Sunday, March 09, 2003

Great Philosophers
Socrates 470-399 B.C Greece
Greek philosophy

The Socratic method, is to get one to define concepts as Good, EVil, justice, etc and cite contradictions from the responses, exposing the ignorance of the responder and motivate deeper enquiry into the concepts. Socrates claimed he did not have 'answers', only questions.

He probably believed that all wrongdoing is based on ignorance, that no one desires bad things; and that it is worse to do injustice than to suffer it.

He was condemned to death on charges of impiety and corruption of youth He was immortalized in Plato's dialogues. His influence spread deep into western philosophy.

Plato 427 -347 B.C. Athens
Greek philosophy / Platonism Republic;
Had the finest of education and fell in love with the Socratic method and became a disciple. He immortalized Socrates socrates in his
"Dialogues' on various subjects like courage, common sense piety, friendship, virtueetc. All the works have socrates exposing the fallacies of arguments about the concepts discussed.

In his "Republic" Plato draws up an outline for a utopian state.
Socrates is the main character in the Republic, and discusses what is justice and what it means to the individual and the city-state.

In his later work The Statesman, he concludes that the best type of city-state would be the one in which the expert is given absolute authority with no hindrance to his rule from laws or constitution.

Aristotle 384 -322 B.C. Macedonia
Dialogues; On Monarchy; Alexander; The Customs of Barbarians; Natural History; Organon, or The Instrument of Correct Thinking; On the Soul; Logic; Rhetoric; Eudemian Ethics; Physics; Metaphysics; Politics; Poetics

Epicurus 342 -270 B.C.
Greek philosophy / Platonism / Epicureanism To Herodotus, dealing with physics; To Menoecus, dealing with ethics and theology; To Pythocles, on meteorology

Marcus Aurelius 121-180 Rome
Roman Empire Pagan / Cynicism / Stoicism /

Saint Thomas Aquinas 1225-1274
Catholic Summa Theologica; Summa Contra Gentilres; Disputed Questions; On Divine Names; On the Book of Causes

Francis Bacon 1561-1626
Anglican New Atlantis; The Wisdom of the Ancients; Colors of Good and Evil; Sacred Meditations; Confession of Faith; Things Thought and Things Seen; History of Life and Death

Rene Descartes 1596-1650
Catholic (Jesuit) The Search after Truth; Rules for the Direction of the Mind; Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason; Meditatios on the First Philosophy; Principles of Philosophy; The World; Geometry; Treatise on Man; Dioptric

Baruch Spinoza 1632-1677
Amsterdam, Netherlands Judaism; later pantheism Short Treatise on God, Man and His Well Being; Treatise on Religion and Politics; Metaphysical Thoughts; The Calculation of Chances; Ethics

John Locke 1632-1704
The Reasonableness of Christianity; Letters on Toleration; Two Treatises on Government; Essay Concerning the Human Understanding; Thoughts on Education

Voltaire 1694-1778
Letters on the English; Candide; The World As It Goes; Zadig

David Hume 1711-1776 Scotland raised Protestant;
Treatise of Human Nature; Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion; Four Dissertations: The Natural History of Religion, of the Passions, Of Tragedy, Of the Standard of Taste; Inquiry Concerning the Principles of

Kant 1724-1804
The Critique of Pure Reason; The Critique of Practical Reason; The Critique of Judgment; Metaphysic of Nature; Metaphysic of Ethics; Religion within the Limits of Pure Reason

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel 1770-1831 Germany
Science of Logic; Phenomenology of Spirit; Aesthetics; Philosophy of Religion; Philosophy of Art; Philosophy of Mind; Philosophy of Right; Philosophy of History; History of Philosophy; Encyclopedia of Philosophical Science; Life of Jesus

Arthur Schopenhauer 1788-1860
philosophically atheist and anti-rationalist; among religions, preferred Hindu mysticism The World As Will and Idea; On the Fourfold Root of Sufficient Reason; On the Will in Nature; The Art of Controversy; The Two Fundamental Problems of Ethics

Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803-1882
Nature; Essays; Representative Man; The Conduct of Life; Letters and Social Aims; The Oversoul; The Natural History of the Intellect; Duty; Truth; Beauty and Manners; Literary Ethics; Journals; Poems; Many Days and Other Pieces

Herbert Spencer 1820-1903 atheist; "scientific philosophy" Principles of Sociology; Principles of Ethics; The Theory of Population; The Universal Postulate; Man versus the State; First Principles

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche 1844-1900 raised Protestant; later pagan-atheist-Nietzscheist

German, Aspiring musician, Stammerer deeply influenced by Schopenhauer and the anti-semitic Wagner( Whom he later quarrelled with) , a chronic sufferer due to headaches,

Logic is the antithesis of art. Socratic pursuit of knowledge was wrong as life's purpose was in suffering, not learning (Schopenhauer's belief >> Will motivates human action and clash of people's wills creates conflict. Conflict causes suffering, which is the purpose of life).

His fascination with Tragedy and human suffering and his love for tragic music gave rise to his first book " The Birth of Tragedy From the Spirit of Music"

In History, Nietzsche argues the quality of life was not to be determined by assessing a standard of living of the general population, but by assessing the product of the intellectual giants. Two more years of Goethe's life, Nietzsche argues, would have proved more beneficial to humanity than would numerous, relatively unimportant lives.

Later,he renounced Schopenhauerian and Wagnerian ideals and argued that good and evil were not opposites but extremes of one motivating force, He argued that the will is rooted in survival and pleasure.

In his later work, he shocks by describing figures as Socrates and Christ, as suicidal martyrs.

He lambasts Christian fundaments by arguing morality is being used by christians as a repressive tool for establishing social conformity.

"The surest way to corrupt a youthis to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently." He called for humanity to overcome conventional morality .

"The Christian resolve to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad," he contended. He was against Christianity, though not against christ. " In truth there was only one Christian and he died on the cross"

He claims Christianity had twisted Christ's teachings into a repressive and humiliating code and is responsible for the masses of docile, conformist lackies. He claims Selfishness is true altruism ( The invisible hand of the market ?)and that one actually helps one's neighbor by helping oneself.

His Magnum Opus is Thus Spake Zarathustra, where he argues the will to power as the basic motivating force of human action. The will to power is the will to overcome one's weaknesses and embrace difficulties, both moral and social. To overcome one's failings is to become the overman ( Superman).

Crafted in Bible-like verse ( conceived as an alternatve to the New TEstament ) Thus Spake Zarathustra tracks a 30-year-old hermit who abandons his solitude to preach the will to power to the masses. "God is dead," Zarathustra announces. "I teach you the overman." He proclaims man a mere bridge to the overman, who is superior for having overcome weaknesses and inhibitions.

In Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future he rips conventional morality and argues conventional morality as slavery derived from Christianity as a repressive code reinforcing conformity by fostering stupidity and humility. "Madness is rare in individuals," he contended, "but in groups, parties, and ages it is the rule."

In his later book On the Genealogy of Morals), talks about the nature of good and evil, the essence of guilt, and the meaning of Asceticism discusses the failings of Christian morality.

On Moralism

He traces the history of moralism and argued that it derived from systematic repression, not altruism. The concept of goodness was used by Christian morality as a means of encouraging conformity and selflessness. Christian goodness was thus, for Nietzsche, antithetical to the will to power.

On Guilt
He sees it as a manipulative tool of repressive Christianity. He called guilt a dictating force towards conformity and inhibition and alleged that it was even destructive within its Christian context, for it caused the internalization of supposedly negative feelings cruelty, aggression and thus congested the soul. For Nietzsche, guilt was an almost tangible liability.

On Asceticism
He portrays Christianity as a sadomasochistic, ultimately self-destructive order and argues the will to morality would end up as will to nothingness.

In How One Philosophizes With a Hammer) Nietzsche blasts Christianity as humanity's blunder into conformity and stupidity. "Is man merely a mistake of God's?" "Or God merely a mistake of man's?"

He mocks humanity's seemingly limitless capacity for self-abasement through inhibitive social constructs. "I mistrust all systematizers," he asserted. "The will to a system is a lack of integrity." His greatest fury was against German culture and Aryanism. "German spirit : for the past 18 years a contradiction in terms." He brands German philosophy and art as hopelessly mediocre and mocks the nation's alleged mania for cleanliness and obedience and ridiculs the notion of Aryan racial purity. For Nietzsche, the German people's will to live in such a vile state proved that the country had "deliberately made itself stupid."

In the Antichrist, he calls for all humanity to overcome the degradation of organized religion.

In Ecce Homo, an account of his life and work he has chapters provocatively titled "Why I Am So Wise" and "Why I Am So Clever," he "Why I Write Such Good Books," In the final chapter, "Why I Am a Destiny," he claims that he would someday be associated with the obliteration of Christianity and the rise of the overman. He called himself "the first immoralist" and the "annihilator par excellence" and declared, "I am by far the most terrible human being that has existed so far; this does not preclude the possibility that I shall be the most beneficial."

Soon after he started experiencing deliriums and became insane, dying
soon after. His sister distorts and plunders his writings so effectively, she is nominated to Nobel prize on Literature. She later befriends Hitler and turned Nietsche archives into NAzi propaganda.

1872 The Birth of Tragedy
1873 David Strauss, the Confessor and the Writer
1874 Schopenhauer as Educator
1874 The Use and Abuse of History
1876 Richard Wagner in Bayreuth
1878 Human, All Too Human
1882 The Gay Science
1883 -- 1885 Thus Spake Zarathustra
1886 Beyond Good and Evil
1887 On the Genealogy of Morals
1888 The Case of Wagner
1889 Twilight of the Idols
1895 Nietzsche contra Wagner
1895 The Antichrist
1901 The Will to Power
1908 Ecce Homo

William James 1842-1910 New York City, New York raised by a free-thinking mystic; pluralistic The Principles of Psychology; Human Immortality; The Will to Believe and other Essays in Popular Philosophy; Talks to Teachers on Psychology and to Students on Some of Life's Ideals; The Varieties of Religious Experience; A Pluralistic Universe; The Meaning of Truth; Essays in Radical Empiricism; Some Problems in Philosophy

Henri Bergson 1859-1941 born Jewish; skeptic and atheist while young; later idealist and believer in Elan Vital Creative Evolution; Time and Free Will; Matter and Memory; Mind-Energy; Laughter and Metaphysics; The Perception of Change; The Meaning of the War (of 1914)

George Santayana 1863-1952 Spain devout Platonist-Catholic-Atheist
Lucifer, a Theological Tragedy; The Sense of Beauty; Interpretations of Poetry and Religion; The Life of Reason, in five volumes: Reason in Common Sense, Reason in Society, Reason in Religion, Reason in Art, Reason in Science; Three Philosophical Poets; Winds of Doctrine; Egotism in German Philosophy; Skepticism and Animal Faith; Platonism and the Spiritual Life; The Realms of Being; The Last Puritan; The Realm of Truth; The Realm of Spirit; Persons and Places; The Middle Span


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