Politics & Philosophy by Dr. Martin D. Hash, Esq.
There may be unknown philosophers who got it right, but they aren't famous; the ones we hear about mostly got it wrong. The father of “rationalism,” Rene' Descartes, believed that we could rely on reason to find truth without depending on tradition or experts. Unfortunately, Descartes didn't even trust his own senses but instead believed he could reason out any fact solely in his mind, without experience, leading to his famous quote, “I think therefore I am.”
Those who believed that truth can only be determined through experimentation, such as Bacon and Locke, were called “empiricists.” This was the beginning of the modern scientific method. Unfortunately, when this philosophy was emerging during the 1700s, religion and God were still very much accepted as legitimate answers to secular questions.
Confucius thought it was of paramount importance to fit into the existing society. He called this strategy “the Way.” In practice this meant that people were born into a specific class, such as servant or noble, and they must fulfill the roles of that class regardless, and for life. He thought social harmony supersedes individual fulfillment; unfortunately, the opposite of liberty.
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