Learning Cantonese: On Hating and Despising Philosophy with 豬文 Chu Man

A group of young philosophers associated with the group 好青年荼毒室 or (approximately) “Studio for the Corruption of the Very Young” has been very active in recent times on YouTube, and one of its more eloquent members, a man by the name of 豬文 Jyū1 Màhn4 (yes, 豬 means “pig”) looks set to become a kind of Socrates of Hong Kong, opening everything up to question at a time when more and more options are being very firmly screwed down.

In this 10-minute, he tries to get to the bottom of why philosophy has such a low standing in contemporary society, but in the end comes out passionately in favour of his chosen discipline, closing with the idiom: 你哋走寳 — “you’re missing out on a real treasure!”

So, here’s your chance to enjoy an extended intelligent discourse on ideas in Cantonese, with the added bonus of Cantonese subtitles as well! The grammar is fairly straightforward, the only novelty being the expression 唔似得 mh4 chíh5 dāk1, which seems to be the negative version of the very common 好似 hou2 chíh5 = “to be like; to be similar”. Another interesting feature is the shortening of certain compound words, which both clips one element and removes most of the emphasis. Listen out for the following examples: 咁樣 (*gam’eung); 究竟 (*gau’ing, geung); 可以 (*ho’i); 佢哋 (*keui’ei); 好似好 (*houchou); 就會 (*jeui); and 只係 (*jei) — occasionally too the word for philosophy itself, 哲學 jit3 hohk6, sounds more like the abbreviated *ji’ok . . .

Last but not least, you’ll notice that 豬文 pronounces 鞏固 gúng2 gu3 = “to consolidate” as *gwóng gu. In another piece I’ve been working on about fung shui and interior design, the speaker pronounces 魚缸 yùh4 gōng1 = “fish tank” as yùh4 *gwōng1. I was under the impression that the usual tendency was to remove the “w” — common words such as 廣 gwóng2 and 國 gwok3 are often pronounced as góng2 and gok3, making life (all that more vastly) difficult for the learner listener. This opposing tendency is something I can’t recall ever reading about. No doubt it’s there just to keep us on our toes . . .

Please scroll down if you want the transcription, notes and English translation. Otherwise, you can view the video here. Since it is a YouTube video, you can slow down the playback speed if you wish: at 0.75 and 0.5, the sound quality is still good. And remember, if you want the standard jyutping romanization or to check any of the Chinese in the text, please consult the Sheik Cantonese on-line dictionary.

You might also like to make use the Ekho Text to Speech Converter if you have trouble matching any part of the transcribed Chinese text to the spoken version. Just make sure you select “Cantonese” under the language menu before you paste cut and text into the relevant box.


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有冇試過呢,喺條街度 | 問人哋鍾唔鍾意睇書呀?| 或者你哋冇試過喺條街度同人講 | 你最鍾意睇哲學呀?| 你哋有冇試過同朋友講,你最鍾意嘅團體係好青年荼毒室呀?| 唔知當你咁樣同啲朋友嘅時候 | 俾咗啲咩反應你呢?| 雖然通常睇得呢條片嘅你呢 | 應該都對哲學有啲興趣 | 你先會嚟睇呢條咁嘅片嘅 |但係事實上呢 | 喺個社會入便大多數嘅人呢 | 都係非常非常鄙視哲學厘個學科嘅 | 噉今日我就希望同大家討論一下 | 究竟哲學點解會落得如此嘅下場呢 | 究竟佢係咪抵死嘅喇 | Caption: 荼毒青年 | 係好耐之前呢,荼毒室啱啱成立嘅時候呢 | 其實就有一個計劃叫做哲學樹洞 | 就係 *jai 俾各咁多嘅室友呢,去隨意咁樣擺低佢 | 心目中困惑咗好耐嘅哲學問題 | 噉曾經呢,就收到一個 . . .  位好青年室友 . . .

● 團體 tyùhn4 tái2 = organization; group; team | ● 好青年荼毒室 hóu2 chīng1 nìhn4? tòuh4 duhk6 sāt1 = approx. “Studio for the Corruption of the Very Young” cf. 荼毒 = to afflict with great suffering; to torment | ● 鄙視 péi2 sih6 = to despise; to disdain; to look down upon | ● 學科 hohk6 fō1 = branch of learning; course; subject; discipline | ● 如此 yùh4 chí2 = so; such; in this way; like that | ● 下場 haah6 chèuhng4 = end; fate; perhaps even “where someone/something winds up” | ● 抵死 dái2 séi2 = ① serve one right; deserve the punishment; have it coming ② funny and sarcastic; naughty and witty | ● 樹洞 syuh6 duhng6 = a hole (or hollow) in a tree | ● 隨意 chèuih4 yi3 = at will; as one pleases | ● 困惑 kwan3 waahk6 = perplexed; puzzled

Have you ever tried to ask random strangers [人哋] on the street: “Do you like to read?” Or, have you ever tried telling people: “My favourite reading is philosophy”? Have you ever tried to tell your friends that your favourite organization is the Studio for the Corruption of the Very Young? And what I wonder [唔知] was the response you got when you talked to your friends like that? If you are watching this video [?], you are watching it because you ought to be someone with some interest in philosophy; however, for the most part [雖然通常], in actual fact, the majority of people in society despise this discipline of philosophy intensely [非常非常]. Today, I hope to discuss with you why it is that philosophy has come to such a pass [落得如此嘅下場] and whether it serves philosophy right. [Caption: Corrupt the Youth] A long time ago, just after the Studio for Corruption had been established, there was a plan for what was called “The Philosophy Hollow Tree” [哲學樹洞], to give members of the group to set down [?] as they wished any philosophical questions that had been troubling them for a long time. Now, a question was received from a young member of the group . . .

【1:00】. . . K 嘅問題 | 佢就問:究竟點解哲學 | 會淪爲好多人眼中嘅低等學問?| 聽到呢個問題嘅時候呢 | 我就起一位哲學家 Bernard Williams [呀] | 其實曾經寫過一篇文章叫做 | On Hating and Despising Philosophy | 去討論呢個問題 | [噉今日] 呢條片呢,我就會講 Williams 同我自己嘅一啲諗法 | 去答 | 究竟點解哲學會落得如此嘅下場?| 我諗啲人憎哲學呢個學科呢,其中一個最簡單 [係] 香港社會嘅理由就係 | ,揾唔到食吖嘛,乞食科嚟㗎嘛 | 噉我哋好青年荼毒室都成日自嘲 | 我哋揾唔到食 [啦] | 噉我估其中一個令啲人咁憎哲學呢個學科嘅理由 | 就係因爲揾唔到錢 [呢] | 但我諗呢個理由係咪,即係 *je,完全係能夠説明 | 點解哲學咁黑人憎呢? | 我估唔係呀 | 因爲事實上呢,有好多人呢 | 都唔會同時討厭其他嗰啲乞食科嘅 | ,可能其他人文學科啦、或者啲純自然科學嘅學科

● 淪 lèuhn4 = to fall; to be reduced to | ● 眼中 ngáahn5 jūng1 = (?) in the eyes of; in the minds of | ● 低等 dāi1 dáng2 = low-grade | ● 如此 yùh4 chí2 = so; such; in this way; like this | ● 落得下場 lohk6 dāk1 haah6 chèuhng4 = come to a particular end; meet with a particular fate | ● 理由 léih5 yàuh4 = reason; ground; argument | ● 乞食科 hāt1 sīhk6 fō1 = literally 乞食 = “to beg for food” + 科 = “area of study”, so “an area of study that does not lead to highly-paid employment”  | ● 自嘲 jih6 jāau1 = (?) to ridicule oneself; to send oneself up | ● 黑人憎 cf. 乞人憎 hāt1 yàhn4 jāng1 = despicable; detestable; contemptible; annoying | ● 人文學科 yàhn4 màhn4 hohk6 fō1 = the humanities

. . . by the name of K. K. asked: “Why is it that philosophy has, in the eyes of many people, become a low-grade knowledge?” When I heard this question, it reminded me of the philosopher Bernard Williams. [He] once write an essay entitled “On Hating and Despising Philosophy” to discuss this topic. In this video, I would like to say a few words about the views of Williams and myself in answer to why philosophy has come to such a pass. I think the simplest reason why the discipline of philosophy is hated by people in Hong Kong society is because it doesn’t pay the bills [揾唔到食] and is a hat sik fo, an area of study that does not lead to highly-paid employment. We here at the Studio for Corruption are forever laughing at ourselves about not being able to find a job. I guess another reason why people hate philosophy so much because it doesn’t earn much money. However, I wonder whether this reason fully explains why philosophy is so detestable. I don’t think it does, because in actual fact there are many people who do not detest other hat sik fo. So, possibly there are other [subjects in] the humanities or pure science subjects . . .

【2:00】其實可能出到社會呢 | 都未必有相應嘅職業可以俾佢申請嘅 | 噉其實呢啲學科呢,其實都係唔好到食嘅 | 噉事實上嗰啲好憎哲學嘅人又未必 | 同時憎呢啲學科 | 噉如果你純碎用揾唔到錢嚟解釋呢個現象嘅話呢 | 我覺得係唔足夠嘅 | 噉所以呢,我覺得第二個反對哲學呢個學科嘅理由呢 | 就係佢缺乏可能對世界嘅好奇心 | 可能呢,呢啲人呢,未必真係咁金錢至上 | 咁功利覺得一定要揾到錢嘅學科 | 先係一個好學科 | 但佢覺得呢,哲學探討嘅問題呢 | 實在太過奇怪 | 太過離地 | 例如我哋會探[討] | 究竟世界嘅本貌係啲咩呢 | 究竟呢個世界有冇因果關係嘅呢 | 心靈係咪,即係 *je,獨立於物質而存在嘅呢 | 可能好多人呢,聽到呢啲問題呢 | 都摸不著頭腦,究竟你想講乜呀?| 可能佢人生入便根本 | 從來都冇對呢啲問題 | 產生過任何困惑同埋好奇心 | 噉如果佢對呢啲問題完全都冇興趣嘅話 . . .

● 憎 jāng1 = to hate; to detest; to abhor | ● 純碎sèuhn4 seui3 = pure; unadulterated | ● 缺乏 kyuht3 faht6 = to be short of; to lack; to be wanting in | ● 金錢至上 gām1 chín4*2 ji3 seuhng6 = money above all else | ● 功利 gūng1 leih6 = utility; material gain | ● 離地 lèih4 deih6 = to lose touch; to be out of step | ● 本貌 bún2 maauh6 = lit. “original appearance, that is “what something really looks like” | ● 因果關係 yān1 gwó2 gwāan1 haih6 = causality | ● 獨立於 duhk6 laahp6 yū1 = independent of | ● 摸不著頭腦 mó2 bāt1 jeuhk6 tàuh4 nóuh5 = cannot make head or tail of sth; be totally at a loss; be bewildered | ● 困惑 kwan3 waahk6 = perplexed; puzzled

In actual fact [MEANING UNCLEAR] there is not necessarily a corresponding profession to which a person can apply to. Actually, it is not easy to find a job in any of these subject areas. The reality is, those people who really hate philosophy do not necessarily hate these other disciplines. If you use finding a way to earn money pure and simple as the explanation of this phenomenon, I don’t think it is sufficient. For this reason, my feeling is that the second reason for opposing the study of philosophy is that the person may be lacking in curiosity about the world. It may be that these people don’t necessarily [rate] money above all else or are utilitarian enough to think that the only good subject areas are those which must [help you] earn money. However, such a person thinks that the questions discussed in philosophy are really exceedingly bizarre and out of touch [with reality]. For instance, we could talk about what the true appearance of the world actually is. Or whether causality exists in this world. Or whether the soul exists independently of matter. It may be that when many people here these questions, they are bewildered: “What on earth are you talking about?” Perhaps they have never felt the least perplexity or curiosity about such questions in their lives. If such a person [佢] does not have the slightest interest in such questions . . .

【3:00】. . . 佢自然就唔會對哲學有任何熱誠 [呢] | 但呢個解釋呢,仍然都係未足夠 [嘅] | 點解呢?| 因爲我哋可以 *hoi 再問嘅嘛 | 點解嗰啲人會對呢啲問題咁興趣呢?| 覺得呢啲問題係咁無聊、咁離地呢?| 係咪真 [係] 純碎因爲 | 佢缺乏對個世界好奇呢?| 有冇啲更深層次嘅理由 | 去解釋佢哋嘅冷漠呢? | 噉其中一個解釋可能係咁嘅 | 點解嗰啲人會對哲學問題咁冷漠呢? | 就係因爲佢哋會話 | 哈,你睇吓哲學歷史 | 幾千年嚟都冇進步過嘅 | 詏嚟詏去,鬧嚟鬧去 | 根本就冇任何結論產生到出嚟 | 幾千年前,蘇格拉底討論咩公義 | 咩美,咩真理 | 到而家呢一刻 | 哲學界好似仲係探討緊呢啲問題咁樣 | 甚至可能有一啲所謂哲學上最大嘅醜聞 | 就係我哋根本仲未回應到 | 笛卡兒提出幾嘅嗰啲懷疑論嘅質疑 | 究竟世界係咪客觀哋存在嘅呢? | 我哋有冇對個世界嘅知識嘅呢?

● 熱誠 yiht6 sìhng4 = warm & sincere; cordial | ● 無聊 mòuh4 lìuh4 = ① boring; bored ② nonsense; rubbish | ● 冷漠 láahng5 mohk6 = cold & detached; unconcerned | ● 拗 is a variant of variant of 詏 aau3 = to argue; to dispute; to contradict | ● 蘇格拉底 Sōu1 Gaak3 Lāai1 Dái2 = Socrates | ● 公義 gūng1 yih6 = righteousness; justice | ● 到而家呢一刻 dao3 yìh4 gāa1 nī1 yāt1 hāak1 = (?) right up to this present moment | ● 醜聞 cháu2 màhn4 = scandal | ● 笛卡兒 Dehk6 Kāa1 Yìh4 = René Descartes; also written 笛卡爾 Dehk6 Kāa1 Yíh5 | ● 懷疑論 wàaih4 yìh4 leuhn6 = skepticism | ● 客觀哋 haak3 gūn1 déi6*2 = objectively; 客觀嘅 = “objective” is used in the next segment

. . . then naturally he or she will not have any warm feelings towards philosophy. But this explanation is still inadequate. Why? Because again we can ask: Why is it that those people have no interest in philosophy and think that these questions are boring or out of touch [with reality]? Is it really purely [純碎] because they lack curiosity about the world? Could there be a deeper reason that explains their indifference [冷漠]?  An explanation for this might be that the reason these people show no concern for these philosophical questions is that they are liable to say: “Hah! Just take a look at the history of philosophy. In the past few thousand years, there has been no progress! [Philosophers] have argued back and forth, caused trouble here and there, but have basically reached no conclusions. Over the past few thousand years, the justice [公義], beauty and truth discussed by Socrates are the same issues still being investigated today in the world of philosophy. And even worse, there is that great scandal of philosophy that we have no yet responded to those doubts raised by René Descartes’ skepticism about whether the world actually has an objective existence. Do we have knowledge about the world?

 【4:00】有冇可能獲得對個世界客觀嘅了解嘅呢? | 似乎哲學家討論咗咁耐 | 咁多年嚟,咁多咁聰明嘅人 | 咁多咁偉大嘅心靈 | 去思考呢啲問題 | 都一路俾唔到個答案我哋 | 噉好可能呢啲印象呢 | 就提供咗個理由俾我哋相信一樣就係 | 唉,其實哲學問題 | 嘈嚟嘈去,嘈幾千年 | 都冇任何進展、冇任何答案嘅 | 噉我哋仲講嚟做乜呢?| 更加麻煩嘅係 | 如果我哋其他學科 | 同哲學呢個學科做對比嘅時候 | 一比較呢,傷害就出嚟喇 | 你諗吓自然科學進步咗幾多 | 帶領咗我哋認識咗個世界多幾多 | 你諗吓以前可能我哋會覺得 | 懷孕 // 生子係一件好神秘嘅事 | 我哋要透過宗教一啲非自然嘅解釋 | 先能夠了解到呢件事點解會出現 | 但你諗吓,我哋而家現代人 | 都已經唔會再覺得 | 懷孕生子係有任何神秘嘅地方 | 因爲自然科學已經帶領我哋 . . .

● 進展 jeun3 jín2 = to make progress; to make headway | ● 做對比 jouh6 deui3 béi2 = to contrast | ● 傷害 sēung1 hoih6 = to injure; to harm; to hurt | ● 帶領 daai3 líhng5 = to lead; to guide | ● 懷孕 wàaih4 yahn6 = to be pregnant

Is it possible to obtain an objective understanding of this world? It would seem that philosophers have discussed [such questions] for a long time — [over] so many years, so many intelligent human beings, so many great souls have thought about these questions but have never been able to give us any answers. Now quite possibly this impression provides us with a reason for believing one thing: philosophical questions have been argued back and forth for thousands of years without any headway being made or any answers [being found], so what’s the point of going on talking about them? Even more bothersome is [that fact] that, if we contrast philosophy with other disciplines, the harm [to philosophy] emerges at once. Think of how much the natural sciences have advanced, leading us to a knowledge [認識] of the world that is so much greater [than it was before]. Think for a moment how once we probably would have thought of pregnancy [and] giving birth as a very mysterious business, and would have only been able to comprehend how such a thing could be by means of the non-natural explanations of religion. But think how we modern people no longer feel that there is anything the least bit mysterious about getting pregnant and giving birth, the reason being that the natural sciences have led us . . .

【5:00】. . . 好好咁樣了解到呢個現象 | 成個 mechanism 究竟係點樣出現嘅 | 噉所以呢,好多人就會覺得 | 唉,其實哲學嗰啲問題都係冇答案嘅喇 | 我哋討論咗幾千年,人生有咩意義? | 世界嘅公義係點呀?心靈存唔存在?| 呢啲咁嘅問題根本就係冇答案嘅 | 我哋一路仲喺度俾咁多心機 | 去研究一啲冇答案嘅問題 | 唔係就係 *jai 徒勞無功 [啦]?| 所以哲學唔係值得被人鄙視 [囉]?| 要回應呢個對哲學嘅質疑呢,當然係好麻煩呀 | 但我估有一個好簡單,最直接嘅回應嘅 | 個回應係咩?| 就係啱啱講到哲學好似討論咗好多年 | 都係冇答案咁樣 | 噉所以呢,呢個問題就注定係冇答案嘅 | 佢好似咁樣做咗個推論 | 但個問題係 | 呢個立場本身正正就係一個哲學嘅立場 | 就係相信嗰啲問題係冇答案 | 唔值得我哋去討論 | 當你要 argue for 呢個咁嘅立場嘅時候 | 好吊詭哋,你已經進入咗 . . .

● 心機 sām1 gēi1 = energy; effort; patience| ● 徒勞無功 tòuh4 lòuh4 mòuh4 gūng1 = make a futile effort; work to no avail | ● 注定 jyu3 dihng6 = be doomed; be destined | ● 推論 tēui1 leuhn6 = an inference; a deduction | ● 唔值得 mh4 jihk6 dāk1 = not worth | ● 吊詭 diu3 gwái2 = (?) a paradox

. . . to a proper understanding of this phenomenon, how the whole mechanism comes into being [出現]. And so for this reason, many people have the feeling that there are no answers to those philosophical questions. We have been talking about them for thousands of years — What is the meaning of a human life? Wherein lies justice in this world? Does the soul exist? Basically, there is no answer to these questions. Is it not futile to be still putting in so much effort to investigate questions for which there are no answers? And so, doesn’t philosophy deserve to be despised? To have to respond to such doubts about philosophy is of course very tedious, but I get the feeling [估] that there is a very simple and direct way to respond. What is the response? Just now it was said that philosophy has apparently been discussing questions for so many years to which there are no answers, and so for this reason such [questions] are doomed to remain unanswered. Someone, it seems, has made such an inference. But the interesting thing [問題] is, this kind of standpoint is itself precisely a philosophical standpoint, that is, believing that those questions have no answers and are not worth our discussing them. When you have to argue for a standpoint of this kind — paradoxically — you have already entered . . .

【6:00】. . . 哲學嘅領域 | 已經進行緊哲學討論呢 | 所以如果你要用呢個理由去批評哲學呢 | 其實你有個理論負擔 | 其實你要提供論證説明 | 點解其實嗰啲問題係冇答案 | 係唔值得我哋探討 | 而呢件事呢,正正係需要一個哲學嘅論證 | 呢個立場本身正正係一個哲學嘅立場 | 噉順住呢個討論呢 | 其實我哋可以進入到第四個討厭哲學嘅理由 [呀] | 第四個討厭哲學嘅理由呢 | 係牽涉到哲學嘅方法論嘅 | 好多人認爲呢 | 哲學討論問題嘅時候呢 | 只不過喺度吹水 | 因爲佢一來唔似得自然科學咁樣 | 係牽涉到經驗觀察啦 | 二來又唔係好似數學咁樣 | 牽涉到一啲好嚴謹嘅計算 | 好似喺度用一啲 | 所謂思想實驗呀、概念區分呀 | 呢啲咁嘅方法呢,去討論哲學問題 | 噉呢,啲人就覺得呢樣嘢呢 | 係非常之唔紥實嘅 | 但我對呢個質疑嘅回應 | 同我啱啱嘅質疑都係一樣嘅 | 就係呢個正正就係牽涉到哲學應該點樣做嘅問題

● 領域 líhng5 wihk6 = a field; sphere; domain; realm | ● 論證 leuhn6 jing3 = a demonstration; proof| ● 説明 syut3 mìhng4 = ① to explain; to show ② explanation; direction; caption | ● 探討 taam3 tóu2 = to inquire into; to probe into | ● 順住 seuhn6 jyuh6 = along | ● 討厭 tóu2 yim3 = to dislike; to loathe; to be disgusted with | ● 方法論 fōng1 faat3 leuhn6 = methodology | ● 一來 … 二來 …  yāt1 lòih4 … yih6 lòih4 = firstly … secondly … | ● 唔似得 mh4 chíh5 dāk1 = (?) unlike; cf. 好似 hou2 chíh5 = to be like; to be similar | ● 牽涉 hīn1 sip3 = to involve; to drag in | ● 吹水 chēui1 seui2 = to talk rubbish/nonsense | ● 嚴謹 yìhm4 gán2 = rigorous; strict | ● 紥實 jaat3 saht6 = ① sturdy; strong ② solid; sound; down-to-earth | ● 質疑 jāt1 yìh4 = to call into question; to query

. . . the realm of philosophy, and are engaging in a philosophical discussion. And so for this reason, if you wish to criticize philosophy on this basis [理由], then in fact you have a theoretical responsibility: actually, you must provide proofs and explanations [to show] why those questions do not in fact have an answer, and are not worth our investigation. This matter requires a philosophical demonstration. This standpoint is in itself precisely a philosophical position. Now following on from [順住] this discussion, we can proceed to the fourth reason for detesting philosophy. The fourth reason for detesting philosophy involves the methodology of philosophy. A lot of people think that when philosophy discusses a question it is [doing] nothing more than talking nonsense. This is firstly because, unlike the natural sciences, it does not involve experience and observation, and secondly, unlike mathematics, it does involve making any rigorous calculations. It seems that there [in philosophy] one makes use of methods such as what are called “thought experiments” and conceptual distinctions to talk about philosophical questions. Some people feel that such things [that is, “thought experiments” and conceptual distinctions] are extremely unsound. My response to such doubts, however, is that — like my [own] doubt from before — it precisely involves the issue of how philosophy is to be done . . .

【7:00】哲學嘅方法論問題 | 其實已經轉入到所謂 metaphilosophy 嘅領域 | 就係 *jai 哲學哋反省哲學應該點樣進行 | 其實當代或者一直以嚟呢 | 都有好多呢啲咁嘅哲學討論嘅 | 就係哲學家都會諗返自己 | 究竟而家做緊嘢係有冇用嘅呢?係有冇效嘅呢?| 例如現代嘅分析哲學成日會用到思想實驗 | 而其實好多英美嘅哲學家 | 都會後設一部討論 | 究竟 *geung 思想實驗係咪一個鞏固 *gwong gu 嘅好嘅方法 | 去令到我哋逼近個世界 | 所以都係嗰句呢 | 如果你要批評哲學嘅方法論 | 係唔夠嚴謹、係唔紥實 | 只係一班唔知做乜咁樣喺度吹水嘅話呢 | 其實你已經需要一啲哲學論證 | 去支持你嘅立場 | 你咁樣講已經 welcome to philosophy | 噉 [呢] 呢條片我最後一個想討論嘅諗法呢 | 都非常得意嘅 | 嗰啲人呢,其實嚴謹而言呢,唔係批評緊哲學 | 而係批評緊現代嘅學院哲學 | 佢哋會點諗呢?| 佢哋會覺得 // 以前 . . .

● 例如 laih6 yùh4 = for instance; for example | ● 思想實驗 sī1 séung2 saht6 yìhm4 = thought experiment | ● 後設 hauh6 chit3 = cf. chit = ② to work out 3. given; suppose; if | ● 鞏固 gúng2 gu3 = to consolidate; to strengthen | ● 逼近③ bīk1 gahn6 = to press on towards; to close in on; to approach; to draw near | ● 嚴謹而言 yìhm4 gán2 yìh4 yìhn4= strictly speaking

. . . as well as the issue of philosophical method, in fact, the domain of what is called “metaphilosophy”, that is, reflecting philosophically on how philosophy should be carried out. Actually, for most of the contemporary age [當代或者一直以嚟], there have been many such philosophical discussions, [in which] philosophers reflect on themselves and whether what they are doing has any use, whether it is effective or not. For instance, modern analytical philosophy is always using thought experiments, and many English and American philosophers often add a discussion at the end of their writings (?) [都會後設一部討論], wondering whether thought experiments are a good way to consolidate [their arguments], enabling us to get closer to the world. For this reason, we come back to that same old phrase again [所以都係嗰句呢]: if you wish to criticize philosophy’s methods as not being rigorous enough, as being out of touch, as being the idle talk of a bunch of people who have no idea what they are doing, then in fact you are in need of some philosophical proofs to support your standpoint. You have already [reached the point] of “Welcome to Philosophy”. The final idea I would like to discuss in this video is very interesting. Those people [who claim to detest philosophy] are not criticizing philosophy [per se] but instead modern academic philosophy. What would they think this? They are liable to feel that // in the past . . .

【8:00】. . . 嗰啲偉大嘅哲學家,可能蘇格拉底、可能孔子、或者耶穌咁樣 | 佢哋真真實實咁樣呢,影響咗好多好多人嘅生命 | 而家嘅所謂哲學研究 | 只不過係一堆象牙塔嘅學者 | 喺度玩緊學術遊戲 | 玩緊啲概念嘅遊戲 | 喺度討論啲不著邊際嘅問題 | 而象牙塔以外 | 真實嘅社會、真實嘅世界 | 根本就冇人會 care 嗰啲人點樣諗 | 噉所以簡單講呢,呢種批評呢 | 係批評緊現代哲學嘅墮落 | 佢已經喪失咗古典時期 | 種哲學嘅影響力 | 嗰種哲學可以走進每一個人嘅生命 | 真真實實咁樣影響每一個人嘅嗰種力量 | 現代哲學只係淪爲一啲文字嘅遊戲 | 噉我喺呢條片開始提到 Williams 個篇文呢 | 都討論過呢個問題 | 佢話呢,其實拍拉圖呢 | 係第一個强調哲學應該走進生命嘅人 | 但佢話最攪笑嘅、最吊詭係 | 哲學正正喺拍拉圖嘅手上變得非常之離地 | 例如拍拉圖自己創立嘅拍拉圖學院

● 象牙塔 jeuhng6 ngàah4 taap3 = ivory tower | ● 學術遊戲 hohk6 seuht6 yàuh4 hei3 = (?) academic game | ● 不著邊際 bāt1 jeuhk6 bīn1 jai3 = neither here nor there; irrelevant | ● 墮落 doh6 lohk6 = to degenerate; to sink low | ● 淪 lèuhn4 = to fall; to be reduced to | ● 拍拉圖 Paak3 Lāai1 Tòuh4 = Plato

. . . those great philosophers, Socrates perhaps, or Confucius, or Jesus have had a real impact on the lives of many, many people. What is called “philosophical research” these days [means] nothing more than a bunch [堆, lit. “heap”] of scholars in ivory towers playing academic games, playing games with concepts, or talking about issues that have nothing to do with anything [不著邊際]. They basically don’t care what people think beyond the ivory tower, in real society, in the real world. So, to put it simply, this kind of criticism is a criticism of the degeneration of modern philosophy. It has lost the philosophical influence of the classical era, [an era when] that kind of philosophy could make its way into the lives of every single individual, and was that kind a force that could a genuine influence on everyone. Modern philosophy has degenerated into a play with words [一啲文字嘅遊戲]. At the beginning of this video, I mentioned the essay by Bernard Williams, who also talked about this issue. He says that in actual fact Plato was the first person to say that philosophy should play a part in people’s lives [走進生命], but the most ridiculous and paradoxical thing was, in the hands of Plato, philosophy became something extremely remote from ordinary life [非常之離地]. By way of an example, at the academy which he established, Plato . . .

【9:00】據説呢,個門口上面呢,就掛住一個牌 | 就寫住:唔識幾何學嘅人呢,係唔可以入嚟嘅 | 所以攪笑嘅係拍拉圖明明 | 强調哲學應該要走進每一個人嘅生命 | 回應我哋人生入面一啲最基本嘅問題 | 但另一方面呢,佢就令到哲學非常專業化 | 高度嘅學術化 | 就令到一般人呢,好難親近 | 因爲至少呢,你要識得幾何學,你先可以走入哲學家嘅世界 | 面對呢個批評呢,我自己呢,有兩個諗法嘅 | 第一個諗法呢,就係 *jai | 我認爲的而且確呢,現代嘅學術環境呢 | 係會令到有大量毫無意義嘅學術論文所產生咗出嚟 | 真係有好多呢,喺度玩緊概念或者文字遊戲 | 噉我以我自己為例呢 | 我成日都講,我自己 // 真係唔係好鍾意攪學術嘅 | 但我覺得呢個 | 唔係哲學喺現代社會特有嘅問題 | 而其實係成個大環境 | 高等教育界或者學術界嘅一啲制度上嘅問題 | 噉啊 . . .

● 據説 geui3 syut3 = it is said; they say; allegedly | ● 幾何學 géi2 hòh4 hohk6 = geometry | ● 專業化 jyūn1 yihp6 faa3 = specialization | ● 親近 chān1 gahn6 = to be close to; to be on intimate terms with | ● 的而且確 dīk1 yìh4 ché2 kok3 = indeed; really | ● 毫無意義 hòuh4 mòuh4 yi3 yih6 = (?) totally meaningless| ● 大環境 daaih6 wàahn4 gíng2 = (?) a bigger/broader context | ● 高等教育界 gōu1 dáng2 gaau3 yuhk6 gaai3 = roughly, “the world of higher education”

. . . it is said, above the door they hung up a sign on which it was written “Those Who Do Not Know Geometry Cannot Enter Here”. And so, what is so ridiculous is that Plato obviously emphasized that philosophy should play a part [走進 = to go into; to enter] in every person’s life and respond to the fundamental questions in our human lives, but on the other hand he caused philosophy to become extremely specialized and highly academic, so that ordinary people could not feel close to it, the reason being that — at the very least — you had to have an understanding of geometry before you could enter the world of philosophy. Faced with this criticism, I myself have two ideas. The first idea is that I think that it is true [的而且確] that the modern academic environment can lead to the production of a large volume of completely meaningless academic dissertations, and there really are a large number [of individuals] who are engaged in playing conceptual or linguistic games. Let me use myself as an example. I’m always going on about how I really don’t like academic pursuits [攪學術] very much, but it is my feeling that this is not a problem particular to philosophy in modern society but one [that involves] a bigger context [大環境]. Systemic problems in the world of higher education or academia . . .

【10:00】. . . 其實就唔係完全係哲學呢個學科要面對嘅問題 | 我曾幾何時呢,啱啱入咗哲學系嘅時候呢 | 都好心急,好希望哲學快啲回應到 | 我人生嘅一啲基本嘅問題 | 例如死亡究竟點樣影響我哋人生啦 | 人生究竟有啲咩意義啦 | 我一路都好渴求呢啲答案 | 希望哲學家呢,可以話到俾我聽 | 噉當我抱住呢個咁嘅期待同埋渴求去入哲學系嘅時候呢 | 我開頭呢,老實講,其實都係好失望嘅 | 我當時嘅感覺呢,exactly 就好似啱啱對哲學嘅嗰啲批評者所講咁 | 就係 *jai,哈,點解你哋呢啲咁嘅哲學家或者學者 | 好似好巴閉、好似好勁 | 但係講嚟講去都冇真係回應到 | 我心目中 [又或者] 我人生入便呢 [啲] 最真實嘅疑惑嘅 | 點解你仲未答我人生有啲咩意義嘅?| 噉但係我讀得哲學越多 [啦],我就慢慢發現呢 | 其實只不過我當初太心急 | 因爲其實我哋當然每一個人生命入便 | 都有啲好真實嘅困惑 | 好希望哲學家去回答佢哋

● 曾幾何時 chàhng4 géi2 hòh4 sìh4 = before long; not long after | ● 渴求 hot3 kàuh4 = to yearn for | ● 期待 kèih4 doih6 = to expect; to await; to look forward to | ● 開頭 hōi1 tàuh4 = to begin; to start (intransitive verb) | ● 巴閉 bāa1 bai3 = ① arrogant; flashy; showy; fussy; noisy ② impressive; high and mighty| ● 勁 gehng6 = strong; powerful; vigorous; sturdy | ● 當初 dōng1 chō1 = originally; at the outset; in the first place; at that time

. . . In fact, this is not something that the discipline of philosophy [alone] faces. Not long after I became a student [入咗 = entered] in a philosophy department, I was eager and hoping that philosophy would soon provide answers [回應到] to the fundamental questions of my life. For instance, how does death affect our lives as human beings [我哋人生 = our human lives]? What is the meaning of life? I was yearning for answers [to these questions], hoping that philosophers could tell me [話到俾我聽]. When I became a student of philosophy, full of [抱住 = to hold in one’s arms; to cherish] such expectations and yearnings, at first, to tell you the truth, I was in fact very disappointed. My feelings at that time were exactly like those people who are critical of philosophy, that is, “Huh! Why is that that philosophers and scholars like you — [even though] you seem so impressive and so forceful — have not really answered the very real perplexities in my mind and in my life, [despite all] the talking back and forth. Why haven’t you answered me about what the meaning of my life is. However, the more I studied philosophy, I gradually came to realize [發現 = to discover] that it was just that I was too impatient when I began [當初]. Because in fact naturally in the life of every [single] one of us, there are some very real [sources of] perplexity which we hope the philosophers can provide answers to [去回答].

【11:00】但個問題就係 | 呢啲問題本身實在太過難答 [喇] | 我哋唔能夠期望有一個好簡單嘅答案 | 例如人生有咩意義呢個問題 | 乍看好似好 *houchou 簡單 | 但你越問落去就挖出一啲好離地嘅問題 | 例如究竟人係啲咩呢? | 世界係咩嚟㗎呢? | 人同世界嘅關係邊度呢? | 人類究竟可以知道幾多嘢呢? | 人類嘅語言點樣同個世界連擊起嚟呢 | 其實呢堆問題睇落好離地 | 但當你從一個好在地 | 嘅人生意義,呢個哲學問題出發 | 你無何避免哋一路問落去 | 就會 *jeui 問到一啲咁高度抽象 | 咁離地嘅哲學問題 | 所以我個意思係 | 如果你對呢啲咁在地嘅哲學問題 | 有一種好真熾嘅渴求嘅話呢 | 你唔能夠期望有一個好即食嘅答案俾到你 | 你應該有耐性慢慢一步一步咁樣思考 | 而唔應該拒絕嗰啲睇落好似好離地 | 同你人生唔相干嘅 | 形上學問題啦 . . .

● 難答 nàahn4 daap3 = difficult to answer | ● 期望 kèih4 mohng6 = a hope; an expectation; here, 期望 clearly works as a verb | ● 乍看 jaa3 hon3 = at first glance (cf. 驟眼睇 jaauh6 ngáahn5 tái2) | ● 挖出 waat3 chēut1 = to dig [out]; to excavate | ● 連繫lìhn4 haih6 = (?) connection; link | ● 睇落 tái2 lohk6 = come across as; seem; appear; look like; look as if | ● 在地 joih6 deih6 = (?) on the ground; down-to-earth | ● 真熾 jan1 chi3 = ? (I am not sure if this is what 豬文 Jyu Man says here. The subtitles have 熱熾 yiht6 chi3, which is not in my dictionaries either! But the basic meaning of 熾 is “flaming; ablaze”). | ● 即食 jīk1 sihk6 = fast food | ● 相干 sēung1 gōn1 = have to do with; be concerned with

But the problem [問題] is, these questions are in themselves real too difficult to answer. We can’t expect there to be a very simply-obvious answer. For instance, the question “What is the meaning of life?” seems quite simple at first, but the more you go into it [越問落去 = the more one asks down (into it)], you dig up some very “off the wall” [離地] issues, such as “What really is a human being?” “What is this world?” “Where does the link between people and the world reside?” “How much can human beings actually know?” “How do human languages link up with the world?” Actually, this pile of questions is seemingly very remote from everyday concerns [離地], but when start out from a very down-to-earth [在地] philosophical question about the meaning of human life, inevitably as you go on making inquiries you will end up asking [就會問到] some highly abstract, “off the wall” philosophical questions. For this reason, what I mean is that if you have a burning desire [to understand] such down-to-earth philosophical questions, you can’t expect [唔能夠期望] there to be a fast-food answer for you. You should think things through slowly, with patience, step by step, and you shouldn’t refuse those seemingly remote and metaphysical questions that have no bearing on your life . . .

【12:00】. . . 知識論問題或者語言哲學嘅問題 | 所以簡單講,我覺得哲學離地呢 | 唔係因爲佢匿埋喺個象牙塔度故作高深 | 而係其實嗰啲哲學問題本身真係好複雜 | 佢冇辦法唔咁樣去討論嗰啲問題 | 噉如果你一心只係 *jei 想追求一種人生嘅慰藉 | 好可能呢,你應該去書局買本 | 「讓你過得幸福快樂嘅十個要訣」呢啲書 | 而唔係買一本哲學書 | 噉所以其實呢條片講到尾呢,想做啲咩呢? | 就係話俾嗰啲討厭哲學嘅人聽 | 其實係你哋唔識貨 | 你哋走寳 [喇] | 拜拜

● 知識論 jī1 sīk1 leuhn6 = epistemology; a theory of knowledge | ● 匿埋 nēi1 màaih4 = to hide | ● 故作高深 gu3 jok3 gōu1 sām1 = pretend to be erudite & profound | ● 慰藉 wai3 jihk6 = to console | ● 書局 syū1 gúk6*2 = bookstore; bookshop | ● 要訣 yiu3 kyut3 = tricks of the trade | ● 識貨 sīk1 fo3 = be able to tell good from bad; know what’s what | ● 走寳 jáu2 bóu2 = miss out on something good

. . . nor those questions to do with epistemology or the philosophy of language. For this reason, to put it simply, I think that philosophy is remote from everyday life [離地] not because it hides itself away in an ivory tower pretending to be erudite and profound but actually because philosophical questions are by nature very complex. [Philosophy] cannot discuss such questions in any other way. Now if you are bent on searching out some kind of consolation for your life, you would probably be better off going to a bookstore to buy a book such as Ten Secrets for a More Fortunate, Happier You, not a book on philosophy. In the final analysis, then, what does this video want to achieve [想做啲咩呢]? To tell you people who despise philosophy that you don’t know what’s what, and that you’re missing out on a real treasure. Good-bye.

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