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    Default Optimism and pessimism

    Do optimism and pessimism constitute philosophies by themselves? Or are they just a mood or shade of other philosophical outlooks or can other philosophical outlooks be coloured by optimism or pessimism?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Do optimism and pessimism constitute philosophies by themselves? Or are they just a mood or shade of other philosophical outlooks or can other philosophical outlooks be coloured by optimism or pessimism?
    I think optimism and pessimism is relative. Take the Holocaust:

    For some, it was an optimistic view that all the Jewish peoples would be wiped out.

    For others, it was pessimistic. So it could be a philosophy, but it is individually measured.
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    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Do optimism and pessimism constitute philosophies by themselves? Or are they just a mood or shade of other philosophical outlooks or can other philosophical outlooks be coloured by optimism or pessimism?
    Optimism and pessimism are attitudes. It is possible to have philosophies that justify the wisdom of upholding one attitude or another, but attitudes in themselves are not philosophies. Philosophies are comprehensive worldviews that one has arrived at based on attempt to arrive an accurate understanding of the world based on reason as opposed to tradition, authority or faith.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    Optimism and pessimism are attitudes. It is possible to have philosophies that justify the wisdom of upholding one attitude or another, but attitudes in themselves are not philosophies. Philosophies are comprehensive worldviews that one has arrived at based on attempt to arrive an accurate understanding of the world based on reason as opposed to tradition, authority or faith.
    Tradition, authority and faith are unreasonable?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Tradition, authority and faith are unreasonable?
    To the Western mind.

    Don't argue Eastern philosophy with someone who majored or has a degree in Western philosophy, it's such a completely different way of viewing the world that you will just be told that you are wrong or intellectually deficient.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmotini View Post
    To the Western mind.

    Don't argue Eastern philosophy with someone who majored or has a degree in Western philosophy, it's such a completely different way of viewing the world that you will just be told that you are wrong or intellectually deficient.
    Yet some of the best criticisms of what you've described as western philosophy, which I might call post-enlightenment or liberal philosophy, have been provided by westerners.

    Conservatives, Marxists and others have criticised it well.

    So far as the question goes I think its difficult to generalise with broad brush strokes, it can be, that does not necessarily mean that it is.

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    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    Even though I can be pessimistic, I'd never adopt it as a "philosophy". Pessimism is situational and more about problem solving. Knowing something is beyond repair or knowing someone in charge is in idiot. Keyword is "know". If I had a philosophy of pessimism, it'd be a presumption. Like having some worldview that everything is beyond repair, as a rule. Someone like that would be a problem in and of themselves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Yet some of the best criticisms of what you've described as western philosophy, which I might call post-enlightenment or liberal philosophy, have been provided by westerners.

    Conservatives, Marxists and others have criticised it well.

    So far as the question goes I think its difficult to generalise with broad brush strokes, it can be, that does not necessarily mean that it is.
    Western thought relies on logic, categories and opposing dichotomies, while Eastern thought is more subtle and embraces paradoxes and compromise. It's like something that is boxed versus something that flows. The flowing thing is infuriating to the boxy people, and the boxy people annoy the flowing people by trying to box them in. However, I think the boxy people get more annoyed because being "correct" is a lot more important to the boxy people.

    A lot of Western religious philosophy is still Western thought, black and white, right and wrong, oppositional, etc.

    That's why it's always amusing to watch a Western hardcore atheist argue with a fundamentalist Christian from the U.S. because their thought patterns are essentially the same, they both seem fairly dogmatic and oppositional.

    However, when you actually study the Bible, it seems more similar in its parables and broad concepts to Taoism and Buddhism, particularly in the New Testament, which would all be Eastern thought.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmotini View Post
    Western thought relies on logic, categories and opposing dichotomies, while Eastern thought is more subtle and embraces paradoxes and compromise. It's like something that is boxed versus something that flows. The flowing thing is infuriating to the boxy people, and the boxy people annoy the flowing people by trying to box them in. However, I think the boxy people get more annoyed because being "correct" is a lot more important to the boxy people.

    A lot of Western religious philosophy is still Western thought, black and white, right and wrong, oppositional, etc.

    That's why it's always amusing to watch a Western hardcore atheist argue with a fundamentalist Christian from the U.S. because their thought patterns are essentially the same, they both seem fairly dogmatic and oppositional.

    However, when you actually study the Bible, it seems more similar in its parables and broad concepts to Taoism and Buddhism, particularly in the New Testament, which would all be Eastern thought.
    Surely the old testament is more eastern, I know that liberals like AC Grayling have decryed the Christianity as a foreign import of asiatic and eastern origin though.

    I see what you are getting at but is opposing eastern and western philosophy not another dichotomy?

    By your measure would Marxism's thesis-antithesis-synthesis-new thesis be a series of dichotomies or paradoxical?

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    Optimism and pessimism are reactionary points of view, so I would call them reactions to the prevailing philosophy and not such in themselves.

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