Tag Archives: Philosophy


Sakshat is a Sanskrit word that means “in the presence of,” “with one’s own eyes,” “direct,” “visibly,” “here and now” and “obviously.” In the context of Hinduism, sakshat is often used to describe the incarnation or avatar of a deity.

The deity can incarnate directly or descend to Earth, in which case the avatar is called sakshat, or direct. On the other hand, when the deity empowers another being to be his/her representative, the incarnation is referred to as avesha, or indirect.

Philosophers {18} ~ Ludwig Wittgenstein {1889-1951}

  • Born in Austria to a wealthy family, Wittgenstein is one of philosophy’s more colorful and unusual characters. He lived a life of eccentricity and professional nomadism, dabbling in academia, military service, education, and even as a hospital orderly. Moreover, during his life, he wrote voluminously but published only a single manuscript. And yet, he was recognized by his contemporaries as a genius. The posthumous publication of his many volumes confirmed this view for future generations, ultimately rendering Wittgenstein a towering figure in the areas of logic, semantics, and the philosophy of mind. His investigations of linguistics and psychology would prove particularly revelatory, offering a distinctive window through which to newly understand the nature of meaning and the limits of human conception.

Wittgenstein’s Big Ideas
~Argued that conceptual confusion about language is the basis for most intellectual tension in philosophy;
~Asserted that the meaning of words presupposes our understanding of that meaning, and that our particular assignment of meaning comes from the cultural and social constructs surrounding us;
~Resolved that because thought is inextricably tied to language, and because language is socially constructed, we have no real inner-space for the realization of our thoughts, which is to say that the language of our thoughts renders our thoughts inherently socially constructed.

Wittgenstein’s Key Works
~Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921)
~Philosophical Investigations (1953)
~On Certainty (1969)

Philosophers {16} ~ René Descartes {1596-1650}

  • A French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist, Descartes was born in France but spent 20 years of his life in the Dutch Republic. As a member of the Dutch States Army, then as the Prince of Orange and subsequently as Stadtholder (a position of national leadership in the Dutch Republic), Descartes wielded considerable intellectual influence over the period known as the Dutch Golden Age. He often distinguished himself by refuting or attempting to undo the ideas of those that came before him.

Descartes’ Big Ideas
~Discards belief in all things that are not absolutely certain, emphasizing the understanding of that which can be known for sure;
~Is recognized as the father of analytical geometry;
~Regarded as one of the leading influences in the Scientific Revolution — a period of intense discovery, revelation, and innovation that rippled through Europe between the Renaissance and Enlightenment eras (roughly speaking, 15th to 18th centuries).

Descartes’ Key Works
~Meditations on First Philosophy (1641)
~Principles of Philosophy (1644)
~The Passions of the Soul and Other Late Philosophical Writings (1649)

Philosophers {15} ~ Niccolo Di Bernardo Dei Machiavelli {1469-1527}

Niccolo di Bernardo dei Machiavelli is at once among the most influential and widely debated of history’s thinkers. A writer, public office-holder, and philosopher of Renaissance Italy, Machiavelli both participated in and wrote prominently on political matters, to the extent that he has even been identified by some as the father of modern political science. He is also seen as a proponent of deeply questionable — some would argue downright evil — values and ideas. Machiavelli was an empiricist who used experience and historical fact to inform his beliefs, a disposition which allowed him to divorce politics not just from theology but from morality as well. His most prominent works described the parameters of effective rulership, in which he seems to advocate for leadership by any means which retain power, including deceit, murder, and oppression. While it is sometimes noted in his defense that Machiavelli himself did not live according to these principles, this “Machiavellian” philosophy is often seen as a template for tyranny and dictatorship, even in the present day.

Machiavelli’s Big Ideas
~Famously asserted that while it would be best to be both loved and feared, the two rarely coincide, and thus, greater security is found in the latter;
~Identified as a “humanist,” and believed it necessary to establish a new kind of state in defiance of law, tradition and particularly, the political preeminence of the Church;
~Viewed ambition, competition and war as inevitable parts of human nature, even seeming to embrace all of these tendencies.

Machiavelli’s Key Works
~Discourses on Livy (1531)
~The Prince (1532)
~The Art Of War (1519–20)

Philosophers {14} ~ John Locke {1632-1704}

An English physicist and philosopher, John Locke was a prominent thinker during the Enlightenment period. Part of the movement of British Empiricism alongside fellow countrymen David Hume, Thomas Hobbes, and Sir Francis Bacon, Locke is regarded as an important contributor to the development of the social contract theory and is sometimes identified as the father of liberalism. Indeed, his discourses on identity, the self, and the impact of sensory experience would be essential revelations to many Enlightenment thinkers and, consequently, to real revolutionaries. His philosophy is said to have figured prominently into the formulation of the Declaration of Independence that initiated America’s war for independence from the British.

Locke’s Big Ideas

  • Coined the term tabula rasa (blank slate) to denote that the human mind is born unformed, and that ideas and rules are only enforced through experience thereafter;
  • Established the method of introspection, focusing on one’s own emotions and behaviors in search of a better understanding of the self;
  • Argued that in order to be true, something must be capable of repeated testing, a view that girded his ideology with the intent of scientific rigor.

Locke’s Key Works