Who are the modern day equivalents of Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Kant, Hume, Descartes, etc ?
Who are the thinkers, in or out of academia, who are continuing to explore the meaning of our existence? Religions seem satisfied they have found the answers. However, given new technology in the area of understanding human nature and the eventual ability to capture our neurological functioning outside of our bodies, who are the people who are coming up with theories of mankind's purpose and role in the universe?
Besides me? No one. L.O.L. Everyone who has an opinion bases those opinions on the writings of someone noted in the past. They try to contrast the past with the present and are not doing a very good job at it either.
Most people who look for fame (or notoriety) with their writings are afraid to upset those believers in the writings of those you mention.
Trying to dispel the myths of ancient religions for instance can lead to social ostracism, verbal threats, physical threats, or loss of their life by die hard fanatics.
We are truly a race of followers.
I think you named all my heroes save Bowsma and Wittgenstein. Believe in or not I throw in Marks and Engles.
We are in a time when sitting and contemplating is considered lazy. We watch sports and think they are what we should be like. Models define beauty. When Descartes died of ill health in that Oslo castle. The Queen thought him a tool to learn from. Our good friends Capernium and Galileo were haunted. Even our brothers Michelangelo and de Vince were beaten down.
So today, a man stands up and writes a treatise against people who are techie oriented, we despise him for technology is the new Zeus. We write about interfacing and need for integration and a holistic approach. And we are slammed down hard. No man is a prophet in his own home town, and our town has gone global.
It will not be the Jobs, Gates or Buffets that will survive. It will be those of us that make sense of it all.
Nowadays we speak of Love and compassion and are poo pooed. We speak of direction of the moral integrity of our collective soul and we are tossed aside like bad lettuce.
And I do reckon that is how it should be. Philosophers of their time are like a two day old wine. They must mellow with some age. A vineyard produces grapes, but a master stands the test and taste of time and creates a vintage. A master in philosophy does not write for another to hear or see. He must write so that truth and understanding are preserved.
So if you do see a Great of our time. Be cautious. Great is the 200 year old Oak tree not the sapling that bends with the wind. I am old and wise by some standards, I am well traveled by some standards. Yet I am just a bud on an apple tree in the real world.
Hate, deception and anger are always defeated, oh they cause problems and pain and death but they do not last. From Pol Pot to Hitler they lose. But deep thought and compassion and the mysteries of life go on forever. There is now a famous philosopher we just do not know her name yet..
My, my goodness! I just posted this question and you whipped out this small treatise? So I think you must have been thinking about thinking and reading and writing about thinking for a long time. Very interesting - love the cadence of this piece
Ah schucks. When I graduated back in 79 I thought about renting a small place and putting out a shingle that read -- Philosopher --- my mom convinced me to go to Law School instead. Worst advice she ever gave me ;-)
Ken Wiber is a very insightful modern philosopher. I have read several of his books and found them very profound and interesting.
Helen, my previous comment didn't show up, so excuse me if this is a duplicate. What I had written was simply that I will have to do a search and check this out. Maybe that would be an interesting hub is his work entrigues you I
I just have to assume someone forgot an L --- or is there some dude Wiber??
iii yii yii... and I just noticed all my errors! Embarrassed!
From my perspective it is the scientists. They discover "FACTS" not theory. They do NOT philosophize they test until the know what they know. 4 steps to learning.
1- we do not even know what we don't know
2- then we realize what we don't know
3- then we consciously know the answer
4- then we unconsciously know it without thinking.
Theory does not fit.... science is who we need to follow. Quantum Physics is just starting to be understood..... and mankind is just learning what it is we do not know.
Your answer is very interesting to me since, actually, this question popped into my head from reading another hub writer's question on science and religion! Life seems to be a fascinating puzzle with a large number of pieces missing, yet to be found.
You just reminded me ---- Jacob Bronowski. 73' is today kind of.
Ericdierker, How about Sam Harris, "The Moral Landscape?"
Yea but if you go down that road --- You got Kris Kristofferson and Bob Dylan and the Guthries, Bob I believe is the only man to win a Pulitzer and a Grammy and an Oscar -- so there is some credence there. And where you going to place Will Rogers???
mankind is "always" in a state of becoming. Religion has taught us a moral code.... but like the building blocks of kindergarten it should be thrown away. Quantum Physics is very much in line with the messages from Mystics, Elders, Gurus etc. Next!
The only person who comes to mind is Thomas Moore, whose most famous book is, Care of The Soul. He is a psychotherapist, a former monk (12 Years). He has also written Dark Eros, Rituals of the Imagination, and others books. He specializes in Jungian psychology. But, he probably isn't who your question asks for specifically. Obviously, he understand neurological functioning, but he adds the element of a soul, as he believes the two elements are not opposed to one another, but in fact, work together, if allowed to do so. It is then that some healing can occur, although according to him, we are always in the process of healing and growing. Thus, there may not be a specific answer to man's purpose, except to nourish one's soul, as this is how one knows how to proceed next, and then again and again... He obtained his PhD. from Syracuse University.
I had forgotten about Thomas Moore. I think his quotes were often in a little Catholic news brochure,"The Christophers," put out by Fr. James Keller. I used to save each of those brochures because they had really cool quotes. Thanks for reminding me!
Robert M. Pirsig
Pirsig wrote "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" which is one of if not the most widely published and read books on philosophy.
If you have an interest in philosophy at all I highly suggest reading it. As philosophy books go it is pretty light reading and done in a far more entertaining way and compares most of the great philosopher's concepts, dealing with the hierarchy of thought and communication.
He points out much that is obvious but which we don't quite think about, such as the absolute fact that we can only see the past as opposed to the future or present.
He does a great job of relating philosophical arguments, which tend to get lost in the abstract, to the physical,,, in his case motorcycle maintenance. But you don't need to know, or care, anything about motorcycles to get the concepts of his book.
His credentials include a complete mental breakdown, time spent in an asylum and EST, along with numerous degrees.
Of course when I had great questions about philosophical questions I always used to ask my cat, Mischief, was one of the great minds of our times. Sadly he is no longer with us but his theories about the meaning of life live on. I only wish I could explain things the way he could.
I have been meaning to read that for YEARS! Now I will, Thanks so much Borsia. I think he wrote that a few years after Alan Watts wrote "The Book"
This one has been rattling around in my empty head --- Borsia,,, me thinks you are right -- I especially loved the "nuance of Socratic dialogue" with the boy
Equivalent means equal which is going to be rather difficult taking into consideration that there is only so much that a human brain can understand because of capacity. To add to this these people are only describing observations and there are only so many observations to be made and you are soon making the same observations as others.
To put this another way is to say you can't invent the wheel because it has already been done and taking into consideration that these people have already done the vast majority of it then it would be difficult to be equal.
Another example Seth Godin the celebrated internet guru is only telling me the same things as these people have already told me: John Dewey, Paulo Freire, Augusto Boal but changing the words. For example he changes the word group into tribe and people who do not know anything about the others think he is somebody to worship as a guru because they don't know and he doesn't tell.
Scientists are not to be trusted just like human beings are not to be trusted because they are only interested in their subject, what they discover, their baby and often don't even consider the consequences of what they are unleashing on the world. This is because they don't have the joined up thinking to do so, their priority is their discovery's, their work and all too often their work is used in detrimental ways. No I realize they are not to blame for the actions of others but they do carry some responsibility.
Lets take this a bit further scientists are dependent on funding and those who provide the funding are interested in profit so the scientists are being exploited just like everybody else is for profit. So regardless of how pioneering their work might be if those providing funding don't think it is to their own benefit funding stops.
So scientists are just mercenaries like everybody else and the problem with them is that they don't philosophize or always do whats right, they just go where the money is because they have no choice, just like me, just like you, no money, no life.
Anyway after putting a case for it to be difficult for there to be an equivalent I propose the Noam Chomsky is an intellect to be reckoned with.
Another interesting guy is Stefan Molyneux I am not saying he is an equivalent but I am saying he is interesting especially on theories of mankind's purpose and role in the universe?
Noam Chomsky has ALWAYS interested me. In fact, my activist friend in Mpls was able to put a piece I wrote IN THE SAME little magazine that he was able to get Chomsky to contribute to. Protesters at the 2008 Republican convention handed it out.
Those cats are outdated. Society has determined we no longer need those intellectual types, and replaced the Kants and Aristotles of the world with Oprah Winfrey, Nancy Grace, Justin Bieber, and Judge Judy.
I mean, why bother discussing the great truths or foster critical thinking when the pressing matter of the day is some young girlie dancing suggestively on an awards show and doing horrible things with a foam finger?
Wow, I think all the philosopher lovers have come sifted out of the hub question-and -answer strainer. Very Lovely! About 15 hubs could be made from these replies, I think. (And thank heavens I can [think] because you all know what that means.)
My choice would be OSHO. Go through his article. There is some truth in them.
J, thank you for introducing me to some of these writings! I did a google search n found essays under "The Greatest Challenge", many of which I really liked. I became less enchanted with some others, but I sent "Emotional Ecology" to my daughter:)
I am a follower of Socrates. I founded the new school "philosophy of happiness". But my school of philosophy is prohibited. Nobody wants to be happy? I do not want to suffer, am I alone?
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