Becoming a Philosopher

Neiman:  I was a tail end of the ‘60s kid. I dropped out of high school as a matter of fact and- ‘cause I didn’t want to miss what was going on. I went on the road and did all the sorts of things that people did back then from Woodstock to the moratoriums against the Viet Nam War and it all collapsed pretty much at a certain point in this country anyway in ’72, ’73. And I don’t mean to say that I was theoretically caught up in the ‘60s. I wasn’t--  I was a kid. It’s not like I had seriously read Mancuso[ph?] or anything but it did seem time to think about what had gone wrong and where my life was going to go, and I just happened by good fortune or not to read a little Nietzsche and a little Sartre and I decided this is where the answers are; I want to become a philosopher. It was a long road from there to where I am now but that was what got me started.

Question: Who has influenced your life the most?

Neiman:  That’s a hard question to answer because I always considered myself lucky to have had just in philosophy five really powerful teachers, two in Berlin and three at Harvard, but not any one of them. I think if I had simply been influenced by one of them I would be less independent than I am now so there isn’t simply one person whom I can name. I was a student at Harvard of John Rawls, Stanley Cavell and Burton Dreben. In Berlin I was a student of Yackel Talbis[ph?] and Margarita Funbantano[ph?] who aren’t known over here but again I benefited tremendously by being able to be around almost a surfeit of first-rate minds and take bits from all of them.

Why Susan Neiman became a philosopher and who influenced her.

Live on Monday: Does the US need one billion people?

What would happen if you tripled the US population? Matthew Yglesias and moderator Charles Duhigg explore the idea on Big Think Live.

Big Think LIVE

Is immigration key to bolstering the American economy? Could having one billion Americans secure the US's position as the global superpower?

Keep reading Show less

Landau Genius Scale ranking of the smartest physicists ever

How Nobel Prize winner physicist Lev Landau ranked the best physics minds of his generation.

Photo by: Photo12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • Nobel-Prize-winning Soviet physicist Lev Landau used a scale to rank the best physicists of the 20th century.
  • The physicist based it on their level of contribution to science.
  • The scale was logarithmic, with each level being 10 times more valuable.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Universe works like a cosmological neural network, argues new paper

    Controversial physics theory says reality around us behaves like a computer neural network.

    Credit: sakkmesterke
    Surprising Science
    • Physicist proposes that the universe behaves like an artificial neural network.
    • The scientist's new paper seeks to reconcile classical physics and quantum mechanics.
    • The theory claims that natural selection produces both atoms and "observers".
    Keep reading Show less

    Mystery anomaly weakens Earth's magnetic field, report scientists

    A strange weakness in the Earth's protective magnetic field is growing and possibly splitting, shows data.

    ESA
    Surprising Science
    • "The South Atlantic Anomaly" in the Earth's magnetic field is growing and possibly splitting, shows data.
    • The information was gathered by the ESA's Swarm Constellation mission satellites.
    • The changes may indicate the coming reversal of the North and South Poles.
    Keep reading Show less

    We studied what happens when guys add their cats to their dating app profiles

    43% of people think they can get a sense of someone's personality by their picture.

    Photo by Luigi Pozzoli on Unsplash
    Sex & Relationships

    If you've used a dating app, you'll know the importance of choosing good profile pics.

    Keep reading Show less
    Quantcast