On Metaphysical Proficiency

Are you good at metaphysics? How good are you at metaphysics? When I consider these questions, the only sure thing is that there is no objective measure of metaphysical proficiency. I can’t even imagine standards by which we could judge it. It would be at least as hard to estimate as intelligence, and anyway, I doubt smarts correlates with metaphysical skill. Lots of smart people have said a lot of ridiculous things. I like to […]

On Charitability

There is no such thing as a private reality.  By private reality I mean any portion of reality that you alone can experience, that no one else could possibly understand. There is, however, reality that is yet unexperienced and unknown to you.  Others may have experienced it before you, like explorers who have been to a far away place.  If a philosopher is clever, it is possible that she found a way to imbue her […]

Of Duckrabbits and Identity

Of late I’ve become increasingly concerned with the meaning of identity.  When we say, ‘x = x,’ we don’t mean that the x on the left is exactly identical to the x on the right because the x on the left is just that, on the left, and the x on the right is on the right, not the left.  Since equality would be useless without having 2 different objects (try to imagine the use […]

Demise, the Fallen and Annihilation

In Being and Time Heidegger makes a distinction between death and demise: death is the ending of Da-sein, or Being, and demise is physical perishing. I think this is a good distinction and since I break up ontology into 3 sorts of things – commitments, objects & descriptions – I will have three ways to die: Fallen: the perishing of all commitments of a living person. Demise: the perishing of physical attributes of a living […]

Paradox Analysis

Apropos my earlier rant on people who think that paradoxes are meaningless, I figured I ought to take a stab at giving some meaning to paradox. To this end I reformulated a paradox in my terms. I suppose I should called it the Mirror Paradox, though ‘Looking-Glass Paradox’ seems more lyrical and has an historical nod. My apologies to whoever actually came up with this first, though I am sure I haven’t heard it before… […]

Are Paradoxes Meaningless?

Aaron Cotnoir has suggested that people think that paradoxes are meaningless.  I think they are lucky that they hadn’t suggested that to me unless they wanted to see me freak out. It was my good fortune to have my first real exposure to the work of Frege, Russell and Wittgenstein be from Thomas Ricketts.  I can’t remember verbatim what he said, but this is close: No one knows how long it took Frege to understand […]

On The Scientific View of the World

Many people have a “scientific” view of the world. This means that the world operates according to the laws of science, i.e., there are no mysterious forces that cannot be explained by some combination of physics, biology, psychology, economics etc. It is a mistaken view. The scientific view of the world can be summarized by this formulation: S) The world is governed by science if and only if, given a specified way things are at […]