This is perhaps not the end of evolution yet. And the only way not to stop our evolution is to carry on philosophying. If we stop, if we stop thinking by ourselves and widen our understanding, we will regress to those "dark ages" we took so long to get out of. Maybe if you stopped a little and wondering what *really* philosophy is, you would stop showing how much you misunderstand what it is... Christophe Grandsire. http://rainbow.conlang.free.fr You need a straight mind to invent a twisted conlang.