Posts tagged Philosophy
Posts tagged Philosophy
Nietzsche is known for his concept of the “Übermensch” or “superman”. Nietzsche believed that religion, and Christianity in particular, was a set of values imposed by the weak on the strong to keep them in line. He believed that the new superman would need to create his own values and reject the ones imposed by society.
I’m not sure if physical strength is particularly what Nietzsche had in mind, but I figured that the ‘roid pony in Hurricane Fluttershy was so out of place among the other ponies, and yet so unconcerned about this difference, that he would be Nietzsche’s favorite.
So that’s the end of my list of Philosophers’ Favorite Ponies. Perhaps sometime I’ll think of more and post them here. Until then, take care.
Karl Marx, of course, is the father of communist theory. His philosophy featured the idea of a class struggle between the “bourgeoisie” who owned the means of production and the “proletariat” wage earners. He believed that the proletariat class would eventually establish a dictatorship that would lead to a communist society.
Originally, I thought that hard-working Applejack would be Marx’s favorite pony. But then I realized that she’s technically part of the bourgeoisie, because her family owns Sweet Apple Acres. So I figured that the factory workers in Cloudsdale were the most proletarian ponies in Equestria, and therefore would be Marx’s favorites.
Kierkegaard was a 19th century philosopher who is known as one of the fathers of existentialism. He criticized his society for its lack of passion. This quote expresses his opinion:
Søren Kierkegaard (really):
Let other complain that the age is wicked; my complaint is that it is paltry; for it lacks passion. Men’s thoughts are thin and flimsy like lace, they are themselves pitiable like the lacemakers. The thoughts of their hearts are too paltry to be sinful. For a worm it might be regarded as a sin to harbor such thoughts, but not for a being made in the image of God. Their lusts are dull and sluggish, their passions sleepy…This is the reason my soul always turns back to the Old Testament and to Shakespeare. I feel that those who speak there are at least human beings: they hate, they love, they murder their enemies, and curse their descendants throughout all generations, they sin.
With this in mind, I thought that Luna’s over-the-top personality would resonate with Kierkegaard. She was an obvious choice.
John Locke is a character from Lost. But that’s not the one I’m talking about.
That John Locke was named after a 17th century philosopher who is associated with the philosophy of empiricism, the belief that our knowledge should come from observable data. This is in contrast to the rationalism of Descartes, which says that our knowledge should come from abstract logical ideas (I’m generalizing here, but you get the point). Unfortunately, I couldn’t think of a pony who represents empiricism, aside from Twilight Sparkle who was already the favorite pony of Descartes.
Fortunately, Locke is also known for his political theory, which helped lay the foundation for the American revolution. So I figured that Rainbow Dash sort of represents freedom and Locke advocated freedom, so it would be a good fit. It might be a bit of a stretch, and I might have made a better decision if I had actually studied Locke instead of just knowing about him. Perhaps Fluttershy would have been a better choice since Locke also worked as a physician. Oh well.
This doesn’t really need explanation. If Descartes is known for anything, it’s his saying “cogito ergo sum”, “I think, therefore I am.”
It was hard picking only one philosopher to have Twilight Sparkle as his favorite pony, because so many of them could have good reasons for that choice (I guess I’m biased because Twilight is my favorite pony). But eventually I settled on Descartes.
Again we have an important medieval philosopher, and again the joke is not his choice of favorite pony, but the way that choice is communicated.
St. Thomas is my favorite philosopher. This isn’t just because of his philosophy itself, although I do agree with him on quite a few issues. But I really like his method of communication.
His book Summa Theologica is organized in a way that would make Twilight Sparkle proud. Underneath the general divisions of subject matter, the book is divided into “questions” regarding a general topic, such as “Of the Intellectual Powers”. Each of these “questions” is divided into individual articles, stated as a true/false question, e.g. “Whether There Is an Active Intellect?”
Thomas begins each of these articles with a numbered list of “objections” or arguments for the view opposite of his own. He follows this list with a paragraph starting with “On the contrary…” in which he usually quotes an authoritative source in favor of his view. Then he develops his own argument, starting with the words “I answer that…” He finishes each article with a counter-argument to each of the objections.
In my original draft, I had intended to parody this whole formula. I was going to list several reasons people might give for why Rainbow Dash isn’t the best pony, followed by a quote from Lauren Faust or some other person of significance, and ending with an argument in favor of Rainbow Dash and refutations of the objections. But I couldn’t think of anything funny enough and didn’t want to make my email too long, so I went with the abbreviated version above. I also changed the favorite pony from Rainbow Dash to Rarity, just because.
St. Anselm (not to be confused with Ansem from Kingdom Hearts) was an important medieval philosopher. In Christian theology he is know for developing a theory of the atonement. But in philosophy he is best known for his ontological argument for the existence of God.
His argument is complicated and I couldn’t do it justice here (even if I was sure I understood it). The important thing is that the argument involved defining God as “that being than which no greater can be conceived” (or words similar to that).
Thus the joke is simply using the same unusual language to describe a favorite pony rather than arguing for the existence of God. The fact that his favorite pony is Fluttershy is irrelevant to the joke, I just thought it would be a good idea.
Aristotle was the student of Plato and greatly respected him, even though they seemed to have opposite opinions regarding a lot of issues. I couldn’t think of any jokes to make about Aristotle’s ontology (the study of being), so I decided to write about his ethical philosophy instead.
This entry is pretty self explanatory. Aristotle is know for the “golden mean” and I though he would appreciate the loyalest and most dependable of ponies.
Plato is best known for his idea of, well, ideas. Basically, Plato believed that all the ideas we have of physical objects are actually real. For example, we see a chair and recognize it as a chair because it resembles an ideal chair that actually exists somewhere.
Plato used the analogy of prisoners in a cave watching shadows cast by objects outside the cave. If all the prisoners ever saw was the shadows, they would think that the shadows themselves were real and would be oblivious to the actual reality outside the cave. In the same way, Plato argued that humans are mistaken when we think that the reality we see is actually real, as it is merely a shadow of the actual ideal reality.
Of all the ponies, Pinkie Pie seems the most likely to realize that they are just cartoon characters living in a cartoon world. She has been known to break the fourth wall and address the audience. That’s why I think she’d be Plato’s favorite pony.
Socrates may be one of the most famous philosophers in history, but we don’t have anything written by him so there’s a limit to what we can know about his philosophy. We do know that he used what became know as the Socratic method to teach and argue his ideas. The Socratic method basically involves the teacher asking the student questions that eventually cause the student to form the conclusion that the teacher is trying to teach.
This made me think that Socrates’ favorite pony would be a teacher. The options would be Cheerilee and Celestia, and I figured that Celestia had a more Socratic way of teaching.
I should mention that these explanations are based on what I was thinking when I wrote the list. If I make any incorrect statement regarding history and philosophy, it’s because it’s been several years since I studied these guys, and some of them I only know about indirectly.