Living Philosophers?

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Living Philosophers?

Postby vivian maxine on November 24th, 2015, 9:48 am 

I just read a book - Essentials of Philosophy by James Mannion - which takes the reader through a list of philosophers from "Presocratic" to "Humanistic Psychology". As I read, I kept asking myself 'where are the living philosophers? Of all those I saw and who had dates in their biographies, only one is still living - or was in 2011: Jacques Derrida. Some did not have dates but I recognized most of those and know they are no longer with us.

They do say we don't get credit for our good deeds until we die but I'd really like to know. Who are our current philosophers - living philosophers worth reading? How else can we know about today's philosophies without knowing who the contributors are?

I know. The witty comment is "we are all philosophers". Quite true but, please, can someone recommend some professional philosophers of our day? People whose careers are in the study of and dissemination of philosophical theories - today's theories.

Thanks
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Re: Living Philosophers?

Postby TheVat on November 24th, 2015, 10:21 am 

Some of the living philosophers chatted bout in threads here include

Daniel Dennett
John Searle
Paul and Patricia Churchland
Derek Parfit
John Searle
Hilary Putnam
Thomas Nagel
David Chalmers
Nick Bostrom
Richard Rorty

...and others of their stature I can't call to mind atm...
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Re: Living Philosophers?

Postby TheVat on November 24th, 2015, 10:26 am 

Ooops, Rorty ceased to be living in 2007. AFAIK, the others are still fighting entropy!

...and I listed Searle twice, which is maybe a little joke from my subconscious....Neri will appreciate that.
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Re: Living Philosophers?

Postby vivian maxine on November 24th, 2015, 10:37 am 

Braininvat » November 24th, 2015, 9:26 am wrote:Ooops, Rorty ceased to be living in 2007. AFAIK, the others are still fighting entropy!

...and I listed Searle twice, which is maybe a little joke from my subconscious....Neri will appreciate that.



It must mean Searle is extra good. And, someone who died in 2007 would have been up on current philosophies. I'll leave Rorty there.

Thank you very much. I'll put a list in my "wish book" for next trip to B & N. I've developed an interest in how the field of philosophy grew, divided and became -- what? Part of that is told in the last part of James Mannion's book. I still need to read that part.

P. S. Forgot to say I have Thomas Nagel's "Mind & Cosmos". Truly liked it. I pass a lot of my "read" books on to a friend but I kept this one. Might read it again some time soon.
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Re: Living Philosophers?

Postby mtbturtle on November 24th, 2015, 11:04 am 

Hi Vivian,

Are there any areas of philosophy, questions, you are particularly interested in?
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Re: Living Philosophers?

Postby Dave_C on November 24th, 2015, 11:13 am 

Some of the best sources of philosophy come from folks who aren't professional philosophers.
I like Steven Sevush (neuroscientist) and his single cell theory of mind.
I like Henry Stapp (physicist) for his reasoning to reject classical physics as a basis for phenomenal consciousness.
I like Mark Bishop (cognitive computing) for his reasons on rejecting computationalism.
Christof Koch (neuroscientist) for his work regarding consciousness.
Henry Markram (another neuroscientist) for the Blue Brain project and Human Brain project.
Robert Laughlin (physicist and Nobel winner) for thoughts on emergence.
Paul Davies (physicist) for thoughts on emergence.

Ran out of time... some philosophers next... :)
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Re: Living Philosophers?

Postby vivian maxine on November 24th, 2015, 11:20 am 

mtbturtle » November 24th, 2015, 10:04 am wrote:Hi Vivian,

Are there any areas of philosophy, questions, you are particularly interested in?


In a way. I started out just wanting the history of how "almost prehistoric philosophy" grew and divided. Then, now that I'm getting more of it under my belt, I suddenly wanted to see what is going on today - what theories today's philosophers are espousing and who those philosophers are.

I can't get more specific right now as I'm busy making dessert for a friend who will be here to pick it up this afternoon. Maybe more later.

Thanks for asking.
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Re: Living Philosophers?

Postby mtbturtle on November 24th, 2015, 11:25 am 

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Re: Living Philosophers?

Postby vivian maxine on November 24th, 2015, 1:33 pm 

Dave_C » November 24th, 2015, 10:13 am wrote:Some of the best sources of philosophy come from folks who aren't professional philosophers.
I like Steven Sevush (neuroscientist) and his single cell theory of mind.
I like Henry Stapp (physicist) for his reasoning to reject classical physics as a basis for phenomenal consciousness.
I like Mark Bishop (cognitive computing) for his reasons on rejecting computationalism.
Christof Koch (neuroscientist) for his work regarding consciousness.
Henry Markram (another neuroscientist) for the Blue Brain project and Human Brain project.
Robert Laughlin (physicist and Nobel winner) for thoughts on emergence.
Paul Davies (physicist) for thoughts on emergence.

Ran out of time... some philosophers next... :)


Thank you, Dave. I'll add these to my book. I concentrated on philosophers because I've bought and read a goodly number of other scientists and had been neglecting philosophy. There are just a lot of reasons I wanted to find out more about it. After reading James Mannion's easy-to-read book, I knew it was time to get going.

But I won't neglect the others. Appreciate your list.
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Re: Living Philosophers?

Postby vivian maxine on November 24th, 2015, 2:34 pm 

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Re: Living Philosophers?

Postby mtbturtle on November 24th, 2015, 3:24 pm 

Does anybody have any recommendations for a History of Western 20th & 21st Century Philosophy, a Reader for Contemporary Philosophy. Something that picks up where Betrand Russell left off with the Utilitarians and Pragmatist? Copelston's History of Philosophy Vol. 11 will get you through Existentialism. Blackwell or Cambridge Handbook, Oxford might have a reader they seem to do those kind of compilation, anthologies. That might be a better way to go Vivian if you are looking for a survey of current philosophy.


Nussbaum and Habermas and Putnam are three names mentioned in the lists that haven't been mentioned yet.
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Re: Living Philosophers?

Postby vivian maxine on November 24th, 2015, 6:14 pm 

mtbturtle » November 24th, 2015, 2:24 pm wrote:Does anybody have any recommendations for a History of Western 20th & 21st Century Philosophy, a Reader for Contemporary Philosophy. Something that picks up where Betrand Russell left off with the Utilitarians and Pragmatist? Copelston's History of Philosophy Vol. 11 will get you through Existentialism. Blackwell or Cambridge Handbook, Oxford might have a reader they seem to do those kind of compilation, anthologies. That might be a better way to go Vivian if you are looking for a survey of current philosophy.


Nussbaum and Habermas and Putnam are three names mentioned in the lists that haven't been mentioned yet.


We do see some books from Cambridge once in a while. I don't know about Blackwell. Looks like I have plenty to dig for now. Thanks.
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Re: Living Philosophers?

Postby Natural ChemE on November 24th, 2015, 7:10 pm 

vivian maxine,

In this context, was Isaac Newton a philosopher? I'd tend to see works such as Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica as high Philosophy. Other, competing works that people would describe as "philosophy" pale in comparison.

If so, there're some really fascinating philosophies from technical fields where folks are debating stuff like the fundamental nature of intelligence, reality, human knowledge, etc. Populist examples include Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking.

Tangentially, I'd note that today folks with technical abilities tend to shun the term "philosopher" for its negative connotations. Like personally I'm obsessed with philosophy and love it dearly, but if I say that I'm a philosopher, people would interpret it as an admission of incompetence. This is, if I say that I'm a scientist, folks assume that I'm used to being scrutinized and prepared to backup my assertions with facts and logic; if I say that I'm a philosopher, people will assume that my statements are essentially opinions based on my personal belief system.

While Hawking's statements about the "death" of philosophy got a lot of attention, the focus fell on him largely due to his role as a recognized populist. Physicists Are Philosophers, Too has more.
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Re: Living Philosophers?

Postby wolfhnd on November 25th, 2015, 4:04 am 

There are philosophers working as scientist as well as the scientist philosophers NC pointed out. I know you don't have time to cover everything but I think a lot of not so well known philosophers working in other fields should be part of rounding out the list.
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Re: Living Philosophers?

Postby mtbturtle on November 25th, 2015, 7:21 am 

wolfhnd » Wed Nov 25, 2015 3:04 am wrote:There are philosophers working as scientist as well as the scientist philosophers NC pointed out. I know you don't have time to cover everything but I think a lot of not so well known philosophers working in other fields should be part of rounding out the list.



Such as?
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Re: Living Philosophers?

Postby vivian maxine on November 25th, 2015, 9:53 am 

You all are getting onto the question that keeps stirring my brain and I keep postponing. I am not quite sure how to word it so that it makes sense. Something like this: Is philosophy a profession, a career? I am talking about people who take a PhD in philosophy. From what I've read, many go on to take another degree in another field and call themselves whatever that field is called by way of career. The closest I can come to a PhD philosopher who works strictly with philosophy is a professor. He may (probably does) write philosophy articles and books along with his teaching. However, if you ask him what is his profession, he will answer "professor". I suppose someone who has his degree in philosophy but works at something else could do no more than write. That would make him an "author"? The only people I ever see called philosophers are those who are long gone from planet earth.

I did grant in an earlier post that "we are all philosophers" but that doesn't mean we are professionally skilled in the field. Just arguing what we think is the right way or the "truth" because that is what we think is not, in my opinion, the best form of philosophy. I could list a lot of details but that is a silly waste of time. I suspect everyone has such a list in mind.

Now that I have done my bit of very amateur philosophizing, how wrong am I?
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Re: Living Philosophers?

Postby wolfhnd on November 25th, 2015, 10:40 am 

mtbturtle » Wed Nov 25, 2015 11:21 am wrote:
wolfhnd » Wed Nov 25, 2015 3:04 am wrote:There are philosophers working as scientist as well as the scientist philosophers NC pointed out. I know you don't have time to cover everything but I think a lot of not so well known philosophers working in other fields should be part of rounding out the list.



Such as?



I'm afraid that my memory isn't that good because I tried to find a couple papers I read that were written by philosophers that dealt with specific science topics in which they used the work of researchers to establish interesting theories. The best I can do at the moment is collaborative work but if I can find the examples I was thinking of I will post them. I know there are philosophers working on artificial intelligence but again that is collaborative work.

I don't think this is the best example but I read a book by Marc Bekoff called Wild Justice which was coauthored by a philosopher named Jessica Pierce.

His more well known book is Species of Mind The Philosophy and Biology of Cognitive Ethology coauthored with philosopher Colin Allen

https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/species-mind
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Re: Living Philosophers?

Postby vivian maxine on November 25th, 2015, 10:50 am 

There are many philosophers working in many fields, collaboratively and/or alone. You are right there. My question is what do they answer when asked what their profession is?

In a way, maybe it's a silly question. It's just that I never hear anyone calling himself a philosopher. I began to wonder.
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Re: Living Philosophers?

Postby mtbturtle on November 25th, 2015, 11:20 am 

A distinction between professional philosopher and popular philosopher might be useful. Gary Curtis of Fallacy Files in an analysis of the Rubio Welders vs Philosophers comment describes two different types of philosopher a professionals (degrees, teach in institutes of higher ed- professors iow) and a popular philosopher http://www.fallacyfiles.org/archive112015.html#11112015

The word "philosopher" is ambiguous:

A professional philosopher, that is, someone who has a graduate degree in philosophy. Usually, professional philosophers teach philosophy in institutions of higher education.
A person who thinks, studies, talks, or writes about philosophy to a greater degree than most people. This is a philosopher in the popular sense of the word, that is, a "popular philosopher".


The only time you might have somebody say they are a philosopher is if you are around professional philosophers and they are probably just as likely if not more so to say professor or teacher, like most other academics. The popular type are doing other things economically so why would they ever say, I'm a philosopher? People don't usually describe themselves in terms of their avocations do they?
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Re: Living Philosophers?

Postby vivian maxine on November 25th, 2015, 11:48 am 

Thank you. That is exactly what I was beginning to see. It makes it different from, say, a medical doctor who also teaches medical courses. He would call himself a doctor. A psychologist who also teaches would call himself a psychologist.

As I said, it was just something that struck me and I had to ferret it out. Just my way. Perhaps the word "philosopher" has become too loose a term. Or, always has been?

Thank you for the link. Several of those I must get to today.
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Re: Living Philosophers?

Postby DragonFly on November 25th, 2015, 1:33 pm 

Some of the physicists of today have to get into philosophy, for example, for quantum gravity theories, as to what mode of time there really is, plus they really can't get at the minuscule happenings deep down. Due to more scientific advances in the recent decades, better philosophy can now be done, certain things having been ruled out, like continuums (due to the finding of the discrete Planck scale), and so the classic and dusty philosophers of old only held a dim candle in some areas, although other areas are still as good as new.
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Re: Living Philosophers?

Postby Lomax on November 25th, 2015, 1:49 pm 

Braininvat's list is good. I'd add Saul Kripke and Peter Singer.
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Re: Living Philosophers?

Postby wolfhnd on November 25th, 2015, 2:01 pm 

vivian maxine » Wed Nov 25, 2015 2:50 pm wrote:There are many philosophers working in many fields, collaboratively and/or alone. You are right there. My question is what do they answer when asked what their profession is?

In a way, maybe it's a silly question. It's just that I never hear anyone calling himself a philosopher. I began to wonder.


If they co author a science, economic, or any other non philosophy paper most often they use PHD philosophy in the credits.
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Re: Living Philosophers?

Postby Natural ChemE on November 30th, 2015, 7:03 pm 

vivian maxine,

You wouldn't be wrong to either want or not want Isaac-Newton-like figures on your list of philosophers.

It'd be different if someone made a statement like, "Only philosophers understand Logic." Then who is and isn't a philosopher would be a more empirical question, and claiming that the title does or doesn't apply to someone would require justification. But in this case, a "philosopher" is.. well, basically anything you choose to define it as, within reason, i.e. in a manner reasonably consistent with common dictionary definitions or popular usage. This may or may not include Isaac Newton, at your option.
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Re: Living Philosophers?

Postby vivian maxine on November 30th, 2015, 7:07 pm 

right, NC. I've pretty much gotten the picture now. The word is used so loosely now that it isn't a strictly accurate title.

No matter. I am enjoying delving into it.
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Re: Living Philosophers?

Postby tberk on December 2nd, 2015, 6:28 pm 

Actually, today's academics are modern day philosophers and scientists. After all, they are the people who create new theoretical approach and discuss them.
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Re: Living Philosophers?

Postby rdai on February 29th, 2016, 1:03 pm 

Two reason that you might not see living philosophers: 1) you need to buy the books of living ones while you can read the books of not living ones from online :)

2) more importantly, many not living ones once made Philosophy a great name, but with all the living professional ones, today philosophy has announced Dead multiple times, first by a not living professional philosopher, then by a living professional Isaac-Newton-like philosopher.......and no other living philosopher could stand out to fight back forcefully.......not because they don't have big voice, not because they don't have their own platform, not because they don't resource......but simply because they don't have that force....well, you really need to produce really good stuff to get that kind of force.....
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