Staff Top 10
Top Ten Least Favorite Philosophers

By: Ian Mathers

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Posted 06/09/2004 - 11:27:26 PM by BryanNeil:
 The work of Ayn Rand should be rightfully ignored. I really enjoyed Heidegger's "What is Called Thinking." But who can disagree with someone bitching that no one thinks anymore. I could never crack Being and Time though.
Posted 06/10/2004 - 01:49:56 AM by dhdd51:
 would you call an airtight logical box a tautology? i think you are pretty on the money with wittgenstein!!! but he did sort of lead me to susan langer who is my favorite philosopher...I am surprised that anyone with an interest in music and philosophy would have neglected to include her in their top ten list. "philosophy in a new key" and "feeling and form" are both very much relevant to your wittgenstein comments
Posted 06/10/2004 - 02:12:00 AM by IanMathers:
 Ah, but dhdd51, that's because I'd never heard of her until you mentioned her name.
Posted 06/10/2004 - 03:16:43 AM by dhdd51:
 Ahh! I think you will find her to be a very sympathetic read. Seriously worth the time, her contribution has been largely in aesthetics, Pick up a copy of "philosophy in a new key" if she doesn't fall into your top ten after 30 days,we'll send double money back!!fom some of the things you've written i would say you already read her you just didnt know it. does anyone else out there know of her?
Posted 06/10/2004 - 01:54:22 PM by MacGee:
 Hi Ian, I was confused about a couple of your points on Heidegger, so.... 'Heidegger was never a student of Husserl'...Heidegger was Husserl's assistant for about three years in the early twenties, and I believe this is why many list him as Husserl's 'student'. Did you mean to distinguish this from the 'not going to lectures and bunking off' kind of student? I am not sure what your definition of phenomenology is (although you mention that you believe that the 'academic world' are barking up the wrong tree on this, you don't define it yourself), but, to cut a long story short, Husserl gave us phenomenology, while Heidegger refined it to suit his needs. He was certainly a playa, but not the 'mac daddy'.
Posted 06/11/2004 - 01:01:46 PM by IanMathers:
 No, again, MacGee, Husserl himself by the end of his life protested that Heidegger had never understood phenomenology and had never participated in it (as it's a method rather than a theory). People claim Heidegger studied with Husserl, when the truth is he breezed into town, became Husserl's TA when Husserl wanted to stop teaching, and went on to teach a load of crap that (when the old man caught wind of it), Husserl then denounced. Husserl had his own problems - his phenomenology was veering towards Hegelian idealism, and his students (i.e. Ingarden, Edith Stein) kept asking him to resolve this, as Husserl claimed he wasn't an idealist. But Husserl never managed to do this before dying. So we have three types of phenomenology - Husserl's flawed idealist phenomenology, Ingarden and co.'s realist phenomenology (aka what I call "real" phenomenology, go read Ingarden to get more) and the bullshit Heidegger invented out of whole cloth, aka "existential phenomenology", which is not particularly phenomenological nor particularly existential.
Posted 06/11/2004 - 01:55:42 PM by halberstram:
 I have a couple bones to pick about your blip on Wittgenstein: 1st - simply because W believes that artistic/musical/ethical/religious assertions are illogical does not mean that artistic/musical/ethical tendencies have no value, they simply have no truth-value. Over and over again (although admittedly, more in his later work than in his earlier work) he stresses his deepest respect for such tendencies, regardless of whether or not he chooses to include them in his logical program. 2nd - in general, i think Wittgenstein's views on these subjects are not an attack upon their value (indeed, to W their value is so high it is unspeakable), but rather, an acknowledgment of their irrelevance to the study of logic.
Posted 06/11/2004 - 02:06:21 PM by halberstram:
 oh yeah, about Frege too: "attempting to create a perfect system of language so people could talk to one another and actually understand what the other meant with no possibility of mistake" - more accurate would be to say: "attempting to create a way of translating statements so as to reveal their logical structure with absolute clarity". Frege's was never a practical aim - I think this should be stressed rather strongly.
Posted 06/11/2004 - 06:21:35 PM by IanMathers:
 Halberstram: First, I should have made it more clear that it has been followers (broadly speaking) of W. who undervalue things like the arts and metaphysics, not Ludwig himself. And good point with the Frege reminder - another thing I should have been more clear about. Thanks for the help.
Posted 06/12/2004 - 01:16:40 AM by MacGee:
 Hello Ian, Still confused - in your piece you say 'He (Heidegger) invented something most of the academic world calls phenomenology'. In your reply (in agreement with me), you say that Heidegger didn't invent phenomenology (a method or a tool of enquiry, as you rightly point out). ?
Posted 06/12/2004 - 02:38:58 PM by IanMathers:
 To clarify (hopefully): I wasn't trying to say that the academic world claims Heidegger invented phen. He did invent something, completely separate from actual phen., which then got called phen. as most of the academic world moved farther away from the actual stuff. I should have said in the article something like "He invented something which wasn't phen. which quickly got lumped in with it" or something similar. Does that make more sense?
Posted 06/15/2004 - 11:50:48 AM by daftwankie:
 A bit hard on the Germans, no? Check out Baudrillard and those great Frenchies. That's where it's at, my friend.
Posted 06/16/2004 - 12:16:12 AM by IanMathers:
 Post-WW2 philosophy tends to be a bit too influenced by Heidegger for my liking, although there are definitely exceptions.