I totally disagree with Rene Descartes concept of mind-body dualism. I think this concept influenced the modern philosophy at many levels, with very negative consequences for our eduction and medicine.
Our education is based on the idea that mind-things are separate from body things. It follows that we have our youths nailed to their seats at school for hours, every day, so their ‘minds’ are filled with knowledge. The body does not do anything. Knowledge has to get to the mind. And we wonder why we have to diagnose them with ADHD.
Our medicine is also influenced by the idea that there are two types of disorders, a physiological (bodily) disorder and a psychological disorder (mind). So we go to a physician to check out our pulses and blood pressure, and then sit down on a chair of a shrink to see what is going on in our mind.
In most eastern philosophies, there is no separation between mind and body. Mind is an emergent quality of the body, or actually for some the body is an emergent quality of the mind. Their practices also reflect such integration. See how mind and body are connected in Yoga, martial arts, Chinese medicine, etc.
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Answer 2 of 10
John Hartman, studied Mathematics at Australian National University (2017)
Plato. I’ll give him credit for basically inventing western philosophy, but goddamn he was just wrong. Deeply, fundamentally, offensively so.
Plato’s view of reality was back-to-front. To Plato, truth was independent and prior to physical reality. Truth came first, and the world was a mere caricature of truth; the shadows cast against the back of his cave.
When Plato saw that things were different, that no two tables looked alike, he deduced: Since physical tables are different, yet they share the property of “tableness”, there is a pure and eternal expression of “tableness”, the “true table” which physical tables mimic imperfectly.
His attempt to reduce all things to their “true form”s permeates all his philosophy. The story of Diogenes and the chicken is a great example:
According to Diogenes Laërtius, when Plato gave the tongue-in-cheek definition of man as “featherless bipeds,” Diogenes plucked a chicken and brought it into Plato’s Academy, saying, “Behold! I’ve brought you a man,” and so the Academy added “with broad flat nails” to the definition. (Source)
He couldn’t have been more wrong, because reality comes first, and then we apply meaning to it. The concept of a ‘Table’ does not exist independently of humans; it’s a loose cluster of objects we’ve observed and given a single name for convenience’s sake. Whether something constitutes a “Table” or a “Desk” is not a debate about true, undying metaphysical forms; it’s an arbitrary choice of mental models.
Reality is far too vast, weird, and complex to be neatly divided into units of absolute truth. There are so many exceptions, so many microcosms of meaning that any attempt to pin things down to their ‘essential nature’ is doomed. Instead of shunning nuance and complexity we should embrace it, allow ourselves to see something two ways at once but not put one before the other, to see a theory as a flawed tool to explain the world and not confuse it with the world itself.
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Answer 3 of 10
David Moore, A philosopher who masquerades as something more useful
Answered Feb 13
Ironically, Friedrich Nietzsche – sheerly because what he says is so deeply poetic and powerful and yet it is like reality viewed from the perspective of a mirror.
There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.
…and so I see madness in his reason, as I do in my own.
We have art in order not to die of the truth.
…because we assume it would kill us?
There are no facts, only interpretations.
…so ‘subjectivity is truth’, as a hero of mine says? He is being ironic, you know.
He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.
…so show me your raison d’être, O maker of the ubermensch.
You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.
Now that’s ironic. You sound like me. Is truth false? I think you’re saying what you mean. I’m not – I’m meaning what I say.
A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.
So why should I believe you? Didn’t you go mad from your great learning?
In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.
This from the man whose influence on the modern world can hardly be perceived it is so pervasive. What have you done?
Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market-place, and cried incessantly: “I am looking for God! I am looking for God!”
As many of those who did not believe in God were standing together there, he excited considerable laughter. Have you lost him, then? said one. Did he lose his way like a child? said another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? or emigrated? Thus they shouted and laughed. The madman sprang into their midst and pierced them with his glances.
“Where has God gone?” he cried. “I shall tell you. We have killed him – you and I. We are his murderers. But how have we done this? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What did we do when we unchained the earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving now? Away from all suns? Are we not perpetually falling? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there any up or down left? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is it not more and more night coming on all the time? Must not lanterns be lit in the morning? Do we not hear anything yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we not smell anything yet of God’s decomposition? Gods too decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we, murderers of all murderers, console ourselves? That which was the holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet possessed has bled to death under our knives. Who will wipe this blood off us? With what water could we purify ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we need to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we not ourselves become gods simply to be worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whosoever shall be born after us – for the sake of this deed he shall be part of a higher history than all history hitherto.”
…and is this a good thing? Is it even true? I agree entirely, but you seem to have missed your own point, great sage.
To those human beings who are of any concern to me I wish suffering, desolation, sickness, ill-treatment, indignities—I wish that they should not remain unfamiliar with profound self-contempt, the torture of self-mistrust, the wretchedness of the vanquished: I have no pity for them, because I wish them the only thing that can prove today whether one is worth anything or not—that one endures.
…but you’re dead and your legacy was distorted into the literal application of what you say here as a rebuke. Get it? It’s a joke, but it’s not funny. It’s serious. Why so serious?
It is a self-deception of philosophers and moralists to imagine that they escape decadence by opposing it. That is beyond their will; and, however little they acknowledge it, one later discovers that they were among the most powerful promoters of decadence.
Indeed. Are you a philosopher? What wisdom should I learn from you? What good might I gain that I might avoid such evil?
To recognize untruth as a condition of life–that certainly means resisting accustomed value feelings in a dangerous way; and a philosophy that risks this would by that token alone place itself beyond good and evil.
Are you saying “trust me, I’m lying?”!
There is no such thing as moral phenomena, but only a moral interpretation of phenomena
Then my interpretation is my morality, and I reject yours!
The text has disappeared under the interpretation.
I’m just saying exactly what you said!
One must shed the bad taste of wanting to agree with many. “Good” is no longer good when one’s neighbor mouths it. And how should there be a “common good”! The term contradicts itself: whatever can be common always has little value. In the end it must be as it is and always has been: great things remain for the great, abysses for the profound, nuances and shudders for the refined, and, in brief, all that is rare for the rare.
You sound like a monster now.
He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
Then you are the abyss, and I condemn you. I am enlightened. You are wrong in every way.
I obviously do everything to be “hard to understand myself”.
Really? That’s ironic. People will misunderstand you. That’s your intention?! That we learn nothing from you except our own error?
Objection, evasion, joyous distrust, and love of irony are signs of health; everything absolute belongs to pathology.
Then I’m the healthiest man alive. My distrust of you brings me joy and my objection to your evasion causes me to evade every objection of yours. I will be a fundamental Christian with complete faith in Christ through the sovereignty of God because of what you say.
Swallow your poison, for you need it badly
Yes, O captain my captain! I will join Socrates with you and cast away the faith in myself which makes such poison – drinking the cup of Christ and surrendering to the Will whose own will is the only power.
Of all that is written, I love only what a person hath written with his blood. Write with blood, and thou wilt find that blood is spirit.
Amen. Now I see the spear of destiny in your side.
You look up when you wish to be exalted. And I look down because I am exalted.
I feel your pain.
But it is the same with man as with the tree. The more he seeks to rise into the height and light, the more vigorously do his roots struggle earthword, downword, into the dark, the deep – into evil.
As you say, great tree of the forest. “Cursed is he who is hung on a tree”. Who, then, is Zarathustra? I thought you were…
I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.
“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
Are you the witness to the beginning?! Do you speak as Eden against the crime of humanity in choosing fear over love?! Are all your words judgement against those who believe them to be what they appear because we make ourselves God in doing so?!
you must be ready to burn yourself in your own flame; how could you rise anew if you have not first become ashes?
Then rise to the heavens, O saint. I will follow you to the opposite conclusion. You have entangled me. Thus, we are one because of our differences. Sleep well, my friend. You have awakened me to become what I am. I thank God for you.
Without music, life would be a mistake
…and yet we have music. Did I tell you I’m a trumpet player? I’ve played this fanfare for a long time. It is not for the common man.
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Feb 13 · 1 upvote
Jan Špenko, Valerie Yip, you know him probably better than I. However, here I am speaking plainly about him, by speaking with him.
Jan Špenko: Human, All too human:…
Feb 13 · 3 upvotes including David Moore
Very eloquent conversation with someone from the past as if they are alive today.
Your breadth of resources and your ability to extract and bring together reminds of psalm 42 which deals with the troubling of the soul as one searches for God in the midst of turmoil.
There is an apt phrase which springs to mind from that psalm-
Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls;
All Your waves and billows have gone over me.
In you I can see that process of deep things being pulled from deep places of the soul.
David Moore: David, such a wonderful example from you of the same thing. Thanks so much
Feb 13 · 3 upvotes including David Moore
I am not familiar with his work as Jan Špenko is, I also do not disagree entirely with Nietzsche, but I think David your answer is so worthy of reading. 🙂
David Moore: Thanks Sladana!
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Answer 4 of 10
Peter Flom, I like to read philosophy.
Of the people who are undoubtedly great philosophers, I find a lot of what I’ve read of Nietzsche truly appalling, but I am not expert enough to give detailed reasons for this.
As a person, I think Rousseau was the biggest jackass in the halls of great philosophers. A nasty, petty person (he managed to get David Hume mad at him, which no one else managed to do, Le Bon David was renowned for his equanimity) and wrong about just about everything as well. Getting rid of civilization is not a good idea (and, in Rousseau’s mythical state of nature, he would be dead).
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Answer 5 of 10
Alex Johnston, Guitar/bass player, writer, father, ex-husband, book reader
Answered Feb 13
Socrates. At least, Socrates as served to us by Plato.
In order to understand something, we have to be able to define it. Definitions can only be arrived at by philosophers, because only they know how to make them. Therefore, nobody really knows anything except philosophers, so philosophers should run the world.
What a crock of shit.
And don’t give me that fucking Oh I’m such a gadfly! nonsense, Socrates. When stuff was going down during the Peloponnesian War, when the debate about what to do with Mytilene was happening, where the fuck were you? Nowhere! That guy Diodotus had more balls than you, because at least he showed up and said something that affected public policy and saved people’s lives! You were off drooling after that self-serving, crypto-fascist prick Alcibiades. And that would be okay, except that at your trial, you shake your head sorrowfully and say Oh well, it’s not your fault that you wouldn’t listen to me.
You never fucking showed up, Socrates, because you hated that guys like you weren’t running the show.
Your debating technique leads into pointless blind alleys, most of the time, and don’t tell me that Oh, that’s the point, I’m trying to teach you something about knowledge blah blah. Straw debaters and verbal quibbling don’t teach anybody anything. I learn more about how to think from reading a fucking BBC radio talk by Bernard Williams than I learn from entire dialogues with you in them.
I don’t like Socrates.
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Answer 6 of 10
Michael Masiello, I have taught humanities at the college level for many years.
Answered Feb 13
Ayn Rand. Because that simply is not how people act, or how they interact, no matter how she stamps her foot and says Objectivism is a totally rational and absolutely coherent system.
Also, I find ethical egoism repulsive: cf. Michael Masiello’s answer to What is Bernard Williams’ critique of ethical egoism?
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I’ve never read any of her work. Why does everyone hate her so much?
3 more comments from Robert Todd, Peter Flom, Alex Johnston
Answer 7 of 10
Iredia Uyi, Deist. Light the darkness!
David Hume. His radical empiricism ties itself in absurd knots. It is true sense experience is relevant to knowledge and we may not assume beyond what we see but Hume takes these wisdoms to extremes. Several concepts like love, beauty, infinity and unity though expressed by or inferred from physical things are dressings of innate reason on the world it sees. Hume doesn’t see this.
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Answer 8 of 10
Nathan Coppedge, Philosopher Artist Inventor Poet
What you will find is no philosopher will pay lip service to their true enemies, as it gives their enemies way too much credit to be talked about.
Instead, philosophy, being concerned with wisdom, finds trivial and stupid things to be opposed to philosophy.
But nor should one emphasize this point, because, overall, with the right theory, even initially stupid-looking ideas can have a purpose for philosophy, although not so much as theories belonging to anyone, unless we mean good theories.
So, analyzing a ‘theory-as-bad’ is not so important to philosophers. Theory-as-bad is in other words a bad theory with a good meta-critical theory.
Answer 9 of 10
John Stanley, former High school English teacher for 37 years
Answered Feb 13
Plato, in his proposition that what we perceive is merely an imperfect example of some mystical ideal form which is perfect. The idea of perfection is merely a mental habit, not a real trait. If Plato says a chair is merely the reflection of a perfect chair, for example, a perfect desk chair is not a perfect chair for dining at table or a perfect easy chair. A perfect black desk chair is not a perfect maroon desk chair; a perfect desk chair for typing is not a perfect desk chair for filing; a perfect desk chair for one posture is not perfect for another posture; etc. As we define perfection more and more exactly, we can get to the point where each chair is the perfect example of itself.
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Answer 10 of 10
Answered Feb 13
First, because I love St. Augustine and think they are opposite in their philosophies. Is foreclosure against the exegesis and I’m taken by expressiveness vertical, even though I’m an atheist. In this sense, is an incredible writer called Portuguese father Antonio Vieira.
Well … The truth is that I can’t get involved with the substance, form etc Thomistic. About it, I admit that the problem is all mine.