Early Wittgenstein

Early Wittgenstein

Christian Existentialism Kierkegaards attack on Christendom. O Lord Jesus Christ, would that we also might be contemporary with thee, see thee in thy true form, not in the form in which an empty and meaningless tradition, or a thoughtless and superstitious historical tradition has deformed thee. Existentialism Authentic vs inauthentic faith.

Lessings ugly ditch: The impossibility of basing ones eternal happiness on a more or less probable historical claim. The necessity and desirability of a passionate, irrational, leap of faith. Soren Kierkegaard (18131855) AKA: Johannes Climacus; Johannes Anticlimacus. Once it was at the risk of his life that a man dared to profess himself a Christian; now it is to make oneself suspect to venture to doubt that one is a Christian.

Religion can make selfcenteredness seem respectable. Authentic Christianity isnt based on doctrinal or historical certainties, it is passionate subjectivity. If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but...because I cannot do this I must believe. Kierkegaards Thought Approximation argument: Objective historical reasoning can never be more than approximately true, hence it can never

provide a basis for an eternal happiness. Postponement argument: Since all the evidence will never be in, an objective inquirer must always postpone faith. Passion argument: Objectivity is inversely proportional to passion. Atheistic Existentialism Nietzsche, Heidegger, Camus, Sartre. What are the consequences of the non-existence of God for modern man? Friedrich Nietzsche (18441900)

God is dead. Traditional religious and metaphysical systems have been undermined by the scientific method. Without some new basis for morality and meaning, nihilism will prevail. A new naturalism (which affirms life) is necessary to replace the old myths. I entreat you my brothers, remain true to the earth, and do not believe those who speak to you of superterrestial hopes. They are despisers of life, selfpoisoned men of whom the earth is weary.

Nietzsches Naturalism Master vs slave morality. The weak, in an effort to protect themselves from the strong, created slave moralities of kindness and compassion. The master exerts his will to power and recognizes that what is good is what is good for him. He affirms his life instinct and exists beyond good and evil.

Aphorisms What is good?- All that heightens the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself in man. To live alone one must be an animal or a god- says Aristotle. There is yet a third case: one must be both- a philosopher. Madness is something rare in individuals- but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule. We have no organ at all for knowledge, for truth: we know, or believe or imagine, precisely as much

as may be useful in the interest of the human herd, the species: and even what is here called usefulness is in the end only a belief, something imagined and perhaps precisely that most fatal piece of stupidity by which we shall one day perish. The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends. Everyone who has ever built anywhere a new heaven first found the power thereto in his own hell. You will never get the crowd to cry Hosanna until you ride into town on an ass.

Thoughts are the shadows of our sensations- always darker, emptier, simpler than these. The philosopher believes that the value of his philosophy lies in the whole, in the building: posterity discovers it in the bricks with which he built and which are then often used again for better building: in the fact, that is to say, that that building can be destroyed and nonetheless possess value as material. Jean Paul Sartre (19051980) The existentialist finds it very embarrassing that God does not exist, for there disappears with Him all possibility of finding values in an intelligible

heaven. Sartres Subjectivism Existence precedes essence. There is no universal human nature because there is no God to create one. Each of us must create our own essence by the actions we do, the choices we make. To fail to choose for oneself is bad-faith. The necessity of choice with nothing to guide us creates angst. Existential Abandonment The anguish of Abraham.

The anguish of Sartres student: Join the resistance or care for mother? No moral theory can guide his choice. Abstract values dont apply to concrete cases. You are free, therefore choosethat is to say, invent. The moral choice is comparable to the construction of a work of art.

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