Skewed Perceptions of Nietzsche

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Holiday20310401
 
Reply Wed 28 Apr, 2010 12:20 am
@Extrain,
Extrain;157350 wrote:
Of course The Genealogy is one big fallacy. Nietzsche accounts the so-called "origins" of Judeo-Christian morality and then concludes the tradition reversed the evaluations of "good and evil" in the past. But where's the logic in that? How do we know what N- said was true? What really IS good and evil anyway? Why are some things good and not evil, evil and not good according to N-? His caricaturization of Judoe-Christian morality is a strawman. Every Chrisitian I know agrees. So who is right? How N- approaches philosophical topics is typically one-dimensional and illogical.


Wasn't Nietzsche, to use the jargon you'd promote, a perspectivist?

Extrain;157350 wrote:
And in what sense did they "weaken" the human spirit? In N-'s own private sense? How do you test for that claim? What does "Weaken" mean in N-'s terminology? He just presupposes "Teutonic" contrary opposites of good and evil, master and slave, and then bashes Christianity with it. I wouldn't subscribe to his evaluations in a scientific sense anyway. Just look at the pragmatic argument against it.


Extrain;157350 wrote:
Christianity is alive and well.


Well what's that supposed to mean?

Extrain;157350 wrote:
The argument is invalid. (2) is false. And (3) is a result of Neitzsche's own hatred for Christianity because he didn't understand its message since he didn't identify with it.


What if today's Christianity has a different message from that of the days Nietzsche was around? What can be said about the Christian might be largely the product of culture and not the religion.

Extrain;157350 wrote:
This argument you offered fallaciously derives an "ought" from an "is" and caricaturizes Christianity as if it were nihilistic about this life, placing value only on the life to come. Then tell me why the Catholic Church, for example, has the best track record to this day assisting the sick, feeding the hungry, and taking care of poor with its countless charities? And did you know that "becoming Christian" is not a condtion for receiving that assistance? Catholic organizations are behind most of the secular charity organizations out there.


It's easy to be charitable towards the organizations doing work with grassroots activism and volunteerism. I'd be more convinced if I heard that the ones who are joining the NGOs and working in the field are the theists as opposed to secular.

Besides, one does not join a religious institution to be generous. One already has the will t be generous regardless of which organized religion one belongs to.

Extrain;157350 wrote:
And if Christians didn't value this life, then why don't they just ignore people's suffering and council everyone to commit suicide, while doing it themselves like that religious cult several years ago whose members committed suicide because they thought that action was the quickest path to landing oneself on an alien ship?


Because that would have been against what was culturally deemed acceptable in Christianity.

Remember learning about that purgatory scam from history class?

I think the real question in this whole argument lies in the relationship between the influences of culture and organized religions on the populace's values, mindsets, and lifestyles, and how that relationship has changed throughout the 20th century up to now. How it has changed will allow us to determine perhaps why Nietzsche was allowed to say "Christianity" then and not now.

Extrain;157350 wrote:
Suffering is good, it strengthens you and imparts wisdom and character. But what is wrong with the altruistic act of assisting someone in need? My grandmother is now dying of cancer, and I also have a handicapped sister. Should I follow N- advice and stop taking care of them both because N- thinks all altruistic acts of Love come from the sentiment of "pity"?


He didn't think that all altruistic acts came from the sentiment of pity.

But here's an example of what I think Nietzsche means: foreign aid, and charity.

I will use the distinction "western society" and "developing world" to make it easier to communicate what I mean to say. Foreign aid coming to Africa largely from western society helps in the short term as a utilitarian appeal to African governments, but such charity doesn't work to solve the inherent problems. Trillions have been poured into Africa yet poverty hasn't been solved.

www.bit.ly/cmePv7

A billion live on less that a dollar a day. We're trying to spread democracy thinking that this is all what's right for them, yet we don't bother to ask what does Africa want? It would be a poor image if organizations didn't help in some way, so they offer charity, out of the need to sympathize and have pity. But Africans are probably tired of pity now. They don't want to be constantly dependent on foreign aid to be economically sustainable just as they were once dependent on colonial rule. They want to be able to take care of themselves, and by all means the western world has the technology to give them that. Why should we meddle in their economic prowess and culture when we could give them technologies and knowledge so that they can emerge a culture and way of their own?
 
Fido
 
Reply Wed 28 Apr, 2010 12:32 am
@hue-man,
There is no religion anywhere that gives people morality...Religion takes advantage of the existing morality and that accounts for their differences...The Abrahamic religions are taylored to their consumers because people are notoriously hard to change...If anything, religion as a form inhibits change, and keeps people from adapting; but what choice do people have??? They have to cling to their guns and religion because newer forms are failing them, and religion tends to support community, and community supports the individual...Paul Catches hell from Nietzsche, but all he did was taylor his religion to the Romans...He gave a mouth to equality that was meaningless, and the women who were in his day as in ours the life and wealth of the church were given short shrift...Paul changed from black to white over night...People do not unless disturbed... In Europe, the church blessed greater powers for the kings, and out of that small change the people were gradually made slaves...It had nothing to do with Paul or Jesus... It is what happens over time with all forms...If people cannot renew them with revolution, then they lose all to invasion...
 
platorepublic
 
Reply Wed 28 Apr, 2010 01:39 am
@hue-man,
To be honest, I just don't like how his name sounds.
 
Fido
 
Reply Wed 28 Apr, 2010 02:23 am
@platorepublic,
platorepublic;157445 wrote:
To be honest, I just don't like how his name sounds.

It may be Gerrman for Anus...
 
Extrain
 
Reply Wed 28 Apr, 2010 02:51 am
@Holiday20310401,
Holiday20310401;157420 wrote:
Wasn't Nietzsche, to use the jargon you'd promote, a perspectivist?


I don't promote perspectivism or truth-relativism. I disparage it.

Holiday20310401;157420 wrote:
What if today's Christianity has a different message from that of the days Nietzsche was around? What can be said about the Christian might be largely the product of culture and not the religion.


And what message would that be today that is so different than the past? "What if?" is groundless speculation.

Holiday20310401;157420 wrote:
Well what's that supposed to mean?


...that christians have not committed mass suicide.

Holiday20310401;157420 wrote:
It's easy to be charitable towards the organizations doing work with grassroots activism and volunteerism. I'd be more convinced if I heard that the ones who are joining the NGOs and working in the field are the theists as opposed to secular.


Is there something wrong with being charitable, then? Some people can only send money to help others, and not their time. But that doesn't mean didn't work for that money. Charity is charity, regardless of the form that comes in.

And of course there are both secular and religious working in the field of larger faith-based charities. But haven't you paid attention to the fact that a sizeable portion of local charity work in cities such as food banks for the homeless are mostly run by participating local parishes and organizations run by nuns and friars?

Holiday20310401;157420 wrote:
Besides, one does not join a religious institution to be generous. One already has the will t be generous regardless of which organized religion one belongs to.


What does this have to do with anything other than the fact that people are generous, which is a good thing? I don't see any other religious groups with the extensive reach that the Church has. And we are only talking about one religious institution, too, with such are far-reaching impact on people no matter how imperfect those attempts to reach out are.

Holiday20310401;157420 wrote:
Because that would have been against what was culturally deemed acceptable in Christianity.


What exactly are you claiming? That all Christians are repressed suicidal failures?...lol.

Holiday20310401;157420 wrote:
Remember learning about that purgatory scam from history class?


I've heard of that strawman, yes. Pejoratively you call the formulation and articulation of Doctrine "a scam."

Holiday20310401;157420 wrote:
I think the real question in this whole argument lies in the relationship between the influences of culture and organized religions on the populace's values, mindsets, and lifestyles, and how that relationship has changed throughout the 20th century up to now. How it has changed will allow us to determine perhaps why Nietzsche was allowed to say "Christianity" then and not now.


Again, this is merely speculation. And these are all sociological questions. But if you want to start tossing the Nietzschean "revaluation of all values" mentality into a sociological question, your strategy ceases to be sociology and becomes Nietzschean dogmatism.

Holiday20310401;157420 wrote:
He didn't think that all altruistic acts came from the sentiment of pity.


Yes he did. Nietzsche called Christ's message of Love thy Neighbor and organized Christiantiy "the religion of pity" and accused it disparagingly of "wanting to turn the world into one big hospital." If N- did not find altruism distasteful, then why did Ayn Rand think he did? She developed her philosophy of moral egoism in opposition to altruism from what she thought was N-'s implicit upholding of that view.

Holiday20310401;157420 wrote:
But here's an example of what I think Nietzsche means: foreign aid, and charity. I will use the distinction "western society" and "developing world" to make it easier to communicate what I mean to say. Foreign aid coming to Africa largely from western society helps in the short term as a utilitarian appeal to African governments, but such charity doesn't work to solve the inherent problems. Trillions have been poured into Africa yet poverty hasn't been solved.


www.bit.ly/cmePv7


A billion live on less that a dollar a day. We're trying to spread democracy thinking that this is all what's right for them, yet we don't bother to ask what does Africa want? It would be a poor image if organizations didn't help in some way, so they offer charity, out of the need to sympathize and have pity. But Africans are probably tired of pity now. They don't want to be constantly dependent on foreign aid to be economically sustainable just as they were once dependent on colonial rule. They want to be able to take care of themselves, and by all means the western world has the technology to give them that. Why should we meddle in their economic prowess and culture when we could give them technologies and knowledge so that they can emerge a culture and way of their own?


Yes, the decisions made between secular governments with regard to these matters are rarely ever in the interest of those they were "meant" to serve, since these governments always have an alternative agenda to represent foreign investors back home.

So no one would disagree with helping those in need become economically and socially autonomous--that's precisely the goal of charity work. But these efforts are too often impeded by political/military issues like civil war and other such political conflict.

Do you really think building schools, feeding people, and giving them access to health care is a way of hurting them? The number one killer in the developing world is malnutrition and disease. And there is not a damn thing these people can do to help themselves because of their own governments.

So what's your alternative? To let people die of famine and disease because trillions of dollars have already been spent to try to repair a situation other a**holes continue to screw up? That's incredibly selfish.

Though it has been a few years since I read the book, I strongly recommend reading the moral philosopher Peter Unger's recent Living High, Letting Die which discusses this complex relation between Western Countries and the Developing World. That will definitely change how you view the true demographic of what is going in the world, and help you realize how easy it is to save a child's life by a miniscule 50 cents a month. I am not exaggerating. It's cheap as hell. As normal citizens we should be doing this, not our governments.

You just don't hear about these third-wold countries in the media very often, because these reports don't make for "good copy" and high ratings. Having to watch hundreds of millions die of starvation and disease causes someone to want to spend only a few dollars a year to save a child's life instead of spending 3 dollars a day on a Starbucks cappucino. This consumer society is incredibly narcissistic and hedonistic. We could be saving lives with the least amount of cost to ourselves. It's truly sickening.
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Wed 28 Apr, 2010 08:35 am
@Extrain,
Extrain;157463 wrote:

You just don't hear about these third-wold countries in the media very often, because these reports don't make for "good copy" and high ratings. Having to watch hundreds of millions die of starvation and disease causes someone to want to spend only a few dollars a year to save a child's life instead of spending 3 dollars a day on a Starbucks cappuccino. This consumer society is incredibly narcissistic and hedonistic. We could be saving lives with the least amount of cost to ourselves. It's truly sickening.


You say this like the people in the developed world are sickened morally and have their priorities messed up, but that is a failure to see the way in which society molds people into 'citizens.' People are not raised into philanthropic donors because that type of being is not profitable to the powers that be.

To many people, Africa is just a poor third world disease cesspool torn apart by civil war. But that is all that is ever covered in the mass media because that is the image of the situation that want people to hold. Giving spare change to charities would contribute to the people's economy in Africa while the $3/per cappuccino addiction will put $100 directly into the pockets of corporate America. Many people do not know that they could support communities in Africa for minuscule monetary contributions because that information is not provided to them. It is rarely plastered on television, it only makes print in niche publications, and it is not likely littering the margins on web pages.

What this means is that there is a major problem with people of knowledge not informing the ignorant masses, or in many cases paid off by corporate interests to dis and misinform the ignorant masses. Sure people are narcissistic and hedonistic, but it is hardly their personal problem as it is a symptom of a diseased meme pool.

The ideas that rule our times and construct the consumer and information cultures intentionally mold people into simple automatons that are easily manipulated by marketing campaigns and press releases. Some individuals get away from time to time but there are systems in place that reel them back in fold as they advance through university and career paths.

But back to the main Nietzsche thread. Nietzsche is an easy target for academic philosophy because he wasn't one of them. And the same goes with Plato.

Nietzsche though, was a very troubled thinker, which makes him the easier target. He used literary techniques in his thoughts, was trained in philology, and was much more a psychologist writer than an academic philosopher. Thus, it is not even fair to judge N from an academic philosophy perspective. It is easy to call the arguments invalid when they are not even really arguments at all. They are a presentation of ideas and a looking into of the bright but haunted mind that N possessed.

Did he attack. Of course, but that is the style of the work. There is much to be absorbed from any of his work, but it is comical to try to employ academic philosophy standards and terms on something that never was meant to meet those standards in the first place. In many ways, Nietzsche has more in common with a fiction writer like Dostoevsky, than with the academics he blasts throughout his work.

But anyway, what do I know. I only wrote my capstone paper on Nietzsche, studied ancient Greek, and I could care less about nearly all analytic philosophy and their methods of inquiry.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Wed 28 Apr, 2010 09:20 am
@Fido,
Fido;157369 wrote:
Nope... Not exactly... Consider all the moral forms, and even the physical... If you were the last person alive on the planet, which of those forms would would have meaning??? Meaning is something we share, and without people to share with, then, there is no meaning... When we communicate, what do we share??? We share meanings...What do you have to say with no one to say it to??? No individual has morality unless he carries it with him from his community in the traditional sense of ethics as custom or character...Indians would let themselves get burned up, cut up, butchered for days on end for the enjoyment of their captors because to do less than would disgrace their own people, and invite attack upon them...They were ethical as we cannot imagine being ethical, and that is the sort of society all our lives have come out of; but they survived, and we have not... We have lived with our Western laws for only a thousand years, and we have not captured justice or morality with them and we have not brought it to bay with philosophy...Until we grasp what it we are seeking we will never know it, and yet we all know something of morality since we all learned some of it at our mother's knee...


So the Indians were more ethical than Westerners because they were willing to let themselves be tortured to death in the name of their people?! Have you ever heard of the Aztecs? And I cannot have any moral obligations to myself if I'm left alone in the wilderness of Alaska? I have no meaning without other people? This is a battle cry of individual weakness that I cannot stomach. I believe that I have moral obligations to myself before anyone else and that my moral authority comes not from my "tribe" but from me. I would say that I'm a virtue ethicist not primarily because I think it would help other people, but because I believe that an ethic of character will propel me to greatness. The fact that my ethic of character may help other people is secondary to the fact that it will help me.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Wed 28 Apr, 2010 09:27 am
@Fido,
Fido;157457 wrote:
It may be Gerrman for Anus...


Such lucid articulation of a philosophical critique of Nietzsche's philosophy gives me great hope that philosophy as a rigourous intellectual discipline is still possible in today's world.

It seems that Nietzsche the human being is often more criticised than his thinking. On the one hand, some will call him a Nazi (or proto-Nazi) because rather dull minds quoted him out of context in an effort to bolster their propaganda; this seems a rather jejune understanding of history.

Others will attempt an psychological "explanation" of his thinking to early childhood, or some other event in his life; one wonders how subtle such reduction is and whether an experienced and practiced psychologist would venture anything but a tentative analysis based on information he could not confirm with direct communication.

Yet a third group will aver that Nietzsche was never quite a philosopher. But it seems, on the contrary, that many very important thinkers took him seriously philosophically, from Sartre to Heidegger to Jaspers to Danto to several of the current deconstructionists. Further, there is no department of philosophy in a university, that does not offer courses in Nietzsche if they can afford it. Recognised philosophers and academic institutions take him seriously as a philosopher; if so, then it seems merely being contrary to argue the opposite.

Along the same lines, some will take him to task for his putting his doctrines in a literary manner. But this is to say that Plato's use of dialogue, or Camus' novels and essays, or Sartre's plays, or Wittgenstein's conversational Investigations are not philosophy. But to critique western philosophy and its attempts at systemisation, Nietzsche chose to stand on a different stylistic ground (as did Kierkegaard) that avoided what he saw as a style that contributed to some of the philosophical problems he saw.

Another branch of this argument is that Nietzsche appeals to the young. Youth, at a certain stage and fortunately for the world, wants to stand on its own and to rethink , challenge,the idols of the older generation in power. Such thinking is never simply an abstract exercise for then, but vitally important to this effort and to become who they are.
This stance, this engagement, they share with Nietzsche, and who better to encourage the bravery of radical rethinking than someone who took this seriously and who left no idol unexamined? Who better, moreover, to remind youth (and not just youth) that matters of the spirit are important?

These kinds of criticism really tells us more about the critics than the object of their criticism; insults are not philosophical arguments, and Nietzsche's thinking should be (and certainly can be) subject to reasoned, intellectual criticism based on his writings.
 
Holiday20310401
 
Reply Wed 28 Apr, 2010 09:43 am
@Extrain,
Extrain;157463 wrote:
I don't promote perspectivism or truth-relativism. I disparage it.


Perspectivism is very different from relativism. Why put the two together, what valuation are you implying here? Just because you don't promote perspectivism doesn't make it wrong.

Extrain;157463 wrote:
And what message would that be today that is so different than the past? "What if?" is groundless speculation.


The way I see it, one's approach (or reproach) to "What if's" demonstrates a person's attitude and has nothing to do with epistemic matters.

Extrain;157463 wrote:
...that christians have not committed mass suicide.


That's quite the low priorities for defining "alive and well" simply leaving it to a matter of whether the people of a religion exist today or not.

Extrain;157463 wrote:
Is there something wrong with being charitable, then? Some people can only send money to help others, and not their time. But that doesn't mean didn't work for that money. Charity is charity, regardless of the form that comes in.


I didn't say there was anything wrong with it.

Extrain;157463 wrote:
And of course there are both secular and religious working in the field of larger faith-based charities. But haven't you paid attention to the fact that a sizeable portion of local charity work in cities such as food banks for the homeless are mostly run by participating local parishes and organizations run by nuns and friars?


Yes, I participated in helping to raise money for the Haiti relief at the church and school. The church did far better.

Extrain;157463 wrote:
What does this have to do with anything other than the fact that people are generous, which is a good thing? I don't see any other religious groups with the extensive reach that the Church has. And we are only talking about one religious institution, too, with such are far-reaching impact on people no matter how imperfect those attempts to reach out are.


I'm just saying that it's also important to know why people are generous.

Extrain;157463 wrote:
What exactly are you claiming? That all Christians are repressed suicidal failures?...lol.


Swing and a miss, lol.

Extrain;157463 wrote:
I've heard of that strawman, yes. Pejoratively you call the formulation and articulation of Doctrine "a scam."


Oh so it was sincerity then?

Extrain;157463 wrote:
Again, this is merely speculation. And these are all sociological questions.


What's condoning about a sociological question if it's relevant?

Extrain;157463 wrote:

Yes he did. Nietzsche called Christ's message of Love thy Neighbor and organized Christiantiy "the religion of pity" and accused it disparagingly of "wanting to turn the world into one big hospital."


Ironically, this does nothing to invalidate my point.


Extrain;157463 wrote:
Do you really think building schools, feeding people, and giving them access to health care is a way of hurting them?


No.

Extrain;157463 wrote:
The number one killer in the developing world is malnutrition and disease. And there is not a damn thing these people can do to help themselves because of their own governments.


Governments need a continuous reason for being provided aid.

Extrain;157463 wrote:
So what's your alternative? To let people die of famine and disease because trillions of dollars have already been spent to try to repair a situation other a**holes continue to screw up? That's incredibly selfish.


I believe I've already stated an alternative.

Extrain;157463 wrote:

You just don't hear about these third-wold countries in the media very often, because these reports don't make for "good copy" and high ratings. Having to watch hundreds of millions die of starvation and disease causes someone to want to spend only a few dollars a year to save a child's life instead of spending 3 dollars a day on a Starbucks cappucino.


That's exactly the point. It's the audience the media has to appeal to, one of sympathy.
 
CharmingPhlsphr
 
Reply Wed 28 Apr, 2010 09:43 am
@hue-man,
hue-man;156476 wrote:
Now we can blame some of the skewed perceptions of Nietzsche on his aphoristic style of writing or his complex ideas. Afterall, he did attempt to weed out certain individuals with the way he delivered his ideas. However, some of the commentary on Nietzsche, especially in this section of the forum, are clearly more than a result of Nietzsche's relative ambiguity. From the mocking comments on his idea of the overman to the claims that he shared fascist views and viewed the Jews as inferior to the Nazis, some seem intent on not trying to understand the man's ideas. Now I have my theories on why some react this way, but why do think this is so?

I can already see the jesters waiting to perform.


I never saw Nietzsche as being ambiguous in any way. Matter of fact, it was his brazenly direct approach that inspired me to read through much of his work (The Gay Science is my personal favorite). What I found interesting, though, is that he was not really that complex, but rather quite easy to understand with the guise of complexity; it is, perhaps, for this reason that his ideas were so pervasive and dangerous. While I cannot say that he was necessarily a fascist or even that he felt the Jews to be less than the Nazis (Nazism, I believe, came after Nietzsche), I would say the idea followed its natural course.

Ideas are incredibly dangerous to man, for they often seem to take a life of their own as the generations pass. Nietzsche's ideas and concepts followed this principle because of their nature and what they entailed. He called it too! In The Gay Science, he wrote of man (whom I will designate, natural man) as being fueled by an avaricious and lustful desire for possession. What other way was there for the following generations to take his concepts? Every youth who unwittingly echoes his sentiments and the plague of Nazism are the rightful heirs to the idea which Nietzsche presented. I wonder, though, if he had any idea of these consequences.
 
Fido
 
Reply Wed 28 Apr, 2010 09:47 am
@hue-man,
hue-man;157550 wrote:
So the Indians were more ethical than Westerners because they were willing to let themselves be tortured to death in the name of their people?! Have you ever heard of the Aztecs? And I cannot have any moral obligations to myself if I'm left alone in the wilderness of Alaska? I have no meaning without other people? This is a battle cry of individual weakness that I cannot stomach. I believe that I have moral obligations to myself before anyone else and that my moral authority comes not from my "tribe" but from me. I would say that I'm a virtue ethicist not primarily because I think it would help other people, but because I believe that an ethic of character will propel me to greatness. The fact that my ethic of character may help other people is secondary to the fact that it will help me.

How is your immorality going to hurt you, or your morality going to help you if there is only you???You have learned about morality in relationships with people so you really cannot imagine morality without the people, but, what if there were no people... What would good, mean, or evil???

Sure I have heard of the Aztecs, and they were no different... They sacrificed human life for rain and the rain fell on all.... Do you believe they did not meet their deaths with equanimity??? Consider that before primitives in America, North and South had ever heard of Jesus, that he was already a hero to them, because he laid down his life for his friends, the primary virtue among primitives...

---------- Post added 04-28-2010 at 11:56 AM ----------

CharmingPhlsphr;157561 wrote:
I never saw Nietzsche as being ambiguous in any way. Matter of fact, it was his brazenly direct approach that inspired me to read through much of his work (The Gay Science is my personal favorite). What I found interesting, though, is that he was not really that complex, but rather quite easy to understand with the guise of complexity; it is, perhaps, for this reason that his ideas were so pervasive and dangerous. While I cannot say that he was necessarily a fascist or even that he felt the Jews to be less than the Nazis (Nazism, I believe, came after Nietzsche), I would say the idea followed its natural course.

Ideas are incredibly dangerous to man, for they often seem to take a life of their own as the generations pass. Nietzsche's ideas and concepts followed this principle because of their nature and what they entailed. He called it too! In The Gay Science, he wrote of man (whom I will designate, natural man) as being fueled by an avaricious and lustful desire for possession. What other way was there for the following generations to take his concepts? Every youth who unwittingly echoes his sentiments and the plague of Nazism are the rightful heirs to the idea which Nietzsche presented. I wonder, though, if he had any idea of these consequences.

He is no longer cutting edge... The world has seen the effect of his philosophy come and go, and sanity has returned, so to speak...It is not ideas that are dangerous, but people are dangerous who do not use ideas to think, but use them to avoid thought, as a substitute for thought...No one can justly let others do their thinking for them.... Great if you believe they are smarter, or more learned... A healthy bit of contempt or pride is required of each of us, so we never take any word as Gospel... Think for yourself, if you are indeed an individual...I am by fault, as an illness, as the reslult of an injury; but only the young freely accept this condition without any understanding of its implications... Every individual is a criminal waiting only for an opportunity... Only as members of a community even if it is the community of humanity can we be moral...
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Wed 28 Apr, 2010 10:13 am
@Fido,
Fido;157563 wrote:
Every individual is a criminal waiting only for an opportunity... Only as members of a community even if it is the community of humanity can we be moral...
You continue to utter statements like these about the depraved individual and his lack of morality when disconnected from 'community'. Yet where is your argument? Are you going to keep making these statements, or can you come up with the premises that lead to the conclusion, I wonder.
 
CharmingPhlsphr
 
Reply Wed 28 Apr, 2010 10:14 am
@Fido,
Fido;157563 wrote:
He is no longer cutting edge... The world has seen the effect of his philosophy come and go, and sanity has returned, so to speak...It is not ideas that are dangerous, but people are dangerous who do not use ideas to think, but use them to avoid thought, as a substitute for thought...No one can justly let others do their thinking for them.... Great if you believe they are smarter, or more learned... A healthy bit of contempt or pride is required of each of us, so we never take any word as Gospel... Think for yourself, if you are indeed an individual...I am by fault, as an illness, as the reslult of an injury; but only the young freely accept this condition without any understanding of its implications... Every individual is a criminal waiting only for an opportunity... Only as members of a community even if it is the community of humanity can we be moral...


The cutting edge is hardly the most impacting. Many philosophers do not really come into popularity until after their death, one of which being the eloquent, profound, and seemingly prophetic, Soren Kierkegaard. Of course, though, the main reason why the cutting edge seems to be so important is certainly because of the technological advances we have made. An individual idea, now, could travel the world over with little effort, whereas the intellectuals of the prior generations required personal recommendations from other intellectuals who were mutually associated with the one to whom the recommendation was being made.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Wed 28 Apr, 2010 12:24 pm
@CharmingPhlsphr,
CharmingPhlsphr;157561 wrote:
I never saw Nietzsche as being ambiguous in any way. Matter of fact, it was his brazenly direct approach that inspired me to read through much of his work (The Gay Science is my personal favorite). What I found interesting, though, is that he was not really that complex, but rather quite easy to understand with the guise of complexity; it is, perhaps, for this reason that his ideas were so pervasive and dangerous. While I cannot say that he was necessarily a fascist or even that he felt the Jews to be less than the Nazis (Nazism, I believe, came after Nietzsche), I would say the idea followed its natural course.

Ideas are incredibly dangerous to man, for they often seem to take a life of their own as the generations pass. Nietzsche's ideas and concepts followed this principle because of their nature and what they entailed. He called it too! In The Gay Science, he wrote of man (whom I will designate, natural man) as being fueled by an avaricious and lustful desire for possession. What other way was there for the following generations to take his concepts? Every youth who unwittingly echoes his sentiments and the plague of Nazism are the rightful heirs to the idea which Nietzsche presented. I wonder, though, if he had any idea of these consequences.


I agree that ideas can have unintended consequences, but Nietzsche cannot be held responsible for things he did not prescribe. Nietzsche was more descriptive than anything else, which is why his work is often categorized with psychology as well as philosophy. He did not prescribe that people should mistreat minorities, in fact quite the contrary. He saw the antisemitism in Germany as an example of the herd morality that he was against. Racism, nationalism and tribalism wasn't Nietzsche's cup of tea.

---------- Post added 04-28-2010 at 02:47 PM ----------

Fido;157563 wrote:
How is your immorality going to hurt you, or your morality going to help you if there is only you???You have learned about morality in relationships with people so you really cannot imagine morality without the people, but, what if there were no people... What would good, mean, or evil???


I have learned social skills from other people, yes, but morality isn't just about how you should treat other people. Morality is also about how one should treat themselves. For example, I believe it is immoral for me to eat a bunch of junk food and be idle. I don't believe this because it will harm other people, though. I believe this because it will harm me and derail the drive to my goals.

Also, the social skills you learn from other people can sometimes be very contrary to our moral conventions, so don't be too optimistic about that. You're using too broad a brush for your depiction of human social behavior.

Fido;157563 wrote:
Sure I have heard of the Aztecs, and they were no different... They sacrificed human life for rain and the rain fell on all.... Do you believe they did not meet their deaths with equanimity??? Consider that before primitives in America, North and South had ever heard of Jesus, that he was already a hero to them, because he laid down his life for his friends, the primary virtue among primitives...
Well you do know that the Aztecs were Indians (or Native Americans proper) don't you? So not all Native American fit under your ethical ideal. Self-sacrifice for ones beliefs or friends is seen as a virtue by most cultures. However, consider this. What would happen if everyone decided to wittingly sacrifice their lives for their friends? Eventually there would be one person left without a friend. Perhaps we should instead suggest that self-sacrifice is only good when most people don't do it. Smile


 
Extrain
 
Reply Wed 28 Apr, 2010 01:20 pm
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus;157535 wrote:
You say this like the people in the developed world are sickened morally and have their priorities messed up, but that is a failure to see the way in which society molds people into 'citizens.' People are not raised into philanthropic donors because that type of being is not profitable to the powers that be.
What this means is that there is a major problem with people of knowledge not informing the ignorant masses, or in many cases paid off by corporate interests to dis and misinform the ignorant masses. Sure people are narcissistic and hedonistic, but it is hardly their personal problem as it is a symptom of a diseased meme pool.


You are offering an argument to justify a culture's moral complacency--as if slave-owners were not morally culpable because their culture didn't tell them that slavery was wrong. First, almost every person KNOWS about starvation, malnutrition, and disease world-wide. Just ask any average person on the street. We just don't see the ads to donate to some charity organization that much in magazines and on television because they are buried in a cesspool of advertisements for bath products, beer, and automobiles. But of course people know about it.

So ignoring a fact doesn't make people less culpable for neglecting to do something about it. You pretend as if a person's neglect to help a starving child in another country somehow makes person less culpable on account of the distance between himself and the child. That's bull. "Distance" is not a morally relevant factor. We are just as morally culpable for neglecting to save a 6 year old drowning in two inches of water whom we pass by on the street as we are failing to help that same child 10 miles away. If someone is aware of it, and can do something about it, then that person ought to do at least something about it. That doesn't mean we all have to give up our lives and become social workers for all the relief efforts out there. But it does morally entail that we should be sending some assistance that direction. I don't see any good excuses. Read Living High, Letting Die: Our Illusions of Innocence (1996), by the moral philosopher Peter Unger--he lists 10 or 12 excuses average citizens offer for neglecting malnutrition and world hunger, and finds all of them morally wanting. Cultural moral relativism is one of those excuses. You just blamed the media and big-business on my own failure to do something about this problem.

Quote:
To many people, Africa is just a poor third world disease cesspool torn apart by civil war. But that is all that is ever covered in the mass media because that is the image of the situation that want people to hold. Giving spare change to charities would contribute to the people's economy in Africa while the $3/per cappuccino addiction will put $100 directly into the pockets of corporate America. Many people do not know that they could support communities in Africa for minuscule monetary contributions because that information is not provided to them. It is rarely plastered on television, it only makes print in niche publications, and it is not likely littering the margins on web pages.


It doesn't matter how infrequent that information is presented. It only requires that information being presented ONCE to find oneself morally accountable for neglect. And it simply doesn't matter these problems are a 15 hundred miles away.

Quote:
The ideas that rule our times and construct the consumer and information cultures intentionally mold people into simple automatons that are easily manipulated by marketing campaigns and press releases. Some individuals get away from time to time but there are systems in place that reel them back in fold as they advance through university and career paths.


So you are blaming someone's failure to behave morally on this abstract thing called "culture"--as if "culture" is the problem. I hate to break to you, we ARE culture. So we ARE to blame. That's like saying "I am not to blame because my culture made me this way." That's not right at all. Slavery was entrenched within the political system and the economy down South, and Slave-Owners depended for their livelihoods on that labor. That still doesn't morally justify Slavery as an institution which forms a deep part of that culture.

Theaetetus;157535 wrote:
But back to the main Nietzsche thread. Nietzsche is an easy target for academic philosophy because he wasn't one of them. And the same goes with Plato.

Nietzsche though, was a very troubled thinker, which makes him the easier target. He used literary techniques in his thoughts, was trained in philology, and was much more a psychologist writer than an academic philosopher. Thus, it is not even fair to judge N from an academic philosophy perspective. It is easy to call the arguments invalid when they are not even really arguments at all. They are a presentation of ideas and a looking into of the bright but haunted mind that N possessed.

Did he attack. Of course, but that is the style of the work. There is much to be absorbed from any of his work, but it is comical to try to employ academic philosophy standards and terms on something that never was meant to meet those standards in the first place.


It doesn't matter what his methodology was. He was a philosopher and not a person merely writing poetry or fiction like Dosteoevsky. Nietzsche presented his ideas in philosophical prose, and he wanted the unspecifed "intellectual elite" to take him seriously. So if he is presenting powerful ideas which can influence people on a grand scale, those ideas can be, and ought to be, the subject of philosophical scrutiny--and so can the personality behind those ideas. Just because N- was not an "analytic" philosophers doesn't make him immune from criticism. Anyone can abandon logic and say, "I am irrefutable because I speak non-logically." Yeah, right, as if N- were a god. That's a dangerous and irresponsible way of doing philosophy, and it is sad people think this way of approaching powerful ideas is permissible. Religious fundamentalists abandon logic when you present cases against their claims, too. I find it hilarious that people defend N- just like religious fundamentalists defend creationism, namely, by abandoning logic and saying their ideas are "somehow mysteriously correct, but non-logical." How are we supposed to offer objections to N- if N- is beyond logical reproach? I wonder.....

Theaetetus;157535 wrote:
In many ways, Nietzsche has more in common with a fiction writer like Dostoevsky, than with the academics he blasts throughout his work.


But Nietzsche wasn't a fiction writer. He was a philosopher. Therefore, he is on philosophy's turf. N- is not immune from criticism.

Theaetetus;157535 wrote:
But anyway, what do I know. I only wrote my capstone paper on Nietzsche, studied ancient Greek, and I could care less about nearly all analytic philosophy and their methods of inquiry.


That's truly sad. You are missing soooo much. Logic promotes intellectual freedom because it is a way of de-programming yourself of the B.S. you think you know. It continually pulls me out of my own biases, consequently making me more self-aware, while also expanding my horizons. If someone just looks at logic and sees numbers, he is missing the point. Logic is a powerful tool that uncovers presuppositions, implicit ideologies, and exposes the diseased thought-memes with which our culture has brainwashed us--whether secular, quasi-scientific, and religious. And N- stunts this growth into intellectual maturity because he promotes the lazy-minded relativism ramapant in Western Culture whether he intended that or not.

Here is an example of intellectual freedom: Brad Monton is a well-known published philosopher who works with Bayesianism and probability calculus, and also a staunch atheist who thinks Intelligent Design is more likely the correct view to take with respect to evolution. He thinks intelligence is embedded within the structure of the universe, but arrives at that this mathematically in direct opposition to people like Dawkins. He doesn't like organized religion at all, but he doesn't take Dawkins' militant-atheist thought-meme as a responsible way of approaching science. And he is right. That kind of impassioned bigotry clouds one's judgement. So Monton wants emprical and mathematical evidence--not for God, but for evolution itself--and thinks evolutionary biology in its current state is coming up drastically short of advancing any kind of theory at all. Whether or not he is right or wrong is not the point. The point is that he is truly the "free-spirit" N- always talked about, and is not bound by the alleged distinction set up by the masses between Science vs. Evolution. That debate doesn't exist, and you will find the more respectable atheists in academia often agreeing with that. So the map of ideas is much more complex than the mock-debate between amateurs you are going to find YouTube or as an undergraduate at a 4 year school.

---------- Post added 04-28-2010 at 02:22 PM ----------

Holiday20310401;157560 wrote:
Perspectivism is very different from relativism. Why put the two together, what valuation are you implying here? Just because you don't promote perspectivism doesn't make it wrong.


What's the point, here? Relativism is a substantive normative or meta-ethical thesis about the status of moral judgments. Perspectivism is a methodological approach to philosophical questions. So if you think perspecitivism is the correct methodological approach to philosophical issues, then give me an argument why you believe this, otherwise we are just wasting our time.

Holiday20310401;157560 wrote:
The way I see it, one's approach (or reproach) to "What if's" demonstrates a person's attitude and has nothing to do with epistemic matters.


Then put your money where your mouth is and say something intelligible. Asking a question doesn't resolve anything; it just presupposes there is a problem needing to be resolved. Just because you take the question whether "pink elephants exist" as a serious question, doesn't make that question a serious question. Maybe you could start off by actually saying something substantive?

Holiday20310401;157560 wrote:
That's quite the low priorities for defining "alive and well" simply leaving it to a matter of whether the people of a religion exist today or not.


Of course it is an empty point. It is just as empty as saying "christians are life disparaging beause they thing the soul lives forever." Anyone can respond to N-'s empty rhetoric with more empty rhetoric. Are you going to say something intelligent, or do you think philosophy consists of polemics and character bashing just like Nietzsche does? I would like to discuss something substantive (assuming, of course, you are capable of doing that).

Holiday20310401;157560 wrote:
I didn't say there was anything wrong with it.


Then what WERE you saying? Are you saying anything at all?

Holiday20310401;157560 wrote:
Yes, I participated in helping to raise money for the Haiti relief at the church and school.


Good for you.

Holiday20310401;157560 wrote:
I'm just saying that it's also important to know why people are generous.


So why are people generous?

Holiday20310401;157560 wrote:
Swing and a miss, lol.


Yeah, that's insightful.

Holiday20310401;157560 wrote:
Oh so it was sincerity then?


...sure, since the lies high school teachers tell you are sincere lies.

Holiday20310401;157560 wrote:
What's condoning about a sociological question if it's relevant?


Of course it's relevant. I just want to hear you say something about that (assuming, of course, you are campable of doing that). Implicitly suggesting you hold empirical information to discuss a point you can't make does not succeed in presenting that empirical information to make your point.

Holiday20310401;157560 wrote:
Ironically, this does nothing to invalidate my point.


Read aphorism 133 in Daybreak, Titled, "No Longer to Think of Oneself." ...."Let us reflect seriously upon this question: why do we leap after someone who has fallen into the water in front of us, even though we feel no kind of affection for him? Out of pity:" Read the entire aphorism. "Not thinking of oneself" is altruism.

So your point has been invalidated. Maybe you can give me a passage where N- thinks "not thinking of oneself" is even possible? I suspect it is most accurate to say of N- that he was a through and through psychological egoist such that "real" altruistic acts are psychologically impossible.

Holiday20310401;157560 wrote:
Governments need a continuous reason for being provided aid. I believe I've already stated an alternative. That's exactly the point. It's the audience the media has to appeal to, one of sympathy.


The alternative being, "Let those people who can't help themselves help themselves"? That's not rational, nor is it a solution.
 
Fido
 
Reply Wed 28 Apr, 2010 03:45 pm
@Pangloss,
Pangloss;157573 wrote:
You continue to utter statements like these about the depraved individual and his lack of morality when disconnected from 'community'. Yet where is your argument? Are you going to keep making these statements, or can you come up with the premises that lead to the conclusion, I wonder.

It is because of the word for one, of ethic meaning custom and character, both of which we get from our family groups...and second, because if we look at criminality the bulk of it is cenetered on the young who are finding themselves apart from their families, and for whom crime is a form of self expression... When communiites were a universal reality as they still are in some places, there was group responsibility, and children learned from a very young age not to screw up, because the vengeance taken would be taken indiscriminately upon anyone in the whole community, and that, as with the barbarous Native Americans, that their courage would also defend the whole people... What people do when they are virtuous and moral feeds the life of the community, and when ever there is a justification for injustice it is an individual making the argument, for there is no benefit to injustice for the community... Rationalization applied to morals is a failure because when one makes a sacrifice, or endangers their life for others, it is irrational... It is emotions and emotional attachments that fire morality...People know what is right, but only a person, thinking of their own benefit or pleasure can justify infustice, and rationalize crime, which injures the whole of the community...As the Arabs said in announcing the need for vengeance: Our blood has been shed... To be moral one must be one of the many, and no person is more moral than they accept the morality of their group... Which individuals feel above...
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Wed 28 Apr, 2010 06:30 pm
@Fido,
Fido;157645 wrote:
because if we look at criminality the bulk of it is cenetered on the young who are finding themselves apart from their families, and for whom crime is a form of self expression...


Yes, this is probably a large segment of crime, but I'm not sure if what you are saying here in fact applies to "the bulk of it". What about white collar criminals who are committing wide scale injustice behind closed doors, but maintain family relationships, and who are regarded highly by society? How about organized crime? That subculture is rife with injustice, according to the rest of our society. But within their own criminal community, what they carry out is justice.

Quote:
When communiites were a universal reality as they still are in some places, there was group responsibility, and children learned from a very young age not to screw up, because the vengeance taken would be taken indiscriminately upon anyone in the whole community, and that, as with the barbarous Native Americans, that their courage would also defend the whole people...


Yes, the ancients had a great sense of justice within their own communities, but had no qualms about slaughtering, raping, and pillaging neighboring communities in the name of justice...I believe Socrates once tried to point out the hypocrisy and injustice of this kind to his own community, and look at what happened to him! Injustice committed by the community against the individual, not vice versa.

Quote:
What people do when they are virtuous and moral feeds the life of the community, and when ever there is a justification for injustice it is an individual making the argument, for there is no benefit to injustice for the community... Rationalization applied to morals is a failure because when one makes a sacrifice, or endangers their life for others, it is irrational... It is emotions and emotional attachments that fire morality...People know what is right, but only a person, thinking of their own benefit or pleasure can justify infustice, and rationalize crime, which injures the whole of the community.


I believe that if you check out a history book, you can find dozens of cases of individuals arguing for justice, while their communities are arguing for injustice. Socrates, Jesus, Buddha, Confucius, Ghandi, John Brown, Thoreau, Martin Luther King, just to name a few. History has shown, time and time again, that people can know what is right, but sometimes it takes one individual person to convince them of that. Crime and injustice have been rationalized on a large scale in communities like Nazi Germany of course, and maybe some place like Somalia today. What is your definition of a community? The community I am concerned with is this global community...because when talking of states and empires, one person's community is another's enemy, and the line between 'just' and 'unjust' is blurred very easily. You talk about the Arabs and what was just to them, but how did everyone else feel about it? :bigsmile:
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Thu 29 Apr, 2010 09:10 am
@hue-man,
Extrain;157607 wrote:
You are offering an argument to justify a culture's moral complacency--as if slave-owners were not morally culpable because their culture didn't tell them that slavery was wrong. First, almost every person KNOWS about starvation, malnutrition, and disease world-wide. Just ask any average person on the street. We just don't see the ads to donate to some charity organization that much in magazines and on television because they are buried in a cesspool of advertisements for bath products, beer, and automobiles. But of course people know about it.


People may know about it, but they do not know that they can do anything about it. I work as a community organizer of sorts in my free time for fun, and what I do should not even be required. All I really do is pass on information to those who need it. I will go around to community meeting, help figure out what type of information different groups need, and then pass on the information to them on where to find it. Sure, the information is out there, but it is irrelevant as long as it is buried under the mountain of information overload that is bombarded at automaton human beings like we are doing particle physics experiments.

There is a severe information deficit in the United States in that many lack access into the digital world. They don't or can't have bank accounts, and they do not have reliable access to the Internet, and if they do, they often lack the skills needed to find good information easily. But then there is the other side of the coin which is even worse--the people that are bombarded with useless information, and as a result, never or seldom move to more stimulating bits of information other than the benign bits they are saturated with..

I am not justifying moral complacency, but I am highlighting the problem with moral ignorance, and why it exists today. It is generally not the agent that is at fault, but rather the construction of his being. People know that much of the third world is starving, but their is also a third world in the United States that is starving as well. I see it day in and day out. Many of these people are not employable so it is not like they can down to a local business and get a job. Should the $3/per cappuccino people hand over a bum that three dollars instead? It would do the bum good. He gets drunk, the rich scum forgoes their cappuccino to help the less fortunate, and then next day the bum wants three dollars and they rich scum wants another cappuccino.

Extrain wrote:
So ignoring a fact doesn't make people less culpable for neglecting to do something about it. You pretend as if a person's neglect to help a starving child in another country somehow makes person less culpable on account of the distance between himself and the child. That's bull. "Distance" is not a morally relevant factor. We are just as morally culpable for neglecting to save a 6 year old drowning in two inches of water whom we pass by on the street as we are failing to help that same child 10 miles away.

That may be so in some sort of moral thought experiment, but life does not work that way. Distant may not be a morally relevant factor in deontological ethics, but it is relevant in life. No one is obliged to helping anyone else, but people are more likely to when they can actually see people suffering. Sure it is nice to say that someone is morally obliged to help save a drowning six year old, but in reality they are not. If they are the parent of the six year old, then they are legally obliged to help their child, but that is different. I feel that there are too many people all ready that I am not going to help the dumb and the weak when they are put in life and death situation. What's the point? It is irrational for me to care about someone that I have no direct link to, and it is irrational for me to feel guilt for not doing anything.
Extrain wrote:
If someone is aware of it, and can do something about it, then that person ought to do at least something about it.

That is nice and all in the confines of a deontological ethicist's body of work, but no one is obliged to help others out for which they are not responsible. I am aware that there are homeless people in my neighborhood, I can do something about it, but the only thing that says I ought to do something about it is myself. The world is cold and brutal. The weak generally suffer and die. Humans are the only creatures that expend so much effort worrying about the weak lame.

Extrain wrote:
It doesn't matter how infrequent that information is presented. It only requires that information being presented ONCE to find oneself morally accountable for neglect. And it simply doesn't matter these problems are a 15 hundred miles away.
Extrain wrote:
So you are blaming someone's failure to behave morally on this abstract thing called "culture"--as if "culture" is the problem. I hate to break to you, we ARE culture. So we ARE to blame. That's like saying "I am not to blame because my culture made me this way." That's not right at all. Slavery was entrenched within the political system and the economy down South, and Slave-Owners depended for their livelihoods on that labor. That still doesn't morally justify Slavery as an institution which forms a deep part of that culture.

But most people had nothing to do with slavery. They are not blameworthy for their passive existence in a culture as it was. Now you are basically making an argument that slaves themselves were also responsible for their situation. I am making an argument that the modern versions of slaves, the human automatons, are not blameworthy for the problems in the world. The do not bare the responsibility of the decision making that went into creating culture as it is.

Extrain wrote:
But Nietzsche wasn't a fiction writer. He was a philosopher. Therefore, he is on philosophy's turf. N- is not immune from criticism.

Technically, Nietzsche was a philologist, not a philosopher, but ended up moving into philosophy like so many other philosophers over time have from other fields.
But Nietzsche was a fiction writer. What is Thus Spoke Zarathustra? It is not written as a philosophy book, but rather as a work of fiction much like the Bible and the modern book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Not to mention, when N wrote, he took on a persona from which he wrote. He thought of himself as philosophizing with a hammer, so he was intentionally writing with great zeal and bombast. N was a staunch social critic, philologist, psychologist, philosopher, and classist, so it is not fair to discredit his whole body of work because he was a flawed philosopher. N was a possessor of ideas, and because his arguments may suck, that does not mean that all of his ideas such.

Extrain wrote:
That's truly sad. You are missing soooo much. Logic promotes intellectual freedom because it is a way of de-programming yourself of the B.S. you think you know. It continually pulls me out of my own biases, consequently making me more self-aware, while also expanding my horizons. If someone just looks at logic and sees numbers, he is missing the point. Logic is a powerful tool that uncovers presuppositions, implicit ideologies, and exposes the diseased thought-memes with which our culture has brainwashed us--whether secular, quasi-scientific, and religious. And N- stunts this growth into intellectual maturity because he promotes the lazy-minded relativism ramapant in Western Culture whether he intended that or not.


Well, that may be true that my interests are sad, and I am filled with bias, but I don't give a f#ck about academic philosophy any longer. The field is generally so far removed from doing anything to actually make society better that it amounts to little more than hot air. It is great that there are many academics that have worked out all of these moral issues, but do nothing to solve them. They just argue with their egghead colleagues and few ever step off a campus and do anything to solve the moral dilemmas they ponder and write about, but generally only professionals read. Until the philosopher attempts to take their messages to the people who can use it to make their's and others' lives better, academic philosophy is little more than verbal and written masturbation. I will take my classics and works of great literature over current philosophical works because, first, they matter, and second, people actually read them and you can have discussions with people across the limits of specialized learning.
I have studied logic. It is a nice tool, but formal logic is pretty much a wash for nearly all people. It is not going to help them become better critical thinkers, readers, and writers. To the academic, it may be very useful, but all it amounts to is telling one group to go play their game over there so not to influence another group while this group is manipulated into doing silly acts because they do not know what they are doing could be radically different.
 
Extrain
 
Reply Thu 29 Apr, 2010 09:22 am
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus;157962 wrote:
Thus Spoke Zarathustra? It is not written as a philosophy book, but rather as a work of fiction much like the Bible and the modern book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Not to mention, when N wrote, he took on a persona from which he wrote. He thought of himself as philosophizing with a hammer, so he was intentionally writing with great zeal and bombast. N was a staunch social critic, philologist, psychologist, philosopher, and classist, so it is not fair to discredit his whole body of work because he was a flawed philosopher. N was a possessor of ideas, and because his arguments may suck, that does not mean that all of his ideas such.



Well, that may be true that my interests are sad, and I am filled with bias, but I don't give a f#ck about academic philosophy any longer. The field is generally so far removed from doing anything to actually make society better that it amounts to little more than hot air. It is great that there are many academics that have worked out all of these moral issues, but do nothing to solve them. They just argue with their egghead colleagues and few ever step off a campus and do anything to solve the moral dilemmas they ponder and write about, but generally only professionals read. Until the philosopher attempts to take their messages to the people who can use it to make their's and others' lives better, academic philosophy is little more than verbal and written masturbation. I will take my classics and works of great literature over current philosophical works because, first, they matter, and second, people actually read them and you can have discussions with people across the limits of specialized learning.
I have studied logic. It is a nice tool, but formal logic is pretty much a wash for nearly all people. It is not going to help them become better critical thinkers, readers, and writers. To the academic, it may be very useful, but all it amounts to is telling one group to go play their game over there so not to influence another group while this group is manipulated into doing silly acts because they do not know what they are doing could be radically different.


I have nothing more to say to you. I don't share your explicit abandonment of critical thinking, nor your moral complacency, nor your staunch disregard of the value of human life, nor your complete lack of sensibility regarding moral dilemmas, nor your disparagment of an entire philosophical discipline. Best of luck reaping what you sow with that attitude. I am sure you will be awarded plenty by this cynical culture.
 
Huxley
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 02:43 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man;156476 wrote:
Now we can blame some of the skewed perceptions of Nietzsche on his aphoristic style of writing or his complex ideas. Afterall, he did attempt to weed out certain individuals with the way he delivered his ideas. However, some of the commentary on Nietzsche, especially in this section of the forum, are clearly more than a result of Nietzsche's relative ambiguity. From the mocking comments on his idea of the overman to the claims that he shared fascist views and viewed the Jews as inferior to the Nazis, some seem intent on not trying to understand the man's ideas. Now I have my theories on why some react this way, but why do think this is so?

I can already see the jesters waiting to perform.



I read Nietzsche as a teenager. He was my first philosopher. The reason I chose him was because of the inordinate amount of books that the book store had on him -- I figured he must be important if he had so many books.

Because I was young, didn't know any standard problems of philosophy, and hadn't practiced interpreting philosophy at all, much less with a purposefully chosen style that contradicts trends in philosophic thought, I can say with confidence that I misinterpreted him (and rejected Nietzsche based upon it)

Also, the fact that the Nazis selectively quoted him and we were on the other side of the conflict for that. Also his sister edited his works to erase any hints that he was anti-nationalist, in addition to his blatant atheism, conjoined with a style and the purposeful re-use of words (at least, that's how I take a lot of his words to be)... well... I think a lot of people encounter Nietzsche in a similar manner that I did, and while he's fun and easy to read, I still think he's hard to understand because he's not terribly direct -- to the point that people in his own time were arguing a multiplicity of interpretations (Early in Nietzsche's career he actually had a Jewish following in Germany. He's also hada socialist following, a "cultural elite" following, and, of all things, a feminist following. Nothing against feminism from me, but considering his passages on women, I balked when I found that out)

I would say all this in conjunction would be why Nietzsche is misread: Attracts youthful readers without experience, an enemy of the US/Britain chose him as a national icon, his sister changed his words, he's fun to read and thereby attracts many, but fairly difficult to interpret, and there have been a multiplicity of interpretations over the years. (found out about the various interpretations from this book. Very good read. Highly recommend)
 
 

 
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