Philosophy of Philosopy of Photography Forums

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by michaellinder, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. After having posted responses in several Philosophy of Photography forums, I have noticed a rather uncomfortable pattern that raises its ugly head too often. Comments are made that do not address the issue at hand, per se. Rather, they involve quasi-personal, sometimes fully personal, attacks. Most recently, in a thread pertaining to extrinsic and intrinsic qualities of photographs, one participant made a comment about Jean-Paul Sartre's alleged narcissism.
    Logicians traditionally have referred to the use of such strategies in the context of argument as argumentum ad hominem - argument against the man. Example: "Barack Obama's middle name is 'Hussein'. He has ties to Islam. Therefore, his proposed middle east policies should not be taken seriously." Clearly, it does take a great deal of logical acumen to see through this argument. The conclusion does not, by any means, follow from its premises. The premises are totally irrelevant.
    If a person's points of view were evaluated based on his/her behavioral idiosyncracies or even lapses in morality, it is unlikely we ever would witness any intellectual progress. My best example has to do with attending a colloquim given by Saul Kripke at the invitation of the University of Miami philosopy department (about 35 years ago). Professor Kripke walked to the podium with his shirt half out of his pants. He must have had a cold, and he wiped his nose on his shirt sleeve. When he spoke, he made no eye contact with the attendees, and his delivery was halting and, occasionally, barely audible. The bottom line is that his appearance and behavior were odd, and his delivery was awful. However, none of that had any relevance to the arguments he offered. And, IMHO, Professor Kripke is responsible for incredibly significant developments in symbolic logic, philosopy of language, and philosopy of mind.
    I suspect that the forum discussions would be far more valuable to all concerned if the comments posted would stay on task.
    Thanks for hearing me out.
     
  2. one participant made a comment about Jean-Paul Sartre's alleged narcissism

    The horror! I may not be able to get anything else done today, having heard of that inexcusable atrocity.

    If a person's points of view were evaluated based on his/her behavioral idiosyncracies or even lapses in morality, it is unlikely we ever would witness any intellectual progress.

    You cannot separate world view and morality from achievement. At some point, world view and the personal ethics/values that one derives from it can and do eclipse skill, IQ, or even a lifelong body of work, no matter how constructive. One's morality/ethics are a function of one's understanding of reality, of consequence, and of purpose.

    Much intellectual achievement is considered meaningless - or worse, as actually evil - by people with certain views of the world. Most people in the west would consider it an abbrasive idiosyncrasy to yell angrily at girls as they pass, and a true moral failing for someone to be so incensed at the prospect of a girl learning to read and write that he would throw acid in her face as she walks to her school. And yet, there are large movements of people who have that "point of view" (see this week's news out of Pakistan's wild frontier).

    Point of view matters. Moral relativism is poison, but when it only manifests itself as some blithe slack-cutting for a person showing a touch of disrespect through the manner in which he dresses/speaks (your example, above), it's pretty benign. But you can't say that point of view doesn't matter at all unless you're willing to cut equal slack to acid-tossers and teacher-murderers. After all, that's just another point of view, right? Or is it possible that one does benefit from understanding how (and why) someone lives when digesting what they say? A is A regardless of who says it. But subtle cultural and historical critiques are best consumed in some sort of context. Otherwise every discussion would require a lengthy introduction, every time, of all of the participants and their histories.

    I suspect that the forum discussions would be far more valuable to all concerned if the comments posted would stay on task.

    I suspect that the forums would be a dry, uninteresting place indeed if there were no color or sidebar tidbits drifting in from this incredibly diverse audience. Since you brought up extrinsics: you might as well get comfortable with fact that a public forum like this is rich with externalities that cannot and should not always be controlled and filtered. It's not very hard to ignore (or simply not take personally, you know) a cruel, cruel comment about a dead philosopher's narcissism. Further, a little biographical context can in fact make a comment or citation far more insightful.

    And in keeping with all of that, I hereby link to a pseudo ad hominem externality.
     
  3. Michael--
    I share your frustration. And thanks for posting this.
    I just got through addressing the same issue in the forum you're referring to, which was cut off at the knees by the behavior you're talking about.
    I can humbly say this is probably the first time I think Matt's way off the mark. It was a good run, though! :) Matt, this is not color. It's nonsense.
    I would have made the point differently from Michael. I'm not sure the ad hominem attacks against Sartre bother me as much as the consistent ad hominem attacks against other PN member-contributors to the forums, the consistent way in which threads are completely sidetracked by one person into tete-a-tetes strictly about personality and often derailing the conversation.
    Matt, if you read through these Philosophy threads carefully, you'll note a distinct pattern of how and when they devolve and when most participants seem to drop out or when the anger takes over the productivity.
    It's a shame.
    And it's unfair to the rest of us.
    And I congratulate Michael for approaching it directly.
     
  4. I agree with Michael, and also with Fred's observation on AH attacks against other members.
    Seeing a "Philosophy of photography" forum was one of the main factors deciding me to join PN; the problem Michael mentions one of the main factors in my very rarely taking part thereafter.
    I confess I don't, in practice, really know how the problem might be prevented, without risking a swing the other way to censorship. But I do agree.
     
  5. I confess! I confess to NOT having that patience to go back and read the thread in question, and was more interested in responding to Michael's broader assertions and posture in this very thread, right here. Solidly "on topic" posts are sometimes only thus in the mind of the person who starts them, or wishes to control them. One man's off-topic comment is another man's helpful and horizon-broadening extrinsics. :)

    I'm sure you've seen me play the pedantic scold more than once, Fred, so of course I understand the urge - and the need - to operate within some boundaries if a thread is to have at least some useful purpose. And nonsense is, of course, nonsense.

    No, I was more struck by Michael's other points. And I suppose that to the extent that his remarks were about the particular offending thread, they'd have been more on topic (ahem!) on the bottom of that thread. Since this seemed a broader topic - and included some platitudinous bits of baggage - I thought I'd speak directly to Michael's sentiments and, er... point of view, as put forth in its solo form, in this thread.
     
  6. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    If there are attacks on other photo.net members, then they should be reported to me or Mike Dixon. Since there haven't been more than a couple reports over the last year (there were problems before then), I have to assume that these aren't serious. It's important to distinguish between attacks on a person and attacks on a person's ideas. A lot of people get confused about this.
    I'm not particularly concerned about an attack on Sartre, and I seriously doubt Sartre is either. Comments on public figures, including dead public figures, are different than personal attacks on a forum. I don't see the comment referenced as a problem.
    This forum has been surprisingly calm over the last year, most of the moderation has been moving out threads, at least once a day, that have no reason to be in this forum. Both Mike and I skim and/or read the posts here, and unless someone shows us that there is a problem, it is hard to take the complaints seriously. Give some examples and they can be cleaned up. Complain in a vacuum and there is nothing to do.
     
  7. jtk

    jtk

    It's interesting that non-supporters and near-never-participants position themselves as defenders of this little corner of P.N without being willing to step up to the plate.
    Fred G's recurring notion that it's "unfair" (see above) and "off rails" to propose ideas that are new to him is disappointing.
    Obscure academics who are "authorized" and "on rails" seem rarely to be exponents of "philosophy of photography." Who knows...perhaps if their work was described by someone who meant to communicate it would become significant to more than a few.
    To accept that one popular writer (eg Sartre) is a "philosopher" and an equally significant philosopher (Freud) is "off rails" and a "personalized" reference, solely on the basis of religious roots ( per Fred G's recent pronouncement), is disturbing.
    For that matter, since when were psychologists (or the rest of us) less "philosophic" than academic philosophers, critics, or pop-photographers of celebrities?
     
  8. Jeff--
    I suggest you read the "Extrinsic/Intrinsic" thread and come to your own conclusions about relevance of posts and personality overtaking principle. As Felix put it, there is no desire for moderator interference or censorship because that causes big problems of its own. The best we can achieve is self-regulation, not only expecting the offending parties to modify their behavior, but keeping in mind that the rest of us can always ignore the problem in hopes it will go away.
     
  9. Jeff:
    I truly appreciate the comments you made, and I am confident that PN administrators are doing their job well. However, I take responsibility for my own behavior, and I will deal with a problem head-on. This brings me to . . .
    Matt:
    "Since this seemed a broader topic - and included some platitudinous bits of baggage - I thought I'd speak directly to Michael's sentiments and, er... point of view, as put forth in its solo form, in this thread." This is exactly a case in point.
    Mr. Sartre: I was not defending his philosopy nor advancing an argument based on that philosophy. If I were, I would be really disappointed by a rebuttal based on Sartre's "narcissism." I've personally known a few philosophers, some of them obscure, some of them more well-known. Indeed, some of them were a*%ho#*s. So what? I'm an a*%ho*#. So what?
    Having spent a great deal of my life studying philosopy, I think I can say without any arrogance that I am aware of the importance of the sociological, psychological, historical, personal, etc., circumstances in which a philosopher lived. It is at best difficult to understand the wider significance of anything (a painting, a film, a photograph, a person's statement) without being familiar with these sorts of circumstances. However, it is a fundamental logical mistake to rely on them to support an argument.
    Finally, I am not trying to control anything. I have no power to control your behavior, nor do I wish to do so. I have enough trouble with myself, thank you! The purpose of posting this thread was to try to make a contribution to the quality of PN forums. I don't mind getting into a scuffle as long as it's a fair one. And I am grateful for the interesting variety of comments that people make on these forums.
    Oh well . . ., I guess I may have been off the mark, so I will say no more on this point.
     
  10. jtk

    jtk

    Michael, my reference to Sartre's narcissism was nearly entirely unrelated to his behavior (he sought attention but I don't think he preened). Rather, I was referring to the center of his philosophy: his so-precious identity.
    As a fan of Leslie Fiedler (you may enjoy obscure references), I try to read what the writer had to damn well say, before wallowing in his life story (per much lit crit these days).
    However (heh), it's not reasonable (it's nuts) to accept that people who post here are more importantly what they say than what they share in P.N galleries.
    You've just asked us to credit you for "a great deal of..life studying philosophy." Yet your photography (on P.N) appears to tell an entirely other story. Are we to ignore our responses to that kind of ambient (perhaps more credible) information in favor of your assertions? I hope my photos generally augment my assertions about myself...how about yours?
    How can we respond to photographs without being personal? Isn't that "intrinsic" vs "extrinsic" trope a confused effort to deny the very relevance of the viewer?
     
  11. This is exactly a case in point.

    What point is that - that I was making an ad hominem argument against you, rather than talking about what you said? I was not. I don't know you and can't really talk about you, per se, in any useful way. But if I see, written before me, something that I consider to be a platitude meant to disarm others from commenting negatively on your thesis... well, I'll say so. It doesn't mean I'm correct in interpreting what you wrote, but neither is it ad hominem. Unless that's not the case in the "case in point" to which you refer. Perhaps I'm just far too obtuse for this forum. I won't consider it an ad hominem argument if you say that I am - because that would be an observation on your part, about me... rather than a deflection away from some other topic of debate.

    As I distill it, your point is: PN would be a better place if people didn't get off topic. Rather than debate that point as stated, I'd say that the real issue is how one defines "off topic," and how best to respond to it. It's the internet. Don't feed the trolls. Don't dignify destructively off-topic remarks with a response. And certainly don't make too much of a bit of ribbing over what - honestly - comes across as hand wringing over something of very fleeting import. Though many - from Sayre to Moynihan to Kissenger - have been credited with adding sauce to this sentiment, Woodrow Wilson is likely the father of this observation: The intensity of academic-minded squabbles is a direct function of the triviality of the matter at hand. That certainly covers many of PNs most heated discussions.
     
  12. "The intensity of academic-minded squabbles is a direct function of the triviality of the matter at hand . That certainly covers many of PNs most heated discussions."
    No it doesn't.
    Hope you're all Monty Python fans. Wait .... is that off topic?
     
  13. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Having gone through that thread, I see nothing even remotely resembling an ad hominem attack. I see a lot of strong interchange over ideas, but that's it. I see nothing in the Sartre comment different than what is in many discussions of people and their ideas. It's similar to a comment like "Warhol's art is the work of a con man," which has been said here without anyone getting bothered by it. I happen to agree with the comment about Warhol and think it's what makes his work great and relevant. It wouldn't have happened without that aspect to it and in a critical discussion, is a relevant point. I can't say I know enough about Sartre to say that he was a narcissist or that, if he was a narcissist, it influenced his work. But it seems to me that it is quite relevant in terms of critical analysis.

    Many threads on the internet wander from topic to topic, especially with ideas. This is the way ideas flow, and the way discussions around them flow. It's not just the internet, it's the way it can happen in a classroom, in a face to face discussion group, almost anywhere. If discussion gets stuck in digression, maybe it deserves a new location, or if it goes way off topic, like if it had turned into a discussion of equipment or mixing chemicals, then something should be done. But it doesn't seem to have stayed off topic that long.
     
  14. Jeff--
    Thanks for your answer. I see it as a difference between wandering from topic to topic and being consistently led into oblivion. We disagree. It's good that we do, which is why I said it's up to those of us who find certain behaviors and ways of writing objectionable and unproductive to figure out ways of self regulating and staying productive. It will not and should not be done by moderators.
     
  15. jtk

    jtk

    Being "consistently led into oblivion" demonstrates absence of a path.
    In the recent case, everybody but the original poster recognized that "intrinsic" was used mistakenly and unfortunately centrally in what would otherwise have been a simple discussion about relative impact of various influences on responses to photos. "Intrinsic" is one of the few words in which shades of meaning are by definition "intrinsically" lacking.
    "Those of us," "objectionable," and "unproductive" sound like they came from a pulpit in 1954.
    Thundering "will not and should not" after the Moderator has already stated that he'll make up his own mind, thank you, tells a significant tale.
     
  16. jtk

    jtk

    Matt, I envy your pigtail. Elegant. We used to see them all over New Mexico, but I'm afraid hair loss has vanished most, save those of hip Navajo.
     
  17. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    It will not and should not be done by moderators.​
    Just to be clear, the moderators serve two primary functions, at least in my mind, since it isn't codified anywhere:
    1) We keep truly problematic stuff out. This includes personal attacks, posts that violate photo.net Terms of Service, especially posting images that are not one's own, spam, hate speech, etc., etc.
    2) We make it so that posts are useful, informative, and well-organized. This means moving posts that are in the wrong forum, keeping things moderately on-track, for example, if a post on this forum becomes a camera discussion, it will be modified, and cleaning up posts that mess up pages. (The last has been a lot less of an issue since the introduction of the editor.)
    Since there are no strict moderation rules, some moderators are more "activist" than others, but lately, this forum has required very little work, other than, as I mentioned above, moving out posts that have nothing to do with "philosophy" no matter how it is defined. But neither Mike nor I tries to steer the conversations here except when there is a problem as cited above.
     
  18. John, ad hairinem flattery will get you nowhere.

    I'm something of a throwback, though, to be sure. In the IT industry (where I wander), the long hair can be a badge of office. You know, "Gee, if he can meet customers with hair like that, he must really know what he's doing!"

    I'm thinking of selling it to a wigmaker in order to buy a new camera body, though. I can't grow a higher resolution sensor, but I can grow more hair. OK, so that won't work.
     
  19. Man, I guess you guys missed all of the deeply personal attacks that happened around photo.net years ago. For a year or so, if you even mentioned "Polaroid Camera" there would quickly ensue so much horse poop that it took just about every moderator around here to shovel it out. The really beautiful thing about free forums is also their worst point... they are open to anyone who has an opinion. I've often wondered if computers came with one of those breathalizers that DUI drivers have to use to start their cars, how much of the idiocy of the internet could be avoided. Oh well, that's the great thing about life isn't it? At least no-one got their nose broken.
     
  20. I miss Tiblett Lunger-Thurd... t
     
  21. "Thundering "will not and should not" after the Moderator has already stated that he'll make up his own mind, thank you, tells a significant tale."
    Please, tell us the tale, John.
     
  22. Fred, Jeff, John, and Matt:
    I truly appreciate the comments you made above. In large measure they have helped me to sort some things out. Admittedly, my reference to Sartre got this whole thing off wrong, and it's not that I took that personally. (John, you and I have communicated about that already.) I am grateful for these forums. Aside just from being interesting, they help me learn. I have learned considerably from this experience.
     
  23. In response to Fred's: "
    Matt, if you read through these Philosophy threads carefully, you'll note a distinct pattern of how and when they devolve and when most participants seem to drop out or when the anger takes over the productivity.
    It's a shame.
    And it's unfair to the rest of us."
    John Kelly wrote:
    "Fred G's recurring notion that it's "unfair" (see above) and "off rails" to propose ideas that are new to him is disappointing."
    What "ideas" did you propose -- and how do you know they are "new" to Fred? On what evidence do you base your claim that Fred often ("recurring notion") calls "ideas that are new to him", "unfair"?
     
  24. Jeff Spirer wrote: "Having gone through that thread, I see nothing even remotely resembling an ad hominem attack."
    Do my previous two posts above clarify the meaning of ad hominem for you?
     
  25. Michael;
    Ironically, Kripke's criticizm of Rule Following argument set by Wittgenstein seems to me a one more to the person than his thought, wherein K believes that W has meant different to what he has said, PI. No wonder that, for this, since, K is called (ironically?) Saul Wittgenstein.
     
  26. Nozar:
    Thanks for your feedback. I lost touch with academic philosophy some time after reading and wrestling with Prof. Kripke's work on rigid designators. Unfortunately, I never read his work on Wittgenstein. My loss . . .
     
  27. I suspect that the forum discussions would be far more valuable to all concerned if the comments posted would stay on task.
    Welcome to the internet. Enjoy your stay.
     
  28. Oddly this "Philosophy of Photography" forum attracts real students of Philosophy! Must illustrate the value of locating the servers at Princeton.
    Matt thinks that (personal) world view and morality are important for achievement. It strikes me that as much as personal characteristics inform a person's productivity they do not necessarily come out in the finished result. A person (or team sometimes) makes the work, but then later on the work remains and the maker is forgotten. There is no way I can find to understand the maker to my satisfaction once all that's left of him/her is the work. We know the names of a great many people who have left great art behind, but what actual personal details can you tell me about their lives as a result of examining only their works? Even if you are right, there is no way to put the parts together so you can claim to help anyone. Artists have personalities like everyone else...
    I'm not quite sure whether the fuzz or fog shown in a photograph would be the most helpful in identifying the maker as a Philosopher.
     
  29. My point, Albert, is that it's not unreasonable to discuss a person's world view and value system when doing something as complex as analyzing their artistic works or placing them in an historical context while discussing something else.

    Art is a message from the artist. Just like any communication, it can be helpful to know if what's being communicated to you is part of a pattern, a piece of an agenda, a bit of sublime satire, or just the artist scratching his armpit.

    We know the names of a great many people who have left great art behind, but what actual personal details can you tell me about their lives as a result of examining only their works?

    That may be the inverse of the real question. It's better to wonder what you can learn about the art by digging for scraps of what you can find about the artist. Certainly, if we don't have enough details to put a long-dead artist's work (or a culture's artistic output) into some sort of rich context, then... we simply don't. Historians do a fair amount of guessing about Da Vinci, for example. Some conclude that he was gay, but have to infer that from all sorts of indirect clues. Does it matter? No. His works are wonderous, regardless. But if a significant aspect of his life was led in stark conflict with the teachings and edicts of the most powerful social institutions of his times, doesn't that alter how you might approach understanding his art, and the motivations behind those communications? At least a bit?

    Regardless, I was reacting to the broader sentiment that point of view simply doesn't matter. I think it does (or at least should, more often than it does). For example, I'd rather buy art from someone I respect. I'd rather make and sell art to someone I respect, given a choice in the matter. And my respect is largely derived from an understanding of how another person sees and relates to the world. Their point of view makes a difference to me - and may inform a piece of art (or the way in which it's presented/sold) if its intention is to change someone's point of view. But I've also sold my work to people I've never met... and my only estimation of them is that the payment went through. In those situations, I leave it up to them to decide if the work itself - or whatever information about me, the subject, and my process - tells them what they need to know to be comfortable spending their hard-earned money on a photographic communication from me.
     
  30. I'm going to take that blank post, Fred, as a sign that my post (just above) may not have been taken in the spirit in which it was intended - it's possible that two of the concepts I mentioned could be conflated by the reader into one point. Which they're not. It's what I get for commenting before I've had enough coffee!
     
  31. Honestly not, Matt. I was going to comment on the irony that this thread has wound up pertaining as much if not more to the discussion of intrinsic/extrinsic as the thread (specifically on that topic) in which the ad hominem arguments were made.
    I was tempted, and thought better about it (but could only edit it away and not delete it entirely), to bring it back to some specific ad hominem statements made in that thread that were not directed toward Sartre. It seemed to me the lives and times of photographers and philosophers were less the point of this thread than ad hominem statements. I don't mind ad hominem statements about philosophers. The issue for me is when such statements are used to characterize one's interlocutors. But, when I got specific, I realized I was dancing in territory I'd prefer to avoid.
    I honestly hadn't carefully read your last post but had seen the direction of the thread away from the ad hominem stuff. To me, ad hominem is not whether Da Vinci was gay or not. "Gay" is not a similar descriptor to "narcissist." Gay defines either a culture or more pedantically the gender of who someone has sex with. "Narcissist" characterizes.
    As for " . . . if a significant aspect of his life was led in stark conflict with the teachings and edicts of the most powerful social institutions of his times, doesn't that alter how you might approach understanding his art . . . ?" Maybe. Maybe not. But I tread lightly. Let's take today's world. A substantial number of people, gay and straight, live their lives in stark conflict with the teachings of the church. Yet, I fear we might overinterpret a gay person's artistic "motivations" compared to how we might interpret a straight person's art.
    I've had my own photographs interpreted as to how I see gay love. How about how I see love?
    Truth be told, there are times when I am very consciously motivated by being gay and when it will overtly come out (no pun intended) in my work. Just as we are all motivated to some degree by various aspects of our lives. There's a balancing act that has to take place between what we see as universal strokes and what we see as more particular.
    Sometimes a man is just a man.
     
  32. Thanks, Fred. In fact I specifically wanted to make sure that nobody (well, you!) was mistaking my Da Vinci reference as a lumping-in of his innate sexual orientation with an affected thing (like narcissism). No question that there are places in the world today where coming out (in the contemporary sense!) can still be a death sentence - and I would say that understanding how an artist relates to realities like that would surely inform an appreciation of that artist's work - especially to the extent that it deals with those issues, or is connected to them.

    Sometimes a man is just a man

    Indeed. And the more you know about him, the more you know when those times are - or when he believes those times are. Not that it has the same import, but sometimes I'm just a guy with long hair, and sometimes I'm a guy saying something with long hair. It's always amusing to see people guess (almost always incorrectly) when those times are. As you've gathered from some of what I post here, image-wise, I often circulate among groups of very tradition-minded, old-school rural folk who sometimes have to work hard to overcome my visual trappings. I see it as a challenge, I suppose. I don't mean to equate those hair-related challenges with the actually difficult road that gay people walk - but (especially having spent some years in theater!) I do "get it," I assure you. :)
     
  33. I do sense that you get it. No, I never mistook your conflating "narcissism" with "gay" though a study could be made . . . :)
    And I think you're right when you say "especially to the extent that it deals with those issues, or is connected to them," although the relevance could be there even when said gay artist is not overtly dealing with those issues. His experience of his gay life could inform his shooting of landscapes, though there might be no narrative connection. And the reverse is true that sometimes I may be working with as intimate a subject as two naked men in bed together and people will make certain assumptions about my motivations not knowing that what was motivating me more than the gay plight or sensibility was that my dog died the night before. The naked men were just the tools (again, no pun intended!) at hand (and again).
    And, like your experience with long hair, there are sometimes when I want to and need to be quite vociferously gay.
     
  34. I'm not a regular on the Philosophy of Photography forum because it reminds me of the quote: "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." (Variously attributed to Frank Zappa, Elvis Costello, Steve Martin, Laurie Anderson and others.) I'd rather be re-reading Gorky Park or Foucault's Pendulum for the umpteenth time than debate the values of something that, to me, is better enjoyed for its unspoken visual appeal and abstract contextual messages - photography.
    So take my opinion for what it's worth, the uninvited, possibly unwelcome opinions of an interloper who can't pronounce "shibboleth" and, worse, declines to learn.
    I read the cited thread, "The intrinsic and extrinsic matters of photographs ". I saw no evidence of ad hominem attacks. What I saw was strong evidence of an interpersonal dynamic that apparently has developed over time in previous debates. What I saw, to put it bluntly, was the "hot button effect." Over time a few folks have apparently developed various buttons, levers and switches (and in some cases have proclaimed them, in effect teaching others to operate them), and not surprisingly those controls have been manipulated. Chips are worn on shoulders, dares are issued to knock them off. Tripwires are set and invitations are issued to walk through the traps. Predictable results follow.
    But I didn't see any personal attacks. I saw disagreements over the ground rules for debate, disputes over what terms meant, and debates over whether it was necessary or appropriate to adhere strictly to conventions of philosophical terms. And I saw signs of frustration over these disagreements. But nothing that would qualify as inappropriate personal attacks.
    It appears that some would prefer to exclude from the conversation anyone who has, in previous debates, shown a tendency to stray from the preferred tenor by insisting on specific tenets. In other words, you'd rather just chatter with like minded souls and not be hampered by the inconvenience of defending your assertions if someone perceives a flaw in your argument (whether accurately so or not).
    I suppose that type of dynamic might be considered inappropriate on some forums. I certainly don't welcome a certain type of debate on the b&w forums (no need to go into details there). I shamelessly admit that I lean toward a fanboy aesthetic on those forums.
    But what's the purpose of a philosophy forum if you bristle at the usual conventions of standard debate?
    From this interloper's perspective, the original assertion in this thread seems disingenuous, *if* it was specifically in reference to the "intrinsic/extrinsic" discussion referred to. It may be unpleasant to face challenges to defend ones assertions, but isn't that the fire that refines ore into gold?
     
  35. Hmm, well I'm inclined to dismiss anyone who uses the words "ad hominen" as someone who wouldn't last twenty seconds in a decent pub debate... :)
    And yeah, I read the thread in question, and noted more confused, myopic mumblings by the bookshelf brigade, tarted up with the usual arse-kissing "arguments", name-dropping nonsense, and blatantly self-selling "philosophical" shite.
    Let's face it, several of the regular contributors clearly use this forum as a some kind of sorry-arsed substitute for a good, old-fashioned, real-life chat, and others are clearly trying to dress themselves (and their photography...) in cheap'n'nasty "intellectual"/"artistic" attire for reasons that an average twelve year-old could see through. But OK, we all know that there will always be certain folk that'll lap this stuff up... :) I guess they end up "challenging themselves as artists" on Williamsburg rooftops, or sucking on the cultural/commercial sewer pipe that is the New York publishing - sorry, "art" - scene... :)
    "Fred Goldsmith" noted that photography is a form of communication. Correct. So is writing. Just a bunch of little visual symbols that are interpreted one way or another by the ever-moody - and easily-manipulated - unstable mass of manure that is the human mind... :) Such is life - and it's all good fun and all that - but don't expect me to take it particularly seriously... :)
    Oh, and one person's "attack" is another person's observation... It's all in the interpretation folks... :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Or5sPoSr9gM
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/16/arts/design/16auction.html
     
  36. I am not up to reading the thread in detail, but the Philosophy forum is one of the most contentious and long-winded on P.net. Maybe that's why it's called the "philosophy " forum? I guess the Truman-era adage about "staying out of the kitchen if you can't stand the heat" applies, and I confess that although I check this forum, I am very choosy about which battles I join on this forum.
    It's a shame that "history of photography" topic got put in here instead of being given its own forum, but that's another problem. It's impossible to post on the history topic without being attacked for being off-topic for the forum even when an effort is made to label a history topic as such.
     
  37. “In other words, you'd rather just chatter with like minded souls and not be hampered by the inconvenience of defending your assertions if someone perceives a flaw in your argument (whether accurately so or not)”
    So, true...and of course set your own rules and agendas to be strictly followed.
    Reality is the chaos of unlike minds and thoughts usually lead to greater understanding and perceptions.
    “But what's the purpose of a philosophy forum if you bristle at the usual conventions of standard debate?”
    Indeed,somewhat more interesting than someone’s private little ball park discussing topics in the manner of a private gentleman’s club.
    “Let's face it, several of the regular contributors clearly use this forum as a some kind of sorry-arsed substitute for a good, old-fashioned, real-life chat, and others are clearly trying to dress themselves (and their photography...) in cheap'n'nasty "intellectual"/"artistic" attire for reasons that an average twelve year-old could see through”
    And burst into tears if others challenge their assumptions which they have dressed in words of fine clothing but in truth only the face of a 12 year old looks out.
    Apart from those observations it is an alright place to mooch around in ;))
     
  38. Honestly, this is one of the only places where I can find actual critical thinking about photography. Just because things have a tendency to go off topic or get a little personal, doesn't mean its not relevant. Thinking laterally is quite important to this process and I welcome all opinions. I don't agree with some of the things said and I'm sure the sam goes for others, but it ALL must be taken with grain of salt. When I get frustrated by the bickering I just stop- unless I'm part of it. Not only do we have to listen to what others have to say ( and maybe learn a little), but also we must stand behind our statements and form ideas that hold up to criticism. This is a great place for that.
     
  39. Thank You Paul, very well stated as is "Painter of Nothing". Mirrors are useful ornaments but often we don't see our own true faces, ... "the greater understanding and perceptions". These would be really interesting and refreshing rather than this "sorry-arsed" tossing of repetitious philosophical, sometimes, good *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#*. Sorry guys, I'm a 2 year newbie and realize I am on sacred ground.
     
  40. Paul:
    "Hmm, well I'm inclined to dismiss anyone who uses the words "ad hominen" as someone who wouldn't last twenty seconds in a decent pub debate... :)
    And yeah, I read the thread in question, and noted more confused, myopic mumblings by the bookshelf brigade, tarted up with the usual arse-kissing "arguments", name-dropping nonsense, and blatantly self-selling "philosophical" shite."
    Actually, I love a good pub debate. And, actually, I love just shooting the *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* with people I know and people I don't.
    In case you haven't seen this, this thread was posted in the "Philosophy of Photography" forum. If I wanted to post a thread in "Pub Debates on Photography", I would have done so. Having posted in this forum, I made an ass out of you and me (I assumed) that anyone who posts comments in this forum wants to engage in a philosophical discussion. My bad . . .
    As I said above, I really think I overreacted to one item, and otherwise put some points badly. Again, my bad . . . But, one thing that makes me feel damned good, I suceeded in really stirring the *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#*. And, if that ain't what philosophy is about, I don't know what is.
     
  41. Michael, should we take a "Philosophy of Photography" forum any more seriously than a "Philosophy of Sandwiches" forum...? :) There's a "philosophical" question for ya... :)
    Not that it really matters, but just for the record my personal "philosophy" is that the answers to "philosophical" questions are probably best found in one's own mind. Why...? Because what's significant, meaningful, thought-provoking or "philosophical" to one mind may well be trivial, banal, tedious or ludicrous to another. True story...
    And hey, once human beings start thinking/chatting about such stuff, it usually doesn't take long before ego, hypocrisy, self-interest and conceit enter the equation... :) Well, we can all tick those boxes from time to time, eh...? :) This may be interesting or irritating or whatever, depending on the people involved, one's mood at the time, and any individual agendas, interpretations and misunderstandings and so on...
    Anyway, if in doubt, my advice is to simply say "Pfft, bollocks to this...", then cheerfully walk away from the PC and do something more useful... :)
     
  42. Paul:
    Good advice . . .
     
  43. Paul...that was hillarious.
    The great thing about this particular forum is this is the place we all get together to compare the size of our intellectual balls and whoever can't hang gets happily drummed out. But it's all in good fun!
     
  44. Nicole:
    I love your response - - very metaphorical! (By the way, am I drummed out yet?)
     
  45. It actually seems like several folks have drummed themselves out. That's a shame. I hope you will continue to participate, Michael. What has to be drummed out is all the background noise.
     
  46. Fred:
    I'm not easily drummed out of anything. In fact, I'm really a stubborn s.o.b.
    I will continue to keep an eye on discussions in this forum, and I certainly will participate when the time is right. However, having learned several valuable lessons while posting and reading contributions to this thread, I will not be stupid enough to assume anything about anyone.
     
  47. Michael, I do what I can ;)
     

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