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View Poll Results: Who is your favorite philosopher(s)?
Ancient Philosophy (Aristotle, Plato) 13 19.40%
Scholasticism (St. Thomas Aquinas) 3 4.48%
Renaissance Humanism (Thomas More, Erasmus) 1 1.49%
Rationalism (Descartes, Voltaire, Kant) 18 26.87%
Empiricism, Social Contract (John Locke, David Hume) 11 16.42%
Social Materialism/Marxism (Karl Marx, Hegel) 6 8.96%
Existentialism (Kafka, Nietzsche) 7 10.45%
Post-Moderism/Structuralism (Derrida, Foucault, Nietzsche) 5 7.46%
Analytical Philosophy (Bertrand Russell, Wittgenstein) 1 1.49%
Structuralism (Levi-Strauss, Ferdinand de Saussure, Chomsky) 2 2.99%
Voters: 67. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-03-2009, 07:57 PM    (permalink
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completely unrelated i'm sorry, but...

Probably our second best convo ever.
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Old 05-03-2009, 07:58 PM    (permalink
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Probably our second best convo ever.
didn't even need to click that link to know what you ment.

Still did just to see that rediculous exchange again :D
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Old 05-03-2009, 07:59 PM    (permalink
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Probably our second best convo ever.
How the hell did I miss that?
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Old 05-03-2009, 08:01 PM    (permalink
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How the hell did I miss that?
My guess would be magic.

but most likely because it happened in some random thread we kinda hijacked.
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Old 05-03-2009, 08:04 PM    (permalink
Mr. Hero
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How the hell did I miss that?
*shrug* it happens, I'm a thread-hijacker by nature, sometimes it works out well.
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Old 05-03-2009, 08:05 PM    (permalink
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I got so owned by ethics this weekend. I don't hate philosophy by any means, but I love procrastinating. Anyway: for this professor we were supposed to do a journal entry for every day of class (about a page each). It is due Monday.....I had done zero until saturday morning. So I more or less spent my entire weekend reliving every ethics class of the semester through Microsoft Word......not fun at all. I am at 40 pages as it stands.
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Old 05-03-2009, 08:06 PM    (permalink
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I'd like to add an addendum (lolz) to my quoted post. What I meant by the problems with definitions is that the debate seemed to be focused on two definitions. Self sacrifice is selfish if you view it from the perspective of acting according to your ultimate wishes, which is what I was arguing. But the very word "selfish" is commonly defined in colloquial English as excluding things such as "self sacrifice." That is, the definition of the word selfish is used moreso for things that are rationally proven to benefit the existence of the person, usually to an extent beyond accepted norms of politeness, duty, or honor. According to this definition, self-sacrifice is not selfish, aka, it is selfless.

But as I pointed out, it is selfish if you define selfish as achieving your person goals. In this broadened view, many things which many would call selfless are selfish. In fact, according to this definition, perhaps it is indeed impossible to act selflessly when not coerced. This definition is not "wrong" because it is not in line with colloquial English usage, but it is different and must be carefully used in order to not too much confuse others. Perhaps a different word should be used for better disambiguation, but the common ground between both words is useful to draw meaningful distinctions.

Basically, it's hard to argue that a person is being too black and white or too grey or is using abolsutes when the debate is based on conflicted premises. There is nothing wrong, black and white, grey, or absolutist in changing definition. Words express true concepts or concepts of personal value; they are not equivalent or deeply connected. I could call selfishness of personal motive as opposed to colloquial English "buvgoshriblak," and if you knew what I meant, the conversation would still work.

Well, I'm rambling. Philosophy's a pleasant mind ****.
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Old 05-03-2009, 08:11 PM    (permalink
Mr. Hero
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I'd like to add an addendum (lolz) to my quoted post. What I meant by the problems with definitions is that the debate seemed to be focused on two definitions. Self sacrifice is selfish if you view it from the perspective of acting according to your ultimate wishes, which is what I was arguing. But the very word "selfish" is commonly defined in colloquial English as excluding things such as "self sacrifice." That is, the definition of the word selfish is used moreso for things that are rationally proven to benefit the existence of the person, usually to an extent beyond accepted norms of politeness, duty, or honor. According to this definition, self-sacrifice is not selfish, aka, it is selfless.

But as I pointed out, it is selfish if you define selfish as achieving your person goals. In this broadened view, many things which many would call selfless are selfish. In fact, according to this definition, perhaps it is indeed impossible to act selflessly when not coerced. This definition is not "wrong" because it is not in line with colloquial English usage, but it is different and must be carefully used in order to not too much confuse others. Perhaps a different word should be used for better disambiguation, but the common ground between both words is useful to draw meaningful distinctions.

Basically, it's hard to argue that a person is being too black and white or too grey or is using abolsutes when the debate is based on conflicted premises. There is nothing wrong, black and white, grey, or absolutist in changing definition. Words express true concepts or concepts of personal value; they are not equivalent or deeply connected. I could call selfishness of personal motive as opposed to colloquial English "buvgoshriblak," and if you knew what I meant, the conversation would still work.

Well, I'm rambling. Philosophy's a pleasant mind ****.
I probably should've explained that myself since I use the first meaning of the word selfish you mention, as in achieving your own goals. good post.

Edit: Or we could all use ayn rand's term "rational self interest" but I suspect I'm the only one here who would be happy with that. :p
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Old 05-03-2009, 08:15 PM    (permalink
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This is actually deja vu. I think I've argued a couple times on this board about obscurity of definitions in arguments. I need to ramble about something different.
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Old 05-03-2009, 08:15 PM    (permalink
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Also, some philosopher at a different board I go to recommends this: http://plato.stanford.edu/. I never looked into it, but whatever, I'm posting it.
I wrote a paper on Plato using that source. My teacher said that I stole the information and the source wasn't reliable. FML.
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Old 05-03-2009, 08:20 PM    (permalink
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Most teachers/professors won't allow the internet as a source. Part of it is due to lack of certifiable reliability. Part of it is probably self-preservation.
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Old 05-03-2009, 08:21 PM    (permalink
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I wrote a paper on Plato using that source. My teacher said that I stole the information and the source wasn't reliable. FML.
that's funny since nearly every information on Plato (and his ideas) are kind of irreliable, since Plato's writings very often contained Socrates' ideas, or parts of Socrates' ideas.
But I guess you teacher was just old-school and distrusts the internet ;)
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Old 05-03-2009, 08:21 PM    (permalink
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Most teachers/professors won't allow the internet as a source. Part of it is due to lack of certifiable reliability. Part of it is probably self-preservation.
really? at least for undergrad at my school I havent ran into this problem.
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Old 05-03-2009, 08:23 PM    (permalink
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really? at least for undergrad at my school I havent ran into this problem.
Most is an overgeneralization, based on little more than my own personal experience. I don't allow it unless it's from a source with a pre-existing level of credibility. (ie: Time Magazine, CNN, etc.)
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Old 05-03-2009, 08:24 PM    (permalink
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Most is an overgeneralization, based on little more than my own personal experience. I don't allow it unless it's from a source with a pre-existing level of credibility. (ie: Time Magazine, CNN, etc.)
Yes, we are only allowed to use accredited sources if they are online, mainly scholastic published works, or a news source if the professors specifically say we can.
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Old 05-03-2009, 08:24 PM    (permalink
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Most teachers/professors won't allow the internet as a source. Part of it is due to lack of certifiable reliability. Part of it is probably self-preservation.
Funny you should say that, for all the papers I wrote in college I used print sources or article databases the school library had. Hell, as a goof, I once used an article from a journal which a prof I had wrote. He was amused but I wouldnt have dared used it if he and I shared an impersonal relationship. In a class of six, however, that's hard.

Also, just out of curiousity, what subjects do you teach?
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Old 05-03-2009, 08:26 PM    (permalink
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Most is an overgeneralization, based on little more than my own personal experience. I don't allow it unless it's from a source with a pre-existing level of credibility. (ie: Time Magazine, CNN, etc.)
well that's a certifiable source. the risk lies in blogs and wikipedia.

I gotta say though a stanford.edu site soudns reliable enough.
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Old 05-03-2009, 08:48 PM    (permalink
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Which is how a collective entity always works. You just described Marxism.

A fair opinion, although I think you are putting WAY too much stock in the equity of the human condition. The "war on poverty" (if you could even call our joke of a social welfare system that), is not intent upon stifling individual initiative, but rather giving people a chance to better themselves and in turn, society. It's such a lazy cop-out to attack the help given to those we feel are undeserving simply because one cannot understand their plight. The vast VAST majority of people who succeed in this world do so to a very small degree because of their individual talents. You must also dislike roads, clean water, meat inspectors, etc.

"Progress" is an incredibly vague term btw, so you'd probably serve yourself well to define exactly what you mean. Herbert Spencer, for example, believed in the utilitarian standard of ultimate value, but never really defined what exactly that meant. Similarly, Adam Smith spoke of the invisible hand of the market, but never actually defined what that meant. I'm curious how exactly others benefit by people doing what is entirely in their self-interests, or how we even define utilitarian interests.


This is also my critique of Rand (among many many others). She never actually deals with the fact that people have multiple, often competing individual objectives. It's such a vague and sophmoric way of trying to completely justify self-serving behavior without any attempt to underline what exactly that entails.
Somehow this post didn't get wrapped into my big post on the previous page so I'll get to the issues here that weren't addressed there. The difference between marxism and the group effort I was trying to describe is that marxism relies very heavily on mass co-operation to the extent where strongly individualistic people are a detriment to the society. My group hinges on the fact that this co-operation is completely voluntary. If someone decides that their fate would be better served in another task they are free to leave and follow their will, barring a contract, but that's a legal issue so let's ignore it for this thread.

My issue with the war on poverty is how it creates incentives for people to remain labour class instead of following the natural rise through the classes this country made famous, similarly to how our attempts to help poor mothers actually functions as an insentive for people to have children that they can't really support long term for short term gains the welfare programs that were started with the best intentions have helped life in a lower class better at the expense of upwards mobility. To me the enormous gap in wealth is clearly a result of this as people who grow up in environments where their prospects of rising to the middle/upper-middle class are bleak are much more likely to remain in a similar environment than fighting so that the next generation can start off with more. Granted all this is only a problem because people are looking for short term gains and chose to hope that they are able to figure things out long term, but that's one of the significant blights of western civilization. Again I fear I'm wandering to close to the line where this becomes a political issue and being on thin ice to begin with I think you'll understand why I'd like to err on the side of caution when approaching that line.

When I use the term progress for an individual I'm usually talking about socio-economic progress, although I think that encompass comfort and other not entirely economical issues to a degree, hopefully diffusing the misery in wealth argument. As a society I believe progress to mean moving away from coercion, driving the advancement of our technologies and understanding of the world and moving towards a peace-secured through trade and other mutually-beneficial co-operation, crating a world of innumerable possibilities where critical thinking, hard work and careful planning can ensure individual progress. I think that should make my position more clear.
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Old 05-03-2009, 08:53 PM    (permalink
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well that's a certifiable source. the risk lies in blogs and wikipedia.

I gotta say though a stanford.edu site soudns reliable enough.
Well Wikipedia is heavily moderated these days and while using it as a blanket source isn't necessarily wise, it has variable links to the sources where most of the information comes from.
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Old 05-03-2009, 08:57 PM    (permalink
Mr. Hero
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Well Wikipedia is heavily moderated these days and while using it as a blanket source isn't necessarily wise, it has variable links to the sources where most of the information comes from.
Which is why using wiki as a source is just lazy. Follow their references and there will be times where you can use those references as a source, if those references don't check out well then the information has to come into question.
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Old 05-03-2009, 08:58 PM    (permalink
bearsfan_51
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Also, just out of curiousity, what subjects do you teach?
History, specifically Early Modern Europe.
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Old 05-03-2009, 09:07 PM    (permalink
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Most teachers/professors won't allow the internet as a source. Part of it is due to lack of certifiable reliability. Part of it is probably self-preservation.
This was in High School xD.
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Old 05-03-2009, 09:22 PM    (permalink
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Somehow this post didn't get wrapped into my big post on the previous page so I'll get to the issues here that weren't addressed there. The difference between marxism and the group effort I was trying to describe is that marxism relies very heavily on mass co-operation to the extent where strongly individualistic people are a detriment to the society. My group hinges on the fact that this co-operation is completely voluntary. If someone decides that their fate would be better served in another task they are free to leave and follow their will, barring a contract, but that's a legal issue so let's ignore it for this thread.

My issue with the war on poverty is how it creates incentives for people to remain labour class instead of following the natural rise through the classes this country made famous, similarly to how our attempts to help poor mothers actually functions as an insentive for people to have children that they can't really support long term for short term gains the welfare programs that were started with the best intentions have helped life in a lower class better at the expense of upwards mobility. To me the enormous gap in wealth is clearly a result of this as people who grow up in environments where their prospects of rising to the middle/upper-middle class are bleak are much more likely to remain in a similar environment than fighting so that the next generation can start off with more. Granted all this is only a problem because people are looking for short term gains and chose to hope that they are able to figure things out long term, but that's one of the significant blights of western civilization. Again I fear I'm wandering to close to the line where this becomes a political issue and being on thin ice to begin with I think you'll understand why I'd like to err on the side of caution when approaching that line.

When I use the term progress for an individual I'm usually talking about socio-economic progress, although I think that encompass comfort and other not entirely economical issues to a degree, hopefully diffusing the misery in wealth argument. As a society I believe progress to mean moving away from coercion, driving the advancement of our technologies and understanding of the world and moving towards a peace-secured through trade and other mutually-beneficial co-operation, crating a world of innumerable possibilities where critical thinking, hard work and careful planning can ensure individual progress. I think that should make my position more clear.
I can appreciate this idea. It's pleasant, it's elegant, it's fun to imagine.

It's also not even remotely realistic. Nothing I've observed of the world in my lifetime leads me to believe that what this ideal describes is remotely possible. Which, in and of itself, for a personal philosophy, isn't all that big of a deal to me. But this ideal and certain philosophers/science fiction writers seem to grease the wheels for people to extrapolate wildly into the realm of societal change. For one to do that, you need to step carefully for the exercise to be remotely useful or directional. Erecting elegant theoretical structures is fine and dandy, but if you leave the structure and it ceases to make sense, recognizing and accepting that is a vital step.

Deriving principles from infinitely paired down situations is risky footing at best.
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Old 05-03-2009, 09:32 PM    (permalink
CJSchneider
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like I said earlier, it's hard to explain absolutism without falling into absolutes (ironic). But it does make sense, ti's the belief that nothing is black or white, but everything is in between those two. Grey.
And therby it's failure.

This ice cream was great, I'll go back and read everything everyone posted.
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Old 05-04-2009, 02:14 AM    (permalink
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i love this thread :)

btw Addict did u ever get to see Zeitgeist:Addendum
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