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10 schools of philosophy and why you should know them

Existentialism

Existentialism originates from Soren Kierkegaard and Nietzche. It focuses on the problems produced by existential nihilism. For instance:

  • What is the point of living if life has no inherent purpose? 
  • How do we face the knowledge of our inevitable demise?

Existentialism emphasizes individual existence, freedom and choice.

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10 schools of philosophy and why you should know them

10 schools of philosophy and why you should know them

https://bigthink.com/scotty-hendricks/10-schools-of-philosophy-and-why-you-should-know-them

bigthink.com

10

Key Ideas

Nihilism

Nihilism means "nothing." It is the lack of belief in meaning or substance in an area of philosophy.

  • Moral nihilism argues that moral facts cannot exist.
  • Metaphysical nihilism argues that we cannot have spiritual facts.
  • Existential nihilism is the idea that life cannot have meaning and nothing has value.

Nietzsche was not a nihilist but wrote about the dangers posed by this philosophy.

Existentialism

Existentialism originates from Soren Kierkegaard and Nietzche. It focuses on the problems produced by existential nihilism. For instance:

  • What is the point of living if life has no inherent purpose? 
  • How do we face the knowledge of our inevitable demise?

Existentialism emphasizes individual existence, freedom and choice.

Stoicism

Stoicism was popular in ancient Greece and Rome and is practiced by many in high-stress environments.

Stoicism focuses on how to live in a world where things don't go as planned. The idea is to accept all the things beyond your control and to focus on what you can control.

Hedonism

Hedonism is the idea that pleasure and happiness are the keys to a good life. Modern philosophers would say that pleasure is a kind of happiness, but not the only happiness.

Epicurus tied hedonism to a virtue ethics system based around moderation and self-discipline.

Marxism

Marxism is based on the collected ideas of Karl Marx, the German philosopher. He critiqued capitalism. Main ideas:

  • The capitalist mode of production alienates us from the results of our labor;
  • The tendency of capitalism to overproduce and crash as a consequence;
  • The labor theory of value. 

Famous Marxists include Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Slavoj Zizek.

Logical Positivism

It is focused on the idea of verifications. It is trying to base all knowledge on either empirical data or logical tautologies.

The underlying principle of verificationism cannot be shown to be true, making it unsolvable.

Taoism

Taoism is based around the Tao Te Ching, written by the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu. It is based around ideas of:

  • humility
  • the 'Way'
  • a focus on the individual
  • simplicity
  • naturalness

Taoist thought later fused with Buddhism and formed Zen. 

Rationalism

Rationalism is the idea that knowledge must come from reason and thought, rather than empirical evidence. Socrates, Rene Descartes, and Spinoza argued for rationalism.

Today, most thinkers combine rationalist notions with empirical data.

Relativism

Relativism is the idea that views are relative to the perspective. This idea can be applied to morality or truth, where some argue that there are no moral facts or absolute truths.

Cultural relativism is the idea that the morality of two different cultures cannot be compared.

Buddhism

Buddhism is based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha. Although Buddhism has a diverse range of thought, it is bound together by the idea that suffering has a cause.

Buddhism believe suffering can be overcome by: meditation, following the eightfold path and contemplation of sutras.

EXPLORE MORE AROUND THESE TOPICS:

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

One of the reasons why Stoicism is enjoying a revival today is that it gives concrete answers to moral questions.
Aristotle gave us an alternative conception of happiness

It cannot be acquired by pleasurable experiences but only by identifying and realizing our own potential, moral and creative, in our specific environments, with our particular family, friends and colleagues, and helping others to do so. 

The Universal God

Aldous Huxley's The Perennial Philosophy(1945) is an extraordinary work of synthesis, introducing global (particularly eastern) spirituality into mainstream western culture.

The Phi...

Fresh Take On Religion
  • Modern society has been described as the Age of Noise, and an Organized Lovelessness.
  • Advertising is revealed to be an organized effort to extend and intensify craving.
  • People in the modern age worship progress, technology, and their nation-state, all of which can be described as a 'religion'.
  • The dogma of such religions was profoundly criticized in the classic books, while paving the way towards newer ways to find God, like meditation.

The Author and Philosopher's fresh take on religion, shaping it as an 'empirical spirituality' was a huge influence in the 1960s and which has since then led to more people (now 27% in the US) being 'Spiritual but not Religious'

Constructing One's Reality

Aldous Huxley was heavily criticized after his death by newer philosophers who didn't subscribe to the Perennial Philosophy.

While the author insisted that the ultimate mystical experience is the moment of pure oneness with God where the concepts of 'I', language, image and culture are dissolved, his critics argued that all religions are true and some of them are truer than the others.

One of the critics states that human beings construct reality using their bodies, rituals, words, actions and cultures.

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Workaholism

Far too many people spend 80% of their waking hours slogging away at a desk and view any break from this routine as a naughty deviation from duties.

Workism, where people worship their work, ...

Workaholism: factors

Many people cannot choose a reasonable work schedule:

  • They're underpaid and dependent on overtime wages for the survival of their families.
  • Many high-status workers who can afford a break, opt instead to toil continually.

This widespread workaholism, in part, reflects the misguided notion that having fun is somehow an over-indulgence.

Working less to produce more

Many people across the world take six weeks of vacation a year and still manage to produce functioning companies and political systems.

Working more than 55 hours a week produces diminishing returns of productivity.

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