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Who's your favorite philosopher?

 
 
cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2003 07:55 pm
I'm torn between Tom Lehrer and Homer Simpson.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2003 09:42 pm
truth
I suppose my favorite philosophers include Kant, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche and the latter's contemporary counterpart, Richard Rorty. But there are others. The best of all time, of course, was the Buddha (but he was not, strictly speaking, a philosopher).
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rufio
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2003 10:56 pm
I kind of liked Kant and Socrates the first time I read them, but the more philosophy I read, the more I realize that eventually, every philosopher says something I really don't like.

Gotta love Tom Lehrer though. "Now, I know there are people in this world who do NOT love their fellow man, and I HATE people like that."
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2003 11:16 pm
truth
Oh, how could I forget William James and Krishnamurti (who is more in the category of the Buddha). The worst professed philosopher of our age is the simplistic, black and white objectivist, naive realist, Ayn Rand (not considered a real philosopher--more of an ideologue--by most legitimate philosophers).
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rufio
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2003 11:50 pm
People just say that because she tried to write philosophical fiction and ended up pissing people off. She's not any worse than any other, just less tactful.
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Dec, 2003 11:30 am
Has this become a politically important question now? An excerpt from a recent broadcast of "Hardball" with Chris Matthews interviewing Howard Dean:

MATTHEWS:...Lets go to favorite philosopher. Do you have one?
DEAN: Lao-Tse probably because his favorite-my favorite saying is, "The longest journey begins with a single step."


Recall that, during the 2000 presidential debates, Bush was asked to name his favorite political philosopher. His response: Jesus Christ.

So if the 2004 presidential election pits Bush against Dean, we may also be seeing an epic battle between Jesus Christ and Lao-Tzu.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Dec, 2003 11:41 am
truth
Well, when you put it THAT way, Joe, it does seem silly. Ergo, I'm outta here.
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Dec, 2003 08:43 pm
I've never heard Ayn Rand described as a 'pholosopher' by anyone who was serious about the study of philosophy. I suppose one could stretch and broaden the definition of 'philosopher' to include any human being capable of (more or less) rational thought. That, then, would include Rand. And Mao ZeDong. And Adolf Hitler. And on and on. A point-of-view is not yet a philosophy, except, again, in the broadest colloquial sense of the word. And, yes, I realize the word is generally misused in everyday speech, e.g. when people refer to George Bush's 'political philosophy.'
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gustavratzenhofer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Dec, 2003 08:53 pm
Years ago, at a Midwestern university, there was a class offered entitled, Examining the Mysteries of Kant.

The professor was stunned when his classroom was filled on the first day. Over the years he had never achieved more than a handful of students for this class.

A quick examination of the bulletin board and the class offering immediately cleared things up for the puzzled professor.

The word Kant had been horribly misspelled.
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Dec, 2003 08:55 pm
Love ya, Brother Gus!

BTw, this is a true story: I happen to have a very good friend whose family name actually is Kant. His daughter, when she came of age, had her name legally changed to Kent. Couldn't put up with the crude jokes.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Dec, 2003 10:26 pm
Re: truth
JLNobody wrote:
The worst professed philosopher of our age is the simplistic, black and white objectivist, naive realist, Ayn Rand (not considered a real philosopher--more of an ideologue--by most legitimate philosophers).

Ayn Rand did a better job of articulating my lifelong beliefs than I ever could before discovering her work. I don't believe anyone who actually finished Atlas Shrugged was completely unchanged by it.
Of the 2 dozen or so people I know who've read it, only one, my sister, reported she didn't like it. And, she is the one who recommended it in the first place. More than half; consider it the best book they ever read. Since it is horrendously repetitious, I suspect most who don't like it, never really finished it.

Merry Andrew wrote:
I've never heard Ayn Rand described as a 'pholosopher' by anyone who was serious about the study of philosophy. I suppose one could stretch and broaden the definition of 'philosopher' to include any human being capable of (more or less) rational thought. That, then, would include Rand. And Mao ZeDong. And Adolf Hitler. And on and on. A point-of-view is not yet a philosophy, except, again, in the broadest colloquial sense of the word. And, yes, I realize the word is generally misused in everyday speech, e.g. when people refer to George Bush's 'political philosophy.


The Adolf Hitler reference; is completely out of line. In her own words:
Ayn Rand wrote:


Honestly, I could not think of anyone in history more precisely opposite Ayn Rand, than Adolf Hitler.
rufio
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Dec, 2003 11:10 pm
Ayn Rand was a philosopher, she was just more concerned with government than epistomology, sort of on line with Karl Marx. Hitler was acting on his anger, not on any kind of rational philosophy.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Dec, 2003 11:14 pm
truth
O.K., Rufio. She was a VERY BAD philosopher, but a "philosopher" in the broadest sense, as suggested by Merry Andrew.
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Dec, 2003 04:26 am
I think I am being misread. I never intended to compare Ayn Rand to Hitler nor her viewpoint to his. Nor to Mao ZeDong, for that matter. I was merely giving examples of other people who could claim the mantle of philosopher if Ayn Rand is to be included in that coterie.
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rufio
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Dec, 2003 12:46 pm
I disagree. You sound like you're comparing Ayn Rand's brand of philosophy to Hitler's brand of insanity.

JL, why do you think she's a horrible philosopher? Logically, now. She's unpopular, yes, but so was Socrates.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Dec, 2003 01:06 pm
truth
Oh, come on, Rufio. You either see it or you don't. I also think that Herbert Spencer was a poor philosopher, yet he was internationally famous ("popular"). I know I can't convince you of (almost) anything. I don't even want to try.
Your refusal to take Merry's point as she so clearly expressed it is typical of you.
Why don't you study for your classes instead of baiting us?
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rufio
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Dec, 2003 02:32 pm
I'm not baiting. I want to know why you think she's a bad philosopher other than the fact that you don't like her philosophy.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Dec, 2003 02:42 pm
Late to the game, i'll put this in before reading everyone else's posts--don't you be a-misquotin' ol' Tommy Hobbes, who said, with regard to "life in a state of nature" that it consists in: "No arts, no letters, no society, and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." (From The Leviathan, Part I, Chap. XVIII.) He spoke of life "in a state of nature," in that he was giving the lie to all of the idealistic crapola so much in vogue then about "noble savages." He did not state or imply that this describes ordinary life for us all.

He also wrote in Leviathan: " Leisure is the mother of Philosophy." We might all do well to consider the good fortune we enjoy which allows us to indulge in such discussions.

My favorite philosopher is Jacques le Fataliste, from the novel of the same name by Diderot, who advises us not to worry, for: "C'est tout ecrit en haut."
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Dec, 2003 03:24 pm
rufio wrote:
I disagree. You sound like you're comparing Ayn Rand's brand of philosophy to Hitler's brand of insanity.


It is, of course, your prerogative to disagree, Rufio. However, all you prove by that is that your reading comprehension is less than adequate. I thought my original post was clear enough. As, apparently, this was not so for some, I explained what I had meant. How on earth can you disagree with my explanation of what I said or meant to say? That defies logic (a branch of philosophy).

PS to JL: thanx for coming to my defence. I would like to point out, however, that 'Merry' is an adjective for the masculine name 'Andrew.' I am not a 'she.' (No offense taken, btw.)
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Dec, 2003 03:53 pm
Merry Andrew wrote:
I think I am being misread. I never intended to compare Ayn Rand to Hitler nor her viewpoint to his. Nor to Mao ZeDong, for that matter. I was merely giving examples of other people who could claim the mantle of philosopher if Ayn Rand is to be included in that coterie.


I apologize if I've offended you by misreading your intent. Your example's politics are so completely opposite Ayn Rand, I mistakenly thought they needed correcting. At any rate; I think a clarification was justified.

Ayn Rand's political beliefs were merely an extension of her philosophy. Her philosophy's elevation of selfish, successful, gifted people should naturally make her unpopular with the masses. I see no validity to an argument that supposes popularity has any bearing on whether or not she was a true philosopher. Even the supposition that she is unpopular is, in fact, incorrect. My First Printings of her books are some of the most valuable books in my collection. All hardcover printings of her work hold there value better than most (check it out).

As for the argument that;
Merry Andrew wrote:
I've never heard Ayn Rand described as a 'pholosopher' by anyone who was serious about the study of philosophy. I suppose one could stretch and broaden the definition of 'philosopher' to include any human being capable of (more or less) rational thought.

No stretching or broadening is necessary.
Merriam-Webster wrote:

Main Entry: phi•los•o•phy
Pronunciation: f&-'lä-s(&-)fE
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -phies
Etymology: Middle English philosophie, from Old French, from Latin philosophia, from Greek, from philosophos philosopher
Date: 14th century
1 a (1) : all learning exclusive of technical precepts and practical arts (2) : the sciences and liberal arts exclusive of medicine, law, and theology <a doctor of philosophy> (3) : the 4-year college course of a major seminary b (1) archaic : PHYSICAL SCIENCE (2) : ETHICS c : a discipline comprising as its core logic, aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology
2 a : pursuit of wisdom b : a search for a general understanding of values and reality by chiefly speculative rather than observational means c : an analysis of the grounds of and concepts expressing fundamental beliefs
3 a : a system of philosophical concepts b : a theory underlying or regarding a sphere of activity or thought <the philosophy of war> <philosophy of science>
4 a : the most general beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group b : calmness of temper and judgment befitting a philosopher


As you can see; there is scarcely a definition that Ayn Rand doesn't fit.

Just in case you haven't figured it out yet, LOL, Ayn Rand is by far my favorite philosopher.
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