How Philosophy Can Revive Your Dormant Critical Thinking Skills

I suppose it is no surprise that, in our era, plagued by low standards and over a century of Modernist programming, many persons think it is a mark of intelligence or tough-mindedness to be radically skeptical of any certain truths apart from the “empirical” sciences. Religion is but a “blue-pill” form of thought control, presuming to teach us peasants how to think. Certainly I felt this way during my atheist days. But the disappearance of the gift of Faith is consequent to the loss of real knowledge, the disappearance of the queen of the sciences, and the multiplication of impiety and folly.

Some people don’t want to be told “how to think.” In my experience, what they usually mean, is they don’t want to be told what to think; but the art of thinking clearly—i.e., knowing how to think—is in short supply in our day. I often marvel that the men who have come to realize that the media, schools and culture have lied to them about feminism, do not suspect they’ve also lied about everything else, and suppressed the first elements of thought. Indeed, the necessary prerequisite for implementing feminism and other leftist ideas, was to shatter the unity of Christendom and undermine her culture, which had become the treasury of the whole, Western canon.

For us, who have been raised and educated under the domination of the leftist establishment, much of what we think we know is false, on many topics. And even when we are dealing with accurate information, we are discouraged from learning, training and certainly from mastering, any penetrating power of thoughtful analysis.

To the extent that thinking is praised, “critical thinking” is usually praised; most people understand that term, in a way that foments a culture of radical skepticism. Only thought that knows how to doubt, is viewed as rigorous or tough-minded. I would need to look into the matter more, but I suspect this is closely related to the dominance of “critical theory” and deconstructive thought. Indeed, this is what Western Civilization is now—a mass of loathed, deconstructed, disemboweled matter for all to piss upon.

lot's flight

I would characterize rigorous thought as alternatingly analytical and synthetic, rather than critical. “Critical” can simply mean “of such a nature as to make judgments,” and by that definition I think the term is acceptable. But I think most people associate the term with a more winnowing approach. A keen mind should be discerning and discriminatory, making distinctions and breaking things down into their parts; likewise, a powerful mind is synthetic, capable of understanding the relationships between things, and using that knowledge to generate something positively. I hate to use the term “originality,” because we are dealing with the universe as it has been given to us, and “there is nothing new under the sun.” But what most people would call a “creative” or “original” mind, I would describe as a mind with such a keen power of synthesis, that it is highly fecund and procreative, highly capable of producing insights that seem novel to us, feeble men.

I will eventually get around to an analysis of the ideological ruination of Western Civilization over the past half a millennium. But I think a grounding in the art of thought, as the Western tradition developed it, will be the best first step. Besides, it will make the other topic more rewarding. I am now tackling the Manual of Modern Scholastic Philosophy, written by Cardinal Mercier (some of you may remember that I recommended his treatise on Christian Mortification in the past); I look forward to reading this erudite tome by a man who clearly had his bona fides in intellect, ascesis and sanctity. As I work through it, I thought it would be good to simplify it, and use it as a guided tour through European philosophy.

What, exactly, is philosophy?

card mercier magnus

Philosophy is a science, in the pure sense of the term—i.e., a field of knowledge. Probably many of you already object to this idea; indeed, as we go on, we will see how powerful an influence is exerted by the mere words we commonly use to refer to things. But in any case, “science” is from Latin scientia, which simply means “knowledge.” Cardinal Mercier observes a trend in his day, which is now quite pervasive. The explosion of the positive sciences and the increasing accuracy of man’s investigative instruments, led to an increasing conviction that only such things as the positive sciences could examine and verify, empirically, were confidently known to be true, and merited the title of “science.”

Philosophy thus came to be viewed as a shadowy field of speculation and possibly mysticism, a smorgasboard of mere opinion. Yet if one considers, for a moment, that mathematical reasonings can be perceived as true by the mind, without needing to translate those reasonings into real-world operations, one can begin to perceive that the mind may know rational and philosophical truths as certainly as other sciences (or perhaps more certainly).

Well, then, what kind of science is it? The Cardinal explains:

Philosophy does not profess to be a particularized science, with a place alongside other such sciences, and with a restricted domain of its own for investigation; it comes after the particular sciences and ranks above them, dealing in an ultimate fashion with their respective objects, inquiring into their connections and the relations thereof, until finally it arrives at notions so simple that they defy analysis, and so general that there is no limit to their application. So understood, philosophy will exist as long as there are men endowed with the ability and energy to push the inquiry of reason to its furthest limit. So understood, it is a living fact, and has an history of more than two thousand years.

The Cardinal points out that those who doubt philosophy’s power to penetrate to such truths, who pride themselves on being “positivists” (on the pretense that they deal only with positive facts), or “agnostics” (boasting that they do not concern themselves with what lies beyond immediate facts), still have their own general theories about things, and must take certain things for granted—i.e., on faith—which are requisite for their confidence in what knowledge they have.

Medieval philosophy

He continues, by pointing out the distinguishing feature of thought (i.e., the simplicity and universality of ideas), which also gives us the general notion of philosophy. What is this?

The human mind does not take the sum total of reality in at a glance (or, at a thought). We think discursively, when we think in our limited, human fashion. He uses the example of a copper-sulphate crystal. The man perceiving it does not know all about it at once; he perceives a degree of its unity by analogy, of course, but he also perceives its separate characteristics (it is blue, it is crystalline, it is hard, etc.), and would need to keep investigating and making many more distinctions, indeed, if he wanted to really understand all he could about it (of what atoms are its molecules made? why does it form in this manner? what is its origin? for what can it be used? etc.).

The separate consideration of a thing’s notes, is an abstractive thought process (from Latin abstrahere, “pull away”); the consideration of all these notes coinciding in one, integral object of the mind, is a unitive thought process. The extent of the notes an object of the mind has, is called the comprehension of an idea (from Latin comprehendere, “pull together), whereas the range of application an idea has (i.e., the greater or lesser number of things it can apply to) is called its extension (from Latin extendo, “stretch out”).

One can see that the comprehension and extension of an idea are inversely related; a simpler idea has a more general application, a complex idea is more specific. “Blue” is a very simple; it has a single note, a very small comprehension, and therefore its extension is very broad—“blue” can extend and apply to many things. But, “a thing extended in three dimensions of space, prism in shape, bluish in color, taken from the copper mine nearby, currently in my hand” is an idea with many more elements in its comprehension, and therefore its extension is rather specific, applying only to the copper-sulfate in my hand.

390px-Plato_Seneca_Aristotle_medieval

Since the simplicity and universality of ideas go hand-in-hand like this, one can see how, in order to explain anything, man’s mind must first consider a thing abstractly in its simplest components, breaking it down to the maximum extent possible, with a view to putting it all back together, thus explaining it as an whole by means of its simplest elements. The irreducibly simple, elementary objects of thought, by which other things are understood, are called principles (and, in some contexts, reasons). The Cardinal states:

Principles, or fundamental reasons, are the ultimate solutions to the problems the human mind inevitably proposes every time it sets itself to reflect upon the world or upon itself. They supply the answers to the last why and wherefore that reason asks.

Continuing to paraphrase his thought, we can thus say that philosophy is the most general science; its field of study, involves the simplest principles of broadest extension, whereby all other objects of thought are explained. Of these principles and causes, Aristotle said: διὰ γὰρ ταῦτα καὶ ἐκ τούτων τἆλλα γνωρίζεται ἀλλ᾽ οὐ ταῦτα διὰ τῶν ὑποκειμένων (“for through and by these things, other things are known; but these things are certainly not known by their mere appearances”).

And with that, we make a beginning of philosophy.

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167 thoughts on “How Philosophy Can Revive Your Dormant Critical Thinking Skills”

  1. I attribute the decline of western society to the nihilists of the Frankfurt school and their “criticizing for the hell of it” Critical Theory. Critical Theory has infiltrated every aspect of society from schools to the media.
    An excellent title on the subject is written by classical music critic Michael Walsh titled “The Devil’s Pleasure Palace: The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West” here is an excellent summary and review… http://www.nationalreview.com/article/423707/michael-walsh-devils-pleasure-palace

    1. They certainly came and kicked us while we were down. But the rot had set in about 400 years prior to them.

        1. Yes, but I’d rather get there when we get there, rather than offend a bunch of people before I get the chance to lay it all out!
          Although, the real roots of the crisis are probably shortly prior to that, during the time of the Council of Basel/Ferrara/Florence and the collapse of the Byzantine Empire.

  2. I love philosophy, but don’t think for a moment that philosophy and religion are to be mutually exclusive.
    Personally, I don’t believe in religion or any deities. But as a whole religion is good for a certain percentage of people in society, so I’m not one of those religion bashers.

    1. It’s really a question of the feasibility of your conscious transferring to another plane, or ‘afterlife’, somehow upon death. That is the faith part.
      As it’s physical impossible, it would imply a creator has deliberately limited our perceptive abilities (and tools as such), but he can manipulate reality however he wants.
      So if you believe in God, we are living in a simulation, an artificial realm. Even time isn’t real. Our worship methods are primitive and diminutive beyond belief compared to the shear complexity and magnitude of a creator. I believe that’s why a monk could live in isolation for years or whatever. They believe ‘life’ isn’t reality anyways, so not having sex and being alone aren’t big losses to them.
      The movie ‘Donnie Darko’ covered this in an entertaining way.
      Sadly, apparently a creator has sentenced us to 50 years of marriage with a nagging, ageing, saggy orifice known as a ‘wife’ if we want to stay in his good graces. Belief in an afterlife is the absolutely only rationale any man could possibly have for getting married these days.

      1. nice post homie. the last part is pure laughs lol.
        I think a lot of our (mankind) thinking that there has to be an absolute deity that has created all, boils down to the fact that everything we have ever seen has a definite source of creation from man. we’re thinking that our level of understanding is magnificent. so the easy conclusion is, there has to be something that’s like man times a million that created this reality as we know it, and there has to be some big purpose for it, since every creation has a purpose.
        its hard for us to wrap our minds around the idea, that what was said above is not an indisputable fact. because it throws our mind into a does not compute loop of difficult to grasp possibilities.
        one of the most mind blowing things to me is that no one can tell you what reality is, other than what they perceive it to be, which opens the possibility that life’s only meaning or purpose is that which you attach to it from your own level of perception.
        I always ask ppl this question when a discussion of life, death, and reality comes up: what if we all are already dead and this IS the after life?

        1. I think you’re a little too “deep” for your own good, man. Drop the ganja and pick up a manual of Scholastic Philosophy!

        2. That’s not really “deep” at all. It’s just an observation of religious and theistic motivators. And even if we binged for an entire week on “scholastic” philosophy, neither of us, or anyone else who studies it can tell you what reality is for certain.

        3. Well, that’s why I put “deep” in quotes.
          Furthermore, the point of this course in Philosophy, will be to teach us that we can perceive what reality is, for certain.

        4. All you are saying is in a failed attempt to be snarky — you perceived someone saying something fairly simple, to be someone trying to come across as “deep”. Which says a lot about you.
          And after everything you said, no, we don’t (including your scholastic philosophy course) know what reality is, and this includes the greatest scientific minds of the world who have done things like coining string theory and such, and they still don’t know what reality is. The course will just rehash the already established theories of what reality could be (i.e. brain in a jar, solipsism, computer simulation, quantum theory, hologram projection, etc). Peace.

        5. No, I didn’t perceive you as trying to be deep; I was just having a laugh with you in good fun. But either way, I’m sure it discloses all the deepest secrets of my being.
          Scientists are usually philosophically illiterate, which is why they so often misunderstand both the principles and the implications of their work.
          The series is designed to present the philosophical system which has been routinely suppressed in Western society for almost a century, now; so, no, it won’t be going into all of the latter-day nihilistic, positivist, deconstructionist theories that justify relativism and the relief of agnosticism.

      2. Well reasoned, provided you accept the principle that the physical is all that actually exists. The possibility of numenous (metaphysical) existence might yet remain, and it is here that spiritual considerations begin.
        If the numenous exists, this does not mean that the physical does not (as the simulation theory proposes). Rather, the Christian belief asserts that the numenous existence of God logically preceeds and provides existence to the physical.
        The principle of dualism asserts that we are beings that have both numenous existence (the spirit) and physical existence (the body). We are not spirits bound to a body, but both spirit and body, whose existence is only complete by their connection. That’s why wiser Christians look forward to the resurrection of the dead, when the numenous is bound to perfect and eternal physical existence, rather than heaven (when the numenous is detached from the physical).
        Note that the existence of the numenous cannot be proven nor disproven by physical means, due to its nature (but the idea that the physical DOES exist can). It can only be considered philosophically and either accepted or rejected.

        1. then how is it ‘free choice’ between good and evil if we cannot remotely comprehend or visualize the consequences of afterlife heaven, hell, or purgatory. We can only vaguely theorize and speculate.
          i.e.
          Don’t jump out of the plane without double checking your parachute!
          Don’t shoot heroin, especially with a dirty needle!
          Don’t travel to Somalia, you’ll die!
          Don’t take out too much debt!
          For example, these are free choices humans can make because we understand the consequences either way, to some extent. Humans will make choices based on consequences, and their understanding of the consequences.
          I believe at a Fatima appearance one of the kids (allegedly) was shown a visualization of hell.
          Don’t you think if everyone knew what hell (consequence) looked like, FAR more would choose a moral path?
          How can a deity demand humans to make the ‘right’ choices when we have little grasp of the consequences?
          That’d be like selling a retarded person a high-interest loan. If they can’t really understand the depth of consequences in the first place, it’d be cruel to hold them to the letter of it.

        2. People will find reasons to do what they want. How many atheists, upon seeing hell, would be terrified in the moment and for a short time afterwards and then gradually begin to rationalize what they saw, saying that perhaps it was merely a nightmare or an illusion, or that, because God was not willing to show them the vision again on demand, it could not have happened. Faith is a virtue, and, for the most part, those who do not possess it cannot be given it merely by being frightened. If God constantly imposed himself upon people there would be no free will and, consequently, no real virtue.

        3. The atheist reporters at Fatima – when the sun moved – converted to Christianity for life.
          Why else would Mary show the child a vision of hell?
          Because she wanted them to understand.
          Obviously, Christianity builds the best societies. We can plainly see the consequences of certain sins ruining your life.
          But the point is, our ‘life’ is peanuts and insignificant to the afterlife. That’s why they preach to ignore your bodily urges, your envy, disgust, hatred, etc….our animal indulgences are irrelevant because the afterlife is far more profound.
          So hell would be far worse than any earthly consequences of a collapsed society.
          But demanding humans to comprehend the consequences of genocide and masturbation both being mortal sins and equally punishable in hell is hysterically absurd.
          ‘Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the FIRES OF HELL’.
          The church has to scare us in the only way they can. Since we don’t have a visual aid they can simply toss out vague threats, warnings, and promises of a paradise even though we can’t really comprehend either.
          That’s why I think it’s enormously absurd some were given the visual aid ergo they know the *real* consequence whereas the rest of us can’t truly understand in that way.

        4. “The atheist reporters at Fatima – when the sun moved – converted to Christianity for life.
          Why else would Mary show the child a vision of hell?
          Because she wanted them to understand.”
          You assume that “Mary” was the Virgin Mary and not a demonic imposter. Ever since the Great Schism, when the Latins fell from Orthodoxy, “Mary” has been appearing to Roman Catholics and encouraging them to dubious spiritual practices and doctrines. The atheist reporters converted to Roman Catholicism? And since then Roman Catholicism has embraced pan-heresy and should, post Vatican II, be described as Post-Christian like the Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses.

        5. It’s not that the Church teaches us to ignore our bodily functions, as to understand that: a) concupiscence often corrupts natural urges and turns them against nature; b) man’s animal nature at present is pressed upon by exigencies of the Fall; c) therefore, we need to discipline our urges and keep them subject to reason and grace, and should even aspire to strive for the heavenly and angelic mode of life, which is natural to the Resurrected man.
          We don’t need to understand hell, in order to understand the difference between revolt against nature and Being, and harmony with nature and Being.

        6. The Blessed Virgin, at Fatima, came precisely to warn that the apostasy was coming. Indeed, the message of Fatima, the surrounding events, and the statements of Sister Lucy, who most often conversed with the blessed Virgin, were in fact the reasons why I was able to become a Catholic. The whole story of Fatima is central to understanding what is happening in the Church and the world, today. She came to warn the Church about was going to happen just after 1960; the date she gave for her warning to be published, when the first anti-pope of modern times, the heretic John XXIII, refused to publish it, combined with the rest of Her message and Lucy’s statements, reveals all.
          You should know that apparitions of the Virgin have always occurred, and the Orthodox also recognize some of these. They are appearing more frequently as the world draws to an end because, as the Saints have said, just as the Blessed Theotokos preceded Her Son in His first advent, so she will play a prominent role in ushering in His second.

      3. False dichotomy though. Both this world and another could be real. Or they could both be two parts that make one. Or God exists and there is no afterlife. Or or or alternatives

      4. Just so you know, your description departs seriously from the beliefs of the Catholic Faith, at least. Faith is not “making assumptions about the afterlife,” but is a supernaturally infused virtue that has God, the First Truth, for its immediate object, and all other truths believed on account of the First Truth, for its remote objects.
        Knowing God to be infinite and beyond us, we believe that the Mass is God’s act on our behalf unto Himself, and the Sacrifice there offered is itself Infinite – God is both the Priest and Victim, Offerer and Offered. We are aware that anything offered by mere men to God would be as deficient as you describe.
        The solitude of the monk is based on the profound conviction that life is real, and that it is about the Unum Necessarium. God nowhere commands marriage to remain in His good graces; indeed, He has clearly stated that marriage is the lower path.

  3. Philosophy is a science, in the pure sense of the term—i.e., a field of knowledge.
    If you take it literally, yes. And the same can be said about social sciences, political science, architectural history, art history, and gender studies. However, when people refer to “science” they are generally not referring to any of the aforementioned “sciences”.
    Philosophers tend to have a preference for starting with their conclusions, and work their asses off to prove these. They have that in common with religion. When it comes to trying to figure out what the world is like, philosophers have the tendency to argue about what the world should be like.
    Sciences in the STEM fields were born as a rejection of this method. It is their goal to figure out what the world is really all about. The primary tool of STEM sciences is actual experimentation.
    Obviously it is not black and white like that and philosophy is not without merit. For example, many of the late Bruce Lee’s statements were derived from his own studies of various schools of philosophy.

    1. In a nutshell, yes and no. Philosophy used to be what you described, dialectical reasoning of a conclusion based on synthesis of thesis and antithesis. What modern philosophy has become, is as Aurelius described above, basically tearing apart existing philosophical and metaphysical systems and leaving nothing but disorder in their wake.

        1. Because I believe it reflects the “philosophy” of our time, modern western culture starting sometime in the 18-19th century. Previous philosophers were about reasoning and articulating universal truths, modern times are about the (attempted) destruction of these truths.
          In a similar vein, art produced at the start of western culture (and before) is starkly different to the modern art we have now. I can’t even call it art.
          I believe it all relates back to the cycle of civilisation; that we are nearing the end of western culture.

        2. True, it does adhere to the cycle of civilization(the one espoused by Vico?). Shouldn’t we call these thinkers sophists or rhetoricians, not philosophers?

        3. We should call them antichrists, for Sophists were mostly in it for themselves, but these people are in it for spite and nihilism.

        4. There could be a great point to make about differentiating “Antichrists” from their cultural elders, the “Sophists”. Antichrists use and appeal to the Cartesian ego, while Sophists make their appeal to the young that are hungry to learn and can not differentiate between good and bad reason.

        5. Yes, and the Sophists also appealed to well-meaning townsfolk who were trying to decide on the best course of action. I always think of Plato questioning Gorgias, on whether the townsfolk should consult shipbuilders or sophists, if they need to discuss building up the navy. “Shipbuilders, obviously.” But if that’s the case, why is Gorgias so proud of rhetoric and its ability to persuade the people to listen to men with no experience in shipbuilding? Socrates points out the obvious truth: the sophist is about gaining power and esteem even if it means hurting the people by dissuading them from consulting with truly knowledgeable men.
          The modern antichrists would answer the question, I suppose, as follows: “What’s so great about ships anyway? The navy is a symbol of Athenian privilege. The problem is the systemic evil and privilege of Athenians for even having a navy in the first place. We must dispossess the native elders of their power and listen to our enemies’ demands with compassion.”

        6. Great point about the Antichrist and his Nihilism. The great Dostoevsky’s achievement is showing us the familial/cultural duplicitous of Antichrist in his many guises. Demons presents us with a “genealogy” of Nihlism, while Bros K shows how Nihilists umendingly suffer. I regard Plato and Dos as the two healthiest artistic writers of The West.
          Gorgias and Statesman are my prefered Platonic writings displaying sophism.

    2. Nominalism is deeply flawed as it ignores the idea or dimension of metaphysical and beyond the senses reality. That’s why science is so confused these days, it can never arrive at an entirely holistic solution to anything.

    3. “Science” is a subset of philosophy revolving around the imminently testable physical realm. It can never go beyond what can be seen and tested, because to do so is to go beyond the physical realm to the realm of ideas (philosophy).
      Proper study of philosophy encompasses both the “is” and the “should be.” That’s why Aristotle wrote both the Physics and the Metaphysics – the study of what may be observed, and meditations on the consequences of those observations.

      1. Very good comment! Yes, what most people call “science” nowadays, is actually dependent upon philosophy – though modern scientists are often intellectual and philosophical illiterates, not even understanding the principles upon which their empirical assumptions are based. “Science,” so understood, is certainly subject to Philosophy. That is why Philosophy was always called The Queen of the Sciences.

    4. Be careful not to confuse philosophers and sophists.
      Philosophy is about finding the truth, about how the world actually works. Sophism is about convincing people that your argument is correct using arguments that sound like philosophy.

      1. “Be careful not to confuse philosophers and sophists”
        Interesting point. How would categorize someone like Stefan Molyneux? I found his writings to be interesting, and in particular this very insightful description of human condition:
        Watch “The Story of Your Enslavement” on YouTube

        1. His vids are informative and useful. He is on the right side of the immigration issue (don’t import hundreds of thousands of low smv military age men from countries we are at war with you idiots!). Only major flaw is that he doesn’t seem to fully understand the female mind and he may be too much of a pacifist. Still, he is one of the 6 people/sites I check daily.

        2. There is controversey surrounding Molyneux with regards to the defoo scandal not too long ago. He may be a bit of a narcisist, but I’ll bet anything that all interesting thinkers since the greek philosophers had their dark sides.

        3. There is nothing inherently wrong with cutting ties to your family if that will be an overall benefit to your life. Some people simply do not work well together, blood or not. Sometimes it is simply a biological incompatibility, sometimes it is due to abuse in any of its forms (not just physical, psychological abuse is in a lot of ways far worse).
          That said, I don’t know the story. Got a link to the relevant vid(s)?
          As far as narcissism, gonna have to disagree. That word gets thrown around too much in our time with no real understanding of its meaning. Simply having a high opinion of yourself is not narcissism if it is warranted, and in this case it appears to be. He simply sees humans for what they are, mostly a mass of idiots who go through their daily routine without much thought. The part that people don’t like is that he says it. The truth is not popular and never has been, especially when the truth is about YOU!
          The defining trait of a narcissist is that they only feel good when people around them are miserable, or at least worse off than they are. He is actively trying to help people improve their lives. That makes him the polar opposite of a narcissist.

        4. If you google his name and the word “defoo” youll get relevant links etc. And hell, I have only one relative I stay in contact with in my family simply because my family are pro prgressive social democrat types it sickens me at times to be around them when they sound off about politics. But I’m reserving judgement on Stefan because I too quite like his philosophies. He has also an interesting (albeit longish) two part series on youtube of “What Is Art?” which I also enjoy.
          One aspect about Molyneux I particularly find interesting, unlike most great philosophers in the past, is that he is NOT a shit-sucking leftie like the majority of great thinkers. I’m not sure if he has a proper understanding of anarcho-capitalism, but I’m inclined to agree with anti stateism myself.

        5. I looked it up yesterday. Found a “molyneuxexposed” site or something. Went to the most recent comment (late 2015) where a guy was talking about how Molyneux uses “facts” in some of his vids. I pointed out that it is actually facts he use, without the sneer quotes, and that statistics describe reality. The comment never made it through their approval process. That site, a least, was run by sjws and for sjws so far as I could see, which weakens the case against him to my mind.

    5. This myth that scientists only care about knowing the truth about the world is highly ridiculous. Not only are they more conformist than some high-school kids (dare challenge Einstein on something, they will act as if you insulted their father), they will take any shitty explanation that doesn’t coincide with their previous worldviews because they want to think they can figure everything out, as long as of course, that explanation they take for granted is something boring and lame that their mediocre minds aren’t scared from.
      It isn’t postmodernist philosophy that ruined philosophy and science, it’s scientists and science-educators being philosophically-illiterate imbecilic morons (such as Stephen Hawking or Neil DeGrasse Tyson, or even some earlier ones such as Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov), that get their dicks sucked by shitty Millennials (best example that comes to my mind is that 9fag site that overrates everything that is already extremely overrated) so many people that want to think themselves smart go repeating their bullshit worldviews mindlessly. Great scientists such as Werner Heisenberg, Edwin Schrodinger, Nikola Tesla etc… would cry at the stupidity we see today.
      The Idea of Progress is one of the worst things to happen to philosophy, with logical positivism being a symptom of a sub-mediocre boring mind that just happens to maybe be good at math.
      Simpletons accept such an Idea and that’s why we have terrible counter-arguments such as “It’s the current year!”, and a bunch of pseudo-intellectual pretentious atheists, I mean, rational, educated, freethinkers™ who vitriolically oppose religion while substituting one very effective faith with several horrible ones, such as ‘progress’, ‘super-smart aliens’, ‘humanism’ etc..
      The second I see someone say something like: “I don’t get why emotions matter, how are they relevant when we’re up there conquering the stars?” I want to execute every philosophically-illiterate scientist who created such horrible views.
      Who the fuck is “we”, i don’t have anything common with morons like that. Humanism is a false god, we are not all one with a universal purpose, and whatever purpose is related to ‘space’ is quite often shitty escapism. Why the fuck is ‘conquering stars’ important?
      Emotions are the source of everything that matters, including illusions like the one above.
      Also, one of the most stupid things ever written, “The Pale Blue Dot” by Carl Sagan. “The Great Alexander is not so great after-all because there’s a lot of pointless matter in the Universe”. Fuck that motherfucking idiot.

      1. Not sure what you meant about emotions being the source of everything that matters, but I agree entirely with you on the rest.

        1. Sometimes it’s a rational judgment; when I am emotionally drained, the things I reckon to be important to me remain so – and often emotions lead me to neglect what really does matter to me.
          But, I think I understand what you’re getting at; you read values as an emotional attachment to the good (insofar as one understands it). Ideally, yes; practically, I think this often eludes us in our infirmity.

        2. I just cannot buy that values and feelings are rational judgements, it makes no sense, when you get to the root of the value you regard rational you’ll see about its true non-rational nature. Rational thinking can be a tool for acting upon/for those values though.

        3. And maybe I’m not explaining it too well, but Id say the source of values is emotions/feelings, values are a category of feeling themselves.

        4. Certain values are so instinctive, that a man feels them before he judges them, certainly. But, when I don’t want to say my Office or Rosary, or drive an hour and an half to Mass, and I do it anyway, I don’t “feel” my value for Mass and prayer. Sometimes, to be sure, I do “feel” these values, emotionally. But in many of the most important values, we discern them, usually with some difficulty, after reflection. And we find that they stand firm, whether we feel them or not. To say that a value is an emotion, is to deprive it of its real value, if we think that a value should be based on what is true and good.

        5. Emotions are the most important things that exist, being the source of importance itself, so you’re not “depriving” it, you’re exalting it. If anything, it’s rationality that takes something and deprives it from its profoundness. And as I said, when you go to the root of your values, whether the ones you accept or discern, you’ll see that the reason is emotional to begin with. Just ask yourself “why, why, why” until you reach the source of it and cannot ask more why’s, you’ll see it’s non-rational.

        6. Ah. Well, that’s where I profoundly disagree, and my series on philosophy is heading precisely towards a demonstration that all of the “whys” do lead somewhere rational.

    6. As we’ll discover, Catholic Scholastic Philosophy is not about working backwards from conclusions, but about rigorously examining first principles. And, our definition of “knowledge” here is not just “information in the head,” but, “things that are truly and certainly known.”
      Various, modern disciplines arrogate the term “science” to themselves, because Modernism and Positivism distorted Western culture to the point where only sciences rooted in empirical investigation were regarded as “truly and certainly known.” Thus, to appear to have the same dignity and certainty as was ascribed to these empirical sciences, entire bodies of clap-trap now describe themselves as sciences.
      Real philosophy fits the definition of a science, and that’s the kind of philosophy we’ll be doing, here.

  4. I would recommend anyone wanting to bring fourth their inate critical thinking skills. To cancel their cable subscription stop watching TV and whenever possible be alone in thought.
    Because when you stop being bombarded with distractions you will start to think by yourself.
    It’s fine to watch movies and series occasionally. You need not starve yourself of entertainment but the problem is when you let pervasive ads, sponsored messages and mainstream sentiment cloud your thought processes.
    The less attached you are from society at large the more you start to question and think about things you previously took for granted.

      1. I deleted my Facebook accounts about 6 weeks ago, best decision i’ve made in a long time. Social media is a black hole.

      2. For a long time I’ve maintained the argument that it allows me to remain in touch with friends, but in all honesty I don’t actually use it for that… I tend to be irritated by the newsfeed.

      3. Get Facebook Purity (Chrome), removes all that crap. Mostly just use it for messaging and events updates. Recently removed it and its messenger from my phone.

      4. Definitely. FB is an evil perpetrated on us. Also, once you’ve had an account you can’t get out of it unless you wipe your hard disk or get a new computer. It’s main purpose is to let data miners watch everything you do on the internet, turning your computer into a hub for advertisers or anyone else who pays them off.

    1. I have also found that reading works of older philosophers and analyzing their arguments/statements gives me much more to think about when I am alone. I would recommend a book my father lent me, Irrational Man: A Study in Existential Philosophy by William Barrett. It is less about the ancient greeks or enlightenment 18th century philosophers that are more well known. It is more for if you are into 19th and 20th century philosophy; I often find myself thinking of a few topics from it when I am sitting alone.

    2. I haven’t owned a tv for years. If you occasionally watch a series through rental or Netflix or something, it’s not only cheaper, but free of ads as well, which are pure poison. I highly endorse this thought.

    3. I agree. So much of what formed me, was reading the writings of clear thinkers, and spending lots of time walking in the Sonoran desert, alone.

    4. Yeah buddy. I haven’t had t.v. for years (other than a DVD player) and I spend most time reading and thinking. T.V. is mind-numbing.

  5. Other than Plato and German Idealist(specifically Hegel), I find most “Philosophers” to be completely useless. Please, could someone please convince me otherwise…

    1. Many are. It reminds me of this joke:
      A dean asks the head of the physics department to see him.
      “Why are you using so many resources? All those labs and experiments and whatnot, this is getting expensive! Why can’t you be more like mathematicians, they only need pens, paper and a trash bin. Or philosophers! They only need pens and paper!”

      1. I tend to think Plato’s dialogues encompass all the daffy sophists of any age or civilization. If you aren’t on the right path, there is a dullard in Plato’s Athens that speaks for you.

        1. This is why I appreciate the work of Plato. He doesn’t reveal or display, he just exposes the effect of bad thinking.

    2. Rene Decartes and Thomas Aquinas. Decartes is the famous “I think, therefore I am” guy. He was into the natural sciences as much as philosophy at a time when there was not such a large gulf between the two. Thomas Aquinas dabbled in philosophy as it related to Catholic belief.

      1. Descartes is good, but he is more of the “myth-maker” of the common, contemporary soul. I don’t find him edifying or enlightening.

      2. I’d say Aquinas more than “dabbled,” and dealt with the whole scope of philosophy, well beyond exclusively Christian revelation.

    3. Schopenhauer had a visceral opposition to Hegel accusing him (Hegel) of being a sell-out, preferring to speak to the paying crowd.
      Schopenhauer preferred to hole up in a little modest apartment and toil away for years in perfecting his “World as Will and Representation”. This book follows Kantian thought and incorporated a lot of Hindu philosophy.
      Somewhat simplistic, with numerous treatise dealing with day-to-day living make him a good guide.

    4. All the classic Greek and early Christian philosophers are worthy of study.
      Parmenides and Heraclitus opened the debate of whether reality is defined by existence (what “is”) or transition (the process of transformation that occurs throughout time).
      Zeno exposed paradoxes that were not fully addressed until the development of calculus.
      Socrates and Plato meditated on the nature of thought and reason.
      Aristotle identified the aspects that are essential to logic and science, and attempted to resolve the being/becoming debate with his principles of accidens and essences.
      The Apostle Paul used the frameworks of thought established by Plato and Aristotle to explain and reason through the Christian faith.
      Augustine extended the thoughts of Plato, and Thomas Aquinus extended the thoughts of Aristotle.
      It’s unwise to dismiss such thinkers out of hand, as many (most) modern philosophers do.

      1. T.
        Thank you for your summation. Always glad to see someone out can read and think. Yes, after Plato, I really enjoy Patristics(love it when it pops up here at ROK). Pseudo Dionysius and Greg Nyssa are my favorites. Yes, the others you mentioned are great, however, Plato and Hegel utterly subsume them.
        It is a personal favorite, and Nietzscean worshippers usually attempt to put me down, but I love reading Paul’s letters.

    5. Aristotle? Socrates?
      In current times, the only one I can think of is Stefan Molyneux. And he is more of a common sensist, but he is entertaining and has a lot of useful info.

      1. Good point. Any contemporary “thinker” I read must have a great sense of humor. Most particupar though, I look for prudence and eschew all radicalism.

    6. You know the “it’s the current year” crap progressive libtards say? Hegel is a factor to blame for that.
      Nietzsche is a great philosopher because he emphasizes romantic life-enhancement in an age where mechanistic interpretations were making the world dull, something he fiercely criticized, even more so now, in an age where many scientists, including some of the most highly regarded, subscribe to lame philosophies such as logical positivism, reductionist materialism, and every other sub-mediocrity I can’t quite recall right now, maybe because I don’t really want to.
      He also seems to be the philosopher who is least fooled by grammar. Heidegger is good too.
      Modern-day philosophers I like Hubert Dreyfus, and everyone else who can crush those morons who believe you’re going to have super-intelligent, emotion filled AI’s just because they exist in some crappy sci-fi story, who gives a shit about logic and philosophical truths?

      1. You think Dreyfuss is great? He is an analytic, nothing more. You thinking highly of Dreyfuss explains your awful readings of Hegel and Nietzsche. You must have attended a UC.

        1. Sublime arguments. No wonder you think only Hegel and Plato are good philosophers, you’re terrible at thinking yourself. There is absolutely no flaw at my reading of Nietzsche, and I don’t know Hegel’s philosophy well I admit that, but he’s widely regarded as one of the founders of the Idea of Progress. Fuck off now.

        2. Are you a twenty a something female trolling? “Fuck off now”? Read Phenomenology of Spirit from beginning to end you will surely see that he is not responsible for “progress” as you may know it.

        3. That’s fine, like I said, I dont know hin well, so if I was wrong I’ll admit it. My understanding of Nietzsche however is great.

    7. Have your read the Stoics i.e. Marcus Aurelius et al? How about Buddhism e.g life is suffering ,attachment and desire impermanence etc??

      1. Love reading them, but I find Stoics to be essayists and original Theravad Buddhist writings to mythological, like Homer.

  6. Do we live in a civilization where any body of knowledge could be held as “sacred”? What “wisdom” can we love?

    1. If the culture has lost its ability to hold things sacred, or to love wisdom, then who cares what the “civilization” thinks? Make a break with it.

  7. Since I have started reading here along with Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, I have noticed my critical thinking improve more than I could I have imagined.

  8. I’d like to understand Hegel but I had to admit my level wasn’t good enough to understand his books.
    What philosophers can I read to progressively get there?

    1. hegel’s actual writings are notoriously difficult to understand. There are some very accessible introductory texts though by Charles Taylor, Shlomo Avneri. It may not be the place to start, but his ideas are pretty central for philosophy from Marx onwards

  9. At university I had an excellent grounding in the development of western philosophy, starting from the pre-Socratics through to Wittgenstein, at which point philosophy stopped and postmodernism started.
    The “Later Wittgenstein” killed western philosophy as a living tradition.
    One of our textbooks was by Anthony Flew, a man for whom the study and practice of philosophy led from atheism to theism.
    The politics of every age rest on the philosophical schools of that age. The politics of our age rest on the anti-philosophical chaos that is postmodernism.
    There needs to be a return to a solid philosophical foundation to politics. I fear the alternative is Islamic theocracy.

    1. Wittgenstein’s later philosophy blew the old logical positivism out the water though. Stalwarts like Russell and Ayer found themselves easily dismissed by the new focus on language – I believe Ayer himself was terrified of Wittgenstein.
      But the language turn was happening anyway. Subsequent critical / post-modernist thinkers exploited (the later) Wittgenstein for their own critical / destructive ends but I’m not Wittgenstein himself bears any real blame for that.

  10. Re: the claims of postmodernism ruining philosophy. Yes and no. Philosophy departments have not been overrun by postmodern philosophy, but the latter does reign supreme in media, cultural and gender studies departments, which attract far more students now than proper philosophy. So perhaps the real problem is not that philosophers haven’t shown enough resistance to postmodern bollocks, but that students are less interested in putting any real effort into their learning?
    I’ve known quite a few philosophy lecturers and Phd students in my time and none of them are social justice warrior types. In fact, I’d say at least most of them would agree that modern feminism is about supremacy rather than equality. They also didn’t buy into that simplistic idea that racism=power+privilege. You can’t really get away with that shit in philosophy as easily as you can in other humanities disciplines because you have to argue your case logically. Most of that ‘dead white guy’s rhetoric’ that gets around now did not come from philosophy departments.
    The first time I encountered the Frankfurt School was in cultural studies. I did come across Adorno when I was studying Philosophy Of Culture, but the journal articles I read were extremely critical of him. My lecturer at the time did not rate the Frankfurt School at all, and he thought Marcuse’s Eros and Civilization was complete nonsense.
    Anyway, postmodern philosophy, along with the Frankfurt School, is easy because it allows you to ignore history and live in your own egocentric bubble. That’s why it’s appealing to young kids. It saves you from engaging seriously with the history of ideas. You can basically start from the 1950’s in terms of reading and ignore anything that was written before that time.
    Its appeal is obvious, especially to the typical weak leftist mind.

    1. There is nowhere more inhospitable to postmodernist thinking in Academia than a philosophy school in the Analytic tradition.

    2. a lot of traditional philosophy is difficult to read owing to the nature of the material or sometimes opaque writing styles but with critical / post-modern philosophy the works are often deliberately written in order to be difficult and opaque, something which is anathema to the kinds of philosophers who pride themselves on clear-thinking. Post-modern writing style is however perfectly suited to mystifying, bedazzling and hence easily indoctrinating the student.
      In that vain I thoroughly recommend the expose ‘Intellectual Impostures’ by Bricard and Sokal

      1. Yes, but the ‘opaqueness’ of postmodern philosophy breeds a sort of intellectual ‘flexibility’ that traditional philosophy doesn’t. That’s what makes it easier to engage with for newcomers.
        I certainly found Foucault and Derrida easier to read than Kant or Hegel.
        I’m familiar with Sokal.

        1. I actually rate Foucault quite highly – whether you agree or disagree, his writings makes sense. Derrida, on the other hand, is generally horrible to read
          Most of these intellectual stars of the left also seem to maintain their authority by being difficult to pin down or discuss except on their own terms, which is why there’s often a kind of cult-like awe involved in their consumption. Judith Butler is a case in point. Martha Nussbaum did a good critique of her style

        2. I rated Foucault highly back in the 90’s, but now I’m a little bit more skeptical. It’s difficult to get a clear reading on him. On some level he was responsible for a lot of bullshit leftism we see today, but on another level he he was clearly misunderstood by social activists.
          It’s true what you say about the ‘necessity’ in scholarly circles to criticise these intellectual superstars of the left on their ‘own terms’. If you look carefully though, you’ll notice that the vast majority of academics making these arguments do not have backgrounds in the topics necessary to mount an effective critique of Foucault because they they simply don’t have the knowledge, but it cuts both ways. Most media/gender studies types don’t know shit about real philosophy.

        3. Foucault said a lot of interesting things, but his ideas were of their time, and probably somewhat overstated rather than necessarily wrong. Sure, we can think in terms of ‘regimes of truth’ or whatever but are we really completely beholden to them? I’d say ‘relativism’ is due for a major critique but having said that I suspect there is a lot that could be usefully borrowed from Foucault and directed at the left. Firstly his criticism of power and marxist concepts of power / dominance etc. can be used against the hard left and feminism (which currently gets to use his ideas unchallenged) . Secondly, the left lie and conceal to push their beliefs: genealogies (admittedly something Foucault’s borrowed himself) could be used to destabilise the “official” accounts of how progressivism works: which is to say, Foucault could easily be used to explode the veneer of progressivism being down to grassroots democracy etc

        4. We have had this discussion before I believe. You are correct: the left may align themselves with Foucault, but their understanding of how to ‘fight’ power is actually closer to Marx.

        5. hah! I didn’t mean it in _that_ way. It’s always good to be able to discuss how their ideas can be used against them. I just wish somebody actually went ahead and did it already! Although I have read on some websites how the Foucault’s understanding of power is misunderstood by the social justice crowd, and these guys weren’t ‘right wingers’ either.
          By infiltrating social institutions, the ‘progressive’ left have certainly taken it to the next level, but the consequences of this sort of activism–ones that were clearly recognised by Foucault–is that you just end up with a whole new set of power relations that could actually be worse than the previous regime; and that was actually one of his biggest criticisms of Marxism too.
          Utopians don’t get that though. They think as long as they keep pushing and persisting that they will get the desired results, but the 20th century has demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt for any rational person that that is complete bullshit

        6. I studied discourse theory some years back and was thinking of maybe focusing in that area myself. The problem was that all the supervisors with expertise re. doing a genealogy – were leftists / feminists and would have looked dimly at any kind of deviation from social justice type aims. I think Foucauldian techniques can still be employed for ‘conservative’ ends, but that’s not going to happen very readily within say a social studies / psychology department.
          I do think Foucault could be one of the best weapons we have re. overturning the – simply wrong – marxist ideas of how power and domination work. The fact that the left has been able to exploit both views on power, while igoring the contradictions, ignores the fact that Foucault was explicitly targeting marxism as wrong-headed in failing to recognise that power circulates, is found everywhere, and needs to be understood as local and historico-specific rather than as ‘menz have power, wiminz are powerless’ etc. which is the retarded orthodoxy of the moment.
          As you indicate we need to be looking at the new power relations that have formed, including through the left’s march through the institutions. Leftist critiques were designed to de-stabilise the basis of traditional forms of power. Fair enough, but now its time to direct the spotlight onto the foundations of leftist power relations. Those foundations are IMO very shaky

        7. That’s precisely what’s wrong with it. Truth and the first principles of reality are not “flexible,” so a philosophy which lends intellectual “flexibility,” rather than lending a rigor and sharpness to thought, is failing spectacularly. It is hard for most minds to penetrate accurately to first principles.

    3. That is true for me – I am close friends with a philosophy student and he really thinks extremely logically. You can say anything to him and he will always maintain an open mind and consider it in the highest logical standard.

    4. Yes, it’s rather hit and miss. For example, my “Contemporary Moral Problems” course at University (which fulfilled one of these stupid “GE” requirements they all have now, for the purpose of bilking us for more cash), had a sound, traditional grad-student teaching it. We had a good rapport. But, every now and then, if he was gone, another grad student would step in and cover – he was a real idiot. I tried taking an Aristotle course in Grad School, to fulfill a program requirement, and found that it was packed to the gills with insufferable intellectual masturbators, who didn’t really know what they were talking about, but used it as an opportunity to grandstand and share their favorite quotes and “ideas” from counter-culture philosophical schools. It was insufferable, and I left.
      You’re right to point out that the state of modern philosophy exactly corresponds to the state of modern art, music and dance: people want to feel profound, creative and cultured, but they really have neither the talent nor the work ethic to be such a thing. So, “avant-garde” becomes the criterion of intellectual credibility, despite the fact that their work is only avant-garde because folk natural raise their guard against whatever is offensively stupid and arrogant.

    5. What I think has plagued philosophy departments is not postmodernism, but materialism. Materialism has an extremely large amount of challenges from science and even just the existence of experience (look up Chalmer’s Hard Problem if you don’t believe me on this one). It’s led to beliefs such as Daniel Dennett’s belief that the mind doesn’t even exist (eliminative materialism), and tons of goal post moving in physics regarding the measurement problem and nonrealism. Right now, most people in academia take it for granted as true, despite the fact that there are outright empirical contradictions to its truth. People should be informed that there are alternatives to materialism out there other than the self-refuting substance dualism, alternatives such as idealism, panpsychism, and neutral monism, all of which not only explain and fit more data than materialism, but even open the doors to spirituality by requiring the existence of the mind as essentially ontologically primitive. These even provide a basis for objective morality being as real as the physical world. People should know the strengths and weaknesses of these different types of ontological systems, as well as the arguments for it. These are things that should be taught in middle school or high school, along with “how” to understand or write logical syllogisms. This would allow the public to know a method by which to directly discern truth, and give people of religions valid methods of addressing skeptics, and would allow scientists to get funding to study phenomena that as of now are currently dismissed a priori regardless of methods or statistical significance of studies of said phenomena. It would do society immense favors.

  11. The Great Courses has some excellent material on philosophy and critical thinking. Unfortunately, they are quite expensive.

    1. Professor Daniel Robinson’s “Great Ideas of Philosophy” Lectures are available online in mp3s, together with a .pdf of his lecture notes/summaries. I won’t post a link for fear that it get taken down (it’s probably pirated), but enterprising fellas may be able to hunt it down with some web-sleuthing.

      1. Robinson is one of my favorite lecturers. I really enjoyed his material.
        “Introduction to Greek Philosophy” by David Roochnik is a good starter course as is “Masters of Greek Thought” by Robert Bartlett.

  12. Philosophy trains the mind which gives you the ability to create your own narrative and portal upon the vista of reality which is manipluated by all types of forces in the modern world. It makes you a free, or, perhaps slightly freer type of man, in essence it teaches you the difference between being a slave and the obverse.

    1. Merely knowing how to structure an argument gives you a tool in how to dismantle bullshit. I’m grateful for studying philosophy for that alone.

    2. Perhaps I just misunderstand you, but, to me, “creating your own narrative” is precisely what selfish and unphilosophical people do. Philosophy is about perceiving reality and conforming to it, regardless of what narrative you may personally wish to embrace.

      1. Creating a “narrative” or viewpoint outside the status quo. By the way many great thinkers and Doctors of the church have been extremely selfish. Every human being is hard wired to be selfish in some shape or manner, only a complete fool is never, ever, selfish.

        1. Well, the Doctors of the Church are Saints, which means they practiced virtue with the assistance of supernatural grace to an heroic degree; I don’t doubt that they sometimes made mistakes, but I’m not sure “extremely selfish” could coexist with that level of holiness!

  13. Philosophy, put simply, is “How to think.”
    1% of people think.
    2% of people think they think.
    97% of people would rather die than think.

  14. The modern day leftist youth does not want to be told how to think because they think they are entitled to everything.
    This is why they think they can see everyone’s motives; the idea of not knowing others thoughts intrudes on their entitlement.
    This is why they want multiculturalism. The idea that they would be excluded from different ethnic groups also perturbs them.
    This is why they think that they should be handed a job after college. The idea of having to fight for anything other than their own entitlement or things that push it forward confuses and angers them.
    Great article. Keep strong for the fast.

  15. Here’s some free philosophy:
    Life never gets easier, it just gets less hard.
    It’s free. However, if you feel compelled, I’m about to open a Gofundme account.

  16. The Best is the Middle Ages
    To learn Philosophy from the Middle Ages however requires a bit of background. That is the Pre Socratics Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus. But there is also a need to supplement them with Post Middle Ages. And this part is hard. The idea of learning philosophy after the Middle Ages is on one hand dangerous because philosophy went off into post modern and other crazy directions. I had to do a lot of work to sift through it all and find the strands of sense.
    Briefly, after the Middle Ages philosophy got divided between England (the Empiricists) and Europe the Rationalists. Kant came along and made a compromise. But his solution was unsatisfactory so the German idealist came along to continue the work of Kant. It is this strand of thought that is important as a supplement to philosophy of the Middle Ages,

  17. Question: where do you rate atheist philosophers? Heraclitus, Camus, Russell, Schopenhauer, Vanini? Do they have as much to teach us as christian philosophers?

    1. Whom were you asking? If to me, then I have an answer. I have great respect for Heraclitus and Schopenhauer. The Will is just his way of putting it. Mainly I go with the Kant Fries School- http://www.friesian.com/school.htm that borrows from Schopenhauer to build its system. As for Heraclitus I see him and all the pre Socratic as blazing the path to Plato. The Unchanging forms from the world that its very essence is change.

    2. Nietzsche is the best atheist philosopher. Camus makes several mistakes but his Absurdism showcases pretty good how retarded atheists who call themselves ‘rational’ are (If there is no God the Universe does not make rational sense, and that is fine as long as they would just fucking admit it).
      Schopenhauer is too pessimistic but he’s sorta funny.
      Russell is a liberal, pacifist, humanist. Typical low-testosterone garbage.

      1. Wow tell me what you really think! 🙂 Well I’m an atheist and I fully admit the universe is quite irrational and without design.

        1. Then you’re rare. At least as far as internet people go. Most atheists I meet irl are infinitely better than the ones in the internet, most of whom are dipshits. Then again I don’t live in the U.S or Western Europe so I don’t really know if it’s the same everywhere else.

        2. Just a friendly warning about groupthink. Lumping people together, and judging them, instead of debating ideas, can be very dangerous. For example, American Christians are some of the least Christ-like people there are. That has nothing to do with the truths found in Christianity. Same with atheism.

        3. Well I can tell the difference between ideas and people, and it’s the people that tick me off. There can be a same idea approached completely different by two people that believe it.

        4. Yes. There’s nothing more pitiful than an atheist making arguments that rely on concepts of justice and truth.

    3. Philosophers have little to teach us, Christian or otherwise, save as they are clear prisms refracting the light of truth; truth teaches us. Philosophers rarely get everything wrong, and so one can learn from all… and, one can even discern the truth more clearly by seeing the errors in bad thinking.
      So, to begin, philosophers who abandon truth or are skeptical of truth, have little to teach us, save as being an admonitory spectacle. My objection to most of the modern philosophers (even many who call themselves Christian), is that they are thorough Modernists who cannot escape radical subjectivism. Camus is thoroughly trapped in subjectivity, and cannot make a beginning of pointing to an higher truth (at least, so far as I understand him; I’ve read L’Etranger, Sisyphus and The Plague, all about 15 years ago). I’ve never read Vanini, and so I will not comment on him. Russell is about the most effeminate, intolerable ninny I’ve ever read (he pushed hard to legalize homosexuality, advocated for a “scientific” one-world government that would control people’s sexual reproduction, eliminate war, “share” prosperity with everyone, blah blah blah); my recollection of his writings was that he was constantly begging the question, and mostly just virtue-signaling to the emerging, Moderno-Socialist establishment.
      But again, it’s been 15 years; I moved on past the modern philosophers a long time ago, finding them to be inane, and to have completely omitted the step of logically proving – and sometimes, of even having – first principles.
      Schopenhauer can be an interesting read, and is often right about things, but with that queer twist that reveals something is amiss. He strikes me as easily the most mystical and “spiritual” of the lot. I’ve never made a profound study of him, however.
      As to Heraclitus, does he claim the title of atheist for himself? Heraclitus was an important pioneer, making an early attempt to explain cosmology; I agree with much of the later criticism of him (that he is ambiguous, that he seems to violate the principle of non-contradiction, etc.), but some Church Fathers saw, in his concept of the logos and of the “energetic” (or “empyrean”) state of being, a foreshadowing of certain truths of Revelation.
      As I’ll be discussing later, I believe the modern West has been in a period of serious, philosophical and spiritual decadence for 500 years. The problem with most modern Philosophers, is that their philosophizing is not so much concerned with truth, as it is with trying to establish a self-consciously dissenting alternative to Christianity. Even Hawking was frank about his attempt to imagine a Universe that would not need God, not because he thought there was any evidence that the Universe was that way, but simply because proving that God was unnecessary was his prime directive.
      But Christianity did not invent reality, it simply observed it and agreed with Aristotle and other, pre-Christian sages about basic truths discovered through reason. There is nothing explicitly “Christian” about the basic arguments for the existence of God, of the broad, philosophical truths of cosmology, epistemology, metaphysics, etc. Thus, most modern philosophers get their first principles wrong and kick at the goads – I’ll explore this to some extent in future.

  18. Lauds Arelius. You have described the latest model Trek 21 speed graphite carbon fiber ultra lite frame road bicycle to the fish creatures so brilliantly.

  19. Many feminists call the readers of RoK ignorant, but they would be instantly proved wrong if they took one minute to look at an article, or for a specific example, the comment section to this article here. It is thriving with intelligent commentary and debates on philosophy and academics. If you were to look at many feminist type sites, such as jezebel, you would find useless and mindless comments about trivial celebrity gossip. Really, just comparing the two side by side shows where the real ignorance exists.

      1. Yeah, I probably just sounded like a real newbie, didn’t I? I have heard people shit talk this site far and wide for awhile, and I have only been reading for a month, but I am loving this website’s overall views and articles. I went onto this site with the expectation of finding a bunch of scummy immoral crap like I was told RoK was, but I found that RoK is the exact opposite and speaks only the truth.

        1. I was brought to the site by the attack from the media, i’d only ever been here once before then, but now i’m a regular. The mainstream media did me a favour.

        2. Not so much sounding like a newbie, even though that may be true. I’ve been a reader here for a long time. Every writer has their flavor, even Roosh, but since they all speak up it’s easy for generalities to go flying over the ethernet.
          It’s nice to find that someone can hear a load of crap and say “I think I’ll check it out for myself” but there’s a much larger population who would rather have a target to aim at and leave it there. You would know them as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram users. So yeah, I was being matter of fact.
          You expected the male version of Jezebel or Cosmopolitan Magazine? We’re not like women. Well… at least those of us who have no problem with being male and masculine. This is the stuff you ladies may have wondered what men talk about when you’re not around. Pretty heinous, eh?

        3. I really enjoy the irony in that the mainstream social media storm was trying to create hatred for RoK, but probably created more members as a result of giving attention.

        4. Well, let’s see if you get this bit of sarcasm? If we currently live in a rape culture, should we be celebrating rape? I mean, if the anthropological definition of culture used is: the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another would this not stand to reason?
          In fact, would we not see more people resisting laws to jail rapists? MORE rape advocates if this were truly what our culture is? You see, this is the goofy wording that makes people “rape advocates”; that is, pointing out the sheer idiocy of it all. This is the sort of thing to poke fun at; not that we’re poking fun at the act of rape itself. I haven’t run into a single person in 55 years of living that is a professed believer in rape; not even rapists. (I used to work with teen-aged sex offenders, so I’ve met a LOT of rapists.)
          You see, I think what Roosh originally wrote was indeed satire, but his beliefs about rape were not made absolutely clear in advance. It’s a common thing to assume nobody advocates rape or murder, but out here you have to explain EVERYTHING. In other words, it’s easy to misread satire about the subject if someone does not come right out and make it clear where they truly stand.
          So often people try to discuss without first defining their terms, agreeing to the meaning of those terms and agreeing to stick with the meaning. It’s no small wonder then, that nearly everything is misinterpreted. The web is a great place for having very malleable definitions that can change from even one sentence to the next! The creative use of illogical points of view is staggering.
          When you have time, read this sometime; it’s a favorite of mine regarding logic. http://www.crisismagazine.com/2014/logic-whats-missing-in-public-discourse
          It matters not the sponsor of the article, because the article itself points out this very flaw in what has been going on since everybody can voice an uninformed opinion on the ‘net.

        5. Thanks for the link to that article, it was a great read for my break time in my World Literature class earlier! I took a Logic and Argument class last semester, and the article pretty much summarizes the first 8 weeks of the course; however, the article actually takes many of the principles from the class to actual application. I really enjoy studying literature, arguments and philosophy. I find that these subjects help broaden someone’s world view, which is almost a goal for me to have the broadest I can in order to have more educated, valid opinions. I am only a freshman in college, so I feel that many of the opinions I may have may be deeply flawed by lack of experience in the world, so I find myself avidly studying things that I may only have even the slightest interest in because of my current situation having more free time than ever.
          This article came in handy today in my World Lit. when someone was trying to argue that the argument of the author, which was that marriage to an infertile woman has no advantages to a a man of noble decent, was wrong because modern critics acclaimed him as sexist, therefore his opinion must be sexist and wrong. From reading that article, I quickly cut her opinion down by showing her that she was not looking at the argument itself, but rather attacks on the author or ad hominem. With the reminder of my logic class and following from the article, I actually managed to prove the author to be correct (with one of the organized deductive argument formulas along with assumptions) in about fifteen minutes. Feminists were pissed, but the professor was impressed. You got me two extra credit points for giving me that link, thanks!

        6. Logic and feminists is like Kryptonite and Superman. You’ll find a lot of feminists trying to sway arguments with feelings rather than with a logical and well thought out argument. They prefer emotionally charged words like “sexist”, “rapist” and such as it suits an emotional agenda.
          I have a bear prevention rock in my yard, BTW.

    1. Well, there goes my next article about the best hairstyles for budding philosophers, inspired by Ashton Kutcher’s kaballah couture.

  20. I confess, I started with the Antichrist by Friedrich Nietzsche. If anyone wants an exciting read that would be it. You probably won’t agree with the conclusions, but it is intense.

    1. Nietzsche is great, the Antichrist was awesome too. Too many people misunderstand Nietzsche though and make him out to be either the opposite of what he was (e.g what those transhumanist morons do), or make him out to be some philosopher for edgy teenagers. That’s not the case.

  21. Great definition of modern ‘critical thinking’ as radical skepticism and doubt.
    I had an acquaintance in school that whenever I said something about politics, society, etc. immediately works on doubting it and deconstructing it instead of considering it and then seeing if he agrees or not. I once challenged him on it – the guy says that is what an independent thinker should do (i.e. blind denial of the proposed thesis instead of careful consideration).

    1. Yes. Like all dangerously stupid ideas, it has a kernel of truth: objectivity is often safeguarded by not trusting your first instincts, nor even trusting to appearances, but playing the “devil’s advocate” to a notion. But the purpose of this should be to enhance and sharpen the journey to Truth, not to (contradictorily and foolishly) believe it to be true that nothing is true.

  22. I often marvel that the men who have come to realize that the media, schools and culture have lied to them about feminism, do not suspect they’ve also lied about everything else
    That sentiment is strong, even among the readership here.

    1. Yes. To me, this should be the greatness of the Red Pill – not just realizing that Feminism was a lie, but that the entire, godless, hedonistic, degenerate, lying, ignorant mass of Modernity, is a lying lie from the infernal pit of lies.

  23. Synthesis of information is the key to being truly intelligent. Some will be born this way while others can train themselves.
    I highly suggest the works of John Boyd for anyone interested. He hammered on synthesis.

  24. If you feed the mind with enough of the right information, then the mind can begin making connections. With an increase of knowledge comes understanding, with understanding, wisdom. Wisdom or discernment is clarity, the clear view of right and wrong, and from there you find the right path that leads to eternal life.
    This is the problem with modern society; people are not feeding their mind with the right knowledge, instead they consume mindless entertainment from the television, radio, and hollywood, thus never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

  25. It’s a shame that we can’t give a writing proper, an up-vote. On the other hand, it’s good that we cannot. This article is amazing, in content, in style and in instruction. Well done Cui, well done.

  26. Some of you may have read the story that made its way around the internet a few months aho, about the two philosophers who argued that loving parents give their kids an unfair advantage in life. Especially if the parents read their kids bedtime stories.
    These philosophers, named Adam Swift and Harry Brighouse, didn’t come right out and say “Ban bedtime story time!”, but they did make it known that this disparate “equality of opportunity” made their vaginas hurt.
    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/philosopherszone/new-family-values/6437058

  27. It’s a pleasure to read your articles time and again Aurelius. Are you aware of the work of Dr. Marshall specifically at the Maccabee Society website? He would be a great contributor on RoK on similar subjects.

  28. I find the biggest irony of today to be that most scientists and people in the educated public hold to materialism and positivism, despite the two actually being at odds with one another. Positivism states that meaningful statements can only be said about things that can be empirically verified or logically proven. Materialism states that all that exists is matter, its movements, and its modifications. These are held to exist independently from minds, with absolutely no subjectivity, with minds and subjectivity emerging from them somehow when they’re put together in very special ways – brains. Do you see the inherent problem yet? Something that exists independently from mind can never be verified, since all verification, both logical and empirical, must be done by minds. It is thus meaningless to say that the things materialism considers as ontological primitives even exist in the first place, when it would be easier (by Occam’s Razor) for all that exists to just be mental objects, with the external world being those that we experience as matter. Such a statement would have all things that exist actually being verifiable under positivism. Moreover, it would lead to testable (thus verifiable) predictions about the way the physical world should operate, as it would first and foremost mean that physics is the result of information processing rather than an objectively real world that exists independent of minds – a statement that has vastly more going for it: http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0801/0801.0337.pdf It would also predict that on the smallest scales, something like quantum non-realism would exist, with observational patterns canceling interference terms and leading to other physical effects (which is impossible under materialism, and shown to be true nevertheless by Anton Zeilinger’s entanglement swapping experiment and Bell and Leggett’s Inequalities). The public needs to be educated philosophically. Right now, many physicists are dishonest, holding to views that directly contradict empirical data, solely because they’ve been brought up to believe in materialism: http://motls.blogspot.com/2015/08/can-christians-be-better-at-quantum.html http://motls.blogspot.com/2014/07/quantum-mechanics-doesnt-really-imply.html

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