Top 5 favorite & disliked philosophers

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Re: Top 5 favorite & disliked philosophers

Postby mitchellmckain on October 28th, 2016, 7:48 pm 

Likes:
Albert Camus
Aristotle
Charles Sanders Pierce
Kierkegaard
Scott Peck

Dislikes:
Plato
Nietzsche
Whitehead
Marx
Lenin

My choices are of course heavily influenced by familiarity. I would also follow up with a mention of the following I considered for these two lists. The lists above strongly favor those who had the most impact on me.

Darwin: I was strongly attempted to put in in the list of like in reaction to those who put him in dislike which I cannot understand at all. I have only positive things to say about Darwin and cannot understand negative reactions to him. He was an honest scientist pure and simple.

William James and Kurt Godel were definitely considered for the like list because some of the things they contributed definitely had significant impact. They just didn't win the competition for top five.

Sartre was a another strong contender for the "like" list although my feelings toward him are a little more mixed than the others.

Augustine is even more of a mixed bag than Sartre. He said some very good things about science but then some of his theology was downright despicable. I think the conflict he had with Pelagius was a tragic chapter in Christian history. Both were too extreme and really needed to sit down with each other and work out their differences.

Einstein: I really don't classify him as a philosopher. I am more familiar with his science though I have read enough of what he wrote to debunk some of the things people try to attribute to him.

Dawkins and Hawkings are also scientists which have dipped their toes into philosophical or theological waters, but I have both praises and criticisms for them so I cannot put them wholly in either the like or dislike categories. Both have written some very good books and also some which I don't think are very good.
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Re: Top 5 favorite & disliked philosophers

Postby mitchellmckain on October 31st, 2016, 3:34 pm 

mitchellmckain » October 28th, 2016, 6:48 pm wrote:Likes:
Albert Camus
Aristotle
Charles Sanders Pierce
Kierkegaard
Scott Peck

Dislikes:
Plato
Nietzsche
Whitehead
Marx
Lenin


I explained the ones I didn't choose. Perhaps I should explain the ones I did choose.

LIKES

Albert Camus: My favorite writing of his is "The Myth of Sisyphus" where he puts forward the idea that we can be content and fulfilled standing up for what is right defying God or gods even if it is hopeless. This is not only justifies the moral indignation of the atheist but also informs the theist about what sort of God or gods it would be moral to serve.

Aristotle: I see him as an organic philosopher way ahead of his time and quite a contrast to the other ancient Greek philosophers. Most of them were quite antithetical to life thinking of living things as flawed and imperfect.

Peirce: Father of pragmatism, whose maxim I would state as the following: the effect that believing something has on your life is part of its truth value.

Kierkegaard: Father of existentialism, whose maxim (due to Sartre) is: existence precedes essences, which means first we exist and then from the experience of it we find our meaning and purpose. Kierkegaard himself criticized much of philosophy as being useless in dealing with the visceral experience of being human. He spoke a great deal regarding the subjective and objective apprehension of reality.

Scott Peck: A psychologist who applied his discoveries as a psychiatrist to understanding the human condition. He saw that many of those he helped had crossed the religious non-religious line in order to discard the worldview which was not helping them to live effectively.

DISLIKES

Plato: I don't like either his idealism or his intellectual elitism.

Whitehead: he took Plato's idealism and added reductionism to make it even worse.

Nietzsche: I don't like his idea of a superior human being as one who discards moral limitations.

Marx: The communist manifesto created a philosophy of hatred which inspired widespread murder.

Lenin: "What is to be done" was a downright diabolically evil plan to deceive people in order to gain power over them.

I am sure others see value in other things these philosophers have said and for this reason would see my comments is misrepresenting them. But I am not seeking to represent them -- only to explain what I don't like about them. Life is precious and we have to make choices, so some things just turn you off and you decide to shift your attention elsewhere.
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Re:

Postby Heavy_Water on May 8th, 2017, 6:15 pm 

xcthulhu » June 13th, 2008, 5:51 pm wrote:Likes:

Plato
Kurt Godel
Bertrand Russell
David Lewis
Ludwig Wittgenstein

Dislikes:

Karl Popper
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Charles Stevenson
Karl Marx
Richard Dawkins

...I throw Dawkins on their because I am so sick and tired of hearing his party line regarding atheism.



Dawkins is a PhD Biologist, not a philospher.

And atheism is not a philosophy. It is built on science and facts. It is actually the default psychological or philosophical condition of us humans.

Because, anybody who in this world with all we know still believes in gods, or dead Jewish Carpenters rising from their graves to fly to a heaven and sit next to a sky god, does so only because they were taught to. Or indoctrinated. Period.
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Re: Top 5 favorite & disliked philosophers

Postby Heavy_Water on May 8th, 2017, 6:20 pm 

Faves....

Epicurus

Socrates

Wittgenstein

Spinoza

Siddartha Gautama




Not a Fan......

Schoppenhaur

Nietzsche

Kant

Anybody who advocates subservience or worship to a supreme and supernatural deity.
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Re: Top 5 favorite & disliked philosophers

Postby Zanthius on April 13th, 2018, 6:08 pm 

I notice that several of you either have Nietzsche as one of the 5 philosophers you like most, or one of the philosophers you dislike most. This seems very much like what I think is a problem with humanity in general. Either people fall too far to one extreme, or people fall too far to the opposite extreme. It is apparently almost impossible to be in the middle. Seems like to be in the middle is like walking on a line:

Image

It is much easier to fall either to the left side or to the right side I guess.... Just because I dislike some things about Nietzsche, I think it would be an exaggeration to call him one of the 5 worst philosophers. And just because I think he was a smart guy, I think it might be an exaggeration to call him one of the 5 greatest philosophers of all time. There is a lot of competition for those 5 positions.
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Re: Top 5 favorite & disliked philosophers

Postby mitchellmckain on April 13th, 2018, 7:45 pm 

The question was not about evaluating them with regards to how accomplished a philosopher they are, how smart they are or whether they are a good person. It was only about whether we liked or disliked their philosophy -- a completely different thing altogether.
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Re: Top 5 favorite & disliked philosophers

Postby Braininvat on April 14th, 2018, 10:26 am 

The whole discursive thrust of philosophy is about big questions and ideas, not to rank an individual contributor to the field on some sort of "greatness" metric. To do that is to risk giving someone unwarranted authority on a philosophical matter, and stray into the fallacy of argumentum ad veracundum. (See our thread on fallacies).
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Re: Top 5 favorite & disliked philosophers

Postby Serpent on April 14th, 2018, 11:57 am 

Seems to me the likes and dislikes are decided at the time of reading. It's unusual for any one person to read all the philosophers in a single year, so by the time you get from Plato to Camus, your life, your circumstances, your experience and your outlook may have changed radically. If teaching philosophy is not one's occupation, it's also quite possible to forget most of the content of high-school or college readings by the age of 40 - probable by 50, near certain by 70 - so what we go by in retrospect is some little detail or slogan we recall having resonated with or been or repelled by at some time. We also tend to pick up impressions and associations that have no direct bearing on the philosophy or its author. (You know Marx didn't cause, or even inspire Stalin, right?)

My arch enemies are St. Paul and Descartes, because of the influence their writings had on European culture, and I can point to one or two specific quotes that turned me against those guys directly, but I couldn't sum up either of their philosophies.
I'm inclined toward Epicurus and Buber, without having read either one exhaustively.

With a great deal more confidence and authority, I can say that my favourite philosophers are Terry Pratchett and George Bernard Shaw - their work, I do know intimately. I also read most of Ayn Rand's opus, so I have execellent, citable reasons for dismissing her as a philosopher and disliking her a writer.
Really, though, it comes down to one's temperament.
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Re: Top 5 favorite & disliked philosophers

Postby BadgerJelly on April 14th, 2018, 12:21 pm 

If you cannot take something from each of use then the problem is likely closer to home.

I do find it befuddling to distinguish between "truth" and what is "attractive." That is one reason I find Jung useful. He talks about looking for answers where you least want to look.

For stimulation I have found Kant and Heidegger to be great sources to rub up against - Nietzsche I find too difficult where I used to view him as being this or that, now I find myself reeling away from him in order to grasp the style of his writing.
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Re: Top 5 favorite & disliked philosophers

Postby mitchellmckain on April 15th, 2018, 3:22 pm 

Serpent » April 14th, 2018, 10:57 am wrote:Seems to me the likes and dislikes are decided at the time of reading. It's unusual for any one person to read all the philosophers in a single year, so by the time you get from Plato to Camus, your life, your circumstances, your experience and your outlook may have changed radically.

And since there is nothing to make people read them in that order, then the order in which they read them can have a big impact also.

Serpent » April 14th, 2018, 10:57 am wrote:We also tend to pick up impressions and associations that have no direct bearing on the philosophy or its author. (You know Marx didn't cause, or even inspire Stalin, right?)

I don't buy that claim about Marx and Stalin for a second. Stalin certainly was not solely inspired by Marx. Not only was Lenin an even greater influence on Stalin (not a good influence there either), but Stalin was not a puppet of either and certainly did things for his own reasons also. But I absolutely refute the propaganda which seeks to distance Stalin from Marx and Lenin, for these are absolutely connected. Marx provided the rhetoric to justify hatred and slaughter and Lenin provided the method for deception and conquest. It is true that Stalin may have been more motivated by paranoia at times but there is no denying what brought him to power in the first place.

Serpent » April 14th, 2018, 10:57 am wrote:My arch enemies are St. Paul and Descartes, because of the influence their writings had on European culture, and I can point to one or two specific quotes that turned me against those guys directly, but I couldn't sum up either of their philosophies.

The problem with Paul is that there is considerable dispute about what writings attributed to him actually came from him. Unlike Jesus, Paul was a scholar and wrote things himself, and scholars find evidence that some of the later epistles are written by someone else. Certainly there are things attributed to Paul which I don't like either but there is considerable doubt that he actually wrote them.

Then also people tend to have more than one aspect to them. Take Richard Dawkins for example. There is Dawkins the evolutionary scientist, Dawkins the atheist and amateur theologian, and Dawkins the misogynist. Even if Paul didn't write the misogynistic and anti-homosexual things attributed, it would not be hard to imagine that the shoe would fit anyway since that was the attitudes of the culture which produced him.

In addition, I suspect there are things you are blaming on Paul which have nothing whatsoever to do with him. Frankly I think one of the worst influences on Christianity was Plato and the Gnostics.

Serpent » April 14th, 2018, 10:57 am wrote:With a great deal more confidence and authority, I can say that my favourite philosophers are Terry Pratchett and George Bernard Shaw - their work, I do know intimately.

My reading of Pratchett is rather limited but there are things which he has said which I thought were extremely interesting and have quoted frequently.
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Re: Top 5 favorite & disliked philosophers

Postby mitchellmckain on April 15th, 2018, 3:34 pm 

BadgerJelly » April 14th, 2018, 11:21 am wrote:If you cannot take something from each of use then the problem is likely closer to home.

That is a bit unfair. It is said that the best lies are those with a lot of truth in them. So it is hardly surprising you can find things in the claims by just about anyone which are true. Much more important is the direction and flow in what they are saying. It is only when you are stuck with them that you are forced to dig out good things in what they say out of this context, such as when you are living in an ideologically dominated community.

BadgerJelly » April 14th, 2018, 11:21 am wrote:I do find it befuddling to distinguish between "truth" and what is "attractive." That is one reason I find Jung useful. He talks about looking for answers where you least want to look.

I only see this distinction made when someone is trying to talk you into ignoring your instincts and ethical inclinations to accept things which their logic is dictating to them and want it to dictate to you also. Thus befuddling isn't the word I would use -- the word I would use is manipulation.

BadgerJelly » April 14th, 2018, 11:21 am wrote:For stimulation I have found Kant and Heidegger to be great sources to rub up against - Nietzsche I find too difficult where I used to view him as being this or that, now I find myself reeling away from him in order to grasp the style of his writing.

Not quite sure what you mean by that...
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Re: Top 5 favorite & disliked philosophers

Postby Serpent on April 15th, 2018, 4:40 pm 

mitchellmckain » April 15th, 2018, 2:22 pm wrote: It is true that Stalin may have been more motivated by paranoia at times but there is no denying what brought him to power in the first place.

That's a historical disagreement, not a philosophical one. Most philosophies exist only on paper - their authors were not directly involved in the big wars. But quite a few had some influence the makers of history, or at least on their rhetoric.
Do you really think people learn hatred from a book? Do you think the largely illiterate Russians would have borne their brutal oppression forever, were it not for the scribblings of some German expat in England? Do you really believe that ruthless demagogues like Dzhugashvili cannot and do not seize power without such a scribble to guide them?

The problem with Paul is that there is considerable dispute about what writings attributed to him actually came from him.

That's immaterial to the available document itself. It might have been signed by anyone or no-one, and have the same effect.
It stands in similar relation to Pope Urban II and his holy war as Das Kapital to the Russian revolution.
A text is there; a situation is here: comes a political opportunist to apply the one to the other.

Then also people tend to have more than one aspect to them. Take Richard Dawkins for example.

I don't consider him a philosopher.
Even if Paul didn't write the misogynistic and anti-homosexual things attributed, it would not be hard to imagine that the shoe would fit anyway since that was the attitudes of the culture which produced him.

I'm not sure that follows. Most recognized philosophers are exceptional in some way. They don't just reflect the prevailing attitude of their time. Paul's letters in particular exhort his followers to stand against the social norms of contemporary Rome and its dominions.

In addition, I suspect there are things you are blaming on Paul which have nothing whatsoever to do with him. Frankly I think one of the worst influences on Christianity was Plato and the Gnostics.

Maybe so. I pick my beefs on a personal basis.
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Re: Top 5 favorite & disliked philosophers

Postby Forest_Dump on April 26th, 2018, 9:01 am 

Recently I have been reading a volume on historical documents on witchcraft in Europe and read some of the work of Thomas Aquinas (for the first time for me). Although i clearly don't agree with the premises he took for granted (800 years ago) i was impressed with the structure of his arguments and the way he (and I assume others of the time and since) were trying to be honest and rigorous, carefully exploring the strongest arguments against his position. While obviously diametrically opposed in terms of accepted premises, etc., I would certainly say the rigor of the arguments are as good as the militant atheists like Dennett and Dawkins. Definitely worth reading if you can get past the different religious (cultural, ideological, etc.) biases.
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Re: Top 5 favorite & disliked philosophers

Postby Serpent on April 26th, 2018, 10:51 am 

I admired Aquinas, back in my early twenties, even though I totally dismissed his belief-system. Not so, Augustine, whom I assessed (at the time) as self-serving, and not Loyola, whom I perceived as just plain mean. These are mere impressions from half a century ago: I cannot now recall a single line or phrase of their actual arguments.
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Re: Top 5 favorite & disliked philosophers

Postby mitchellmckain on April 27th, 2018, 6:01 pm 

Forest_Dump » April 26th, 2018, 8:01 am wrote:Recently I have been reading a volume on historical documents on witchcraft in Europe and read some of the work of Thomas Aquinas (for the first time for me). Although i clearly don't agree with the premises he took for granted (800 years ago) i was impressed with the structure of his arguments and the way he (and I assume others of the time and since) were trying to be honest and rigorous, carefully exploring the strongest arguments against his position.

I too was impressed when I first read him -- painstakingly systematic in his analysis of topics. Now? Not so much. In fact, my overwhelming impression now is that he has followed rather closely in the footsteps of Aristotle, and I do not see that much improvement given the 1600 hundred years between them. But he had a lasting influence on Catholic theology to be sure. His most well known writing are his five arguments for the existence of God and the flaws in these arguments are not difficult to find.

Forest_Dump » April 26th, 2018, 8:01 am wrote:While obviously diametrically opposed in terms of accepted premises, etc., I would certainly say the rigor of the arguments are as good as the militant atheists like Dennett and Dawkins.

I am skeptical of this claim for a number of reasons. They certainly have exposed the flaws in Aquinas' arguments for the existence of God. I would expect a greater challenge in finding the flaws in the arguments of Dennett and Dawkins. I expect the example and discoveries of science as well as the freedom from the ideological tyranny of Medieval Christian Europe can be considered to be significant intellectual advantages.
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Re: Top 5 favorite & disliked philosophers

Postby hyksos on May 26th, 2018, 11:08 pm 

Forest_Dump » April 26th, 2018, 5:01 pm wrote:Recently I have been reading a volume on historical documents on witchcraft in Europe and read some of the work of Thomas Aquinas (for the first time for me). Although i clearly don't agree with the premises he took for granted (800 years ago) i was impressed with the structure of his arguments and the way he (and I assume others of the time and since) were trying to be honest and rigorous, carefully exploring the strongest arguments against his position. While obviously diametrically opposed in terms of accepted premises, etc., I would certainly say the rigor of the arguments are as good as the militant atheists like Dennett and Dawkins. Definitely worth reading if you can get past the different religious (cultural, ideological, etc.) biases.

Stephen Weinberg heaped praise on Aquinas. Particularly the way he handled issues about time and first causes. Weinberg won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1979.

I'm reminded about how the University system started in Europe. It came out of the Italian Renaissance, and some historians have pinned the university down to a single manifesto written by someone named Pico Dela Mirandola. Far from being a declaration of a secular humanist holiday (or what have you) Mirandola's thesis/manifesto was highly religiously charged.

To summarize it in one sentence : He suggested that Europe needed universities so that man could ascend up some kind of "Chain of Being". It is blazingly ironic. Universities were founded several hundred years prior to the whole Galilean/Newtonian/Copernican switch that gave rise to modern science. At the same time, there would have been no "Isaac Newton" without the university system. No Galileo. No Copernicus.

Why blazingly ironic?

Because basically an entirely religious man claimed we need universities to ascend man up a chain of existence, and said this for entirely religious reasons. The university was formed and mankind invented the Englightened modern science in those unis. This changed our civilization drastically in barely 2 centuries (man landed on the moon). So in a certain sense, we did invent the university system and we did "ascend" in a certain way.. from a certain point of view.

Mankind did exactly what Mirandola said it would, and the result was exactly what he said it would be. And somehow he predicted this from an entirely religious viewpoint.

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Re: Top 5 favorite & disliked philosophers

Postby mitchellmckain on May 28th, 2018, 11:03 pm 

hyksos » May 26th, 2018, 10:08 pm wrote:Why blazingly ironic?

Because basically an entirely religious man claimed we need universities to ascend man up a chain of existence, and said this for entirely religious reasons. The university was formed and mankind invented the Englightened modern science in those unis. This changed our civilization drastically in barely 2 centuries (man landed on the moon). So in a certain sense, we did invent the university system and we did "ascend" in a certain way.. from a certain point of view.

Mankind did exactly what Mirandola said it would, and the result was exactly what he said it would be. And somehow he predicted this from an entirely religious viewpoint.


This last statement in italics is the flaw which is perhaps the source of your feelings of irony. The reality is that human civilization has been in a constant development towards greater specialization of activities and thus more distinctions between different activities. Reach back far enough and all of it combines into the single activity of fireside story telling which played all the roles of history, law, science, philosophy, entertainment, religion and education. Now we see these things as different activities quite distinct from each other.

The same applies to the so called "religious viewpoint" of Mirandola because the separation between religious and secular thought was far less distinct and perhaps even more importantly the type of education involving books was largely under the purvey of the church because they are the ones (at least in barbarian conquered Europe) who were more able to recognize its value. The only thing which could be called "secular education" in Medieval Europe was more about training in arms by the nobility or in various mercantile trades by guilds and tradesmen.

So, while there are older universities in Asia and Africa which were secular in nature, most of the earliest European universities were religious in origin. Of course the advent of science is what changed this more than anything. As science became more useful and the status of theology as the "queen of the science" became increasingly challenged in Europe, education (from books) became more and more of a secular rather than a just a religious interest. Sadly, the Middle East and Africa were subject to its own barbarian conquests (the Turks) with a handy repressive religion of its own so that secular education in these areas became a thing of the past at about the same time.
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Re: Top 5 favorite & disliked philosophers

Postby Mattering on October 6th, 2018, 11:43 pm 

Likes:

John Deely
Charles Sanders Peirce
Frederick Stjernfelt
Eric Voegelin
Karl Popper

(hon mention: Teilhard de Chardin)

Dislikes:

Paul Rancier
Lacan
Nietzsche
Hegel
Evola

It should be pointed out that everyone is liking/disliking along the same lines: "nurturers" who study and praise the nature of being; and people with dissociative disorders who philosophize.

As to my likes: John Deely's "Four Ages of Understanding" is probably the most profound reflection on the development of thought since classical times that I have read.

Charles Sanders Peirce is what he is. I think his later work is especially brilliant, and the sheer scope of his thinking, and its application today in fields like biosemiotics, is making Peirce seem like one of the greatest geniuses of all time. There are too many significant concepts of his to name, but one which I especially am fond of is the dicisign. A modern day semiotician/philosopher - Frederick Stjernfelt - developed this idea further in a recent book of his - "Natural Propositions: The Actuality of Peirces Doctrine of the Dicisign" - which has left me pondering what these sorts of ideas mean for other fields of human inquiry.

Voegelin and Popper are both great geniuses in their analysis of the problems of society, although they seemed to have taken a diametrically opposite interpretation of Plato: Popper basically see's him as a secret fascist who will use irrational arguments for undemocratic ends, while Voegelin praises Plato for rightly recognizing "mans" transcendental being in relation to his being in society (time). Plato is a complicated figure, and I think, between the two of them, that Popper may have noted something detestable in Plato which promoted behavior of the kind were seeing in todays world, and which Popper experienced during world war II. Voegelin diagnosed contemporary civilization as suffering from an "intramundane Gnosticism", which more or less means, an attempt to 'spiritualize' the meaning of imminent experiences of all kinds (romanticism) while foregoing awareness of consequences of actions which ultimately refer back to the source of ones being in the divine ground (which one senses through experiences of gnosis).

All those philosophers I dislike, and the list could go on and on, are representatives of a gnostic spirituality. It is "oracular philosophy". Words which are dramatic and theatrical and longwinded and purposeless, ultimately, because they never come to any coherent end. They are selfish, careless, megalomanical, and more or less need psychotherapy. I tried to pick the different forms that gnostic craziness can take: Paul Rancier romanticizes the concept of 'disagreement' and challenging just for the sake of challenging (I could easily put Derrida here). Lacan took Freud's fetishism and somehow created something even more confusing; Nietzsche romanticized struggle against nature - his entire philosophy seems to me to be nothing more than a man suffering from a pathological trauma disorder (he didn't have access to the "polyvagal theory" which explains trauma in terms of ethological and neurological categories of functioning). His "philosophy of the future" unfortunately came to fruition. Hegel, again, engages in what Voeglin called "intellectual mischief". He was a self-aware deceiver, he argued - and probably rightly. He was paid by the state while he wrote his philosophy. And lastly, because today's "altright" is apparently influenced by him, is Julius Evola. There is nothing special about him besides the myths - and pathologies - that he peddles. He is especially obsessed in pathologizing liberal culture as "weak" - again, repeating the Nietschean discomfort as if these emotions didn't have a developmental precursor - an origin in some early life asymmetrical intersubjective experience with an Other.

There are so many others I'd like to mention. The hon-mention of Teilhard de Chardin is for the sheer profundity of his 'omega point' concept, which jibes with the experience of gnosis, and the sense that there is probably nothing 'beyond' the intense meaningfulness of that experience. It is the 'omega point' of a relational semiotic neurological evolution - if neurological evolution is understood in the sense of probing reality at ever finer scales. Chardin didn't speak in these ways, but he did very much look at human beings as the biological animals that they are, but without losing sight of what they also are: capable of transcending their conditioned state of being, and rising above a sense of conditionality into a state of self-maintained awe-care-joy in existing.
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Re: Top 5 favorite & disliked philosophers

Postby hyksos on October 8th, 2018, 3:08 am 

Welcome Mattering.

Teilhard de Chardin is a surprising mention here. You may have been the first person to mention him on this forum that I know of.

Please start a thread on Nietzsche, (so that we might collectively bash him.)
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Re: Top 5 favorite & disliked philosophers

Postby BadgerJelly on October 8th, 2018, 3:25 am 

I’m still trying to undertsand Nietzsche. I came at his work in too trivial a manner without enough understanding of the context he was talking in.
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