Why Philosophy Matters

When I saw EO Wilson’s opinion recently on how science is replacing philosophy, I got kicked into high gear to start this series of blogs. It brings in many thoughts I’ve had over the years, starting back in my teen years when I could see the world wasn’t made in a way that the official version of “right” had much to do with morality or ethics or even human flourishing.

I read that and commented there, but might as well bring it over here.
I’ve actually got a project started June 4th about the big unanswered questions from your EO Wilson thread, but life moved me along faster than I could finish, a shame too, I keep wanting to get back to it, but life is busy.
Plus now Steve Daut’s “Buddha Science” book is consuming attention and my sparse free time. I like how plainly he explains his thoughts about general accepted outlooks, and it feels to me that he doesn’t fly off into utter disconnected fantasy like Don Hoffman, and the like, love doing.

But in doing that, he also exposes the flaws in this ‘Abrahamic mindset’ I go on about in a way that I hope will allow me to constructively explicate this new perspective I’ve been experiencing these past years. We shall see.

As for your linked introduction, I was wondering

I imagine before explaining why philosophy matters, you should try explaining what philosophy is?
To touch on another point you made.
Do you think we have philosophers to thank for increasing woman’s equality?

Go to 20:25. Just do it

Piers Morgan vs Noam Chomsky | The Full Interview


I find it hard to believe you haven’t found the answer to everything given how massive your brain is but is there anything left that you would really love to know the answer to that you’ve never to your satisfaction?


(In the) domain of intellectual professional pursuits, there is a question that was asked by Galileo then by his associates in the 17th century which is as he had unanswered - How are you and I able to do what we are now doing. As Galileo put it: How is it possible with a finite number of symbols to produce an infinite number of thoughts and even use these symbols to allow others who have no access to our minds to access to their inner workings of our minds how is this miracle possible was raised by Galileo studied the measure concern for Descartes and other leading figures in the 17th century began working on it. We now understand some aspects, but the major questions are not only unanswered but we don’t even know how to approach an answer.

If we keep telling ourselves that, of course it will remain unapproachable.
If we have unrealistic expectations, of course nothing we discover will be enough.

One thing science has shown us for certain is that the answer to those lofty questions, that I suggest really boil down to, why are we so God like? Is in understanding the evolution of sentient creatures. The secrets are within the story book of Earth’s biological history, but we believe we have some right to expect the answers to pop out of our ever so imaginative minds.
Then the intelligensia wonders why we’re always dissatisfied with our suppositions.

Though my question was about defining what Art Form this “Philosophy” is in the first place?

This link was not a response to any question. Just something that fit the thread, to me. Chomsky is hardly done intelligensia, idly wondering.

Not sure how that statement can carry any weight if it doesn’t come with an answer to the question, or at least a stab at it

I think I’ll use, oops, edit, “lose” people if i start with definitions and history. The audience is people who think they know what it is.

Yes, treating all people as equals is a philosophy. So, women, skin color, birthplace, etc. All philosophy. I can expand.

One thing science has shown us for certain is that the answer to those lofty questions, that I suggest really boil down to, why are we so God like? Is in understanding the evolution of sentient creatures. The secrets are within the story book of Earth’s biological history , but we believe we have some right to expect the answers to pop out of our ever so imaginative minds.
Then the intelligensia wonders why we’re always dissatisfied with our suppositions.

Appreciating that your body has a physical lineage going back hundreds of millions of years,
that your form today is the sum total of that lineage.

That your body creates your consciousness and that in essence, evolution created your physical being, and that gets passed on to the next generations, while your consciousness (mind) is the sum total of your life’s experiences.

All you know gets processed through your body - in fact your consciousness is the inside reflection of your body getting on with the business living. Since that explains so much about mental health challenges and issues and the struggles we have with ourselves, it’s really worth focusing on digesting current scientific knowledge in related fields of study.

Consciousness in no way can come down from some cosmic source(s) - which are primal energy only biology can create - and sustain - consciousness.

Our consciousness is where our Gods are created and where they reside.

I’m rushed, but I think this about covers the broad outlines. I’m working on another way to go about spelling it out, thanks to Steve Daut’s book, so to be continued.

That doesn’t answer the question. It makes a claim about where you might find the answer, but it’s a claim. I could say the answer lies in your journey to find yourself that must be taken. You must travel far but it will end with you sitting under a tree in your backyard and realizing the answer was there. The universe is 13.7 billion years old and what do you call biological? Early ammonia or do you need carbon?

I’m not even getting what you mean, first you imply we can approach the question and shouldn’t say we can’t, then you say we shouldn’t expect the answer to pop out of our minds. Our minds are a result of the biological history anyway, and that’s where thoughts come from, so where else would they pop out? Having thoughts about who am is exactly what should happen if I appreciate my physical lineage. Being amazed that we communicate through symbols is exactly the same as appreciating how consciousness is the inside reflection of our body getting on with the business of living.

Nothing I’ve said implies cosmic sources or God, why even say that?

I just finished a multi-day project of changing out an exterior door and storm, and then some kids are coming up this weekend, so, also pushed for time. Hoping to get back to “retirement” soon, although I did manage to get some golf in. Anyway, maybe the next parts of the blog will offer some answers to where I’m going with this.

Microtubules have been there since the very beginning

Note the very self-organizing simplicity of construction. It answers the question of irreducible complexity that is inherent in general descriptions of the interaction between living organisms and natural mechanisms that spawned it.

If we ever find out “how” it evolved, it will be from knowledge of microtubules.

It occurs to me that science communicators are the modern day shamans. They take their visions of the sweeping of time, the long narrative of life, the unseen connections, the origin stories, and make them accessible to the novice, the folks plowing the fields and tending the fires.

I don’t say that.
I talk about getting trapped within our mindscapes.
You are translating that into a shape you can comprehend, but that shape isn’t what I said.

Because so many other keep telling us that, what is Donald Hoffman’s schtick all about, if not our thought coming from outside sources??

hmmm … Besides (now that I’m thinking on it) you sure do spend a lot of time immersed in religious musings - so actually, to me that has implied a search for meaning out there somewhere.

I stumbled on an interesting wake up video:

Why the world is going crazy—and how to win back our minds | Jamie Wheal | Big Think

The speed at which civilization is progressing has become overwhelming for modern humans and has caused what Jamie Wheal (author of Recapture the Rapture, founder of the Flow Genome Project, and host of the Collective Insights Podcast) calls a “collapse of meaning.”

For many, Meaning 1.0 (organized religion) and Meaning 2.0 (modern liberalism) no longer provide the structure and guidance that they used to. “It does feel like the handrails, the things we used to look to for stability and security, have evaporated,” says Wheal. “If we’ve experienced a collapse of meaning, how do we go about restoring it?”

In order to reach Meaning 3.0—which Wheal says is a blend of traditional religion and modern liberalism without the promise of an escape—we need to focus on mending trauma, reconnecting with inspiration, and connecting better with one another.

Check out Jamie Wheal’s latest book “Recapture the Rapture: Rethinking God, Sex and Death in a World That’s Lost Its Mind”

I left a comment:

It a sad but fairly true summary of where we’re at. But what did it offer? “recapture rapture…” ?? You want rapture, figure out “Who Are You” first.

Ask me that question and I’ll answer:

“I am an evolved sensing creature, the cumulative product of hundreds of millions of year worth of evolution. My consciousness, my mind, is quite literally the inside reflection of my physical body dealing with living, my insides and interacting with the physical world I’m embedded within.” (see Solms and Damasio, etc., for the science behind that statement.) My mind is the product of biology and evolution.

Here is where the rapture event comes in, . . . all of our thoughts, all of our awareness, our Gods, our religions (which is our mind dreaming and dealing with it’s own mindscape), our science (which is a set of rules for objectively observing physical reality) are the product of our body-brain.

Only after this is absorbed can we truly appreciate what this planet Earth is all about, only by taking “Earth” and her processes seriously and into our hearts, as the Who that created and sustains us humans, will the scales fall from our eyes and solutions become possible.

Unfortunately we still believe everything is all about us. so we remain trapped in our counterproductive behaviors and shallow deadend thinking.


(Lausten, Congratulations on the exterior door, I suspect it changes how you feel walking into the house, in a good way. At least that was something I always like about the construction, the sense of accomplishment, my hands and a little bit of me is now part of this house. Job well done always feels good. Have some good fun with the kids!)

Whatever the ‘it’ is you’re talking about is, you can be sure that ‘it’ had to be working in conjunction with other biological widgets and gadgets.


I don’t like that wording, biological history created our body/brain
and it is our body/brain that produces mind.

One is a direct product of evolution, the other is a direct product of experiencing life within a living body.

No it isn’t. Being amazed that we can communicate through symbols is, well it’s just that, being amazed and a sense of awe.
Appreciating that “consciousness is the inside reflection of our body getting on with the business of living” takes us into the realm of the “how” in “how it works.”
(That’s where the mystery of dualism lies)

My question/comment is; where do thoughts come from? I appreciate my evolved brain, and that I was taught the brain is important to creating thoughts.

Why is it relevant to what I’m saying that Hoffman is an idiot? I’m not going to stop and address every bad philosophy in history.

I care about how. And yes, how is not why. How doesn’t usually yield a why. They are two things and they can be discussed separately as well as the how of how they inform each other. We couldn’t do why, if we didn’t have how. I think your troubles begin with others having done why for a long time before we learned some how, and worse, that people ignore today’s knowledge when doing the why. That’s doesn’t mean all philosophy is worthless.

Sorry, too much need for quotes to do them.

Not necessarily. You are clinging to the gradual incremental natural selection processes that are the main cause for evolutionary change .

But if the model of a single large mutative model is true, then the normally required relation to biological widgets and gadgets becomes moot.

We have the perfect example in our great ape cousins who followed a more leisurely evolutionary path and seem to do quite well in their environments.

This is a quote from another forum.

The fusing event causing the origin of chromosome 2 may date back to as much as 4.5 million years ago.

3 million years ago human ancestors still had chimpanzee-sized brains. Around that time or later, however, the offspring of Australopithecus afarensis (a relative, at least) may have experienced an extended childhood.

Ancient hominins had small brains like apes, but longer childhoods like humans

“As early as 3 million years ago, children had a long dependence on caregivers,” said Zeresenay (Zeray) Alemseged, PhD, Donald N. Pritzker Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy […] “That gave children more time to acquire cognitive and social skills. By understanding that childhood emerged 3.5 million years ago, we are establishing the timing for the advent of this milestone event in human evolution.”​

By two million years ago, Homo habilis and others had developed increased skull tissue: larger brains.

Zeb2 gene (below) is located on chromosome 2.

Scientists discover how humans develop larger brains than other apes
Scientists discover why the human brain is so big | Science | The Guardian

EXCERPT: Lancaster and her colleagues collected cells, often left over from medical tests or operations, from humans, gorillas and chimps, and reprogrammed them into stem cells. They then grew these cells in such a way that encouraged them to turn into brain organoids – little lumps of brain tissue a few millimetres wide.

After several weeks, the human brain organoids were by far the largest of the lot, and close examination revealed why. In human brain tissue, so-called neural progenitor cells – which go on to make all of the cells in the brain – divided more than those in great ape brain tissue.

Lancaster, whose study is published in Cell, added: “You have an increase in the number of those cells, so once they switch to making the different brain cells, including neurons, you have more to start with, so you get an increase in the whole population of brain cells across the entire cortex.”

Mathematical modelling of the process showed that the difference in cell proliferation happens so early in brain development, that it ultimately leads to a near doubling in the number of neurons in the adult human cerebral cortex compared with that in the great apes.

The researchers went on to identify a gene that is crucial to the process. Known as Zeb2, it switches on later in human tissue, allowing the cells to divide more before they mature. Tests showed that delaying the effects of Zeb2 made gorilla brain tissue grow larger, while turning it on sooner in human brain organoids made them grow more like the ape ones.

Why should one brain need to develop (grow) faster than another if there is no specific need for such complexity in the womb?

It may well have caused real problems for the ancestral skull to accommodate such drastic change.

Example: The jaw muscles of a gorilla are so large that they take up a lot of space in skull cavity and that may have been the cause for selection of smaller jaws and muscles affording more space for brain growth.

That wasn’t my point. My point is there are tons of those fanciful fundamentally disconnected stories out there. Speaking of which, “out there”, is the first thought most people think of in relation to God. It would be a much healthier world if we people realized our Gods come from within ourselves.

That’s where we need to get into the pageant and deep history of the Evolution Of Consciousness back to cells and organelles, then up through increasingly complex creatures and how each level enabled further refinements in a creature’s sensing/processing/thinking abilities.

The evolution of consciousness in general is a story of how our thoughts are formed. Starting with modern mankind’s introspective consciousness, is like looking through the wrong end of a powerful telescope.

Most have no idea how much of our body, below our consciousness level, sets up the scaffolding and pathways behind the construction of the consciousness we’re aware of. By studying the behavior of simpler creatures we can learn lessons that we can extrapolate from.

Fair enough. I don’t want to say all “philosophy is worthless,” just pointing out that a good deal of it is obsolete, in light of today’s amazingly superior accumulation of knowledge of our material physical & biological world and the how it functions.

No I’m clinging to what I see in microbiology images; and what scientists are reporting on; and my own decades long developing understanding of biological and neurological scientists.

Don’t know how you figure that.

It wasn’t so much a matter of “need” - it was a genetic change that caused cascading consequences and the roll of dice, gave humans an slight alteration that had amazing unintended consequences.

We read the same information differently, sure Zeb2 is a key change, but the environment made that change valuable, freak events, not engineering, then internal and external drivers of varying importance played their role in producing a productive outcome - rather than a solution to a challenge, the way your narrative makes it sound.

Are you sure you are not trying to start a new religion? Please take that as a friendly nudge, not a dig. I agree that everyone now has a greater opportunity than ever to absorb and appreciate that we came from inert matter. But let’s not forget those who can’t, those who are kept away from knowledge, and those who are punished for seeking anything other than their parents’ traditions. How do you propose we simply tell them to go learn what they should have learned when they were younger?

How do you propose we deal with people who were raised to believe that something supernatural provides meaning to their lives, and they need to act accordingly? My pastors used to hand me books and tell me if I read them, the scales would fall from my eyes. So I did, and came back with more questions, so they gave me another book. Science books might work a little better, but there’s more to it.

Of course it would. You keep talking about that. Don’t you know I know that?

Yeah, and we’re doing that. Do you want everyone in the world to do it? Or, all philosophers, like, hey, you in the tunic, get a real job, go count some zebra mussels.

absolutely nothing to do with anything I’ve said. most of science is obsolete too. Do I rag on the early scientist Thales because he said that all of nature is water? Of course not, I see him as one of the first to look at things and make statements about his observations, without making up names of gods that controlled invisible forces. Darwin made mistakes too, and everyone in between. What they said was obsolete, that’s how science works. Philosophy is part of science.

I’m feeling like I’m chasing my tail here. There’s a one hour video linked on this page. He says it better than me.

Is Philosophy Stupid? (richardcarrier.info)

[quote=“citizenschallengev4, post:16, topic:10293”]
It wasn’t so much a matter of “need” - it was a genetic change that caused cascading consequences and the roll of dice, gave humans an slight alteration that had amazing unintended consequences.
Exactly. It was not a result of gradual and incremental change that over time improve the gene pool for “naturally selected” survival abilities.

We read the same information differently, sure Zeb2 is a key change, but the environment made that change valuable, freak events, not engineering, then internal and external drivers of varying importance played their role in producing a productive outcome - rather than a solution to a challenge, the way your narrative makes it sound.

Right, that is precisely the argument I am making… This change was not a result of environmental pressures, but a freak event that was a purely probabilistic chance combination of biochemical interactions, much bigger than the event of abiogenesis itself, which is an inevitable result of incalculable numbers of bio-chemical reactions.

The interaction of natural generic relational values is a case of “natural engineering”.
The emergence of life is a result of natural engineering. The emergence of consciousness is a result of natural engineering. The result of self-awareness is a result of natural engineering.

The result of emergent ability for abstract thought is a natural miracle.

Sorry to keep dumping links on you, but this one will just take 6 minutes unless you want to listen to the whole 3 hours. He starts out (skip to 2:50 for the first question) saying that we all experience a self that is in our brain, or maybe if asked to locate it, behind our eyes. He anticipates the scientist’s objection that they know their self is made up of the whole nervous system, plus all the sensory input. He says that’s fine, if you have given that thought, then you might have that sense, but that doesn’t change the common human experience of how we perceive ourselves in our day-to-day existence, going about our business.

He makes his case by talking about movies, the experience of noticing someone seeing you in public, and digs further into our emotional reactions to unusual stimuli like an attacker suddenly appearing.

At 39 minutes, he refers to a spiritual reflection or personal experience, try to ignore that language and accept that anyone, regardless of culture or training can achieve the flow state, but even that will become a memory. So, “the ground truth of our contemplative lives is what is available to be noticed now”. When you are considering responses to my questions, or writing your own blog about what consciousness is, that’s what you are doing. That fits your model and mine.

(235) Sam Harris: A Rational Mystics Guide To Consciousness & Awakening | Know Thyself Podcast EP 47 - YouTube