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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

10 Schools of Philosophy and Why You Should Know Them | Big Think - Staff picks

Photo: Scotty Hendricks
In this article by Scotty Hendricks, Iowa based writer, educator and part time philosopher says,"There are many famous schools of thought that you have probably heard of, but did you hear the truth or just get a caricature of the idea?"  

Photo: Big Think

For your reading pleasure, here are ten schools of philosophy you should know about. Some of them are commonly misunderstood, and we correct that problem here. 

Nihilism 
The leading philosophy among angsty teens who misunderstand Nietzsche. 

The root of the word 'nihilism' is derived from the Latin nihil, meaning "nothing", and it is a more of a series of related positions and problems than a single school of thought. The key idea of it is the lack of belief in meaning or substance in an area of philosophy. For example, moral nihilism argues that moral facts cannot exist; metaphysical nihilism argues that we cannot have metaphysical facts; existential nihilism is the idea that life cannot have meaning and nothing has value—this is the kind that most people think of when they hear the word. 

As opposed to popular understanding, Nietzsche was not a nihilist. Rather, he wrote about the dangers posed by nihilism and offered solutions to them. Real nihilists included the Russian nihilist movement.

Existentialism
The leading philosophy among angsty undergraduates who understand Nietzsche.
 
Existentialism is a school of thought originating in the work of Soren Kierkegaard and Nietzsche. Existentialism focuses on the problems posed by existential nihilism. What is the point of living if life has no inherent purpose, where can we find value after the death of God, and how do we face the knowledge of our inevitable demise? Existentialists also ask questions about free will, choice, and the difficulties of being an individual.
 

The existentialists also included Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Martin Heidegger. Albert Camus was associated with the movement, but considered himself independent of it...

Logical Positivism
Photo: Big Think
Have you ever wondered if we can base absolutely everything on logic and empirical evidence?

The logical positivists had a good try—until they found it a dead end. This school was popular in the 1920s and '30s, and was focused on the idea of verifications, which sought to base all knowledge on either empirical data or logical tautologies. By this idea, metaphysics, ethics, theology, and aesthetics cannot be studied philosophically as they don’t offer ideas with truth values. As it turns out the core tenet of verificationism cannot be shown to be true either, posing an unsolvable problem for the school.
Read more... 

Recommended Reading

Søren Kierkegaard, the man who invented the word "angst".

God's Answer to Nietzsche, the Philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard by Scotty Hendricks, Iowa based writer, educator and part time philosopher. 

Source: Big Think  


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