The Toughest Western Philosophers to Read, Grasp and Master?

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Re: The Toughest Western Philosophers to Read, Grasp and Master?

Post by -1- » May 29th, 2018, 10:00 pm

chewybrian wrote:
May 29th, 2018, 5:34 am

1. At the extreme is the idea that we have no free will, which is the most distasteful idea of all.

2. If any action you take turns out to have been the only possible action, this seems to justify anything.
1. It's first time I saw anyone reject a philosophical notion because they find it distasteful.

2. No, no, not at all! Punishment for crime and for immoral behaviour is very instrumental to creating one choice of action at any one point. Lack of free will justifies the fear of the law or of one's own bad conscience.

No, lack of free will does not justify any sinful, immoral or criminal behaviour. At all.
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Re: The Toughest Western Philosophers to Read, Grasp and Master?

Post by Georgeanna » May 30th, 2018, 4:31 am

Spectrum: " Point is to be credible in Philosophy one has to cover and understand [not necessary agree with it] the greatest profound books of philosophy regardless of whether it is well or badly written."

So, is this your aim? To be credible in Philosophy.
And to achieve this you are slogging through the 'toughest Western Philosophers... and the greatest profound books'. On your own and with a little help from websites and online forum participants ?

If you mean to be found credible in western academic Philosophy, then I suggest that this would probably be insufficient criteria.

Credibility comes in all shapes and sizes.

What makes someone ( including philosophers) credible to me is:
How much I trust them and their conclusions.
This means clarity and care; competence and character.
Concern to be understood. Engaging in responsive communication.

The art of close reading - part 2
'Reading is a systematic process for learning the essential meanings of that teacher. When we become good readers, we can learn the essential meanings of an unlimited number of teachers whose teachings live on, ever available, in the books they have written. When we take the core ideas of those teachings into our minds through careful reading, we can productively use them in our lives.'

http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/t ... rt-two/510

If a book can act as a teacher in this way- and it is possible to engage and assess for intelligibility and connect core ideas - then that is an active way to develop understanding.
If there are multiple ways to understand a profound philosopher, then so be it. It is the path of philosophy...
But again, people read philosophy books and enjoy certain philosophers not necessarily ' to be credible in Philosophy'.

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Re: The Toughest Western Philosophers to Read, Grasp and Master?

Post by chewybrian » May 30th, 2018, 7:10 am

-1- wrote:
May 29th, 2018, 10:00 pm
chewybrian wrote:
May 29th, 2018, 5:34 am

1. At the extreme is the idea that we have no free will, which is the most distasteful idea of all.

2. If any action you take turns out to have been the only possible action, this seems to justify anything.
1. It's first time I saw anyone reject a philosophical notion because they find it distasteful.

2. No, no, not at all! Punishment for crime and for immoral behaviour is very instrumental to creating one choice of action at any one point. Lack of free will justifies the fear of the law or of one's own bad conscience.

No, lack of free will does not justify any sinful, immoral or criminal behaviour. At all.
I find the concept illogical, counter-intuitive, dangerous. I don't have a word that suffices, so 'distasteful'. You don't have total control, but you have some. The key to the good life is understanding what is in your control and what is not. If you think you can control what you can not, or vice versa, you will suffer.

Anything anyone does is justifiable if they could not have done otherwise. A lack of free will is the reason we don't punish someone who is incompetent, and the reason we don't punish alligators for doing alligator stuff, right? Deterrence might work, but we wouldn't have a 'conscience' without free will, would we? Why should I feel guilt (or pride) for something over which I had no control? There might be better or worse options for your zombie man, but no right or wrong, correct? How can an action be 'sinful' or 'immoral' without choice? If zombie guy can only tell better from worse, then the weight of all his misdeeds might be placed on society for failing to provide the right incentives or penalties.

We both experience free will every moment of our lives. Yet, you deny it as an illusion. I don't fully understand the denial. I can see a push in that direction from understanding DNA, or evolution, or learning by experience. But I don't see absence of free will as an inevitable conclusion, as proven, or even provable. Do humans behave rationally or predictably? Are our actions consistent with having been fully forced upon us? Isn't there a noticeable difference between our behaviors and that of other life on the planet?

Doesn't removing free will remove meaning from your life? If so, why would you run toward this option instead of away from it? If not, then what meaning do you find in a life over which you have no control? There would be nothing compelling about watching Evel Knievel ride a roller coaster.

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Re: The Toughest Western Philosophers to Read, Grasp and Master?

Post by -1- » May 30th, 2018, 7:46 am

Chewybrian, you are too much in haste and don't follow through the logic.

Please bear with me. Please put your anger aside for a second, or come back to this when you are less upset. Because this makes sense what I say, but it won't if you don't slow down.

---------------------

Determinism is the cause of no free will.

The determinating factors will make a person behave the way s/he behaves.

One of the determinating factors is the knowledge that if someone commits a crime, for instance, a murder, then likely the murderer will be punished and punished brutally.

Therefore the person will stay away from murder.

----------------------

This above mechanism can't be divorced from placing the blame on the murderer.

So a lot of people will NOT commit murder, for fear of punishment; and a lot of people are PUNISHED because they committed murder. It is true that that was their only choice at the time; but they still get punished, and that action alone, the act of punishment, will make a lot OTHER people's only choice to be not to commit murder.

Therefore the one choice that many will follow is not to commit murder.

----------------------------------

Okay, okay, okay.

While the murderer is not liable for his only choice, the system only works if he is treated as if the murderer was fully liable.
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Re: The Toughest Western Philosophers to Read, Grasp and Master?

Post by -1- » May 30th, 2018, 7:52 am

Instead of rejecting the lack of free will, on the basis of "not liable, therefore not guilty" of any crime, we should switch the paradigm to "no free will, and the committers of crimes committed that as their only choice, but they are treated as if we could assume that they had other choices."
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Re: The Toughest Western Philosophers to Read, Grasp and Master?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » May 30th, 2018, 4:25 pm

Derrida isb certainly very tough, but I think that in part that is because he doesn't want to be clear about anything, doesn't think things mean stuff and may be right about his own works and being unintelligible is often confused with profundity. If people understand you, especially after only a few readings, then maybe, they think, they could manage to write it, so why bother. An undercurrent silliness in philosophy groupie-ism.

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Re: The Toughest Western Philosophers to Read, Grasp and Master?

Post by Spectrum » May 31st, 2018, 12:22 am

Georgeanna wrote:
May 30th, 2018, 4:31 am
Spectrum: " Point is to be credible in Philosophy one has to cover and understand [not necessary agree with it] the greatest profound books of philosophy regardless of whether it is well or badly written."

So, is this your aim? To be credible in Philosophy.
And to achieve this you are slogging through the 'toughest Western Philosophers... and the greatest profound books'. On your own and with a little help from websites and online forum participants ?

If you mean to be found credible in western academic Philosophy, then I suggest that this would probably be insufficient criteria.

Credibility comes in all shapes and sizes.

What makes someone ( including philosophers) credible to me is:
How much I trust them and their conclusions.
This means clarity and care; competence and character.
Concern to be understood. Engaging in responsive communication.

The art of close reading - part 2
'Reading is a systematic process for learning the essential meanings of that teacher. When we become good readers, we can learn the essential meanings of an unlimited number of teachers whose teachings live on, ever available, in the books they have written. When we take the core ideas of those teachings into our minds through careful reading, we can productively use them in our lives.'

http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/t ... rt-two/510

If a book can act as a teacher in this way- and it is possible to engage and assess for intelligibility and connect core ideas - then that is an active way to develop understanding.
If there are multiple ways to understand a profound philosopher, then so be it. It is the path of philosophy...
But again, people read philosophy books and enjoy certain philosophers not necessarily ' to be credible in Philosophy'.
My point is not to be credible via my own rhetorics but rather grounded on credible philosophers who are notable. Thus if my own views and presentation are not credible [either I am not good is communication or the other lacking in philosophy] I have at least notable credible philosophers to back me up.

As far as philosophy is concern I will not compromise on the 'truth.'
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

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Re: The Toughest Western Philosophers to Read, Grasp and Master?

Post by Georgeanna » May 31st, 2018, 4:57 am

What do you mean by not compromising on the 'truth' as far as philosophy is concerned ?
Elsewhere you used Heidegger's notion of ' Being' as a way to support your belief about 'philosophy-proper'. *
Isn't this a bit like name-dropping - alluding to an authoritative figure to impress.
Placing [ Heidegger] at the end of a sentence proclaiming a belief - doesn't necessarily bring credibility. Only if it is used following a quote by Heidegger which can then be properly assessed for 'truth'.
Whatever that might be.

*
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=15636
Spectrum:
" I believe philosophy-proper is driven from the level of 'being' [Heidegger] and from there influenced by all levels and is continually modulated and refined by the neocortex.
Without the animal passion of the limbic [modulated] no one will continue to do philosophy-proper.
One critical point with philosophy-proper is, it is always by default a net-positive until humans are extinct."

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Re: The Toughest Western Philosophers to Read, Grasp and Master?

Post by chewybrian » May 31st, 2018, 6:40 am

-1- wrote:
May 30th, 2018, 7:46 am
Chewybrian, you are too much in haste and don't follow through the logic.

Please bear with me. Please put your anger aside for a second, or come back to this when you are less upset. Because this makes sense what I say, but it won't if you don't slow down.
I must assume from your response that you mistake my honest assessment for hyperbole. I'm not impatient or angry. I have not failed to consider the issue fairly. I only disagree with the presumption and, more importantly, the conclusions that naturally follow. I see it as a very dangerous position. I won't go quietly to a world where Darwin tells us all we need to know, and there is nothing to learn from Orwell.
-1- wrote:
May 30th, 2018, 7:46 am
Determinism is the cause of no free will.

The determinating factors will make a person behave the way s/he behaves.

One of the determinating factors is the knowledge that if someone commits a crime, for instance, a murder, then likely the murderer will be punished and punished brutally.

Therefore the person will stay away from murder.

----------------------

This above mechanism can't be divorced from placing the blame on the murderer.

So a lot of people will NOT commit murder, for fear of punishment; and a lot of people are PUNISHED because they committed murder. It is true that that was their only choice at the time; but they still get punished, and that action alone, the act of punishment, will make a lot OTHER people's only choice to be not to commit murder.

Therefore the one choice that many will follow is not to commit murder.
This is not a difficult argument to follow. Every action in the past accumulates to result in one and only one option in the present. Socrates, Joan of Arc, Frank Zappa and Martha Stewart all had no choice but to become exactly who they were. None ever acted on their own impulse, but only on the weight of their DNA, and the accumulated experiences of their lives. Noble or ethical action is not and never was possible. People can only see better or worse and always take better, as seen through their expectations based on experience. So, any system of ethics is a waste of time, and only deterrence (or rewards) can affect outcomes.

I don't see that position as proven. One independent act in course of human history knocks it down, and there are certainly acts that seem to point to independence, even though many people operate on auto-pilot much of the time. It seems neither side can point to hard proof.

My informal survey at work yesterday found 10 of 10 regular folks who think they have free will. But here it seems opinion tilts the other way. And, my gut tells me that views expressed here reflect informed opinion, and therefore future opinion in the wider world. So, my fear is that this view will gain traction, and ethics will lose.

Now, you can't tell me my position is any more difficult to fathom than yours. I believe in free will, which implies ethics are critical. I believe in it because I experience it every waking moment, and I accept it despite the terrific burden it imposes. I want freedom for myself and others, and I want to try to make the right choices and to encourage others to do the same. Success in my world is not a perfect prison system, but a lack of a need for prisons (not because penalties are high enough to discourage evil, but because people want to be good). I don't see perfection on the horizon, though. It's a war which must be fought by the inch. But I think people can stay away from murder because they don't want to be murderers, no matter the perceived reward or punishment.

You can form an idea in your mind of the person you wish to become, and take positive action to work toward your goal. You can alter your own personality through hard work, and to a lesser extent you can impact your environment and others through your efforts, as circumstances allow. This is my not so radical stance, and it is shared by most people, and has been the prevailing view for a long time, so it can hardly be difficult to see, even if you disagree.
-1- wrote:
May 30th, 2018, 7:46 am
Okay, okay, okay.

While the murderer is not liable for his only choice, the system only works if he is treated as if the murderer was fully liable.
This is the inevitable footnote to all these discussions. "Of course, as a practical matter, we must pretend that we have free will." To me, it shows a need to reconsider the position and the conclusions. I have no need to pretend I am a giraffe while arguing that I am not a giraffe.

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Re: The Toughest Western Philosophers to Read, Grasp and Master?

Post by -1- » May 31st, 2018, 7:12 am

I hear you, chewybrian.

If we feel we have a free will, then why don't we admit to having one.

That makes sense.

I just can't reconcile that notion, the notion of free will, with the notion that everything has a cause, and every cause has an effect. This is my starting point.

Can you make sense of how there could be free will if everything is caused?
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Re: The Toughest Western Philosophers to Read, Grasp and Master?

Post by -1- » May 31st, 2018, 7:15 am

-1- wrote:
May 31st, 2018, 7:12 am
I hear you, chewybrian.

If we feel we have a free will, then why don't we admit to having one.

That makes sense.

I just can't reconcile that notion, the notion of free will, with the notion that everything has a cause, and every cause has an effect. This is my starting point.

Can you make sense of how there could be free will if everything is caused?
Of course this also begs the question, how free is free... how do you define free will, chewybrian? If we define it as a will which acts without causes, it is free. But why would a will will something that it is not caused to will? That is the question I can't answer.
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Re: The Toughest Western Philosophers to Read, Grasp and Master?

Post by chewybrian » May 31st, 2018, 8:58 am

-1- wrote:
May 31st, 2018, 7:12 am
I hear you, chewybrian.

If we feel we have a free will, then why don't we admit to having one.

That makes sense.

I just can't reconcile that notion, the notion of free will, with the notion that everything has a cause, and every cause has an effect. This is my starting point.

Can you make sense of how there could be free will if everything is caused?
I'd say we are conceited enough to think we understand how we came to be or how we operate, when we still have much to learn. My dog is unconcerned with how or why she is a dog, instead fully occupied with the business of being a dog. If we were more occupied with being human (ethics), then we might be better off. Why should we concede anything to science it has not proven, when to do so is not exactly scientific, and especially if the concession could be seen as a threat to our well-being or existence?

Cause and effect holds pretty well in nature. But, we made a break when we learned to make beer (If you want to go deeper...when we began to think we could escape nature/reality). We had to farm to make good beer, and to protect our crops we needed rules, and next thing you know we're launching satellites. In the intervening time, we committed acts of the greatest self sacrifice and the worst depravity imaginable, with or without incentive or penalty (I mean this was not always the motivation). It's quacking like a duck, so it seems fair to assume it is a duck and await the results of inquiry before saying otherwise.

There is an argument for God that believing makes people happier, so why not choose to live the better life, even if it is wrong? I guess this could apply in the case of free will, too, although you have the additional incentive of active perception of free will without faith, and I think that distinction is material.
-1- wrote:
May 31st, 2018, 7:15 am
how do you define free will, chewybrian?
I can only stick with the definition(s) I already gave.
-1- wrote:
May 31st, 2018, 7:15 am
Of course this also begs the question, how free is free...
I'll leave that to Epictetus:
Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions.

The things in our control are by nature free, unrestrained, unhindered; but those not in our control are weak, slavish, restrained, belonging to others...


So, perhaps, quite free to control ourselves, and only free to try to impact others and the environment, with many roadblocks and little prospect of success on that path.
-1- wrote:
May 31st, 2018, 7:15 am
But why would a will will something that it is not caused to will?
Only because it is free to do so, of course. You might also ask why a cause had occurred without a will. A prior cause could be the answer, but it gives no reason for the whole infinite series of cause and effect. Doesn't empty nothingness make a lot more sense than what we experience, if there is no will anywhere in the series? I'm not pushing for God here, only for human will. Will is easier to accept without the burden of faith, since I can experience will directly. So, the scales are weighted against God because I am asked to have faith, while they are weighted for will because I already experience it.

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Re: The Toughest Western Philosophers to Read, Grasp and Master?

Post by Name Is Unnecessary » May 31st, 2018, 2:54 pm

Eduk wrote:
May 28th, 2018, 4:55 am
Out of interest why are you looking for the toughest to read and hardest to master?
Why not the most well written and profound?
I suppose it is to plead his own ego by acknowledging he is able to grasp toughest writings. I am a new member and think this will need to be approved by a mod, so I'd wish it to be either posted approved without any edits or not approved at all

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Re: The Toughest Western Philosophers to Read, Grasp and Master?

Post by -1- » May 31st, 2018, 3:18 pm

"Cause and effect holds pretty well in nature. But, we made a break when we learned to make beer (If you want to go deeper..."
We may have made a break with nature, but not a break with cause-effect. One does not necessitate the other.

"Only because it (will) is free to do so, of course. You might also ask why a cause had occurred without a will." No, this is not a good analogy. A falling stone will cause an indentation in the ground, without any will involved. This is easy to imagine to be true. But I ask you: will a will will something that is removed from motivation, from wanting, from needing?
I need at least one example. A sure-proof example of a willing of some action, and doing it, that is free of any sort of cause.
I can't come up with any.
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Re: The Toughest Western Philosophers to Read, Grasp and Master?

Post by -1- » May 31st, 2018, 3:30 pm

I understand that some things are in our control. Thanks for describing it in such nice terms with the words of Epictetus. Our thoughts, actions, feelings... these are in our control. Desire, aversion. But these things did not develop on their own. All of them are rooted in our DNA and/or in our upbringing. There is nothing else that shapes our values and will. Our aversion and desires are more DNA driven, the basic ones. Our values are mainly commanded by our upbringing and conscience. Or by innate feelings such as compassion and empathy. Or even hatred. Can you hate someone who has not caused you to hate him or her?

Why would I want to do something, desire something, feel, or think, when I am not motivated to do so? Are motivations the cause that make will happen? Can a motivation spring up, out of nothing, without anything that makes it happen? If it is not motivation that causes will to happen, then will springs out of nothing, it is rootless, it rests upon no prior experience or programming. Is that possible? I can't imagine even one event in which the will comes up with an idea of needing to do something, unless it's been driven by values, needs, ethical considerations or emotions, or by considerations what one considers to be good and must be done. That's ethical, anyway.

So what is a will doing, when it completely freely decides to do something that it has no possible cause to will?
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