Worst Famous Philosopher in History

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  • #36
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Originally posted by kyleb
i don't think you realize this so i will make it clear; i am not a christian.




i always took it to mean that while he had opinion and ideas, he did not claim to be ceartin of anything. i find that far from wrong.

I understand. However, I do have to wonder, how is it that he is not certain of anything, and yet is certain of this fact (IOW, how can you be certain that you are not certain about anything), this is a self-contradictory/paradoxical concept.
 
  • #37
Les Sleeth
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Originally posted by RageSk8 Note: I must apologize for the tone of my post - it is condescending and doesn't have the integrity it should. But, to make at least some excuses . . . irrational banter . . . due to the absurdity of your posts . . . it amounted to dribble. What do you want? A cookie . . . any idiot could . . . what you did and any moron could . . . how you believe (in any rational sense at all) that a crappy – yes, crappy . . .

Well, I am certainly glad you finally got over that condescending thing.

Originally posted by RageSk8 That wasn’t my point. . . . I was commenting on your use of a “kill all” thesis for human nature. Because such a meta-theory about human nature has to explain all of human behavior, a meaningful context is impossible. . . . You talk a lot about science, but you never quote studies that based upon a series of empirical tests arrived at by exclusion your stance.

I think we need to review the history of our debate because you are arguing against points I never made. It was MY point originally that kicked off our debate, not yours, and so I maintain the right here to argue what I was trying to say, and not what you think I should be talking about. If you are having trouble sticking to the subject with your counterarguments, then you might consider revisiting Davidson, and possibly bone up on Quine too, for a little refresher logic lesson.

I did not use a “kill-all thesis” or “meta-theory” for human nature. I have no such theory other than that humans do indeed have traits, both physical and mental, built into them at birth. We are still discovering what it means to be human, so the story is continuing to unfold.

Do I really need to give you studies to prove that we have a nature? What makes us want freedom? Why does loving a child nurture better than hating a child? Why can’t we be healthy without vitamin C? Why do we seek to procreate? If we had no nature, then humans would be the “blank slate” as some have claimed, and should be able to adapt to any conditions.

Humans are hardwired with certain physical, emotional, and mental needs. We might be able to “survive” without some of these needs being met, but it is very difficult to maintain maximum health in their absence. Now exactly what meta-theory is that? All I have pointed out is what just about every researcher today is saying.

Originally posted by RageSk8 Everything you have said parallels a bad interpretation of Dawkin’s “selfish” gene that is the popular metaphor in sociobiology today. More or less, replace “selfish gene” in my posts for “an illogical adherence to the functionalists (classical anthropological functionalists) characterization of culture as relating to individual benefit.” In other words, sorry but you were unfamiliar with current terminology.

I am familiar with the terminology, but I don’t know why you would apply it to what I said. If I remember correctly his main point was that a gene for altruism wouldn’t be passed, and therefore whatever genetics there are which influence personality are most likely to be those which further self interest. What does that have to do with humans having physical, emotional, and mental needs? In any case, I am not talking about sociobiology or functionalists or selfishness.

My biology regularly “encourages” me to be intimate with my wife, and we are married (partly) to accommodate that drive in both of us. Society is designed to accommodate that as well, so does human nature shape society? I am feeling a need to see my friends? When I am with my friends, I’ve discovered that when I listen, conversations are more rewarding. When conversations are more rewarding, my friendships deepen. When my friendships deepen, my life is more enjoyable. So does human nature shape relationships? When I used to work in business I found I did better when my superiors treated me with respect. So has human nature shaped the work environment ?

You have to distinguish between selfish, and then real needs and enlightened self interest. Selfish would be if I pursue my own needs at the expense of others, thinking of no one but my self. Even though egocentric and insecure people do that, and may make gains in the short term, in the long term selfish behavior, ironically, is self destructive.

Originally posted by RageSk8 Again, all you did so far is take what I said about the !Kung and try to fit it to your conception of evolution and culture (and a very bad one at that). How is that scientific? You end up "comparing a newspaper with a copy of the same paper" by merely redescribing the !Kung in a different vocabulary that could draw no performative (be it scientific or meaningful) distinction from my original description! There is no useful outcome, no differentiation found in your description of the !Kung
.

I am starting to worry about you, and why you can’t see the very simple point I am making. I neither said nor implied any of what you discuss above, it is a phantom in your own brain with whom you are arguing.

It was you who decided to cite the !Kung as an exception to my example of how modern society has made practical use of our growing understanding of human nature. I simply pointed out that tribal culture, particularly hunter-gather types (i.e., who survive virtually from day to day), satisfy human inner needs (I meant primarily psychological needs) differently from large and complex societies.

Really, do I have to drag out my anthropology books to demonstrate just how dysfunctional populations become when individual needs aren’t met? I still remember one dramatic example of headhunters that we studied (South America, I believe) where murdering other tribes’ members was considered necessary to empower oneself. The children were ignored by both parents, and grew up utterly heartless and ready to murder.

Look at modern society too, and see how abused children fare compared to loved children. When we reach adulthood, we still thrive best in certain conditions, and languish in others. Do you dispute this?

Originally posted by RageSk8 I am just perplexed how you believe (in any rational sense at all) that a crappy – yes, crappy - model of hierarchy enlightens anything. If you mean to say that communism could not work in this multinational market, than I agree. But that has absolutely nothing to do with “human nature” – at least not in any useful sense – and everything to do with cultural holism: Why Marxism couldn’t work “the way things are now” is due to the fact that “the way things are now” has been shaped (and has shaped the development of) capitalism.

Your reasoning reminds me of how a computer might join together various intelligent ideas, but which have little relationship to each other. Who are you debating? Certainly not me. You might stop imposing your mentality on our discussion long enough to notice I have a point to make, and that it isn’t what you are talking about.

First of all, what you call “crappy” is a bit of existential psychology that in one form or another has not only often been applied successfully, but is also quite ordinary common sense. I know about its practical value because I have seen how powerful it can be to design an organization so that it encourages self actualization.

I say it is common sense because one can observe the need hierarchy concept in everyday life. If a tornado is bearing down on your house, are you more likely to be thinking about philosophical distinctions between operationalism and positivism, or how to save your ass? When you are well fed and safe, isn’t that when your mind is most apt to turn to intellectual pursuits? In hunter-gather situations, survival is the daily regimen. The spare time we afford ourselves through many layers of social specialization and technology is normally not available in primitive settings.

Now, returning to my original point, it was that in terms of a plan for a social-economic system, Marx didn’t seem to recognize what some modern industrial societies are starting to understand (it is a relatively recent understanding); and that is you can’t construct any system dependent on humans, and have it work maximally, without building elements into the system that accommodate human psychological needs. Even the military has incorporated this organizational development principle, and in fact is a big client of OD professionals.

You countered with the !Kung example.

I countered your example by pointing out that individual psychological needs can be met very nicely in small, cooperating groups because of how the intimacy, belonging, power of the group, importance to the whole tribe, etc. can all serve as wonderful psychological rewards for individuals. If you don’t think so, take a look at tribes who bully and dominate weaker members or where trust and camaraderie are low.

So I say my observations stem from my experience and reflection, and don’t deserve the contempt you've showed them.

As a postscript, I wonder what made you feel justified in unloading your ire. After all, all I did was make a counterpoint, and I did so politely and respectfully, while you came back seething contentions that didn’t bother address my arguments. With no other reason evident, I am left to conclude your indignation was derived from my challenge to your ideas; a narcissistic rage at the audacity of someone who dares defy what you believe is your awesome intellect.
 
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  • #38
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Let's watch the personal remarks, please. I think that this debate is very interesting (though I'm not knowledgeable enough to contribute), but it would be more interesting if there wasn't so much insulting dialouge.
 
  • #39
Originally posted by Mentat
I understand. However, I do have to wonder, how is it that he is not certain of anything, and yet is certain of this fact (IOW, how can you be certain that you are not certain about anything), this is a self-contradictory/paradoxical concept.


well i don't think he claimed it to be a certainty, from what i understand the oracle at Delphi did. :wink:
 
  • #40
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As far as the thread question goes, I'd like to change my answer. Socrates was very influencial, and one mistake doesn't make him the worst. From having recently read some of Nietzsche's work, I'd like to change my vote to: Nietzsche. Definitely the worst that I've ever read.
 
  • #41
You missed my points about a lot of things (biology, interpretation, human nature, etc..). I think the blame is both of ours, but hey, who cares. I forgot about this thread so i will try to cut across the extraneous areas of our debate and get this thing back on course.

Do I really need to give you studies to prove that we have a nature? What makes us want freedom? Why does loving a child nurture better than hating a child? Why can’t we be healthy without vitamin C? Why do we seek to procreate? If we had no nature, then humans would be the “blank slate” as some have claimed, and should be able to adapt to any conditions.

No. I never denied that we have archetypal biological structure that produces urges which lead to cross-cultural patterns. In fact, I believe I said " I was not talking about patterns in human behavior (even archetypal patterns) they are there.". So, all you just said, doesn't attack my position. What I am against is evolutionary psychology, you can read my view on this particular science in the thread https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=191&perpage=40&pagenumber=2

Humans are hardwired with certain physical, emotional, and mental needs. We might be able to “survive” without some of these needs being met, but it is very difficult to maintain maximum health in their absence. Now exactly what meta-theory is that? All I have pointed out is what just about every researcher today is saying.

Yeah, that much is certain, but it is also certain that individuals in different cultures have radically different behavioral patterns to meet those needs.

It was you who decided to cite the !Kung as an exception to my example of how modern society has made practical use of our growing understanding of human nature. I simply pointed out that tribal culture, particularly hunter-gather types (i.e., who survive virtually from day to day), satisfy human inner needs (I meant primarily psychological needs) differently from large and complex societies.

You can't lump societies together so easily. Especially in modern societies, historical contigencies plays a huge role in social, psychological, and economic patterns. I understand that there are generalizations that can be made, but you are guilty of [/i]Post Hoc[/i] or Joint Effect logical errors. Namely, you conclude that because many modern societies have populations that can be described under certain psychological patterns, that modern societies will always have and can only exist with those psychological patterns. No good anthropologist would do that (if you are a functionalist, Edmond Leach wouldn't, if you are a evolutionist, Richard Lee wouldn't). What Leach and Lee would do is ask if they could exclude other alternatives, psychological patterns, and go from there. I would say that you could not exclude solidarity, ideological hegemony, perceived benefit (more important than real benefit often times, check your anthropological textbooks), and cultural ecology (yes, even modern societies are highly influenced by cultural ecology).

Now, returning to my original point, it was that in terms of a plan for a social-economic system, Marx didn’t seem to recognize what some modern industrial societies are starting to understand (it is a relatively recent understanding); and that is you can’t construct any system dependent on humans, and have it work maximally, without building elements into the system that accommodate human psychological needs. Even the military has incorporated this organizational development principle, and in fact is a big client of OD professionals.

Meh, too bad you don’t know history as well as anthropology…. The Paris Commune of the early 1870’s came close to Marxism (without the need for intellectuals). Newspapers around the world condemned this proletariat revolution. Long story short, the rest of Paris evacuated (many evacuated before the commune was set up and stable) because the German army was coming, Germany slaughters most of the Paris Commune, and finally, after Germany leaves (the won that war :wink:, France kills the rest of those Pink bastards. So, yeah, there have been modern successful modern attempts at a Marxist environment, war just killed any test of staying power.

There are, of course, religious communes working in a Modern society. The Shar have one in America that is very modernized, tv and all, with little economic stratification. There is, of course, a hierarchy, but the leader of the Shar lives as modestly as his followers. (there are many such organizations that show hierarchy but no economic stratification in modern sub-sects).

My main point is cultural holism – yeah, most societies today could not work under Marxism, but we are pretty damn malleable, and “modern” culture hasn’t existed so long. Marxism isn’t against organization in the least – it even allows hierarchies. Marxism, just like anarchy, is very much pro-organization. What it does require is free-association, economic equality, and the absence of prestige classes. Maybe you could explain why a “modern society’ requires psychological patterns dichotomous to Marxism?
 
  • #42
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Originally posted by N_Quire
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.

Nietzsche died a good while before the Nazi party came around, there was no connection but a horrible misapplication of his ideas.
 
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  • #43
Sartre. Waffle, at best.
 
  • #44
Turtle
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I would like to "nominate the candidate" for Worst Philosopher, (of the 21 st century)George dub'ya Bush [insert uproarious applause]
I agree.
 

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