"It's Unfeasible" as a Logical Refutation in Philosophy:

Total posts: [24]
1 TheEarthSheep10th Dec 2011 09:54:38 PM from a Pasture hexagon
Christmas Sheep
I think this is actually an important question: should the blanket statement "It would never work" serve to completely refute a claim?

On the one hand, philosophy, by necessity, has to work in the abstract. In Plato's Republic, the dialogue-eteers used a theoretical state to determine whether justice or injustice is ideal on the large scale. When you're working in theory, practice is irrelevant. For example, you always ignore air resistance in a physics class, not because air resistance isn't an important factor, but because it's irrelevant to the topic at hand and only overcomplicates things.

However, once philosophy has gone beyond the realm of the real, the applicable, what is the point of philosophy? If you can no longer use what you learn from a philosopher and make it work in real life, is the philosophy still valid? I mean, a philosophy that allows the greatest good to be experienced by the greatest number is the ideal philosophy, but if it cannot be put in to practice, does it remain so?

I am actually very interested in your opinions, so please, give it some thought.
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2 USAF71310th Dec 2011 09:59:56 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
Well... it doesn't refute it philosophically, but if true it renders it as a lot of pointless wanking. All the philosophical ideals in the world don't help you if none of them actually work in reality...
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3 TheEarthSheep10th Dec 2011 10:05:47 PM from a Pasture hexagon
Christmas Sheep
But knowing what is actually, factually, objectively true has its own value, doesn't it? And even if a proposed plan to implement an ideal philosophy is unfeasible, couldn't future plans reconcile the ideal with reality, creating what is realistically the greatest good for the greatest number?
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4 USAF71310th Dec 2011 10:07:37 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
Perhaps. I don't see why it would matter to anyone except the scholarly experts on all this stuff. They're the ones who sit around and figure these things out...
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5 TheEarthSheep10th Dec 2011 10:15:57 PM from a Pasture hexagon
Christmas Sheep
[up] Because Philosophy influences Politics, which runs everything.
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6 USAF71310th Dec 2011 10:17:31 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
Well, sure, it matters, but it's not like the average person is well-equipped to debate philosophy in-depth.
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7 feotakahari10th Dec 2011 10:48:52 PM from Looking out at the city
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knowing what is actually, factually, objectively true has its own value, doesn't it?

This statement seems weird to me. I guess you can say that it's actually, factually, objectively true that a philosophy would work were certain other things not true, but it seems more actually, factually, objectively true to state that those other things are true, and to build a philosophy from there that accounts for those other things.
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8 Enthryn10th Dec 2011 11:23:11 PM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
In certain areas of philosophy, facts about the world aren't necessarily relevant, since you can carry out thought experiments where those facts don't apply. However, in ethics, facts about the world are highly relevant; essentially, the entire point of ethics is to determine the right course of action given certain facts about the world as it is at the time the choice is being made.

For example, if you want to ask a question about how one knows that other people exist (or some similarly abstract philosophical question), you can think up all sorts of implausible circumstances under which the question can still be asked. However, if you're examining the nature of justice, you have to consider facts about how human societies work in practice, because justice necessarily must be viewed in the context of a given society, implicitly a society that works in a way comparable to existing human societies.

edited 10th Dec '11 11:23:56 PM by Enthryn

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9 Qeise11th Dec 2011 03:47:41 AM from sqrt(-inf)/0 , Relationship Status: Waiting for you *wink*
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Oftentimes a philosophy is unfeasible because too many people think it's unfeasible or disagree on prorities.
Laws are made to be broken. You're next, thermodynamics.
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But knowing what is actually, factually, objectively true has its own value, doesn't it?
Yes, but philosophy is worthless for that. Sciences find that out, not philosophy. Ethics really is the last niche of philosophy, and ethics are worthless if it are not applicable ethics.
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11 Excelion11th Dec 2011 04:42:05 AM from The Fatherland
A philosophy that isn't applicable in real life doesn't become invalid or stops being the ultimate good.

It just isn't applicable in real life. As long as you realize that, that's all that matters.
Prince of Dorne
But what's the point then?
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13 Excelion11th Dec 2011 04:58:14 AM from The Fatherland
The point is about the same as thinking whether or not events matter if you loop back time. tongue

I suppose knowing the optimal way things would run, but knowing that they can't run like that, can be helpful in some way. Alternately, you can't know for certain if philosophical ideas don't become applicable in the future.

edited 11th Dec '11 4:58:30 AM by Excelion

14 Clarste11th Dec 2011 03:06:02 PM , Relationship Status: Non-Canon
One Winged Egret
Once you add mind control drugs into the equation a lot of philosophy becomes a lot more practical. So really it's a matter of biding time until we invent said drugs.
complete noob
No, I don't think it does unless the philosophy actually centers upon being feasible as one of its assumptions or arguments.

If not, the system, as you are examining it, should still be logically correct, no?

edited 11th Dec '11 8:24:36 PM by mailedbypostman

16 PinkHeartChainsaw11th Dec 2011 10:01:03 PM from Land of Rape and Honey
I don't really think that anything is impossible to do. So no, it's not a logical refutation.
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You seem to have taken utilitarianism and universalism for granted. Perhaps you should approach this question with an empty mind.
Never Ask Me the Odds
[up] That being the case, it might still be useful to say that given utilitarianism, 'it's unfeasible' can be a fair refutation to a proposed course of action. You have a goal and a set of initial circumstances given by the real world, and 'it's unfeasible' is saying either you can't get there from here using the plan you have proposed, or the costs are unacceptably high. What counts as unacceptably high will, of course, depend on your axioms - whether it takes life itself as sacred, whether it takes sentient suffering to be ultimate wrong, etc.

I guess you still have to explain why you think something is unfeasible for it to be valid, though, since the phrase has more than one meaning and feasibility is not a measurable or self-evident property . :p
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19 Enthryn13th Dec 2011 09:39:07 AM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Even in non-consequentialist philosophies, the effectiveness of an action still needs to be taken into account. For example, plenty of deontological systems of ethics say that there's a moral obligation to save someone from drowning, but I don't think that same moral obligation still applies if it's clear that there's no chance of actually saving them. (Or maybe I'm just so used to thinking in a utilitarian framework that I'm unintentionally projecting consequentialist ideas onto other ethical systems.)
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20 Lawyerdude13th Dec 2011 11:52:55 AM from my secret moon base
"It would never work" would ipso facto adequately refute the claim of "It could work", provided of course that the refutation was true. It really depends on the context of the argument.

If you are talking about whether something is true or not, then "workability" is irrelevant. That only matters if you propose doing something. For example, suppose scientists discover a cure for a widespread disease, and I propose making the cure available to everybody. But if the cure actually costs a million dollars a dose to administer, then a plan to give it to everybody could very well be unworkable, even if it's something that we agree should be done.

edited 13th Dec '11 11:53:21 AM by Lawyerdude

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People seem to claim almost anything that isn't their philosophy as unfeasible. I think a lot of stuff is unfeasable, but it seems every single conversation about philosophy being applied to society ends with "It wouldn't work" and ending it their. And its always in abstract grounds like "human's nature" and such.

So I just hear "unfeasible" as "shut up lets not talk about it anymore".

edited 14th Dec '11 4:03:30 PM by ViralLamb

Power corrupts. Knowledge is Power. Study hard. Be evil.
The problem with the term is that both sides use it to waive away the most seemingly impractical arguments of the other.

It crosses into stupidity when a side persists in claiming that something is infeasible, even after proof of feasibility is shown.
no. If you want to prove that the moon is made of the same stuff as the earth, and someone says "it's unfeasible to go to the moon and collect moon rocks" is completely irrelevant to the truth of the matter.

feasibility is an engineering problem, not a philisophical one. heck, as far as practicality goes it doesn't even matter in science or mathematics.

edited 16th Dec '11 2:30:58 PM by willyolio

[up]Depends on whether it's normative or positive.

If a moral theory requires you to do something that's virtually impossible, there's a problem with that theory.
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Total posts: 24