How Robert Nozick put a purple prose bomb under analytical philosophy

Nozick opened a new line of attack. Philosophers, he posited, would be better off if they stopped trying to prove things like scientists, an impulse he believed led thinkers to overlook how philosophy might stimulate the ‘mind’s excitement and sensuality’. Rather, they ought to limit themselves to explaining how a system of thought is possible. This would allow a ‘basketful’ of approaches to exist within philosophy, transforming it into an art form

.. ‘Those philosophers who are willing to derive moral directives from their philosophies can only offer you a sham proof.’ Proof, in this rigorous, new philosophy, was everything.

.. Nozick largely won praise from his colleagues. He had appeared, as one reviewer wrote, like a ‘knight in shining armour’, rescuing his peers from doing obscurantist philosophy. Thanks to his willingness to quit arguing and start explaining.

.. ‘The libertarian position I once propounded now seems to me seriously inadequate,’ he announced in The Examined Life. From here on out, he would apply his libertarianism inwardly, focusing on the cultivation of his self rather than the destruction of the state.

.. After all, this was the man who had declared that attempting to convince others of your views – the modus operandi of politics – was a ‘philosophically pointless task’.

Derrida vs. the rationalists (newhumanist.org.uk)

Come on, as technologists, hn readers cant seriously favor structuralism over post modern thinking.

To put it in CS terms: structuralists would think that general AI would be obtained by coding expert systems. Structuralists were the ones who believed the semantic web would work. That as engineers, we could write a structure, a schema, a program, that would underlie all things and ideas in the universe.

This of course has been quite a failure. The bottom up approach to AI, which appeared with neural networks, is deeply postmodern. It assumes that all experience is relative and that human intelligence grasps with reality in a reflexive way. reacting to stimuli rather than building a unique model of the world that would fit all situations.

You may say that post modern philosophy is written in a hard way, but it cant be denied that there are a lot of people here who are postmodern without knowing it!

 .. You realize that most academic philosophers in the US and other English-speaking countries share your attitude toward post-modernism, right? TFA even points out the divide. You must have gone to a program with a “traditional” philosophy department, perhaps in Europe?Most university philosophy departments in the US focus on logic, analytic philosophy, philosophy of science, cognitive science, etc, etc. I can’t even think of a single philosopher at my university’s department who would have done anything but chuckle at post-modernism. In fact, it was a philosophy prof who told me about the book “Fashionable Nonsense”.

From the article:

“Outside France, the dominant philosophical school was analytic philosophy. A broad church, its foundations had initially been articulated by, among others, Bertrand Russell, GE Moore and the early works of Wittgenstein. Founded on the notion of conceptual clarity, analytic philosophy (in its crudest form) regards philosophy as a branch of the sciences, often subservient to the natural sciences, or at best continuous with them. It proposes that through the logical analysis of philosophical propositions, the basic questions of existence can be clarified, and possibly solved.”

So why would you generalize all philosophers into the bucket of post-modernism? Many of the founders of modern analytic philosophy were mathematicians: Russell, Frege, Whitehead, Peirce, etc.

.. The rationalists say that a major purpose of language is to communicate facts about the world.The postmodernists say: “What are ‘facts’? What is ‘world’?”

So with facts gone and the real world gone, that leaves only one purpose for language, for saying anything at all: to get others to do what you want them to do. (This is a simplification of Wittgenstein’s “language-games” of the form of e.g., the Builders’ Game.)

I’ve always maintained that Derridean postmodernism is, in actuality, a form of long-form trolling whose main purpose was to provoke traditional philosophers by baffling them or getting them to fruitlessly debate the propositions. In this it’s sort of a language-game: Derrida produced words, and the philosophers reacted in just the way he intended them to when he wrote the words. Whether it was for his own amusement, to show those stiff-necked rationalists that they’re not immune to cognitive or deductive traps, or whatever — who knows? But the interesting bit is that trolling survives as a valid intention for Derrida to produce the philosophy he did, whether or not he took his own propositions seriously (though if he did, he would have to consider whether the academics he was trolling existed just in his own head).

.. Postmodernists deny the reality of shared, objective truths, then try to begin a dialogue requiring what’s just been denied.

Read Buber, Not the Polls!

There has been so much bad communication over the past year: people talking in warring monologues past each other, ignoring the facts and using lazy stereotypes like “elites” and “Trumpeans” to reduce complex individuals into simplistic categories. Meanwhile, our main candidates are poor connectors. We’ve got the self-enclosed narcissism of Donald Trump and, to a lesser degree, the mistrustful defensiveness of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

.. You’re fearful, closed or withdrawn — objectifying her, talking at her, offering only a shallow piece of yourself and seeing only the shallow piece of her.

.. I-Thou relationships, on the other hand, are personal, direct, dialogical — nothing is held back. A Thou relationship exists when two or more people are totally immersed in their situation, when deep calls to deep, when they are offering up themselves and embracing the other in some total, unselfconscious way, when they are involved in “mutual animated describing.”

.. A doctor has an I-It relationship with a patient when he treats him as a machine in need of repair.

.. But Buber argued that it’s nonsensical to think of the self in isolation. The I only exists in relation to some other.

.. “The development of the soul in the child is inextricably bound up with that of the longing for the Thou,”

.. “The development of the soul in the child is inextricably bound up with that of the longing for the Thou,” he wrote.

.. You can’t intentionally command I-Thou moments into being. You can only be open to them and provide fertile soil.

.. Today, America is certainly awash in distrust. So many people tell stories of betrayal. So many leaders (Trump) model combativeness, isolation and distrust. But the only way we get beyond depressing years like this one is at the level of intimacy:

Why I Majored in Philosophy Despite Everyone Telling Me Not to

Here is one example I love telling my business major friends: capitalism as we know it today was given its framework by a moral philosopher Adam Smith, who famously wrote The Wealth of Nations.

Further, an education in philosophy has made a significant mark on some of American history’s greatest figures such as Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.

.. For some of us philosophy majors, we are just genuinely curious about some notions in life that are often taken for granted. For instance, is our ability to have rational thought just a product of our brainwaves, the interaction of different neurotransmitters?