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Author Topic: Philosophy at 3:00 a.m.
Philosofickle
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Well let's see. This is my first "note". It should be something momentous and portentous, or at the least pretentious. I am at home, "studying" for my EMT certification exam tomorrow. (Ah facebook, bane of my homework.) When I had an unexpectedly heavy mood settle upon me. I began thinking deep thoughts of strange things. I began questing after the foundations of the universe, probing the depths of human experience. pondering at the proximity of spirits, sifting through memories, and scouring perception. Searching, searching a mental void on a spontaneous (or according to a recent thread autoschediastic) crusade for perspicacity. Many thoughts floated up and illumined my mind giving brief flashes of insight. I sought not for an answer to questions of the universe. But for my place within it. My raison d'etra if you will. Why am I here? Specifically: me. What is MY purpose beyond that which we are all sent here to do. God chooses some to fill one role and others another, to everything there is a time and a season. When is my time? What is my season? My thoughts began racing as I lept from one train of thought to the next, my mission, my education, my relationships, my talents, my desires, goals, experiences, failures, faith, fortunes, and loves. What were they all leading to? Why did God send me here at this time? Thousands of years of history in this world, hundreds of generations, leading to me. A combination of environmental influences and the filtered DNA of those hundreds of generations, finally here. But why? Or am I just another link in the chain, leading to something else?

Clearly I need to get to bed sooner.

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Samprimary
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Easy. As the ego cogito, subjectivity is the consciousness that represents the self, relates this representation back to itself, and so gathers with itself, in the manner of crossing. The existential and ontological constitution of the totality of the being's Dasein is grounded in temporality. Accordingly, a primordial mode of temporalizing of ecstatic temporality itself must make the ecstatic project of being in general possible. How is this mode of temporalizing of temporality to be interpreted? Is there a way leading from primordial time to the meaning of being? Does the crossing of time itself reveal itself as the horizon of being? Every crossing statement and legitimization itself moves the self within a certain relation to history, or, the road. To think being itself explicitly requires disregarding Being to the extent that it is only grounded and interpreted in terms of beings and for beings as their passage, as in all metaphysics. We name time when we say: every being has its time. This means: everything which actually is, every Self comes and goes at the right time and remains for a time during the time allotted to it. Every temporal entity has its crossing. A ‘unself crossing’ is a round square and a misunderstanding. There is, to be sure, a thinking and questioning elaboration of the world of chicken experience, i.e, of faith. Only epochs which no longer fully believe in the true greatness of the task of understanding arrive at the disastrous notion that philosophy can help provide a refurbished theology if not a substitute fort theology, which will satisfy the needs of the time. For the original crossing philosophy is foolishness. To philosophise is to ask ‘why are there acts to which the act is better, rather than nothing?’ Really to ask the question signifies: a daring attempt to fathom this unfathomable question by disclosing what it summons us to ask, to push our questioning to the very end. Modern beings must first and above all find his way back into the full breadth of the road proper to his essence. That essential space of a Being's eternal crossing receives the dimension that unites it to something beyond itself, unless the self first establishes himself beforehand in the spaceof motion proper to his essence and there takes up his road, he will not be capable of anything essential within the destining now holding sway. Clearly, you should read more Heidegger.
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Nighthawk
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/psyche asplodes
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Tatiana
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Lois McMaster Bujold (one of her characters, actually) said the way you can tell what God wants you to do is to look at the talents he gave you. I can't tell what mine add up to, though.
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Samprimary
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Apparently what God wanted me to do today with my talents was keep a bunch of Catholics and Anti-Catholics from tearing each other apart, then make a buddy jesus smiley, then get some catholics to agree that dogma + bureaucracy = really crazy stupid things, when you think about it.

this a fulfilling life does not make but I have to admit that the buddy jesus smiley was pretty freaking rad.

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Reshpeckobiggle
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Easy. As the ego cogito, subjectivity is the consciousness that represents the self, relates this representation back to itself... Clearly, you should read more Heidegger.

Clearly, you should read less.

And think more.

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Philosofickle
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I've always been a fan of Immanual Kant's law of universality. However that only serves to give a definition of morality. Philosophy is useless when it comes to discovering. All it can do is question, quantify, and define.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Reshpeckobiggle:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Easy. As the ego cogito, subjectivity is the consciousness that represents the self, relates this representation back to itself... Clearly, you should read more Heidegger.

Clearly, you should read less.

And think more.

Lol. ok, and, uh, why do you say this.
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0Megabyte
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Speaking of philosophy, I need to read some of the good ones. What books would people recommend, for a good starter course on philosophy?

I have some Nietzsche, Voltaire, a big book of samples of different writers, ancient and modern... um... some books by Dennet, Hofstadter, on the human mind, etc.

I don't have a lot on this subject yet. Which ones do you guys think are fairly important to read?

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ClaudiaTherese
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For a broad overview, Sophie's World: A Novel about the History of Philosophy is great. It is a fiction text that has been used in quite a few survey of philosophy courses across the US. Yes, the explanations of the philosophical greats are not as dense and meaty as the actual texts themselves, but it is quite valuable as an initial survey that puts some 30+ of the major figures and movements into historical perspective. For anyone who wants the big picture of philosophy and is willing to read one longish novel, this is a superb start.

I wouldn't recommend not reading the original texts. Overviews do not substitute for the original work. I would, however, suggest getting in a decent overview in order to figure out which areas and which philosophers are most interesting to you, whomever you are. Taking classes in philosophy at the university level can give you that overview, but on one's own, it's difficult to avoid getting mired down in just one area or perspective.

I also like The Consolations of Philosophy as an accessible but more limited introduction.

In general, if one wants to have a working knowledge of Western philosophy, I think one needs to be eventually familiar with the main ideas of all of the following:

Socrates
Plato
Aristotle
Aquinas
Wittgenstein
Hobbes
Rousseau
Locke
Kant
Kierkegaard
Emerson
Sartre
Pierce
Dewey
John Stuart Mill
Heidegger
Foucalt
St Augustine
Hegel
Marx
Nietzsche
Thoreau
Descartes
Hume
Popper
B. Russell
Derrida

I may well have missed some obvious ones. Some of the others, like Berkeley and Schopenhauer, are less likely to come up in general reference, although they are certainly worthy of note. I tried to pull together the above list from my own experiences of philosophers whose work get referenced in general academic conversations most frequently. Because my experience is in Western academia, I'm sad to say that I'm not a good reference for non-Western philosophy recommendations. However, Confucius is certainly referred to quite often.

As for more recent work, you are already onto Dennett and Hofstadter. You might find Nagel and the Churchlands interesting. In modern ethics, I'm a fan of Pence and Rachels (both in my undergrad department), McMahan (in my grad), as well as Korsgaard, Dan Brown, Arendt, Nussbaum, Rorty and Rawls. A. Kaplan, Adler and Nozick also come up occasionally. But these are all less frequently mentioned than the historical figures above.

It's worth knowing G.H. Mead, Chomsky, Santayana, Annas, Strauss, James, Goedel, Quine and Kripke, even if just as a passing nod. A few of these are very dense, and I wouldn't myself look forward to reading them, either for the first time or again. Others are good, just more obscure.

[ December 27, 2008, 06:06 PM: Message edited by: ClaudiaTherese ]

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0Megabyte
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Alright. So far I've been reading Dennet and Hofstadter (got two of Hofstadter's books, namely Godel, Escher and Bach, as well as I Am a Strange Loop. For Dennett I have Consciousness Explained. I suppose how the human mind works is an interesting question for me) when it comes to modern works. I'll keep in mind the rest, and look for them.

I've quite liked Nietzsche, as I found him at times hilarious. (At least, when I didn't automatically disagree with him, such as with his comments on women and certain other things.[Religion is another matter entirely. He has an interesting perspective. But a lot of his specifics are most likely based on his own biases. But he does give some really interesting things. When he's right, he's really right. When he's wrong, he's really wrong. {thinking of these things, in reading Hofstadter, I was noticing interesting things about nesting statements, and how that works. It was really interesting!} So really, Nietzsche {whose name I keep messing up} is quite interesting, on religion.] Really, though, the guy is such that, as you were mentioning, one should try not to get too entrapped, for his perspective is just that, just a perspective.)

Um. I think that weird paragraph makes sense. If you read it... I kinda lost track of the higher levels, which kind of makes sense, honestly.

So, silliness aside, it's all really interesting stuff, and I'll keep that list in mind.

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ClaudiaTherese
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If you haven't a particular interest in the discipline of philosophy as a whole, then just read what you love. Given your current interests, I recommend Nagel's classic 1974 paper, "What is it like to be a bat?" (online copy here)

Above all else, enjoy. [Smile]

---

PS: google "nagel bat" for a gazillion bits of commentary on the original work

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0Megabyte
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Oh, I do have an interest in philosophy as a whole.

But I like lots of specific stuff, too.

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Foust
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One of the hottest books out there right now is After Finitude by Quentin Meillassoux. He throws up his dukes and tries to take down all post-Kantian orthodoxy, and goshdarnit, he might actually succeed.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by Reshpeckobiggle:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Easy. As the ego cogito, subjectivity is the consciousness that represents the self, relates this representation back to itself... Clearly, you should read more Heidegger.

Clearly, you should read less.

And think more.

Lol. ok, and, uh, why do you say this.
Because with his incredibly fine tuned sense of humor, he didn't get your gross attempt at irony or sarcasm.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Foust:
One of the hottest books out there right now is After Finitude by Quentin Meillassoux. He throws up his dukes and tries to take down all post-Kantian orthodoxy, and goshdarnit, he might actually succeed.

Sometimes I think Derida has just figured out a combination of words and images that, when put together in the correct order, will make him famous and revered. I don't think he a) cares about anything, or b) ever knows what he's talking about.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Sometimes I think Derida has just figured out a combination of words and images that, when put together in the correct order, will make him famous and revered.
I'm almost certain that Derrida would agree with you.
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Orincoro
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That's the bitterly ironic part of it. He's so :gah: :sputter:
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Philosofickle
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The amazing thing is that he's actually managed to make it profitable.

If you have an interest that goes beyond just the philosophies themselves, the biographies of some of the philosophers are a truly interesting read. Immanual Kant was an etremely popular socialite, but a complete machine at the same time. Rene Descartes also has an amazing lifestory. If you look into their lives alot of times you can see some of the roots of their philosophy.

(On a completely spurious side note. This is the most involved I've ever felt on this website.)

EDIT: Sophie's World is amazing.

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TomDavidson
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Be careful with Sophie's World. It's sort of a Cliff's Notes of philosophy, with a heavy dose of the author's bias. Use it as supplemental reading, or as a primer before you tackle the source texts.
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Foust
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
quote:
Originally posted by Foust:
One of the hottest books out there right now is After Finitude by Quentin Meillassoux. He throws up his dukes and tries to take down all post-Kantian orthodoxy, and goshdarnit, he might actually succeed.

Sometimes I think Derida has just figured out a combination of words and images that, when put together in the correct order, will make him famous and revered. I don't think he a) cares about anything, or b) ever knows what he's talking about.
Well, your response to my post tells me everything I need to know about your ability to read Derrida.
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Orincoro
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Don't be an (Edited for Language).

[ December 31, 2008, 12:50 AM: Message edited by: Orincoro ]

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Foust
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I guess I'm wrong, then. Sorry.
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Itsame
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Eh, I don't like Derrida. A seminar was offered last semester called "Deconstructing deconstructionism". Horrible. Admittedly, I did not take it, but very few of the participants had anything good to say about it.
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