Who is you favorite philosopher and why?

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Reply Thu 28 Feb, 2008 11:46 am
Well the title speaks for it self. Who is your favorite philosopher and why?
Reply Thu 28 Feb, 2008 12:57 pm
I can't say I'm acquainted with enough philosophers to make that distinction, then again I have a hard time picking favorites no matter what its about usually.

I'd have to say at the moment I like St. Thomas Aquinas quite a bit. I'm trying to look into some more recent philosophers but I like what I've learned so far of Husserl and Heidegger as well. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around Phenomenology, then again I've only been studying philosophy for a year.
Didymos Thomas
Reply Thu 28 Feb, 2008 02:39 pm
Hume. He approached philosophy as any philosopher should - with skepticism.
Reply Thu 28 Feb, 2008 03:51 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
I would have to say Plato. Because he was a philosopher who believed in love and beauty and vision and he believed in the existence of a higher realm. Smile

de Silentio
Reply Thu 28 Feb, 2008 07:15 pm
I agree with Pythagorean, Plato is my favorite. His works seem more approachable than other philosophers, yet they are concise in their endevour to explore human nature.

I always start of my philosophy studies for the year by reading Plato. I start with the simple and powerful Apology, then move to the Crito. There is something about those works that rejuvinates me.
Reply Fri 29 Feb, 2008 04:08 pm
@de Silentio,
Nietzsche for the simple fact that I haven't read many other philosophers yet. But also because most of the things he says are indeed in my opinion right and I agree with him on many points. This of course might change if i read some more work from him.

I'm reading The Great Philosophers now, which is a series of reviews about many philosophers including Plato, Hume, Russell, Spinoza and others. I bought it because I'm not sure which philosophers are the right one's for me. At the moment I'm reading chapter one (i bought it yesterday) and like to read some more Socrates and Plato.
Reply Sat 1 Mar, 2008 09:17 am
He valued human life so much to the point that he based his philosophical teachings around maintaining the golden rule, and living life accordingly.

Aristotle was just easier to play with, when it came to choosing a screen-name for myself, but he comes a very close second.
Dustin phil
Reply Sat 1 Mar, 2008 10:17 am
For now I would say Emerson... but what is favorite...

A great man is always willing to be little.

A great part of courage is the courage of having done the thing before."

A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.

A man is a god in ruins. When men are innocent, life shall be longer, and shall pass into the immortal, as gently as we awake from dreams.

A man is a method, a progressive arrangement; a selecting principle, gathering his like to him; wherever he goes.

A man is usually more careful of his money than he is of his principles.

A man is what he thinks about all day long.

A man's growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends.

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.

All diseases run into one, old age.

All I have seen teaches me to trust the creator for all I have not seen.

An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.

Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.

Before we acquire great power we must acquire wisdom to use it well.

By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote.

Cause and effect are two sides of one fact.

Character is always known. Thefts never enrich; alms never impoverish; murder will speak out of stone walls.

Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live as well as think.

Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Do the thing we fear, and death of fear is certain.

Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved.

Every artist was first an amateur.

Every man has his own courage, and is betrayed because he seeks in himself the courage of other persons.

Every man I meet is in some way my superior.

Every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact. Every appearance in nature corresponds to some state of the mind, and that state of the mind can only be described by presenting that natural appearance as its picture.

Everything in Nature contains all the powers of Nature. Everything is made of one hidden stuff.

For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.

For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.

Genius always finds itself a century too early.

Getting old is a fascination thing. The older you get, the older you want to get.

God enters by a private door into every individual.

Great geniuses have the shortest biographies.

Great hearts steadily send forth the secret forces that incessantly draw great events.

Happy is the hearing man; unhappy the speaking man.

He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.

If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years how man would marvel and stare.

If the tongue had not been framed for articulation, man would still be a beast in the forest.

If you would lift me up you must be on higher ground.

In art, the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can imagine.

It is not length of life, but depth of life.

It is said that the world is in a state of bankruptcy, that the world owes the world more than the world can pay.

Judge of your natural character by what you do in your dreams.

Knowledge is knowing that we cannot know.

Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.

Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods.

Life consists in what a man is thinking of all day.

Little minds have little worries, big minds have no time for worries.

Manners require time, and nothing is more vulgar than haste.

Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of science.

Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.

Nature hates calculators.

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting.

No change of circumstances can repair a defect of character.

No man ever prayed heartily without learning something.

Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.

Nothing external to you has any power over you.

Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.

One must be an inventor to read well. There is then creative reading as well as creative writing.

Our best thoughts come from others.

Our faith comes in moments; our vice is habitual.

Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.

People disparage knowing and the intellectual life, and urge doing. I am content with knowing, if only I could know.

People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.

People only see what they are prepared to see.

People that seem so glorious are all show; underneath they are like everyone else.

People with great gifts are easy to find, but symmetrical and balanced ones never.

Reality is a sliding door.

Science does not know its debt to imagination.

Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.

Society is always taken by surprise at any new example of common sense.

Some books leave us free and some books make us free.

The ancestor of every action is a thought.

The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.

The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.

The faith that stands on authority is not faith.

The greatest gift is a portion of thyself.

The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough.

The highest revelation is that God is in every man.

The method of nature: who could ever analyze it?

The only way to have a friend is to be one.

The real and lasting victories are those of peace, and not of war.

The reason why men do not obey us, is because they see the mud at the bottom of our eye.

The reason why men do not obey us, is because they see the mud at the bottom of our eye.

The reliance on authority measures the decline of religion, the withdrawal of the soul.

The religions of the world are the ejaculations of a few imaginative men.

The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.

The value of a dollar is social, as it is created by society.

The wave of evil washes all our institutions alike.

There are as many pillows of illusion as flakes in a snow-storm. We wake from one dream into another dream.

There is a tendency for things to right themselves.

There is an optical illusion about every person we meet.

There is more difference in the quality of our pleasures than in the amount.

There is no chance and anarchy in the universe. All is system and gradation. Every god is there sitting in his sphere.

This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.

To be great is to be misunderstood.

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly and they will show themselves great.

Truth is the property of no individual but is the treasure of all men.

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.

Use what language you will, you can never say anything but what you are.

We aim above the mark to hit the mark.

We are rich only through what we give, and poor only through what we refuse.

We are wiser than we know.

We gain the strength of the temptation we resist.

What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered.

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.

What would be the use of immortality to a person who cannot use well a half an hour.

What you are comes to you.

When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.

When nature has work to be done, she creates a genius to do it.

When we quarrel, how we wish we had been blameless.

Who you are speaks so loudly I can't hear what you're saying.

With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future. I live now.

Words are also actions, and actions are a kind of words.

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.

You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.
Reply Sat 1 Mar, 2008 12:54 pm
@Dustin phil,
Dustin wrote:
text omitted...

I like a lot of his quotes but just don't get this quote:
Nature hates calculators.
Dustin phil
Reply Sat 1 Mar, 2008 02:05 pm
Vasska wrote:
I like a lot of his quotes but just don't get this quote:

It's from his second series of essays:

How easily, if fate would suffer it, we might keep forever these beautiful limits, and adjust ourselves, once for all, to the perfect calculation of the kingdom of known cause and effect. In the street and in the newspapers, life appears so plain a business that manly resolution and adherence to the multiplication-table through all weathers will insure success.

But ah! presently comes a day, or is it only a half-hour, with its angel-whispering, --which discomfits the conclusions of nations and of years! Tomorrow again everything looks real and angular, the habitual standards are reinstated, common sense is as rare as genius,--is the basis of genius, and experience is hands and feet to every enterprise;--and yet, he who should do his business on this understanding would be quickly bankrupt.

Power keeps quite another road than the turnpikes of choice and will; namely the subterranean and invisible tunnels and channels of life. It is ridiculous that we are diplomatists, and doctors, and considerate people: there are no dupes like these. Life is a series of surprises, and would not be worth taking or keeping if it were not. God delights to isolate us every day, and hide from us the past and the future. We would look about us, but with grand politeness he draws down before us an impenetrable screen of purest sky, and another behind us of purest sky.

'You will not remember,' he seems to say, `and you will not expect.' All good conversation, manners, and action, come from a spontaneity which forgets usages and makes the moment great. Nature hates calculators; her methods are saltatory and impulsive. Man lives by pulses; our organic movements are such; and the chemical and ethereal agents are undulatory and alternate; and the mind goes antagonizing on, and never prospers but by fits. We thrive by casualties.

Our chief experiences have been casual. The most attractive class of people are those who are powerful obliquely and not by the direct stroke; men of genius, but not yet accredited; one gets the cheer of their light without paying too great a tax. Theirs is the beauty of the bird or the morning light, and not of art. In the thought of genius there is always a surprise; and the moral sentiment is well called "the newness," for it is never other; as new to the oldest intelligence as to the young child;--"the kingdom that cometh without observation."

In like manner, for practical success, there must not be too much design. A man will not be observed in doing that which he can do best. There is a certain magic about his properest action which stupefies your powers of observation, so that though it is done before you, you wist not of it. The art of life has a pudency, and will not be exposed. Every man is an impossibility until he is born; every thing impossible until we see a success.

The ardors of piety agree at last with the coldest skepticism,--that nothing is of us or our works,--that all is of God. Nature will not spare us the smallest leaf of laurel. All writing comes by the grace of God, and all doing and having. I would gladly be moral and keep due metes and bounds, which I dearly love, and allow the most to the will of man; but I have set my heart on honesty in this chapter, and I can see nothing at last, in success or failure, than more or less of vital force supplied from the Eternal.

The results of life are uncalculated and uncalculable. The years teach much which the days never know. The persons who compose our company, converse, and come and go, and design and execute many things, and somewhat comes of it all, but an unlooked-for result. The individual is always mistaken. He designed many things, and drew in other persons as coadjutors, quarrelled with some or all, blundered much, and something is done; all are a little advanced, but the individual is always mistaken. It turns out somewhat new and very unlike what
he promised himself.
Candide phil
Reply Sun 9 Mar, 2008 08:40 am
<daleader> wrote:
Well the title speaks for it self. Who is your favorite philosopher and why?

Voltaire. Not only does he teach that you either change the status quo or mind your own business and avoid the larger problems of society, abandoning greed and lust (quite wise advice), but he has a sense of humor, and is quite readable by the masses even today. He's not indecipherable like some philosophers can be.
step314 phil
Reply Sun 9 Mar, 2008 10:44 am
@Candide phil,
Locke is my favorite philosopher. In fact, I haven't encountered any philosopher since Locke that does much if anything for me. Logic is very important and indeed has improved greatly, but that was mainly done by mathematicians. Russell is OK, but nothing special. And Emerson's skills were mainly poetical.

It is just some parts of Locke I greatly appreciate, e.g., his epistemology and his viewing reflection as a kind of perception. His moral and political philosophies don't do nearly as much for me.

It is almost as though "philosophy" after Locke mostly became hair-splitting bent on dragging down Locke's common-sensical well-reasoned opinions. Perhaps more properly it should be called "anti-philosophy". But once I decide I don't like a philosopher, I tend to stop reading him, so it is difficult to say precisely why I don't like other philosophers, since oftentimes after just a page of two of reading one I have decided it is not worth the bother of continuing. And since there are many I am unfamiliar with, there might be some good ones out there I haven't found yet.

It is amazing to me that Locke is "credited" for starting what goes nowadays by the name of empiricism. By putting reflection on such a strong ground, in the important sense he really is more-or-less opposite what historians, etc., mostly sell him as. As a consequence, and because his less interesting political ideas were the most talked about, I never bothered reading him until a couple years ago.
Didymos Thomas
Reply Mon 10 Mar, 2008 03:06 am
Step314 - have you spent any time with Hume?
step314 phil
Reply Mon 10 Mar, 2008 12:08 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Yeah, I've skimmed through Hume before. His writings, compared with Locke, I find to be shallow and boring, and the whole general tone of his writing is just annoying to me. Take this paragraph as an example, from An Enquiry Concerning the Principle of Morals, Section IX, Part I:

And as every quality which is useful or agreeable to ourselves or others is, in common life, allowed to be a part of personal merit; so no other will ever be received, where men judge of things by their natural, unprejudiced reason, without the delusive glosses of superstition and false religion. Celibacy, fasting, penance, mortification, self-denial, humility, silence, solitude, and the whole train of monkish virtues; for what reason are they everywhere rejected by men of sense, but because they serve to no manner of purpose; neither advance a man's fortune in the world, nor render him a more valuable member of society; neither qualify him for the entertainment of company, nor increase his power of self-enjoyment? We observe, on the contrary, that they cross all these desirable ends; stupify the understanding and harden the heart, obscure the fancy and sour the temper. We justly, therefore, transfer them to the opposite column, and place them in the catalogue of vices; nor has any superstition force sufficient among men of the world, to pervert entirely these natural sentiments. A gloomy, hair-brained enthusiast, after his death, may have a place in the calendar; but will scarcely ever be admitted, when alive, into intimacy and society, except by those who are as delirious and dismal as himself.

More particularly, let's look one-by-one at the qualities of the second sentence.

Celibacy--True, avoiding sex doesn't lead to virtue, but imo there is something akin to sex, namely sodomy, that is addictive. Even if one doesn't believe that, one can't have much refined sentiment or whatever or much familiarity with the real world without recognizing that skankiness and sexual depravity aren't just social constructs or whatever caused by superstition or (to use modern the modern cliche) patriarchal gender stereotypes. Women (and men too, though less often, since bad males tend to prefer enslaving females, and only males can sodomize) sometimes have become skanks, I'm sorry.

Fasting--We are what we eat. Obviously fasting to extremes is silly, but probably there is nothing one can do more to improve the sacredness of one's life than to eat in moderation the right food. And eating in moderation is akin to fasting. Locke wouldn't demean those with fasting instinct. On the contrary, Locke was so self-disciplined when it came to eating that he felt people should not eat during the day before supper. Apparently, he fasted most every day, sort of.

Penance--Penance is a wonderful thing. Screwed-up people can make their rescuers obsessed with rescuing them. It is a great good for them after having reformed to undergo the penance of giving their rescuers some idea that they are not needed. In particular, if a reformed female does not desire a male who rescued her or tried to rescue her, she ought to be so polite as to make at least a small effort to convince him that her not desiring him is not on account of her still being screwed-up. This is probably why in fairy tales rescued damsels are always nice to heroes who rescue them even beyond the demands of gratitude; it's an important trait to inculcate, for in reality a rescued female will feel so embarrassed that if she didn't feel the penance instinct she would nevertheless, to avoid the embarrassment and shame, avoid her rescuer, even at the risk of his mentally tilting at windmills forever trying to slay the dragon that he doesn't know doesn't imprison his beloved anymore.

Mortification--Withdrawals from addiction are mortifications that are appropriate.

Self-denial--Does he mean unselfishness or mortification? Either way, they have their virtues.

Humility--Feeling pride in the wrong things and feeling shame in the wrong things--you can't have one without the other because they are basically just two sides of the same coin. Pomposity leads to duels, etc., and nothing agreeable about those. Also, a too general belief in the importance of pride, and you've got Hollywood morals. It makes one wonder whether that's why Hume became popular to begin with--he knew how to smile and clap in just the right way, the way the "right" people do at the Academy Awards of our day. Only, philosophers have a choice; I'm guessing you don't really have a choice if you want to work in Hollywood.

Silence--Music has addictive qualities, as should seem clear to those who have ever been annoyed by a catchy song that yet is ugly. Personally, I like about 99.8% silence over music.

Solitude--The most failsafe way of judging others, if you are actually concerned about being just, is to see how well they judge you. And finding yourself is also particularly virtuous because it necessarily must be your employment if you wish to behave according to your own special qualities, tendencies and beliefs, all of which won't evolve well to help humanity if people just ignore them, deciding in stead to behave and believe according to some typical belief system. And solitude helps you to find yourself (though much of ourselves is how we relate to others; for instance, people can't probably understand their sexual selves without having some acquaintance with the opposite sex, but even there solitude is useful and preferable unless one wants a world where people masturbate in public, nah). Locke, on the other hand, emphasized the importance of thinking for oneself and of reflection--perceiving the operations of one's own mind as it operates--which I daresay one can most easily do in silent solitude.

I am not saying that there isn't something often insane about monkish extremes such as eschewing sex, but Hume doesn't seem to admit to there being anything useful or agreeable about the emotions that can lead to those extremes. He seems fanatically in favor of undiscipline. The truth is one does not need to be so afraid of throwing out the baby with the bath water as to argue that wanting to bathe the baby is hair-brained. Is there something particular in Hume's philosophy that you find especially ingenious or profound? I could examine that and see whether I find it profound. Vaguely, I suspect that the greatest harm arising from his philosophy is that it encouraged excess disrespect for subjective belief (or another way to put it, he encouraged people to respect sensation over what Locke calls reflection), though I don't have sufficient familiarity with his writings for it to be more than an educated guess.
Reply Mon 10 Mar, 2008 08:17 pm
@step314 phil,
To me the greatest philosophers are ones who philosophize through literature and not through treatises. Dostoyevsky, Camus, and Mishima are among my favorites. To pontificate and to create proofs and texts and expositions is one thing. But to create a world in which philosophies are put to the test is to me a higher level of understanding.

Of the true philosophers, I love people with the guts to critique assumed truths -- and my favorites of them are Spinoza, Nietzsche, and some of the modern philosophers like Wittgenstein and Derrida.

I put Machiavelli somewhere in there, but I think that like Voltaire he was as much of a satirist as a thinker.
Reply Sun 16 Mar, 2008 12:56 am
I'm down with Socrates and Nietzsche right now. Socrates because he could find a question for every fizzunkin' answer, and Nietzsche because he could (maybe??? almost???) lay waste to Descartes' cogito ergo sum in about 100 words or fewer. :p The thought of untimely meditations and untimely deaths makes me want to ... not? play? video? games? for like five minutes? and actually pick up a book or something? ... maybe even a palimpsest or a freakin' abacus. Or I could stitch a hammock out of weeds.

I need more rep power.
1 is the loneliest numba.
Reply Mon 24 Mar, 2008 07:26 pm
I would have to say Henri Bergson- Probably the only one on earth who could make laughter so dry
Reply Tue 25 Mar, 2008 10:20 am

For the victims of Randi's monstrous idea.....


CFI Forums | Nostradamus Prophecies - USA

"14. This prize will continue to be offered until it is awarded. Upon the death of James Randi, the administration of the prize will pass into other hands, and it is intended that it continue in force. "

Great force.....it's over......

Reply Mon 14 Apr, 2008 12:44 pm
@Dustin phil,
Viktor Frankl, his philosophy on the meaning of life and his great innovation in psychology called logotherapy is what makes him great. If you don't know to much about him I suggest to look into it.
Renegade phil
Reply Mon 14 Apr, 2008 12:54 pm
Descartes. As boring as his Meditations were, I love his general ideas. I mean, sitting by a stove and thinking about whether or not he exists? What's not to love?

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