Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Immanuel Kant extracts brutal revenge upon the noisy church choir down the street

Jon Cogburn's Blog horrible moments in the history of philosophy
411 and 404 B.C.E.- Students of Socrates set about demonstrating their teacher's key claim that the study of philosophy makes one more ethical. First, they destroy religious statues and help the Spartans defeat their own city state of Athens, and then they institute murderous reigns of blood upon the struggling democracy. This is all topped off by establishing violently class-based dictatorships. Sadly, both dictatorships were short-lived in Athens, and it would be over two millenniums before the philosopher king (and student of Plato and Rousseau) Pol Pot was able to finally achieve a lasting society based on Socratic principles.
330 B.C.E.- Aristotle goes to Syracuse, I mean Macedonia. His student, the not yet great Alexander, would go on to wipe up the floor with Socrates' and Plato's students. While defeating the known world, Alexander funds Aristotle's Lyceum, the first philosophical school combining Platonistic a priori speculations with detailed empirical observations. The new Aristotelian scientific methods yield fascinating new data for philosopher/scientists down through the ages to consider, such as Aristotle's discoveries that slaves and women lack souls, women have a different number of teeth than men, the primary function of the brain is to cool blood, and that mice spontaneously generate.
49-62 C.E.- Seneca the Younger pens several successful works of stoic philosophy demonstrating that happiness only arises as a result of a long regime of self-restraint, humility, discipline, and respect for others. Throughout this period, the Young Emperor Nero is such an avid student that Seneca becomes his principle adviser, in the process transitioning from endoo- to enthusiastic ecto-morph, bedding countless married women, and amassing three hundred million sesterces in four years.
525 C.E.- Boethius delivers his last words to Lady Philosophy, "You mean you can't help me out here? Is that what you're saying? After all we've been through, I'm actually on my own with this thing? No. Come on. You really can't do anything? I'm just trying to get clear on this one point, I mean. . . OH JESUS, THAT HURTS!" This passage is inexplicably missing from later editions of the Consolation.
1119 C.E.- Dude! That one guy Abelard? Like these other dudes totally chopped off his family jewels in a fight over this one totally hot chick. Dude, I s*** you not, my man's all bleeding and limping around and he goes off to become a monk, but not the kung-fu kind. They named some tuna after him? Hey man, you want to go get high?
1784 C.E.- Immanuel Kant extracts brutal revenge upon the noisy church choir down the street by using their noon-day practice as an example of a violation of the categorical imperative. In Kant's fevered imagination, this was to lead the choirmaster to say, "Uncle! Uncle!" Alas, it is not to be.
1831 C.E.- Thesis: contaminated cantaloupes; Anti-Thesis: G.W.F. Hegel's digestive tract; Synthesis: heart stopping gastro-intestinal disorder.
1840 C.E.- Arthur Schopenhauer, the first great Wester philosopher to defend Hindu ideas concerning the renunciation of the will, closes his journal and smiles after penning the now immortal words, "Obit anus, abit onus." Unlike the noisy choir that had tormented his philosophical hero Kant, Caroline Marquet never makes an appearance in Schopenhauer's philosophical writings.
1889 C.E.- Friedrich Nietzsche begins to hoard feces in a bedroom drawer. His long suffering and devoted sister Elizabeth explains for the tenth time that he's supposed to be staring into the void, not doing this, this thing that he's doing. But her protestations are to no avail.
1931 C.E.- In a whirlwind tour of Europe, W.V.O. Quine lunches with Polish metaphysician Kotarbinski (who in his writings on Reism entailed that to be was to be the value of a bound variable) and with Rudolph Carnap (who from the Aufbau onwards explicitly argued that the unit of meaning was the language as a whole). They discuss fellow "young turk" A.J. Ayer (who in Language, Truth, and Logic argued for a holistic form of verificationism that allowed one to hold true any proposition come what may). After returning to the United States Quine pens his revolutionary anti-positivist tracts, “On What There Is” and “Two Dogmas of Empiricism.” Philosophy is never the same!
1935 C.E.- After going bankrupt from running an ill-conceived boarding school with his now completely estranged second wife, Bertrand Russell recoups his losses by penning several best selling books telling other people how to live their lives.
1952 C.E.- In a public interview Martin Heidegger shamefully refuses to say that in retrospect “Arbeit Macht Frei” was a poor choice for the original opening epigraph of Sein Und Zeit. Supporters and detractors continue to debate its appropriateness.
1962 C.E.- In between purging non-tenured linguists who disagree with the latest iteration of his theory and penning encomiums to fellow wannabe philosopher king Pol Pot, Noam Chomsky makes the bold case in an Austin, Texas ALA meeting that his opponents' pompadours are both grotesquely mistaken and at the same time merely trivial notational variants of his own pompadour. Linguists and philosophers at the meeting initially found such arguments to be compelling.
1966 C.E.- It is the case that the automobile fast approaching down the streets of Blaricum hits L.E.J. Brouwer, or it is not the case that the automobile fast approaching down the streets of Blaricum hits L.E.J. Brouwer.
1994 C.E.- Insert (huh-huh-huh, he said "insert") joke involving Saul Kripke, rigid designation, and Princeton co-eds. Maybe use the word "detumescent." Oh man that's a funny adjective.
circa 1995 C.E.- Jet lag and low blood sugar from forgoing desert on the flight back from Australia combine with the aftereffects of childhood dyslexia to lead David Lewis to misread Hamlet's retort to Horatio as "There are more things dreamed of in your philosophy than in Heaven and Earth." He drops his Shakespeare, leans over a tattered, much abused copy of "On the Plurality of Worlds," and can't quite bring himself to pick it up. [note: this entry plagiarizes Aidan McGlynn.] Posted at 06:16 AM in superfunpack « You're one of them! Main wisdom from Anthony Bourdain » November 09, 2007

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