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Worst Famous Philosopher in History

  1. Mar 25, 2003 #1
    So... who do you think?

    And why?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 25, 2003 #2
    Descartes, because you were utterly wrong about dualism.
  4. Mar 25, 2003 #3
    But perfectly right about existence :wink:.
  5. Mar 25, 2003 #4
    As far as the topic of the thread goes...

    I really don't know, as my knowledge of Philosophy is extremely limited. But I never much cared for Socrates (he is the one that popularized the immorality of the soul, right?).
  6. Mar 25, 2003 #5


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    Heidegger because not only did he consort with the Nazis, he claimed his philosophy supported them. And he never recanted or apologised.
  7. Mar 25, 2003 #6
    Like Mentat, my knowledge of philosophy is limited. So, after reading
    self-adjoint's post, I'll say Heidgger would be the "worst" philosopher. But, personally, I strongly believe no one is the "worst", but instead some didn't have as much influence as others did.
  8. Mar 25, 2003 #7
    The Confused Philosopher on CBC's "Royal Canadian Air Farce", he'd be perfect for the Ask a stupid question forum.

    I would wonder the question, as 'Philos' and 'Sophos' are love and wisdom, kinda difficult to be 'worst' at, loving wisdom. IMHO
  9. Mar 25, 2003 #8
    Philosophers like Descartes and Socrates may have been wrong about lots of things, but it's their attitudes that make them good philosophers.

    Descartes believed in finding rational proofs for religious beliefs (no doubt an influence from his scientific background) - something many religious people today don't do (they just say: 'you shouldn't try to find proofs for religion because it's about faith blah blah blah. . .')

    Socrates said that the only authority we should listen to is the authority of reason - so just because our leaders say something doesn't automatically mean that what they say is right. This leads to the emphasis in thinking for oneself - the whole point of philosophy.

    A bad philosopher is someone who would never reconsider his/her own position even against conflicting evidence. Bertrand Russell is an excellent philosopher in the way he constantly revised his own thoughts. Someone who never looks at opposing views fairly and just assumes that other people are wrong if they disagree with him/herself should never be a philosopher in the first place. I am sure few of the famous philosophers are actually like that.
  10. Mar 26, 2003 #9
    i reckon sartre is a pretty terrible philosopher, even if he's a great writer, he is just far too arogant, his ideas are immature and never fully developped or argued and his only good ideas were stolen from simone de beauvoir anyway.

    i think 'huis clos' is an amazing book, how uselful is the quote 'hell is other people' in everyday conversation! but apart from that phrase can anyone honestly remember what he stood for philosophically? at least with philosophers like descartes or socrates you knew what you were dealing with (and we don't even have any written evidence of socrates' ideas!), but beneath the mountain of prestige and acclamations where is the philosophy?
  11. Mar 26, 2003 #10
    Ayn Rand.... That is if one even considers her a philosopher... "Peddler of hegemony" would be a much better term.
  12. Mar 26, 2003 #11

    i agree on Descartes; however, i don't see how you can say that a man who claimed he knew nothing was wrong.

    oh, and i probably will get some complaints on this; but in my opinion Nitche was rather loopy as well.
  13. Mar 26, 2003 #12

    Another God

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    LOL, that is ammusing simply because a good friend of mine just recently left her Ayn Rand book with me telling me that I have to read it, its great. The book is Atlas Shrugged, and I am interested in it, but we'll see how it goes.

    Obviously I can't evaluate it until I've read it.

    And as for Sartre...eeewww... I had to read some of his stuff a couple of years ago...Perhaps it was my own stupidity at the time which stopped me from comprehending it, but lets just say I wasn't left with a good impression of the bloke.

    He probably sits in my least liked philosopher position, but in line with Zimbo's thinking, simply due to the nature of being a philosopher, I can't think of an bad philosophers. If you are a bad philosopher, then you aren't really a philosopher. (The amount of wrong conclusions you reached aren't a real measure of how good you are at it...)
  14. Mar 26, 2003 #13
    Amazing what a difference one letter can make!:wink:
  15. Mar 26, 2003 #14
    I always wondered why she was considered the least bit of a philosopher.
  16. Mar 26, 2003 #15
    I don't consider Ayn Rand a philosopher. She was a writer with some extreme ideas on individualism. Outside of America she barely has a reputation at all and the rest of philosophy barely footnotes her.
  17. Mar 26, 2003 #16
    I would say John Searle.
    His take on AI in 'minds,brains and programs' is not convincing in the least bit.
    Its easy to learn chinese than getting convinced by his logic :wink:.
  18. Mar 26, 2003 #17


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    Sartre....mindless drivel.
  19. Mar 26, 2003 #18
    Whether their ideas supported Nazism or not, I don't think you can consider Heidegger and Nietzsche to be worst philosophers. These two are major philosophers who have had an impact way beyond the foolishness of their political ideas. Even such liberals/social democrats/radicals as Rorty and Derrida owe a huge intellectual debt to Heidegger and Nietzsche.
  20. Mar 26, 2003 #19
    i never have read any Heidegger, but i found most of Nietzsche's stuff to be totally absurd; regardless of his affiliation. i just found much of it very biased and argumentative, not philosophy in my book.
  21. Mar 26, 2003 #20
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2017
  22. Mar 26, 2003 #21
    Kyleb, I would guess that you would dislike Nietzsche. I suppose somone who writes a book called "The Antichrist" is not going to be one of your favorites. I don't defend the political uses of his work by extremists but I do admire his philosophy and critique of christianity.
  23. Mar 26, 2003 #22

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    Well, you beat me to the punch Andre. I couldn't decide between Hegel for being so incredibly complicated it gives me a headache everytime I read him, or the gross materialism of Marx. However, I don't think Marx intended for people to die -- I am certain he thought he was right in his beliefs. Still, his is awful philosophy because applying it requires acting so completely contrary to human nature.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2017
  24. Mar 26, 2003 #23
    LW Sleeth wrote: "Still, his [Marx] is awful philosophy because applying it requires acting so completely contrary to human nature.

    It could be argued then whether it was human nature or the philosophy which did the killing. I don't think there is much correspondence between the ideas of Marx and the version of them seen in China, the former Soviet bloc, Cuba, North Korea, Albania, etc. To argue that direct correspondence is like blaming Jesus for all of the killing done in the name of christianity.
  25. Mar 26, 2003 #24
    "By who you hate, by this are you truly known."

    Frank Herbert
  26. Mar 26, 2003 #25

    Les Sleeth

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    I wasn't referring to how Marx's ideas have been applied, and I agree he is not responsible for any killing done in his name. In support of your point I might say that I've always found it ironic that Marx believed capitalist society alienated its members by forcing them to be mechanisms of capitalist production; yet how Russia did and China still does make use of workers seem far more dehumanizing than one sees in most capitalistic settings.

    Anyway, what I said was that to apply Marx's philosophy means to go against human nature (at least, as we understand it now). I don't know if you've read his Capital or his Critique of Political Economy , but in them his conclusions about what would create human fulfullment and freedom was linked to material acquisition and distribution, and he spoke of humans primarily in terms of their membership in society.

    What he failed to do, in my opinion, was to correctly understand all the needs of the individual. I realize he spoke to individuality through his concepts of self determination and self expression, but if you study his practical solutions, he seems to think the individual will be fulfilled by materialistic progress and must be subordinate to the needs of the society.

    One of the most significant and overlooked (by the average person) developments in the category of production has been the understandings that have taken place in some capitalistic cultures (the US and Japan particularly) about the importance of meeting certain inner human needs in the work place.

    An entire field has come about because of this insight called organizational development. One of its early principles was that people cannot be motivated long-term by the needs of the organization alone; humans need personal rewards beyond fair pay which include recognition, respect, participation in decision making, the ability to creatively contribute, etc. This has resulted in the most progressive organizations designing themselves around human needs, rather than like Henry Ford's assembly line concepts of trying to force humans to adapt to inhuman conditions. And that in turn, when applied properly, has resulted in much higher rates of production, fewer mistakes, less sick days taken, more creativity, less employee turnover, and so on.

    But in Marx's vision of society the individual seems to all but disappear. It seems he believed that if you get the social/economic mechanisms right, then that will result in fulfilled individuals. Beyond the fact that his idea of fulfillment seemed utterly materialistic is that human nature is not suited to be primarily a society part (except, of course, when the survival of society is at risk); study after study has shown that first we need our individual needs met, and they are far more than one finds on the materialistic list.
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