Anime Philosophers

Anime Philosophers

By: Jose

I will be the first to say that rumors of my demise have been exaggerated.  Here at Two Dudes, there are many important things that have to be done behind the scenes (such as making sure that the attic is clean, the Mountain Dew has been restocked, and neckbeards reach the proper level of dishevelment), and one could say that I have been fighting the good fight for some time to make sure that high quality posts come to all four of our readers.

That said, certain rumblings of discontent from Pep have forced me to come out of my cave and make a post.  I’m under the impression that he thinks it’s quite important for continuing to grow our somewhat meager readership.   To that end, I will admit here, freely, under the cloud of complete anonymity, that I occasionally watch anime.  I will not point people towards the anime disclaimer, but rather simply state that I enjoy giant robots, explosions, and occasional bursts of “burning spirit.”  Like all things, it vacillates rather exceptionally in the quality presented. [1]

However, occasionally I come upon something so utterly and completely ridiculous that it makes me writhe in agony, drop to my knees, and scream “Japaaaaaan” in much the same voice that Darth Vader takes at the end of Episode Three.  In today’s case, it is the following:

http://aya.shii.org/2011/09/17/european-philosophers-become-magical-anime-girls/

To preface the following rant it must be noted that I was a philosophy major in college.  I spent nights agonizing over things like “world” and “being” and “truth.”  To this date, I’m unsure if this actually did anything for me other than give me a substance abuse problem, but there is something so utterly ridiculous about the philosophers being transposed into the bodies of magical teenage girls that it fills me with something vaguely between rage and agony.

I’m really rather annoyed at the way each of the philosophers are presented.  The sort of twin like mentality of Hume and Berkeley seems to be indicating some sort coherent identity between their philosophies.  In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth.  Berkeley struggles with the existence of reality that is not directly perceived [his ultimate answer is that things don’t disappear because God is watching everything. QED], while Hume is much more concerned with direct assaults on the ivory tower of metaphysical thought.   While Hume’s philosophy is extremely well done, most of it is done in the way we think of more Critical Philosophy now-a-days.  He points out a foolish assumption [something like causation], identifies that we have no perception of it [i.e. we can’t perceive cause and effect], and then asserts that some fundamental frame work of our everyday existence is actually just a habit of mind.  While they’re both very concerned with the perception of existence, their interaction with the philosophy and the ultimate thrust of the empirical philosophy is completely different. [2]

Kant makes a certain amount of sense, but unless she’s got a weird sort of worship/hatred relationship with Hume, then it completely misses the point of what caused Kant to create the Critical Philosophy. [3]  Kant was originally a Leibnizian rationalist, but after reading Hume, basically fell apart and slowly put himself back together intellectually.  [This is a common occurrence after reading Hume for the first time.]  Hegel appears to have a giant rack.  I have no idea why.  And the fact that Spinoza is having a panty shot raises feelings of extreme ire.  [4]  Nietzsche looks rather angry, which I suppose is sort of correct, but one needs to realize that Nietzsche was in no way actually a nihilist.  He basically said it himself.  Rather, Nietzsche should be thought of as the Anti-Plato.

Descartes looks completely boring and in this sense is probably the most accurate, but I’m sure Japan will find a way to screw this up too.

tl;dr: Keep your damn anime out of my intellectualism.

[1] Unfortunately, anime often feels the need to provide things like fan service (which I find awkward at best, and downright weird at worst) and very warped representations of human relationships.  I’m sure Pep understands the reasoning behind all of it, but anime’s general idea of how people interact with one another often leaves me frothing and wanting to throw things.

[2] Berkeley is still very much in the tradition of the old metaphysicians– his primary concern has to do with God.  It makes sense, he is an Archbishop at the time of his writing.

[3] The Critical Philosophy is best expressed through his magnum opus: The Critique of Pure Reason.  Effectively, this is an attempt to save Metaphysical & Religious thought from what Kant thought was the damning thought of Hume.  Whether or not he saves it is a matter of some debate, but the Critical Philosophy forms the basis for pretty much all philosophy that comes after it.

[4] For those of you unawares, Spinoza was a philosopher who was SO God-Drunken that both the Jewish Faith and the Catholic Church found him rather odd and summarily kicked him out.  He basically lived as a lens grinder and wrote letters to various philosophers about how his geometric proofs, in fact, proved that we were all actual modal existences of God (don’t ask).

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