The Bias of the Obvious in Philosophy


Philosophers often struggle and strive to create logical arguments to get at the truth of a particular subject or so the claim is. In philosophy classes, students are bombarded with various forms of logical deductive and inductive arguments, so that they know what qualifies as a genuine argument. The students are trained to avoid logical fallacies, and they write many a paper, where they will lose many a grade point if they fail to make a logical argument and avoid these fallacies. Still, doing real philosophy is not this simple. I would argue, that philosophers are often “biased”.

This is not to say that philosophers aren’t, for the most part, making logical arguments. The problem is that even a logical argument can potentially be wrong, if new information arises. For example look at this argument:

  1. All white bears are polar bears
  2. X is a bear
  3. X is white
  4. Thus, X is a polar bear

That argument is logical, but it is also wrong. Non-polar bears can be, of course, white. But, if someone had never heard or seen a white¬†non-polar bear, this argument would seem reasonable, wouldn’t it?

And, this brings us to the next point. Philosophy and logic are absolutely indispensable, but logic alone is not enough to bear the weight of the burden of proof in many cases. If someone had never had a science class or lived a long time ago, it would make sense to them that the sun went around the earth. Why? It seems patently obvious to the naked eye. Both modern knowledge and logical argumentation is necessary to prove that the earth in fact goes around the sun and the like.

One of the problems philosophy faces in arenas outside science and instead in arenas such as morality and religion is to get past the “obvious.” It is obvious to some that God exists, and it is obvious to other that he/she/it doesn’t. Many a premise and conclusion are made to prove both sides of this debate correct, but the debate still rages. For example, when people make the claim that something can’t come from nothing, this will seem obvious to many people, but has anyone ever dealt with absolute nothingness? Could we be wrong about the obvious? I’m not trying to claim the answer one way or the other, but the point is, how would we really know? These philosophers and lay people are relying on the obvious which is in reality a bias!

Nevertheless, it is not just religious philosophy that suffers from the problems of the bias of the obvious. For many the idea of maximizing happiness as a moral system seems obvious, not that there aren’t arguments for this, but should we be digging deeper? Sure being happy and causing others to be happy seems¬†“nice.” However, it is tempting to ask if happiness and pleasure are really the highest aims to being human.

There are many other cases and examples I could have used in philosophy. I hope to have used some relatable ones. The problem with philosophy, sometimes, is that it is often trying to answer questions before we have enough knowledge, or it is trying to answer questions where superior knowledge will never be found. Often the bias of the obvious is used, so I beseech you to notice this when you are doing your own critical thinking.

 

Thank you for reading. Feel free to like and comment!

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An Atheist and Mentally Ill Persons Guide to Happiness


  • Know when to quit. Try your best, and know your limits.
  • Chronic failure means a chronic problem. Don’t be ashamed to get help.
  • Think of failure as a beginning of something and not an end in itself.
  • Other people matter, but their unjustified negative opinions of you don’t.
  • Very few things are do or die.
  • Things can always get better or worse, but you might as well enjoy the ride.
  • Feeling overwhelmed? Take some you time. An unmade bed never hurt anyone.
  • Be kind and patient with others.
  • Do not spread yourself thin.
  • Always challenge yourself. It’s fun.
  • Be honest with yourself about your flaws, but don’t make yourself miserable. Just try to fix the problem.
  • Be intellectually curious and honest.

 

Personal Suggestion for Happiness


We all have dreams, but the unfortunate fact is that most never fullfill them all. In addition, many times our core dreams are dashed to the ground by ourselves or outside forces beyond our control.

When this happens, do not give up on satisfaction and happiness in life. I may be no life coach. I may not be an expert, but I have experienced utter failure. I know my original hopes and dreams might be gone to some degree, and I’ve experienced more than a few bumps along the trail of life due to schizoaffective disorder and a couple of other issues. Still, I think I’ve found out how to handle loss. When a dream dies, regroup and dream again. Find a new passion. It may be hard to think of something at first, but there is so much in this world.

Yes,I still have psychotic and other issues at times, but in the background, I always try to reach for my dream. If one does not go forwards, then the only place to go is backwards. I could die at any momment; although, I hope I don’t. In my dieing moments even if I go too soon, at least I’ve tried my best. That’s good enough for me.