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Some random thoughts on philosophy

from Ian - Friday, November 22, 2002
accessed 1494 times

Kant, Nietzsche, Chomsky, and Bertrand Russell.

I spent a considerable amount of time while in the military reading and attempting to learn more about various philosophies. I never took any classes; I only read a lot and attempted to understand.

Frequently I would come across words and concepts I did not understand and would keep a list of things I needed to learn more about. Some books (The Metaphysics of Morals and Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant for example) generated pages of words and concepts that I wanted to learn about. Kant’s thoughts about “Good Will” were eye opening for me.

Some of Nietzsche’s writings (The Anti-Christ, Twilight of the Idols, Beyond Good and Evil, Daybreak) also radically affected my thoughts on religion and humanity.

Noam Chomsky’s writings truly opened my mind but it was when I began to read Bertrand Russell that suddenly all of my thoughts and questions were put into words better than I could have ever conceived. The only thing I can compare it to is maybe a reverse “born again” experience. I had spent years believing in God because I was afraid not to and suddenly I was free of so much mental anxiety. Bertrand Russell lived a truly great life and constantly fought against the strangle hold that religion has on the minds and traditions of most people.

I find it difficult to speak with most students of philosophy because it appears they all belong to some unknown “cult of intellectual pride” and refuse to speak English preferring instead to constantly prolong a “pissing war” to see who can use a larger or more obscure word from deep in their new found vocabulary.

Anyway, just seeing if anyone else out there has “discovered” similar truths or “self proclaimed axioms”. I’ll finish with a short quote from Bertrand Russell’s “Why I’m Not A Christian”.

What We Must Do
“We want to stand upon our own feet and look fair and square at the world -- its good facts, its bad facts, its beauties, and its ugliness; see the world as it is and be not afraid of it. Conquer the world by intelligence and not merely by being slavishly subdued by the terror that comes from it. The whole conception of God is a conception derived from the ancient Oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men. When you hear people in church debasing themselves and saying that they are miserable sinners, and all the rest of it, it seems contemptible and not worthy of self-respecting human beings. We ought to stand up and look the world frankly in the face. We ought to make the best we can of the world, and if it is not so good as we wish, after all it will still be better than what these others have made of it in all these ages. A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men. It needs a fearless outlook and a free intelligence. It needs hope for the future, not looking back all the time toward a past that is dead, which we trust will be far surpassed by the future that our intelligence can create.”

“Another fine post by Ian”

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from maydreamer
Thursday, July 28, 2005 - 06:02

It' good to know that american military men can actually read!!!!!!
(reply to this comment)
from xolox
Wednesday, March 16, 2005 - 17:35


..."All the world is God", "we're walking on the Lord, in fact the flies are also the Lord, so blessed be the fruit of thy womb Percy. Amen, halleluja, chunky peanut butter. Our father, which art in tinfoil, hallow'd be thy name."...

Steven King - (The Bachman Books) - "The long walk".
(reply to this comment)

from Heaven
Wednesday, March 26, 2003 - 02:25

I agree.  I think most Christians think their so worthless they could never be of any use to God.  i believe in my own power.  I think the mind is the more powerful than any weapon anybody could ever build.  I also believe that if people (even those who aren't Christians) could find their own inner power a quit their self-loathing, the world would be a happier place.  God would want strong people anyways, not those who are scared and digging themselves into a pit of depression. 
(reply to this comment)
from xhrisl
Tuesday, November 26, 2002 - 02:22

While I agree that the study of ethics and philosophy, as well as psychology has been an eye opener for me in helping me relate to the world at large and even to my own parents by giving me the tools neccisary to understand their frame of referance, I would like however to simplify the matter to it's barest bones (these not being, can there be ethics and morality after Hume).
Having so said, I offer for your inspection in my humble oppinion the two greatest works in the field of dealing with life on a daily basis.

The Missing Piece---by Shel Silverstein.

Oh The Places You'll Go---by Dr. Seuss.

(reply to this comment)
From Bella
Tuesday, November 26, 2002, 02:29

Can there be ethics and morality after Hume, Xhrisl?

I'm taking a modern metaethics class right now (focusing on the responsibility argument), so I'm interested in what you have to say on that one.

--Me(reply to this comment
From xhrisl
Tuesday, November 26, 2002, 02:51

Aaaaarrrghhh, I'm going to assume that this class focuses on the western concept of the responsability arguement and hence Natural Law v. Natural Rights, both of which have their flaws. Personally I'm more inclined to lean on the side of Natural Rights however Natural Rights does not always agree with me on what I consider to be acceptable culpability. The problem I find with Natural Law is that it is not that great a leap into the Divine Command theory of ethics and hence one must accept a Universal standard of behavior and assume a First Cause. Which jumps smack dab into fundamentalist belief structure. In my opinon the only thing Universal about universal truth is our collective ability to missconstrue it universally.(reply to this comment
From Bella
Tuesday, November 26, 2002, 15:55

I agree with your last statement "the only thing Universal about universal truth is our collective ability to missconstrue it universally" Xhrisl. --Excellent.

The metaethics class that I am taking right now has not touched on the Natural Rights vs. Natural Law actually, although, I am interested in exploring the debate. I will be taking a class on Constitutional Law (focusing on civil liberties) next quarter, and I imagine that we will touch on it there ... if anyone out there has taken this class, I would be interested in hearing how you liked it! The ethics class I am taking right now is primarily focusing on the determinism/indeterminism debate. That is to say, can we (should we) hold a person morally responsible in a deterministic or indeterministic world? This topic is especially difficult for me because part of me believes that a person should always be held morally responsible for a crime he commits, but at the same time, is it possible that this person committed an act because of reasons beyond his control? i.e. can we hold a man responsible for murdering another man, if the murderer was say, severely molested and beaten as a child? I mean, naturally, most of us believe that we should not find someone guilty of an act that was beyond one's control; however, what is "beyond one's control"? It's a difficult debate and I am not sure it will ever be solved.

To make the topic even more difficult, I get stuck with such things as the following: if the murderer isn't responsible because he was severely beaten and molested as a child, then who is? Shall we blame the father for molesting the killer as a child? Or, perhaps his mother, for not protecting him from his father? Or, shall we blame the man who was killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Surely someone must be held morally responsible for the death of the innocent individual; but who? .... The list goes on.

Grrr... perhaps I am not thinking "abstractly" enough! =)

In any case, any opinions are greatly welcomed. Hey Ian, what would Nietzsche or Russell say?
(reply to this comment
From Ian
Wednesday, November 27, 2002, 10:21


Russell would refuse to consider anything without concrete evidence....would probably assign guilt where he felt it was deserved (particularly on anything that appeared to be derived from "religious ideas") and would break into a long monologue that bundled all "bad philosophy" as the eventual cause of atomic weapons and war crimes in Vietnam.

Nietzsche would ignore the particulars of the specific arguement and conduct a verbal assault on the writer...."Whoever made that claim was obviously a buffoon". Then he would throw out the entire class because he felt the instructor was biased in some way and that it was obviously effecting his teaching. In his own words, he would pull back the curtain and expose the real man, "Behold the ass".

"Another fine post by ian"
(reply to this comment
From Bella
Tuesday, December 03, 2002, 17:03

You said that Russell “would probably assign guilt where he felt it was deserved” … In the case of the above example of the abused child who becomes a murderer; who is deserving of the assigned guilt? All parties: mother, father, murderer and victim?
(reply to this comment
from thepersoniamnow
Sunday, November 24, 2002 - 22:54

Actually reading "The Cat in the Hat" while snorting coke and finishing a bottle of Irish mist, radically changed my viewpoint on life and religion.
--I do not like green eggs and ham.
Heavy man!
(reply to this comment)
From xhrisl
Tuesday, November 26, 2002, 02:25

Acid and orange juice baby, acid and orange juice! But hey it's all about whatever works for you! (reply to this comment
From Bella
Tuesday, November 26, 2002, 02:32

Acid and OJ!? NAAA -- Acid and sex!(reply to this comment
From Sex whilst tripping? Urgh!
Wednesday, March 26, 2003, 05:24

That was alway the last thing on my mind!  I'd be too busy laughing my head off and it anyone suggested such a thing I would've of though it hillarious!(reply to this comment
From xhrisl
Tuesday, November 26, 2002, 02:54

Have yet to try that one but belive me it's high on my list of priorites. :P(reply to this comment
From Bella
Tuesday, November 26, 2002, 16:52

Takes role-playing to a whole new level(reply to this comment
from Anthony
Sunday, November 24, 2002 - 02:30

Ian, glad to find another Bertrand Russell and Nietzsche reader. I find Bertrand Russell very intelligent, yet fairly easy to understand. While Nietzsche has fostered more confusion, but this is perhaps due to issues in translation, anyway, he’s still pretty interesting. I own a few books from each of them, good readings whether I agree with everything they say or not. Take care.


(reply to this comment)
From tdemp
Tuesday, April 06, 2004, 09:57

fuckin A man......... Awesome. Ill check it out(reply to this comment

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