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Thread: What Makes Modern Philosophy 'Modern'?

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    Post Re: What Makes Modern Philosophy 'Modern'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Schweitzer
    In my opinion, Immanuel Kant was the first truly modern philosopher. In his Critique on Pure Reason, he created a synthesis in two traditionally irreconcilable doctrines - that of the rationalists and that of the empiricists. It is essentially those who believe they can understand the world through pure reason and those who believe the world, and indeed, anything, can only be known through "Schaung" - it must be experienced through the senses. The debate still continues ofcourse, but Kant was "modern" in his approach.
    Yes - some say Descartes, some say Kant.

    But what do you think of Nietzsche's assertion in his book 'The Antichrist', where he utterly derides the idea that Kant is pre-eminantly 'modern'?

    Nietzsche says that Kant is only doing a disguised theology, and is thus using the verbiage of philosophy to deviously propound the age-old Christian morality.
    [There is a Book Study on 'The Antichrist' on this very subforum where we will actually discuss Nietzsche's view of Kant].

    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    Critique of Progressivism

    Excerpt from chapter one of Preservation of One's Essence:

    Biological Progressivism: Proponents of this system suggest that man’s purpose is to catalyze the human race’s (or a segment of the human race’s) evolution toward a “higher” form which is considered more advanced and capable.

    One problem with this system is its baseless attempt to assign intrinsic value toward biological complexity.

    Proponents suggest that progressivism is consistent with man’s nature because over time populations often evolve into more complex forms of life. This represents a great logical error. That which happens is not necessarily desirable. If it were, why would we make any effort at all? Failure would be impossible.

    Another fundamental error of progressivism is its failure to analyze from the perspective of the individual. The question should be, “what should I do?”. An individual is not the entirety of nature. The individual’s goals are not necessarily nature’s goals (I am not saying that the entirety of nature has goals).

    Progressivism’s failure is made clear simply by observing nature. Examine an inferior specimen or population interacting with a superior one (inferior here means less fit for survival) and competing for resources. The inferior specimen works diligently toward survival (this represents truly natural behavior), even if failure is inevitable. The inferior individual does not (and should not) resign and serve the superior. The inferior’s eventual extinction represents the failure of the inferior. The inferior never wishes to be displaced by the superior.

    A further error is present in the selfish perspective ubiquitously taken by the progressionist. The progressionist always wants the progress of his own group, yet this selfish perspective is rarely justified with more than an unsupported claim that “it is natural”.

    Consider the hypothetical situation in which extremely advanced aliens from outer space invade earth and attempt to enslave or displace the human race. If complexity were intrinsically valuable and the progressionists were not selfish, they would happily submit to the aliens. Yet when one polls the progressionists, they all say that they would resist.

    So, unselfish progressivism fails due to its failure to support the claim that complexity is intrinsically valuable, its inconsistency with observations of nature, and the fact that progressionists are unwilling to commit to acting consistently with their ideology in hypothetical situations.

    Now that I have refuted unselfish progressivism, let’s investigate selfish progressivism further (although the selfishness remains unsupported). Selfish progressivism is problematic when we consider its long term results. Imagine that, in a million years from today, most humans have evolved into a greatly more complex form which is essentially unlike the humans of today. Now imagine that on an island there still exists a population consisting of un-evolved humans (what we have today). Now imagine that the evolved humans discover the essentially different un-evolved humans. This is equivalent to the earlier case of aliens invading earth. The aliens’ ancestry and the continuous progression from the original to the alien form are of no significance; the end case is the same.

    So, selfish progressivism fails because ultimately “progress” results in an essentially different form. To want the end result, one would have to be an unselfish progressionist.

    At first glance, our intuition suggests that survival is desirable. But “survival of the fittest” does not imply that increasing population fitness is a primary goal even if survival is desirable. If survival is a goal, this implies only that progression may be a derivative goal. My analysis suggests that progression is a trade off: the population survives, but its form is altered. As discussed earlier, regardless of continuity, numerous progressive alterations are eventually equivalent to displacement (extinction).

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