The Thinkers..

On the left Professor Michael Sandel , below philosopher and “digital guru” Jaron Lanier. Both fascinating and original thinkers, writers and broadcasters, and  both soon to be guests on WHYS.

Professor Sandel delivered this year’s Reith Lectures which were, if i may declare a bias, a great and thought-provoking listen. Here’s a good example of him in action.

Jaron has a new book out : “You Are Not A Gadget ” (reviewed here)  in which he is sceptical, to put it mildly, about the web 2.0 generation which has in his view led to individual creativity beginning to go out of fashion.

Right, i don’t want to waste these excellent guests, particularly one with a name very similar to mine. Post your questions, comments and theories here.

15 Responses to “The Thinkers..”

  1. 1 Alan in Arizona
    January 29, 2010 at 23:07

    I listened to the entire video from Professor Sandel. I’m glad I’m not one of those poor people that payed money for that class. It just basic common sense on justice. Of course in the various societies around the world, ethics, justice and morals are not addressed in the teaching of our children, and it shows in all of the murders, corruption and decadence we see in our daily lives. He should be giving that lecture to Junior High School students or earlier. Any later in life and a persons philosophical views on something like Justice are already set and will change very little.

    I think the students would have benefited more from watching the movie ” What the Bleep Do We Know?”, broken down into small groups and smoked some cannabis during their conversations. To be honest, it reminded me of the computer programmers I knew in the Air Force back in the 80’s. Young Military Officers who would break out a bottle of wine and their bong and sit for hours discussing the philosophical ramifications of the current events in our society.

    As for Jaron Lanier! The book review doesn’t really give you any insight into his true being. It just touches on the book and some of his thoughts. The ones the average person can deal with.

    A good look at his Wikipedia page gives you a better understanding of his true perspective on life and his potential thoughts of the future. I can’t say I recall any of his writing in the past, but I can see a kindred spirit in what little I have read today from a couple of sources on the net. Look at his eyes! He most likely has a far better grasp of whats really happening in this world and the possible directions that life can take in the future than 90% of the thinkers out there.

    I’m not totally sure of the direction you want to take for this topic. But I feel we are all thinkers. Some more than others. Most not living up to their potential, due to the main fact that lives most be lived, responsibilities addressed, children cared for and problems solved. But I think we should each take an hour every now and then, break open our favorite beverage and talk with someone about life, problems in the world, the future and how we can improve it for everyone. Even if it’s not in our power to accomplish it.

    We are all thinkers!

  2. 2 Linda from Italy
    January 30, 2010 at 01:50

    I can’t wait to hear Michael Sandel, his Reith lectures were mesmerising and will have to re-read the transcripts I downloaded from WS, sorry I’m an old f..t who still reads.
    Will check out the other guy too, looks fascinating.
    What a breath of fresh air from endless political, ideological, religious wrangling – is this The Forum (my favourite WS programme) gone public?
    Yours in anticipation

  3. 3 vintner
    January 30, 2010 at 03:48

    Wealth and Conservatism rate rationality liberalism. These are merely pretty words to cover self-serving actions. Mr. Sandals’s legacies are those Harvard brats that so surely arranged the financial melt-down, the Iraq and Afghanistan debacles, and the continued exaltation of consumerism over real conservation. They are surprised and yet Mr. Sandel escapes detection. Thinkers? Thought? People are not what they think! They are what they do, or the actions in others they inspire. From his “children” may you know him.
    How does one know a liar? Here are three truths: The one full of falsehood is easily discovered. The one who hides a single lie amongst ten thousand truths escapes detection. In between are most philosophers and this one also. Too bad! Try next time get a thinker capable of differentiating between rationalization and rational thought.

    • 4 Ronald Almeida
      February 1, 2010 at 03:50

      My freind you are forgetting the liars who lie to themselves. They actually believe the idiocy they propagate. It needs a lot of sheep for one to believe he is a shepard. Some do it for 0ver 2000 years from beyond the grave.

  4. 5 Ronald Almeida
    January 30, 2010 at 10:43

    I have to study what both these so called gurus have to say. I heard parts of a couple of Michael Sandels speaches, they did not turn me on. Jaron Lanier, never heard of him to date. But I will check both of them out and get back if the blog is still on till then.

    I am more involved in knowing myself than anyone out there since not a single one has been able to impress me.

    • 6 Saut
      February 1, 2010 at 13:36

      Ronald Almedia unimpressed me. And I don’t care to know more of him.
      My main concern are the liars who are alive and still deceiving. Not someone who passed away 2000 years ago.

  5. 7 anon
    January 30, 2010 at 10:54

    Of course you think he is thought provoking, he is left wing like the BBC

  6. 8 Subhash C Mehta
    January 30, 2010 at 13:49

    Only the serious and conscientious thinkers have the ability to create/present something good for the world; the tragedy with the world of today is, that, either there are not very many enlightened thinkers or they are not taken seriously.

  7. 9 vijay pillai
    January 31, 2010 at 08:30

    what original thinkers? Not clever to engineeing or medicine in their youth and did some silly subjects and regard them as orignal thinkers ,are insult to the generation of engineers and doctors who have made their original ideas bear fruits in numerous lasting ways. Give us a break.

  8. 10 Anne O'Leary
    January 31, 2010 at 13:48

    Why does the media continue to refer to the V5 registration document as a ‘black log book’??

  9. 11 Bert
    February 1, 2010 at 01:45

    Professor Sandel certainly is an engaging speaker. The problem I have with philosophy, in general, is that the problem statement is usually incomplete, and so multiple courses of action become feasible. And the fun is in the debate. But what is the debate about? The debate is every individual completing the problem statement in his/her own way.

    Well, of course, once you have created your own problem statement, then the best course of action might become clear to you. But the other guy invents a different problem statement, so many “answers” become possible. All we’re doing here is changing the problem.

    So for example, in the trolley car conundrum, a complete problem statement would have been one in which the OBJECTIVE of the problem is specified, and the CONTRAINTS which govern the actions of the observers would also be specified. If that had been the case, then the “correct answers” would have been more forthcoming.

    For example, one objective might have been to minimize loss of life. But that wasn’t specified in the problem statement. So, as the clip showed, some people created their own constraints of “go straight, turn, or do nothing,” and because they were not compelled to take action, loss of life was not minimized.

    What if the constraint set had been limited to “go straight or turn,” and the objective had been specified as “minimize loss of life”? I contend, few would object to the answer “turn the trolley.” Although they might strenuously object to having to make this decision that is now forced on them.

    • 12 takoller
      February 1, 2010 at 18:53

      The practical key, is to find the simplest underlying truth, and then to move in small steps to act on the best help/harm ratio option focused on that truth. Grand strategies will always fail.

  10. 13 patti in cape coral
    February 1, 2010 at 13:52

    I have to look these guys up, but the phrase original thinkers makes me wonder, they are the first to think the thoughts they are thinking? The idea that the web generation has lead to a decrease in individual creative thinking isn’t new, is it? In any case, should be a fascinating show.

    Alan in Arizona – I think you hit the nail on the head. I was having a fascinating debate with my daughter and her friends (all college kids) about eugenics, and I had a really great point that was left unsaid because I had to take my son to a basketball game. Maybe if I hadn’t gotten married and had children I would be known as the greatest thinker of all time!! he, he, he

  11. 14 martin
    February 1, 2010 at 17:14

    Michael Sandel displays the typically sloppy thinking of academia trying to show the “ordinary”people how “smart” they are.The trolley-car story just illustrates how a made-up scenario can trap people into circular argument on supposedly moral or ethical decisions.These conundrums have been around a long time(Plato and Aristotle resolved this kind of semantic drivel over a thousand years ago)So nothing new here.Original thinking?I think not.If you want to air original thought why not try Jaque Fresco or Noam Chomsky,they have extremely original views/ideas on a multiple of subjects and would stimulate vigorous debate(in my opinion)Nice idea though and full marks for effort and reasoning,keep up the excellent work!

  12. 15 Drake Weideman
    February 1, 2010 at 17:42

    Perhaps they can ponder this for me…is the anonymity allowed by the Internet a good thing?
    I think much of the success of the tea party, if what they have accomplished so far can be termed success, is due to a group of nuts who could post whacko comments anonymously and thereby found like-minded nuts. Since there are around 200 million voters here, even an extreme fringe group representing only 1% of the voters has 4 million adherents. Pre-Internet, those 4 million were scattered throughout the country and would have been unlikely to connect. Now they can connect, coordinate and become a force.
    In a like vein, it appears pedophiles have become emboldened by the anonymity to start appearing in public (ie. the internet), although the silver lining there is that is allowing their capture.
    Is this anonymity a good thing…is it unavoidable, and if not should it be changed?

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