Monday, September 22, 2014

"Why Germany Won The Philosophy World Cup"

A favorite of nerd-girls and nerd-boys everywhere.*
From The Critique:
Well, the Germans have won both World Cups this year, and the football win was clearly deserved. But did they deserve to win the Philosophy cup? Whereas the football team was striking for its balance of individual brilliance and team play, the philosophy team is noted for its fractious lack of cohesion, and there were clearly arguments about the selection of the first eleven.
The German Philosophy World Cup National Team
Starting XI:
(1) Immanuel Kant
(2) Karl Marx
(3) Georg Wilhelm Friederich Hegel
(4) Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
(5) Arthur Schopenhauer
(6) Friederick Nietszche
(7) Johann Gottlieb Fichte
(8) Friedrich Wilhelm Jospeh von Schelling
(9) Gottlob Frege
(10) Martin Heidegger
(11) Edmund Husserl

Does Fichte’s individual brilliance really outshine Habermas’ inspiring teamwork? Does Frege’s technical skill in attempting to understand language through logic match up to Adorno’s probing forays into why the modern world, which has so many resources for making life better for everyone, ends up in the horrors of the Holocaust? The omission from the substitutes bench of Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher who, along with Johann Gottfried von Herder and Johann Georg Hamann (who did at least make the substitutes bench), initiated the modern concern with language as central to philosophy, and of the early Romantic proto-pragmatists, Friedrich Schlegel and Novalis, also raised some eyebrows. These worries apart, the question of why the German philosophy team still managed to beat the much-favoured ancient Greeks (18 votes to 15) and the recently very successful British and US teams deserves some answers.

The central role in establishing German preeminence in philosophy must go to Kant. Understanding Kant’s texts is notoriously difficult, but understanding why he is important isn’t that difficult. Think of the following. The shape of the modern world is determined to a massive degree by modern science, which produces reliable laws that enable ever-increasing technological control of natural processes. These laws can claim to be ‘objective’, as they rely on excluding merely random ‘subjective’ opinions about the world. They do this by being based on necessary ‘a priori’ truths in mathematics, and on repeated observations which are agreed on by scientists working in different contexts and locations. However, and this is what concerns Kant, the possibility of such laws also depends on something ‘subjective’, namely the capacity of those investigating natural phenomena to test, and often reject, what the established authority of the church and of ancient Greek and other traditions claimed to be objective truth. This rejection was part of the wider ‘Enlightenment‘ movement in Europe that questioned traditional authority, in the name of the demand for publicly accountable rational justifications, in science, religion, and politics. As is well known, the French Revolution saw itself in terms deriving from the Enlightenment, particularly the assumption that people should be publicly responsible for what they say and do. This assumption puts subjectivity at the centre of philosophy in an unprecedented manner, which was inconceivable in cultures like that of Ancient Greece. Indeed the very notion of ‘subject’, the Greek word for which meant something like ‘substance‘, in the sense of what objects consisted of, now effectively inverts its meaning into the modern sense, that relates to the notion of ‘self-consciousness’....MUCH MORE
*Being fans of Schopenhauer's "Die Kunst, Recht zu behalten" we usually post whenever his name comes up i.e. not often but a few times:
Germans vs. Greeks: The Greatest Soccer Match Ever!
Help, I May Be Having A Stroke
This may be the funniest thing I've read this year:
"...Out-of-touch - or downright callous - economists like Kaminska - she's hardly alone - are lost in models and assumptions that have little if any connection to the real world of real people..."
When I visited the Alphaville post "How I learned to stop worrying and love (eurozone) deflation?" the above reader's comment was, to say the least, unexpected....
But not always:
Big Four Accountant Partners: "Does Kant’s definition or Augustine’s and Aquinas’s definition of evil as privatio boni in subjecto..."