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Decomposing Philosphers

HS Thomas
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Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 3404
Match the philosopher to the quote.
1: Niccolo Machiavelli (1469 -- 1527)
Contrary to the other entries on the list, Machiavelli wasn't in search of the Ultimate Truth. An Italian political theorist and statesman, he was more interested in the practical side of things. In 1512, there was a coup in the Florence Republic and the Medici family returned to power.
In order to ingratiate himself with the ruler, which had him branded as a traitor, Machiavelli wrote The Prince in 1513. It was basically a how-to guidebook about how to use absolute power to achieve political strength. Fundamentally, Machiavelli, who like many Renaissance thinkers believed that man was free to choose his own destiny, advocated the fact that the end justifies the means, moral consequences be damned. He also wrote The Art of War (not to be confused with Sun Tzu's book of the same name) and The Life of Castruccio Castracani.

2: Jean-Paul Sartre (1905 -- 1980)
Some philosophers exist on an elitist plane where it takes a Ph.D. to understand what they're talking about. Sartre was different in that he wrote a series of works, most notably stage plays, such as No Exit, which were targeted at the general public. His main area of study was existentialism (he was one of the founders of the philosophy), as Being and Nothingness clearly indicates.
Sartre always wondered what the difference between being and being a human being is. Very close to the ideas proposed by Karl Marx, he believed that man is "condemned to be free" and that making free choices is a great responsibility. However, the experience of World War II taught him to be more optimistic about the future of mankind.

3: Michel Foucault (1926 -- 1984)
Like all great philosophers, Foucault didn't pretend to know all the answers. This Frenchman was an academic who constantly questioned the nature of things. With interests in human nature, he rejected common assumptions and chose instead to study how humans and science functioned in society, using history and sociology to reach his conclusions.
He believed that the concept of madness is purely an invention of the Age of Reason. In books like Madness and Civilization and The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences , he theorized that there exist multiple reasons for anything that happens in life, in any given historical society. Moreover, one of his most famous hypotheses is that man, because of the incredible advancement made in all fields of knowledge in the past two centuries, is soon bound to be extinct.

4: Confucius (551 -- 479 B.C.)
A wise and learned man, Confucius taught children at an early age before getting a job at the ministry of justice. His presence there made the Chinese city-state morally honorable but internal struggles forced him away. Although he returned to politics later on, he spent most of his life traveling across China with some disciples, teaching about the art of government.
He wrote a series of works about what is now known as Confucianism but it's in the piece called The Analects that his teachings are the most palpable. He believed that a ruler's first objective should be to ensure the welfare of his people. Being morally upright and living life according to strict guidelines favoring harmony is still the backbone of Confucianism today.
5: Socrates (469 -- 399 B.C.)
Socrates is responsible for laying the groundwork of Western thought. One of the original Greek philosophers, his core contribution is the development of what is now known as the Socratic Method. This process consists of asking for definitions of abstract concepts and then finding contradictions in the answers.
This dialectic method allowed him to deduce that all transgression, which is always unintentional, is based on lack of knowledge. Interestingly, Socrates never wrote any of his beliefs; Plato is the source of most of his wisdom. Accused of corrupting the youth of Athens, Socrates was sentenced to death by drinking poison.
6: Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 -- 1778)
Rousseau was a man for whom freedom was paramount. Born in Switzerland, he worked in France and later in England. Acquainted with both Voltaire (they disagreed with each other's works and apparently hated each other) and Diderot (a friend of Rousseau's), philosopher Rousseau was one of the most important figures of the French Enlightenment with works like The Social Contract and L'Emile. In the field of education, he theorized that parents should only aid their children in their natural growth.
But it's politics that truly made Rousseau famous. He saw governments as people's desire for balance and common good, "people's general will," as he called it. His major philosophical statement is that man is born inherently good but it's society that corrupts him.

7: Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 -- 1900)
German philologist and philosopher, he is universally regarded as one of the most controversial figures in his field. His distinguishing mark was his rejection of Christian morality and Western bourgeoisie. His solution was the creation of an �bermensch, a person who would live celebrating life and upholding its values.
This superman would live beyond any known conception of good and evil because his own morality, or "will to power," would establish him above other inferior humans. Although Nietzsche's objective wasn't political, Nazi Germany used his writings, such as The Birth of Tragedy, The Will to Power and The Antichrist, to justify their Third Reich.

8: Karl Marx (1818 -- 1883)
Karl Marx was a German philosopher who lived in England for a great part of his life. Early on, he was inspired by the idealist philosophy of Hegel and his theory that the world is governed by the Absolute Spirit. However, Marx revolutionized this premise by saying that it's actually money that makes the world go around.
The forefather of economic sociology, his Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital served as the basis for political revolutions around the world, like in the Soviet Union and Cuba. Marx believed that capitalism is a society's last phase before the proletariat is bound to take over, winning the class struggle. The problem is that Marx never explained how such a utopia could be ruled under proletarian dictatorship.

9: Rene Descartes (1596 -- 1650)
A French philosopher of the 17th century, he began his career as a mathematician scholar. While serving in the Bavarian army, he found his life's ambition: to redefine human wisdom without skepticism. Always rational, not only did he develop the Cartesian coordinate system in mathematics, but he also sought a new method of understanding life, mostly with books like Meditations on First Philosophy and Discourse on Method.
His new principal was to accept nothing except the fact that one's own existence is the only thing that can't be doubted. His universal doubt theory led to the belief that one's thinking is the only dependable element. In essence, he teaches us to believe in ourselves and make our own deductions.

10 : Aristotle (384 -- 322 B.C.)
The big daddy of Greek philosophers, Aristotle studied under Plato in Athens before becoming the private tutor of Alexander the Great. Aristotle then founded his own school, the Lyceum, where he taught and made significant advancements in all fields such as psychology, biology, poetry, politics, and physics. His works include Nicomachean Ethics, De Anima, Poetics, Metaphysics, Politics, and Rhetoric.
He is famous for having observed nature and all its phenomena, using logic to explain them. Being the foremost inspiration for Western thought, he greatly inspired medieval thinkers with his championing of reason, logic and causation. For Aristotle, virtue is located between extremes, and using the intellect should be man's main purpose in life.

11 : Plato (427 -- 347 B.C.)
There's something almost royal about Greek philosophy; Socrates was the teacher of Plato who in turn taught Aristotle. Hailing from a noble Athenian family, Plato was educated in all fields of knowledge. After teaching at the Gymnasium Academe, he established his own Academy, which remained until the 6th century A.D.
Like Socrates and Aristotle, Plato was searching for the great Truth. He believed that because the soul is immortal, it has thus already passed different spheres of consciousness. Accordingly, humans never learn anything new, they simply remember. Although an important figure in philosophy in his own right, recording the discussions of others has made him quite famous. His own works include Cratylus, Theaetetus, Menexenus, and Republic.
*======================================*
Famed quote: "In its function, the power to punish is not essentially different from that of curing or educating."
Famed quote: "I think, therefore I am." ("Cogito, ergo sum.")
Famed quote #1: "The unexamined life is not worth living."
Famed quote #2: "The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance."
Famed quote #1: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
Famed quote #2: "Worry not that no one knows of you; seek to be worth knowing."
Famed quote: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
Famed quote: "There is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others."
Famed quote: "Hell is other people."
Famed quote: "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit."
Famed quote: "Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains."
Famed quote: "The philosophers have already perceived the world in various ways; the point is to change it."
Famed quote: "The higher we soar the smaller we appear to those who cannot fly."
*==========================================*
regards
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
"I think, therefore I am." ("Cogito, ergo sum.") - Descartes
"Hell is other people." - Sartre
"The philosophers have already perceived the world in various ways; the point is to change it." - Marx


Uncontrolled vocabularies
"I try my best to make *all* my posts nice, even when I feel upset" -- Philippe Maquet
John Smith
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Joined: Oct 08, 2001
Posts: 2937
"In its function, the power to punish is not essentially different from that of curing or educating."
"There is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others."
-- George W. Bush.
"The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance." -- David Berkowitz.
"I think, therefore I am." ("Cogito, ergo sum.") -- Terri Schiavo.
"The unexamined life is not worth living." -- Terri Schiavo's husband.
"Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains." -- Jessy Jackson.
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." -- Neil Armstrong.
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -- Paul Wheaton.
"Hell is other people." -- Nancy Pelosi.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." -- Anonomous factory worker.
"The philosophers have already perceived the world in various ways; the point is to change it." -- Stolen from me.
[ October 26, 2003: Message edited by: Eugene Kononov ]
Joe Pluta
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Joined: Jun 23, 2003
Posts: 1376
Niccolo Machiavelli
"There is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others."
Jean-Paul Sartre
"Hell is other people."
Michel Foucault
"In its function, the power to punish is not essentially different from that of curing or educating."
Confucius
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
"Worry not that no one knows of you; seek to be worth knowing."

Socrates
"The unexamined life is not worth living."
"The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance."

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
"Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains."
Friedrich Nietzsche
"The higher we soar the smaller we appear to those who cannot fly."

Karl Marx
"The philosophers have already perceived the world in various ways; the point is to change it."
Rene Descartes
"I think, therefore I am." ("Cogito, ergo sum.")
Aristotle
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit."
Plato
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
HS Thomas
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Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 3404
Right, all of you! GW Bush probably did say something like that.
Some more "quotes of the day".
Lord Byron
I have a great mind to believe in Christianity for the mere pleasure of fancying I may be damned.
There is something Pagan in me that I cannot shake off. In short, I deny nothing, but doubt everything.
Women hate everything which strips off the tinsel of sentiment, and they are right, or it would rob them of their weapons.
Niccol� Machiavelli
It should be noted that when he seizes a state the new ruler ought to determine all the injuries that he will need to inflict. He should inflict them once and for all, and not have to renew them every day. Whoever acts otherwise, either through timidity or bad advice, is always forced to have the knife ready in his hand. . . . Violence should be inflicted once and for all; people will then forget what it tastes like and so be less resentful.
Benefits should be conferred gradually; and in that way they will taste better.
HS Thomas
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Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 3404
From the overlooked George Santyana:

"American life is a powerful solvent. It seems to neutralize every intellectual element, however tough and alien it may be, and to fuse it in the native goodwill, complacency, thoughtlessness and optimism."
A less erudite, recent philosopher of popular culture restated Santyana's concept more succinctly: Don't worry. Be Happy.
To knock a thing down, especially if it is cocked at an arrogant angle, is a deep delight to the blood.
Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds.
Character is the basis of happiness and happiness the sanction of character.
The primary use of conversation is to satisfy the impulse to talk.
Perhaps the only true dignity of man is his capacity to despise himself.
The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool.
Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim.
A man's feet must be planted in his country, but his eyes should survey the world.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
regards
Paul Stevens
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Joined: May 17, 2001
Posts: 2823
Most of them are already decomposed. :roll:
HS Thomas
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Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 3404
That's a pure thought behind that statement.
Immanuel Kant 1724 - 1804
believes that our motives are controlled by reason, and he proves this as he writes, "There is no possibility of thinking of anything at all in the world, or even out of it, which can be regarded as good without qualification, except a good will."
Kant admits that doubt can always be raised as to the possibility of our ever acting from a disinterested sense of duty, that "there have always been philosophers who have absolutely denied the reality of this disposition in human actions and have ascribed everything to a more or less refined self-love." Kant is poking fun at the egoists as he says this but he acknowledges, "We like to flatter ourselves with the false claim to a more noble motive; but in fact we can never, even by the strictest examination, completely plumb the depths of the secret incentives of our actions." Kant proves the egoists wrong in their thinking that they control their actions and that "even if there never have been actions springing from such pure sources, the question at issue here is not whether this or that has happened but that reason of itself and independently of all experience commands what ought to happen. Consequently, reason unrelentingly commands actions of which the world has perhaps hitherto never provided an example and whose feasibility might well be doubted by one who bases everything upon experience."
Kant quickly points out that one must not lie. Kant defines a "lie" as any "intentional untruthful declaration to another person" and claims that it is always harmful in barring other persons from access to the truth. A French utilitarian (Benjamin Constant) asks Kant to consider whether, in Kant's mind, it would not be right to lie to a murderer who asks whether our friend, who he means to kill, is hiding in our house. Kant sticks with his opinion and responds that "To be truthful (honest) in all declarations, therefore, is a sacred and absolutely commanding decree of reason, limited by no expediency," including human life.

More on Kant
regards
[ October 26, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
HS Thomas
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Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 3404
Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell is a philosopher who is becoming quite popular in British thought with the demise of the Cold War.
It seems any progressive era gets a clamp on.
regards
[ October 31, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
 
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