What are your philosophical leanings?

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Escapists, I would like to know your philosophical leanings. I posted this here in the off-topic forum because I do not want to know about your Religion or Political affiliations. I want to know what ethical system you follow, what your political philosophy is (again, not conservative/liberal), who's metaphysics you like, if you follow a particular aesthetic philosophy, et cetera. I have most of a philosophy minor, and am interested in how many Escapists have studied the subject.

And yes, I do count Communist as a political philosophy as put forth in Marx's The Communist Manifesto, but only in that form.

As for myself, I am a follower of Kantian Ethics (though I have a health respect for hedonistic ethical systems. To paraphrase Bertrand Russell, hedonists have done better things for the world than deontological systems have), a Lockean/Machiavellian in the realm of political theory (that is, I prefer Machiavelli's works other than the Prince, though I hate to admit that I would use the tactics in it), I like Kantian metaphysics, though I wish that Hume had been able to sort out his problem with Necessary Connection. I have no idea about aesthetics. I asked my philosophy professor if the department had any plans to have a class on aesthetics, and he said that no one in the department had any experience in it.

Also, I suck at Formal Logic.

When it gets down to practical living, I am governed by the golden rule via Kant, and a tendency to view the world through existential eyes.

nothing is ever right

everything I know is wrong

thinking too much hurts my head

Militant Buddhist.

I believe that true happiness comes from detachment from earthly desires and possessions, and I also believe that everybody else should benefit from this belief.

I mainly use it as an excuse to rob people.

I believe in Relative Morality and as such don't align with one supreme ethical canon. There are ethical sections which I agree with which have been published, especially those which are long established regarding scientific experiment ethics.

Political philosophy? I think that the two party system is inherently flawed and that a third pillar would do the nation good (however I recognize the impossibility of that). As such, I don't align with any particular group anyway. However going more into what you're talking about, I have an extensive list of political stances which stem from the aforementioned Relative Morality. I suppose I should state a stance on at least one well known topic, so I'll say that I support Laissez Faire barring times of crisis in which I believe there are several exceptions to ordinary law.

I love Formal Logic, and am a pupil of Hofstadter, Priest, and more. It is so fascinating to me I don't understand what you don't like about it :D

As far as the metaphysical, I'm quite undecided (not certainly agnostic as many seem to think), however I will always be a fan of Aristotles' Metaphysics (an essay which I'm sure a philosophy major such as yourself has seen by now).

Kantian ethics are extremely flawed in my opinion. They generalize far too much and often miss the context of the situation. Of course you'll probably understand why I say then when I tell you I'm more aligned to Nietzsche's views that most philosophers.

Yes, I am indeed a nihilist of sorts. I don't believe in determinism of any kind, or inherent value in objects, creatures, life, etc. I believe I am here by a grand series of co-incidences that created this planet and everything on it. Thus I assign my own values which leads me to a somewhat hedonistic course of action. I live to enjoy as much as possible, however I do take normative ethics into consideration when making decisions. The reason for this is not because I always believe normative ethics(Kantian golden rule/moral imperative, etc) are right but I do understand that if I act with disregard for them the consequences will likely be negative for others and myself.

So that covers my ethical views, and a bit of logic. As for the Metaphysical... Descartes all the way. the best explanation I come up with for existence is that it must be here because I have done so much doubting and so much questioning. Additionally the possibility of a higher being of any kind has all but been ruled out due to lack of evidence or believable story, I'm essentially an extremely skeptical agnostic.

Then there's aesthetics... irrelevant, nothing important to say here.

Political philosophy is the last thing I'll mention. In theory I would probably be something akin to a communist. This is of course using the ideal definition of communism. I believe money needs to be abolished completely if society is ever to be free of the majority of its burdens. Poverty exists as a concept because we created the money system and we should be able to just as easily take it away.

I don't subscribe purely to one form of ethics. I think Kant's ethics has merits and has applications; I just don't think it is a good this to constantly abide by. Virtue ethics (specifically Socrates) is what I tend to live by. I am not sure I really have a view on metaphysics. There are a few parts of metaphysics I don't like getting into since they just lead down the same path each time I talk about them. For the most part I don't really think metaphysics concerns me, so I just leave it alone.

Every ethical system that has been articulated in the past is inherently flawed; I prefer not to think of ethics within the bounds of pre-made systems, but instead as the act of working-out through genuine dialogue between human beings what the proper purpose of human life should be and thus what direction we should move in collectively. Every 'moral choice' should be determined in light of the answer to that question.

I don't like to associate myself with particular movements, but I suppose you could say that I have existentialist/post-modernist sympathies. My greatest philosophical influences would have to be my personal mentor, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Martin Buber, to some extent Emmanuel Levinas, and even, in some ways, Lao Tzu.

I consider the term 'political philosophy' a misnomer and not true philosophy, so I pay it no mind. True philosophy is above and beyond politics.

I believe that art is unique type of medium for interpersonal dialogue which allows the sharing of existential attitudes (a position somewhat similar to elements of at least Buber and Heidegger's thought).

I do not subscribe to a particular metaphysical system but recognize that attitude is primary to metaphysics (understandings of the workings of the world flow out naturally from the ways we choose to interact with it) - and therefore choosing the correct existential attitude is of greatest importance (which means ethics is first philosophy as it entails our deciding among ourselves).

To answer your question about education, I've recently graduated from a BA program in philosophy and am (hopefully) headed into a doctoral program in the subject soon.

Philosophically speaking I probably delude myself, like many, that a) I know a lot about it and b) have a strict code of ethics that is inline with something akin to Kant's Categorical Imperative, but it is probably an arrogant and hedonistic Utilitarianism.

What is best for the most people? Seems to work out well in day to day living but is obviously flawed and not very good for establishing a structure of law, and humans are always biased.

It is lovely to see a more intelligent discussion appear on the boards, and apologise that my more basic learning isn't as in depth or advanced as the previous posters.

I am, politically and sociologically, a communist definitely, but realise that the only true communism can be when the whole world converts to it at the same time. Which ain't gonna happen any time soon, if at all since people are greedy. And thus benevolent dictator would be a great means to that particular end.

You know, I am not surprised that so few people have commented on this, but what I am surprised is that the few posters actually know something.

Sidrion, I think that you are right about communism only working if the whole world converted at the same time. I think that the idea of a benevolent dictator is also a good one, something like a Grecian dictator would be ideal. BUT, I do not see how you could say your ethics are "an arrogant and hedonistic Utilitarianism." I would like to hear your explanation, as I cannot see how Utilitarianism could be arrogant. In fact, I would say that Kantian ethics are much more likely to be arrogant.

And Hal10k, that is almost poetic in its simplicity and hilarious to boot.

I've stolen a bit from John Rawls. Basically it's a more thorough "treat others as you would want to be treated" that results in a freedom based philosophy. However, it also strongly supports ideas like universal health care and the like.

I may go into more detail later, but for now I have a test to study for.

A little bit absurdist, a little bit socialist... "These are my principles. If you don't like them, I have others."
I tend to prefer Groucho to Karl.

Hmmm...

No-one for Soren Kierkegaard yet? No?

To be fair, I'm not sure... primarily because I'm not especially au fait with moral and ethical philosophy, since I'm tending toward the belief that the philosophy of the individual is influenced by the environment and background one is raised in, his/her natural predilections and prejudices that shape decisions made. That said, I agree with Kierkegaard insomuch that furtherment of one's life comes through absolution in the choice to decide to do over merely wishing to know. However, I'm not so enthused about his views on truth and subjectivity.

This comes from my greater interest in metaphysics, or more specifically, ontology. The dichotomy of 'abstract' and 'concrete' brings no end of headaches and silly grins, trying to further establish the distinctions between 'concept' and 'idea' and how each impacts on essence and existence. The world is defined by the concept, but functions on the idea, though they are both artificial constructs and labels we put on them. So it doesn't matter, and I will forever fall back upon this silly quote to validate my shortcomings and ultimate stupidity:

Socrates, as attributed by Plato:
The more I learn, the more I realise how little I know...

I'm a deontological absolutist, but I haven't yet sorted out the rules I plan to follow >_>

I'm certainly not a Kantian deontologist, and definitely not a supporter of relativism in any way.

I'd say the only one I can say for certain right now is that I am a rationalist. I haven't done much study in ethics, so I really don't know much about that, though I possess fairly normative ethics and am fond of consideration of the collective over the individual. I'm probably a humanist of a sort.

I know more about what I'm not than what I am. I am not what I define a nihilist as, though I don't believe in objective morality, or certain objective morality at least. I'm not whole-heartedly a consequentialist. I am not a real skeptic, though I don't believe in absolute certainty, because I do believe in relative certainty. I also hold nothing against others for using epistemologies different from my own, as long as their willing to argue the validity of it. Personally the closest thing I have to a philosophy of ethics is my religious beliefs and strong feelings in favor of Kohlberg's stages of moral development.

Really I would say that my personal philosophy is that if you cannot argue why you do what you do or why you believe what you believe then you are are wrong. I have stronger philosophical ideas about having philosophical ideas than anything else.

SckizoBoy:
Hmmm...

No-one for Soren Kierkegaard yet? No?

I don't have an opinion either way, as I have not studied him. I was going to take a course on existentialism last fall, but the course was at 8:00am, and 40 minutes away from my house to boot. Needless to say, I didn't take the class.

Deterministic.

I don't believe in free will. I believe we are the only possible logical conclusion of our nature and nurture. And all our actions are the only possible actions we could have taken seeing the totality of our circumstances, personality and memories.

Things are always more complicated that they appear. By extension, I'm never going to be able to truly understand anything.

I haven't thought much about it, but what I usually live by is the Don't Be a Dick (C) philosophy. It's surprisingly effective and versatile.

Epicureanism.

Ohohoho, I just had to use an "obscure reverence" instead of the various other names for the same thing. I'm so hipster.

Maybe just a little bit of the ‹bermensch thrown in there.

Humans like having fun, it's just our function. There's isn't a meaning to life, but a basis desire we all have is to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Therefor our ethical systems should reflect that.

I do also think however there's a tiny bit of conflict, in that sometimes people drive for pleasure at the cost of others. And the fact I believe that one of the major pleasures a human has in life is influence(hence the Nietzsche), in a way that almost all humans are basically in a state of war over some varying conflicting desires.

Personally, I think what should be done is to drive the conflict as close to none as possible. Some desires will simply have to die as society progresses. I'm not afraid of uniformity, as long as we're moving in the right direction.

That is, we should strive for everyone's hedonism as a whole, as best we can. So that everyone can have the most happiness possible. Sometimes someone's happiness runs in conflict with another. The solution is to understand which happiness is greater. And the lesser happiness may be allowed death.

An example of this would be economics. Everyone wants things, Capitalism creates haves and have nots. It is a system of pleasure at the sacrifice of others. Everyone wants the basic pleasure that Communism affords. This gives the basic pleasure of the majority of want to most people, so long as that pleasure is not being better off than others and privileged in comparison. However, there are other desires, such as the desire to be more privileged, and better off economically than others, to succeed where others fail, to have, where others have not. This, to me, is a less desire, that does not be catered to. When the goal is the greatest degree of desire fulfilled for all people.

Basically, if all human motivation is created by pleasure seeking, we should apply the golden rule.

LilithSlave:
Epicureanism.

Ohohoho, I just had to use an "obscure reverence" instead of the various other names for the same thing. I'm so hipster.

Maybe just a little bit of the ‹bermensch thrown in there.

Humans like having fun, it's just our function. There's isn't a meaning to life, but a basis desire we all have is to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Therefor our ethical systems should reflect that.

I do also think however there's a tiny bit of conflict, in that sometimes people drive for pleasure at the cost of others. And the fact I believe that one of the major pleasures a human has in life is influence(hence the Nietzsche), in a way that almost all humans are basically in a state of war over some varying conflicting desires.

Personally, I think what should be done is to drive the conflict as close to none as possible. Some desires will simply have to die as society progresses. I'm not afraid of uniformity, as long as we're moving in the right direction.

That is, we should strive for everyone's hedonism as a whole, as best we can. So that everyone can have the most happiness possible. Sometimes someone's happiness runs in conflict with another. The solution is to understand which happiness is greater. And the lesser happiness may be allowed death.

An example of this would be economics. Everyone wants things, Capitalism creates haves and have nots. It is a system of pleasure at the sacrifice of others. Everyone wants the basic pleasure that Communism affords. This gives the basic pleasure of the majority of want to most people, so long as that pleasure is not being better off than others and privileged in comparison. However, there are other desires, such as the desire to be more privileged, and better off economically than others, to succeed where others fail, to have, where others have not. This, to me, is a less desire, that does not be catered to. When the goal is the greatest degree of desire fulfilled for all people.

Basically, if all human motivation is created by pleasure seeking, we should apply the golden rule.

Well I think the conflict could be reduced by simply deeming some desires not worthy of fulfilling. Looking at a paper I had to write for a philosophy class(your mention of Epicureanism made me decided to look at it again) I noticed this quote I took from Epicurus' Letter to Menoeceus:

""One should keep in mind that among desires, some are natural and some are vain. Of those that are natural, some are necessary and some unnecessary. Of those that are necessary, some are necessary for happiness, some for health, and some for life itself. A correct view of these matters enables one to base every choice and avoidance upon whether it secures or upsets bodily comfort and peace of mind - the goal of a happy life. [127]"

Just thought that quote seemed relevant to that.

I mainly agree with the "virtue ethics" of Plato and Aristotle. I'd rather have an oligarchy of great people than a democracy. In this context "great" means excelling in academics and athletics, serving in the military, studying subjects like mathematics, physical science, and philosophy "that turn the soul upwards", and only after doing all that by age 50 or so would they be ready to rule. These philosopher-kings would live in government provided housing with minimal possessions (to prevent corruption, and besides they do not care for worldly goods themselves) and not raise children of their own (to prevent nepotism).

The system works, because according to Plato studying philosophy and science leads them to a world that is superior to the physical. In fact, studying and reasoning about the intellectual world is so much more pleasant than considering human affairs, these people are the one group of society most reluctant to seek political power. As Plato said:

Plato:
Moreover, I said, you must not wonder that those who attain to this beatific vision are unwilling to descend to human affairs; for their souls are ever hastening into the upper world where they desire to dwell; which desire of theirs is very natural...

But eventually studying the form of goodness leads them to see that it's their duty to help with human affairs, and then they are ready to be leaders. Compared to this ideal form of government, Democracy is inferior, as Plato says it degenerates into plutocracy, rule by the rich. I'd like to see his reaction to our mass media democracy with unlimited campaign contributions.

thaluikhain:
Things are always more complicated that they appear. By extension, I'm never going to be able to truly understand anything.

That's true, but even though the journey is never ending there is a lot to be learned a long the way, so the fact that we'll never reach a definitive end is no reason not to move in the direction of increasing knowledge.

'Aim for the best possible solution' and 'The Ends justify the means'. Besides these two, everything else varies dependent on the situation at hand.

Mortai Gravesend:
Well I think the conflict could be reduced by simply deeming some desires not worthy of fulfilling. Looking at a paper I had to write for a philosophy class(your mention of Epicureanism made me decided to look at it again) I noticed this quote I took from Epicurus' Letter to Menoeceus:

""One should keep in mind that among desires, some are natural and some are vain.

Yes, that's basically what I said, is it not?

Or are you just expounding on what I said?

LilithSlave:

Mortai Gravesend:
Well I think the conflict could be reduced by simply deeming some desires not worthy of fulfilling. Looking at a paper I had to write for a philosophy class(your mention of Epicureanism made me decided to look at it again) I noticed this quote I took from Epicurus' Letter to Menoeceus:

""One should keep in mind that among desires, some are natural and some are vain.

Yes, that's basically what I said, is it not?

Or are you just expounding on what I said?

Expounding on it. I think it goes a bit further too since it classifies some desires as vain, seemingly dismissing them more entirely not only on the basis of conflict with other desires. Or in the translation I'd first read, empty. Though I hadn't saved it and I wanted to throw in the last line so I had to find a different one XP

Topic is too broad.
Which branch of philosophy?
Or else I can't answer.

I like to see things play out, and don't like to get involved. I've always been pretty lazy, so my personal philosophy (which is to do nothing except sit and watch) reflects my personality. I also try to play Devil's advocate as much as I can, because a) it helps me better see the other side of things and keeps me from blinding myself to the flaws or over-inflating the benefits of whatever it is I'm analyzing, and b) because when I do it with people, they tend to get upset, which is always fun to watch. :P

I also base my morality on empathy (vis a vis the golden rule), and never, EVER, put all my eggs in one basket. I refuse to completely believe there is no higher power in life as much as I refuse to believe there is. Proof of either is pretty damn hard to come by, thus I consider myself agnostic. I don't identify as a Republican or a Democrat because both sides have merit in different times and places (but I don't vote anyway because again, lazy). I think logically and don't spend extended amounts of time on emotions because how I feel about something is fleeting and warps my views the longer I dwell on it. I think happiness is a choice, not an emotion, and the reason people become unhappy is because they expect too much from life and dwell too long on mistakes. I don't take many things that seriously, least of all tastes in entertainment. I find Dane Cook and Carlos Mencia to be funny at times, and don't really care whether or not people assume I'm an idiot because of that. I don't really care what anyone thinks of me until those thoughts become an inconvenience to me. I don't think work is an obligation you HAVE to do before play, and while I do think hard-workers should be admired, I don't think people who chose not to work hard should be admonished (of course I accept that I'm probably biased in that area >.>).

I believe pretty staunchly in democracy, down to the point where even though it isn't the "cool" thing to do, if something is popular with a demographic I relate to, it probably means I'll like it. This also goes along with my "do nothing" policy: I don't get involved in ongoing socio-political issues because I believe if enough people want change, then they'll get change, and if they didn't get the change they wanted, things will keep changing until they do.

Last but not least, I try to be humble in all things. As seen from this quote:

"Pride is not the opposite of shame, but its source. True humility is the only antidote to shame."
- Uncle Iroh

So I try to avoid pride, at least in myself. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy when I accomplish something, but in the grand scheme of things my accomplishments usually mean very little. This is not low self-esteem, it's just perspective. I am proud of my friends and family though.

All in all, I can expect myself to be no better than myself, otherwise I wouldn't be myself. Or, as a great man once said:

And THAT's my philosophies in a nutshell. A very long, probably not read by most of you guys nutshell.

isometry:

thaluikhain:
Things are always more complicated that they appear. By extension, I'm never going to be able to truly understand anything.

That's true, but even though the journey is never ending there is a lot to be learned a long the way, so the fact that we'll never reach a definitive end is no reason not to move in the direction of increasing knowledge.

Oh yes, I agree with that. But we should be wary of being too satisfied with what we think we know. It's tempting to believe we can make snap judgements about big issues and not be contradicted, but it doesn't tend to work out that way.

I strive to be a Bodhisattva and hopefully one day I will become one.

thaluikhain:
Things are always more complicated that they appear. By extension, I'm never going to be able to truly understand anything.

Interesting. Personally I find that things are often FAR simpler than we make them out to be or than we like to believe.

In terms of ethical philosophy, I'm not well versed enough in it to be able to categorize my own system - of the works I have read, I HATE Kant's system, but at the same time it has a HUGE wealth of good structural underlying - it's very close to being good, but when it comes together, it's just stupid, and not actually applicable. Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics has a wealth of good points on virtue and happiness.

In terms of OTHER philosophical questions:

Personal Identity: I like Parfit's survivalist view of the self (Nozick has a lot going for him too).

Epistemology: Epistemology is largely based around attempted refutations or circumventions of Cartesian Doubt/The Skeptical Scenario (What if we're all in the Matrix?), and although some folks make good shots at it (Nozick, Lewis), none that I've seen so far manage it.

Metaphysics: If you haven't, do yourself a favour and read some of the metaphysics that go against common sense - Hume's Problem of Induction and McTaggart's Time is Not Real are fun places to start.

Determinism to explain the universe.
Indeterminism to live it.
Nilhism to view morality.
Choice to use it.

I like to use what I call the law of negative effects for my morality.
'One can do whatever one pleases, so long as it does not negitavely effect another's happiness, wellbeing or privacy.'
Of course, unless they negitavely affect you. Then it's on.

Fuck Islam.

Beyond that, I'm a "live-and-let-live" kind of person.

I just try to be as amoral and as rational as possible.

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