MARCH MADNESS! POETRY! THEORY! MADNESS! HOLY MADNESS! REAL, ACTUAL MADNESS!

“Philosophy is the true Muse” —Thomas Brady

THE BRACKETS

CLASSICAL

1. Plato
2. Aristotle
3. Horace
4. Augustine
5. Maimonides
6. Aquinas
7. Dante
8. Boccaccio
9. Sidney
10. Dryden
11. Aphra Behn
12. Vico
13. Addison
14. Pope
15. Johnson
16. Hume

ROMANTIC

1. Kant
2. Burke
3. Lessing
4. Schiller
5. Wollstonecraft
6. De Stael
7. Schliermacher
8. Hegel
9. Wordsworth
10. Coleridge
11. Peacock
12. Shelley
13. Emerson
14. Poe
15. Gautier
16. Marx

MODERN

1. Baudelaire
2. Arnold
3. Pater
4. Mallarme
5. Nietzsche
6. Wilde
7. Freud
8. Saussure
9. Jung
10. Trotsky
11. Woolf
12. Eliot
13. Ransom
14. Heidegger
15. Benjamin
16. Adorno

POST-MODERN

1. Wilson
2. Burke
3. Lacan
4. Sartre
5. Brooks
6. De Bouvoir
7. Austin
8. Frye
9. Barthes
10. Fanon
11. Rich
12. Bloom
13. Derrida
14. Said
15. Cixous
16. Butler

12 Comments

  1. March 20, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Lucretius beats them all for me.

  2. thomasbrady said,

    March 20, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Hi Simon,

    My problem with Lucretius, follower of Epicurus, is the assumption of an infinite universe. As Scarriet put it in a poem a little while back:

    The question is not God, but infinity;
    All—with enough time and space—will happen—
    So Epicurus, two thousand years ago,
    Trampled Aristotle, Plato, and all religion—
    A drunken universe pours infinite wine,
    Indifference to humans stamps the divine,
    A tickling feather is better than wisdom,
    There is nothing to do and nothing to know,
    Worlds and worlds, a wind of infinite atoms, no sign
    Of God, law, love, purpose, knowledge, design
    More than shapes glimpsed in a melting snow.

    But alas, infinity was disproved by Edgar Allan Poe,
    Who claimed it was only a word. Infinite space,
    Infinite time, infinite stars, would make the night’s face
    Blazing white with the light of infinite stars—
    Further: orbs, gravity, relation, movement, could not exist
    If the process of attraction stretched on forever.
    Infinity is not the wall, but our mind, on infinity, thinking.
    Few venture into infinity’s sea without sinking
    A little sadly, into that Epicurean nap:
    The One World ignored, even as we sleep in its lap.

    Infinity, that false God, that false Epicurean dream,
    Hides our fate and purpose, hides the true, one God,
    Volition: big bang, gravity’s return to all,
    From which none can hide, no matter how clever, or small.
    It’s true that belief in simplicity is odd,
    But faith in infinity takes a leap that’s greater—
    One world, simply made, tempts, sooner, or later.

    • March 22, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      Aha! Grin. You have made two assumptions without proof, that there is a conscious all-powerful deity who created everything, and that it created everything with a purpose.

      While the west was under the Aristotelian world view for the past two millennia, we made no advancements in knowledge of technology. As soon as On the Nature of Things by Lucretius became available in the 1500s, we were able to throw off the false Aristotelian world view of a creator and a purpose.

      Over the past 500 years, our scientists have made huge advancements in knowledge and technology since they began applying his world view that all is made of atoms that swirl in a void.

      Lucretius and the atomist team, Leucippus, Democritus, and Epicurus, win over Plato and Aristotle.

      • thomasbrady said,

        March 22, 2014 at 8:40 pm

        Simon,

        Interesting.

        Da Vinci, following Plato, was in the 1400s. I don’t see how infinities and voids helps methodological science.

        Gravity cannot work in an infinite void.

  3. Laura said,

    March 20, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Philosophy is the true muse? (According to whom?) Well, whether that’s true or not, it’d be nice if more people would read a wide range of philosophy and then demonstrate some command of the written philosophical argument–I mean, given that formal argumentation is THE method that dominates Western analytic philosophy.

    Instead, outside the discipline, it’s too often seen as a free-for-all.

    Ayn Rand a philosopher? Only if anyone who makes unsupported claims in defense of an exceptionally biased political agenda can be called a philosopher. (Hey, Ted Cruz is a philosopher, too!)

    Philosophy was my undergraduate discipline, and I don’t like seeing it misused–anymore than I would like someone who once read an engineering book calling herself an engineer or someone who attends the theater but has never written a play calling himself a playwright. There’s a reason so many philosophy majors switch majors. On everyday matters, I’ll use more casual prose. But If one is uncomfortable with the methods used in analytic philosophy courses, that person’s not going to have much fun majoring in philosophy.

    I see great value, though, in articulating a philosophical position–or any other position, for that matter–in the form of a logically valid and sound written or oral argument. More members of Congress should develop those skills.

    One of the latest to call himself a philosopher, which is an enormous insult to the profession (he should avoid talking about science altogether, by the way)–oh, and in his effort to advance his own lousy argument, he’s also quite selective in defining “credo”:

    • thomasbrady said,

      March 21, 2014 at 11:15 pm

      Laura,

      I was just able to listen to that guy’s little speech. Actually, I liked what I heard. I think he’s got a point. It looks like it’s part of some big Science v. Religion debate. He has a certain Socratic point of view, which I found refreshing. I’m not familiar with him or his work.

  4. drew said,

    March 20, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    If Gérard de Nerval didn’t even make the bracket list, then –
    then I will start using parentheses instead. Boy am I mad.

    What an outrage. Who the hell is Pater? Do I have to know all this to love the muse?

    • thomasbrady said,

      March 20, 2014 at 8:13 pm

      Drew,

      Nerval’s friend Gautier is represented in the Romantic Bracket.

      We are using the Norton anthology of Theory and Criticism.

      Pater was an ‘art for art’s sake’ critic.

      Tom

      • drew said,

        March 20, 2014 at 9:32 pm

        Ok – thanks Tom.

        Shall I chant the Pater Noster now?

  5. Laura said,

    March 20, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    Quick P.S. I won’t hazard to guess the percentage, but I’m quite comfortable saying that only a tiny percentage of professional (“academic”) philosophers consider Rand a legitimate philosopher (I haven’t met any who actually do, but I know there are a few are out there.) Many get funding from the Ayn Rand Institute’s Anthem Foundation–hardly an objective funding source.

    Why do so few serious philsophers take Ms. Rand seriously? Not because of her conclusions–though many do regard her conclusions as simplistic and extreme–but because of the way she reaches those conclusions; she tends to make pronouncements, not arguments. A bunch of drunks in a bar can also make pronouncements and express opinions without providing any explanation or argument for those opinions, but they oughtn’t be able to earn a college or university degree for doing so.

    Anyway, I’d almost forgotten how funny, and entertaining in general (as well as disturbingly accurate), this is:

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/11/09/091109fa_fact_mallon?currentPage=all

  6. Laura said,

    March 20, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    The Branch Banking & Trust Charitable Foundation’s funding of academic research (BB&T is very pro-Ayn Rand):

    http://www.aaup.org/article/universities-major-battleground-fight-reason-and-capitalism#.UytAs_ldXUU

    (The main reason for my singling out Rand is her strong influence on young college students who seldom encounter any of the many reasonable objections to Rand’s style of “reasoning” or her gross misreadings of the very philosophers she believed were her greatest influences.)

  7. thomasbrady said,

    March 20, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Laura,

    Rand is not in the tournament.

    The first contest is Plato v. Hume.

    Tom


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