The Concept Of

This morning I was reading a post by a philosopher who was exploring the concept of God and the possibility of God’s existence or not. .

But what struck me more than his various arguments and the reasons behind them, was the fact that he continually spoke of “the concept of God”. I imagine that he was using this approach to keep readers from thinking that he was assuming that God existed already, or something like that. So readers would see that he was talking in deed about “the concepts” of God rather than whether or not the thing or object or entity “God” actually exists.

But as I was reading it I could not help be struck by that default. And after a number of paragraphs where “the concept of God” kept appearing, every time I would see that clause what kept popping into my head was container.

It is interesting to me what containers people use to find out about objects. Innoway, we are all like little kids again. We approach things through containers and if they’re not contained then we get upset and we can’t reckon anything. Like, all the toys in a sandbox, maybe. Or we have our bin that we have to keep all of our toys in. And then sometimes we go through the whole bin looking for a particular toy and we can’t find it, then we get upset because we can’t find it and then our parents tell us, after we find it outside or a neighbor gives it back to us because we left it at their house, that we have to remember to put all of our toys back in the bin.

This whole thing got me thinking about how the concept is like a bin. I mean, it seems like philosophy in many cases is this way; this Author was keen to use “the concept of God” every time he wanted to talk about “God” so we would be sure that he also understood what generally most philosophers nowadays kind of assume:that anything that can be known is contained in thought, whether or not we use another type of container which is “actually” just thinking or an idea, and language sometimes — most philosophers nowadays understand implicitly that when we start talking about things and various topics that whatever we’re talking about is contained by one of these primary containers, one of these human bins, so to speak.

And it doesn’t take too much consideration on this way that is so common to know, to eventually come to the question of how do you know that this particular container, whether it be concept, language, is able to contain anything (Not whether it is true so much) ? And the usual answer that I find when I come out with that sort of final question is “that’s the way it is”. Or, at least that’s what I summarize their answer to mean. Because often enough the answer I will get will just assume that there is a container or that these subsequent words are describing what the container it is, or how it is able to be. And what usually happens is that the discussion will be routed back into what they are assuming or what is given for or what is implicitly understood as the “prime all and essential container” that is a part of what they’re talking about it or the foundation there Of.

I suppose my point “in the end” is why don’t we just agree that no matter what we do there is some sort of “primal container” that we are all assuming as we go forth and try to say something about what is not essential or what is not the prime container. Because it seems to me what we are caught in right now is a bunch of philosophers trying to make a place for themselves by situating The prime container in the most novel way or something (a kind of Sartean existentialism). It really is like we learn about language games and then we figure out we have to play the language game and forget that the idea of a language game is just another container.

Perhaps.

5 Comments

  1. The primal container is linked to primal truth, morals, definitions etc.. but as you said it, the word “concept”is often used for its link to an existing thought/container and for not offending.

    1. I’m always working through stuff…

      But one of them for me is why can’t people in philosophy just admit certain things that keep popping up.

      I don’t know if my analogy in this way is very good or very suited for what I’m talking about. But, for example if I say I’m speaking into my iPhone, voice dictating this comment, you know exactly what I mean. Or in the same way if I say “tree“ you know exactly what it is. We admit it; and I think in certain light philosophy tells us that indeed the tree that we are agreeing on has no underlying basis except the fact that we agree upon there is a tree right there.

      So it kind of astounds me that people want to argue over foundational concepts or if there is such a thing; it’s as though people use the term “language“ as such a foundational term but then when you talk about what it is were talking about or about or ask what it is, they are unable to admit that we’re both seeing language as the foundational category.

      The same with “concept”.

      I understand that the process of philosophy is really looking into definitions and coming up with new definitions and looking into those, and maybe that’s why I like the idea of “the two routes”. Because on one hand, yes philosophy is a process and people understand philosophy as this act of asking questions into what everyone means by certain terms, as though the definitions are actually getting to something. So indeed there is that way and it is valid and it functions to offer us a certain kind of reality.

      But then on the other hand there is “tree“. And so I also say there is “philosophy”. And of the same way that we can look into what a tree is as an object, we can also look into what philosophy is as an object.

      But for some reason as soon as I say that latter part about philosophy everybody gets all up in arms and says well philosophy isn’t a thing. 🤣

      1. But philosophy is a discipline, hence the concept of philosophy as an intelluctual exercice, or as a critical thinking or as a revolution etc.. cab be compared to tree and the concept of tree. After all, it is all language. But somehow, the use of the word “concept of” gives freedom to the speech, to create new definitions

      2. If we must conflate to a further reduction, I might suggest that the discourse Is the tree. Tree” is a thing in itself which becomes known in the discussion about it. The discussion as a thing in itself becomes known as a thing in itself as the talk about it. Philosophy can be known in itself by the talk about it.

        But that is a difficult proposition for some methods.

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