Posts tagged ‘Philosopher’

October 7, 2013

Rick Roderick

jean baudrillard

Rick Roderick (1949–2002) was an American professor of philosophy, best known for his lectures for The Teaching Company. Roderick was born in Abilene, Texas, son of (by his own description a ‘con-man’ and a ‘beautician.’

He taught at several universities, where he was much revered by many students for a Socratic style combined with a brash and often humorous approach. His breakthrough into wider circles came with his engagement with The Teaching Company where he recorded several memorable lecture series. Rick Roderick died in 2002 from a congestive heart condition.

September 25, 2013

Ronald Dworkin

Religion Without God

Ronald Dworkin (1931 – 2013) was an American philosopher and scholar of constitutional law. His theory of law as integrity, in which judges interpret the law in terms of consistent and communal moral principles, especially justice and fairness, is among the most influential contemporary theories about the nature of law.

Dworkin advocated a ‘moral reading’ of the United States Constitution, and an interpretivist approach to law and morality. He was a frequent commentator on contemporary political and legal issues, particularly those concerning the Supreme Court of the United States, often in the pages of ‘The New York Review of Books.’

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January 8, 2013

Robert Ingersoll

Robert Ingersoll (1833 – 1899) was a Civil War veteran, American political leader, and orator during the Golden Age of Freethought, noted for his broad range of culture and his defense of agnosticism. He was nicknamed ‘The Great Agnostic.’ He was born in upstate New York.

His father, John, was an abolitionist-leaning Congregationalist preacher, whose radical views forced his family to move frequently. For a time, Rev. Ingersoll filled the pulpit for American revivalist Charles G. Finney while Finney was on a tour of Europe. Upon Finney’s return, Rev. Ingersoll remained for a few months as co-pastor/associate pastor under Finney.

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May 15, 2012

Alejandro Jodorowsky

Alejandro [ali-hahn-droJodorowsky [ho-dor-row-ski] (b. 1929) is a Chilean-French filmmaker and spiritual guru. Best known for his avant-garde films, he has been ‘venerated by cult cinema enthusiasts’ for his work which ‘is filled with violently surreal images and a hybrid blend of mysticism and religious provocation.’

Dropping out of college, he became involved in theater and in particular mime, working as a clown before founding his own theater troupe in 1947. After moving to Paris in the early 1950s he turned to cinema, directing the short film ‘Les têtes interverties’ in 1957. From 1960 he divided his time between Paris and Mexico City, in the former becoming a founding member of the anarchistic avant-garde Panic Movement of performance artists.

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May 3, 2012

Slavoj Žižek


Slavoj Žižek [slah-voy zhee-zhek] (b. 1949) is a Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic working. He has made contributions to political theory, film theory and theoretical psychoanalysis. Žižek is a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology University of Ljubljana.

Žižek uses examples from popular culture to explain the theory of Jacques Lacan and uses Lacanian psychoanalysis, Hegelian philosophy, and Marxist economic criticism to interpret and speak extensively on immediately current social phenomena, including the current ongoing global financial crisis.

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February 16, 2012

Bruce Feiler

the council of dads

Bruce Feiler (b. 1964) is a popular American writer on faith, family, and finding meaning in everyday life. He is also the writer/presenter of the PBS miniseries ‘Walking the Bible.’ His latest book, ‘The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me,’ describes how he responded to a diagnosis of cancer by asking six men from all passages of his life to be present through the passages of his young daughters’ lives. ‘Walking the Bible’ describes his perilous, 10,000-mile journey retracing the Five Books of Moses through the desert. ‘Where God Was Born’ describes his year-long trek retracing the Bible through Israel, Iraq, and Iran. ‘America’s Prophet: Moses and the American Story’ discusses the significance of Moses as a symbolic prophet throughout four-hundred years of American history.

Feiler completed his undergraduate degree at Yale University, before spending time teaching English in Japan. This experience led to his first book, ‘Learning to Bow: Inside the Heart of Japan,’ a popular portrait of life in a small Japanese town. Upon his return he earned a masters degree in international relations from the University of Cambridge in the UK, which he chronicled in his book ‘Looking for Class.’ His early books involve immersing himself in different cultures and bringing other worlds to life. He also entered the world of a traveling circus for ‘Under the Big Top,’ which depicts the year he spent performing as a clown in the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus. Feiler is also credited with formulating the Feiler Faster Thesis which states that the increasing pace of society is matched by (and perhaps driven by) journalists’ ability to report events and the public’s desire for more information.

December 20, 2011

Ram Dass

ram dass

Ram Dass (b. 1931) is an American contemporary spiritual teacher, originally named Richard Alpert, and the author of the seminal 1971 book ‘Be Here Now.’

He is known for his personal and professional associations with Timothy Leary at Harvard University in the early 1960s, for his travels to India and his relationship with the Hindu guru Neem Karoli Baba, and for founding the charitable organizations Seva Foundation and Hanuman Foundation.

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July 4, 2011

Robert Anton Wilson

prometheus rising

cosmic trigger

Robert Anton Wilson (1932 –  2007) was a futurist thinker, libertarian, and writer. He held a Ph.D in Psychology. At one time he was a writer for Playboy magazine. Wilson was the author of the ‘Schrödinger’s Cat’ trilogy (1979). He also co-wrote (with Robert Shea) the ‘Illuminatus!’ trilogy (1975), which took a humorous look at the American fear of conspiracies. These books mix true facts with fiction. In ‘The Cosmic Trigger’ (1976), he introduced Discordianism, Sufism, futurism, the Illuminati and other unusual subjects to the general public. He also worked with Timothy Leary to promote futurist ideas of space migration, life extension, and intelligence enhancement.

Recognized as an episkopos, pope, and saint of Discordianism, Wilson helped publicize the group. He described his work as an ‘attempt to break down conditioned associations, to look at the world in a new way, with many models recognized as models or maps, and no one model elevated to the truth.’ His goal being ‘to try to get people into a state of generalized agnosticism, not agnosticism about God alone but agnosticism about everything.’

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June 29, 2011

Sun Ra

sun ra

Sun Ra (1914 – 1993), born Herman Poole Blount, was a prolific jazz artist and philosopher known for his ‘cosmic’ music and philosophies. His eclectic music and unorthodox lifestyle made him controversial. Claiming that he was of the ‘Angel Race’ and not from Earth, but from Saturn, Sun Ra developed a complex persona using ‘cosmic’ philosophies and lyrical poetry that made him a pioneer of afrofuturism. He preached awareness and peace above all.

He abandoned his birth name and took on the name and persona of Sun Ra (Ra being the Egyptian God of the Sun), and used several other names throughout his career, including Le Sonra and Sonny Lee. Sun Ra denied any connection with his birth name, saying ‘That’s an imaginary person, never existed … Any name that I use other than Ra is a pseudonym.’

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June 21, 2011

Jean Meslier


Jean Meslier (1664 – 1729) was a French Catholic priest who was discovered, upon his death, to have written a book-length philosophical essay promoting atheism. Described by the author as his ‘testament’ to his parishioners, the text denounces all religion.

He began learning Latin from a neighborhood priest in 1678 and eventually joined the seminary; he later claimed this was done to please his parents. At the end of his studies, he took Holy Orders and became priest in Champagne. One public disagreement with a local nobleman aside, Meslier was to all appearances generally unremarkable, and he performed his office without complaint or problem for 40 years. He lived like a pauper, and every penny left over was donated to the poor.

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June 15, 2011

Derek Parfit

derek parfit

Derek Parfit (b. 1942) is a British philosopher who specializes in problems of personal identity, rationality and ethics, and the relations between them. His 1984 book ‘Reasons and Persons’ has been very influential. His most recent book, ‘On What Matters’ (2011), has already been widely discussed, having circulated in draft form for many years.

He has worked at Oxford for the whole of his academic career, and is presently an Emeritus Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford. ‘Reasons and Persons’ is a four-part work, with each successive section building on the last. Parfit believes that nonreligious ethics is a young and fertile field of inquiry. He asks questions about which actions are right or wrong and shies away from meta-ethics, which focuses more on logic and language.

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May 19, 2011

Max Stirner

Philosophy of Max Stirner

Johann Kaspar Schmidt (1806 – 1856), better known as Max Stirner (the nom de plume he adopted from a schoolyard nickname he had acquired as a child because of his high brow, in German ‘Stirn’), was a German philosopher, who ranks as one of the literary fathers of nihilism, existentialism, post-modernism and anarchism.

Stirner’s main work is ‘The Ego and Its Own’ (‘Der Einzige und sein Eigentum’), published in 1844 in Leipzig. It is a a radical anti-authoritarian and individualist critique of contemporary Prussian society, and modern western society.

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