Thoughts on Modern Intellectuals

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Neodoxy
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Thoughts on Modern Intellectuals

Post by Neodoxy » Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:48 pm

Kind of a scatterbrained thread, but it's way too easy to get caught up with the classics without talking about any newer contributions. I'll call it anyone who has written something of widespread significance in the last three decades.

Nassim Taleb: One of the more powerful and interesting thinkers of our time. With that said he slips between brilliance and complete crankery on a dime.

George Reisman: Capitalism is probably the most powerful works on economics published in the last century (in particular the marrying of classical and Austrian economics is a powerful intellectual achievement unto itself), that said the objectivism downgrades the work a little bit. Reisman has no place talking about neuroscience. His thesis on environmentalism could have been greatly tightened

Paul Krugman: His pure economics are pretty good. Perfect example of someone using their achievements in a particular branch of a science to say whatever they want on all of it. His popular writings I have found to normally be devoid of economic content, even from a mainstream perspective.

Elinor Ostrom: Fantastic political theorist. Theoretically powerful while empirically robust. She was a breaker of boundaries and at very least changed the way I think about the social sciences.

Your thoughts on contemporary intellectuals?

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Neodoxy
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Re: Thoughts on Modern Intellectuals

Post by Neodoxy » Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:53 pm

Also, I feel like I should have opinions on Steven Pinker and Thomas Piketty but I really don't other than that I think I like what I perceive Pinker to be doing, but I can't actually vouch for it or its intellectual integrity. Throwing them out there to prompt anyone else's responses.

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Tom Rogers
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Re: Thoughts on Modern Intellectuals

Post by Tom Rogers » Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:43 pm

Neodoxy wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:48 pm
Your thoughts on contemporary intellectuals?
It depends on the type of thinking and personality you are attracted to. I personally dislike intellectuals such as Jordan Peterson, who I think are physically weak and intellectually conventional (albeit at the margins of convention, in some ways) and are simply there to deliver a dull message that reinforces society's ideologies and keeps people in check. Peterson is, in effect (and even if he isn't conscious of this himself), a clever salesman for the existing state of affairs.

The only ones I like are those such as Žižek who are able to do what an intellectual should do, which is think properly out of the box - the clue in Žižek's case being in the fact that he often finds it difficult to express his deeper thoughts, a quality that can be quite appealing. I don't even agree with him much of the time, but at least he's interesting.

I used to like Chomsky, but I've gradually come to the realisation that he falls into the Peterson category, just at the other marginal end of a conventional spectrum.

You mentioned Taleb. He's OK, nothing spectacular really, but he has written some interesting stuff.

One interesting thing I have noticed is that there are no real female intellectuals of any stature, other than the mundane titular intellectuals of academia. And to be frank, I would find it difficult to take a woman seriously. Are there women on this forum? Do women tend to 'think'?

I think all of these 'celebrity intellectuals' must be famous for a reason, even the interesting and attractive ones, and I have grown more suspicious as I age about the information being imparted to me and personal agendas. To be honest, I think most original thinking now is probably being done by obscure/pseudonymous people on forums like this.

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Neodoxy
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Re: Thoughts on Modern Intellectuals

Post by Neodoxy » Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:19 pm

Tom Rogers wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:43 pm

It depends on the type of thinking and personality you are attracted to. I personally dislike intellectuals such as Jordan Peterson, who I think are physically weak


Come now, should that really influence your thought? ;)

Also, Peterson is much more physically fit than Žižek
and intellectually conventional (albeit at the margins of convention, in some ways) and are simply there to deliver a dull message that reinforces society's ideologies and keeps people in check. Peterson is, in effect (and even if he isn't conscious of this himself), a clever salesman for the existing state of affairs.
I would say first that in the current intellectual climate Peterson is a radical. Some parts of his message are "classically conventional" and some other parts like his biblical stuff is a mix between "so old it's radical" and just new.

At any rate, I don't like looking at how radical an intellectual's conclusions are nearly as much as their process is. A proof is no less powerful because it solidifies a widely accepted conjecture.
The only ones I like are those such as Žižek who are able to do what an intellectual should do, which is think properly out of the box - the clue in Žižek's case being in the fact that he often finds it difficult to express his deeper thoughts, a quality that can be quite appealing. I don't even agree with him much of the time, but at least he's interesting.
What do you find intellectually powerful from Žižek?
I used to like Chomsky, but I've gradually come to the realisation that he falls into the Peterson category, just at the other marginal end of a conventional spectrum.
What do you find conventional about Chomsky?
One interesting thing I have noticed is that there are no real female intellectuals of any stature, other than the mundane titular intellectuals of academia. And to be frank, I would find it difficult to take a woman seriously. Are there women on this forum? Do women tend to 'think'?
Subject for a different thread. At any rate, it really is interesting that regardless of all of this modern feminist stuff, pretty much all of the powerful intellectual figures are still male. That said, some of the best read/intellectually spoken individuals I know are female.
I think all of these 'celebrity intellectuals' must be famous for a reason, even the interesting and attractive ones, and I have grown more suspicious as I age about the information being imparted to me and personal agendas. To be honest, I think most original thinking now is probably being done by obscure/pseudonymous people on forums like this.
Agreed that there is every reason to think that popularity and intellectual validity are inversely related.

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Jon Irenicus
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Re: Thoughts on Modern Intellectuals

Post by Jon Irenicus » Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:52 pm

I found quite a few of the guests Stefan Molyneux has had on very interesting, namely Linda Gottfredson, Michael Woodley, Stephen Hsu and Jared Taylor. I find him interesting in his own light, even though he's more entertainer/salesman the majority of the time. I quite like the author of this site, he puts together a lot of sources that would otherwise be entirely obscure to me and is clear in his presentations.

Female intellectuals are pretty rare. Rand was about one of the only ones I've read and liked.

I've not read Taleb, but his on my list of thinkers to eventually get round to.

Peterson I like, to a point. He is brave and he clearly is a very well read and educated man with interesting things to say, though I think part of what makes him controversial, as with Nathan Damore, is that he is unwilling to allow nonsense to supplant truth, simply because it makes some people uncomfortable that there are biological differences between individuals on a number of spectra. Where Peterson might be truly useful is in encouraging others to stand up to the modern-day thought police taking over universities and the MSM.

Piketty I could not care less about. He seems to be another hack that has been elevated beyond any degree of merit, particularly given the severe shortcomings his works display (analysed by the FT, Murphy, Reisman etc.), including his infamous r>g formulation. There's so many thinkers out there that my preference would be to avoid any who are still wallowing in confusion, if not perpetrating deception to push a political agenda.
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Re: Thoughts on Modern Intellectuals

Post by Osterreicher » Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:17 pm

Taleb - I at a time had the conviction that the Modern Portfolio Theory was a solid fanacial tool which was developed by Economists. He totally changed my way of looking and understanding risk. Unfortunately one cannot have a clue what he is trying to say when he speaks. But those turtle necks though :| :roll:

Krugman - A stright out criminal on a national scale. He's the guy Hoppe refers to when he says crooks.
I truly think that the ideas he promotes are dangerous to people's lifes. It's really astounding to know that we still gotta hear this rubbish.

Fama - His theories are elegant and nice to work with, but unfortunately it seems not describe reality well. One has to give it to Fama the he is truly convinst of his own theories, not that there's anything wrong with that. Only that he's more of a old type scientist, like Hoppe and Rothbard in this regard.

Hoppe - A true genius in my opinion.

Murphy - How can anyone not like this guy!? Yes, it's true. He doesn't have the most fail proof arguments, but he does kick ass when it comes to jokes and country music. :P

Well there's so much more people to talk about..
"Any life needs seem short to people who measure it in terms of pleasures, which through their empty nature are incapable of completeness."- Seneca

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Jon Irenicus
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Re: Thoughts on Modern Intellectuals

Post by Jon Irenicus » Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:22 pm

I'll second Hoppe. He's also intrigued me enough to read Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn.

I liked Buchanan as well, though like many he was not without his shortcomings.

Tom Woods is pretty entertaining when it comes to presenting historical ideas.

I suppose I should mention Douglas den Uyl and Douglas Rasmussen, as well as Henry Veatch, for their enlightening works on the Aristotelian philosophical perspective.

Other modern Austrians whom I like are Hulsmann, Stephan Kinsella, Salerno, David Gordon, Reisman (I think he's pretty brilliant), Barry Smith (in particular his works on phenomenology) and Sean Gabb over at Mises UK. George Selgin's works which I've read on method have been very enlightening.
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William
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Re: Thoughts on Modern Intellectuals

Post by William » Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:34 am

off of the top of my head, living philosophers who aren't social philosophers I've enjoyed reading or listening to lectures:

Saul Kripke, John Searle, (Recently deceased) Umberto Eco

Neo gets a strike and needs to bow his head in shame for not naming Dougie Hofstadter.
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Neodoxy
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Re: Thoughts on Modern Intellectuals

Post by Neodoxy » Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:10 am

William wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:34 am
Neo gets a strike and needs to bow his head in shame for not naming Dougie Hofstadter.
It was inevitable that the list was going to be incomplete, okay?

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Neodoxy
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Re: Thoughts on Modern Intellectuals

Post by Neodoxy » Thu Apr 05, 2018 5:42 am

Can anyone tell me what they see Hoppe's central theoretical contributions as being? I have read almost nothing by him. I know the basic argument against democracy. Beyond that he seems to do some rear guard action for the cause of Austrianism and parts of his thought seem somewhat instrumental to the alt-right.

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