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On Philosophy (from 'Altruism')

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On Philosophy (from 'Altruism')

Postby Hamilton » Sat Sep 20, 2003 4:38 am

Hi all,<br /><br />I''m going to come across as the curmudgeon, but I am shocked at how far philosophic knowledge has fallen!<br /><br />A couple of points:<br /><br />(1) Philosophy is most definitely concerned with what is -- that is Ontology/Metaphysics -- the science or study of being as being;<br /><br />(2) Utilitarianism is John Stuart Mill<br /><br />Incidentally, two works that I very strongly recommend these days for those trying to grasp what has been lost in the 21st century wrt Ancient and Medieval Philosophy are:<br /><br />(1) Philosophy As A Way of Life by Pierre Hadot<br /><br />(2) The Discarded Image by C.S. Lewis<br /><br />Kind regards,<br />Hamilton
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Re:Altruism

Postby annis » Sat Sep 20, 2003 4:45 am

[quote author=Hamilton link=board=13;threadid=221;start=15#6312 date=1064032703]<br />I''m going to come across as the curmudgeon, but I am shocked at how far philosophic knowledge has fallen!<br />[/quote]<br /><br />Er. A lifelong interest in history leaves me with the strong impression that philosophy as never had a very high place to fall from in the first place.<br /><br />Knowledge may have been lost, but I remain cynical that the challenges philosophy offers have been taken up that often or that deeply.
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Re:Altruism

Postby Hamilton » Sat Sep 20, 2003 4:52 am

Good grief man! In this forum? What have you read in philosophy these days?<br /><br />I am the first to admit that many philosophers write post modernist gibberish, but there are still some that write for the intelligent non-specialist.<br /><br />As a Catholic Thomist (I should lay my cards on the table so as not to deceive), and, therefore, a moderate metaphysical realist, I can certainly recommend some excellent Catholic philosophers.<br /><br />2 of my personal favorites are:<br /><br />(1) Josef Pieper -- Leisure, The Basis of Culture<br />(2) W Norris Clarke -- The One and The Many <br /><br />Roger Scruton, as well, writes very well on both Modern Philosophy and his OUP summary of Immanuel Kant is first rate.
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Re:Altruism

Postby annis » Sat Sep 20, 2003 5:05 am

[quote author=Hamilton link=board=13;threadid=221;start=15#6315 date=1064033561]<br />Good grief man! In this forum? What have you read in philosophy these days?<br />[/quote]<br /><br />I do not deny that philosophers are doing interesting stuff. My own reading focuses on modern interpretations of the Hellenistic philosophers: Stoics, Skeptics, Cynics and Epicureans. This leaves me Long, Nussbaum and, the most interesting to me, Lawrence Becker. I've not yet hunted down Hadot, but he's on my list.<br /><br />But I'm not sure decrying the state of Philosophy is quite right in the context of a forum dedicated mostly to questions of ablative absolutes, and populated largely by self-teaching amateurs, many who have not yet entered university.<br /><br />Use the naive debate as a way to introduce more careful thinking. :) I certainly try my best with Stoic philosophers to combat solipsism. Fortunately no one has indulged in any post-modern silliness, so I've not had to break out the big guns.<br /><br />As for my cynicism about the role philosophy plays in the lives of people outside the academy, I beg forgiveness. I've been reading a history of WWI recently, which followed an attempt to read about The Terror (Stalin's), and this sort of thing is a blow to my normally optimistic outlook.
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Re:Altruism

Postby Hamilton » Sat Sep 20, 2003 12:11 pm

Hello again,<br /><br />This is the Academy, though, correct? If not here, then, where indeed? If you are wrestling with Stalin, then my preferred antidote is the Richard Pevear translations of Dostoevsky.<br /><br />You will enjoy Hadot's encyclopedic knowledge. Also, check out CS Lewis' unheralded, non-apologetic work called The Discarded Image -- his lectures on Medieval and Renaissance literature are really quite first rate.<br /><br />The ancient pagan philosophers and Christian patristic church fathers had quite a bit in common.
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Re:Altruism

Postby Emma_85 » Sat Sep 20, 2003 12:23 pm

At the moment I'm fighting my way through Kant... it would have been easier if this man had written his books in Latin and not in German with Latin grammar... Anyway, he attempted to combine rationalism and metaphysics, so I really want to know what it is he has to say. I'm quite sure I wouldn't be able to do it on my own, though, and so I'm glad my philosophy teacher has abandoned teaching us Freud in favour of Kant. Right now I tend more towards empirical philosophy, though I know of its big weaknesses. I think the way forward is in Physics (which is why I want to study that). At the moment it's more philosophy than anything else, and quite exciting.
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Re:Altruism

Postby Hamilton » Sat Sep 20, 2003 12:26 pm

Roger Scruton's little book on Kant -- I *strongly* recommend it.
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Re:Altruism

Postby Raya » Sat Sep 27, 2003 9:11 pm

[quote author=William Annis link=board=13;threadid=221;start=15#6318 date=1064034335]But I'm not sure decrying the state of Philosophy is quite right in the context of a forum dedicated mostly to questions of ablative absolutes, and populated largely by self-teaching amateurs, many who have not yet entered university.<br /><br />Use the naive debate as a way to introduce more careful thinking. :) I certainly try my best with Stoic philosophers to combat solipsism. Fortunately no one has indulged in any post-modern silliness, so I've not had to break out the big guns.[/quote]<br /><br />Am I the only one who feels patronised? :(
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Re:Altruism

Postby annis » Sat Sep 27, 2003 9:38 pm

[quote author=Raya link=board=13;threadid=221;start=15#7106 date=1064697100]<br />Am I the only one who feels patronised? :(<br />[/quote]<br /><br />Sorry. I was trying to say that most of us on this board haven't had the deep philosophical background Hamilton seems to have had, and that he should give us information once he gets over his shock at our untrained debates. I include myself in that untrained population and I'm sorry I didn't make that clearer.
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Re:Altruism

Postby Hamilton » Sun Sep 28, 2003 5:33 am

I'm not sure if I'm being buried or praised!<br /><br />It sounds as though many of the board members are classicists who have in interest in philosophy, whereas I am an autodidactic philosopher (self trained egads!) with an interest in the Classics, for, of course, philosophic reasons.<br /><br />That said, there is no better way to learn a topic than to teach it.<br /><br />So, I am open to suggestions.<br /><br />Where do people believe that it is best to begin?
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Re:Altruism

Postby annis » Tue Sep 30, 2003 1:35 am

[quote author=Hamilton link=board=13;threadid=221;start=15#7131 date=1064727180]<br />I'm not sure if I'm being buried or praised!<br />[/quote]<br /><br />Praised, praised, I assure you!<br /><br />
That said, there is no better way to learn a topic than to teach it.<br /><br />So, I am open to suggestions.<br /><br />Where do people believe that it is best to begin?<br />
<br /><br />I don't know if there is a useful beginning. I was thinking more in terms of bringing brief bits of philosophical thought and history when it's clear we're trying to cover from scratch some well-worked topic.<br /><br />I know I want to smack myself in the head when I learn that, say, I've been ham-handing some ideas of Hume for years.<br />
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Postby chad » Thu Dec 04, 2003 7:02 am

hi guys, it sounds like a few of you are interested in finding a good philosophy book or two, but don't want to be bored/disgusted by drivel about religion or sin (theological qns) or "do i really exist?" (psychological qn) or "what are the building-blocks of reality?" (scientific qn) &c...

there are a few phil. books i really like and would recommend to people who'd studied phil. for a few years (most of them are ancient greek), but there are others i'd recommend to people who hadn't studied philosophy and wanted something worthwhile to start with (most of these are ancient greek too). e.g. i probably wouldn't recommend kant for a beginner... an absolute genius, and his transcendental deduction is cool (i wrote a 12,000 word essay on it for phil. honours) but it wouldn't make sense unless you'd studied leibniz as well as a lot of greek philosophy...

please post a msg if you'd like a suggestion on something worth reading... it won't be a thomistic philosopher though, no offence :)
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Postby mingshey » Thu Dec 04, 2003 3:16 pm

Books on artificial life or anthropology, et cetera gives me more philosophical impact than those "philosophy" books.

books on artificial life, complex system, automata, aggregate intelligence, ... and those 'golden bough' and 'savage mind' stuffs are books that are worth while to read, i would say. those things give much intuition about what we are and where we come, and perhaps where we might go in the future.

read a few of the ancient greek philosophers. they start thinking from bare ground. knocking the ground with their naked hands they check the foundation they are going to build a ziggurat upon, and lay a brick upon a brick.

the mind of a classic author is working like that of a mathematician. look how euclid wrote his 'elements'. those classical philosophers thought the mathematics (or geometry) as a necessary attainment. if we are to do a philosophical thinking we have to learn much about what ground we are standing upon. and we also must learn how to think like a mathematician. that's what i learned from those greek philosophers. of course, this is only my humble opinion. criticise me so that i could learn more. :D
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Postby chad » Thu Dec 04, 2003 11:04 pm

hi mingshey, the last thing i'm gonna do is criticise you, as if reading a few philosophy books gives someone a secret pool of knowledge and a right to be an annoying bastard lecturing and criticising people :) :) the best parts of philosophy aren't the philosophical slogans/ideas which 1st year philosophy students spout, and which are taught and debated in philosophy degrees (or just taught in thomistic classes) but the thinking techniques which plato, aristotle, descartes, spinoza, &c wrote about in their less read books. i had to go out and find these after graduating: they're in the libraries but not usually taught. these geniuses actually wrote about how to think better. if u already get that mingshey out of your readings, questioning the same types of things as you said, then you're doing at least as well as anyone around today, and anyone who criticises u for that... :) :)
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Postby annis » Thu Dec 04, 2003 11:25 pm

chad wrote: these geniuses actually wrote about how to think better.


I cannot too highly recommend "The Philosopher's Toolkit" by Julian Baggini, who also writes the Bad Moves articles at Butterflies and Wheels. It deals exactly with this: tools for thinking, ways to interrogate facts you're being presented with, and how to pick away at your own arguments.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
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Postby chad » Thu Dec 04, 2003 11:41 pm

check out this for a different take on arguing:

http://www.mindspring.com/~mfpatton/argue.htm

it's hilarious

nb i think there's a slight difference between the exposure of fallacies, which that bad moves site talks about, and idea/proof-building techniques (which baggini probably talks about in the book u mentioned) and which plato and aristotle explored as the non-destructive side of dialectic (the difference spilled down into roman rhetoric too, since all the good roman speakers went to athens and were trained in both philosophy and rhetoric: some techniques were for rebuttal of arguments, others for "invention" of arguments in the first place, which e.g. quintilian talks about in institutio oratoria and cicero talks about somewhere in book 2 of de oratore (i think section 39?); boethius also summarises these in a book called diferentiis topicis or something). it's not necessary reading tho... it's only interesting if you're already interested ?!? :) :)
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