who is greatest philosopher of 20th century?
#71
(01-25-2011, 02:16 PM)Graham Wrote: Oswald Spengler, Carl Schmitt, Martin Heidegger, Vilfredo Pareto, Giovanni Gentile, Mircea Eliade. Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Ernst Junger, Gabriel D’Annunzio, Andre Gide. Pound, Yeats, and yes, Eliot. Not *all* the best, and many of them just sympathizers, but you see my point, right? Maybe I should have said "20th century authoritarian politics had many of the best philosophers, [etc.]"

Point taken.  And I think "authoritarian politics" would not have elicited the same reaction from me.

I do, however, have to agree with the Crusading Philologist on Eliot.  Yes, he made a few remarks that have been construed as anti-semitic, but that does not amount to a full-blown authoritarianism.  In fact, he claimed to be a "classicist in literature, royalist in politics, and Anglo-Catholic in religion."  Unless your definition of authoritarian political views is particularly broad, royalism isn't exactly a strain of the same.

That said, I have no real explanation for the immense popularity of authoritarian views among the last century's best and brightest.  If we include the various flavors of communism and socialism (especially Leninism, Stalinism, and Maoism) under the umbrella of "authoritarian politics," the list grows even longer and the names even more imposing.  I think in part the problem revolves around the fact that the various authoritarian systems we've identified are, at their very hearts, manifestations of utopianism.  As Eric Voegelin (someone who'd make my list of "best 20thC philosophers") has indicated, utopianism--even utopianism at the point of a gun--has always held a deep allure for those who've ceased to accept the Fall as a framing narrative for human existence.  Utopianism, seeking as it does to enact a reality that cannot by definition be realized in a fallen world ("immanentizing the eschaton," in Voegelin's famous phrase), must necessarily resort ultimately to oppression and violence to enforce its ends.  That's the best I can do in terms of moving toward an explanation of why so many otherwise bright fellows should have entertained such barbaric political views.
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#72
(01-25-2011, 02:16 PM)Graham Wrote: Oswald Spengler, Carl Schmitt, Martin Heidegger, Vilfredo Pareto, Giovanni Gentile, Mircea Eliade. Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Ernst Junger, Gabriel D’Annunzio, Andre Gide. Pound, Yeats, and yes, Eliot.

...Wyndham Lewis, Roy Campbell, Julius Evola, Gertrude Stein[!], Paul de Man, Yukio Mishima...
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#73
Very nice post, EcceQuamBonum. 

Just a quibble, though.  How is fascism (while, admittedly, authoritarian) necessarily “Utopian”?  I feel like anyone with an idea of a state & a social system—be they Christian or no—intends simply the governance of human beings who (it is implied) require it.  Whether these humans require the imposition of an orderly society due to the Fall or from some other deficiency doesn’t seem to matter.  If the disagreement is over what the best system might be, then “utopian” can be applied broadly to almost any political philosophy.
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#74
(01-27-2011, 01:17 AM)Gilgamesh Wrote: Very nice post, EcceQuamBonum. 

Just a quibble, though.  How is fascism (while, admittedly, authoritarian) necessarily “Utopian”?  I feel like anyone with an idea of a state & a social system—be they Christian or no—intends simply the governance of human beings who (it is implied) require it.  Whether these humans require the imposition of an orderly society due to the Fall or from some other deficiency doesn’t seem to matter.   If the disagreement is over what the best system might be, then “utopian” can be applied broadly to almost any political philosophy.

Thank you!

A fair quibble, certainly.  I am guilty here of substituting in "utopian" as a metonym for a broader strain of correlated phenomena that Voegelin terms "gnostic" philosophies.  He categorizes "progressivism, positivism, Marxism, psychoanalysis, communism, fascism, and national socialism" as manifestations of a fundamentally gnostic interpretation of the world and its history (61, Science, Politics, and Gnosticism, Wilmington:  ISI, 2004).  Voegelin acknowledges the seemingly disparate nature of this list, ranging as it does from purely intellectual movements (e.g., positivism and psychoanalysis) to fully realized political movements.  However, he notes that each of these thought-systems shares a certain set of interrelated characteristics and assumptions which he terms gnostic:

1.)  A belief that the world in its present state is somehow fundamentally deficient

2.)  A belief that this deficiency springs not from any intrinsic inadequacy in mankind but in the structure of the world

3.)  A belief that some salvation from the deficiency of the world is possible

4.)  A belief that a good world can evolve through a historical process from the defective world

5.)  A belief that man is in himself capable of bringing about this evolution

6.)  A belief that this process will come about through specific knowledge, "the construction of a formula for self and world salvation" (65).


Although there is nothing necessarily pathological about belief 1, the conclusions following from this belief amount to a philosophy that is fundamentally incompatible with Christianity.  I used the term "utopian" to denominate this set of beliefs about the world, for I think that utopianism is in some ways equivalent to what Voegelin terms gnosticism.  Utopianism believes that the world is essentially perfectible through the agency of man, believes that salvation from the world's evil can be realized in time through a historical process.  Fascism in this way, then, seems to me to be a variety of utopian/gnostic thinking.  Fascist systems of thought (and Nazism in particular) seem generally to emphasize the subjection of the individual to a corporate state-will, which will ultimately evolve toward some sort of perfected world.  Of course, in Nazi Germany this took on racial overtones, and the evolutionary perfection of the world became synonymous with the evolution of a master race. 

I admittedly do not know enough about other varieties of fascism to be able to comment on those.  Perhaps someone else does.  However, I think Voegelin's reading of fascism as a form of gnosticism is essentially sound.  Regardless, I apologize that my initial use of the term utopian was ambiguous.  I hope this clears things up a bit!
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#75
(01-26-2011, 11:11 PM)EcceQuamBonum Wrote:
(01-25-2011, 02:16 PM)Graham Wrote: Oswald Spengler, Carl Schmitt, Martin Heidegger, Vilfredo Pareto, Giovanni Gentile, Mircea Eliade. Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Ernst Junger, Gabriel D’Annunzio, Andre Gide. Pound, Yeats, and yes, Eliot. Not *all* the best, and many of them just sympathizers, but you see my point, right? Maybe I should have said "20th century authoritarian politics had many of the best philosophers, [etc.]"

Point taken.  And I think "authoritarian politics" would not have elicited the same reaction from me.

I do, however, have to agree with the Crusading Philologist on Eliot.  Yes, he made a few remarks that have been construed as anti-semitic, but that does not amount to a full-blown authoritarianism.  In fact, he claimed to be a "classicist in literature, royalist in politics, and Anglo-Catholic in religion."  Unless your definition of authoritarian political views is particularly broad, royalism isn't exactly a strain of the same.

Did Eliot have an opinion on the Spanish and/or Romanian nationalist movements?
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#76
(01-19-2011, 05:04 PM)icecream Wrote: inquiring mind want to know

im guessing popper?

With no hesitation I say:  Martin Heidegger.
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#77
(02-03-2011, 01:34 AM)Zakhur Wrote:
(01-19-2011, 05:04 PM)icecream Wrote: inquiring mind want to know

im guessing popper?

With no hesitation I say:  Martin Heidegger.

Any particular reasons for so resolute an answer?
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#78
1.  He was an empiricist in the following sense:  he believed that experience was a precondition of precise and accurate theorization about anything.  This distinguishes him from both rationalism (which so often casts doubt on the content of experience) and positivism (which claims that knowledge per se cannot refer to anything except what our senses detect).  Heidegger's balanced view (which I have not in any way stated in a complete manner) gave him an edge over his predecessors and extracted him from almost every attempt by anyone to put his thought in a category with others.

2.  In his essay on modern technology (which is probably the only work immediately accessible to the average educated person), he comes very close to undermining, with very good arguments, the widespread and exceedingly false conviction that the contemporary era is vastly superior to previous times.  In fact, in an interview with a German publication, he states explicitly that modern man is on the verge of self-destruction and "only a god can save him."  This essay is very nearly an indictment of some leading characteristics of modernity identified as dangerous by the anti-modernist popes.  And Heidegger was by no means a Catholic, or even very religious.

3.  Heidegger seems to have been extremely humble intellectually, but he was also convinced that everyone else had not actually gotten at just exactly what things are yet.  He was thus able to think totally outside the box.  In fact, I don't think he fits anywhere except among the Pre-Socratic philosophers, who I think were mostly geniuses (except Parmenides and his followers).
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#79
Thank you for your thoughtful and expansive answer!

(02-03-2011, 02:24 AM)Zakhur Wrote: 2.  In his essay on modern technology (which is probably the only work immediately accessible to the average educated person), he comes very close to undermining, with very good arguments, the widespread and exceedingly false conviction that the contemporary era is vastly superior to previous times.  In fact, in an interview with a German publication, he states explicitly that modern man is on the verge of self-destruction and "only a god can save him."  This essay is very nearly an indictment of some leading characteristics of modernity identified as dangerous by the anti-modernist popes.  And Heidegger was by no means a Catholic, or even very religious.

I have to admit that when last I made a foray into Heidegger, it was an abortive attempt to read his Introduction to Metaphysics, which I have since gathered was not the best place to start.  However, the essay you mention sounds quite interesting.  I have been thinking quite a lot recently about some of these very same issues, so that would be perfect.
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#80
No Analytics?  What about Russell, Quine, Carnap, Kripke?  Or were these just pedants and playboys to you Continentals?
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