Since we have a General Economic thread and a General Politic thread I think it would be good to have a general philosophy thread.
Here would be the place to discuss issues such as the debates that rage between Racionalists and Empiricists...
Or the different conceptions of individual rights that often clash in ideas as different as Utilitarism and Libertarianism.
Do the means justify the end? Should we follow Kantīs golden rule or follow the more pragmatic approach put forward by Bentham?
Who was right Locke or Hobbs? With which idea does our liberal democracy side with?
What about postmodernism and Nietzsche, Foucault, Jean Paul Sartre?
Some might say there is no need for this thread since it can be cover either under the General Politic thread or the General Economic threat, and while that is true to an extent I believe it would be productive to have a space in which troopers could discuss the finer aspects of certain dogmatic disagreements.
Another question of great interest is also Oriental philosophers that usually get shunned by western academia such as Confucius.
I myself have as of late, taken a turn away from empiricism and taken a look back at rationalism (not blindly anyways, I am not rejecting science) after hearing this lecture by Noam Chomsky.
Anyone who has seen Ghost in the Shell might be interested.
Here Chomsky discusses whether human intellect could truly understand cause and effect and whether human cognition has a limit to understand phisycal phenomenom. To do this he talks at great lenghts about Sir. Isaac Newton and how he described gravitation as a "great absurdity", that a purely naturalistic or mechanistic aproach to nature was impossible and that it required the admission of unexplainable facts.
The video also explores the relationship between our physical selfs and our Self-consciousness, evoking that old metaphor that said we were like machines and ourselfs were some sort of a "ghost" within the machine.
edited 16th Jan '13 8:16:21 PM by Baff
I will always cherish the chance of a new beggining.
Could you add a brief summary of the main point (as in, a sentence or two would probably do) of that video in your OP? We don't like it when unsummarised links, videos or such are in OTC OPs because we want people to be able to enter a conversation without having to look beyond the OP.
I won't ask you to define the ideas of the people you mentioned in the OP. I think in a general thread like this people can be expected to look them up or ask the thread if they don't already know them.
But the video - just tell us what that's all about. (I personally intend to watch it, both because of what you said about it in the original version of the OP and because it features Chomsky.)
Some people in the Politics thread were mentioning Rand, especially as it seems that a lot of Republicans are at least nominal Objectivists, despite also being nominal Christians. Maybe that's why they're so crazy; they're trying to identify as a self-contradiction. Of course IMHO Rand's so-called "philosophy" failed economics, politics, and ethics all at once. About the only thing I can agree with her is atheism and materialism, but pretty much everything else is a load of malarkey, as Diamond Joe Biden would say.
He had his head screwed on. That's never a crowd-draw. The Book of Changes is a fascinating little read. Heck, who'm I kidding? It's a long read.
It's just a shame that the hippy-crowd latched on to it more than anybody else in the West. <_< It's not the Tarot.
I just wish Ayn Rand had come up with another name for it. In a philosophy class once I said that was objectivist, in that I believed that there were some completely objective truths that don't change no matter what. Instead, most of the class thought I was hugely hypocritical because I frequently inconvenience myself when trying to help others.
It's one of those loaded, self-masturbatory terms that the makers of the philosophy use to stroke their ego. Like with people who call themselves "Rationalist".
It's their way of saying "I believe in logical truths, and you don't. Look, even my philosophy says I do this! Thus, I am better."
(Note, I don't have so much of a gripe with Rationalists, though I think they could pick a less arrogant name for their philosophy. Then again, they do tend to survive on (not entirely un-earned) smug self-satisfaction.)
Meklar, if you mean it didn't fail in that it manages to be a philosophy still buy into and is fairly widespread, then you're right. If you mean something else, you're going to have to explain that. Because morally Rand's Objectivism fails spectacularly because it encourages everyone to be a selfish little shit. And it also fails to recognize that "rational" behavior does not, in actual fact, always lead to things being better for everyone, because sometimes it's entirely rational to screw over the other guy. What's rational to do depends entirely on what your goal is, and whether morality enters into your rational decisions depends on what you think is moral. Or whether you even care about morality.
My biggest problem with Randian Objectivism is that you flat out can't have a stable society if everyone follows it. Everyone would be screwing each other over. It's like an anarchy where everyone hates each other.
Well, if that's what you want to discuss then maybe you should bring it up and mention philosophers that focused on that? Because that's something you can do if you want to change the subject, or otherwise we'll keep discussing the thing we already brought up.
Randism's idea of "enlightened self-interest" really doesn't mean much of anything, since there's nothing that you can't ethically do if the consequences are in your favor. In fact, by prioritizing monetary wealth as the mark of the highest moral value, it would follow that any act of fraud, theft or extortion justifies itself if it nets you more money. "Social conscience"? What's that?
I'd say no. You can find something morally repellent, especially if it's, to a large part, shaped our political dialogue and identity for the past few centuries (I speak mostly for the Americas, who had Emerson and Thoreau preaching much of the same before Rand made her mark).
I think a deal of questioning toward your personal philosophy is desirable. It's good to be able to say "I stand against X," (if you have good reasons to stand against X), but be able to say "I'm not sure which I prefer the most Y, Z, or A, however, all are better than X."
(I also regard Randism as an inherently destructive philosophy. I'd classify myself as a "Soft Consiquentialist/Utilitarian.)
As pretentious as it seems, I'm a mix of the two. I think there are objective truths out there (or at least the consistent experiences that we share and can measure through science/math lead to believe so.) I also think that human concepts (morality, ect) aren't objective. I think most objective truths exist on a incomprehensible level. (The proverbial trying to explain color to the blind.)
Ultimately, I think what matters far more than truth, is usefulness. As in, what we should live our lives by is what is useful to us as a species if we treat it as true.
Yes, there are some things that are true for some people or not others, but there are some aspects of morality that should hold true for everyone.
Whether a proposition of fact is true or not doesn't vary from person to person. Even Rand would agree to that. And saying that certain aspects of morality should be held by others is in itself an admission of subjectivity. Morals are all opinions or results of opinions. Facts, like the Sun being larger than the Earth, are true whether you believe them or not, and are true regardless of whomever accepts them.
There is a difference, and indeed two separate standards between what is and what ought to be. Just because something is doesn't mean that it ought to be that way. What is is a matter of fact, what should is a matter of opinion.