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Great Thinkers Essays

In today’s society, kids are faced with many distractions, such as partying and having fun, which can prevent them from learning about history’s great thinkers. Great thinkers have been around for thousands of years. They range from Confucius (551-471 BC) and Plato (428 to c. 348 BC) to more modern great thinkers of Bill Gates (1955-present) and Richard Rorty (1931-2007). According to “Do You Have The Traits Of Great Thinkers And Innovators Who Shaped The World” (2009), most great thinkers tend to display a certain set of characteristics such as open mindedness, sense of curiosity, independent thinking, imagination, and vision.
Most importantly they all have great critical thinking and creative thinking skills. In this paper I will talk about the contributions to society, the environmental growth factors of each, the problems and solutions they addressed, and the creative process’ of the two great thinkers Bill Gates and Richard Rorty. In the process of doing this, I will provide a critique of their ideas and what they could have done differently. Bill Gates and Richard Rorty have both made major impacts in society. Bill Gates grew up in a well-educated environment with his dad as a lawyer and mother as a school teacher.
He first took an interest in computer science in middle school at a private school in Seattle, Washington. This interest later grew when he met his friend, and future business colleague, Paul Allen. According to “Bill Gates Biography” (2012), “Gates’ early experiences with computers included debugging (eliminating errors from) programs for the Computer Center Corporation’s PDP-10, helping to computerize electric power grids for the Bonneville Power Administration, and founding with Allen a firm called Traf-O-Data while still in high school. These early experiences with computers helped contribute to his creativity and understanding of computers. Bill Gates’ greatest contribution to society was the Microsoft Disk Operating System, otherwise known as MS-DOS. In the 1980’s Bill was approached by IBM to work on a project for personal computers, code name Project Chess” (“Bill Gates Biography”, 2012). He used this opportunity with IBM to increase the rapid growth of licenses for his software. “By the early 1990s Microsoft had sold more than one hundred million copies of MS-DOS, making the operating system the all-time leader in software sales” (“Bill Gates Biography”, 2012).
Gates literally revolutionized the technological world. Bill Gates’ new and unprecedented idea for computer software solved the issue of software compatibility for IBM. Bill Gates’ creative process involved finding a problem in computer software compatibility and then laying out the best possible solution to resolve this through shared compatibility. For the solution, he realized that MS-DOS could be used compatibly with multiple systems. This provided a path for several other software developers to develop similar programs.
Thanks to the software compatibility, many companies are able to use the software developed by Microsoft for many of their day-to-day functions. Microsoft has changed the communication and business processes around the world. For all of his accomplishments and contributions, Bill Gates was rewarded with the Howard Vollum Award. The other great contributor that I will talk about is Richard Rorty. Rorty grew up with his parents, who were activists, writers and social democrats. He struggled through his early childhood as his father experienced two nervous breakdowns, while he himself went through a period of depression.
This period of depression lasted for six years and included psychiatric care. These difficult early childhood experiences are what led Richard Rorty to philosophy. He ended up going off to the University of Chicago where he began his major in philosophy, and he then continued for his PhD at Yale University. He later taught philosophy for 21 years at Princeton University. Richard Rorty’s major accomplishments contributed more on the philosophical and intellectual side. He was known for his wide-ranging criticism of modern day philosophy where he questioned politics, culture, and the idea of knowledge as representation. In politics he argued against programs of both the left and the right in favor of what he described as a meliorative and reformist ‘bourgeois liberalism” (“Richard Rorty”, 2012). He took a critical diagnosis in defining projects of current philosophy. In regards to intellectual culture, he tried to show what we would be perceived like if we took away the metaphors that bound our mind and knowledge. The roots of these beliefs were based on the traditional problems of epistemology and metaphysics.
Richard Rorty’s success let to several publications which consisted of Consequences of Pragmatism (1982), Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979), and Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (1989). Richard Rorty’s views sought to solve questions in pragmatism. He sought for the “Truth beyond hypothesis. ” To do this he moved away from an initial interest in linguistic philosophy as a way of finding a neutral standpoint from which to establish a strict science of language (“Richard Rorty “, 2006). Rorty used the study of philosophy of language in regards to the issues of truth and meaning.
For this solution, he proposed that individuals “commit themselves to contingent solidarities devoted to social and political liberalism” (“Richard Rorty “, 2006). If they were able to do this it would result in the people seeing moral obligations as a state of social conditioning by cultural influences. Rorty’s creative process involved determining the problem and then judging through the eyes of the public, which solution would suit them. He would often use or compare his ideas to those of other writers. He implemented these ideas in the books Contingency, Irony and Solidarity (1989) and Consequences of Pragmatism (1982).
Both Bill Gates and Richard Rorty used the creative process to solve their own issues. Bill Gates impacted the technological world; whereas, Richard Rorty contributed to philosophical studies. Bill Gates solved the issue of compatibility software with computers through research and investigation. On the other hand, Richard Rorty influenced the issue of pragmatism by studying other works and looking for the solution through the eyes of the public. He tried to put himself in the public’s point-of-view to see how they would view his solutions.
For me it is hard to provide a critique of their ideas and solution because of the amount of success each garnered in their respective fields. Gates’ idea for software compatibility was brilliant and changed the technological world so I cannot critique an idea this well done. Richard Rorty’s expertise and experience in philosophy garnered him the respect of others in the field of philosophy. I, having no experience in philosophy, have no right to critique someone who had a lifetime of experience in his field. Both of these men were brilliant individuals who provided much needed insight and solutions to their respective fields of xpertise.
References
Bill Gates Biography. (2012). Retrieved from http://www. notablebiographies. com/FiGi/Gates-Bill. html Do you have the Traits of Great Thinkers and Innovators Who Shaped the World. (2009). Retrieved from http://theinvisiblementor. com/2009/09/09/do-you-have-the-traits-of-great-thinkers-and-innovators-who-shaped-the-world/ Richard Rorty. (2012). Retrieved from http://www. britannica. com/EBchecked/topic/509588/Richard-Rorty Richard Rorty. (2012). Retrieved from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Richard_Rorty Richard Rorty. (2006). Retrieved from http://www. iep. utm. edu/rorty/#H3

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