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Which philosopher do you find the most interesting? watch

  • View Poll Results: Which philosopher do you find the most interesting?
    Socrates
    6
    7.14%
    Plato
    4
    4.76%
    Aristotle
    3
    3.57%
    Immanuel Kant
    7
    8.33%
    Confucius
    2
    2.38%
    Karl Marx
    12
    14.29%
    Soren Kierkegaard
    4
    4.76%
    Friedrich Nietzsche
    16
    19.05%
    John Locke
    0
    0%
    David Hume
    5
    5.95%
    Rene Descartes
    7
    8.33%
    Ludwig Wittgenstein
    5
    5.95%
    Jean-Paul Sartre
    3
    3.57%
    John Stuart Mill
    6
    7.14%
    Bertrand Russell
    4
    4.76%
    Gottfried Leibniz
    0
    0%

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    *another defender of Nietzsche enters the discussion*

    I think everybody needs to separate the popular image of Nietzsche from the man himself. I mean, the popular image of Nietzsche paints him as some kind of nihilist!

    I think the problem with Nietzsche is this: his best work is his critical work. Nobody does a better job of tearing apart the patent absurdities of Kant in particular and philosophy in general (well, maybe not nobody, once you actually figure out what he's saying Spinoza does a great job of it too). I can't remember how Nietzsche puts it, or where, but there's a passage where he basically attacks the idea of grand philosophical systems, as in Kant or Hegel, as being mere constructions upon arbitrary starting principles. Then there's his numerous (all pertinent) criticisms of doctrines that 'make the real world a lie' (for example, transcendental idealism).

    Of course there's the attacks on religion and morality which I'm sure I don't need to go into, quite apart from Nietzsche's absolutely dazzling psychological insight into man's motives (I'm thinking of his excellent defence of psychological egoism in Human, All to Human, which in its essentials actually is contained in Spinoza's writings but I'll give Nietzsche credit for the style).

    Essentially, he totally got how philosophy had gone wrong. For me, a crucial, and often neglected, point of Nietzsche's philosophy is that he sees himself mainly as the first to 'break old tablets' rather than as the creator of new ones. Sure, he offers positive philosophical contributions, but he proclaims the coming of the overman, not that he is the overman himself.

    Finally, I absolutely, completely, 100%, categorically love his position that, as humans, we just have to be who we are. His autobiography is subtitled "how one becomes what one is" - the key to becoming what we are is to reject all notions of anything beyond this world and to reject the idea that we are in any way free from the psychological impulses that drive us to act. We become what we are by recognising that we are nothing over and above what we appear.
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    ^ So, for Nietzsche, only humanistic values have any real importance? That will have been defined as quite a radical form of nihilism in his day (mainly because such a rejection of traditional/'reverent' values in philosophy was largly unprecedented). The force of label depends more on shifts in perspective than on the lengths of one's negatively, I think.

    As for the philosophers I find most interesting: Sartre and Wittgenstein. For very different reasons. Though I do prefer Sartre as a novelist to a philosopher.
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    (Original post by Washingtonirving)
    Essentially, he totally got how philosophy had gone wrong. For me, a crucial, and often neglected, point of Nietzsche's philosophy is that he sees himself mainly as the first to 'break old tablets' rather than as the creator of new ones. Sure, he offers positive philosophical contributions, but he proclaims the coming of the overman, not that he is the overman himself.
    In Zarathustra he does say there 'here I sit and wait, old shattered law-tables around me and also new, half-written law-tables'. Surely Nietzsche is taking credit for writing some of the new 'law-tables' in lieu of established philosophical ideas which he so violently attacked? Granted he hasn't come up with some grand philosophical Weltanschauung like Kant (it would be quite hypocritical of him to do so), but given that the Overman is at least in part a reflection of Nietzsche's own personal anguish and isolation, I wouldn't say there's not something of the Overman in him and the supposed new dawn of philosophy will have some sections written by him.
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    (Original post by Washingtonirving)
    Finally, I absolutely, completely, 100%, categorically love his position that, as humans, we just have to be who we are. His autobiography is subtitled "how one becomes what one is" - the key to becoming what we are is to reject all notions of anything beyond this world and to reject the idea that we are in any way free from the psychological impulses that drive us to act. We become what we are by recognising that we are nothing over and above what we appear.
    That's nothing more than a nihilistic opinion in my eyes.
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    (Original post by Jacck)
    ^ So, for Nietzsche, only humanistic values have any real importance? That will have been defined as quite a radical form of nihilism in his day (mainly because such a rejection of traditional/'reverent' values in philosophy was largly unprecedented). The force of label depends more on shifts in perspective than on the lengths of one's negatively, I think.

    As for the philosophers I find most interesting: Sartre and Wittgenstein. For very different reasons. Though I do prefer Sartre as a novelist to a philosopher.
    If you want to define Nietzsche's position as nihilistic then you'll probably find that he turns out to be a nihilist. The point we have to make is that Nietzsche thought nihilism would result from the realisation that the traditional values have been undermined in such a way that they were no longer of any use as their foundations had been rejected. God is dead, the old basis for values has been lost, therefore no values, hence nihilism. Nietzsche wants to point out that if you remove God you can still have values.

    Sartre once defined existentialism as the attempt to draw the logical conclusions from a position of consistent atheism. Nietzsche's logical conclusion is that, without God, we are become God's (to put it in a colourful manner that obscures the point that we aren't risen to the level of God, rather we realise that there is nothing over and above ourselves).
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    (Original post by MGT_90)
    In Zarathustra he does say there 'here I sit and wait, old shattered law-tables around me and also new, half-written law-tables'. Surely Nietzsche is taking credit for writing some of the new 'law-tables' in lieu of established philosophical ideas which he so violently attacked? Granted he hasn't come up with some grand philosophical Weltanschauung like Kant (it would be quite hypocritical of him to do so), but given that the Overman is at least in part a reflection of Nietzsche's own personal anguish and isolation, I wouldn't say there's not something of the Overman in him and the supposed new dawn of philosophy will have some sections written by him.
    Oh of course, yes. On the other hand, he makes it clear that the overman hasn't come yet.
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    (Original post by Reflexive)
    That's nothing more than a nihilistic opinion in my eyes.
    I suppose I dealt with that above.

    Nietzsche's point is that our values are created by ourselves. If you find what you create valueless, then I guess you are a nihilist.

    It all depends upon what you want values to be, or what you think they need to be. Myself, I've never understood why murder being wrong need be any more than an expression of my sentiments on the matter. If anybody wants some good, solid analytic philosophy to convince them of this they could try looking at Simon Blackburn's work on quasi-realism.
 
 
 
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