Apropos my previous post, it was suggested that the single most confusing aspect of philosophy explaining why philosophy is relevant. Can we justify ourselves? I figure that no one is worrying about medical ethics. What about metaphysics, obscure logic, and all the other good stuff that us philosophers call our own? If we can justify that stuff to the general public, then I figure we’re OK for everything else too. The things people care about […]
I’d like to get anyone’s opinion about what he or she believes to be the single worst understood philosophical concept. Feel free to mention why you think so if you want. Also feel free to interpret the meaning of ‘worst’: across the general public, academia, grad students, old codgers, whatever (but do identify your target, please).
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 […]
Fodor argued that the theory of evolution is not a legitimate theory of science because it is either vacuously true or wrong. He accused Darwin of committing the intentional fallacy. (synopsis here) Insofar as he made no logical mistakes in his reasoning, we need a different strategy to defend the theory of evolution. In this post I will argue that his argument is an instance of gerneral underdetermination, and hence not a problem of evolution […]
Jerry Fodor recently (4 March) gave a talk entitled “What Darwin Got Wrong” at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City. He accused Darwin of committing the intentional fallacy and hence said, straight out, that he didn’t believe in the theory of evolution. So what exactly does Fodor think Darwin got wrong? He believes that the theory of evolution is vacuously true (or just wrong) and hence not a worthwhile theory of science. You […]
… Another alternative would have been to give you what’s called a popular scientific lecture, that is a lecture intended to make you believe that you understand a thing which actually you don’t understand, and to gratify what I believe to be one of the lowest desires of modern people, namely the superficial curiosity about the latest discoveries of science. This quote is from the beginning of Wittgenstein’s “A Lecture on Ethics” or whatever the […]
Measurement takes time; measurement is a process. So the measurement of time immediately yields this theoretical issue: Since measurement takes time, our ability to break time into ever smaller pieces will always be proportional to the method of measurement used. The faster our measurement device that measures time, the more divisible time will be. Insofar as there are limits to how fast a measurement process can occur (relativistic or other), there will be limits on […]
Why should anyone believe that the concept of equinumerosity is any more fundamental than any other concept? . . This has bugged me for years….
Basic argument structure goes like this: Premise 1 Premise 2 ———————– Conclusion Knowing how to argue is great, except when someone you disagree with is proving things you don’t like. In that case you have to know how to break your opponent’s argument or provide an argument that they cannot break. First thing that most people do to break an argument is to attack premises (assuming no fallacies are present). To avoid accepting your opponent’s […]
Readers of this blog may have noticed a lack of updates recently. I can’t apologize: I’ve been eating, breathing and drinking philosophy for so long, that now that I have written everything I wanted to write, I feel free. I wish it on all of you. [Happy New Year Everyone!] But this doesn’t stop me from thinking. I was at a Christmas party and got talking with an Indonesian economics grad student. He was researching […]