In what order to study philosophy?

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Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 04:51 pm
@Twirlip,
Most will disagree w/ me but I recommend Kojeve's Lectures on Hegel. You will probably want to read Will Durant's The Story of Philosophy first. It's a great general background, in my opinion. But Durant isn't fair to Hegel. But Kojeve will fix that. Richard Rorty is the genius of philosophy for everyday life, including empirical science. All three of these writers are LUCID, but some of the thoughts are difficult....But that's philosophy, or at least the good stuff.

Regards from your fellow lover of philosophy: mr. zwidorff
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 06:14 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;134871 wrote:
Most will disagree w/ me but I recommend Kojeve's Lectures on Hegel.


Why not try to read Hegel himself? That should drive you to watching B-films with pleasure. Hitting yourself on the head with a hammer is therapeutic, because it feels so good when you stop. There is nothing like the German Idealists and their interpreters to put you off philosophy forever as it has done for so many.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 06:42 pm
@Twirlip,
Twirlip;134608 wrote:

The first is that somebody could be scanning your brain right now, and "explaining" your belief that you have made a valid logical point, but that does not disprove what you have just said; nor, similarly, does the possibility of being brain-scanned disprove anything anybody else says, not even if what they say is that invisible green lizards from outer space have been stealing their cookies.

The second reason is closely related, and is that brain scans have to be interpreted in terms of subjective experience, and no dictionary for the "language" of brain activity can be written without considering subjective experience in its own terms - just as, in the first point above, any argument you are I or anyone else gives has to be evaluated in logical terms, not in terms of whether it is caused by brain activity - we can take it as read that everything that goes on in our minds is caused by brain activity, but we still have to go on thinking and arguing!


I am not suggesting we try and solve abstract questions with psychology. I'm suggesting that the very concrete questions like "what makes people happy", and "why do people act as they do" are in the realm of psychology.

Now this would be a philosophical argument--which questions are more important, the concrete ones best answered by psychology, or the abstract ones best answered by philosophy?

The concrete ones are much more important on a personal level. Of course, some philosophical questions are concrete and some psychological questions abstract. Many questions that are important personally are not dealt with in psychology--especially the questions about values and beliefs which are quite important to people!

Quote:
There is certainly a spectre of epiphenomenalism which haunts us all, but the point is that it haunts all of us equally, even the most thoroughgoing materialists (ain't it amazing how grand philosophies like logical positivism and postmodernism all seem to fall victim to their own grand negative claims?), and you can't pick and choose which human beliefs to invalidate by saying, "Ah, that's just your brain doing that."
I'm quoting this and not the rest of your post because it seems to be the heart of the matter. To me, saying "it's just your brain doing that" does not invalidate any human belief. I actually think this is a specter put forward by people who hate that kind of reductionism. Is anyone seriously going to think that love is invalidated just because we know which chemicals are present when you love someone? No. Is it important to study that, so we have the understanding that there isn't a "soul mate" out there who is the only person you can love, and that certain circumstances make it more likely for love to last?
 
Twirlip
 
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 07:04 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;134934 wrote:
I am not suggesting we try and solve abstract questions with psychology. I'm suggesting that the very concrete questions like "what makes people happy", and "why do people act as they do" are in the realm of psychology.

It might help me to understand your position if you would tell me whether, in the following syllogism, you accept both of its premises, or only one of them, or neither:

The study of persons is psychology;
Psychology is a science;
Therefore, the study of persons is a science.

I dissent from the conclusion of the syllogism, but it is a matter of indifference to me whether the word "psychology" is used in such a way that the first premise is true (in which case the second is false), or in such a way that the second premise is true (in which case the first is false). Ordinary usage allows either choice.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 07:14 pm
@Twirlip,
Twirlip;134943 wrote:
It might help me to understand your position if you would tell me whether, in the following syllogism, you accept both of its premises, or only one of them, or neither:

The study of persons is psychology;
Psychology is a science;
Therefore, the study of persons is a science.

I dissent from the conclusion of the syllogism, but it is a matter of indifference to me whether the word "psychology" is used in such a way that the first premise is true (in which case the second is false), or in such a way that the second premise is true (in which case the first is false). Ordinary usage allows either choice.


I would flip the first one around.

Pyschology is the study of persons
psychology is a science
Therefore, the study of persons can be a science

Literature is also the study of persons, for example.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 07:31 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;134917 wrote:
Why not try to read Hegel himself? That should drive you to watching B-films with pleasure. Hitting yourself on the head with a hammer is therapeutic, because it feels so good when you stop. There is nothing like the German Idealists and their interpreters to put you off philosophy forever as it has done for so many.


For one thing, I have read some Hegel. But there's a sh*tload of Hegel. Another thing is that I am no idolator. What matters is the idea. Kojeve quotes Hegel on all the essential points. And Kojeve was himself a genius.

German Idealist philosophy is the peak of philosophy. Or at least of metaphysics. Rorty is the best pragmatist or sophist I have read. The English-writing philosophers are easy to understand because they are usually just sophists. Sophistry is good. But it's not all there is.

---------- Post added 03-02-2010 at 08:34 PM ----------

Jebediah;134934 wrote:
I am not suggesting we try and solve abstract questions with psychology. I'm suggesting that the very concrete questions like "what makes people happy", and "why do people act as they do" are in the realm of psychology.

Generally, I agree w/ you. But I do think that desire is part of a fundamental ontology. And that this desire has a sort of meta-object, which is pure negativity....

So at the core of Jung is Hegel, but no one understands Mr. Hegel, except perhaps for Kojeve, and if I'm not insane.... me
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 07:35 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;134960 wrote:
For one thing, I have read some Hegel. But there's a sh*tload of Hegel. Another thing is that I am no idolator. What matters is the idea. Kojeve quotes Hegel on all the essential points. And Kojeve was himself a genius.

German Idealist philosophy is the peak of philosophy. Or at least of metaphysics. Rorty is the best pragmatist or sophist I have read. The English-writing philosophers are easy to understand because they are usually just sophists. Sophistry is good. But it's not all there is.


Nice to know.......But what about...The Logos?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 07:38 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;134963 wrote:
Nice to know.......But what about...The Logos?

Hegel is the self-consciousness of Logos, and that's why he's the end of metaphysics....
 
Twirlip
 
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 08:04 pm
@Jebediah,
[I was replying here to Jebediah's message #25, but I see that things have moved on apace!]

I accept that that is true, although it would be more accurate to say that literature and psychology (in the sense of a science) are both parts of the study of persons.

My interest in the study of persons is not limited to that part of it which is scientific.

This reminds me (of something I was thinking of mentioning in this thread anyway):

Cutting a long story short (because it's past my bedtime here in the UK), what brought me to this forum was an online conversation, back in January, on one of the BBC Radio 4 message boards, which was cut short (as so many conversations there are cut short, to the frustration of many of us!).

We were discussing a radio programme in which Richard Dawkins had said something about devout Muslims. This led on to a mention of Buddhism, and a reference to an interesting article by Sam Harris:

Shambhala Sun - Killing the Buddha

In message #79 of the thread on the BBC message board:

BBC - MESSAGE BOARDS - Radio 4 - Richard Dawkins' Fundamentalism - Conversation

I identified what I took (and still take) to be a non sequitur in Harris's argument.

The conversation was cut short, and I haven't had the opportunity to pursue the argument any further; however, I remain very interested in the form which a "progressive, non-dogmatic understanding of the mind" might take.

In message #39 of that thread, I had written:
Quote:
I really hope we will move beyond both organised religion and medical psychiatry, into some kind of progressive, non-dogmatic understanding of the mind; but such an understanding cannot be scientific, it will in many respects resemble religion, and we do not even seem yet to have an intellectual framework in which to develop such an understanding.
and, to the first part of that sentence, someone had immediately replied:
Quote:
We did 2.5 thousand years ago - it's called Buddhism.
The conversation appeared to be moving into an interesting and fruitful area, which is why it was so frustrating that it was cut off [is that the root meaning of "frustrated"? - I forget], prompting me to look for a philosophical forum where I could discuss this issue, in particular (as well as others, of course).

In message #68 of the thread, I had written:
Quote:
Yes, it's a very interesting article indeed, and bears out what betula was saying earlier (in response for something I wrote about the need for a progressive non-dogmatic understanding of the mind, or something to that effect).

Also, we now have Dawkins quoted or paraphrased thus:

(1) "If subtle, nuanced religion predominated, the world would be a better place and I would have written a different book."

(2) Dawkins regards Buddhism (like pantheism) as a species of atheism.

So there appears to be much fertile ground for peaceful, creative, intelligent and honest agreement in No Man's Land.
That was before I ran into what I considered to be the non sequitur of Harris assuming that there could be a "scientific account of the contemplative path" (my emphasis) which would "utterly transcend its religious associations".

The syllogism I invented here earlier reminded me of the fallacy I believed to exist in what Harris was saying.

But I was already thinking of referring to that article, and the conversation on the BBC message board, to give a slightly clearer idea of what kind of interest I have in philosophy.

I haven't re-read Harris's article, and it's possible that I'm misrepresenting it, or otherwise indulging in some logical fallacy of my own.

Anyway, I will probably start a thread about this issue in one of the other forums here.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 08:09 pm
@Twirlip,
Twirlip;134992 wrote:

In message #68 of the thread, I had written:
That was before I ran into what I considered to be the non sequitur of Harris assuming that there could be a "scientific account of the contemplative path" (my emphasis) which would "utterly transcend its religious associations".


This is in Kojeve on Hegel. I assure you. It is utterly rational, and utterly numinous/beautiful. It's an atheistic realization of what is true in the Christ myth. It's difficult to grasp, but it's the real thing. A true science of the spiritual. No sh*t.

I was always on a spiritual journey. Then I utterly rejected god, adopted a Nietzschean style satanic ironic pragmatism. I was Oscar Wilde except women were more appealing to me than men... But then i understood Hegel via Kojeve.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 08:10 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;134966 wrote:
Hegel is the self-consciousness of Logos, and that's why he's the end of metaphysics....


He certainly is the end, the very end.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 08:17 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;134998 wrote:
He certainly is the end, the very end.


If only you knew why...

Seriously, K, all this b.s. aside. I know you're a fan of logic. Well, Hegel discovered the ground of logic. I sh*t you not.
 
Twirlip
 
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 08:18 pm
@Reconstructo,
When I was at university in the early 1970s, something set me thinking about some kind of spiritual progression, a kind of ascending spiral, involving two opposed things forming a higher unity (in each twist of the spiral), and somebody mentioned Hegel to me, but I never followed it up. I used to have a lot of giddy ideas and images, but I didn't know how to put them into words (or indeed into mathematics); when I wrote notes, I often didn't understand what I had written; and I certainly had no idea how to talk to people about these giddy, feverish notions, nor did I know how to connect them with any established philosophy.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 08:25 pm
@Twirlip,
Twirlip;135010 wrote:
When I was at university in the early 1970s, something set me thinking about some kind of spiritual progression, a kind of ascending spiral, involving two opposed things forming a higher unity (in each twist of the spiral), and somebody mentioned Hegel to me, but I never followed it up. I used to have a lot of giddy ideas and images, but I didn't know how to put them into words (or indeed into mathematics); when I wrote notes, I often didn't understand what I had written; and I certainly had no idea how to talk to people about these giddy, feverish notions, nor did I know how to connect them with any established philosophy.


It's like this, Twirlip. Hegel is difficult, and maybe he was an obscure prose stylist. I can't yet read German, though I am studying it. But Kojeve's presentation of Hegel's ideas is the most impressive metaphysics (in the sense of fundamental Science) that I have ever encountered. And this ontology of his explains the "religious instinct." For Hegel, spiritual desire is the force that moves history, both toward democracy and Wisdom.

What man craves is recognition as a free historical being, and this is the foundation of Hegel. He knew that he was free and historical, but none of the philosophers before him could explain exactly why. This is what motivated his philosophy. And he succeeded. To do so, he had to accept Death. He had to sacrifice his incidental being for a vision of the transcendental structure of the human mind. What's wrong with Plato and various others is that they cannot bear to admit that man is the source of "God"...the good news is that this is a real "God." The bad news is that he doesn't do any miracles except for those that man does. For instance, we landed on the moon. Bach's music. Rembrandt's paintings. All of this, in Hegel's view, is God's work. How? Because God is 100% incarnate in man. He doesn't exist outside of man but only within man, as the fundamental structure of man's mind.

But for a man to realize this requires time. That is why Spinoza and Plato are wrong. Also Aristotle. Hegel finished the job. He incorporated time and atheism into the still-superstitious philosophy before him. Hegel is utterly rational. Pure Reason. Just like Blake, he sees that God only exists within man, as the essence of man. Hegel's entire philosophy is symbolized within my avatar, but of course you will have to read him....or rather Kojeve, who concentrates on his essence...

(Hegel made philosophical mistakes, but the center of his system is sound and perfect!)
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 08:29 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;135009 wrote:
If only you knew why...

Seriously, K, all this b.s. aside. I know you're a fan of logic. Well, Hegel discovered the ground of logic. I sh*t you not.


He did? Have you ever examined Hegel's logic? How would Hegel know anything about logic?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 08:41 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;135021 wrote:
He did? Have you ever examined Hegel's logic? How would Hegel know anything about logic?


Yes, I have. It's tough. I'm grateful for Kojeve, who spent years studying it. Hegel was out of this world, man. No, actually he is utterly immanent.
 
Twirlip
 
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 08:46 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;135018 wrote:
But Kojeve's presentation of Hegel's ideas is the most impressive metaphysics (in the sense of fundamental Science) that I have ever encountered.

I'll look him up tomorrow, I promise! You interest me strangely, good Sir. But I must abed.
Reconstructo;135018 wrote:
What's wrong with Plato and various others is that they cannot bear to admit that man is the source of "God"...the good news is that this is a real "God." The bad news is that he doesn't do any miracles except for those that man does. For instance, we landed on the moon. Bach's music. Rembrandt's paintings. All of this, in Hegel's view, is God's work. How? Because God is 100% incarnate in man. He doesn't exist outside of man but only within man, as the fundamental structure of man's mind.

That is almost what I believe. I certainly don't believe in anything supernatural. (I'll have to refresh my memory about Hume, but I think I'm pretty much with him on that.) However, I do believe in the paranormal. I'll have to start a thread on that some time, to see if the distinction can be maintained, as I have long assumed it can, without really thinking hard about it.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 08:50 pm
@Twirlip,
Twirlip;135051 wrote:
However, I do believe in the paranormal. I'll have to start a thread on that some time, to see if the distinction can be maintained, as I have long assumed it can, without really thinking hard about it.


i think from a Hegelian or Kantian perspective the paranormal would be interpreted as the not-yet documented natural. But that's an oversimplification.. But thanks!

I got lucky & found Kojeve at the library. Man, what a book....
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 09:01 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;135059 wrote:
i think from a Hegelian or Kantian perspective the paranormal would be interpreted as the not-yet documented natural. But that's an oversimplification.. But thanks!

I got lucky & found Kojeve at the library. Man, what a book....


I am glad it entertains you.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 09:05 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;135072 wrote:
I am glad it entertains you.


I'm telling you, K. It's bright stuff. Have you really tried to understand me? Or do you resent our arguments of yesterday too much? Or does it just sound strange? Or do you like the absence of a basic structure? Think outside your box. It's the essence of humanity. And that is Hegel in a nutshell, that man is essentially a being that culturally evolves. That's what the minus sign stands for. Pure negativity that drives our history. A sort of instinct to negate/synthesize/create...and this is also the source of word/number/logic.
 
 

 
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