Who is your favourite thinker?
Having recently read Orwells 1984, I was impressed with how he understood that both politicians and people abuse language. This further confirmed to me how the W.T had deceived me by using words to distort reality. The book 1984, also contains many other great thoughts of George Orwell.
Of course there have been many other great thinkers, Buddah, Darwin, Freud, Einstein and Marx come to mind. So:-
A) Who do you consider the great thinkers are who have influenced the way you think today and why?
B) Do you think great thinking often comes about by average thinkers debating together?
A) The Hitch (Christopher Hitchins), A.C Grayling, Julian Baggini, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett come to mind as modern thinkers, though I do not agree always with all they say. The great Greek Philosophers of long ago wrestled with most of the big problems and came up with good answers in the main, which were expanded on by the thinkers of the Enlightenment, all have influenced me to a degree.
B) I don't think that truly great thinking often comes from debate between average thinkers, but I do think we learn from each other, and change our views while having some of our rough edges rubbed off, all by taking part in such debate, it is useful.
Phizzy you personally are brighter than all those numbskulls you name combined.
Actually Baggini I quite like. I've seen him speak in Glasgow a few times. He doesn't belong in that group.
My favourite is Richard Rorty. What he says is like pure truth. Except he didn't really believe in truth, which is fantastic.
You post made a great observation Phizzy.
Great thinkers are influenced by great thinkers. This is true be they writers, artists, polititians, Scientists or philosophers, ect. Which makes" The reading of all good books like a conversation with the finest men of past centuries" - Rene Descartes.
And that being so I have enjoyed my recent conversations with Orwell, Shakespeare and Conan Doyles, " Sherlock Holmes":-
" There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact" The Boscombe Valley mystery.
" To a great mind, nothing is little" A Study in Scarlet.
Christopher Hitchens was a great orator, polemic and knew his history nearly as well as he knew how to captivate an audience. One of my favorite quotes from him sums him up his career pretty well - when asked why he became a journalist he said, "Because I didn't want to have to rely on the media for my information."
He was (perhaps still is) the only journalist to have traveled to Iran, Iraq (before and after the war), and North Korea. He also traveled to Palestine, Israel, and moved back and forth between the opposing sides of Crete. I don't think there was ever alive a person as well versed, educated, and internationally experienced as the man.
But I think my all time favorite is the neuroscientist Sam Harris. His musings on morality and free will have been absolutely mind opening to me and have truly informed how I perceive world as a moral landscape. If ever there was a jedi master of meta-ethics, surely it is this man.
I rarely find myself disagreeing with Sam Harris.
Douglas Murray is a clear thinker in the style of Hitch but far more tolerant of religion.
You are right about Orwell and 1984 - its like the WT used it as a playbook.
If you liked that the other 2 classics are a must read as well. Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451 - EX JWs can relate to all of them.
A) LONG LONG LIST. Einstein, Ray Franz, Carl Sagan, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Bradbury, Orwell... (forgot Newton)
B) It helps a great deal, but many of the all time greats did it on their own and at an early age. I think us average thinkers:) are carried on the waves of what we pick up from the greats.
Isn't the desire to seek the truth the most valuable conceptual ideology for the benefit of humanity ?
Very difficult to choose but, Leonardo da Vinci, Michel de Montaigne, John Stuart Mill.
Leonardo for his amazing inventions and art. Michel de Montaigne for being the first essayist on many different subjects from family to politics and his condemnation of the religious cruelties of the Reformation. Mill for Utilitarianism, the principle of the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people and also trying to get women the vote.
I am not an emotional person, but when Hitchens passed it felt to me like the universe had lost a truly great journalist and an extraordinary human being. I took his passing rather personally. For years he was my favorite journalists and one of my favorite people. His insight into South Africa's issues during the apartheid era was staggering for a man who had not been brought up there. His keen grasp of politics and human behavior allowed him a degree of foresight few ever attained and he predicted so much about South Africa back in the early 80's few others could have seen or had the courage to call. I'll always miss him and his Richard Burton voice....