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Thread: Modern Philosophers

  1. #16
    precious... subterranean's Avatar
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    Maybe you were talking about "being genuine", I'm not quite sure. However as the world keeps on changing, there's always a chance of contributing new ideas. I mean Hume or Spinoza didn't live in the era where there are many people spend most of his days watching TV or surfing the net. I don't know whether there's already a philosophical theory in regards to televeision or multi media. Further, as the basic ideas are already established, maybe it's time to dig more on "practical" ideas of philosophy.

    Quote Originally Posted by ThatIndividual
    It's funny, this is the second time that I've clicked on this thread with the expectation to find a discussion of DesCartes, Hume, Locke, Leibniz, Spinoza, Berkeley, etc. When I think of Modern I think of these guys. (Quite frankly, I am again disappointed.)

    This causes me to wonder... Is there anything left for philosophy? What can these 'modern' philosophers, i.e. present-day philosophers, contribute to the Western Philosophic tradition? Are we still arguing about the mind and the brain with Daniel Dennett or... What's there to talk about anymore?


    "there are people in the world so
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  2. #17
    You have an interesting point, I suppose. I think that people like Baudrillard can take us to those heights, but I'm not sure how it goes farther.

    The eternal questions are worn out, and unhinged from the sun, we are floating away from any definitive point into nothingness.

  3. #18
    precious... subterranean's Avatar
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    Well, I think those sort eternal or old ideas won't really sell today unless they are "customized" to more practical forms, like now we have philosophical counseling, philosophy of cognitive science and philosophy of artificial intelligence. So, yea.., there are still rooms, I guess.


    "there are people in the world so
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  4. #19
    Chiare,fresche et dolci
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    philosophy means love of knowledge.....it will never drop into non existence. Many philosophers say that post Hegel philosophy started to overcome itself. Since the 1960's there has been a terrible crisis regarding the role of philosophy in everyday society....
    a strong debate between analitical and continental philosophy (analitical representing on the most part anglo and continental representing philosophers like Scopenhauer, Jean-Paul Sartre, Kierkegaard, Adorno and so many others). Two currents that move in different areas and in very different ways. The objective should be to unify but hat is most unrealistic. Franca D'Agostini was, in my opinion, the thinker who managed the best to explain the pres and posts the pros and cons etc etc of this crisis.

  5. #20
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    Who is Peter Singer? Can you suggest me about modern philoshopers?

  6. #21
    Chiare,fresche et dolci
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    well, peter singer is not exactly my cup of tea. The most influential modern philosophers are in my opinion, or most influenced me, take it as you wish, are Gianni Vattimo, Milan Kundera who ha written books like The Unbearable Lightness of being, Identity, Ignorance etc etc....and Dummet. There are so many others but this space is surely not enough.

  7. #22
    Subterr... surely you didn't mean to imply that philosophy is intended to sell?!? Whether it sells or not, certainly should not be the issue. But rest assured, I understand the very fine points that you are making, I only needed to clear that point. Let us be quite sure that some of the greatest philosophy ever written barely sold a copy during the lifetime of the author.

    Martha... As for your assessment of analytical vs. continental... I believe that it is already unified. I have encountered so many different takes on what exactly is the dividing line. To some, analytical is more clear and logical in style. That's what the 'analytical' philosophers say. They say that continental phi. is simply poetic philosophy and, thus, not really phi. at all. (That seems to me quite an absurdity.) As for others, they claim that it's simply a time and place that draws the lines. As you say, Schopenhauer and Sartre, Hegel and Kierkegaard, blah blah blah blah.... So is it being French or German that makes you continental? Or is it an obsession with difficult, and unsolvable problems like Being? (We can be quite sure that the analytics call Heidegger continental, and wherefore, oftentimes dismiss his philosophy as rubbish.) I think it's all one in the same. I see no difference, unless you want there to be a difference. Personally, I've quite boiled this down to a psychological explanation. The analytics don't quite understand the continental, they don't like the style because it's too deep, too non-mathematical. So, they call it illogical because that preserves their philosophical pride. (Let us not be fooled, the philosopher is the proudest human under the sun.) The continentals are usually more accepting of the analytic style, but usually are just plain bored with it. It's dry as a bone, however, it's very useful. But it is, I'm afraid, not enough equipment to dig as far as some philosophers would like to dig. Take Heidegger for example... Being And Time is quite like an analytical work in style, but because of the difficulty of the problem therein, coupled with his tendency (because of the NEED) to come up with his own terms, it seems cumbrous and difficult to understand. Analytics are quick to say something is rubbish if they don't understand it because, frankly, if it DID make sense "they would understand it!!! Ha! This is what is so amusing anyway about the entire thing. To me, that is.

  8. #23
    Chiare,fresche et dolci
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    unified? wouldn't know about that....its just hard to talk about philosophy these days..one because there is no more Philosophy but many philosophies and even more resons to call one-self a philosopher...two because we mostly talk about applied philosophies (politics, science, logic, religion...) and not about philosophy as knowledge,as
    way of thinking, as a pure argumentative style free independant and not connected to its applications and three because there is the suspicion that philosophy as so doesn't exist or is just a useless leftover of western culture, unable to communicate with other forms of knowledge or answer questions, "solve" problems that characterize modern society......
    where does it all go from here?

  9. #24
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    "What is a modern philosopher?" is a good question!

    I think there are a lot out there who would not necessarily label themselves as "philosophers". What comes to the forefront of my mind is the philosophy of education: Howard Gardner, Alfie Kohn, John Holt, John Taylor Gatto, Sandra Dodd, Daniel Goleman...

    Then there's Bob Dylan.

  10. #25
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    I have just finish reading this book full of 'living' philosophers

    This little book has truly peeked my curiosity!
    it is Philosophy Bites by authors David Edmonds and Nigel Warburton, philosophers themselves.

    There is a web site by the same name full of interviews with philosophers on various subjects.
    This reading has opened up a whole new interest and I'm researching these individuals that have gotten my attention.
    Get it from your...... local library...

    Good reading, I thought!
    Karl

  11. #26
    Singer is a must-read for anyone philosophically inclined. For once, ethics makes total sense.

    So is Daniel Dennett on another subject (philosophy of mind). He ended the tedious free will debate, presented a highly promising approach to solve the hard problem of consciousness, and applied Darwinian thinking to all the disciplines of science.

    Richard Dawkins' 'The Selfish Gene' and 'Unweaving the Rainbow' have great philosophical insights too.

    'The Hidden Reality' by Brian Greene is another great book, philosophically interesting because it deals with the 'reach of science', and obviously scientifically interesting because it presents a theories that can explain literally everything there is, was and will be.

    Basically, if you read 'Breaking the Spell', 'The Selfish Gene', 'Unweaving the Rainbow', 'Darwin's Dangerous Idea', 'Consciousness Explained', 'Practical Ethics', 'Freedom Evolves' and 'The Hidden Reality', your worldview will skyrocket and you'll have amazing, intellectually satisfying answers to questions you might never even have considered.

    There are many other great philosophy books, but these few are special, to me at least, in the sense that they completely blew my mind and opened up new perspectives.

  12. #27
    Bryan Magee has written some good popular works, some are based on interviews with modern philosophers, many of which can be found on YouTube. Chomsky said the interview with Magee was the best popular presentation of his work in print:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EksuA...EC9216B96D9C07

    Alisdair MacIntyre's After Virtue is an interesting read, and an attempt to resurrect Virtue Ethics. I would rather it stayed firmly buried in the past of Aristotle, but it's still a well written work.
    Yes, managed to get through this one. Quite interesting ideas, but it's a very dry, tough read (like most modern philosophy...) In this area, I found the works of Pierre Hadot and Martha Nussbaum more approachable.

    Richard Rorty is worth reading. I enjoyed Philosophy and Social Hope, and he is one of the few really good liberal writers. He also has a philosophy which is indebted to the pragmatism of William James, whilst uniting that with an idealist perspective. I have his classic work Philosophy and The Mirror of Nature, and will get round to reading it sometime.
    I've read both of these and I agree he's a very good writer. But don't forget J.S. Mill - he's a *great* liberal writer, his Autobiography is wonderful.

    I also have David Chalmer's The Conscious Mind, which I shall also read sometime. It is very much praised by philosophers and scientists involved in brain research. However, he does pedal dualism, which is extremely unfashionable (or at least it was when I was studying).
    I prefer Colin McCabe. Mysterianism seems the only response to the 'the problem of consciousness' -unless ( and if...) there's a big breakthrough.

    Interesting how many big, tough philosophy books you will 'read sometime'. Go on, admit it, you are, and would rather be, reading novels

    A C Grayling, Alain de Botton, Julian Baggini and Simon Blackburn are all popularisers of contemporary philosophy, and all worth dipping into.
    I agree, and they're usually in the library. Worth a dip if you feel like a change from reading novels....

  13. #28
    I have been reading John Gray who I often see cited as an Important Living Philosopher. Perhaps this says more about the state of philosophy than anything else. His books don’t feel like philosophy – there is far too much conjecture and anecdote and he is somewhat given to overstatement. He does present a very interesting view of the world and where we are headed but I can’t help feeling he is a little too eager to shock. Nevertheless I would recommend him for entertainment value alone, especially to literary types as he is obviously a fanatical reader and makes many references to fiction he has read.

    Later this year I intend to read Reasons and Persons by Derek Parfit. It looks a bit technical for me but his ideas about identity sound fascinating. I would be interested if anybody else has read this book and what they thought of it.
    Last edited by ladderandbucket; 04-18-2011 at 01:24 PM.

  14. #29
    λάθε arrytus's Avatar
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    These three modern living philosophers will be well known and I cannot ascribe them enough approbation:


    Jean Luc Nancy [french]- most well known work: Globalization. Best I've read: Being Singular Plural. Yet/next to read: Birth of Presence.


    Alain Badiou [french]- most well known work/best I've read: Being and Event. Best overview: Theoretical Writings. Yet/next to read: Conditions.


    Giorgio Agamben [italian] most well known work/best I've read: Homo Sacer. Another good one is: Language and Negativity [hard going though if you don't have a decent amount of linguistic knowledge]. Next/yet to read: Potentialities

    ------
    EDIT ADDED:

    going over the other posts I feel like I should make clear this is not [as most of the others are] popular philosophy but academic/scholarly [scilicit, actual/real] philosophy. Nancy and Agamben are Heideggerian disciples and Badiou has a propinquity with some meld of Deleuze and Russell [in terms of mathematizing/analytical ontology and not their respective perspectives per se].

    In terms of popular philosophy Antonio Damasio [american] is quite popular.

    there are other continentals who descend from the Baudrilliardian and Lacanian styles such as Virilio and Zizek, but as I've not read them I cannot comment on them other than to say they to my mind deserve enough attention that they are on my list.

    ------
    EDIT 2:

    Geez how did I neglect Jurgen Habermas?! [german]. He's probably the most well known living philosopher [other than Chomsky, who I also elided but I don't grant him much importance philosophically: he stays mainly with a very limited and ephemeral political writing nowadays and his linguistic contributions have long been surpassed], and writes on pragmatics influencing sociology [later works] and linguistics [earlier].

    Also John Searle, but I don't care for him. His works on linguistics descend from Wittgenstein and Austin and his most important work is :Speech Acts.
    Last edited by arrytus; 04-24-2011 at 08:52 PM.
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  15. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by ladderandbucket View Post
    Later this year I intend to read Reasons and Persons by Derek Parfit. It looks a bit technical for me but his ideas about identity sound fascinating. I would be interested if anybody else has read this book and what they thought of it.
    "Too technical" is kind. I thought it was *very* badly written. As with Kant and Heidegger, I was reduced to painstakingly parsing the paragraphs into sentences of normal English, and, as with Heidegger, I was left with little of substance. I now find such exercises too boring, and gave up after twenty pages - and read another Dickens novel instead (ahhhhhh... the relief...)

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