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Can we coherently describe absolutely anything and everything?

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Presentation on theme: "Can we coherently describe absolutely anything and everything?"— Presentation transcript:

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2 Can we coherently describe absolutely anything and everything?

3  As a Love of Wisdom  As Study of Systems  As Study of Methodology  Historicity  Self-reference and Self- application  Disagreement and diversity  Primacy of the practical  Learning good and bad  As study of assertion  As exposition  As life style  Literature as philosophy  Pursuit of beauty  As science  As argument  As folklore  Philosophers  As pedagogy

4 “The pointed man had a point in every direction and as he quickly pointed out, ‘ A point in every direction is the same as no point at all’” – from a story by Harry Neilson. If Philosophy is defined too broadly it looses all semantic force: if it is defined too narrowly it fails to encompass all well accepted usages.

5  As a Love of Wisdom  As Study of Systems  As Study of Methodology  Pissing on a red ant  Historicity  Self-reference and Self- application  Disagreement and diversity  Primacy of the practical  Learning good and bad  As study of assertion  As exposition  As life style  As literature  Literature as philosophy  Pursuit of beauty  As science  As argument  As folklore  Philosophers  As pedagogy

6  Note methods and heuristics behind a favored characterization of philosophy, e. g.,  Authority,  The phrase ‘Love of Wisdom’ is given by many texts and is attributed to Socrates.  Essentialist,  Find necessary and sufficient conditions  Intuition,  A favored use of philosophy may produce an affective response – an emotional reaction.  History-Etymology,  Lexicographers may research a first published use of the term philosophy and provide definition relying on that context.  Demonstrative  pointing  Synthesis  Create new meaning

7 In logical and mathematical systems either of two mutually antagonistic types of economy may be striven for, and each has its peculiar practical utility. On the one hand we may seek economy of practical expression: ease and brevity in the statement of multifarious relationships. This sort of economy calls usually for distinctive concise notations for a wealth of concepts. Second, however, and oppositely, we may seek economy in grammar and vocabulary; we may try to find a minimum of basic concepts such that, once a distinctive notation has been appropriated to each of them, it becomes possible to express any desired further concept by mere combination and iteration of our basic notations. This second sort of economy is impractical in one way, since a poverty in basic idioms tends to a necessary lengthening of discourse. But it is practical in another way: it greatly simplifies theoretical discourse about the language, through minimizing the terms and the forms of construction wherein the language consists. – from Two Dogmas of Empiricism, W. V. O. Quine.

8 Work towards solutions for the broadest possible questions that still make sense and the narrowest possible questions that still make sense.  where "making sense" is delimited by our current and near future concerns. Consequently, an appropriate response to any philosophical query is simply "So!"

9  Goals, Aspirations, Desires  Greatest Concerns

10  Definition is an engine for discovering presuppositions.  Move the question into philosophical territory by broadening its scope.  Put on the brakes by asking, “Does it still make sense to ask such questions?”  You’re onto something when you can respond to a retort of “So.”

11  First you tell them what you’re going tell them.  Then, you tell them.  Then, you tell them what you told them.

12  Situating Metaphysics in our Mental Maps  Relevance to Current Debates  Quine Vs. Kripke  What about Mary  Making Sense of Essence  Puzzles of Change to Aristotle

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14  Quine  Necessity is an outmoded dogma of empiricism  Kripke  Uses a refined version of essentialism to argue against the identity theory

15 Substance Material Immaterial Essentialism Essential properties Accidental properties Necessity a priori a posteriori Analytic- Synthetic contingent de re – de dicto

16  Thales  Everything consist in and is caused by water  All things are filled with gods  Anaximander:  The infinite (boundless) contains all in chaotic mixture  The universe, vortex like, sorts together its material, (earth, water, air, and fire) into the proper place.

17  Heraclitus:  All things come into being through opposition  And all are in flux, like a river.  Democritus  There are nondenumerably many atoms and a void of empty space.

18  Parmenides:  There is no “many”, only the one.  You can only speak of what is.  Change (coming to be) is an illusion of perception  Yet, perception is knowledge (the secret doctrine).

19  The declarative sentence “ The wind is hot.” may have these interpretations.  S 1 : The state of w’s being hot at I  S 1 *: The state of w’s phenomenally appearing hot to some preceiver, x at t (1)Assumption: There are no states of the same sort as S 1 (2)Assumption : There are states of the same sort as S 1 *, therefore, (3) S 1 is not reducible to S 1 * and (4) S 1 is not supervenient upon S 1 *

20  (1) There are states of the same sort as S 1 *, S 2 *, etc, But, these are reducible to nothing more than states which are micro-physical.,Therefore,  (2) States which are of the same sorts as S 1 are supervenient upon states of the same sort as S 1 *, and that’s an ontological claim about the states of Heracletean flux. P is supervenient upon G iff necessarily, if any two things have G, then they have P

21  S 1 may be expressed by collapsing it to a singular term wind-hot which has no referent but is the expression of some ideal limit.

22  S 1 = ” The wind is hot.”  S 2 = The wind appears hot to me Bs  S 3 = The wind appears hot to me B T  S 1 : The state of w’s being hot at I  S 1 *: The state of w’s phenomenally appearing hot to some perceiver, x at t

23  Apparently, S 1 has the truth value T iff S 2 is true Yet it also appears that, S 1 does not have the truth value T iff S 2 is true.  Suppose two individual utter S, S 2 is T and S 3 is T  But sometimes S 2 and S 3 may not have the same truth value ?  Therefore, S 1 cannot have truth values.  S 1 can express a statement but not a proposition – Pollack's rule.

24  162c5 “Aren’t you surprised if you’re going to turn out, all of a sudden, to be no worse in point of wisdom than anyone whatever, man or even god?” Objection to Protagorean relativism: It goes against our intuitions about wisdom. We are inclined to feel that some persons are more wise than others. The presumption is that this would be disallowed by the version of Protagoreanism discussed to this point.

25  162d5 ‘Gentlemen, young and old you sit about making debating point. You trot out the gods, whom I exclude from my speaking and writing... An you say things that the masses would accept if they heard them, for instance that it’s strange if no man is to be any better in point of wisdom than any farmyard animal. But there’s absolutely no proof or necessity in what you say’ on the contrary, your relying on plausibility. If Theodorus, or any other geometrician, were prepared to rely on plausibility when he was doing geometry, he’d be worth absolutely nothing.’ First Reply to objections to Protagorean theory Note the reply is put in quotes as though it were indeed the reply of Protagoras and not Socrates’ interpretation. Moreover, it is ambiguously, a hypothetical reply. 1) The Socratic objection is rhetorical only 2) some entities are categorically excluded from the Protagorean thesis e.g. god 3) plausibility, intuitions are not proofs

26   Reiterates the general theme i.e.,Theaetetus’ thesis that knowledge and perception are the same thing.

27  163b Restates the problem by example T or F: At time t for all instances of perceiving (via seeing or hearing) knowledge is co-instantiated in the perceiver. But the example brings in yet another distinction between perceptions properly so called and interpretations of the appearances.

28  163c Theaetetus picks out the distinction of 163b affirming the former while denying that the later distinction picks out anything in the category of interpretations which is either knowledge or perception But is this the trap?

29  152d It is to the effect that nothing is one thing by itself and that you can’t correctly speak of anything either as some thing or as qualified in some way.

30  156 The universe is change and nothing else. There are two kinds of change, each unlimited in number, the one having the power of acting, and the other the power of being acted upon there come to be offspring, unlimited in number but coming in pairs of twins, of which one is a perceived thing and the other a perception.

31  Early Greek philosophy is concerned to learn the ultimate nature of the world, i. e., Metaphysics, and to understand the constitution of knowledge, i. e., Epistemology.  This effort focused on competing theories of change and permanence.  Plato’s examination of these theories, e. g., in the Socratic dialogue ‘Theatetus’ produces an epistemological survey of perception and an array of theories of knowledge, most notably the Protagorean identification of perception with knowledge and the ‘standard’ definition of knowledge as justified true belief.

32  First you tell them what you’re going tell them.  Then, you tell them.  Then, you tell them what you told them.

33  Contrast Plato to Aristotle  Provide a basic Aristotelian framework  Consider contemporary applications  Introduce theoretic anomalies

34  Aristotle may be considered a founder of Empiricism since he take the natural world as given through the senses to be the basic building block of his Metaphysics and the privileged objects of knowledge in his Epistemology.  This contrasts sharply with and rejects the notion of Universal Forms as privileged objects of knowledge which, according to Plato have an existence independent of particulars.

35  Substance is not simple but rather a complex of both matter and form, i. e., informed matter.  Essentialism:  Essential properties are Necessary, i. e., such that it is inconceivable that the substance lack the property and yet remain numerically one and the same object.  Accidental properties are not necessary to preserve the identity of the substance.

36  See Saul Kripke – Naming and Necessity. For counterpoint see W. V. O. Quine – Two Dogmas of Empiricism

37  Ancient Greek thought progresses from simple, vague, and sometimes confused myths and metaphors toward ever more exacting demands for first principles  that begin to replace storied narratives about ourselves and the world with grounded ontology's and prescriptive methods for identifying knowledge about ourselves and the world.


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