3rd May 2018: The Art of Argumentation: Philosophy, Reason and the Universe Series with Tina Röck; Why do philosophy, if you can do science?
Come along to the Boardroom of St John’s Church Conference Center (Princes St, Edinburgh, EH2 4BJ) at 7pm and take part in discussion about philosophy and science. It is a friendly and informal gathering to discuss topics with nibbles in good company. It is entirely free and open to everyone
There are so many questions and all seem interesting. If you are like me and can’t stop asking ‘why?’ then this is for you. In our bi-monthly meetings we will discuss all the questions that we can come up with, from the strangest to the smallest from the question whether God exists to the question whether we exist.
We will ask and discuss the nature of knowledge, what it means to lead a good life and the nature of beauty. We can discuss certain philosophers, specific philosophies or concepts you have come across.
At the end of every meeting we will decide on the theme for the next one.
The main focus of these meetings is for us to explore all of these issues together, to get your critical argumentation skills used again. There is an art to argumentation that has been lost in our world where visuals, emotional manipulation and personal experience have taken the place of reasonable discussion.
In order to develop some antibodies to this kind of influence we will discuss a form of deceptive argumentation strategy each time we meet using Schopenhauer’s ‘The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument’.
“The tricks, dodges, and chicanery, to which they [men] resort in order to be right in the end, are so numerous and manifold and yet recur so regularly that some years ago I made them the subject of my own reflection and directed my attention to their purely formal element after I had perceived that, however varied the subjects of discussion and the persons taking part therein, the same identical tricks and dodges always come back and were very easy to recognize. This led me at the time to the idea of clearly separating the merely formal part of these tricks and dodges from the material and of displaying it, so to speak, as a neat anatomical specimen.”
Volume 2, § 26, of his Parerga and Paralipomena, Schopenhauer
How does it work?
After we have explored one of the argumentative tricks with the help of Schopenhauer, I will give a 15-20 minute introduction to the topic of the meeting. That we will then investigate and explore it in dialogue together.
Why do philosophy, if you can do science?
There are so many questions that we can encounter that seem interesting, many of them are tackled by scientists. But there are so many questions that cannot be fully answered by any specific science. Just like biologists, for example, have no definite answer to the question ‘What is life?’, physicists seem to have no final answer to the question ‘What is existence?’.
So there is room for a genuine philosophical engagement with these questions concerning the world, life and the human condition. An engagement that uses scientific discoveries to inform our reflections, but a form of engagement that goes beyond the rationality of the positive sciences.