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Thread: More Things That Won't Get You Laid...Philosophy

  1. #11
    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lah
    Hegel's rather out of vogue among philosophers nowadays, isn't he?
    That's a little like saying "Twain's out of vogue" or "Leonardo's out of vogue" or "The films of Hitchcock are out of vogue."

    When it comes to art and thought, does that matter, really?

    Quote Originally Posted by OnMyLunchBreak
    Finally, I truly believe, that as long as history marches on, there will always be something of value to find in Hegel.
    That's it. With Rorty, weren't we just discussing how the most profound truths are timeless, whether they're in "vogue" or not.

    "In vogue" is a concept for Access Hollywood and IN Style.
    "...Every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but...the bad things don’t always spoil the good things." - The Doctor

  2. #12
    Lah
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    To clarify, yes, I meant Hegel's popularity and the popularity of continental philosophy in general in America.

    Btw, it's been my experience that those who know enough to know Hegel's name usually aren't misologic at all, as they tend to be knowledgeable enough and sure enough of themselves intellectually to be willing to open up discourse. But then, all my conservative friends are terribly argumentative, so what do I know?

    Speaking of phenomenology...Heidegger I find unreadable. I would love it if someone can explain him to me.

    P.S. This is indeed a rarefied thread, a thread for ivory-tower'd palefaces and paleface wannabes. But enough talk about princes and leviathans, let's bring back philosopher-kings! (I'm sure OnMyLunchBreak would approve.)

    ETA: Phat32: Works and thinkers come into vogue, and works and thinkers go out of vogue. Sometimes it's the vagaries of taste, other times it's because the works have become dated or disreputable. Truth is never absolute. See Fukuyama's The End of History.

  3. #13
    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lah
    ...let's bring back philosopher-kings! (I'm sure OnMyLunchBreak would approve.)
    Actually, give me a warrior-king (or -queen) any day.
    "...Every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but...the bad things don’t always spoil the good things." - The Doctor

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    Lah
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    Quote Originally Posted by phat32
    Actually, give me a warrior-king (or -queen) any day.
    Ah, less a lover of Plato and The Republic than I thought, then.

    Warrior-king? There's more of the Roman in you than the Hellene.

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    Leia-Jakita-Arendt OnMyLunchBreak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lah
    To clarify, yes, I meant Hegel's popularity and the popularity of continental philosophy in general in America.
    Well, I hope I answered that satisfactorily. America seems to be coming out of its analytic phase in some places, but it is still alive and well, especially at the more distinguished universities. Also, achieving professional honors (doctorate degress, tenure, etc...) are usually more available to those of an analytic tendency.

    But that doesn't mean that some aren't trying, even if it may have a personal cost.

    As you may know, Richard Rorty was basically excommunicated from the Association of American Philosophy in the late 70's when he published Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. He was an analytic at Princeton I believe and he was asked to leave and now teached comparative literature at Stanford.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lah
    Btw, it's been my experience that those who know enough to know Hegel's name usually aren't misologic at all, as they tend to be knowledgeable enough and sure enough of themselves intellectually to be willing to open up discourse. But then, all my conservative friends are terribly argumentative, so what do I know?
    Point taken. Generally anyone who is willing to discuss philosophy at all does not have an irrational fear of wisdom, however, I suppose I was referencing the population in the meta sense and the fact that while philosophical considerations and "intellectualism" in general used to be more common place, philosophy seems to have become abhorrent to the public or a joke. Most people believe that science and psychology can do whatever was once useful in philosophy and metaphyscial and epistemological questions are not worth asking. But that is a whole other conversation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lah
    Speaking of phenomenology...Heidegger I find unreadable. I would love it if someone can explain him to me.
    I will try to put something together and post it in this thread. I find that approaching Heidegger with his framework in your mind makes his intense vocabulary and strange use of the concept of "being" (or da-sein) easier to digest in relation to Being and Time. Of course, you read his later works, and he throws his own theory out the window and starts over, so its sort of pointless, but pointlessness is sort of existential, which is all about being.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lah
    P.S. This is indeed a rarefied thread, a thread for ivory-tower'd palefaces and paleface wannabes. But enough talk about princes and leviathans, let's bring back philosopher-kings! (I'm sure OnMyLunchBreak would approve.)
    Actually, I must disagree with you. I think the entire notion of philosopher kings is has limitations (especially as conceived through Plato). While we need leaders with philosophical understanding, we also need practical leaders and leaders of action. I would rather see an economist-king, actually.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lah
    ETA: Phat32: Works and thinkers come into vogue, and works and thinkers go out of vogue. Sometimes it's the vagaries of taste, other times it's because the works have become dated or disreputable. Truth is never absolute. See Fukuyama's The End of History.
    It's funny you should say this. Phat and I have actually spent a great deal of time discussing truth and its transitive nature. We both seem to fall into existential/pragmatic stances which both recognize the absurdity of the human ife and importance of dialogue for self-creation - dialogues which also give artistic and intellectual creedence to historical works based on past and present contexts.

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    RESIDENT JEDI MASTER Stargazer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lah

    Speaking of phenomenology...Heidegger I find unreadable. I would love it if someone can explain him to me.
    I wonder if I dare poke my head in this thread. The vocabulary in here is as cumbersome as an elephant on ice skates.

    However, I remembered something another philosopher, Rudolph Carnap, said about "Being and Time" that I thought you might like to hear. I was amused by it and it stuck with me. You'll see that he wasn't a huge fan of metaphysics.

    He said (paraphrasing here) that the argument that Heidegger presented in "Being and Time" could be summed up in three statements: a ham sandwich is better than nothing; nothing is better than God; therefore, a ham sandwich is better than God.
    Last edited by Stargazer; 06-12-2005 at 07:40 PM.
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    I haven't ventured in here yet myself, I guess I followed the enticing scent of Stargazer's ham sandwich!

    I am no expert in philosophy by any stretch of the imagination. I am mostly acquainted with the classic philosophers (think: all the guys in the Monty Python drinking song ) in relation to literary analysis only, since I was a lit major in college.

    There are really only two strains that I have read on my own for pure pleasure and not out of academic compulsion. When I was younger I was very attracted to existentialism (so, Sartre, Beauvoir, and predecessors Nietzsche, Kierkegaard) which I find gets a bad rap for being nihilistic when in fact I think it's much more life-affirming than people seem to believe. And then, much more recently I have been exploring eastern philosophies such as Zen Buddhism and (my favorite) Taoism, which I have found fascinating and inspiring.
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  8. #18
    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OnMyLunchBreak
    Well, I hope I answered that satisfactorily. America seems to be coming out of its analytic phase in some places
    OnMyLunchBreak, I know we've discussed the phrase "analytic," but how do you define it? What schools of thought does the "analytic" encompass, if any?

    Point taken. Generally anyone who is willing to discuss philosophy at all does not have an irrational fear of wisdom...
    That's it. Generally, one should only pursue the answers to one's questions if one is willing to "grow" and learn from those answers.

    Most people believe that science and psychology can do whatever was once useful in philosophy and metaphyscial and epistemological questions are not worth asking. But that is a whole other conversation.
    Do you feel, then, that science and psychology are natural extensions, perhaps even outgrowths, of the discipline of philosophy?

    Of course, you read his later works, and he throws his own theory out the window and starts over, so its sort of pointless, but pointlessness is sort of existential, which is all about being.
    Right. You know how I feel about existentialism.

    While we need leaders with philosophical understanding, we also need practical leaders and leaders of action. I would rather see an economist-king, actually.
    In the sense that a modern leader should have a background in Economics? Or at least be fairly well-versed on the topic?

    It's funny you should say this. Phat and I have actually spent a great deal of time discussing truth and its transitive nature. We both seem to fall into existential/pragmatic stances which both recognize the absurdity of the human ife and importance of dialogue for self-creation - dialogues which also give artistic and intellectual creedence to historical works based on past and present contexts.
    I love how you used truth and its transitive nature.

    This, of course, leads to my point that when you discuss existentialism, I wonder if eventually, the discussion doesn't segue into a discussion on "moral relativism."

    Unfortunately, any discussion of moral relativism today is fraught with political underpinnings.

    Therefore, query: Does a discussion of moral relativism necessitate a side trip into political discourse?

    ETA: ...And, with that, 2000 posts, bay-bee! I wouldn't have chosen to do it anywhere else!
    "...Every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but...the bad things don’t always spoil the good things." - The Doctor

  9. #19
    Lah
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnowFlakeGirl
    haven't ventured in here yet myself, I guess I followed the enticing scent of Stargazer's ham sandwich!

    I am no expert in philosophy by any stretch of the imagination. I am mostly acquainted with the classic philosophers (think: all the guys in the Monty Python drinking song ) in relation to literary analysis only, since I was a lit major in college.

    There are really only two strains that I have read on my own for pure pleasure and not out of academic compulsion. When I was younger I was very attracted to existentialism (so, Sartre, Beauvoir, and predecessors Nietzsche, Kierkegaard) which I find gets a bad rap for being nihilistic when in fact I think it's much more life-affirming than people seem to believe. And then, much more recently I have been exploring eastern philosophies such as Zen Buddhism and (my favorite) Taoism, which I have found fascinating and inspiring.
    SnowflakeGirl, I'm actually double-majoring in comp lit and political science, so what I do know about philosophy is pretty much just in passing, too. Like you, I've had to read Sartre, Nietzsche, and Kierkegaard in various humanities courses, as well as the requisite Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, David Hume, and most of all, Marx, Marx, Marx (I hate Marx!) and their contemporaries for my political theory/philosophy classes. I'm not as well-versed in philosophers from other schools...but that doesn't prevent me from shooting the breeze in here!

    I don't know much about Taoism...but what do you think of the principle of wu wei? In our hyper-technological, rush-rush society, do you still ascribe to it?

    Quote Originally Posted by OnMyLunchBreak
    Actually, I must disagree with you. I think the entire notion of philosopher kings is has limitations (especially as conceived through Plato). While we need leaders with philosophical understanding, we also need practical leaders and leaders of action. I would rather see an economist-king, actually.
    Tongue in cheek, OMLB, tongue in cheek. Since you're a philosophy student (I assume), I thought you would've approved the thought of a philosopher in the seat of government. Although, I must equally protest at the thought of an economist-king - the best option would be a liberal economist, but a liberal economist without such awesome powers is at risk of carrying out his ideal of free-market economy and deregulation to extremes, without insulating domestic markets against world market downswings (i.e. crisis of 1997), corporativism, etc. And really, is an economist the best candidate for directing policy? What would he know about social security?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stargazer
    I wonder if I dare poke my head in this thread. The vocabulary in here is as cumbersome as an elephant on ice skates.

    However, I remembered something another philosopher, Rudolph Carnap, said about "Being and Time" that I thought you might like to hear. I was amused by it and it stuck with me. You'll see that he wasn't a huge fan of metaphysics.

    He said (paraphrasing here) that the argument that Heidegger presented in "Being and Time" could be summed up in three statements: a ham sandwich is better than nothing; nothing is better than God; therefore, a ham sandwich is better than God.
    That's pretty funny, stargazer. It leaves me not much wiser as to Heidegger, but now I have an intensive craving for sandwiches.

    And yeah, the vocabularly used here really is too cumbersome. I feel like an idiot freshman masquerading as a professor in glasses and tweeds. So, to popularize my language -

    Ahem. I think Nietzsche is da bomb, yo! Kierkegaarde writes like a mofo!! Rousseau pwnzors Hobbes!!! Hegel suxors!!!! And so on.

  10. #20
    Leia-Jakita-Arendt OnMyLunchBreak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phat32
    OnMyLunchBreak, I know we've discussed the phrase "analytic," but how do you define it? What schools of thought does the "analytic" encompass, if any?
    Analytic is truly a school unto itself. It deals mostly with the analysis of language and logic. It is a modern phenomenon, up until the end of the 19th Century, logical analysis was still done using Aristotle’s principles (A is A, A cannot both be A and not A, etc.) Thinkers such as Frege, who were also often mathematicians, began to push the boundaries of logic and develop modern logic, such as propositional logic. This gets sort of absurd though, as you can prove logically all sorts of things, such as Stargazer’s ham sandwich example (which I loved!) but really, where does it get you.

    The Analytic tradition also involves analyzing language and its blatant ambiguity when not used with care. So, for instance, when you say someone’s name, what are you actually referring to? Their corporeal body? Their soul? Both? Neither? Should we have more than one word for each person? Furthermore, how do we get words to begin with? Why do we agree on the “sign” for a concept? Do nouns refer to the essential nature of an object, or are they just randomly chosen assemblies of noise?

    The practical consequences of this philosophy are less in the realm of applied ethics or even epistemological judgments. Rather, they give us tools to ask the big questions and make sure that we are being as clear and concise as possible in order to avoid making messy mistakes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phat32
    That's it. Generally, one should only pursue the answers to one's questions if one is willing to "grow" and learn from those answers.
    I whole-heartedly agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phat32
    Do you feel, then, that science and psychology are natural extensions, perhaps even outgrowths, of the discipline of philosophy?
    Yes, undoubtedly so. I just had this conversation last night actually.

    Let’s say a scientist comes to me and says that a molecule of water is made of two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom and I refuse to believe it, I think water is made up of hot dogs, because I had a dream it was so. The scientist shows me all of his proof, we run through experiments, he pulls his hair out trying to show me that water is not made of hot dogs, but, since my epistemological beliefs only come from dreams, I’m not swayed.

    So, how do we bridge this impass? Philosophy. Philosophy is the source of all epistemological conclusions, or how we know what we know. If the scientist asked me, “why do you believe that water is made of hot dogs?” then we could discuss the source of my belief and argue about the merits of believing things uncovered in dreams versus conclusions deducted through the scientific method.

    This is a long way of saying that while science can tell you the “how” of the natural world, the only reason we trust these conclusions is because philosophy has provided us with a convincing argument for also trusting the “why” of scientific discoveries.

    Psychology is even more of a kindred to philosophy. It began as philosophy of the mind and became its own discipline, however, the entire notion that we a) have a mind (Descartes) and b) can gain any access to it (Kant, and others), was a philosophical conclusion long before psychology became autonomous.
    Quote Originally Posted by Phat32
    This, of course, leads to my point that when you discuss existentialism, I wonder if eventually, the discussion doesn't segue into a discussion on "moral relativism.
    It could, if you are not careful. However, moral relativism has a much larger flaw than that it does not have any absolutes. The flaw is that it ends the moral discussion. If you believe we should do A and I believe we should do B, and we are both moral relativists, the most we can do is nod respectfully to each other and go off to do what we think is best. This will not provide for a happy society or a fulfilling life, it seems to me.

    Existentialism, though, seems to actually be trying to shrug off moral questions altogether, in some ways. The Existentialist is much more concerned with the individual and their self-creative process, rather than moralities which, at least traditionally, have tended to be applied to a society as a whole.

    Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Nietzsche and Sartre all ask us to rise above the general and understand the specific, ourselves, in order to live the best human life possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phat32
    Therefore, query: Does a discussion of moral relativism necessitate a side trip into political discourse?
    No, I do not think so. I think if you take moral relativism too seriously and grant it a political discussion, you might be missing the larger picture: that moral relativism is still assuming moral absolutes, even if just for one person, and that is a dangerous and erroneous position to my mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phat32
    ETA: ...And, with that, 2000 posts, bay-bee! I wouldn't have chosen to do it anywhere else!
    Thank you Phat! I am honored!

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