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  1. #1

    Default That's not the right meaning of that!!

    Do you get this, especially in politics or philosophy, someone quotes something and its the wrong damn meaning, then it gets requoted a dozen times and even supposed authorities start to think the mistaken meaning is the right meaning. I've got an example, see if you can think of others, the example I have is Karl Marx:-

    "Philosophers have interpreted the world, the point is to change it"

    This is repeatedly quoted as a sort of activist "I'm going to change the world", "the world should change" way, that not what was being said, it literally means philosophy and is about philosophy, its about philosophical revisionism, the philosophers, ie Hegel in Marx's case, have interpreted the world, the point is to change it, ie philosophy!!!

    Its what he did, its what the majority of his time was taken up doing!! It started with hegel, then it was english political economy, then it was french socialism, each one was an interpretation and he critically revised them all, although more so in the case of economics than anything else.

    I am sure there are others but this bothers me no end. Apparently smart people do this too.

  2. #2
    morose bourgeoisie
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    Unless the translation is very poor (which is possible), the meaning seems obvious.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I've got an example, see if you can think of others, the example I have is Karl Marx:-

    "Philosophers have interpreted the world, the point is to change it"

    This is repeatedly quoted as a sort of activist "I'm going to change the world", "the world should change" way, that not what was being said, it literally means philosophy and is about philosophy, its about philosophical revisionism, the philosophers, ie Hegel in Marx's case, have interpreted the world, the point is to change it, ie philosophy!!!
    That is plainly wrong.

    "Die Philosophen haben die Welt nur verschieden interpretirt; es kommt aber darauf an, sie zu verändern" means "The philosophers have merely interpreted the world differently; but what matters is to change it".

    In German, 'sie' could indeed mean both 'die Welt' as well as 'die Philosophen', though never 'Philosophie' itself. But the sentence would have been formulated differently if Marx had intended to speak about changing the philosophers (or philosophy).

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Apparently smart people do this too.
    So I am not yet convinced of this one.

  4. #4
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    Notably for me are Einsteins quotes on religion and various other scientists or so called renowned thinkers who have alluded to religion.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Little_Sticks's Avatar
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    Is it basically saying then that interpretation is part of change or is it really as literal as Nicodemus translates?

    My favorite is "I think, therefore I am."
    Often it is used to suggest that thinking about something proves that we exist.
    But it was more to mean that because we can question the world, it is proof that we are aware. And through awareness, we can know that we are.

  6. #6
    a scream in a vortex nanook's Avatar
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    as a native german speaker i confirm nicodemus' interpretation of the sentence that he wrote. there is no other way of interpreting the sentence. it IS about changing the actual world.


    however coming from marx it is not an anti intellectual statement for sure. often activists are anti intellectual.
    but often intellectuals are anti-realistic, bookish, essentially teachers who want to change nothing but the opinions of their peers.
    (they want to be paid for it by the establishment, a revolution might destroy their income)

    what marx suggested is to create a philosophy that is capable of changing the world, by being suited to 'infect' the masses and also by being a practical enough guide for real action.

    of course this implies, to go beyond descriptive interpretation, it implies a judgement about how the world should become.

    let's try a different sentence though. (edit: just noticed after writing this post, that little sticks brought that up already)

    cogito ergo sum, being translated as i think therefore i am.

    but cogito does not necessarily have the same meaning as thinking.

    as typologists we would assume that cogito (cognising) involves intuition, sensation, feeling, thinking. then the sentence would be "i am conscious, therefore i am"

    it's a huge difference in meaning.

    the I AM that correlates with all of consciousness is the spiritual witness, atman, god.

    but the I am that correlates with language based narrative-thinking is the little illusory ego, the shallow literal I-thought.

    i don't know what descartes had in mind. his understanding of cognising might have actually be limited to that of the egoic-mind's narrative, since plenty of philosophers are morons who are limited through motivation to left-brained language, due to a deliberate professional logic-fetish.

    but the translations is suspicious.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopelandic View Post
    Notably for me are Einsteins quotes on religion and various other scientists or so called renowned thinkers who have alluded to religion.
    Thanks for posting something which I consider an actual contribution to the thread.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Little_Sticks View Post
    Is it basically saying then that interpretation is part of change or is it really as literal as Nicodemus translates?

    My favorite is "I think, therefore I am."
    Often it is used to suggest that thinking about something proves that we exist.
    But it was more to mean that because we can question the world, it is proof that we are aware. And through awareness, we can know that we are.
    No, I dont believe its meant to be considered how Nicodemus posted at all, although I'm waiting for him to argue a black bird is white to be honest.

    Anyway, since Marx spent his entire time as a kind of literary critic reinterpreting various topics I think the meaning is plain, its not about scribbling notes on the barricades, or even building barricades in the first place, as often it has been interpreted.

    In the actual context of Marxism that's too voluntaristic or vitalistic anyway, change is supposed to be influenced by the confluence of great impersonal forces in the economy anyway, the means and mode of production, not a sufficient number of people wanting change or hoping for something better simultaneously.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    No, I dont believe its meant to be considered how Nicodemus posted at all, although I'm waiting for him to argue a black bird is white to be honest.
    A wonderful illustration of your general gift for delusion. But, because I am such a nice person, I will help you one more time:

    "Die Philosophen haben die Welt nur verschieden i n t e r p r e t i r t; es kommt aber darauf an, sie zu v e r ä n d e r n."

    Note the placement of the verbs in the sentence and how they are formatted. Or just read.

  10. #10
    Superwoman Red Herring's Avatar
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    @Lark, I am also a native speaker of German like Nicodemus and nanook and have to agree with both of them. Nicodemus is right.
    The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. Neither love without knowledge, nor knowledge without love can produce a good life. - Bertrand Russell
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