who is greatest philosopher of 20th century?
#81
(02-25-2011, 07:39 AM)JonW Wrote: No Analytics?  What about Russell, Quine, Carnap, Kripke?  Or were these just pedants and playboys to you Continentals?

I have to admit I've never read any of them.  I've certainly heard of them, and I'm not so sure, based on what I've heard, that I would want to read their stuff...
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#82
I vote for Dietrich Von Hildebrand.

Henri Poincare for philosophy of Science
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#83
Probably Wittgenstein.
He was in the same class as Hitler at Linz Realschule.
The book to read on this is Kimberley Cornish ' The Jew of Linz '  - the most extraordinary philosophy book I've ever read.
Couldn't stop thinking about it for years - still do!
Maintains that W believed in the ' unowned eternal will' which Hitler did as well apparently.
The dead are not dead but we communicate with them through the eternal will. That is the meaning of history which both W and H stumbled on early in their lives. Going back far enough one can bring to light reminiscences of one now dead. We have to be possessed by the spirits to gain power.
It gives a radical new light on the obscure works of W.
It all comes from Schopenhauer and he says both W and H believed in the spirit world and were engaged in abattle to the death for control of the mind.
Astonishing, tour de force of a book - recommend. ( I have no connection with author!}
Nearly forgot also sensationally claims that W was the 5th man after Philby, Burgess, Maclean and Blunt - that he controlled the Cambridge spy ring and was a mole for Stalin, hence opposition to Fascism and his boyhood classmate. High octane stuff!
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#84
The Cornish book looks interesting, but many reviewers claim that it is farfetched.
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#85
(02-25-2011, 07:39 AM)JonW Wrote: No Analytics?  What about Russell, Quine, Carnap, Kripke?  Or were these just pedants and playboys to you Continentals?

Pretty much. Analytic philosophy is boring. The analytic method works for Scholasticism, because in that case it is founded on a firm belief in God and the idea of the philosophical logos, i.e., that human reason can attain, demonstrate and measure truth through logical thinking, because God has made the universe in such a way that truth is rationally intelligble to the human mind (as we are the imago Dei). Modern analytic philosophy completely dismisses this foundation, and therefore it loses any legitimacy in its method. There's simply no reason, from an atheistic perspective, why the finite human mind can possibly demonstrate or understand anything which is objectively true.

Of the 20th century, my votes go to Heidegger, Derrida, and Slavoj Zizek. Even if I disagree with them in many ways (as, I think, would any Catholic), they are all brilliant thinkers in their own right, who don't hold back from the full conclusions of their methodologies and principles (unlike some less intellectually honest non-religious philosophers).

From a Catholic perspective, I'm suprised that no one here has mentioned Henri Bergson yet. I'm not sure if he was actually a Catholic, but in the post-Enlightenment environment of intense 'critical reason,' Bergson offers a refreshing and important antitode.

Also, Horkheimer needs a mention. He wasn't the best of the 20th century, but his observations about modernity and the inevitable self-destructiveness of Enlightenment-style thinking are highly important, and have been validated by 20th century history.
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#86
(04-07-2011, 10:40 PM)Raskolnikov Wrote: Of the 20th century, my votes go to Heidegger, Derrida, and Slavoj Zizek. Even if I disagree with them in many ways (as, I think, would any Catholic), they are all brilliant thinkers in their own right, who don't hold back from the full conclusions of their methodologies and principles (unlike some less intellectually honest non-religious philosophers).

I might disagree about including Žižek in this list.  The twentieth century produced--to my mind, at least--a host of thinkers of greater seriousness and insight than Žižek--say, Wittgenstein, Adorno, Levinas, Sartre, and Foucault, to name a few.  I'm not precisely sure that the contributions of Žižek to the field of philosophy or literary and cultural studies will outlast him.  I would love to hear, though, some fuller defense of Žižek as a great philosopher of the twentieth century, especially over and against the contributions of some of the other bright lights of the period.  I was fortunate enough to hear Žižek speak at my undergraduate institution (which, for those who know Sewanee, might be somewhat shocking), and I found him to be a charming, if eccentric, figure. 
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#87
yes thats been said, Genius.

In 1935 Wittgenstein was offered a chair in philosophy at Kazan university - Lenin's university.
This was Soviet Russia - its just strains credulity to brealing point that Stalin did not approve the offer.
He would not have been allowed at such a sanctum of communism if he had not been a follower.
Again and again W idealized the Russian revolution in conversations with friends and when the horrors of the famines, show trials and shootings were relayed to him, he just brushed them away.
It's said that through his contact with Brit spies at his college Russians got top quality intelligence.
Russia an ally in war, true, but this was at least technically a treasonable offence.

Bertrand Russell said W. a complete mystic. W seems to have espoused romantic view that we should aim for oneness - einheit - unity with the unowned will. This doctrine was condemned by fifth Lateran Council of 1513,
" ..... pernicious error.... ( that ) the rational soul is one and the same with all men. We condemn ... those who assert that the intellectual soul ...is one and the same in all men.... the intellectual soul... is the form of the human body.... according to the number of bodies into which it is infused, it can be, has been and will be multiplied in individuals. " The Council solemnly decared the view to be anathema, and these assertions to be " damnable heresies."
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#88
I'd agree with the commentators who put Wittgenstein near the top.  He's undoubtedly one of the foremost analytic philosophers, although, I do find it interesting that his "children" have often come to such different conclusions.  You can have Catholic analytic philosophers like Anscombe who end up defending Christian ethics, and you have others (like the logical positivists) who use similar methods and conclude that morality is relative.  I think this says something about the deficiencies of analytic philosophy.

And perhaps others will disagree, but think Alasdair MacIntyre needs to be near the top of the list of twentieth century philosophers.  While he doesn't have the widespread appeal of Wittgenstein, I don't think one could deny that he's one of the few people responsible for bring Aristotle back into the twentieth century (and subsequently contributing to the rise of neo-Thomism).  Thirty years after After Virtue, and discussion about virtue is alive and well in philosophy.  I also like his account of the history of philosophy in After Virtue, and think that he accurately describes modern ethical dialogue as 'emotivist' (as a theory of use).

And while they might not be the "greatest philosophers of the twentieth century", I'd say that the greatest  Thomists of the past century are MacIntyre, Maritain, and Gilson.  MacIntyre for the reasons already mentioned.  Maritain for his metaphysics, and Gilson for the historical perspective of Thomism (although I do not agree with his attempts to deemphasize the importance of Aristotle in Thomas's thought).  And while this might already be clear from the list of philosophers I've chosen, I would not put Garrigou-Lagrange at the top of this list.  He man was certainly intelligent (and purportedly very holy), and has achievements that are recognized by all Thomists.  However, I think the attempts to isolate Thomas's metaphysics from their historical perspective, and subsequently "over-develop" these theories contributed to the near collapse of Thomism after the Council.  If Catholic philosophy (and particularly Thomism) is going to engage the modern world, then we absolutely can't return pre-Conciliar Thomism.
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#89
Ayn Rand.
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#90
(04-15-2011, 07:19 PM)Resurrexi Wrote: Ayn Rand.

Really?  To my mind at least, most of what she has to say (about ethics, in particular) is exceedingly derivative--a sort of inept and humorless gloss on Nietzsche.  If you're looking for a rejection of collectivism and statism, there are other, better 20thC philosophers who offer the same critiques more cogently and coherently.  Not to mention the fact that her novels are god-awful; if that's the objectivist aesthetic, leave me out of it.  
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