Richard Dawkins Offers Advice for Donald Trump, and Other Wisdom

By John Horgan

Richard Dawkins, the biologist and author, is complicated. I reached this conclusion in 2005 when I participated in a fellowship for journalists organized by the pro-religion Templeton Foundation. Ten of us spent several weeks at the University of Cambridge listening to 18 scientists and philosophers point out areas where science and religion converge. Alone among the speakers, Dawkins argued, in his usual uncompromising fashion, that science and religion are incompatible. But in his informal interactions with me and other fellows, Dawkins was open-minded and a good listener. Over drinks one evening, a Christian journalist described witnessing an episode of faith healing. Instead of dismissing the story outright, Dawkins pressed for details. He seemed to find the story fascinating. His curiosity, at least for a moment, trumped his skepticism.
I mention this episode because it is illustrative of the thinking on display in Dawkins’s newest book, Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist. It consists of essays written over the last several decades on, among other things, altruism, group selection, extraterrestrials, punctuated equilibrium, animal suffering, eugenics, essentialism, tortoises, dinosaurs, 9/11, the problem of evil, the internet, his father and Christopher Hitchens. The book showcases Dawkins’s dual talents. He is a ferocious polemicist, a defender of reason and enemy of superstition. He is also an extraordinarily talented explicator and celebrator of biology. He makes complex concepts, like kin selection, pop into focus in a way that imparts a jolt of pleasure. His best writings are suffused with the wide-ranging curiosity that he revealed at the fellowship in Cambridge.
I posed some questions to Dawkins about the importance of scientific reasoning, the problems of AI and consciousness, and President Donald Trump.

[An edited transcript of the interview follows.]

At the Templeton meeting, you described yourself as an agnostic, because you cannot be certain that God does not exist, correct?
This is a semantic matter. Some people define atheism as a positive conviction that there are no gods and agnosticism as allowing for the possibility, however slight. In this sense I am agnostic, as any scientist would be. But only in the same way I am agnostic about leprechauns and fairies. Other people define agnosticism as the belief that the existence of gods is as probable as their nonexistence. In this sense I am certainly not agnostic. Not only are gods unnecessary for explaining anything, they are overwhelmingly improbable. I rather like the phrase of a friend who calls himself a “tooth fairy agnostic”—his belief in gods is as strong as his belief in the tooth fairy. So is mine. We live our lives on the assumption that there are no gods, fairies, hobgoblins, ghosts, zombies, poltergeists or any supernatural entities. Actually, it is not at all clear what supernatural could even mean, other than something which science does not (yet) understand.


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146 COMMENTS

  1. Actually, it is not at all clear what supernatural could even mean,
    other than something which science does not (yet) understand RD.

    That seems the right definition for people who believe in “supernatural”, but it´s just symphatetic actually it “violates” scientific thinking, that´s a propper “logic” of pre-scientific thinking as anthropologists define it I think

    Quote from a philosophy of science blog (please don´t get bored, I´ve quoted it more than once).

    “No one would designate as the province of natural science the psychic processes of experiencing Nature and thinking about it, rather than Nature itself.” (Husserl. Formal and Transcendental Logic, p. 152)

    Why the SUPER natural? Dan Dennett is really funny with the word supernatural.

  2. Maria

    My understanding of supernatural is that there is natural which means everything in nature that can be demonstrated to exist and then supernatural would be anything outside of our understanding of the natural world. For example, Heaven is outside of our understanding of the natural world. It is supernatural. Magical powers and unicorns are supernatural until the day someone demonstrates with empirical evidence that they exist and I will be extremely skeptical of any “evidence” that will be presented for these claims.

    Adults who are religious become quite irate with me when in discussion I mention that their belief in Heaven, a supernatural place is not shared by me. They immediately argue that Heaven is real and not supernatural like Harry Potter’s world or Lord of the Rings world but I have to argue back that to me they are all the same; a place that is created out of human imagination. I like those worlds as much as the next person but I don’t confuse imaginary locations with real locations or natural vs supernatural locations.

  3. Laurie,

    I am well aware that religious people think of Heaven as real, but of course it´s not real just because they believe it -that´s superstition.
    I guess the definition that nothing violates the laws of physics was taught to me by my elder brother while I was younger and asked him questions such as why don´t we kill microbes with our feet when we step over them, and the answer was because they are so thiny that the shoes cannot reach them (actually my brother was so religious, I don´t quite understand why he gave sometimes such knowledgeable answers).

  4. In the case of the file drawer effect a possible remedy is for all scientists to post on the internet their intention to do an experiment before they do it, and share the results even if these are negative and therefore not appealing to journal editors. On this system, journals would refuse to publish the results of an experiment that was not announced ahead of time.

    Problem is, “Man bites dog” is much more appealing to editors than “dog bites man.”

  5. But they have to say heaven is real.

    I wonder if any of us believe things because it would be too scary not to?

    I can’t think of anything, how about you Laurie, Maria?

  6. I believe that as I approach retirement, the stock market will continue upwards.

    Antibiotics will never fail to wipe out scary bacteria

    No nukes will ever be launched

    Climate change will never actually get here.

    Everyone else will die eventually but it would never happen to me.

    Rational liberals will defeat Reactionary forces once and for all.

    Viruses will mind their own business and leave us alone.

    Tomorrow morning I will get my coffee, turn on the TV and discover that Trump & Co. were all arrested while I slept.

  7. @OP – Richard Dawkins Offers Advice for Donald Trump,
    and Other Wisdom

    Donald Trump is not interested in advice or wisdom! –
    Only praise, cheering flattery, promises of support, disputing expertise which challenges his preconceived views, and seeking personal profit!

    He has a horizontal learning curve!

    He also subscribes to the egotistical big-shot image and delusion, that “Big guns and big money, compensate for small brain function” – so that facts can be bought or bullied into becoming “alternative facts”!

  8. Just thought I’d mention that Richard is scheduled to participate in an interview on Bill Maher’s show tonight at 10:00pm EST on HBO

  9. We must wish for more than an Ozymandian fate for Trump, we must work for Oppenheimer’s prospect of a new country.

    The atomic bomb made the prospect of future war unendurable. It has led us up those last few steps to the mountain pass; and beyond there is a different country.

    Trump and the idiocracy are becoming the destroyer of worlds.

  10. phil rimmer #13
    Aug 11, 2017 at 9:59 am

    The atomic bomb made the prospect of future war unendurable.

    Trump and the idiocracy are becoming the destroyer of worlds.

    Hopefully, the Japanese, who are somewhat of experts in such matters, will discourage nuclear idiocy in their neighbourhood!

  11. My concern was actually that The Trump should never be used again, its results too potentially devastating. Thank goodness this was only a little one.

  12. “In considering Sudanese Azande beliefs in witchcraft, for example, E.E. Evans-Pritchard noted that:
    To us supernatural means very much the same as abnormal or extraordinary. Azande certainly have no such notions of reality. They have no conception of ‘natural’ as we understand it, and therefore neither of the ‘supernatural’ as we understand it. Witchcraft is to Azande an ordinary and not an extraordinary, even though it may in some circumstances be an infrequent, event. It is a normal, and not an abnormal happening (Evans-Pritchard 1976:30).
    Such distinctions are, therefore, culturally constructed and, as such, are in no way universal. Phenomena that we would classify as supernatural, or paranormal, are not necessarily conceived of in the same way in other cultural, and sub-cultural, systems.”

    Laurie,

    It seems the term supernatural only exists to people that are aware that science does study natural phenomena (from the physical world) but people would like to define another kind of phenomena that are beyond that.
    I would like to ask Phil Rimmer for some clarification on physics and methaphysics “reunion” as he mentions on OPEN DISCUSSION, but cannot, it´s too overloaded there and now I cannot find the link.
    I intend to read a book about the idea of nature from a historical perspective, however I ´ll choose an author that is pretty clear (not “post-modernist”).
    Perhaps, I can check if the book of Ernst Mayr “The Growth of Biological Thought” has a chapter on it, Anyway even so, I consider there are universal aspects of human psychology and it does not exclude the pre-scientific concept although when Bronisław Malinowski defined as “proper logic” what is not necessarly turning into scientific (or is nor pre-scientific), it still reveals universal aspects of psychology.

  13. Hi, maria!

    OPEN DISCUSSION….. it´s too overloaded

    Shouldn’t happen in future as after this first one the OPEN THREAD should become monthly.

    physics and metaphysics “reunion”

    It was Wittgenstein who first boldly asserted that philosophy was dead because its metaphysical objects, those (currently) insubstantial concepts like “the will” “soul” even “consciousness” could not be fully defined because language was not sufficiently rigorous or dependable. This meant that though philosophy was interesting it rather was like a game without a substantial outcome. Philosophy with metaphysical objects could not PROVE anything.

    Karl Popper (whom Wittgenstein hated) suggested that metphysical objects were very often the very stuff of new pre-scientific ideas. (I suggested “emergence” was one such metaphysical idea that is popular amongst scientists and philosophers but still currently without a full understanding of what such a term may mean. Can a system be identified as possessing emergence-enabling properties before emergence is demonstrated? Others might be Memes in Culture or Homeostasis as a necessary property of all living things.)

    For Popper metaphysics (proposing objects previously unsuspected and currently un-demonstrated) was essential even though Wittgenstein was entirely correct that such a proposed object could not be confirmed in its existence by thought alone because its definition would always remain suspect For Popper using science to confirm and identify such objects is the solution. A practically demonstrable thing is by that fact, something that can have a rigorous definition. It may be not quite as originally conceived but the first conception got you there at least.

    So memes are pre scientific, definitely a metaphysical idea. I currently want to show that there is a small class of memes that confirm to Richard Dawkins original definition, that I call muscle memes, in highly and reliably copyable entities that span physical skills facial expressions and spoken language. Memes as cultural entities beyond that are in a different class (I propose) because they cannot be reliably enough copied and achieve success through additional means and as such they need a different a qualified term. Were this true then we could define memes (those copied with high enough reliability, but never, always perfectly) as about muscle-based skills, always with young receivers, perhaps with “teachers” like thus and so……. Now a scientific hypothesis and with a definition that allows us to map to actual testing. (If the words are debatable, the specifics of the test removes an example with any confusion.)

    PS. Very useful insight from Evans-Pritchard….

  14. Phil,

    It is now more “clear” once I had no idea of the subject you were referring to in OPEN DISCUSSION (but was curious about it). So thaks for the clarification, yet not all seems clear to me, including the muscle meme idea I think, despite I may have some idea- never heard of this “muscle meme” definition, only the idea that ideas have kind of a natural competintion among them (that was why I mentioned that Aristotle´s ideas were not selected by theologians, but Plato´s ideas are quite strong to be selected by theologians, the idea of an immortal soul for intance which by the way Aristotle actually didn´t consider that the soul would survived the death of the boby, despite the idea of a collective survival of some it-ideas, I think.
    Considering Wittgenstein´s logic, science would be death because scientists use analogies such as “Black Holes” to describe what is not yet familiar to them? No way I think.
    (One of my Sociology professors was an Oxford student- by the way, he kind of liked students to be proud to mention he was an “Oxford professor”, I think. He was a very intteligent and sensitive man that smoked as a chimney and in those times students and professors could smoke in classes, so the first thing to happen in some classes would be that an assistant professor would come first to bring an ashtry (and for students to count how many cigarettes he smoked in a class). while in Oxford he wrote the book “Saussure, chess and time the role of an analogy in a scientific revolution”-written in English, and students had a 2 hours test to explain the Saussaure´s analogy of chess-including me of course. He taugh his students also about the notion of paradigm´s shifts in science.
    Would science be death because it shifts paradigms and uses analogies?
    I find Wittgenstein´s figure so nice and kind of aprecciate his efforts, at least for giving such huge importance to language, and even bought the book “The Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus” in an old book´s store. Reading some of it´s parts I recall Umbero Eco´s hilarious words:” Wittgenstein is mad”. The popular saying mathematics destroys the spirit applies to Wittgenstein, as far as he seems to aply silly mathematical logics to language and it turns him into a kind of a madman.

  15. It had landed in the spam filter for some reason, Maria. We’ve retrieved it for you now.

    It does happen from time to time. We’ll always retrieve such posts next time we’re online.

    The mods

  16. Metaphysics does not posit the existence of “objects previously unsuspected and currently un-demonstrated.” That is a straw man.

    Real metaphysics is bound up with epistemology; it distinguishes between what is objective and what is subjective. In the process of doing so it may conclude that (absolute) objective existence is, at the very least, problematic.

    Maria,

    Wittgenstein. You like him? Many people do. I think he was the quintessential charlatan of the 20th Century, one of the great hoaxes of philosophy. Please provide me with an example of an idea of his that has value. Just one. One!

    Here’s one that has no value, from Philosophical [sic] Investigations:

    “I can look at a clock to see what time it is. But I can also look at the dial of a clock in order to guess what time it is; or for the same purpose move the hands of a clock till their position strikes me as right. So the look of a clock may serve to determine the time in more than one way. (Looking at a clock in one’s imagination.)” (Section 266)

    Splitting turds!!

  17. Please provide me with an example of an idea of his that has value.
    Just one. Dan [Wittgenstein]

    1) The rejection of Theology and methaphysics (in theological sense) as a philosophical matter;
    2) The idea of unity within scientific knowledge.

    I am not an expert in Wittgenstein, just took these quite interesting ideas from his thought just reading a bit about him.

  18. Maria,

    Don’t let me discourage you. A lot of people find Wittgenstein fascinating.

    Try to find something that Wittgenstein actually wrote himself that you think has value, if you can. I might even gain a new perspective, although I’ve been reading him off and on for three years now and have been unable to discover anything of value.

    Wait! There is one sentence that I like: “Concepts have blurred edges.”

    I like the dialogues of Plato. They are exquisite. Plato has had more of an impact on me than Aristotle. Aristotle was good too. (That sounds funny.)

    I love this (I am paraphrasing and leaving stuff out. This short excerpt is from memory):

    Socrates: What is virtue?

    Euthyphro: That which is pleasing to the gods.

    Socrates: Is it virtuous because it pleases the Gods or does it please the gods because it’s virtuous?

    Euthyphro: Uh…It is virtuous because it is pleasing to the gods!

    Socrates: But don’t the gods disagree amongst themselves?

    Euthyphro: They most certainly do.

    Socrates: Then perhaps what pleases one god would not be pleasing to another god.

  19. Dan and Phil Rimmer,

    I would be lost with no guidance from experts in my readings of Plato, Aristotle, Wittgenstein … so I´m actually reading a book on semiotics from a PhD in semiotics that resumes the ideas of all three concerning semiotics, a discipline with ancient tradition that may have actual interest, if it is all about language/science/philosophy relations that we were talking about (semiotics= an ancient discipline which means the ways in which Man signifies what surrounds him).
    I´m just curious about it, I have no serious pretentions about my knowledge on the subject.

    Here´s a quote on the transversal usefulness of semiotics and it´s “transversal” relation with science(s).

    “In the interaction between semiotics, natural sciences and social sciences today, it seems to be the case that semiotics needs natural sciences and is needed by social sciences while such scientific tasks as positive judgments and logical inferences provided by normal scientific procedures do not need to be included into the field of semiotics.” You-Zheng Li 1996, p.87, What Theorical Foundations Can Semiotics Have, on Semiotics Around The World

    Dan,

    You still ask me about the proper ideas of Wittgenstein when I pointed out two (of course I´ve read about those ideas somewhere and as I´m not making any academic study I usually don´t take the references).
    Why a “charlatan”, even if he was wrong about something, why would he be a “charlatan”?

  20. To the Moderator,

    I must be so “lucky”, if it happens time to time, and it happened twice with my comments, so my #26 comment must have been landed in spam filter for some reason again. Please, I wouldn´t like to type it again, I´m enough lazy.
    It must be a sad coincidence that my comments land in spam filters, why?

  21. Maria

    Yes, your other comment had landed there too, and we’ve retrieved it.

    We also had to retrieve one by Alan4discussion.

    We regularly have to retrieve comments by Phil Rimmer. And there are other perfectly innocent users, too, whose comments end up in there from time to time.

    We can’t tell you why it happens, or why the spam system seems so hyper-suspicious of certain users. We’re not the techies on the site. We have asked the site managers before now, but they can’t explain it either, beyond expressing a perfectly reasonable reluctance to select a lower spam-detection setting, since the site regularly gets bombarded with the stuff.

    We totally understand that it’s frustrating for the users affected, but there is nothing at all we can do about it, other than retrieve wrongly spammed comments next time we’re online.

    There are, however, two things that will almost invariably cause comments to be treated as spam by the site software.

    The first is the use of hyperlinks. One link will generally (though not always) get through without going via the spam filter; multiple links will almost always be put aside until a moderator has had chance to approve them.

    The second is editing your comment after posting it.

    Obviously, comments sometimes wrongly land in spam even if they don’t contain links and haven’t been edited. But these things definitely increase the risk.

    There is no facility on the site to impose stricter moderation requirements on specific users. There is nothing personal about it. Even our own comments land in the spam filter if we edit them after posting. You can by all means alert us to a comment that’s gone astray if you want to, but checking recent comments and also checking whether there is anything awaiting moderator approval or that’s been wrongly caught by the spam filter are all part of the routine we follow each of the several times each day we come online.

    By the way, re-typing a comment that hasn’t appeared the first time is the worst thing you can do, as submitting the same thing more than once is one of the things that will make any spam detection system more suspicious.

    The mods

  22. To the Mods,

    Thank you retriving the comment, and for the explanation of what might have happened.

    or why the spam system seems so hyper-suspicious of certain users.

    Well I´m not that superstitious, I was just asking. Perhaps I had some need to be be “funny” afterall, despite the opinion that women don´t actually need to be funny, who knows what I need?

  23. Maria (and Phil and Alan),

    You would not get lost reading Plato’s dialogues without guidance from an expert. Some of them have a lot of digressions. But try the Apology or the Phaedo. The Symposium too. Most books have notes too, which should suffice.

    Wittgenstein. Why a charlatan? Well because I think he knew he wasn’t saying anything. Maybe “vastly overrated and insufferable” would be better. Charlatan is a bit strong. But most people would argue me to the ground and insist that he deserves to be called the 20th Century’s foremost philosopher. And maybe they’d be right. But I read him in a class (with a so-called expert guiding us) years ago and hated him then. And I have picked him up again and still hate him, and have a deep suspicion that he was wrong about just about everything and knew it or didn’t care.

    Another example of his deep profundity:

    The chair is thinking to itself . . .
    WHERE? In one of its parts? Or outside its body; in the air around it? Or not anywhere at all? But the what is the difference between this chair’s talking silently to itself and another one’s doing so, next to it? — But then how is it with man: where does he talk to himself? How come that this question seems senseless; and that no specification of a place is necessary, except just that this man is talking silently to himself? Whereas the question of where the chair talks silently to itself seems to demand an answer. — The reason is: we want to know how the chair is supposed to be like a human being; whether, for instance, its head is at the top of the back, and so on.
    What is it like to talk silently to oneself; what goes on there? — How am I to explain it? Well, only in the way in which you can teach someone the meaning of the expression “to talk silently to oneself”. And we do learn the meaning of that as children. — Only no one is going to say that the person who teaches it to us tells us ‘what goes on here’.

    Maria, I copied that down for you. Mind-numbing, in my opinion. From his classic work: Philosophical Investigations. That’s just one section. There’s a lot about machines having toothaches and “language-games” that nobody plays, along with many other edifying thoughts.

    By the way, recognition doesn’t have a location either, he says. Neither does intentionality. Isn’t that scientific? (I don’t think so. Alan4Discussion would have a field day with that stunning exemplar of Dunning-Kruger syndrome.)

    It’s like giant suction tube sucking the inner life out of Man. That’s W, as far as I am concerned – although his fans will argue me to the ground, as I said before.

  24. Maria, others

    I discovered that editing during the 10 minute time period in the space, the editing box at the bottom, that appears after pressing “click to edit” caused me to lose comments. In my case editing in this way activated the spam filter. So, If this is what is happening with you, here’s a suggestion: don’t edit after pressing “click to edit”. If you see a mistake after posting, copy the comment, press “click to edit”, delete the comment, paste the comment back, make the correction, and then post again. You can do this multiple times and your comment will never go to spam. I hope that was clear.

  25. Dan,

    What can I say that would help you to cope with the silly logic of ´30´s, the King is naked? I personally like a text of Edgar Morin that asks “who invented the reason just to desguise irrationality”. Hope you find more pleasant readings.
    I´ve read all your suggestions of Plato when I was a teenager and felt impressed by a few things from Plato actually, but dislike Plato a lot in general.

  26. Maria,

    30’s? Naked? What’s that? Didn’t get the reference.

    I would put it this way: language was invented in part to conceal the absence of reason. But your quote is more interesting and deeper. Reminds me of Nietzsche.

    I like when Socrates, in the Apology, says that he looks forward to continue discussing and debating things when he gets to “the hereafter”. He was being ironic.

    That quote from W wasn’t bad enough. One more:

    Just for once, don’t think of understanding as a ‘mental process’ at all!—For that is the way of talking that confuses you. (Philosophical Inv.)

    No, you confuse me, Wittgenstein. You make no sense. Go away.

  27. The first sentence of #32 from maria

    What can I say that would help you to cope with the silly logic of comment 30, the Emperor has no clothes?

  28. (…) Frankness, where it is indistinguishable from naivety, is the honest boy calling out that the king has no clothes. We should not
    punish the boy.

    COMMENT 1 by Rodriguez Emanuel Blatt on Why I Admire Richard Dawkins by Iona Italia

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2017/07/why-i-admire-richard-dawkins-by-iona-italia/#li-comment-224512

    That really was a reference to the same story for children that Alan kindly provided the link, considering the frankness of Dan:

    Wittgenstein. Why a charlatan? Well because I think he knew he wasn’t
    saying anything. Maybe “vastly overrated and insufferable” would be
    better. Charlatan is a bit strong. But most people would argue me to
    the ground and insist that he deserves to be called the 20th Century’s
    foremost philosopher. And maybe they’d be right. But I read him in a
    class (with a so-called expert guiding us) years ago and hated him
    then. And I have picked him up again and still hate him, and have a
    deep suspicion that he was wrong about just about everything and knew
    it or didn’t care.

    But it was unfortunate because not all people have listen to the story in childhood.

    Dan, What can I say that would help you to cope with the silly logic
    of ´30´s

    As far as Dan keeps quoting Wittgenstein non-sense, having read a part of the book: Introduction to Semiotics it had this reference (I will not quote too much):

    “(…) Consistent with the dominant teaching of logic in the 1930s, the tradition linking Frege to the Wittgenstein of the Logical and Philosophical Treaty gave all emphasis to logical syntax as a theory of language, to the semantic and pragmatic dimensions were added according to a principle rreference. In this scheme, it meant to decode the conditions of truth, to associate content and reference, and to verify what occurred whenever the true or the false were manifested in the context of a verification test. “
    Introduction to Semiotics, Luís Carmelo p. 75, Google translated

    I was lazy to quote more.
    Actually I curious to find some explanation for that non-sense,and the only one I found was this”logic”.

    Dan,

    Sometimes everyone can say and think and do silly things (even wise people),at least funny things.

    I´ll post here a link to an interesting opinion article written by the author of the book I´m quoting from, because I think it´s interesting enough I think(it´s about Christopher Hitchens and “God”, not a literal God, you have to translate of course if you think it would be worth to read).

    http://expresso.sapo.pt/blogues/opiniao_blogues_e_meteoros/christopher-hitchens-nunca-viu-o-oceano-atlantico=f568555

    By the way, I´m A-theist (not agnostic)in case that someone may find interest in knowing that.

  29. Hi, Maria,

    I love absurdity and nonsense, but prefer to express it myself or encounter it in life rather than in literature and art. I think I’d rather read Ionesco than Wittgenstein if I wanted a good laugh. (To tell you the truth the theater of the absurd is not really my thing either; nothing to absorb, finally. I prefer the Tragic to the Absurd.)

    I still say Wittgenstein was a bad philosopher. There’s nothing to absorb. I contract with annoyance whenever I read him. It baffles me that people have been able to come up with so many things to say about him. Whole essays and books have been written about him. I don’t like Wittgenstein! And I should stop writing about him as it only encourages others to defend him; and life is too short.

    I guess if I had to be executed tomorrow morning I might want to reduce everything to insignificance; then I wouldn’t have much to lose; but I’d rather live fully while I’m still breathing and try to really learn something – and leave it to others to continually try to draw from a well simply because that particular well is reputed to be deep.

  30. Dan,

    Perhaps you can point out why is Wittgenstein such a bad philosopher in a useful detailed way, so that I can understand better your point, if it does not take too much of your time.
    Perhaps it´s useful also to read what one dislikes afterall.

  31. Dan,

    I guess part of the answer why is Wittgenstein such a “bad” philosopher is in part exposed on comment 18 by Phil Rimmer, isn´t it? Indeed, that seems strange.

  32. Dan,

    Right now I found reference to a book that might be interesting for you (or perhaps you know it), p. 115 ” As Wittgenstein was right in nothing (…)” concerning his language games (well the book seems too much difficult to me, it´s written by a mathematician and logician) I don´t know anything about it, it seems boring.

    Logic, Epistemology, and the Unity of Science, by

    Shahid Rahman, ‎John Symons, ‎Dov M. Gabbay – 2009 – ‎Philosophy
    Shahid Rahman
    https://books.google.pt/books?id=bCo3Z3et_V0C&pg=PA115&lpg=PA115&dq=Shahid+Rahman+wittgenstein&source=bl&ots=FnwmnJAHkN&sig=a8kP61z_mEzSGueFfFQz5Uj5flY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjkkYayreHVAhWDDRoKHRQ_Cl8Q6AEILDAB#v=onepage&q=Shahid%20Rahman%20wittgenstein&f=false

  33. Maria

    I’ve read The Blue and Brown Books, Philosophical Investigations (twice) and On Certainty. He keeps saying “meaning is use” and arguing that recognition is not a process and that thoughts are not in our heads, and that there are no rules and that concepts don’t exist. And he goes on and on about “language games” that don’t exist. I have learned nothing. Maybe my fault but I can’t think of one useful or true insight; he just played with words.

    He rejected everything; even the word IS. It is not proper to say that something IS something. This is mind-numbing. Reductionistic.

    Good or bad to read people we don’t like. I have concluded that it is, for me, bad to read W.

    So one might say: the ostensive definition explains the use—the meaning—of the word when the overall role of the word in language is clear. Thus if I know that someone means to explain a colour-word to me the ostensive definition “That is called ‘sepia’ ” will help me to understand the word…. One has already to know (or be able to do) something in order to be capable of asking a thing’s name. But what does one have to know? —W

    Who cares!!

    Nothing he says is capable of being fully understood. Because there is nothing really there to extract or absorb, perhaps.

  34. Maria #41

    Not my cup of tea, but thanks.

    “Boring” is right. The only thing worse than Wittgenstein is what has been written about Wittgenstein.

    (I guess I’m outspoken.)

  35. Considering this desperate biographic piece, perhaps people need a more comphreensive aproach to understand Wittgenstein:

    “(…) In the course of an agitated intellectual life that lasted for about 40 years, he always compared his thoughts to a flame, which ignited projects or suddenly died out, to his despair. The images of “ideas” and “fire” are recurrent in his notebooks, journals and correspondence. In March 1913 he wrote to Russell: “Whenever I try to think about logic, my ideas are so vague that nothing comes to crystallize. What I feel is the curse of all those who have only half-talent; Is like a man leading us down a dark corridor with a candle and just when we are in the middle of the hall the candle goes out and we are left alone.”
    https://revistacult.uol.com.br/home/uma-mente-em-chamas/

    Perhaps this book suggests a more appropriate approach? (another book to my list?)

    http://www.chontejedor.com/Chon_Tejedor/Abstract_1.html

  36. I still say Wittgenstein was a bad philosopher. There’s nothing to absorb. I contract with annoyance whenever I read him. It baffles me that people have been able to come up with so many things to say about him. Dan

    What I´ve choosen to do (as a job) is to write down the most subjective and dramatic points of view of people and to listen to each and everyone, and I really write down too much of what they say (everything sometimes word by word), I clearly notice there´s too much subjectivity in each person´s point of view, but actually I suspect, that people who dislike subjectivity are not too much introspective, these people are, perhaps kind of authoritarian or go-ahead people as I call them.
    So, as books reflect real life (and the aesthetic sense only exist because people must deal with the book, painting etc in order to aknowledge whether or not they feel comfortable with it), here I am not frustrated about the amount of subjective views of people about Wittgenstein, someone that in fact spent much of his time alone intentionally (even this last remark is an observation of someone that wrote about his biographic data).This is a genuine “industry”, rich for me I must confess, in a positive way.

  37. Maria,

    You should devote a chapter in your book to me. I hate Wittgenstein, would like to give that egomaniacal sadist a good kick in the ass.

    My aversion to Wittgenstein is intense. But that doesn’t not mean that he must be right and that I (the subjective reader) must be reading him the wrong way, and incapable of appreciating the greatness that others speak of. The intensity of my feelings (which are necessarily subjective) arose out of frustration and resentment. I wanted to find something in Wittgenstein that would augment me in some way, enhance my understanding of certain problems. Nothing there.

    I don’t reject Schopenhauer’s intense pessimism, although it is unpleasant. I don’t reject things that are unpleasant or difficult or that I don’t want to hear. But if someone leads me by the nose, along the garden path, or something strikes me as silly and fatuous then I rebel. And if the author has a reputation for being great then I like to play the part of the iconoclast.

    Tell me what is so great about Wittgenstein (when you can) and if I see that he really was an important thinker I will conclude that my aversion was really lack of comprehension disguised as dislike all along.

    Get a copy of his Philosophical Investigations. They must have it in Portuguese.

    Quote of the Day:

    The results of philosophy are the discovery of some plain nonsense and the bumps that the understanding has got by running up against the limits of language. They – these bumps – make us see the value of that discovery. (Wittgenstein, PI, S 119)

  38. Dan,

    The work of Wittgenstein seems quite improductive to me, I don´t say it otherwise, perhaps im my imagination I thought he had some good ideas, now I´m not so sure. That´s really frustrating, so frustrating that I will not get the copy of Philosophical Investigations, what for?

  39. Maria,

    Now I feel a little guilty. You might love Wittgenstein. I could be wrong. (Miracles do occur.)

    My mother adores Wittgenstein so how bad can he be? (Very bad is the correct answer. Sorry, Mom.)

    I would encourage you to read Philosophical Investigations. You may not like him either. But it is better to have read and rejected than never to have read at all.

  40. Dan #48
    Aug 19, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    My aversion to Wittgenstein is intense.
    But that doesn’t not mean that he must be right and that I
    (the subjective reader) must be reading him the wrong way,
    and incapable of appreciating the greatness that others speak of.

    I think Maria has provided a quote, and I have provided an analysis on another discussion, to explain his failings and those of others like him.

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2017/08/richard-dawkins-in-conversation-with-dave-rubin-882017/#li-comment-225292

    Like the proverbial absent leg on a three-legged stool, the (very large) important part of his philosophy, appears to be the part which is missing!

  41. Hello, Alan,

    Neither Maria nor you have read Wittgenstein. I hate him but my hatred is based on three years of painful investigation; they are not based on a few quotes and remarks from secondary sources.

    I am not defending him, but I am defending the idea of investigation and careful study prior to judgment.

    I tried to get into him, and realized – and this took a while – that he had nothing to teach me except one lesson: never assume that it must be one’s own fault if a thinker who is reputed to be profound doesn’t make any sense.

  42. Dan,

    Your w-quotes (not wiki) were very important to me, enough to aknowledge the important aspect of Wittgenstein´s crutial failure as reported by Alan or Phil Rimmer.
    So, I reaaly appreciate you have quoted it. Thanks for the work it gave to you.
    So, I told you a few things impressed me in Plato, perhaps I can aknowledge it better now?

  43. Dan #52
    Aug 20, 2017 at 6:15 am

    I tried to get into him, and realized – and this took a while – that he had nothing to teach me except one lesson: never assume that it must be one’s own fault if a thinker who is reputed to be profound doesn’t make any sense.

    It is a valuable lesson which I learned quite some time ago, looking at the writings of Art Critics, ID proponents, and some of the more devious creationists!

    Postmodernists took this to higher levels of pseudo-intellectualism – while computer scientists eventually mocked and debunked them!

    http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/pomo/

  44. Maria,

    Thank you for your appreciation of my quotes. Your quote from Plato on the other thread gave me considerable pleasure.

    As I said above, I would ask you to consider reading at least part of the Philosophical Investigations. He is a highly unusual thinker; even if he was wrong about everything his approach is so bizarre and unique you might want to check him out. (That is up to you, of course.) And, as I also said, it is quite possible that I haven’t fully grasped some of his points (if you can call them that).

    Alan is a highly erudite man, as is Phil. Phil has mixed feelings about Wittgenstein, does not regard Wittgenstein with the degree of contempt that I do. As for Alan, I am not sure he has read Wittgenstein. I could be wrong; and he is still entitled to his opinion and his assumptions based on what he has heard. But there are many opinions. And unless we have complete faith in another’s opinion on a given subject, establishing our own is usually the best way to go.

  45. Dan #55
    Aug 20, 2017 at 6:53 am

    As for Alan, I am not sure he has read Wittgenstein. I could be wrong; and he is still entitled to his opinion and his assumptions based on what he has heard.

    I have not read Wittgenstein apart from presented quotes, which illustrate aspects of his thinking.
    As you probably recognise, I look to the frontiers of knowledge in recent discoveries, which have been revealed by new technological research facilities, rather than spending time looking back at debunked ideas and flawed methodologies.

    If some past methodology leads to confirmed modern knowledge, it is worth my time. If it goes nowhere but refutation, it is just another example of human misconception or flawed thinking. (Although it may have some relevance to social or political history.)

    There are vast arrays of new discoveries to be looked at in the present time, so if some philosopher of old got some things right, all credit to them, and a look at their methods could be of interest.
    If not, there are lots of better ways to spend time in studying modern scientific discoveries and insights which are rapidly changing the modern world!

  46. maria melo #56
    Aug 20, 2017 at 7:09 am

    Alan,

    Replying to comment 51, I cannot find it, is the link correct?

    richard-dawkins-in-conversation-with-dave-rubin-882017/#li-comment-225292

    When I click on it it brings up comment 40 on that discussion.

  47. Alan4discussion,

    It didn´t bring me to comment 40, although I´ve read it before.
    It´s out realistic pretentions to create a whole new language, scientists and other schoolars however advert for the need to start with a clear definition for the sake of objectivity of the work, and I´ve heard a scientist saying this about her research field (emotions and the search for real philogenetic aspects of human behaviour comparatively to other primates -Dr. Kim Bard). Other schoolars, including a professor of mine adverted for the need of consulting dictionaries by telling that´s not a vanity that dictionaries make revisions often as English dictionaries by the way, “in fact look at the word Salazar and the impact it generates in people now and years ago”, he said.
    Philosophy of Language overlaps Linguistics in a strange way. Of course new words can be created/ be in use, imagery etc.
    I suppose “Post Modernist” is a new expression in the Town, it´s use is related also to some difficulty in understanding the text, not because it is intelligible necessarly.

  48. America first is the slogan of Trump. He believes that all that was done by previous government was wrong as it was not in the interest of Americans. May be he is right. There has to be a swing in thinking in a country divided into two specific halves. Thesis, antithesis ,synthesis and back to new thesis. This cycle is always there , it could be king ruling or people ruling, communists or socialist. Man is prone to get bored by continuous Happening and wants change. It is a biological need. So Trump is filling this need at present. No one can predict as to what he will do for war with North Korea, climatic change, south American upheaval or trade with China. He seems to have already fallen out with Putin and European countries. We hope that his doings will at least benefit America if not others. His theory that Americans should not thrust their idea of democracy on others, is worthy of praise. We have seen that this method of electing government is full of drawbacks, corruption, misuse of power, and wrong people getting into chair..

  49. “All that was done by previous governments” is not a historically useful phrase. Previous government have done many things. We have rarely done anything that wasn’t in our interest. But what’s wrong with humanitarian aid? Is that not worthwhile? (We do provide humanitarian aid sometimes.) Most if not all of the time “spreading democracy” is a mask for economic and strategic self interest. But WWII was a necessary war, although anti semites like Charles Lindbergh were opposed to it. They said “America First” before Trump did because they were racist isolationists. Anyone who is taken in by that slogan is among the biddable.

    America First is just a way of flattering people who are filled with shame, and hostility towards foreigners, Jews, Muslims, blacks, others. Hitler flattered the Germans. They all do that. Even good leaders flatter the people to some extent. (But stop feeling flattered and look at the facts, you American fools. Look at reality.)

    What are you talking about? Not in the interests of the US? What wasn’t? Vietnam? Name one rotten war or intervention that was done in someone else’s interest.

    Make America Great? How!! By building a wall that will do nothing. By having a travel ban that will not make us safer? By emboldening white supremacists? By giving huge tax breaks for the wealthy while trying to pass a health bill that would have caused millions to lose coverage, that would cause premiums to go up and allow fraud and exploitation to continue as it had been prior to the ACA? (See Michael Moore’s film Sicko.)

    They use the idea of a magical free market that will help everyone the same way they use phrases like America First. Both are lies.

    And is defunding science research and the EPA making America Great and First? Is defunding public education a good thing? Is financial and environmental deregulation a good thing? Remember Wells Fargo? You know how we found about that? Dodd-Frank. That’s how. Well they want to get rid of that, as much oversight as they can, because Trump and his oligarchs like short term profit. They are moral monsters, for the most part.

    Did anyone hear Afghanistan speech? Is sending still more troops in our interest? Will that make us first? Sounded like he wants to promote the military industrial complex (something Eisenhower warned us about) and he used the sick language of “hyper-masculinity”. Ominous.

    And is saving coal jobs a good thing? Coal (next to tar sand) is one of the very worst things for the environment!!!

    Is denigrating the press and seeking to undermine or destroy all forms of accountability and oversight (in relation to government ethics, for example) good for America?

    Trump is a fucking racist, a liar, and a bad man!

    [Slightly edited by moderator to bring within terms of use]

  50. Sorry mods. That last comment was indeed inappropriate. Thanks for the edit.

    Phil, I had a long talk about W with my W friend. W’s dismissal of inner processes is a kind of radical empiricism that does have some merit. It’s like a weird form of Eastern philosophy, I think. Sorry about the vitriol. “Charlatan” is not right. W brings out a lot of anger in me. Perhaps I doth protest too much at times. (Perhaps, I said.)

  51. Dan, I know you have a visceral disgust at W. When it gets too much you explode into scatology and I know to stay away from the stink.

    I can’t understand this myself. Perhaps aspie-dom doesn’t connect me so immediately, so emotionally? I have to wait for slower feelings to arise.

    Always I have wanted you to notice Popper and not W. I recently wanted you to notice the creative capacity of language precisely because of its imprecision, its contrast to the chilly metaphors of maths. That this is precisely its fitness for Popper’s metaphysical purpose, and how it serves science as well as our agitated souls.

    What gets my goat, (sheesh, language! Weird.) is the dismissal of a quick way to assess that “metaphysics” is indeed co-opted by many folks. You have never read any of the books I propose so a one page read that contains material I have found corroborated to see the varieties of uses was a very little ask. But too much. Wiki is a great get you started. Follow the links and you’re into papers in no time. Or at least you have some names and search terms. What’s not to like? The Stanford Philosophy entry was too daunting an ask.

    I fight for philosophy here. It seems I have to fight everyone to not see it reduced and impoverished in its reach and applicability.

  52. I have not read Wittgenstein apart from presented quotes, which
    illustrate aspects of his thinking. Alan4discussion

    Actually Wittgenstein´s concern (which is a valid concern I think) was not meant for scientists who actually care to be precise in language of things they want to know, but maybe for lay people (not too introspective, not too worried with our inner third voice, which in fact may even not exist).

    “At the basis of the whole modern view of the world lies the illusion that the so-called laws of nature are the explanations of natural phenomena. So people stop short at natural laws as at something unassailable, as did the ancients at God and Fate.
    And they both are right and wrong. But the ancients were clearer, in so far as they recognized one clear conclusion, whereas in the modern system it should appear as though everything were explained.”

    Quoting from Tractatus, Wittgenstein

    Herein an exemplification of the “laws of nature” in a non-scientific ethical discourse (that´s the second time I try to make an example from this perspective):

    There has to be a swing in thinking in a country divided into two
    specific halves. Thesis, antithesis ,synthesis and back to new thesis.
    This cycle is always there , it could be king ruling or people ruling,
    communists or socialist. Man is prone to get bored by continuous
    Happening and wants change. It is a biological need. So Trump is
    filling this need at present.

    Is this aspect of “his thinking”, which actually maybe his logic, but an inference about common “logic”. (“observe the observed observer”, a funny quote from an anthropologist).

  53. I might actually like Popper. Recommend a book and I will buy a copy today.

    I looked at some excerpts and saw some math. I have no interest and therefore no aptitude for mathematics. I hope there’s a book of his that doesn’t get too heavily into math. I will confirm that I book the book later today. I don’t want to be the boy who cried… Well you know how it goes.

    I hate Wittgenstein. HATE! HATE!! HATE!!!….er, sorry. I lost my head.

  54. Maria,

    Another asinine quote from W. Good job. You found a doozy. No laws of nature. Ha-ha They are like God and Fate. That’s W, the skeptic, the imbecile who hoodwinked a generation and is still doing harm.

    No. Everything is only probable. Gravity might cease to exist and we will all float up into space. Maybe an effect will not arise from a cause. Maybe time will cease to be.

    Hume was an empiricist too but he at least was grounded in reason, taught the doctrine of extreme probability – and was ten times the thinker W was. Hume was superb: subtle, brilliant, great. Truly one of the greats.

  55. No laws of nature? not to mention no laws of ineluctable historical process of social/historical development?The second is even worse and more dangerous (that´s ideological), biology is not an ideology.

  56. Dan,

    I respect your feelings about Wittgenstein, as you may have noticed, people´s subjectivity is a kind of “sacred” thing to me, but:

    Another asinine quote from W. Good job. You found a doozy.

    Seems personal offense to me that quoted him.

  57. Actually, Hegel didn´t define History clearly, I know this because had a historian as professor and he was a genious, did Hegel had defined History clearly he would have known. In his book I have of course all the possible definition there could possibly be about Hegel´s idea of History and it´s descripton, so it would be impossible for a historian to base historiography on Hegel in first place.
    (W was right, a clear definition is necessary to start with).

  58. The most consistent idea of Hegel about History is that History is the development of the idea of God, so my W-quote really fits in both parts, can´t you see that?
    “(…)There has to be a swing in thinking in a country divided into two specific halves
    1.) Thesis, antithesis ,synthesis and back to new thesis.
    This cycle is always there , it could be king ruling or people ruling,
    communists or socialist. Man is prone to get bored by continuous
    Happening and wants change. ´2) It is a biological need. So Trump is
    filling this need at present.”

  59. Of course Phil Rimmer, W was probably religious too (need do get to know more about this biographic data), he joined the army and made hiself volunteer in the most dangerous lines of the war, with him he took a bible, a version of the bible rejected by the ortodox Church with no chapiter dedicated to the ressurection of Christ (biographic data pointed out by an author that wrote about W). So, I was wondering what his belief really was. His initial aim was perhaps devoid of sucess in terms of achievement, he got lost in his objective perhaps, but however in the meantime, it doesn´t mean I cannot consider this specific reflection-quote- of some value, despite I know it represents an offense to naturalists, as far as he seems to be offending Natural Sciences here, which I think he is not (perhaps not really).

  60. (cont, before I get to do other things in life).

    The other trumpist Prof Dawkins got to know was a journalist woman that interviewed him and the interview went well. If the journalist woman is who I think is, the interview didn´t went well as far as the woman was unpolite and it was ot really profissional as far as she interrupted Prof. Dawkins saying I know, I know, so he didn´t need to say more because she knew. So, was she making an interview for herself or for an audience?
    Of course that from a pessimistic point of view the interview could go worse, and really pessimistic…so pessimistic that it seemed it went well.

  61. Actually, Hegel did not define History clearly…

    That is true and untrue; he defined it unclearly and incorrectly, thought history was unfolding and would necessarily lead to a final fruition of some kind. That will never happen, as there is no evidence to support this supremely idiotic and dogmatic claim.

  62. You can try to figure out what W meant Maria; but you might want to save some time and energy too. A lot of great books and not so much time, finally. I wasted three years of my life reading him.

    He signed up for dangerous missions because he wanted to kill as many people as he could or himself. He liked religion because he was not a rational man. He almost beat a young kid to death and ran away from the scene of the crime. He was filthy rich and sent the Nazis a huge sum of money to save a family member. He ate beans out of a can. There’s his bio.

  63. Note to Maria

    “Another asinine quote from W. Good job. You found a doozy.” -Dan

    Seems like a personal offense to me that quoted him. -Maria

    Sorry. I got confused. “Good job” was not meant sarcastically. I thought you wanted to find a quote that made no sense. My mistake.

  64. “At the basis of the whole modern view of the world lies the illusion that the so-called laws of nature are the explanations of natural phenomena….”

    Straw-man, Ludwig. Imprecise. Ambiguous. Screwy nonsense. Let’s see you dispense with the law of gravitation and the gravitational attraction of the moon and come up with a better and non-illusory explanation for the bulging of the oceans in the direction of the moon.

  65. Phil

    Always I have wanted you to notice Popper and not W.

    Proof:

    Order Placed: August 23, 2017
    Amazon.com order number: 112-6008… [etc.]
    Order Total: $16.74

    Items Ordered
    1 of: Popper Selections, Popper, Karl R.
    Sold by: JVG Books LLC (seller profile)

    Condition: Used – Like New
    Clean and Unmarked Copy.

  66. Dan #82
    Aug 23, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    “At the basis of the whole modern view of the world lies the illusion that the so-called laws of nature are the explanations of natural phenomena….”

    With .. the delusional view:- maintaining that the laws of nature are not “explanations of natural phenomena”, and that the pseudo-knowledge of a god-did-it patch over the proponent’s supernatural fanciful ignorance, is required, in order to maintain a fake posture of competence, authority, and intellect!

  67. Dan #82
    Aug 23, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    “At the basis of the whole modern view of the world lies the illusion that the so-called laws of nature are the explanations of natural phenomena….”

    Straw-man, Ludwig. Imprecise. Ambiguous. Screwy nonsense. Let’s see you dispense with the law of gravitation and the gravitational attraction of the moon and come up with a better and non-illusory explanation for the bulging of the oceans in the direction of the moon.

    I usually suggest to those who claim scientific interpretations of laws of nature, are at risk of total refutation (rather than slight modification in the light of more accurate measuring techniques), – that the option is open – to test the law of gravity, by stepping out of a tenth-floor window, and seeing if some “new physics” turns up before they reach the ground at a calculated elapsed time, based on their gravitational acceleration at their present position on Earth, and the local air resistance at the time!

  68. It seems “laws of nature” would be in medieval society the justification for the establisment social order, in the case of the trumpist quoted the “laws of historical development” (which are hegelian) come first to justify trumpists´ ride, secundarly it would not violate”natural law” at the same time.
    According to the system of values of that person, and the explanation offered is the equivalent of a scientific rational explanation, and moderate too, as far as Trump seems to be taking a free ride.
    You may disagree, but the person presented you a rational justification for the trumpist ride, filling the gaps of rational explanation (“natural laws” fill the same gap of rational explanation).
    If you like Popper, he would criticize historicism. Historicists-marxist or hegelian. Historicists would be those who postulate “laws of historical development”. Such laws would predict the future of humanity, what Popper considered as a “superstition”, calling “profecies”. Instead he would proposed “technological predictions”, possible to achieve in experimental sciences to replace such profecies of the criticized historicists-hegelian or marxist. He proposed a methology he would designate as”Technological Social Science”, that uses History as a source of data for achieving the goal of such study, to find “general laws of social life” instead of “laws of historical development” from historicists. This would apply to make social institutions more “perfect”, calling it “gradual social engeneering for action”, to replace a “holist methology” from historicists, what historicists reject because they considered it to be too shy (who, who, who).

    (that´s a summary according to the notes written of my professor of History, perhaps you´ll find Popper very useful too in this aspect of giving things a more perfect sense?)

    You can read Popper here:

    see

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/265617183_Prediction_and_Prophecy_in_the_Social_Sciences

    Actually, I don´t think History has such purpose of being used as a data source, or to be related to “profecies” or “scientific predictions” for political action at all.

  69. No problem, Maria – we’ve retrieved it now.
    Sorry the spam system is still picking on you – hopefully it will only be a temporary problem.

    The mods

  70. Dan, maria, Alan I answered some stuff here on the open thread, where it better sits.

    Maria we get a new open thread soon, so it will be less cluttered for you.

  71. Phil Rimmer, (on OPEN DISCUSSION and here)

    I´ve noticed you have commented on OPEN DISCUSSION .

    This would apply to make social institutions more “perfect”, calling
    it “gradual social engeneering for action”, to replace a “holist
    methology” from historicists, what historicists reject because they
    considered it to be too shy

    I didn´t continue it. Too shy because Popper´s goal would be a gradual change whereas for holist historicists it would be a total reconstruction of society.
    The text does not answer to some questions like who were the historicists that didn´t accept Poppers proposal of gradual change, the discussion really took place I assume from the texto, but where, when, how and why.

    Popper didn´t like Plato´s political ideas as far as he didn´t like political holism goals from historicists for the same reasons, he thought that those political goals are both equivalent a both lead to a form totalitarism.
    Good old Popper, he doesn´t like Plato´s political ideas either, he could join me and many, many others (recentely a colleague of mine brought a collection of books from newspapers and showed me, I could see there a collection of authors writing about, criticizing Plato´s totalitarian political ideas. If I´ll meet her again, I´ll ask for the references, again (a collection of “hatred” against the Plato. No that´s not only Dan that has that sort of esteemed “hatred” against a philosopher.

  72. Ignorance and not Knowledge is what combines better with Trump, so the Hegelian trumpist is a ridicule absurdity.

    History as the development of Idea in Hegel´s Theological Apriorism:
    The ends of History still is today one of the most relevant and
    problematized topics of discussion (to find an epistemological support
    for History) (…) The German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel,
    when writing Lessons about Philosophy of History, claimed “that the
    philosophy of History doesn´t mean nothing more, nothing less than the
    contemplative considerations about it.” This definition lacks
    clarification by itself, if we don´t acknowledge some crucial steps of
    his work, namely Principia of Philosophy of Law and Phenomenology of
    Spirit “, means therefore that Hegel thought that “the contemplation”
    of History would conduct us necessarily to the revelation of it´s
    profound ways and meaning. Indeed, Hegel considers God and Nature of
    it´s will are identical, designating this entity as “Idea”. History in
    his vision, has an exclusive super structural side, because it belongs
    to the domain of “Idea” and overlaps it, making clear it´s
    temporality. For Hegel History has a human dimension which is fixist,
    perfectly differentiated from Nature. Nature does not have History, it
    has cyclic processes, that don´t construct anything in the repetition
    of those cycles ruled by immutable laws. The idea of biological
    evolution that integrates Man defended by Charles Darwin, was back
    then completely absent in his thought, that makes reference to lower
    and superior organisms, without giving it a temporal position within a
    biological process. History, is for Hegel is rather the opposite, it
    is a process that does not repeat itself, that doesn´t go in circles,
    but spirals, in which different events look similar from an outside
    point of view but that in reality are in fact differentiated, once
    there´s always new acquisitions, there´s always something new in each
    historical event. The Idea determines itself, objectivates, alienates
    (alienation that in Hegelian sense is the disunion of consciousness
    with the Being, in it´s totality- an “unfulfilled consciousness”.
    Alienated the Idea, it tries to find itself again through historical
    events, whereas those suppress themselves, by conserving and
    suppressing, within a progressive adequation of itself, conducting to
    itself, through a rational and dialectical process. This rational
    process is triadic, it develops itself in a movement of thesis, and an
    antithesis that opposes, both coming together, by the “logic of
    opposites” of Heraclitus of Ephesus, within a new synthesis, that is
    also a new thesis. The opposition of a new antithesis and new
    synthesis, renewals the process until the spiral of History reaches
    it´s final stage to enter into the circle of Absolute Knowledge or
    Absolute Spirit, that expresses the union and identity between the
    ideal and reality, where History is included. History is therefore,
    only the development of the Spirit, and it´s Eras timelines stages of
    progression of the latest in a direction that enables the achievement
    of Freedom. The Spirit, progressively released, finds the path to
    Reason, which has a universal mean. The Absolute Spirit,
    meta-idealist-rationalist, manifests itself in three categories,
    namely: In Art, that flows from intuitive and sensitive Idea; in
    Religion, that is the constitution of the Spirit through objective
    revelation of itself; in Philosophy, that is the Supreme truth, the
    total Knowledge, that reaches the reality of Nature, History and the
    Spirit, reality that is also, in it´s lucid elaboration, refection,
    thought. Herein the famous binomial “All that is rational is real, all
    that is real is rational.” Hegel´s thought aims to be a direction
    towards a sense of achieving a totality, that manifests itself in
    Man´s ability to integrate within himself a multitude of data, and
    integrate itself in a collective Whole that over mounts it´s
    individuality, to advance in a spiral path of History and reach it´s
    final teleological aim, which is to achieve Total knowledge.”

    (my free translation, the author is a Historian discussing the Object and methodology of the called “Historical Science”/History, with his students)

  73. I don’t hate Wittgenstein, Maria; I dislike and resent him intensely, because I kept digging and couldn’t find one morsel. Tell me (you, Phil, or someone else, anyone) what I have missed. Can’t? So I am supposed to like him because he has a reputation for being important? “Meaning is Use” means nothing to me.

    What is all this about Hegel? What does it have to do with Trump? I’m not sure I want to know. I think a lot of Trump’s idiotic supporters wanted change. That’s what they said: “I want change.” So maybe a nice asteroid would have suited those morons. Change! Status quo! That was just rhetoric and propaganda. They all fell for it. Trump is worse than status quo. He is the craziest, most dangerous and incompetent right wing reactionary to rise to power in our nations’ history and will soon resign or be impeached.

    What I said in comment 79 fits your long quote above very well, don’t you think? “Absolute Spirit?” That has no place in a scientific theory of history. Hegel was very much the dogmatist that Schopenhauer said he was and that I just said he was: “[Hegel] thought history was unfolding and would necessarily lead to a final fruition of some kind. That will never happen, as there is no evidence to support this supremely idiotic and dogmatic claim.” – Me (Dan) #79

    I don’t care what Pooper or Popper thinks of Plato. I care what I think of Plato. I like Plato. He hates Plato? Hates?

    I offered some good advice about how to avoid having comments go to spam. Why don’t you try taking it? I had that problem once and solved it. They couldn’t solve it on their end.

    (Comment 31) I discovered that editing during the 10 minute time period in the space, the editing box at the bottom, that appears after pressing “click to edit” caused me to lose comments. In my case editing in this way activated the spam filter. So, If this is what is happening with you, here’s a suggestion: don’t edit after pressing “click to edit”. If you see a mistake after posting, copy the comment, press “click to edit”, delete the comment, paste the comment back, make the correction, and then post again. You can do this multiple times and your comment will never go to spam.

  74. What I said in comment 79 fits your long quote above very well, don’t
    you think? “Absolute Spirit?” That has no place in a scientific theory
    of history. Hegel was very….

    Dan,

    I was trying to be helpful for those that are not familiar with Hegel´s idea of History,. This resume was made by a historian that consulted all the writings of Hegel, it took problably months?
    “Absolute Spirit” is an exact quotation from Hegel, not a poetic expression fabricated..
    To resume what is quoted I would need too much time and a library with ALL Hegel´s writings and a huge ability to resume and put it all clearly, so that people don´t need to acess to a library with ALL Hegel´s writings to figure out what were the ideas of Hegel about History, And of course, a definition of a concept is necessary to start with. Anyway, you can check the primary sources of Hegel´s writings by yourself and access to all his writings in order to see where is the expression Absolute Spirit.

    https://www.britannica.com/topic/Absolute-Spirit

    I guess it was response to comment 79, I wanted to make it clear for everyone.

  75. maria melo #86
    Aug 24, 2017 at 7:27 am

    It seems “laws of nature” would be in medieval society the justification for the establishment social order,

    I think that is the medieval mind conflating the “laws of gods” and the “Divine right of Kings” with the “laws of nature”!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_right_of_kings
    The divine right of kings, divine right, or God’s mandate is a political and religious doctrine of royal and political legitimacy.
    It asserts that a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving the right to rule directly from the will of God.
    The king is thus not subject to the will of his people, the aristocracy, or any other estate of the realm.
    It implies that only God can judge an unjust king and that any attempt to depose,
    dethrone or restrict his powers runs contrary to the will of God and may constitute a sacrilegious act.

  76. Alan,

    I don´t think your assertion is 100% correct, or at least does not aply to the Portuguese Monarchy, but other European Monarchies were actually older than the Portuguese, perhaps combining the inherited former divine right of the kings from more ancient Empires than the Roman Empire, such as the Carolingian, but during the medieval age it would be the Vatican that endowed all European monarchs, and kings were more the figure of a Christ´s viccar than a divine figure and people would obey(or desobey) him in this condition, I think.
    Look at the Portuguese flag, it has depicted “Within the white inescutcheon, the five small blue shields with their five white bezants representing the five wounds of Christ (Portuguese: Cinco Chagas) when crucified and are popularly associated with the “Miracle of Ourique””
    Even so, even kings would have been disavowed as popular response, and another king would replace the previous in the former Empires.
    In Portuguese history, historians comment about a secrete exchange of a child before he could become king by child of the people, because the “king” as a child would have mental disabilities.
    I think medieval society was more brighter than that.
    It would be more pacific society, people thought it was natural to divide labour functios and in fact represented society as divided between the clergy, men in arms and populace, in it´s labour functions (pray, warfare and labour), anyway, as a whole body with head, arms and feet, working for the same goal, which they thought would be a natural thing (like a single organism), the feet sustain the body etc..

  77. Maria

    Re Hegel:

    I don’t mind you putting that selection up there for people to read. I was just remarking that your scholarly article supports my assertion that Hegel was dogmatic. There is no Absolute Spirit. And history is not guided by Spirit and will never reveal Spirit. There is no evidence to support such nonsense. Scholars and experts in their fields have written voluminously about astrology and magic too; that doesn’t make it true.

  78. I think that is the medieval mind conflating the “laws of gods” and the “Divine right of Kings” with the “laws of nature”! Alan

    Yes, I think you may be, and probably are absolutely correct from the point of view that you are problematizing history/politics like this, and indeed, I am reading now carefully a text that problematizes the same in your line of thought, the text has an English abstract (Summary), I´ll post the link, but you´ll probably read only the abstract/summary.

    The Vatican advocated that a secular political power is from Devil, there was back then almost no justification for political power to be based on nature only, but monarchs wanted to became absolutists, still based on transcendency (even Napoleon), not based on Earthly natural right, But free thinkers would then think of base political power not only on transcendency (divene power), but nature, back then “Political Science” was not clearly defined.

    http://faje.edu.br/periodicos/index.php/Sintese/article/viewFile/1541/1892

  79. (cont.)

    That´s not now the position of the Vatican towards secularism, once the Vatican now accepts secularism, and of course now that “Political Science” is established.

  80. maria melo #86
    Aug 24, 2017 at 7:27 am

    It seems “laws of nature” would be in medieval society
    the justification for the establisment social order,
    in the case of the trumpist quoted the “laws of historical development”
    (which are hegelian) come first to justify trumpists´ ride,
    secundarly it would not violate”natural law” at the same time.

    According to the system of values of that person,
    and the explanation offered
    is the equivalent of a scientific rational explanation,
    and moderate too, as far as Trump seems to be taking a free ride.

    Trump does seem to think presidents also have the “Divine Right of Kings” to ignore secular laws and do what they like!

    The message seems to be, that friends and associates of Trump, can ignore secular laws and court rulings with impunity!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-41058851

    Joe Arpaio appeared at Donald Trump’s campaign rallies during his presidential bid

    US President Donald Trump has pardoned ex-Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had been convicted of criminal contempt.

    Mr Arpaio, 85, was found guilty after he defied a court order to stop traffic patrols targeting suspected immigrants. He was due to be sentenced in October.

    The president had hinted at the pardon at a rally in Phoenix on Tuesday.

    Thanking the president, Mr Arpaio said his conviction was “a political witch hunt by holdovers in the Obama justice department”.

    “Thank you…. for seeing my conviction for what it is,” tweeted Mr Arpaio.

    “I’m not going away,” he said, while declining to say whether he would run for sheriff again.

    Mr Trump has frequently praised the former sheriff, who is known for his controversial hard-line stance on immigration.

    Joe Arpaio, who styled himself as “America’s toughest sheriff”, rose to national prominence for his sweeps of undocumented immigrants in Hispanic communities, and for detaining Spanish-speakers under suspicion of being undocumented migrants.

    In July 2017, he was found guilty of violating a 2011 order to stop detaining migrants.

    The decision to pardon the former policeman was condemned by Democrats and civil rights groups.

    Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy said it was “disheartening that [the president] set the bar so very low for his first pardon”.

    Greg Stanton, the mayor of Phoenix, Arizona, called the move a slap in the face for the Latino community and those who had been victimised.

    Mr Arpaio, born in Springfield, Massachusetts, could have faced six months in jail at his sentencing in October.

    It is the message of the extreme right!
    Heavy handed powers for their own versions of “law enforcement”, on everybody except themselves! + immunity and loopholes protecting them from any legitimately legislated laws!

    Mr Arpaio famously forced the prisoners to wear pink underwear and socks and old-fashioned black-and-white striped prison jumpsuits. The inmates lived outdoors while enduring sweltering Arizona desert temperatures.

    He also revived chain gangs, including a voluntary one for female prisoners.

  81. Dan, #100.

    We so meet on Hegel at least. Not so much a philosopher as a failed politician with a manifesto. Perhaps, sadly, the patron saint of lousy journalists.

  82. Dan,

    One cannot distort History, you can observe how he thought. In the text you can see the “voice” of a narrator (historian) saying Hegel didn´t know nothing about Charles Darwin, he thought Nature does not have History, although he referred to lower and superior organisms. He couldn´t integrate humankind in natural history. Put yourself in his shoes, don´t be anachronic. Despite that, he gives a huge importance to knowledge. It was a stage formal thought back then, although he didn´t know so much about science comparatively to a child nowadays.

  83. Maria

    Hegel’s work Logic is superb.

    He made a contribution, yes, but also did a great disservice to knowledge. I have every right to criticize Hegel’s dogmatism. History will never produce anything new. An infinity of time has already elapsed. Why hasn’t “IT” happened yet? Why defend the indefensible? He had enough sense not to posit absurd notions like Absolute Spirit.

    “Hegel was a flat, witless, disgusting-revolting, ignorant charlatan who, with unexampled impudence, kept scribbling insanity and nonsense that was trumpeted as immortal wisdom by his venal adherents and actually taken for that by dolts, which gave rise to such a complete chorus of admiration as had never been heard before.” – Schopenhauer.

    Sounds like me talking about Wittgenstein! My father…er, teacher has taught me well. He would have been proud of me.

    Phil #104

    Here’s your man Popper on my man Schopenhauer: “a man of supreme integrity who cherished truth beyond anything else. There can be no doubt that he was as competent a judge in philosophical matters as could be found at the time.”

    This constitutes yet another meeting (of sorts).

  84. Dan,

    Less of the “my man Schopenhauer”. By your persistence you sold him to me. You mightn’t like my take away, Quantum Reality, the maker of spacetimes may well be the noumen, “Will” may well be the irresistable entropic pressure of spacetimes to better rush to its end.

    He only went really doolally over sexuality, for instance, taking Aristotle a little too much on trust on the inefficacy of young sperm, but nailing at least the naturalness of occurrence of homosexuality.

  85. I think that is the medieval mind conflating the “laws of gods” and
    the “Divine right of Kings” with the “laws of nature”! Alan

    Confusing enough!!!!
    The Portuguese absolutism was strictly political (not religious),
    I find the medieval structure less confusing and even more sophisticated.
    Right never was a divine right, not even for the Vatican.

    Wikipedia on Portuguese Absolutism (Google translated):
    “In Portugal, this political regime had a firm and peaceful course, which should not be confused with despotism or tyranny. In Portuguese Absolutism the king was acclaimed and not anointed or sacred, obliged to take an oath by which he committed himself to respect the population, the laws of the Church and the privileges and customs of the kingdom, that is, the monarch undertook to accept the Moral and religious law, as well as traditions. Such a commitment to religious morality and Church laws stems from the fact that Portuguese Absolutism is strongly linked to religion. This situation was maintained from the beginning, only to be changed with the Marquis of Pombal, by influence of the Austrian model and the naturalistic theories, happening to put the king above any laws”

    It seems accordingly to my view, even before I had seen wikipedia.
    Maybe it´s much more complex in French and English cases?

  86. Dan,

    Now is the expression Absolute Spirit that is hurting your delicate sensibilty.
    You seem to be searching for completion of your likes and deslikes through “testimony” of other philosphers´s views based on character.
    Your are being anachronic and partial.

  87. Alan,

    This looks silly to remark, but, people should aknowledge that absolutism was not the same for all.

    The Holy See had always a crutial political importance for Portugal, there´s no wonder it´s part of national identity, even if now a secular state.
    A monarch assuming a “divine right” would be heresy for the Holy See, what never happened actually in the portuguese case (not even the Pope is a direct representant of God, but of St. Peter).
    .

    “Since the beginning of the negotiations with the Holy See in 1143, D.
    Afonso Henriques offered himself as Miles Christi, and when, advanced
    in years of life and combat, he finally received, through the Bull
    Manifestis Probatum est, Signed on May 23, 1179, the recognition of
    independence by Rome, is invoked which is granted because: “by the
    efforts and military battles you have in many ways favored the Sacred
    Church as a faithful son, being a winner of the enemies of the
    Christian faith who Propagate it, giving an example that will not be
    forgotten. “The Military Orders, the Prelates involved in the combats
    of the reconquest, the task of the Discoveries and Conquests “In
    search of Christians and spices,” the royal titles of Catholic,
    Faithful, Christian [Católico, Fidelíssimo, Cristianíssimo], as
    well as the passive excesses of the Crusades, and the tremendous
    material and human costs of religious wars in the space of
    Christendom, compel us to meditate on grave deviations That the
    inclusion of religious values ​​in the strategic concepts of politics
    tends to implant, while theologians and jurists were the main
    dynamizers of international law, the definition of just war, respect
    for the dignity of found peoples, a task in which they stood out Las
    Casas, Vitoria, Molina, Suarez.”

    (Google translated, Adriano Moreira, O Poder Político e o Apelo à Transcendência,/Political Power and the Appeal to Transcendency)

    http://www.acad-ciencias.pt/document-uploads/3635228_moreira,-adriano—o-poder-politico-e-o-apelo-a-transcendencia.pdf

  88. Maria

    As it relates to history and it’s “unfolding” Absolute Spirit is an absurd notion grasped from thin air. I think Hegel’s conception of history was largely dogmatic and that hurts my sense of intellectual pollution. I call it like I see it. Should I respect Hitler’s views on Aryan supremacy or the views of those that call themselves Creationists? Should I look at all that in its historical context too and forgo my own judgment as to what is right and wrong or true or false in the process?

    Hegel’s interpretation of history as the Absolute Idea “arriving at an awareness of itself as Absolute Spirit” through its externalization in nature is something I reject as charlatanry and nonsense.

    And if someone is spewing lies than yes, I think it says something about character.

  89. Dan,

    Hegel´s conception of History is rather indeed too abstract (which means Hegel´s thought was not in a stage of magical thinking, but formal logic, the final stage that supports scientific thinking), that´s not correct to compare him with chalatanism of astrology or something, as you did here:

    There is no Absolute Spirit. And history is not guided by Spirit and
    will never reveal Spirit. There is no evidence to support such
    nonsense. Scholars and experts in their fields have written
    voluminously about astrology and magic too; that doesn’t make it true.

    Hegel is indeed too abstract for you to include him in astrology and magical thinking cathegories.

    When I´ve tried to study the French Revolution, I´ve aknowledge what historians were telling: that since 1789, until today, they´re trying to unfold it´s profound meaning and still problematize it?! (yes, historians study large periods of time to watch structural changes happening and to unfold the profound meaning of historical events, by analising temporal social structures for longs periods of time, and name it after as medieval ages (lower and upper), Pre-History (paeolithic and Neolithic) etc..

    (…) means therefore that Hegel thought that “the contemplation” of
    History would conduct us necessarily to the revelation of it´s
    profound ways and meaning text about Hegel´´s idea of History.

    When I was referring to the Divine right of the Kings in replying Alan on comment 99, I´ve created myself a problem when thought that the divine right of the kings was older than christianity, so European monarchs converted to christianity, lived for centuries as christians, and then sunddenly, they went back in time and adopted again the “divine right of the kings” previous to christianization?

    See me:

    but other European Monarchies were actually older than the Portuguese, perhaps combining the inherited former divine right of the kings from more ancient Empires than the Roman Empire, such as the Carolingian, but during the medieval age it would be the Vatican that endowed all European monarchs, and kings were more the figure of a Christ´s viccar than a divine figure and people would obey(or desobey) him in this condition, I think. me on comment 99

    How if History is ideed a spiral which means events don´t repeat and there´s a long period of time (from older monarquies to christian monarquies)?????

    Hegel compares History to a spiral:

    History, is for Hegel is rather the opposite, it is a process that
    does not repeat itself, that doesn´t go in circles, but spirals, in
    which different events look similar from an outside point of view but
    that in reality are in fact differentiated, once there´s always new
    acquisitions, there´s always something new in each historical event.

    So Dan,

    Take care, compare what is comparable and don´t be anachronic, instead take care of the valuable abstract thought of Hegel, not making profecies about History but perhaps plausible predictions sound indeed better.

  90. Science and Reason? How reasonable is it to think that science cannot explain gravity and in the same breath deny the existence of a realm they do not fully understand or at least not given it due consideration like Dr Jordan B Peterson with his Biblical Series treatise on psychology. This self-infatuation is the basis of hubris and the driving force behind all social ‘revolutions’ with its nightmare manifestations of massive suffering and death from the French Revolution to the Shining Path guerrillas in Peru. Read between the lines of Mr Dawkins words and you will see not only a denial of God but a belief that he, or his search for truth, is God for the time he is on this earth and will do what he can via institutions, like our education system, to make the world ‘a better place’. When a man compares God to the Tooth Fairy I would argue that he is still thinking as a child. Elon Musk is not a genius but a guru of these agnostics. AI is not a threat in and of itself (because we are not God), merely a tool to be misused in the hands of these self-important men who are over represented in all governments. The foundations of AI are in military target acquisition and it is not a stretch of the imagination to think we are all targets of this humanistic hysteria to make the world a better place. America’s Constitution was drafted by Deists, not ethologists and Dawkins dismissal of Trump as ‘not qualified’ for his office is a rebuke of democracy. He will see ‘the light’ someday, even if it is at the end of a long tunnel at his death. In the meantime, we the deplorable faithful would appreciate it if he minded his own business.

  91. Douglas Ready #115

    I deduce from your post that you are both a Christian and a Trump-supporter, Douglas.

    Which of Trump’s words and actions during his time as President are most compatible with the teachings of the Jesus of the Gospels, in your opinion?

  92. Douglas Ready #115
    Aug 28, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    Science and Reason? How reasonable is it to think that science cannot explain gravity

    Science can accurately describe the properties of gravity, but as to how gravity works? Nope! Not at the present time.

    and in the same breath deny the existence of a realm they do not fully understand

    Scientists are the first to recognise there are frontiers of personal and human knowledge. – They work constantly to expand those boundaries into the previously unknown! That does not mean uncritical acceptance of wild speculations or whimsical notions!

    or at least not given it due consideration like Dr Jordan B Peterson with his Biblical Series treatise on psychology.

    There is a great deal of psychology in the writings, translations, Roman editing and selection of canonical gospels from the wider selection, in the 4th. century – and the later added forgeries in “THE BIBLE”. For psychology, perhaps “the God Delusion” gives clearer coverage.

    This self-infatuation is the basis of hubris and the driving force behind all social ‘revolutions’ with its nightmare manifestations of massive suffering and death from the French Revolution to the Shining Path guerrillas in Peru.

    The mindless following of religious and political ideologies, have certainly created many human miseries,- but attributing these to humanists is a mixture of the “No True Scotsman fallacy, and psychological projection. “Shining Path” should give a clue to the ideological basis of belief in that cult!

    Read between the lines of Mr Dawkins words and you will see not only a denial of God

    A denial of which god, or version of a god?
    There are, and have been, so many of them – with their followers organising genocides and crusades against rivals! (There are no “default gods” except in the minds of the indoctrinated)

    but a belief that he, or his search for truth, is God for the time he is on this earth and will do what he can via institutions, like our education system, to make the world ‘a better place’.

    The discoveries of science have potentially made the world a much better home for humans – as the life in secular countries shows – unlike those riven with the divisions of religious strife!

    When one looks at the history of religions and religious conflicts, these make no contribution to “making the world a better place” – unless “better” is redefined in a circular manner, as “promoting someone’s personal religious dogmas”, (regardless of the effects on real people) and therefore “good”!

    When a man compares God to the Tooth Fairy I would argue that he is still thinking as a child.

    .. . . and anyone who does not know that believing in supernatural gods is equivalent to believing in the tooth-fairy, IS thinking like a child!
    (It is a mystery to me so: god/the tooth-fairy-did-it!)

    Dawkins dismissal of Trump as ‘not qualified’ for his office is a rebuke of democracy.

    Do you really believe any crook, idiot, or psychopath, is qualified to be a president? Has nothing been learned from the initial popular propagandist support generated for Mussolini, Stalin, or Hitler?

    He will see ‘the light’ someday, even if it is at the end of a long tunnel at his death.

    You really cannot see that your “light” is a fake, and those who can see through the indoctrinated delusions, are very unlikely to ever be hoodwinked by the indoctrinated irrationality of “faith thinking” (belief without evidence or proof) again.

    In the meantime, we the deplorable faithful would appreciate it if he minded his own business.

    I’m sure the faithful of each cult or denomination, would like atheists – and of course all the other rival religions, – to stop bothering them – and just let them dictate to everyone and dominate the world. (I think in some countries, Wahhabi Islam is working very hard at those objectives)

    Unfortunately everyone else lives alongside those religious dogmatists who insist on inflicting their dogmas on others in life, public services, politics, laws, and in employment situations, so those who are not prepared to have irrational delusional dogmas inflicted on them, DO mind their own business by pressing for even handed objective criteria being used in public decision making which affects whole communities, not just personal choices of religious individuals in respect of their own lives.

  93. Maria

    I am not anachronistic, if that’s what you mean; I am oftentimes too simplistic and dismissive; Hegel influenced Marx. Both Hegel and Marx developed complex theories of history of which I know very little.

    But this: “history as the Absolute Idea arriving at an awareness of itself as Absolute Spirit through its externalization in nature” is dogmatic and indefensible no matter how you look at it. I can do nothing but reject it and have rejected it – as worthless nonsense.

  94. Both Hegel and Marx developed complex theories of history of which I
    know very little.

    No Dan,

    Hegel did not develop complex theries of history, all ideas that Hegel had about history are in the text I offered to make the discussion easier.
    Marx did, but his ideas are debunked and don´t have scientific value.
    Instead of “Idea”, Marx assumed that are the material conditions of life that determine ideas (which cannot really explain creativity).
    Interesting that Popper critized historicists hegelian or marxists, but he assumed that in fact he was referring to marxists. But there is really hegelian historicism (which in fact seems more marxist to me, despite the fact that I don´t know to much about economics), Francis Fukuama confesses he likes more Hegel than Marx, but in fact it seems quite strange, it seems marxista. cHECK THE BOOK “tHE e

  95. Both Hegel and Marx developed complex theories of history of which I
    know very little.

    Hegel-not Engels

    No Dan,

    Hegel did not develop complex theories of history, all ideas that Hegel had about history are in the text I offered to make the discussion easier.
    Marx did, but his ideas are debunked and don´t have scientific value.
    Instead of the “Idea”, Marx assumed that are the material conditions of life that determine ideas (which cannot really explain creativity).
    Interesting that Popper critized historicists hegelian or marxists, but he assumed that in fact he was referring to marxists. But there is really hegelian historicism (which in fact seems more marxist to me, despite the fact that I don´t know too much about economics, Francis Fukuyama confesses he likes more Hegel than Marx, but in fact it seems quite strange, it seems more marxist to me rather than”hegelian”, his book The End of History which is about economics I suppose where he defends that a certain form of economy reaches “the circle” (End of history)???? Only heard a reference about it in a class and read an interview where he confessed he likes more Hegel than Marx, really strange.
    Piaget criticized Hegel´s idealism (as did Marx that choosen the opposite of idealism, a call for action which is appealing to young people).

  96. Maria,

    How’s it going?

    Okay, maybe Hegel had only one theory of history.

    Marx’s theories concerning history have been debunked? All of them? Come on. Don’t be like that. Don’t be like me.

    Marx was influenced by Hegel – and there is a lot to be influenced by even if he was hopelessly dogmatic – and was also very critical of him.

    (Example of Hegel’s dogmatism: “Spirit does not toss itself about in the external play of chance occurrences; on the contrary, it is that which determines history absolutely, and it stands firm against the chance occurrences which it dominates and exploits for its own purpose.”)

    A good maxim for everyone: never understand anyone too quickly.

    From Marx’s Critique of the Hegelian Dialectic and Philosophy as a Whole:

    . . .The outstanding achievement of Hegel’s Phänomenologie and of its final outcome, the dialectic of negativity as the moving and generating principle, is thus first that Hegel conceives the self-creation of man as a process, conceives objectification as loss of the object, as alienation and as transcendence of this alienation; that he thus grasps the essence of labour and comprehends objective man – true, because real man – as the outcome of man’s own labour. The real, active orientation of man to himself as a species-being, or his manifestation as a real species-being (i.e., as a human being), is only possible if he really brings out all his species-powers – something which in turn is only possible through the cooperative action of all of mankind, only as the result of history – and treats these powers as objects: and this, to begin with, is again only possible in the form of estrangement.

    We shall now demonstrate in detail Hegel’s one-sidedness and limitations as they are displayed in the final chapter of the Phänomenologie, “Absolute Knowledge” – a chapter which contains the condensed spirit of the Phänomenologie, the relationship of the Phänomenologie to speculative dialectic, and also Hegel’s consciousness concerning both and their relationship to one another.

    Let us provisionally say just this much in advance: Hegel’s standpoint is that of modern political economy. He grasps labour as the essence of man – as man’s essence which stands the test: he sees only the positive, not the negative side of labour. Labour is man’s coming-to-be for himself within alienation, or as alienated man. The only labour which Hegel knows and recognises is abstractly mental labour. Therefore, that which constitutes the essence of philosophy – the alienation of man who knows himself, or alienated science thinking itself – Hegel grasps as its essence; and in contradistinction to previous philosophy he is therefore able to combine its separate aspects, and to present his philosophy as the philosophy. What the other philosophers did – that they grasped separate phases of nature and of abstract self-consciousness, namely, of human life as phases of self-consciousness – is known to Hegel as the doings of philosophy. Hence his science is absolute. . .

  97. Hi Dan,

    I am back to work (I have not too time to be on the web as before).

    Okay, maybe Hegel had only one theory of history.

    Well, perhaps what I´ve posted were the ideas of Hegel that my professor of History thought to be useful for History.
    I´ve heard about Francis Fukuyama in a class of Sociology. Please check Francis Fukuyama and the End of History, you´ll find about Hegel too.
    Sorry, it was perhaps lousy from me.
    Of course about Marx, my professor of History didn´t find it useful and thought his ideas about Economics are debunked too.

    Sorry, it seemed to lousy from me, only to see my point, you can have all points of view you want.
    I´ll read it carefully after work.

  98. Dan,

    There´s a whole “industry” awaiting for you as the product of Hegel vs Marx dialectical opposite points of views as it seems (including Piaget).

    See:

    Does mathematical learning occur in going from concrete to abstract or in going from abstract to concrete?

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0732312306000526

    Praxis: The dialectical source of knowledge

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00244587

    And I don´t have too much time (I´m going to have lunch now)

  99. Maria,

    Of course about Marx, my professor of History didn’t find it useful and thought his ideas about Economics are debunked too.

    I told you to be wary of professors.

    CK,

    Trump has a fish brain.

  100. Dan,

    Thanks for link, vídeo.

    I told you to be wary of professors.

    This man was one of the intteligent persons I ever met, a “genious”.
    Dan, things don´t work like that, learning is an active process, not so passive as you might think, I was not a child either.

    What I need is to be wary is of ignorance.

    (I could not change nor delete my previous comment, I don´t know why, I guess sometmes I press when I shouldn´t and I´m afraid I´m boring the Mods).

  101. Marx said a lot of things, Maria. I don’t care how intelligent your professor was or how many degrees he has; to say that Marx, one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th Century, had nothing “useful” to say about economics does not impress me as the remark of a responsible, unbiased educator.

    You may not want to hear that but it’s the truth.

  102. Marx, expanding the vision of what economics must more usefully encompass was huge. Nor was it idealistic or dogmatic, so judging it a failure is bizarre. It is a principle, if anything, of including all parties in the analysis.

  103. Dan,

    Of course Marx did have value as a thinker, so far as W, Hegel, Pooper, you cannot alienate their value, calling them charlatans and use ad hominem offense against their character, using for that propose the testimony of other philosophers, even if they were possibly wrong.
    Marx cared for labour conditions, the change between a medieval societey and an industrial one, the rise of a new social class that exploited workers.
    My professor a researcher historian himself made research about the conditions of workers before welfarestate´s existence, he told us about whips used to haress workers, how he admired the Bristish welfare state and how he considered Britain one of the most civilised contries in the world fot that.
    However, History does not resume to social class struggle, the end of History will not be achieved by a revolution or a dictatorship.
    (I also observed that workers can destroy their boss business, in my work when I had to go to a factory where ropes were hung to menace, where they abducted security personal, where they went to court hearings as bullies saying me and the judge were not workers as they were, not giving me their identification).

    My grandmoteher for instance never allowed my mother to work in factories because of the bad language workers were used to.

  104. to say that Marx, one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th
    Century, had nothing “useful” to say about economics does not impress
    me as the remark of a responsible, unbiased educator. Dan

    So Dan,

    what have you to say about Marxist economies (I had a professor of Economics specialized in Marxist economies, but told you before, I don´t know too much about Economies, didn´t in fact finish Economics, I have an economist colleague, I can ask her? About what was Marx right and wrong about Economics?

  105. PS: I´ve asked her, the answer was: some concepts created by Marx still in use.

    (perhaps some economists think other concepts are debunked)

    “had nothing “useful” to say about economics does not impress
    me” Dan

    You seem to be impressing only yourself as far as I ddn´t really said such thing.
    Take care for what people really say and the meaning of their words, it´s fundamental for Linguistics althogh Linguistics is not a sort of Philosphy of language.

  106. Watch the vídeo and try to imagime what possibly is an idilic “primitive communism” where there were no property, no alienation and no exploitation.

    Check if you´re having any difficulties, perhaps it´s because a new “social class” made you believe it never existed, paranoia?

    Is History for Marx more a spiral or more a circle according to Marx?

    https://www.facebook.com/VICE/videos/1534920379897929/?hc_ref=ARRd62LF8ST0u17SJrLFiDzYwe8Skl2kSkjwUppbDkFXpap6pByIgr4MZcbW7yCf-_Q&pnref=story

  107. Hi, Maria (131, 133)

    Yes I can call them charlatans and can call them other names too, if I want to. (I am also free to praise who ever I wish.) And you are free to do the same. I am not in second grade anymore; and these figures are not sacrosanct.

    Wittgenstein was a charlatan and an ass. Hegel was dogmatic as hell, and therefore a bit of an ass too. I base my opinion of the former on the fact that after a prodigious effort on my part to understand him I can discover nothing of value in his writings. I have therefore concluded that he was a fraud and is overrated (and a consummate ass). Examples of Hegel’s dogmatism was provided above; it is unmistakable.

    Oh, and Trump is a pile of shit. Feels good to say it. Try it some time.

    “Of course about Marx, my professor of History didn’t find it useful and thought his ideas about Economics are debunked too.”

    Doesn’t sound like he thought studying Marx’s economics or anything else that Marx wrote about was particularly useful. I had it right, I think.

    Anyway, let’s not quarrel. I like you. You’re very smart – and humane.

    “Is History for Marx more a spiral or more a circle according to Marx?”

    I haven’t a clue. That’s a funny question! I might use that one of these days.

    I don’t know what he got right or wrong but I know that he is an important thinker, worth reading and studying, and that his ideas have been useful. That I know. You are free to disagree as is your professor. And you can call old Karl a charlatan (if you want to).

  108. “Is History for Marx more a spiral or more a circle according to
    Marx?” I haven’t a clue. That’s a funny question! I might use that
    one of these days.

    It would be a great lie, I think.

    That´a silly question (Am I a primary school teacher?)

    .

  109. Oh, and Trump is a pile of shit. Feels good to say it. Try it some
    time.

    A pile of shit in vernacular Portuguese is “trampa” actually, it really sounds like “Trump”.

  110. Am I a primary school teacher?

    Ms. Melo, I didn’t do my homework. I was sick. Please don’t send me to the principal’s office. (kidding)

    From “List of Portuguese words of Germanic origin”

    trampa= a trap: possibly from Germanic, from the same derivation as trampolín and atrapar (see below).

    atrapar= to trap, to ensnare: from French attraper

    Language is fascinating and mysterious.

    Trump is a made-up name and yet both “pile of shit” and “trap” describe Trump to a tee!

    But forget about the meaning of proper nouns fitting the person they name. That’s probably just coincidence. That great renaissance man August Strindberg, who also had an interest in the occult, was developing a theory that all language is derived from one original language and it spread out, like the continents in relation to the original universal land mass Pangea. He didn’t live long enough to complete the project.

    🙂

  111. Dan, Anyone,

    I won’t be using the new open thread if it is to be a waste bin. I have not the least wish to chatter for its own sake as seems increasingly the mindset in social media.

    One of the reason’s I am an inveterate inventor and hyper hypothesiser (if mostly hopeless) is that I have a terrible memory. Others think it good. I know its not, so I re-invent the same stuff time and again until I get it right and it becomes more memorable. For the rest I read these threads many times as much as when I first read and respond to them. All the comments, half baked ideas of mine all the comments of others that I failed to appreciate fully first time around, they all go in a second and third time and stuff becomes clearer.

    Half my brain (on some subject matters) is in these threads, re-informing me, reminding me I said this or that better. Dan, reading and re-reading your comments on Schopenhauer caused my radical re-assessment of him and helped me find what I wanted from him.

    I often (only half in jest) claim culture as a kind of super cortex for society where we are components of a greater inferencer, introspector than ourselves. For me these threads are one of the best illustrations of this. Patheos doesn’t cover it, because ideas dissipate into groupism very quickly. There is no real taste for discovery.

    I hope the open thread gets fixed so it is retained.

  112. Phil,

    I too take my participation in and involvement with these threads, and the site in general, very seriously. In addition to everything you said above the threads also provide an opportunity to hone my literary (and polemical) skills.

    They have allowed me to refine, strengthen, evaluate and reevaluate, my own ideas and thinking – and the thinking of others, as you said.

    Enjoy the week-end.

    I only know that Strindberg was in the process of putting a theory together. He hardly got started. He loved the idea of homogeneity, by the way, often said that “everything is contained in everything else.” Being dense, I had trouble with your diagram; does that support Strindberg’s surmise or contradict it?

  113. Shared here from the Open Discussion – September 2017 thread

    Sorry, sorry, sorry, Phil and others

    This is entirely our fault but also entirely unintended.

    We wanted to simply close the original Open Thread for new comments, so as to keep all the September open discussions together in the new thread.

    However, to our horror, selecting that option in the admin system removed all the comments. We immediately deselected it and, in our system, that seemed to have done the trick and restored all the 400+ comments that had been posted there. In fact, we’ve just tried again now, and we are still seeing everything as it should be, but possibly that is a cached version.

    We’ll ask the Technical Manager if there’s anything that can be done to restore the thread in its entirety. If not, please accept our sincere apologies and rest assured we’ll know better when we set up next month’s open thread. We genuinely do appreciate all the time and effort that you all put into the comments and there is no way we would deliberately simply discard them.

    The mods

  114. Dan,

    Strindberg is seemingly right on an original language. Given our mostly common genetic and out of Africa heritage…

    BUT, there is a possibility, if Neanderthals and/or Denisovans had speech, that Basque, Portuguese and Mandarin, say, may have been great great grandparented in some tiny way with those respective mooted languages as well as the dominant out-of-African, soon Indo European language.

    Here’s a nice, more detailed, hypothesis about “Neanderspeak”.

    http://patagoniamonsters.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/

  115. MOD MESSAGE

    WE ARE RELIEVED TO SAY THAT, THANKS TO OUR TECHNICAL MANAGER, THE ORIGINAL OPEN DISCUSSION IS BACK UP AGAIN, TOGETHER WITH ALL ITS COMMENTS.

    Please don’t post any further comments on that one, though. There is now a new Open Discussion thread for September 2017 available.

    Apologies again for the alarm caused, and we’ll take more care next month!

    The mods

  116. This is truly scary. Whats wrong with these people? Of course the senators putting this bill forward have excellent insurance through the government – hypocrites!

    WASHINGTON — Just when the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act appeared to be dead, a last-ditch push to obliterate the law could be nearing a showdown vote in the Senate, and a handful of Republicans insist they are closing in on the votes.

    The leaders of the latest repeal effort, Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, say their drive is gaining momentum. But it is still a long shot. Under their bill, millions could lose coverage, Medicaid would see the same magnitude of cuts that earlier repeal bills extracted, and insurers in some states could charge higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions.

    Already, Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, has said he will not vote for the measure because it leaves too much of the Affordable Care Act in place.

    Mr. Graham and Mr. Cassidy boast that their bill would also enhance the ability of states to waive “Obamacare regulations.” Insurers would still have to offer insurance to anyone who applied, but states could obtain federal waivers allowing insurers to charge higher premiums to sick people or to omit some of the benefits they are now required to provide, like maternity care, mental health care or treatment for drug addiction.

    Coverage, while theoretically available, could become unaffordable for some people with costly conditions like cancer or AIDS, health policy experts say. “Less-healthy people would face extremely high premiums” in states that obtained waivers involving both benefits and premiums, the Congressional Budget Office said in analyzing a similar provision of the bill passed by the House.

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