Monday, 4 May 2015

What is man?

[Pic by Justin Templer]


  1. Well, really now...

    1) This is a rather paltry sampling of what "thinkers" have held about mankind's nature in the Western canon, and that is being charitable in the extreme.

    2) It is a rather comically amateurish characterization of what even these proffered "thinkers" have to say. One could take issue with all of these one liners, and purely on a scholarly and factual basis, but it is particularly true of his "medievals" (whatever that means) and the German Idealists.

    (And what Shakespeare or Hugo is doing in there is beyond me, particularly if we are to take "dramatizations" as "thoughts". But even here, this is a bizarre mischaracterization of the Bard or Hugo. Including Dewey or Freud, well that is just beyond the pale--one might as well quote Horace Mann or David Axelrod.)

    Also, it is rather embarrasses to see "Libertarianism" presented as some sort of serious "philosophy", or Rand as a "philosopher". This speaks more of Libertarians' general ignorance of Philosophy (or Western Civilization for that matter) than it does it does of the "nature" of mankind has a whole. Libertarianism may or may not be a meaningful political stance, but as Philosophy is a a meager soup indeed, and Rand is little more than a pamphleteer, and a rather wooden one at that. It is preposterous to put her on same plain as Plato, Aquinas and Kant, not to mention Shakespeare. They has a whole are most clearly and pointedly discussing something else altogether than is Rand.

    I am actually surprised at this posting as you generally have higher standards.

    What is next, the "philosophies" of Al Gore and Friedrich Engels? Perhaps you should warm up with P. T. Barnum, or maybe Dewey. But I repeat myself.

  2. @Anonymous: I'm sorry to disappoint you.

    But may I begin by pointing out I'm replying to someone who offers an opinion but no name.

    And move on to ask where "libertarianism," with or without scare quotes, is presented as some sort of serious "philosophy" (with or without scare quotes)?

    Pray do take issue with which important artists or thinkers have been omitted, or of how the ideas of any or all of these thinkers (Aristotle et al) and artists (Hugo et al) differ to the short summaries offered.

    But if you refuse to understand that literature presents thought, we're on fairly arid ground already.

    Why are Hugo and Shakespeare there? Because as artists they presented two stark, unique and dramatic views of man.

    Why are Dewey and Freud here? Because like it or not, they changed they way men saw man, having a huge impact on twentieth-century thinking and art.

    Why is Rand there? Because as a twentieth-century thinker herself, her thinking on the nature of man is in profound disagreement with those two -- and to most of the rest. And, clearly enough, because in writing a book on the Philosophy of Ayn Rand (far more than a pamhlet, I can assure you) it's not a bad device to contrast her view on a topic with that of others.

    And simply enough, because I agree with her.

  3. Bravo Peter,
    For both the post and the reply

  4. @ Anon: You can argue that "Libertarianism" is not a complete and coherent philosophy - and in many respects you'd be right; in that it concerns itself with only one branch of philosophy - politics. But no-one here is claiming it is anyway - so beside the point. Rand on the other hand does offer a complete and coherent philosophy, whether you agree with it or not. Either you're ignorant of her writings, or you have a very limited definition of what constitutes philosophy. Please explain what "philosophy" is to you?

  5. Should have Stan Lee in there instead of Rand. He looked at men and saw the possibility of The Incredible Hulk & Tony Stark.


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