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Yet more on the nature of philosophy

  1. May 27, 2003 #1
    Yet more on the nature of "philosophy"...

    It seems to me that a complete idiot who has an idiotic original thought is more a philosopher than an educated person who merely parrots the words of their intellectual superiors.

    What am I talking about? Occasionally on message boards, or in actual discussions, I come across people who are very proficient at tossing out quotes from people like Socrates, Sartre, or any of a hundred other dead folk. Yet press them for an original reply, and they are lost. Silly me, I once attended a meeting of the Melbourne Existentialists Society, and found this very problem. A bunch of morons parroting the words of their intellectual superiors. This is not philosophy. This is sycophancy.

    I would much prefer a conversation with a brain-damaged guy I know who hasn't read any alleged books about philosophy, than converse with an idiot who throws out the words of others constantly.

    Just something to consider when trying to determine what does, or does not, constitute "philosophy".
  2. jcsd
  3. May 27, 2003 #2
    Re: Yet more on the nature of "philosophy"...

    Bravo, well said. Of course we are all guilty of such parroting at one time or another and society sometimes demands such pointless behavior. It can be society's recognition that something profound is unrecognized and of interest. Inevitably the trend peaks, and then everyone recognizes the humor, hypocracy, or whatever in the situation. Ours is a universe of apparently unending change and irresistable forces. What else did you expect?
  4. May 28, 2003 #3


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    Re: Yet more on the nature of "philosophy"...

    Greetings !
    I fully agree ! (I was just commenting on the quotes
    subject in wuli's thread... )
    These "meaningfull" quotes are such, amongst other
    reasons, because you can use them in almost any situation
    to mean almost everything. That is of course ridiculous
    but it's also part of the reason that they actually work,
    that is - they say nothing clearly defined and thus
    falsifiable and adress a potentialy wide range of

    "Simplicity is the greatest sophistication."
    Leonardo da Vinci

    "May your thread fly as the thread of life in
    Universal harmonics !"

    Live long and prosper.
  5. May 28, 2003 #4
    Re: Re: Yet more on the nature of "philosophy"...

    In other words, they are vague. Vague concepts such as "bald", "happy", etc. are useful not only because of their broad applications and lack of falsifiablity, but more pointedly because they apply to vague things. Without the vague, there would be no definition for the specific.
  6. May 28, 2003 #5
    You sound like Heidegger - "The most thought-provoking thing in our thought-provoking time is that we are still not thinking."

    I have experienced such people, I call them "cookie-cutter philosophers".
  7. May 28, 2003 #6
    That is what quotes, good quotes at the proper time are supposed to do.
    Make us think! I associate it with being hit in the head with a 2X4 to get our attention or knock us back into the moment out of our stupor.
  8. May 28, 2003 #7
    Heidigger had it backwards, the most thought-provoking thing of our time is that people are not in touch with the feelings provoking their thoughts. That is why you have cookie-cutters, they are impersonal prefabricated and superficially aesthedically pleasing. In a phrase, mass-produced shallowness.
  9. May 28, 2003 #8
    I'm not saying it's a bad thing to read, discuss, and think about the words and thoughts of others. Only that it's pathetic when parroting others is all someone can do. Mix the ability to rationally consider the thoughts of others with some truly original thought, and you've got an interesting person.
  10. May 29, 2003 #9
    Again, it is more than just thoughts that make the philosopher. It is the difference between an artist and a scientist. Objectivity and the mechanics of philosophy are more properly called logistics and semantics. A million monkeys typing on a million typewriters for a million years might come up with a few original thoughts, but they cannot appreciate what they have written.

    Whether the ideas are original or not, what makes a philosopher interesting to me is when they live and breath their philosophy. Its really the same thing that makes anyone charasmatic and interesting, the same thing that makes a newborn baby so compelling for us. In a word, authenticity.
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