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  1. #16
    Junior Member SSY's Avatar
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    ancient:
    Chuang-tse
    Plato/Socrates
    the Buddhist monk and poet Ikkyu Sojun

    modern:

    in the realm of art
    Edvard Munch- his paintings contain a richer philosophy than most people's words.
    Austin Osman Spare (whom stole a lot from other work, but whose theories on magic and art are very important to my own work).
    Peter Lamborn Wilson/ Hakim Bey- if I ever embrace any modern 'ism', it's Immediatism.

    two other writers whom I might characterize as having a rich philosophical bent to their work: William S. Burroughs and Henry Miller.

    (PS: props to the person that mentioned Robert Anton Wilson. 'The Cosmic Trigger' is an absolutely devastating book)

  2. #17
    Junior Member SSY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dupersuper View Post
    I love Socrates dialectics and Aristotles scientific method, but some of their observations of science and the natural world are so laughable looking back now.
    I actually enjoy their observations of the world, at least as far as Plato's Socratic dialogues go. I find fantastic, 'wrong' visions of the natural world to be inspiring, because they show the imaginative faculty of genius at work. I think that modern science and its philosophical foundations would be worthless without the ability to imagine what might be true, otherwise there can be no real hypothesis to prove- just endless trial and error.

    Anything that makes the world seem like a more interesting place.

  3. #18
    Senior Member Eumenides's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roquefort Raider View Post
    Richard Feynman is probably not a guy who would have referred to himself as a philosopher, but I find more enlightenment in his wide-eyed admiration of the universe's mechanics (made all the more potent because he actually does understand a small bit of it) than in most "real" philosophy works that, in my eyes, often suffer from disconnection from the real world. I mean, I can admire Pascal's Pensées for what they are, but in the end it's clear that the man's got an agenda and that he doesn't need facts to push it forward. Elegant thought constructions are certainly beautiful and worthy of admiration, but even if they say a lot about the human mind, they are at risk of saying little about the rest of the universe -even when that is their avowed purpose.
    It's frankly easy to understand and explain the universe (for a scientist, of course, but even for a layman with a good popular science book); ten scientists making the same observations will achieve the same results. They're just observing inert matter and natural phenomena that obeys to a series of explainable laws, that doesn't wildly change.

    Although some philosophers are certainly disconnected from the real world, there's really no basis for objectivity in philosophy. Investigating the 'dark mass' of human factors, like Isaiah Berlin called it, is infinitely more complicated than studying gases and rocks. Above all it requires intuition and an ability to place oneself in other person's mind, ability to read and distinguish emotions, and even a creative ability that I think is missing from scientists.

  4. #19
    Senior Member Eumenides's Avatar
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    I like Mary Midgley (b. 1919): she didn't write her first book until she was almost sixty; her writings on ethics, animal behaviour and scientism are extraordinary and inspiring. I find her analysis of moral isolationism very useful and important for our times:

    http://www.drury.edu/ess/values/MMidgley.html

  5. #20
    From Parts Unknown... clayholio's Avatar
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    I really started to enjoy Socrates once I got a handle on his approach, which was basically to annoy the hell out of whomever was unfortunate enough to cross paths with him. Yes, he had a point, but reading Plato's writings about him was so much more enjoyable once I understood he was so annoying that he was put to death for it, and the implications of that. That's a commitment to staying in character! I also find his notion of Socratic Wisdom an important piece of thinking.

    I also enjoy Bertrand Russell, for the simple reason that he didn't seem to have a problem calling something stupid, if he thought it was stupid. I don't take that to mean that he was right or wrong, but I do appreciate his directness and certainty on some matters.

  6. #21
    Elder Member dupersuper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSY View Post
    I actually enjoy their observations of the world, at least as far as Plato's Socratic dialogues go. I find fantastic, 'wrong' visions of the natural world to be inspiring, because they show the imaginative faculty of genius at work. I think that modern science and its philosophical foundations would be worthless without the ability to imagine what might be true, otherwise there can be no real hypothesis to prove- just endless trial and error.

    Anything that makes the world seem like a more interesting place.
    Have you ever seen QI? I love Allan Davies reaction every time ancient Greek science or medicine comes up.
    Pull List; seems to be too long to fit in my sig...

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