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Dissing Philosophy = Dissing Knowledge

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/20/2013 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,048 times Debate No: 36863
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
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Mrsatan commented on my "Molesting children is wrong" debate, saying that because I have no respect for Philosophy that I must have no respect for knowledge, because Philosophy is supposedly the study of knowledge.

I dispute this claim, and demand that Mrsatan prove that it holds.

I don't hate knowledge. Knowledge is cool. I think the "study of knowledge" is B.S. though. Similarly, I don't hate women yet consider "women's studies" to be rubbish, and don't hate UFOs yet consider "UFO-ology" to be rubbish.

I challenge Mrsatan to prove that the "study of knowledge" is a valid subject and not a bogus one (i.e. that it actually reflects what it's talking about and has use beyond being a generic university degree with logic and communication skills), and that by dissing it I am in fact dissing knowledge.


Although Jack has misrepresented what I actually said, I would be happy to accept his challenge to prove the "study of knowledge" is a valid subject, and that by "dissing" it, he is "dissing" knowledge.


I'll start with the latter of that challenge, as it is a rather simple deduction. To say that studying knowledge is B.S., is to say that knowledge is not worth studying. A verbal attack on somethings worth is one of many ways to "diss" that thing. Therefore, by "dissing" the study of knowledge, Con is also "dissing" knowledge itself.


To show validity for the study of knowledge, we must first define what knowledge itself is, that which is being studied. The Oxford Dictionaries describe knowledge as, "Facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject." [1]

By studying ones own knowledge, e.g. how well they understand a subject and the facts, information, and skill related to it, they can come to a better understanding of it, and more effectively apply that knowledge.

As I said at the beginning of this round, Con has misrepresented what I said. In doing so, he has given an example of how studying knowledge can be practical. Now, before I explain how this is an example, I'll tell you what I actually said.

"I find it kind of funny that Pro disrespects philosophy, considering it's the study of knowledge, reality, and existence. This implies that he disrespects at least one of those things; knowledge, reality, existence, or possibly even studying itself. (I'm gonna go ahead and guess the first one)" - Myself [2]

Con seems to believe this is the equivalent of him saying that, "...because I have no respect for Philosophy that I must have no respect for knowledge, because Philosophy is supposedly the study of knowledge."

There are many clear differences here, and I'll explain them all if Con contends that there are not. However, for example, one of those differences is that "implies" is not equivalent to "must". But, perhaps if Con had studied his own knowledge of what it means to communicate, he would come to the realization that in order to effectively paraphrase someone, you first need to understand what it is they said.

Simply put, because the study of knowledge can help us to apply the knowledge we have more effectively, the resolution stands. The study of knowledge is a valid subject.

I'll leave it at that for now, and await Con's response.


Debate Round No. 1


I apologize if I misquoted you, I assure you that it was was unintentional.

The Oxford definition is good, but rather long. We'll use the definition "knowing stuff".

Wiktionary has several definitions for "study", but most of them are basically "acquiring knowledge" ( ).

So the "study of knowledge" is basically "getting to know knowing stuff". To me, that sounds a bit circular/redundant/vague/suspicious.

To be less confusing: studies must produce knowledge. If I study something, it must increase my knowledge.

If I study Science, it must increase my knowledge of the natural and physical world.

If I study History, it must increase my knowledge of what happened in the past.

If I study Cooking, it must increase my knowledge of preparing food.

There are some so-called "studies" that do not produce knowledge.

If I study Creation Science, it will not increase my knowledge of how the world was created.

If I study Women's Studies, it will not increase my knowledge of women.

If I study Alternative Medicine, it will not increase my knowledge of treating disease.

Calling something "the study of knowledge" isn't enough. The question is:

If I study "the study of knowledge", will it increase my knowledge of knowledge? If the answer is not "yes", then "the study of knowledge" is not a real study according to the Wiktionary definition of "study" because it doesn't increase my knowledge of the subject. BOP is on you to prove that studying knowledge increases how much you know about knowing stuff.

And just to cut off some fallacies that you've used or may use:

1. Dissing a study (real or not) is not the same as dissing the thing studied. That is an Association Fallacy. The study could be flawed, but the subject matter still useful. For example, Homeopathy is flawed because it doesn't treat disease, but that doesn't mean treating disease is flawed. "The study of knowledge" could also be flawed, but that doesn't mean knowledge itself is flawed.

2. In most cases where I've debated the merits of Philosophy, my opponent has said something along the lines of "all other disciplines are based on logic, which is part of/founded by Philosophy, therefore Philosophy is useful/correct". Don't do that, it's a Fallacy of Composition. Just because Philosophy contributed something useful (logic) to the world doesn't mean that Philosophy as a whole is useful. You haven't made this argument yet, but I thought I'd refute it now in case you did.


I accept your apology, and suppose I should offer one myself. I get somewhat hostile when I feel someone has put words in my mouth, but I will give Jack the benefit of the doubt, and believe that was not intentional. I apologize if any offense was taken from my previous round.


"Dissing a study (real or not) is not the same as dissing the thing studied. That is an Association Fallacy." - Con

Although the syntax suggests otherwise, I'll assume "that" is referring to my argument from the previous round. That argument is not an association fallacy. However, I admit it was poorly worded, and so I can see why my opponent thinks it is. Because of this, I will reword it as a proper syllogism.

P1: Con says the "study of knowledge" is B.S..
P2: Saying the "study of knowledge" is B.S. is dissing the "study of knowledge".
P3: Saying the "study of knowledge" is B.S. is the same as saying knowledge is not worth studying.
P4: Saying knowledge is not worth studying is a verbal attack on knowledges' worth.
P5: Verbally attacking knowledges' worth is dissing knowledge.
Conclusion: By dissing the "study of knowledge", Con is also dissing knowledge.

As for the fallacy Con is pre-emptively declaring, he is correct. Regardless, I would not have used this argument, as we are talking about "the study of knowledge", not philosophy as a whole.


In my opinion, "Knowing stuff" is an oversimplified definition for "knowledge", and "acquiring knowledge" is simply an innacurate definition for ""study". However, I am rather burnt out from work at the moment, and Con is the one who initiated this debate, so I will agree with those definitions as far as this debate is concerned.

Basically, since study means acquiring knowledge, and according to Con, one must be be acquiring knowledge from the "study of knowledge" to consider studying knowledge valid, the "study of knowledge" validates itself.

Simply put, what the "study of knowledge" actually means is "acquiring knowledge of knowledge". So if one is studying knowledge, they are, by definition, acquiring knowledge. If one is not acquiring knowledge, they are not actually engaging in the "study of knowledge".

Therefore, by Cons own definitions of study and knowledge, and his own belief of what makes the study of a subject valid, the subject of knowledge, or any other subject for that matter, is a valid subject of study.

The resolution is proven, the "study of knowledge" is a valid subject, and by dissing the "study of knowledge" Con is also dissing knowledge.
Debate Round No. 2


My whole argument was, to be blunt and informal, that the "study of knowledge" is a scam. You're not acquiring usable information about the subject matter, you're just seeing how many different ways you can define "knowledge". It's like a pyramid scheme, where you sell somebody a license to sell licenses to sell licenses but never actually sell them a good or service. If I studied knowledge, what would I have actually learned by the end of it?

Just because a study is stupid doesn't mean the the thing studied is stupid. I repeat my homeopathy analogy. Studying homeopathy supposedly makes you better able to understand disease, but actually doesn't because it's a load of bull. That doesn't mean that the subject matter, disease, is also bull or that it's in any way connected to homeopathy (in that calling one rubbish makes the other fiction).

I am yet to see you prove that we can obtain useful stuff from the so-called "study of knowledge". So far, we have just made assertions and discussed word definitions. This is the last round, so if you have some evidence now is the time to present it.


Not sure why you think the study of knowledge is a scam, or more specifically a pyramid scheme. All I can figure is that's because you can study it in college. But someone taking it in college is receiving benefits for their payment. It puts them in a room with other people who want to discuss it, or in other words, it's providing social networking. It's not necessarily about acquiring new knowledge though. It's more about understanding than anything. Understanding why you see things the way you do, and in what way other people see things and why they do.

As for your homeopathy analogy, I'm not sure you understand what homeopathy is. From the little research I've done, it's about activating the bodies natural defenses to illness, rather than the cause of the illness. Basically, it's treating what's bad with small doses of highly diluted substances that are also bad. So by saying homeopathy is a load of bull, you're saying treating illness with illness is a load of bull, and perhaps it is, but I honestly do not know. By studying it, there's an off chance you'd come to a better understanding of disease, but more likely, you'll find out that either homeopathy works, or it doesn't. Possibly some of both.

As for the study of knowledge, it can be viewed from a couple of different perspectives. From a philosophical perspective, or from a general view of knowledge. The latter would apply to, quite literally, any situation. One can examine (which is about the most simple yet accurate definition for study I can think of) the knowledge that they have, and figure out what knowledge they need to learn for whatever it is they want to do. Whether they want to begin their career, to start a new career, to add a room to their house, to change the oil in their car, to play a sport, to play an instrument, etc... It really doesn't matter, because knowledge is a part of everything, and no matter what you're studying, you're studying knowledge.

The former, a philosophical perspective, is about knowledge itself. The definition of knowledge has never been ultimately agreed upon by philosophers, and so is an ongoing discussion. Many people, skeptics, would argue that there is no such thing as knowledge. That there's no real way to be sure that anything we "know" is actually true. Others argue that what we know is learned primarily through experience (empiricists), and others, primarily through reason (rationalists). Personally, I believe it's a combination of the latter two. It's also about how knowledge can be justified, and what can make it unjustified. But in the end, it's not so much about gaining more knowledge, but about gaining understanding of what knowledge is, and how it can be viewed. Such understanding isn't necessarily going to be useful in any way, other than adjusting ones own perspective of the world.

For myself, it's a perfectly valid subject for one simple reason. I enjoy contemplating such things.

I could get into more of it, but honestly, it's the sort of thing I prefer to discuss with people in person. And frankly, I doubt you really care what I have to say about it anyways. Besides, by your own definitions, I already justified it.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by MrJK 5 years ago
I would like to debate jack212's ridiculous proposition.
Posted by mrsatan 5 years ago
Like I said, I haven't ever really studied it. If all that's true, then yea, it's probably BS (though I would recommend being cautious about how much faith you put in wikipedia). Even so, saying that it's BS (and I'm not saying it isn't) is saying that the science behind it is BS. Not science, or disease, in general. Just these specific claims about science.
Posted by Jack212 5 years ago
Homeopathy claims that the more diluted something is, the stronger it is. Basic chemistry shows the opposite - the more concentrated something is, the stronger it is and the more it will affect the body. This is easy to understand if you remember that molecules have to collide in order to react. Obviously the more molecules of substance X you have, the more likely it is that they will collide with the reactants.

Homeopathic solutions are diluted over and over and over. As matter is discrete and not continuous, you eventually get to the point where there is none of the substance you are diluting. Homeopaths defend this by saying that water has a "memory" that can carry the effects of the diluted substance. There is no evidence that this is true. What's more, there is no explanation for why water wouldn't "remember" toxic and fecal matter.

Finally, and most importantly, homeopathic remedies do not work. They have consistently failed double-blind placebo trials, where neither the test subject nor the person distributing the medicine knows which ones are real and which are controls (only the dude in the pharmacy knows). Homeopathy is just a means for charlatans to make money off dumb, rich people.
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