I am my own disdain.
He did not regard that progress as having produced universal benefits, however, and perceived the Christian religion which had accompanied it as morally harmful to those who subscribed to it and even more dangerous to societies thus far untouched by it.
Religious dogmas tended to pervert the organic development of human passions, and secular education which presumed that all minds were equally receptive to instruction threatened to thwart the natural evolution of human faculties in other ways. Like Rousseau, Diderot subscribed to a philosophy of education which encouraged curiosity rather than promoted truth.
He stressed the need for the adaptability of moral rules to the physiological characteristics of the individuals to whom they applied, pointing to a connection between human cultures and biology in a manner that would influence fresh outlooks upon the sciences of man at the end of the Age of Enlightenment.
More than any other philosopher of the eighteenth century, he shaped his intellectual career around the production and circulation of books, which in progressive circles were held to be both the vehicle and measure of enlightenment for an epoch of greater literacy and prosperity than Europe had ever known before.
As the guiding spirit of that collective enterprise of men of letters, Diderot often reassembled the ideas of other thinkers, drawing upon ancient and modern sources alike, from Lucretius to Shaftesbury. As distinct from some of his equally celebrated contemporaries — such as Montesquieu, Voltaire or Rousseau — Diderot elaborated no single overriding doctrine, nor did he devote himself to one great intellectual crusade.
Especially well versed in the history of philosophy, he extolled its ancient and modern achievements alike, from Epicurean doctrines of continual flux, to Spinozistic conceptions of selfsufficiency, to the atheistic materialism of La Mettrie and Maupertuis.
The late eighteenth-century teaching of sign languages to the deaf, and the deep structural grammars of modern Chomskian linguistics, were to draw inspiration from such claims that fundamental human capacities are not determined by the contingencies of their exercise.
In showing how science had been rendered useful to the public interest or common good through such inventions as the compass and the printing press, Diderot sought to provide tangible illustrations of a Platonic ideal of promoting virtue through knowledge.
This text, purporting to serve as an appendix to one of the earliest descriptions of Tahiti, contrasts an exotic world characterized by the zealous satisfaction of bodily appetites with a familiar world wherein it is dictated that they should be repressed.
Like Rousseau, he judged that the moral values which prevailed in the West were often contrary to human nature, which they distorted through artifice, subterfuge and selfdeception.
Especially with respect to the sexual longings of individuals in Christian communities, and above all the warped personalities of their monastic priests, Diderot was convinced that in Western cultures there had arisen a great gulf between human physicality and morality.
At once a materialist and an atheist, Diderot was determined to describe the behaviour of individuals empirically, in all their diverse, contrasting and irregular forms. Because this supposition appealed to a notion of human equality, it was tempting to believe, in the light of it, that all individuals at birth shared the same capacities.
But that was a delusion, Diderot contended, based on the false premise that each person was motivated only by his or her sensations which, through instruction and refinement, would become the grounds of every sort of rational and moral judgment.
It was impossible, Diderot insisted, to pass directly from sensation to judgment or, in effect, from animal reflexes to human design. Intraspecifically, it had to be noted that only humans possess the capacity to reason and thus to formulate ideas and combine them into judgments.
Interspecifically, it was necessary to remark that individuals exhibit their reason in different degrees, mental capacity as a whole being unequally distributed. While Rousseau decried materialism in general, Diderot took issue only with that crude variant which, on his understanding, reduced all thought to pure sensation.
He judged that Rousseau had fundamentally confused unsociability for selfreliance, and he showed no interest in promoting any scheme of negative education that might be fit for children freed from all dependence on others, like Robinson Crusoe learning to fend for himself.
Each subscribed essentially to a belief in self-education, aiming to encourage children to follow their intuitions and thereby attain intellectual and moral maturity by being true to themseves.
They also shared a profound mistrust of the superstitious idolatry that passed for a Christian education, proffered in priestly interpretations of the mysteries of Holy Writ. As opposed to the arcane dogmas of a revealed religion, they were drawn to the spectacle of creation and to the open book of nature.
They both thought that education ought to be pursued endogenously, out of natural curiosity, accompanying the development of the human faculties, and never by indoctrination. Although he was the author of a treatise on mathematics and geometry, he was more interested in matters of style, particularly with respect to painting, music and the theatre.
He is better described as an empiricist than as a rationalist, indebted more to the philosophical methods of Bacon and Locke than to those of Descartes and Leibniz.
He was a materialist in denying the existence in man of an intangible spirit or soul, and over the course of his life he became a progressively more outspoken atheist, in rejecting all notions of either a transcendent or immanent God.
Like Montesquieu, he sought to investigate the dynamic forces and tensions which shape the conduct of both living bodies and social systems. To the extent that a number of human sciences would around the end of the eighteenth century come to address such issues as apparently more fundamental than the constitutional and legislative programmes of Enlightenment political theorists, Diderot may be regarded as a philosophical precursor of such change.
In his own day they illustrate an approach to the science of society which would progressively displace speculations about the moral dimensions of human conduct with investigations into its underlying, bodily or material, causes.
No major writer of the eighteenth century left so many of his principal works unpublished in his lifetime, even though several, including the best among them, had been drafted long before his death.Apr 24, · Christopher Phillips’ stuff, like Socrates Cafe, is also pretty accessible and gives a good introduction to philosophical thinking.
In terms of philosophical works, if she’s at all interested in feminism, I’ll echo the suggestion of bell hooks, Feminism is for Everybody in particular.
Christopher Cloos is working on a PhD at University of California at Santa Barbara and has two articles forthcoming in “Responsibilist Evidentialism,” Philosophical Studies and “Reflective Equilibrium – A Brief Introduction,” in Methods in Analytic Philosophy, ed., Joachim Horvath, Bloomsbury.
Re: "Socrates Cafe" by Christopher Phillips Well, it won't actually be a Socrates Cafe per say, but only because you can't talk back but I may post responses to anything I put up here.
I do intend on writing a bit on all the favorite topics; freewill-destiny, normalcy, self, home, social v. moral responsibility, etc. If searching for the ebook Eldest: Inheritance, Book II (The Inheritance Cycle) by Christopher Paolini in pdf form, in that case you come on to loyal website.
2. Read Plato, Euthyphro. This is a dialogue written by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, with Socrates as a character (as noted in the above video Plato often does).
This is an automatically generated and experimental page. If everything goes well, this page should display the bibliography of the aforementioned article as it appears in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, but with links added to PhilPapers records and Google Scholar for your convenience.