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Stegfucius
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Book Club
« Reply #50 on: Sep 3rd, 2007, 2:55pm »
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on Sep 3rd, 2007, 4:44am, StegRock wrote:
I think, T, that's all I need to validate my position.
 
But, I digress... This is all to fail to factor in the historical influence of the (Greek) polytheistic religions, the roots of which predated Socrates.
 
In any event, the western (Classical Greek-based) philosophical tradition (at least, vis-a-vis the eastern tradition) is guided by the "One behind the many". (Overly) Simply put, this was the case when Heraclitus's philosophy of change lost out to the philosophy of the Parmendian One. As I see it, we just didn't see a whole lot of philosophical tread in a philosophy of change. It didn't leave a whole lot of room for comtemplative philosophy. So, this philosophy of the One behind the many naturally segues into a focus on theoria, logos, the "Word", theism, telos, formal logic, rhetoric, principles, contracts, rule of law and (extreme) constitutionalism, certainty, rationalism, equations and theorms, categorization and individuality, virtues and virtue ethics, western science and scientific (hypothetical) method, laws of nature, objectivity and objectivism, intentionality, accuracy, contemplative meditation, knowledge, the discovery of meaning, etc., etc. in the West. Mind you, this all goes hand-in-hand with the western monotheistic religious sensibility. In fact, like God, in the philosophies of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, et al., human nature, for all intents and purposes, is the one behind the many. One of the few (notable) philosophers to make a run at a revival of Heraclitean philosophy was Nietzsche, but by then it was such a mess that,... well,... you know...
 
Now, the above is in STARK contrast with the far-eastern (Classical Chinese-based) philosophical tradition. Hell, the seminal work of Chinese Philosophy is the Yijing or The Book of Change. They surely had a sensibility of the One behind the many, Taiji and Dao, wholism, but, in a fashion absolutely opposite the western trend, they did not see a whole lot of philosophical tread there. They became more concerned with the "Many in front of the one", an immanental philosophy of change that emanates forth from the ineffable Taiji , the "unnamable" Dao and a wholism beyond human comprehension. This naturally segues into an emphasis on praxis, pathos, the "image", the unspoken and that which is beyond words, ambiguity, guidelines, correspondences and metaphors, judgments, intuition, humanism (even rule of the mob), pragmatism, interconnectivity and relationality, entropy, appropriateness and circumstantial ethics of action, harmony with nature, subjectivity and subjectivism (NOT relativism), extensionality, efficacy, "clear- or no-mind" meditation, understanding(s), ritual, the creation of meaning, etc., etc. in the Far East. This all fits well with a Buddhistic religious sensibility. For Confucius and Laozi, et al., human circumstances act as the many in front of the one.
 
Mind you, Aristotle [in his (attempt to) break away from his mentor Plato] in, especially, Books 1 through 3 of Nicomachean Ethics with his espousal of, so to speak, an immanental "it is what it is" "actions speak louder than words" ethics approaches an eastern ethical sensibility, but at the end of the day his "Doctrine of the Mean" is a rationalistic agent-oriented virtue ethics, not a pragmatic circumstantial ethics of action (though the distinction here is tight; it can be highlighted by wrapping your mind around the difference between Aristotle's notion of habit and Confucian ritual action, and the Aristotlean virtues and how they predicate moral conduct and the Confucian "virtues", which are really ingredients of moral conduct). That said, Acquinas's Personalism is grounded in that Aristotlean move, but it isn't, I contend, really perfected until it all hit the post-Heideggarian mind of Karol Wojtyla. Instead of busting it all apart like Nietzsche, Wojtyla puts it all together and takes the next step.
 
The point being, we've seen how the Far East has augmented their societies with western science, i.e. "physics". In a similar vain, I think we'd do ourselves a great service by augmenting our society with eastern ethics, i.e. "metaphysics", in the Wojtylian sense... as in through the phenomenal, not beyond the phenomenal (you can locate my citation of that in the paper I presented at the conference in March: http://www.internetstitute.com/Ni-paper.doc).
 
Taking this all one further step just for fun, I would even contend that in the West the above even evolves into the "atomic one (individual) in front of the One (God)" and in the East the "relational many (individuals) behind the Many (Ways)". But, I'm just gettin' whacky now... ...
 
I hope that was a coherent response... I'm pretty damn bleary-eyed tonight. I was up almost all night last night doing StegsList.com stuff.

 
In VERY short, T-Rave, all, the point is...
 
We in the West are used to deriving our moral discernment from without (the circumstances, seeking out overarching principles from the perspective of objectivity).  We are used to being told what to do by God, the Law, human nature, etc., etc.  Human nature is a tricky one because it is the within that is without.  This is why, e.g., during wartime, we find ourselves in the moral conundrum(s) of "The Bible says, 'Thou shalt not kill,'" "Jesus said, 'Turn the other cheek,'" and "What would Jesus have done in response to 9/11?"
 
In the East, they (my Korean wife, e.g.) are used to making moral judgments from within (the circumstances, moreover, from the perspective of xin or the heart-mind).  They seek to divine moral answers from relations, the without that is within, so to speak.  (Our actions after 9/11 posed no such conundrum as the aforementioned to my wife.)  Mind you, those relations are taken to be both human and natural.
 
(Incidentally, my additions during my last edit of my post above of "laws of nature" to the list of western tendencies versus "harmony with nature" to the list of eastern tendencies pointedly speaks to this.)
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Book Club
« Reply #51 on: Sep 3rd, 2007, 7:05pm »
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Interesting post, Steg. Very informative.
 
It seems to me that the original proposition that I sought to tweak was that religion is the underpinning of ethics (and, by extension, ethical action) in the West to the degree that without religion ethics crumbles (in the Western understanding). I think we found agreement in this "middle" position, namely, that while religion does provide a support for and insight into ethics and ethical action, at least in the West, nevertheless, ethics is not solely based upon revealed (and therefore at least somewhat inaccessible to reason) religion, but rather is founded in an understanding of human nature and human ends. Ethics, per se, is a philosophical study and endeavor, and not merely a religious one, despite the fact that religion plays a large role in the underpinning and framework of ethics.
 
So far, so good. Actually, I think this really completes the original point under consideration. But you have taken this point as a springboard to discuss the difference between Western and Eastern philosophy, and this is very intriguing to me, so I would like to address it.
 
Firstly, I would question whether Heraclitus' philosophy is a "philosophy of change" in contra-position to a "philosophy of the one behind the many." In fact, I would claim that Heraclitus' philosophy is precisely a philosophy of the one behind the many. Throughout the fragments of his writings that we have left, he constantly refers to the logos, the immortal fire, underlying all things, that makes all things one. To appearances, all things are in motion and are different; in reality, all things are one: "The wise man perceives that all things are one."
 
Secondly, characterizing Western thought as the philosophy of the One behind the many, in contradistinction to Eastern thought as the philosophy of the many in front of the one, seems to me to be a Platonizing of the Western intellectual tradition. Certainly Plato's thought could be characterized as a philosophy of the One behind the many, for Plato sought precisely the One, the Form, behind its many particular instances in the world we live in. However, Aristotelianism runs off a different paradigm. The Aristotelian (and, later on, Thomistic) inquiry into human nature, into the nature of things, and ultimately into being itself is not a philosophy of the One behind the many, as if it were a search for the one form or nature that stands behind the many things that instantiate it. Rather, it is a search for the one form or nature that is WITHIN the many things that instantiate it. THIS is the difference between Platonism and Aristotelianism: the forms, the natures of things -- i.e., the intelligible structure of things -- which we seek in order to understand them DOES NOT LIE BEHIND THEM, as if we have to get through the many particulars to arrive at this ONE, but rather LIES WITHIN THEM, such that delving into the many, the particular things in the world we live in brings us inexorably to the forms/natures that are within these many as their constitutve principles. Whence Plato's dismissal of the many and Aristotle's appreciation for the many.
 
I would say, to open another can of worms, that unless you search for the one (the form or nature) that lies within the many particular things that instantiate it, you aren't doing philosophy. In fact, you HAVE to deal with and talk about and delineate the one within the many, and common speech bears this out. For example, to even come up with the word "humankind" implies an (at least latent or unconscious) understanding of what it means to be human -- this "what it means to be human" is precisely the One/form/nature within the many human beings that are human, and if you don't deal with this one form, you can't talk about "humankind" but only about "Socrates" and "Jim-Bob" and "President Bush" etc. Language, therefore, presupposes an understanding of the one form/nature within the many instances that exemplify it. To deal only with the many instances is to never rise above the level of the particular, to never arrive at knowledge (e.g., to never arrive at knowledge of "human nature"/"humankind" or "justice" or "virtue"). I would imagine that Eastern philosophy has to deal with the One within the many, even if merely because language itself requires it. So I guess I'm asking for a clarification of what "philosophy of the many in front of the one" means, since it seems to me that it can't rule out "philosophy of the one within the many."
 
Thirdly, as far as ethics is concerned, I don't think Aristotle's ethical theory is a "rationalistic agent-oriented virtue ethics" by way of its "Doctrine of the Mean." The very point Aristotle was trying to make is that you cannot universalize/rationalize/define what is virtuous in this or that situation (in the PARTICULAR) -- you can define what justice or courage or temperance is but you cannot delineate what would constitute virtuous action in each and every situation. For such "practical" decisions, the virtue of prudence is required: prudence "looks" at the situation, the circumstances, the object, the act, etc. and decides what is the virtuous course of action. The standard of virtue for Aristotle is not some rational definition (not even the "mean" acts as a definition of virtue): rather, the VIRTUOUS MAN himself is the standard of virtue. The mean is merely a phenomenological conclusion about the relationship of virtue to action -- virtue lies in the middle of two vices (to be a virtuous act, an act of courage must be neither cowardly nor rash). The mean does not serve as any sort of ethical guide, at least not very well, because certain virtues lean more to the side of one vice than the other. THE guide for virtue is the virtuous man -- more precisely, the virtue of prudence by which the virtuous man apprehends what is the virtuous act in this or that situation. So, at the end of the day, Aristotle's ethical theory seems to me to be much more "down-to-earth" and non-rationalistic than some seem to claim.
 
Thoughts?
« Last Edit: Sep 3rd, 2007, 7:08pm by Travistotle » Logged
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Book Club
« Reply #52 on: Jan 27th, 2008, 5:29am »
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Okay,... back to the topic of this thread...
 
on Jan 8th, 2008, 12:52am, StegRock wrote:
...based on current reading I'm doing, Robert Fogelin's Walking the Tightrope of Reason...

 
I just finished this book I mentioned in passing over on the "Philosophy Corner" thread (which, incidentally, is where all the Philosophy talk that went on on this thread should be taken), Walking the Tightrope of Reason by Robert Fogelin.  GREAT read! I would recommend it like I did Frankfurt's On Bullshit as a piece of very readable, yet academic Philosophy.  I'm sure most of our gridironers/ettes could take it on.  Put in a way consistent with one of the overarching themes of the book, it is a work of, in the words of David Hume (who is one of the focal points), both "abstruse" and "EASY" philosophy.  With football winding down, if you have the time to pick up something that will challenge you (like On Bullshit), but, if that challenge is met, will have you closing its cover just a little bit better (of a thinker) than you were upon cracking its cover, I'd highly recommend this piece.
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Book Club
« Reply #53 on: Feb 14th, 2008, 1:16pm »
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I just finished reading a book that received quite a bit of acclaim and one that I've wanted to read for some time (waited for the paperback edition).
 
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
 
This is a powerful book (I think it says that in one of the reviews on the cover, but it's true). There are some amazing characters with complex relationships and it's occurring with the backdrop of social and political events in Afghanistan, a country I admit I knew very little about before reading the novel. It's a work of fiction, but it felt very personal, as if I was reading an autobiography.
 
I haven't seen the movie, although I've heard good things about it. But I'd definitely recommend the book if you're up to it.
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Book Club
« Reply #54 on: Feb 15th, 2008, 8:05pm »
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on Feb 14th, 2008, 1:16pm, Philly wrote:
I just finished reading a book that received quite a bit of acclaim and one that I've wanted to read for some time (waited for the paperback edition).
 
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
 

 
i completely agree with you philly!  i read this book awhile back and really enjoyed it.  i think there was some insight to Afghanistan and it's culture.  in addition to the complex relationships, it was an exciting story.  i bought his next book for my wife for christmas and hope to read it next week while on vacation.  
 
see you at the library!
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Book Club
« Reply #55 on: Feb 15th, 2008, 9:22pm »
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Guys...I have to admit...I am not a reader!   Just can't enjoy it...with all the dry stuff I have to read for work...I am just sick of print!!
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Book Club
« Reply #56 on: Feb 15th, 2008, 9:23pm »
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on Jul 20th, 2007, 5:05pm, MordecaiCourage wrote:
Try reading Air Force Technical Orders, Instruction Manuals, DoD manuals, and NFPA codes for the last 23 years!! That will kill any enjoyment you could possibly get from reading!! I can't even pick a book up and enjoy it anymore...my eyes are too tired and I can't get my heart into it.

 
I see I visited this thought already  
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Book Club
« Reply #57 on: Feb 16th, 2008, 2:06am »
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I DIGRESS...
    I'm glad you picked that off there yourself, MC.  Your pointing out your (unfortunate) disdain for reading in light of your particular life circumstances does nothing for this thread.  So,... just skip this thread.  I mean what's the point.  You don't want the rest of us to read; you don't want the rest of us sharing our readings... be-cause...  Don't get me wrong...  Your posts are not egregiously bad or in poor taste.  But, they do have that passive-aggressive-ish air to them.  ...  Understand that I preface what I am about to write here in light of your (I don't think particularly considerate) posts on this thread, i.e. not just out of the blue...  Think of the "Photo Album" thread, MC, and how you have typically put it to use.  Don't get me wrong.  It's ALL GOOD.  But, put yourself in, e.g., my shoes...  Think of the ANALOGOUS post(s) I could put on that thread to your posts here.  It would be hurtful and nasty at a whole nother level.  I wouldn't go there, of course...  I'm not even going to type an example given how mean-spirited the whole endeavor is.  However, the point is that the "spirit" would basically be the same.  This is all not to mention that, whatever the circumstances may be, not reading or not having the desire to read is not something to tout about.  [I digress... (within the digression)...  I hope, notwithstanding your lack of enthusiasm for reading, you are raising those wonderful boys of yours to be readers.  I know this was something my parents dropped the ball on, and just now at age 37 (as of tomorrow... hint, hint ) after 8 years of post-secondary education, 3 years at the Master's level, have I just now overcome that deficit. ]  This is the book club thread.  Join in.  But, don't come in to the "Book Club" thread just to poo-poo or be a stick in the mud regarding "READING".  That's not cool, man.  That's all...
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Book Club
« Reply #58 on: Feb 16th, 2008, 6:32pm »
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Try this, MC:
 
http://www.amazon.com/Force-U-S-Military-James-Mccarthy/dp/0883631040
 
"Now, more than 50 years after its founding, the United States Air Force celebrates its spirit and essence in this deluxe-format book. Essays on Air Force history and today's aviators focus not only on the planes, helicopters, rockets, and technology but also on the special people that make it all work. Hundreds of full-color and vintage photography, portraits, recruiting posters, and historically inspired paintings complement the informative text. Written by a team of qualified historians, specialized authors, and associated experts, The Air Force links pilots past and present to America's first brave flyers, the Wright brothers."
 
And this:
http://www.amazon.com/Fighter-Wing-Guided-Airforce-Combat/dp/0425149579
 
A Guided Tour of an Air Force Combat Wing
UPDATED WITH NEW MATERIALS AND PHOTOS-
including cutting-edge information on the  
F-22 and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.  
Tom Clancy's explorations of America's armed forces reveal exclusive, never-before-seen information on the people and technology that protect our nation. Now, the acclaimed author of Red Rabbit takes to the skies with the U.S. Air Force's elite: the Fighter Wing.  
 
And try this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjPEBunlstQ&feature=related
 
 
Books are knowledge.  Fiction or non-fiction.  We need both kinds.  Start with these, and you might just want to move into some novels, too!  (Doesn't take money if you check for them in the local library.  And you can usually ask the library to get books from ANOTHER library for you...for free!)
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Book Club
« Reply #59 on: Feb 16th, 2008, 6:33pm »
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Now Stegger.....did you really have to post your digression? Did I not amend my statement of how reading has sucked for me with a follow-up note admitting that I visited that feeling here before. Do you not think that "my catch" of what I previously have written about my disdain for reading was going to seal the topic for me? If your answer is "yes, he caught it",  and "yes, he policed himself" ... then why even post your digression?
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Book Club
« Reply #60 on: Feb 16th, 2008, 6:34pm »
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Thank you Callie
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Book Club
« Reply #61 on: Feb 16th, 2008, 8:34pm »
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on Feb 16th, 2008, 6:33pm, MordecaiCourage wrote:
Now Stegger.....did you really have to post your digression? Did I not amend my statement of how reading has sucked for me with a follow-up note admitting that I visited that feeling here before. Do you not think that "my catch" of what I previously have written about my disdain for reading was going to seal the topic for me? If your answer is "yes, he caught it", and "yes, he policed himself" ... then why even post your digression?

 
I gave you a little credit for that, MC.  I just felt that your admission was too easy... of a way out.  I felt that you were too easy on yourself, at least publicly.  I thought my extended commentary on the matter was "good food for thought" (again, as always is the case when I post, not just for you).  And, to take this just one further step, again, if you did not "feel it", to get where I am coming from "deep-down" in terms of feelings, consider old Stegger's "family on hold" vis-a-vis the "Photo Album" thread (mind you, something I enthusiastically supported you on when you graciously made the suggestion to me).  To spin this nicely,... you share your boys with us...  You love them.  GREAT!  DoN'T stop!  I... share my books...  And, I do happen to believe that a love for reading (good tried-and-true, time-tested philosophy, at least) is of foundational import (for human psychological, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, mental, etc. growth), especially for Americans... and especially at this particular juncture in (our) history.
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Book Club
« Reply #62 on: Feb 16th, 2008, 11:04pm »
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right said  
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Book Club
« Reply #63 on: Feb 26th, 2008, 9:35pm »
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on Feb 15th, 2008, 8:05pm, rickgpin wrote:

 
i bought his next book for my wife for christmas and hope to read it next week while on vacation.
 

 
I read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini this past 10 days on vacation.  The story is set against the volatile events in Afghanistan over the last thirty years.  Like "Kite Runner", the story was well written and provided interesting insights to life in Afghanistan as seen by the characters.  I liked "Kite Runner" a bit more, but this was a good read.
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Book Club
« Reply #64 on: Feb 27th, 2008, 3:04am »
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Jeff, Rick,... what's the "slant" on this Afghani novel?  In as best of a summary as possible that will do the book (semi-)justice, what's it saying?  What's the message?
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Book Club
« Reply #65 on: Apr 24th, 2008, 4:11am »
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StegRock's "Selected Readings in East-West Philosophy"... posted a couple minutes ago here...
 
http://www.fantasyfootballer.com/cgi-bin/theGridiron/YaBB.cgi?board=58;a ction=display;num=1199260483.
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