Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What do we do with philosophers from the past who say really insane things? Some problems with Kant

Or so it seems to people in the 21st Century. I don't think that great thinkers are supposed to avoid intellectual errors. Or rather, it is compatible with greatness to get at last some things horribly wrong.

Of course, the Kantian position that most people roll their eyes on is his views on lying, particularly in his response to Benjamin Constant. There you get a sense that, yes, he's got that wrong, but there is something to be gained by coming to terms with him neverthteless.

HT: Ed Babinski.

5 comments:

reborn1995 said...

i know this card gets played a lot, but i'll play it anyway: Is it possible that 300 years from now, some people will find completely wacky the work of our present philosophers whose ideas we find brilliant or insightful?

--Guy

Anonymous said...

Fun article on health care. She was for it before she was against it:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/08/palin-crossed-border-for_n_490080.html

philip m said...

William Vallicella had a one line blog post a while back that went something like.

"David Lewis shows you can be a genius without having sound ideas. I show that you can have sound ideas without being a genius."

Also . . Michael Huemer quotes Hume in his book Ethical Intuitionism, and it did seem like quite the mauling. The passage had to do with Hume's views on rationality, and did have some pretty bizzare stuff in it. Same idea there I guess.

Mike Erich the Mad Theologian said...

One of the great opponents of Christianity from the Middle Ages into early modern times was Neo-Platonism. Most people today if confronted with the teachings of Neo-Platonism would probably react by saying "You've got to be kidding." I think it entirely possible that at some future time many of the things people take for granted today will get the response "They believed what?"

J said...

--Schwitzgebel sounds like another member of the Bryan Leiter school of, shall we say, frat boy Nietzscheans (or at least frat boy-naturalists...)--not so far from the Aynnie Rand School of capitalist-materialism...