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- May 25, 8:22 am - Podcast Episodes
Thanks for the suggestions. However, tell me a bit about what major themes we're missing by not covering these folks. The only ones I'm really familiar with here are the moral rationalists you mention, which I tried to cover enough for our purposes in the Hume on moral sense episode. Likewise I tried to get some juice out of Locke in covering Hume on epistemology, though we have a perpetually planned ep on personal identity that would pull out another chunk of Locke's essay. More Leibniz is definitely a possibility, and if we ever do a series on the history of logic we'd hit Arnauld, but the rest of those guys aren't on our radar; give me some more motivation to consider one or two of them seriously!
- May 25, 8:18 am - "Conceptual Primaries" (Rand vs. Deleuze)
I didn't know this and find it very interesting. I do think this is very common re the Scholastics who had access to Aristotle preserved by scholars in the Middle East who spoke Aramaic. It this correct, Daniel?
- May 25, 8:17 am - "Conceptual Primaries" (Rand vs. Deleuze)
Adam, Thanks for pulling that argument out; we discussed that on the Russell ep but didn't actually I think look at that passage in Kant. That argument is obviously not the one that Russell or Rand is going to draw on, so there are evidently multiple ways to argue this. The simplest would be to say there is no potential entity; potential entities are not part of the ontology. One could say "potentially there could be X entity here," but that's not making a definite ontological claim, because it could mean that there are conditions that could cause such an entity to appear or that there may be such an entity here or may not but I just don't know, or conditions are such that nothing would physically present such an entity from being here even though it's definitely not. So avoiding potential entities is a matter of ontological parsimony, which per the Quine episode is not exactly a knock-down argument if you have some particularly motivating counter-argument in favor of such entities. Though it still seems like, even you admit them, that it's not that you're adding a property to make such a potential real but that you're swapping...
- May 24, 5:07 pm - Podcast Episodes
Some suggestions: John Balguy, Ralph Cudworth******, Samuel Clarke, Richard Price (all these 4 wrote important works on morality, which I can refer you to, but Cudworth and Clarke had important things to say about metaphysics, etc.). Also: Suarez, Malebranche, Arnauld, Louis de La Forge, Arnold Geulincx, Pufendorf. Locke's 'Essay'... Leibniz's 'New Essays'...etc.
- May 24, 4:39 pm - "Conceptual Primaries" (Rand vs. Deleuze)
I like how you consider this point settled, and take it for granted: "And Rand is right in saying that “existence” is not a property that existing things have; that was Kant’s response to the ontological argument for the existence of God and a point made formally in mathematics by Russell." In the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant uses money as an example: "A hundred real dollars contain no more than a hundred possible dollars. For, as the latter indicate the conception, and the former the object, on the supposition that the content of the former was greater than that of the latter, my conception would not be an expression of the whole object, and would consequently be an inadequate conception of it." This is absurd- of course his conception of the hundred possible dollars is an inadequate conception of the hundred real dollars, because it leaves out the crucial predicate "real", otherwise known as "existent". He goes on: "But in reckoning my wealth there may be said to be more in a hundred real dollars than in a hundred possible dollars—that is, in the mere conception of them. For the real object—the dollars—is not analytically contained in my conception,...
- May 24, 2:31 pm - "Conceptual Primaries" (Rand vs. Deleuze)
Hi Lewis, A tiny point, but one that might help explain at least some of the disdain often shown toward Ayn Rand: It was Sartre, not Rand, who first coined the phrase "all consciousness is consciousness of something," in Being and Nothingness (1943): http://bit.ly/Z5Etq1 And Sartre didn't first devise this concept ("intentionality"); he learned it from Husserl, who in turn developed it from Brentano, who in turn revived a concept from the old medieval Scholastics. That Rand was either unaware of the intellectual history behind many of her propositions, or simply chose not to acknowledge it, I think helps explain a bit of the contempt in which some hold her.
- May 24, 1:33 pm - "Conceptual Primaries" (Rand vs. Deleuze)
Just to clarify: Rand's objectivism is not the only breed of metaphysical realism. The latter is a common philosophical position (Wes recommended this book to me: Fear of Knowledge: Against Relativism and Constructivism.) The former is held largely by students and those dedicated to free-market capitalism who feel they need justification for their life choices. Thanks for the link, though. I find Van Til-based Christianity maddening in much the same way that I find objectivism; I had brush with it in listening a bunch to a Christianity podcast: http://www.partiallyexaminedlife.com/2012/11/25/theologians-on-quine/.
- May 24, 1:17 pm - "Be Reasonable!"
Hi Lewis, Thanks for the kind words. I like to think of myself as the Chris Elliott to Mark's (80s-era) Letterman. I kind of pop up when least expected: http://youtu.be/89GrBnmYwXY
- May 24, 1:00 pm - Philosophy Doesn't Make Propositions?
very good, the man who wrote the book(s) on the subject: http://hiram.academia.edu/LeeBraver
- May 24, 12:31 pm - Philosophy Doesn't Make Propositions?
For example: “How do we understand the world in which we find ourselves? How does the universe behave? What is the nature of reality? Where did all this come from? Did the universe need a creator? Most of us do not spend most of our time worrying about these questions, but almost all of us worry about them some of the time. “Traditionally these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead. Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics. Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge.” Really Stephen? (Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design, p. 5)
- May 24, 12:18 pm - "Conceptual Primaries" (Rand vs. Deleuze)
Mark, you mentioned that the axioms might be empty enough that they couldn't found a whole system. Dawson Bethrick discusses all of this in tremendous detail on his blog. He is interacting primarily with a certain brand of Calvinist Christianity known as Van-Tillian presuppositionalism. It's Bethrick's project to use the axioms to establish that existence holds metaphysical primacy over consciousness. As Rand puts it "consciousness is consciousness of something." Bethrick attacks the presuppositionalist stance that a supreme consciousness - God - is primary to existence. Now I don't necessarily like Bethrick's attitude sometimes, but his writing prowess is pretty undeniable. I don't agree with all of his arguments, but they are worth examining. I'm still making my way trying to figure out my positions on all of these philosophical questions. I don't like everything on offer when it comes to Ojbectivism, but I think writing Objectivism off without delving into it more deeply is a mistake. There is fertile ground to till here. I'm excited to hear you guys cover this topic. Thanks, Mark.
- May 24, 12:08 pm - Philosophy Doesn't Make Propositions?
dmf I was just reading a post (maybe one of yours) or book or article which was arguing for replacing the philosophical distinction between Analytic vs Continental with Realism vs Anti-realism, which will be my new categories. My own intent is to speak and think analytically about continental philosophers and speak and think like a continental author about analytic positions.
- May 24, 11:47 am - "Conceptual Primaries" (Rand vs. Deleuze)
for a Sellars-ian look @ Deleuze see: http://deontologistics.wordpress.com/
- May 24, 11:26 am - "Be Reasonable!"
Thanks, Mark. By the way, I've been listening to your Schleiermacher episode today. It is excellent. Any chance you'll get Daniel to be on another episode? He seemed to mesh well with you guys.
- May 24, 10:45 am - Philosophy Doesn't Make Propositions?
I imagine that sometime down the PEL road the realism/antirealism tension will rise to the surface but to prime the intuition pump a bit: http://www.academia.edu/1125097/Between_Realism_and_Anti-realism
- May 24, 10:34 am - Philosophy Doesn't Make Propositions?
Excellent point, but Deleuze is much more radically declaring a new metaphysics of the Virtual as foundational to the nature of the real.
- May 24, 10:32 am - Philosophy Doesn't Make Propositions?
Also, I am not not claiming that Deleuze is denying the "truth" of science, but that science is not privileged in speaking about the significance of its findings, and that it is subject to the same false propositional thinking of philosophers and "common sense" thinking in general which relies on propositional thinking. (regardless of Delanda's reinterpretation)
- May 24, 9:49 am - "Be Reasonable!"
Hi, Lewis, This is timely; I've been reading Rand in preparation for a future episode of late. I'm writing a full blog post to try to feel my way through this now.
- May 24, 9:47 am - Philosophy Doesn't Make Propositions?
- May 24, 9:22 am - Philosophy Doesn't Make Propositions?
Couldn't Deleuze's claim be related to Nietzsche's idea that the true philosopher is a creator of values? For Nietzsche, creating values is somehow "higher" than describing the world in propositional terms, perhaps because creation is more affirmative, more powerful, more active.
- May 24, 8:55 am - Philosophy Doesn't Make Propositions?
An additional clarification regarding propositional thinking: Ultimately, what grounds the real for Deleuze is the Idea, which he expresses as the problem (Virtual" rather than the solution (Actual). This quote from Sommers-Hall (p. 160) points out the inadequacy of propositional thinking: "Whereas for Plato, Deleuze claims , this process leads to a ground in an apodictic principle, for Deleuze it instead leads to an unground in the problem. This difference between grounds and ungrounds ultimately simply relates to the fact that apodictic [necessarily or demonstrably true] principles [versus problematic principles in which truth is possible] have the same structure as the system of propositions they ground (they are amenable to the structure of judgment). On the contrary, the problem differs in kind from the solutions it engenders. As such, it cannot ground solutions by providing a principle that we know to be true, because truth is a function of judgment, and the problem is different in kind to judgments." "Thus, rather than a ground it serves as an 'unground', destabilizing the vision of the world as amenable to judgement in its entirety. Rather than invoking "the moral imperative of predetermined rules' (DR, 198)" Sommers-Hall is referring to the invalidity of...
- May 24, 8:31 am - "Be Reasonable!"
The PEL and Philosophy Bites podcasts have definitely sparked my interest in philosophy. As a result, I've been looking into all sorts of philospophical systems lately (including even Objectivism). I've relied primarily on Dawson Bethrick's blog at http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com to familiarize miyself with the Objectivist approach to philosophy. You seem to be saying that the Objectivist axioms are bullshit, but I 'm having a tough time seeing how we could get around them. Bethrick says that axioms are "conceptually irreducible primaries" and self-evident concepts that form the basis for all higher-level knowledge. To belabor the point a bit more, "the axioms are not inferred from prior truths; on the contrary, they are the truths on which all other truths stand." Objectivists claim that a person would be affirming the axioms even as he attempted to refute them. 1. The first axiom is that existence exists (there is something rather than nothing). 2. The second axiom is that to exist is to be something (the law of idenitity or A = A). 3. The third axiom is that consciousness exists (any assertion about reality implies that some conscious entity is making the assertion). What are your thoughts?
- May 24, 6:02 am - Walter Mignolo On Postcolonial Philosophy
Thanks Rian for the posting and for disseminating the debate. However, there is a point i would like to correct in your interpretation: i do not rely on Zizek, quite the contrary, my argument is a diplomatic and radical critic to his position. That is why he did not like a bit what i say and responded shortly after it was published http://www.lacan.com/thesymptom/?page_id=2787 My argument is totally with Dabashi, at the same time recognizing the Zabala's right of his own opinion, and so for Zizek. What he says about Wang Hui misses the point: i was not discussing Wang Hui's arguments (which i find always sophisticated), but the fact that Wang Hui is one of the many non-Western philosophers i mentioned as an entry point to a wide world of thoughts constantly silenced and overtaken by European philosophers and philosophies.
- May 23, 9:41 pm - Topic for #51: Semiotics and Structuralism (Saussure, Levi-Strauss, Derrida)
BBC on Levi-Strauss and how his stance for Marxism and psychoanalysis and against phenomenology/existentialism lead into RamonJakobson/Saussure and his own antidialectical structuralism: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01sjjxl
- May 23, 8:19 pm - Philosophy Doesn't Make Propositions?
Thanks for clarifying, Mark: I think the issue here is with the definition of “truth:” (some of your quotes here:) “specific propositions . . . Beauty is pleasure objectified . . . accurately represent Santayana’s view . . . of scientific value . . .testable by means of empirical science . . . testable hypotheses, whether philosophy is making claims . . . putting forth propositions . . . knowledge . . . scientific knowledge.” All of these phrases indicate to me that you are challenging Deleuze’s claim that concepts turned into propositions become mere opinions of no scientific value, that you are looking to find “truth” in propositional statements which can be verified as true as science can verify truth through testable hypotheses and propositions which result in knowledge. I believe Deleuze fundamentally challenges this form of thinking as false to begin with, as he describes in his example with Descartes. His problem with Descartes was not just with propositional thinking, but his use of reason itself as the primary faculty for knowing. Deleuze believes that reason gives the illusion of truth, and that an entirely new way and purpose of thinking needs to be forged. There is no...