1. London
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    01 Jun '05 23:31
    I raised this question in the "General" forum, but it seems Star Wars and Big Brother are more popular topics there.

    http://www.redhotpawn.com/board/showthread.php?threadid=24537

    Not strictly Spiritual, but I thought I'd ask because there are lots of folk here with philosophy backgrounds.

    What are some of the major schools of modern philosophy? What are the major differences between the Anglo-American/Analytical school and the Continental school? Who are some of the famous advocates for these respective positions?
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    02 Jun '05 12:31
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    I raised this question in the "General" forum, but it seems Star Wars and Big Brother are more popular topics there.

    http://www.redhotpawn.com/board/showthread.php?threadid=24537

    Not strictly Spiritual, but I thought I'd ask because there are lots of folk here with philosophy backgrounds.

    What are some of the major schools of modern philos ...[text shortened]... and the Continental school? Who are some of the famous advocates for these respective positions?
    I suppose we should move that debate here or the debates forum.

    What's your background?

    Are there any issues you want to discuss, specifically?

    [My own is political theory but I taught on a few uni. courses on Media Culture, pol. Theory, Culture and Identity, currently part-time teaching politics (second job). I am interested in general philosophical issues as well. Unfortunately most of the spiritual debates are rants relating to philosophical questions that cease to interest most modern philosophers.]
  3. London
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    02 Jun '05 12:47
    Originally posted by demonseed
    I suppose we should move that debate here or the debates forum.

    What's your background?

    Are there any issues you want to discuss, specifically?

    [My own is political theory but I taught on a few uni. courses on Media Culture, pol. Theory, Culture and Identity, currently part-time teaching politics (second job). I am interested in general philosoph ...[text shortened]... are rants relating to philosophical questions that cease to interest most modern philosophers.]
    I think the Rawls vs. Habermas reference was useful.

    I guess I was looking at a more fundamental view of the differences between the two - metaphysical, epistemological, method, focus, ethics etc.

    My basic background is engineering, but I read a little philosophy in my spare time.
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    02 Jun '05 13:111 edit
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    I think the Rawls vs. Habermas reference was useful.

    I guess I was looking at a more fundamental view of the differences between the two - metaphysical, epistemological, method, focus, ethics etc.

    My basic background is engineering, but I read a little philosophy in my spare time.
    There is a metaphysical disagreement between the two.

    I am not sure of your level of familiarity but here goes:

    Rawls uses an heuristic device which he terms 'the veil of ignorance', it's basically a revamped idea of Kant's Categorical Imperative. The basic idea is that you have to choose what principles of Justice should a society a follow, the only thing is that you do not know which member of society you are. You could be a millionaire as easily as be a pauper; you could be black as easily as white etc.

    Rawls goes on to suggest what prinicples of justice this type of society would have but it's here that he incurs Habermas' wrath since Habermas argues that Rawls cannot go ahead and suggest which prinicples this society would follow. Further Habermas argues from a metaphysical point of view that it is impossible for us to not know who we are, we cannot forgot or put our life experience to one side. Habermas's alternative is an inclusive society which facilitates democratic participation backed by the legal realm.

    Rawls' rejoinder is that the 'veil of ignorance' is little but an heuristic device, that metaphysics plays no part. I think that these two thinkers encapsulate two of the dominant Philosophical approaches in a number of ways.

    Rawls is rational, liberal and to a certain extent Laissez-faire. His work can be viewed as an extension of the contract tradition from Hobbes to Rousseau. Rawls, for me, is the best representative of the anglo-American view point.

    Habermas has a very empirical basis to his Philosophy, a social-democratic perspective with the emphasis on democratic participation at all levels, whilst side-stepping some of the weaknesses of Marxism [Habermas had concerns relating to people's freedom under Marxist approaches]. Habermas takes on some of the philosophy of Kant but he engages with sociological thought represented by Weber, and some Marxist thought.

    It should be pointed out that both thinkers have a unique vision and we should remember the words of Kierkegaard [i think!!] "if you label me you negate me"
  5. London
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    02 Jun '05 14:09
    Originally posted by demonseed
    There is a metaphysical disagreement between the two.

    I am not sure of your level of familiarity but here goes:

    Rawls uses an heuristic device which he terms 'the veil of ignorance', it's basically a revamped idea of Kant's Categorical Imperative. The basic idea is that you have to choose what principles of Justice should a society a follow, the ...[text shortened]... on and we should remember the words of Kierkegaard [i think!!] "if you label me you negate me"
    I'm generalising heavily here, but it seems to me that Rawls is starting from a world-view very similar to Kant (maybe a hint of Plato?) while Habermas seems to be starting from a realist position (Aristotle?). Is that a fair characterisation?
  6. Ephesus
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    02 Jun '05 22:151 edit
    Anglo-Analytic and Continental seem split off from Kant. At least their reactions here appear to be different.... even insofar as both may repudiate Kant and move beyond.

    At any rate, one needs to understand both Hume and Kant. I.e., what was the bomb Hume dropped? Why was the First Critique necessary?

    I've always though Analytic types were much more a-historical. They like to start with Frege or some attitude whereby all past philosophy is viewed as fundamentally flawed. The ancients are not taken very seriously.... that is, they think they have an adequate understanding/interpretation of Aristotle and Plato for instance - and then figure they were "wrong" on the basis of some fairly dubious interpretive schemas. They don't have much appreciation for irony.... and the have an odd fascination with using alternate worlds or fictional scenarios (like the veil of ignorance) while simultaneously hurrumpfing about the importance of objectivity. Descartes seems to be much more influential both subtantively and with respect to attitude.

    They [analytics] typically cannot understand Wittgenstein in either the Tractatus or the Logical Investigations, as they mistakenly count him among their kind.... and they don't have enough background to see certain affinities with - say Aristotle, Plato, Hegel, Maimonides and/or Kierkegaard.... or even Derrida.

    Continental attitudes/approaches are much harder to explain in contemporary terms. Typically the approach to the ancients is much more tentative, as though it's still incumbent upon one to listen and fight for an appropriate mode of interpretation. Hegel (after Fichte and Schelling) takes the Kantian approach and injects it with ancient Greek philosophy. That is, whereas Kant thought dialectic was an embarrassment, Hegel finds it shining irrevocably right in the center of Kantianism and pulls it together with irony, ancient dialectic and paideia all at once. All Contentental philosphy toils with Hegel in some way, so it's important to attempt to understand him. But this is a very difficult undertaking. On top of that, one must struggle with Plato, Aristotle, Hume and Kant... and a bit of Spinoza too.

    Husserl is another vector as well. Heidegger writes Being and Time as a dedication to Husserl, but sees the novelty Husserl saw as prefigured in Greek thinking........Being and Time reflecting the Nichomachean Ethics rather strongly. And Heidegger toiled with Hegel too. Then you'll see people like Merleau-Ponty who try to synthesize Husserl, Heidegger and Hegel.

    Avoid Sartre (except Nausea)..as he is a slop-bucket scholar. Avoid Nietzsche...just because its a major potential confusion for neophytes. Avoid Derrida until you have your Hegel down...and than could take a lifetime. ...lol
  7. Ephesus
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    02 Jun '05 22:251 edit
    ...(hint of Plato?) while Habermas seems to be starting from a realist position (Aristotle?).


    Be afraid... be very afraid... of paint-by-numbers characterizations of the differences between Plato and Aristotle. It's often said that Plato was an Idealist or a Theorist, whereas Aristotle is Realist or Empiricist. Don't trust this stuff! For that matter, you'd be better off not reading any commentaries on either! They focus on different projects but geared around a sensibility that cannot be understood at all begining from these rubrics (realist vs. idealist etc).

    One thing to remember. When reading either, repeat the Aristotelian line from the Metaphysics over and over like a mantra: "Being is said in many ways". Sounds stupid no? Do it anyway.

    Everything in Aristotle and Plato revolves around the question: "what does it mean to speak well". Doubtful you'll hear anything about that in Philosophy 101. Remember that and you're on your way.
  8. Hmmm . . .
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    03 Jun '05 03:491 edit
    Originally posted by XHerakleitos
    Anglo-Analytic and Continental seem split off from Kant. At least their reactions here appear to be different.... even insofar as both may repudiate Kant and move beyond.

    At any rate, one needs to understand both Hume and Kant. I. ...[text shortened]... ou have your Hegel down...and than could take a lifetime. ...lol
    and/or Kierkegaard

    Is there a subtle humor here? (He would never have said and/or, would he?)

    Avoid Nietzsche...just because its a major potential confusion for neophytes.

    I am a neophyte; I always will be because I just get into some of this stuff for fun, and I have no philosophical background. I only start on a philosopher if I have read something, or heard something, that piques my interest. A “well-rounded” philosopher I will not become.

    The first philosopher I got into was Epicurus; the second was Nietzsche. And I have loved reading Nietzsche (and “on Nietzsche” ). And I support your recommendation here 100%. Nietzsche is a labyrinth. And for Gd’s sake, don’t just try to dive into Zarathustra!

    Now, I think I’ll just listen in here, and learn…
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    03 Jun '05 13:342 edits
    I agree that labelling certain thinkers is dangerous; I made this point earlier, hence the Kierkegaard quote.

    I think that for a neophyte the best thing to do is to tackle a philosophical problem rather than make an in-depth study of a thinker. I like reading Nietzsche: he has an excellent style. He can be a bit crpytic or downright surreal and does engage in some syphylitic ranting.

    However, this thread is about the fundamental differences between the Anglo-American school [relatively new] which I have taken to refer to neo-conservative thinkers such as Rawls, Nozick et al, with the more established continental school, Habermas being a primary force.

    Does anyone have any views on the Rawls - Habermas interchange?

    I raise this point because it typifies the differences in the two approaches.

    Edit: Don't read Nietzsche but start off on Hegel?? I still have nightmares about the Phenomenology!!
  10. Donationbbarr
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    03 Jun '05 16:01
    Originally posted by demonseed
    I agree that labelling certain thinkers is dangerous; I made this point earlier, hence the Kierkegaard quote.

    I think that for a neophyte the best thing to do is to tackle a philosophical problem rather than make an in-depth study of a thinker. I like reading Nietzsche: he has an excellent style. He can be a bit crpytic or downright surreal and does en ...[text shortened]... Don't read Nietzsche but start off on Hegel?? I still have nightmares about the Phenomenology!!
    You didn't just call Rawls a neo-conservative, did you? He is the poster boy for liberalism. Whatever you call Rawls, he and Nozick should not be lumped together, as Nozick's extreme libertarianism is completely at odds with Rawls' liberalism when it comes to distributive justice. While both, broadly speaking, can be seen as representatives of the Social Contract tradition, Rawls' view is neo-Kantian (in that the Principles of Justice are supposed to follow from the negotiations of purely rational, mutually disinterested agents unaware of the idiosyncracies of their social locatioin) while Nozick's is commonly taken to be neo-Lockean (especially about property, though Locke advocated a principle of charity in the first Treatise, which would be anathema to Nozick).
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    07 Jun '05 17:36
    Originally posted by bbarr
    You didn't just call Rawls a neo-conservative, did you? He is the poster boy for liberalism. Whatever you call Rawls, he and Nozick should not be lumped together, as Nozick's extreme libertarianism is completely at odds with Rawls' liberalism when it comes to distributive justice. While both, broadly speaking, can be seen as representatives of the Social ...[text shortened]... ocke advocated a principle of charity in the first Treatise, which would be anathema to Nozick).
    Sorry. I take that back.

    Rawls is definitely in the liberal tradition. Was thinking about Nozick and began to think about his influence on Margaret Thatcher: hence the confusion.

    Thanks for posting.
  12. Ephesus
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    07 Jun '05 18:551 edit
    Habermas being a primary force.

    Dunno what you mean by "primary". He seems fairly recent no?

    Does anyone have any views on the Rawls - Habermas interchange?

    Is this a text or written debate? If I knew where to look I might see what I can gather.

    Don't read Nietzsche but start off on Hegel?? I still have nightmares about the Phenomenology!!

    Point taken... but dialectic nightmares are a price to pay! It's a crucifixion of sorts. But as Hegel would say, there's no royal road. Glad to see somebody agree with the potentially hard to fathom comment about Nietzsche.

    Anyway... no intentional pun over "and/or" with respect to Kierkegaard. But he may be a good example of the need to really have had your chops busted on Hegel first. I mean his odd proximity to Hegel is remarkable. In fact, Either/Or appears in many respects to be the damnedest parody of the Phenomenology in places...and yet so close to the core as to make "parody" somehow inappropriate. Vague comments I know. That the odd "anti-Hegelian" twist within such a rubric is possible.... well, perhaps the stuff of nightmares.

    Still, I wouldn't ever recommend just starting with Hegel. One really needs to have a finger on Kant... Hume and some alacrity with resespect to Aristotle and Plato.... not to mention Heraclitus.
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    09 Jun '05 16:33
    Originally posted by XHerakleitos
    [b]Habermas being a primary force.

    Dunno what you mean by "primary". He seems fairly recent no?

    Does anyone have any views on the Rawls - Habermas interchange?

    Is this a text or written debate? If I knew where to look I might see what I can gather.

    Don't read Nietzsche but start off on Hegel?? I still have nightmares about ...[text shortened]... t... Hume and some alacrity with resespect to Aristotle and Plato.... not to mention Heraclitus.
    Primary as in important, not first.

    Yeah Habermas and Rawls have written to each other.
    I will source the interchange.

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