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Kant (Briefly), Hegel and Nietzche

So, yes let's go with Joe's suggestion and follow up on the next meet. There won't be any background requirements for this. 

Mark will give an introduction to Hegel, starting with the genesis of his ideas from Kant, then I will give a short introduction to Nietzsche's ideas. 

After that everyone can discuss their ideas openly. Ask questions, consider more about it, and also just talk in general. 

It is important to note going into the discussion the difference between one's personal opinion about the philosophers and their ideas; and that of an analysis of the ideas. In the discussion we'll focus more on the latter, and emphasize less on subjective feelings.

The discussion is a brief overview, not a comprehensive one about the ideas.

-----If you are new to this, a brief outline-----

This discussion comes as a result of our previous one, which touched upon existentialism as a philosophical idea. Existentialism was a movement in post-WW2 France that could be summarized as asserting the individual's agency and right to live in the face of the terror of modernity and modern life. Its slogan was 'existence precedes essence'.

However, before we are to go into Existentialism (eventually), we need to discuss about the ideas that came before. Existentialism had it roots in Kierkegaad and Nietzsche, who was reacting to the ideas of Kant and Hegel. But who are they?

Kant and Hegel were giants of late 19th century German (and Western) philosophy, who posited complete systems that sought to systematize all ideas about life and living - the metaphysics, epistemology and morality of life. Hegel built upon Kant ideas, which culminated in a form of idealism. (See links below).

Nietzsche reacted to those ideas by rejecting the complete systems of Kant, and in particular, his epistemology that claimed of a 'beyond' of this world that can never be known by the senses (ie. God or the afterlife). 

This has huge implications for morality. And as you shall see, all 3 are still profoundly influential in philosophy today. Their influence has extended to sociology, social philosophy, linguistics, literature, politics, moral philosophy and many other fields that indirectly shape how the world is perceived.

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  • Tim B.

    Thanks to Mark & Aloysious from me too. I found the acoustics a bit hard, I'm afraid; too much background chat.
    Kant is quite tough to really understand, i think, but i wasnt sure Mark's psychological interpretation was right: I dont think he should be seen as any more psychological than Hume.
    I think Hegel took quite a big step in wanting to create a science of history, which many subsequent Western philosophers felt was wrong - history is only about describing the past; I think modern views may be kinder to Hegel.
    Nietsche I still think was mostly interested in individuals, not society. I think his 'defining problem" was how individuals can live without God and without nihilism. He didnt have a clear view on what sort of society they need to create. I think Mark was right that he was in favour of creativity, but maybe his very poetic almost "prophet-like" language, wasn't as open to all forms of creativity as we would now prefer - first you had to tear down the God barrier, he felt.

    3 · January 13, 2014

    • Mark

      Hi Joe I don't think atheists in general reject universal truths. This is because God and religious texts need not be seen as the only conceivable source of universal truth. Other conceivable sources of universal truth might be science, or logic, or rigorous moral reasoning. (I'm guessing that the well-known atheist scientist Richard Dawkins would believe that rigorously proven scientific ideas are universal truths until someone manages to disprove them.)

      1 · January 15, 2014

    • Joe G.

      That is true !

      January 15, 2014

  • Joe G.

    I thought it went amazingly well ! didn't know Aloysius wasn't feeling well, until I read his note on here. hopefully u feel much better :) I like how we at least got to understand the ideas from these philosophers a little better. I did try reading some of the links posted up previously, but got lost quite quickly. By now, I am beginning to realize why ppl end up reading ppl's interpretations of philosophers, rather than the original texts.

    1 · January 12, 2014

    • Joe G.

      Thanks Aloysius & Mark for taking your own time to prepare the materials, and presenting your ideas on these philosophers. Personally, I think whats exciting is when we see how these ideas continue to evolve overtime (e.g. maybe we are doing Karl Marx next ?), or just noticing where the ideas came from (a lot of articles seem to note that Kant's idea came as a reaction to David Hume). So overtime, we get a nice story arc, from the individual episodes.

      1 · January 12, 2014

    • Alo

      thank you joe, you are encouraging!

      1 · January 13, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great meetup though certains parts of discussion i could barely hear largely due to the large group. Thanks Aloysius n Mark for summarising the key concepts of the featured philosophers. Thanks too for various views n questions from the group. I think Nietzsche likely to be proud of our discussion effort :) and yes definitely makes me want to find out more abt these philosophers n their views

    2 · January 13, 2014

  • Mark

    The two print-outs I distributed have been uploaded to the "Files" section.

    Thanks everyone for listening so patiently. Instead of exploring deeply just one idea by each philosopher, we tried to do a broad sweep of their ideas, to convey the scope and range of their thought. Because there were so many big ideas introduced in a short time, we had to outline them in a rough, sketchy manner. But I hope it was a decent introduction to these philosophers' thoughts... whether that serves to stimulate people's own thoughts, or to be a basis for further exploration, or just to increase people's general knowledge.

    Also bear in mind that what Aloysius and I presented was only our own interpretations of these thinkers; these thinkers can be interpreted in different ways. If you have further interest, Kinokuniya Bookstore has a good philosophy section where you can find many books with different interpretations and explanations of these philosophers.

    2 · January 13, 2014

  • Alo

    Many ideas were condensed, quite intense discussion of big philosophers. But fruitful nonetheless.

    January 12, 2014

  • Alo

    Thanks everyone for coming and for Mark for explaining these difficult ideas. Hopefully, there is a better understanding of what these philosophers have said. Many of them were interested in human nature, mind, and how they pertain to our knowledge of the world, what is right or wrong. Hope there was some clarity in the acquaintance with these ideas that can spur more reading for those who came. Will post more detailed write-ups in the file section soon!

    January 11, 2014

  • Alo

    Hi all, if youre there already do wait a while. I'm on my way, was feeling abit sick just now. But a few stops away.

    January 11, 2014

  • Alo

    Hi all, the discussion will be on later on but I'm not sure if there is enough space. However we'll meet there first and I'll go earlier to get some seats. So see you.

    January 11, 2014

  • Mark

    Hi all, the ideas introduced will touch on both ethics and epistemology. Here's a summary of what Kant and Hegel were about:

    Three ideas Kant advances:

    1. To know about the world, we cannot depend only on senses, nor only on abstract concepts; our minds require both combined.

    2. The structure of our knowledge (eg. cause & effect) is not the external world's structure being mirrored in the mind, but rather is the mind imposing its own structure out onto the world. In other words, not:
    World---->Mind, but rather:
    Mind---->World

    3. We should use abstract Reason NOT for metaphysical questions (eg. does God exist, what is ultimate reality), but rather for moral questions (eg. how should I act, what is the ultimate good).

    (cont'd...)

    2 · January 7, 2014

    • Mark

      Three ideas Hegel advances:

      1. We relate to the world not only through categories in our minds, but also through categories in politics, society, religion, art and philosophy. To know about the human being's relation to the world, we must study the history of all these aspects of human culture.

      2. What drives the history of these aspects of human culture is the human being's struggle to overcome her sense of alienation in the world.

      3. The direction of human culture and knowledge is towards increasing interrelation and interdependence in a complex system, wherein each part is given recognition and integrated, rather than simply dominated, within the whole.

      Each of these ideas have been influential, and hopefully this gives a sense of why Kant and Hegel are seen as great Western philosophers.

      I won't be explaining these ideas in detail; I'll basically be connecting the dots to give a rough general picture, then maybe elaborating on whichever points people are curious about.

      2 · January 7, 2014

  • Mark

    Another page on Kant:
    http://www.iep.utm.edu/kantmeta/

    Most of that page is quite advanced, but the introduction and section 1 provide a good summary and background info.

    And here's a page on Nietzsche:
    http://www.iep.utm.edu/nietzsch/

    That page discusses his ideas thematically, rather than chronologically as the other encyclopedia does, so it might make for a better summary.

    I find this website (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy) tends to be slightly more accessible than the Stanford one, though the latter is more respected by academics.

    January 5, 2014

  • Alo

    Hi all, here are some links concerning the philosophers we will be discussing. Kant:
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kant/

    Hegel:
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hegel/

    Nietzsche:
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nietzsche/

    Do have a look and read if you can!

    January 3, 2014

  • Alo

    Hi I'm going to suggest a few venues, do let me know which you prefer: 1. Pek Kio CC (near Farrer Park MRT) 2. Harbor Front Han's or Starbucks 3. Cheng San CC (Ang Mo Kio area) 4. Novena area

    Thanks, after selecting I'll mediate between locations.

    January 2, 2014

    • Alo

      Ok so I called the CC the meeting room needs to be paid. So I think no CC for the moment. But we'll try somewhere else.

      January 3, 2014

    • Alo

      So ok all the venue is finalized, I've chosen somewhere more to the east cause most of us stay towards that area. See you all soon!

      January 3, 2014

  • Tan W.

    Sorry won't be joining you all for the next two sessions in January as much as I'd like to. All my saturdays in Jan are filled up...

    January 2, 2014

    • Joe G.

      No problem : ) Seeya !

      January 2, 2014

  • yyt

    Where are we meeting?

    January 1, 2014

    • Alo

      hi I'm thinking of having it at a community centre where it is quieter, somewhere central easier for people to travel.

      January 2, 2014

  • Joe G.

    1 · January 1, 2014

    • Alo

      hilarious!!!

      January 2, 2014

  • Mark

    Here's my suggestion:

    There was also some interest last meetup in covering Kant. In terms of the very bare basics, I think I'd be able to summarise Kant in maybe 20 min, then summarise his succession by Hegel in maybe 10-15 min.

    This may also allow us to form a segueway to Nietzsche, since Kant also led to Schopenhauer who paved the way for Nietzsche.

    It may sound like an ambitious plan, but if we can pull it off, it would provide a "roadmap" of modern Western philosophy, which would give a good sense of where Hegel and Nietzsche stand in the history of ideas.

    If subsequently we want to delve more substantially into any of these figures, we'd be able to do so with the background knowledge of this rough roadmap.

    Just a suggestion. :)

    1 · December 29, 2013

    • Alo

      Ya I think we're not aiming for any figure, lets see how it goes. I hope we can make it short yet do justice to the ideas of these thinkers at the same time. For Kant it won't be a comprehensive one though.

      December 30, 2013

    • Joe G.

      it's always nice where there is a continuity of things, or just noticing how one philosopher influences another. Sometime back, I was watching this documentary on ray harryhausen n it was quite touching to see so many directors pay tribute to him - acknowledging his influence on their work. Likewise, a lot of guitarists n musicians always seem to cite Jimi Hendrix as an influential figure. For the longest time since such philo groups were formed, no one has really talked about the philosophers in relation to each other nor how one series of ideas has gone onto influence another. So, it is pretty exciting, this next meetup. :)

      1 · December 30, 2013

  • Joe G.

    hey everyone. was wondering if we should give each philosopher one session ? personally, I joined this meetup group so that I can learn more about each of these philosophers. also, I feel that a lot of learning actually happens when u read yourself, and then u get to understand abit more when u hear of others sharing their understanding of the philosopher. but I guess ill leave this open to anyone else interested in this - and im guessing these 2 philosophers would draw in quite a number of ppl. so we can either do both together on Jan 11th or do them separately, so that ppl can have some time to read and understand who they are, before we all meet collectively. what do u ppl think ?

    1 · December 29, 2013

    • Alo

      To read is a good thing but not everyone will read for the discussion, and some of the original texts are dense. Perhaps an outline of suggested texts can allow for anyone to explore afterward. Also many of the philosophers wrote many works and so, might complicate selection a bit.

      December 29, 2013

    • Joe G.

      Sure. :) let's leave it as 11th jan then. Thanks ! Happy new year all !!

      1 · December 29, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hey I'm new to this

    December 29, 2013

    • Alo

      hi, join in if you genuinely want to know more.

      December 29, 2013

  • amita

    Hi have you read this
    http://www.iep.utm.edu/buddha/

    December 28, 2013

    • Alo

      Thanks for posting. Yes Nietzsche was indirectly influenced by Buddhism. that website is a great resources by the way.

      1 · December 28, 2013

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