An Essay Per Day: Resolution for 2015

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Gary Childress
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Re: An Essay Per Day: Resolution for 2015

Post by Gary Childress »

Finished chapter 7 of Moran's book and moved to the essay on Heidegger and the Greeks" in the Blackwell Companion to Heidegger and it is utterly cryptic to me. I finally just put it aside (about half way through the essay) when I realized nothing was making any sense to me whatsoever. I think I will be much happier when I get hold of and start reading Cerbone's Heidegger: A Guide for the Perplexed. It's supposed to arrive Tuesday. In the meantime I'll see if I can find a more comprehensible essay to read, which for me would maybe involve cartoon pictures of Mickey and Donald Duck for reference. :oops:
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vegetariantaxidermy
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Re: An Essay Per Day: Resolution for 2015

Post by vegetariantaxidermy »

Never mind. Most so-called 'philosophers' are just pretentious phonies anyway. You might enjoy this:

http://www.physics.nyu.edu/sokal/dawkins.html
Gary Childress
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Re: An Essay Per Day: Resolution for 2015

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vegetariantaxidermy wrote:Never mind. Most so-called 'philosophers' are just pretentious phonies anyway. You might enjoy this:

http://www.physics.nyu.edu/sokal/dawkins.html
Thanks for the link, vegetariantaxidermy. I had heard of Sokal's prank before. I wasn't sure if it sufficiently serves as a blanket condemnation of the entire "continental" tradition in philosophy extending all the way back to Heidegger, though. Apparently Wittgenstein once commented favorably on Heidegger (or so I read in one of my books recently). So I don't know.

It would be nice for me to think that all the impenetrable jargon I see in many texts I've encountered from "renowned" philosophers such as Deleuze, Derrida, Foucault, et al. is a bunch of nonsense (I never get very far in their texts because I find them incomprehensible most of the time). I would actually welcome the revelation that it is all nonsense because it would save me a lot of grief and headaches trying to wade through all of it. But I also read a few responses to Sokal which accuse him (Sokal) of simply playing what maybe amounts to a sophomoric prank that wasn't a scientific experiment itself and didn't prove anything conclusively.

So that's where I stand. I don't know whether to pursue my studies of Heidegger in the hopes that they will bear some sort of positive enrichment for me or if I should save myself a lot of grief and confusion and just study something else that maybe makes more sense. I suppose I'm a glutton for punishment in some ways if I try to take up the torch and use it to see what Heidegger is talking about. :(
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Re: An Essay Per Day: Resolution for 2015

Post by Impenitent »

"impenetrable jargon"

"The world is my world: this is manifest in the fact that the limits of language (of that language which alone I understand) mean the limits of my world." - Wittgenstein

nonsense is relative... translations are notoriously difficult...

"bracket" the jargon

-Imp
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vegetariantaxidermy
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Re: An Essay Per Day: Resolution for 2015

Post by vegetariantaxidermy »

Gibberish is useful for those who want to appear intelligent but really have nothing to say, or wish to deceive. Corporate jargon is a good example.
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Re: An Essay Per Day: Resolution for 2015

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vegetariantaxidermy wrote:Gibberish is useful for those who want to appear intelligent but really have nothing to say, or wish to deceive. Corporate jargon is a good example.
Philosophers going all the way back to Socrates (and probably before) have always been accused of talking "gibberish" so how do we know for sure that this isn't just another case of the layman's "sour grapes" toward something s/he doesn't understand? Heidegger has been hugely influential in "continental" European philosophy. Is it possible or likely that so many philosophers and disciples of his could all be under some sort of delusional spell or something? :?
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Re: An Essay Per Day: Resolution for 2015

Post by uwot »

There is a bit of "the slithy toves did gyre and gimble" about it, but every field of human endeavour has it's radical wing. To most people some art is incomprehensible, some music sounds bloody awful, some mathematics has nothing to do with anything, some haut couture looks ridiculous, some craft beer tastes of vinegar. Philosophy is no different, some of its practitioners are speaking to a very small number of people who speak the same language; if there is anything of real value, it will bubble to the surface in plain English. (Other languages are available.)
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Re: An Essay Per Day: Resolution for 2015

Post by vegetariantaxidermy »

Gary Childress wrote:
vegetariantaxidermy wrote:Gibberish is useful for those who want to appear intelligent but really have nothing to say, or wish to deceive. Corporate jargon is a good example.
Philosophers going all the way back to Socrates (and probably before) have always been accused of talking "gibberish" so how do we know for sure that this isn't just another case of the layman's "sour grapes" toward something s/he doesn't understand? Heidegger has been hugely influential in "continental" European philosophy. Is it possible or likely that so many philosophers and disciples of his could all be under some sort of delusional spell or something? :?
I didn't say ALL philosophers. Have you read The Emperor's New Clothes?
I don't think you can fault Richard Dawkins' intelligence or reading comprehension. Everything he writes is lucid and almost faultless both in its logic and comprehensibility.
I would be the first to admit that I don't speak gibberish, and I will shoot it down any chance I get.
Philosophers come from all walks of life. They don't necessarily call themselves that. What's the point in having a 'philosophy' that no one understands?

'Mumbo jumbo' would probably be a more accurate description than 'gibberish'. Technical terms are necessary in specialised scientific fields, but they wouldn't talk like that to people in their everyday lives. There is no need for philosophy to be full of incomprehensible jargon. As Einstein pointed out, if you can't explain something to your grandmother then you don't know your subject' or words to that effect.
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Ginkgo
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Re: An Essay Per Day: Resolution for 2015

Post by Ginkgo »

Gary Childress wrote:Finished chapter 7 of Moran's book and moved to the essay on Heidegger and the Greeks" in the Blackwell Companion to Heidegger and it is utterly cryptic to me. I finally just put it aside (about half way through the essay) when I realized nothing was making any sense to me whatsoever. I think I will be much happier when I get hold of and start reading Cerbone's Heidegger: A Guide for the Perplexed. It's supposed to arrive Tuesday. In the meantime I'll see if I can find a more comprehensible essay to read, which for me would maybe involve cartoon pictures of Mickey and Donald Duck for reference. :oops:
The phenomenology of Husserl, Heidegger and later existentialist philosophers is better shelved in favour of a modern philosophy of mind.

Unless you have a particular interest in phenomenology.

Just a suggestion.
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Re: An Essay Per Day: Resolution for 2015

Post by Gary Childress »

vegetariantaxidermy wrote:
Gary Childress wrote:
vegetariantaxidermy wrote:Gibberish is useful for those who want to appear intelligent but really have nothing to say, or wish to deceive. Corporate jargon is a good example.
Philosophers going all the way back to Socrates (and probably before) have always been accused of talking "gibberish" so how do we know for sure that this isn't just another case of the layman's "sour grapes" toward something s/he doesn't understand? Heidegger has been hugely influential in "continental" European philosophy. Is it possible or likely that so many philosophers and disciples of his could all be under some sort of delusional spell or something? :?
I didn't say ALL philosophers. Have you read The Emperor's New Clothes?
I don't think you can fault Richard Dawkins intelligence. I would be the first to admit that I don't speak gibberish, and I will shoot it down any chance I get.
Philosophers come from all walks of life. They don't necessarily call themselves that. What's the point in having a 'philosophy' that no one understands?
And I'm not implying that you did say that ALL philosophers speak gibberish. I'm simply pointing out that Sokal's take on continental philosophers is maybe nothing new to philosophy. Maybe we should therefore approach his "hoax" with caution as far as what assumptions we take away from it.

People thought the Pythagoreans were nuts and maybe they were. Aristophanes thought Socrates was nuts and I think he turned out wrong. People have complained about Kant and Hegel as well over being incomprehensible and yet many contemporary philosophers owe their whole scholarly endeavors to their basic ideas. While I agree that terminology used by many "continental" thinkers has gotten more and more obscure and maybe it doesn't need to be that doesn't mean that underneath that terminology isn't real thought and understanding.
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vegetariantaxidermy
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Re: An Essay Per Day: Resolution for 2015

Post by vegetariantaxidermy »

I added a few things to my previous post. The Sokal hoax speaks for itself. He wrote what he knew to be rubbish, and had it accepted by a philosophy journal. There's really only one way to take that.
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Re: An Essay Per Day: Resolution for 2015

Post by Ginkgo »

Heidegger is one of the most complicated philosophers. He uses a lot of symbolism and motifs, but it is possible to make sense of him. Heidegger believes the goal philosophy is to discover the ultimate nature of being. I don't think he is successful.
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Gary Childress
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Re: An Essay Per Day: Resolution for 2015

Post by Gary Childress »

Ginkgo wrote:
Gary Childress wrote:Finished chapter 7 of Moran's book and moved to the essay on Heidegger and the Greeks" in the Blackwell Companion to Heidegger and it is utterly cryptic to me. I finally just put it aside (about half way through the essay) when I realized nothing was making any sense to me whatsoever. I think I will be much happier when I get hold of and start reading Cerbone's Heidegger: A Guide for the Perplexed. It's supposed to arrive Tuesday. In the meantime I'll see if I can find a more comprehensible essay to read, which for me would maybe involve cartoon pictures of Mickey and Donald Duck for reference. :oops:
The phenomenology of Husserl, Heidegger and later existentialist philosophers is better shelved in favour of a modern philosophy of mind.

Unless you have a particular interest in phenomenology.

Just a suggestion.
My interest is in life and how it should best be lived (also one reason why I like Hellenist philosophy). Philosophy of mind is a noble and fascinating study but I also happen to agree in some respects with Heidegger that maybe there is a "technological" understanding of the world which perhaps does hinder our ability to live a more "authentic" existence. I view hard science as a tool but not necessarily as an "end in itself". I think many scientists are under the impression that science is the be all and end all of human activity.

Take the example of using drones to kill enemies. The study of "Philosophy of mind" lends itself well to the field of "artificial intelligence" which works well with the plans and aspirations of the military industrial complex. Perhaps real science is being hijacked by the defense industry to proverbially "build a better mousetrap". But philosophy stands back and asks, should we be building this mousetrap to begin with? Should we be trying to create AI and all the moral and ethical trappings that come with it? to me that is sort of a Heideggerian take on things and maybe what H was getting at all along. Sure he could maybe say it in more plain and straightforward language but... I guess he doesn't...
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Re: An Essay Per Day: Resolution for 2015

Post by Ginkgo »

Gary Childress wrote:
My interest is in life and how it should best be lived (also one reason why I like Hellenist philosophy). Philosophy of mind is a noble and fascinating study but I also happen to agree in some respects with Heidegger that maybe there is a "technological" understanding of the world which perhaps does hinder our ability to live a more "authentic" existence. I view hard science as a tool but not necessarily as an "end in itself". I think many scientists are under the impression that science is the be all and end all of human activity.

Take the example of using drones to kill enemies. The study of "Philosophy of mind" lends itself well to the field of "artificial intelligence" which works well with the plans and aspirations of the military industrial complex. Perhaps real science is being hijacked by the defense industry to proverbially "build a better mousetrap". But philosophy stands back and asks, should we be building this mousetrap to begin with? Should we be trying to create AI and all the moral and ethical trappings that come with it? to me that is sort of a Heideggerian take on things and maybe what H was getting at all along. Sure he could maybe say it in more plain and straightforward language but... I guess he doesn't...

Fair enough. Unfortunately in the case of Heidegger you will find he paints a very bleak picture.
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Re: An Essay Per Day: Resolution for 2015

Post by vegetariantaxidermy »

Gary Childress wrote:
Ginkgo wrote:
Gary Childress wrote:Finished chapter 7 of Moran's book and moved to the essay on Heidegger and the Greeks" in the Blackwell Companion to Heidegger and it is utterly cryptic to me. I finally just put it aside (about half way through the essay) when I realized nothing was making any sense to me whatsoever. I think I will be much happier when I get hold of and start reading Cerbone's Heidegger: A Guide for the Perplexed. It's supposed to arrive Tuesday. In the meantime I'll see if I can find a more comprehensible essay to read, which for me would maybe involve cartoon pictures of Mickey and Donald Duck for reference. :oops:
The phenomenology of Husserl, Heidegger and later existentialist philosophers is better shelved in favour of a modern philosophy of mind.

Unless you have a particular interest in phenomenology.

Just a suggestion.
My interest is in life and how it should best be lived (also one reason why I like Hellenist philosophy). Philosophy of mind is a noble and fascinating study but I also happen to agree in some respects with Heidegger that maybe there is a "technological" understanding of the world which perhaps does hinder our ability to live a more "authentic" existence. I view hard science as a tool but not necessarily as an "end in itself". I think many scientists are under the impression that science is the be all and end all of human activity.

Take the example of using drones to kill enemies. The study of "Philosophy of mind" lends itself well to the field of "artificial intelligence" which works well with the plans and aspirations of the military industrial complex. Perhaps real science is being hijacked by the defense industry to proverbially "build a better mousetrap". But philosophy stands back and asks, should we be building this mousetrap to begin with? Should we be trying to create AI and all the moral and ethical trappings that come with it? to me that is sort of a Heideggerian take on things and maybe what H was getting at all along. Sure he could maybe say it in more plain and straightforward language but... I guess he doesn't...
Science has been hijacked by the defence industry and military for a long time. You only have to think of the Manhattan Project.
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