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Not a philosophy question but...?

 
 
Reply Sun 8 Aug, 2010 04:46 pm
I am interested in reading a biography of one of the famous philosophers.

Which ones do you suppose have had interesting lives?

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Type: Question • Score: 8 • Views: 3,381 • Replies: 20
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Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Aug, 2010 05:19 pm
@someone2010,
That's a pretty broad question to answer. Why not narrow it down? Who are your favorites?
someone2010
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Aug, 2010 05:32 pm
@Ragman,
I am just looking for any major philosophers that suffered many hardships and problems during their life but still managed to overcome them. But I suppose I could tell you which ones I agree with the most and I find the most interesting based on their writings. (I don’t mind though if the philosophers you suggest are not in my favourite sbecause I just want to read about their lives this time as opposed to what they wrote down)

I like Kierkegaard, Sartre, Aristotle, JS Mill, Hobbes, and Schopenhauer.
MontereyJack
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Aug, 2010 05:33 pm
Socrates springs to mind. He offended so many influential people they forced him to poison himself.
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djjd62
 
  2  
Reply Sun 8 Aug, 2010 05:34 pm
@someone2010,
someone2010 wrote:
Hobbes


my choice

http://randomthoughtsofachronicthinker.files.wordpress.com/2007/10/the_essential_calvin_and_hobbes.png?w=604
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MontereyJack
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Aug, 2010 05:41 pm
ah, right, John Calvin and Thomas Hobbes.

How about Jeremy Bentham, early proponent of utilitarianism, women's rights, gay rights, and animal rights, who has been sitting in a glass case at University College London for the last almost 180 years, ever since his death:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b4/Jeremy_Bentham_Auto-Icon.jpg/180px-Jeremy_Bentham_Auto-Icon.jpg
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Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Aug, 2010 06:40 pm
@someone2010,
Check out some of the titles in this list of Philosopher Biographies at Amazon.com:

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ish0121
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Aug, 2010 09:17 pm
@someone2010,
Existentialists in general have endearing bios. And also the postmodernists. Hope it helps you and Good Reading!
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Zetherin
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Aug, 2010 11:56 pm
someone2010 wrote:
I am just looking for any major philosophers that suffered many hardships and problems during their life but still managed to overcome them.

I must ask: If you're simply looking for a biography of one who has suffered many hardships but managed to overcome them, why does the biographer have to be a philosopher? Are you simply intrigued, for some reason, by someone that just so happened to be a philosopher and also had many hardships that they overcame?
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jgweed
 
  2  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 08:49 am
Obviously the life of Socrates is important, although because we have few sources of information about it, there is room for a lot of speculation. On the other hand, the life of Nietzsche seems to have been one of overcoming neglect, solitude, and(unsuccessfully at the end) physical problems.
A more pleasing life was that of John Stuart Mill, about whom we know a great deal from the works of Victorian friends, and about which he wrote in his interesting Autobiography; far less tranquil, especially on the domestic front, was Sartre's life, and we have his Words and DeBeauvoir's Adieu: a Farewell to Sartre to ponder and interpret.
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Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 01:43 pm
@someone2010,
What about searching for a George Bernard Shaw biography?
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thack45
 
  0  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 03:47 pm
@someone2010,
someone2010 wrote:

I am interested in reading a biography of one of the famous philosophers.

Which ones do you suppose have had interesting lives?
Thank you for asking this question. Whether it be a biography or a philosopher's writings, it is good for me to see what others are suggesting.

jgweed wrote:

... the life of Nietzsche seems to have been one of overcoming neglect, solitude, and(unsuccessfully at the end) physical problems.
A few weeks ago at a used book store, of the books available, I decided on Nietzsche's Zarathustra as my first undertaking of a philosopher's writings. It became clear in merely reading the introduction (by R. J. Hollingdale) that a chronological reading of Nietzsche would be preferable. Would it be fair to say that this would be the case with other/all philosophers?
jgweed
 
  2  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 04:52 pm
@thack45,
For the most part, the answer would be yes. We find in Nietzsche, for example, for or five "themes" each of which evolves or deepens throughout his writings; in his case the process they undergo is almost, if not more, important than the final stages in which they are stated. We see the same thing in the thinking of Plato, in which initial positions inherited from Socrates evolve into more complex and subtle accounts of his own philosophy in his later dialogues.
Other philosophers, for example, Heidegger or Wittgenstein, take an about face at some point and throw aside their earlier thinking. But even then, that early thinking is not entirely lost and is presupposed by the latter (this sounds rather Hegelian, in which the anti-thesis of the triadic dialect is never lost but "absorbed" into the final synthesis).

Reading a philosopher chronologically not only aids in understanding his philosophy, but in understanding by example how philosophical thinking itself proceeds.
thack45
 
  0  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 05:07 pm
@jgweed,
Thanks for the informative post jgweed. As an aside I must mention that I do wish that you would post more often, though I believe I can see reasons why you do not. Regardless, I do appreciate the wisdom, or what I have only been able to discern, from your posts.
jgweed
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 06:38 pm
@thack45,
Speaking of reading Nietzsche, it seems to me that Zarathustra is not the best introduction to his philosophy, even though it is decidedly as unique in the annals of philosophical writing as was N's philosophy itself. I would recommend reading first The Genealogy of Morals even though it would be out of chronological context.
thack45
 
  0  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 08:26 pm
@jgweed,
jgweed wrote:

Speaking of reading Nietzsche, it seems to me that Zarathustra is not the best introduction to his philosophy, even though it is decidedly as unique in the annals of philosophical writing as was N's philosophy itself. I would recommend reading first The Genealogy of Morals even though it would be out of chronological context.
Yes, I bought the book in haste, this being the only one of his available at the time. I learned my folly in reading the intro alone. I did later find a book named A Nietzsche Reader which looks like a handy compilation of N's greater works (as far as I can see). I will definately keep in mind his book that you recommend.

I must admit though that I am very much wanting to read Zarathustra, as even the little that I have read of Nietzsche has been quite taxing for me. His is not at all a conventional mindset. A paragraph can be a day for me. (And I may need a day or two off after it!) Thanks jg!
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Aug, 2010 08:57 pm
albert camus
jgweed
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 01:03 pm
@thack45,
By all means read Z, and for that matter the N Reader. Somewhere in A2K, or possibly in the process of being moved to the new Philforum Group, are a group of discussions about the first Chapters of Z which might help provide a commentary to make your understanding easier. The main thing most people do when reading Z is to take the book as literally as some do the Bible, with the same deplorable results.

As a stylist, N. is unique in philosophy, and it is easy to find memorable passages in his works. Just keep in mind that a reader, or compilation, is just that, and that in many cases, the surrounding context is important to understand a passage fully. You didn't mention the editor, but hopefully it was someone who understands N's philosophy.


thack45
 
  0  
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 02:13 pm
@dyslexia,
dyslexia wrote:

albert camus
I'll definately look him up as well. Thanks.
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thack45
 
  0  
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 02:33 pm
@jgweed,
Very helpful once more! Thanks again jg.

And the editor and translator (for both Z and the Reader) was R. J. Hollingdale. I almost immediately got the sense from his intro of Z that this was a book which would require some interpretation - not unlike the bible.
 

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