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Jon Cogburn
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If I understand it correctly, Scott Soames makes this point in "David Lewis' Place in Analytic Philosophy" (in Loewer and Schaffer's A Companion to David Lewis). I think he also goes into it in “The Philosophical Significance of the Kripkean Necessary Aposteriori,” PHILOSOPHICAL ISSUES, Vol. 16, E. Sosa and E, Villanueva (eds.), (Blackwell Publishing Co.), 2006, 287-309. I'd guess that Lewis would just say that "necessary a posteriori" propositions are merely causally necessary and that the causally necessary claims in question are metaphysically contingent. There would only be a problem if, like Schoemaker, you took causal necessity to be metaphysical necessity. But I don't think anyone who buys the Lewisian (probably more properly Chalmersian now) picture of how we can have a priori knowledge about genuine possibilities and necessities buys the Schoemaker line. I'm pretty sure that some of the essays in Gendler's Conceivability and Possibilty anthology go into this. Chalmers might broach it in his discussion of two dimensionalism, but I'd need to reread.
By Phillip Percs (with Jon Cogburn) Saturday 7/25/15 Philosophers who write science fiction or fantasy - part 3: R Scott Bakker. Helen De Cruz interviews one of the best living writers of speculative fiction. If you haven't already read Bakker's Prince of Nothing trilogy or the first two novels of... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Philosophical Percolations
I should note that I'm aware that I probably plagiarized the philosophically substantive part my comment above from Cyrus Gerbenfeister's old BJA piece, "Jokers, Smokers, and Midnight Tokers: A Dantoesque Typology of (Bad) Art." Side note- It's weird that Gerbenfeister never actually discusses the Steve Miller Band (or any popular music for that matter) in the article. But this was before Carroll made it safe for the rest of us to do that kind of thing. I strongly suspect that the suits over in England didn't get the reference in the title, and it was kind of an inside joke. This is a case of the normal Gerbenfeisteresque 1970s "eff Lyndon Johnson"* type sample sentences that merely serve to signal that the author sees himself as part of "the movement." But what's interesting is that his theory implicitly critiques that very thing as a species of bad art. That is, if we find the title funny merely because we get the reference, then Gerbenfeister's piece itself fits into the first species of bad art he's considering (and of course the self-reflexivity would put us squarely in the Midnight Toker category of Bad Art; I wish there were some clear way that it was Smoker art as well).** In any case, I should have cited the piece in my rant above. [*On this kind of thing in Linguistics, see Geoff Pullum's classic Topic/Comment piece, "Trench-mouth comes to Trumpington Street" http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00161870#page-1 . Somewhere Quine complains about Kripke using Richard Nixon in his gedankenexperiments, but I don't remember where that is. **Apologies to philosophy of art types if I'm explaining the obvious. I haven't followed the literature on this issue.]
I love the analytical typology developed above. I don't think one can understand Sharknado unless one understands two things: (1) the self-defeating nature of Gen X's sneer from nowhere (to use a phrase of Graham Harman's), and (2) millennial tolerance of Seth McFarlane. Mystery Science Theater very easily morphs into something useless. The films themselves are not that funny when not accompanied by the ironic banter between the human and the robots. But gen exers by and large kept the snotty attitude that often accompanies irony without any of the cleverness necessary to make it aesthetically worthwhile. You can listen to nearly any interview of grunge musicians in the 90s and they all adopt that crapulent idiom, as if they are immune and superior to everyone else's obvious stupidity, even as they say incredibly trite things themselves (Nirvana's In Bloom is by far their worst song because it's actually a lyrical expression of this attitude aimed at their own fans). So gen exers would rent Ed Wood movies from the video stores and think they were as clever as Joel, Tom, and Servo. But we weren't. And I suspect that part of the success of Sharknado is just residual gen xism of the audience, most of whom are too stupid to realize they are being played. [Look. I just did it. See my snotty attitude towards other gen exers. I'm going to go listen to some Nirvana now. Seriously, I'm rocking out to In Bloom as I type this.] Millenials got in on this act with the horror that is Seth McFarlane and all of the awful shows he makes that pollute the otherwise excellent evening Cartoon Network lineup (Adventure Time is amazing). Nothing on the Family Guy (or the other shows he produces) is actually funny, but McFarlane and his flunkies are very good at putting in signals we often associate with jokes and at that very moment putting in some obvious pop culture reference that the audience will get. The people watching it then laugh because they "get" the joke, even though there isn't really any joke happening (cf. the Southpark Family Guy episode). Laughing just because you get the joke is another way to feel superior to the people who don't get the joke. But if there's no joke there, or if it's so obvious as to be unfunny, it's no better than being proud of yourself because you figured out the phrase on Wheel of Fortune. It's worse actually. As with the Gen Exers and their sneer from nowhere, there's not much of a slip from millenials enjoying Family Guy to enjoying Sharknado. Just as Family Guy and other McFarlane abominations signal where the jokes are supposed to be Sharnkado signals really clearly where the B movie tropes (that Joel and friends would have cleverly marked) occur. Viewers feel proud of themselves for correctly apprehending the obvious. Maybe future generations will be better about this stuff than we were. Enough people are watching Adventure Time on the Cartoon Network that it's gone through six seasons, and it really is brilliant in a thousand ways.
Really interesting point. The thing that always got me about deflationism is that it starts with this promise that traditional debates will be seen as non-sequiturs (A.J. Ayer certainly promises this in Language, Truth, and Logic) once we cotton on to the truth of deflationism. But one can just reiterate all of the traditional truth theories in terms of when we're warranted in asserting something. We're warranted in asserting P if and only if P coheres with all the other stuff we're warranted in asserting. We're warranted in asserting P if and only if P corresponds to the way things are. Etc. Etc. Etc. So what's all the hoopla about? I think your distinction helps *a lot* in making this grip. I'd want to say that even if truth itself isn't explanatory, we still need a rich explanation of truth, just because we assert that propositions are true in all of the cases when we are prepared to assert those propositions. If this is right, then the change of subject from the first to the second senses of deflationism in the literature really is potentially a (to quote Strawson) non-sequitur of numbing grossness.
We should probably be a bit clearer that Singer makes room for the possibility that some forms of animal pain might be worse than human pain. If I remember right he gives examples such as being trapped in a cage where greater sentience can lessen the amount of panic considerably. Temple Grandin develops this idea in much greater detail in her first big bestseller. Grandin thinks that some non-neurotypical humans are in some ways less incommensurable with respect to certain non-human animals than they are to humans. I think there has to be something to this if only because it's part of Grandin's superpowers with respect to designing much more humane (and profitable, since the beef doesn't bruise from the cattle freaking out and hitting the walls) slaughterhouse chutes. She also predicted the new theory of autism as intense world syndrome and recent data suggesting that people with anxiety anxiety disorders have a greater tolerance for physical pain (http://www.annals-general-psychiatry.com/content/pdf/s12991-014-0031-1.pdf) all else being equal (though this is tricky because chronic pain disorders can themselves cause a lot of anxiety).
I'm always happy to have your pushback. But I should clarify that I spell names wrong because I'm dyslexic. It has nothing to do with how much or how little I know about things.
Guest post by Kristopher G. Phillips [Note from Phil: In this post Jon Cogburn and James Rocha collated resources helpful for teaching philosophy to pre-college age students. One of the things we were taken with was the Lyceum program, which teaches high school students philosophy over the summer. One of... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Philosophical Percolations
Ooh cool. Thanks for the link and the other comments. Our stupid spam filter is in overdrive. I went in and told it that all the comments weren't spam and they'll be up shortly.
Great song! I love the way the augmented fifth is put to such great use. I woulda probably gone to the F# instead of G in the intial riff, but your choice works a lot better and then leads to the GAB chorus perfectly. Going to go listen to the other versions now.
By Philadelphia Percs (with Jon Cogburn) Saturday 7/18/15 Saturday (7/18/15) Linkorama. Phil and friends deliver loads of fun. Open-access journal goodies: Susanne Bobzien, "Higher-Order Vagueness and Numbers of Distinct Modalities" (Disputatio). John Wigglesworth, "Set-Theoretic Dependence" (The Australasian Journal of Logic). Maxwell Kennell reviews Katerina Kolozova's Cut of the Real: Subjectivity... Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2015 at Philosophical Percolations
By Phil Percs (with Jon Cogburn, John Fletcher, BP Morton, and Duncan Richter) University professors, restricted in this way, are quite happy about the matter, for their real concern is to earn with credit an honest livelihood for themselves and also for their wives and children and moreover to enjoy... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2015 at Philosophical Percolations
Wonderful post. I'm interested in all of this, but found one thing particularly arresting, the way the desire to be me can work as a goad to transhumanism. This ties to your comment on our first Musical Sunday and what you say above about the Buddha. In Hinduism (as I understand it) the whole point is to become oneself, which only makes sense if one isn't oneself most of the time. The debates between Buddhists and Hindus that launched (according to Surandranath Dasgupta) Indian philosophy are pretty central here. I can imagine a Buddhist trans* which is part of realizing there is no Self to be contrasted with a Hindu trans* which is part of achieving one's true Self. Connected- At the point I'm at in Roden's book he hasn't talked about existentialism. It makes sense if he doesn't, because nobody much does anymore (even as many of Sartre's ideas at least get refashioned over and over and over again without citation). Maybe existentialism is closer to Buddhist trans* I don't know. Certain popular slogan formulations of existentialism (existence precedes essence) would clearly lend themselves to the hyper-deconstructive we-have-never-been-human approaches that Roden critiques. But that's simpleminded, as Heideggerian inauthenticity and Sartrean bad faith are also essential (or something close enough) parts of what it is to be human. Perhaps the Buddhist notion of trans* would come into play here, though it's hard for me to theorize this as I'm so much more sympathetic to the Hindu ideas with respect to this issue.
By Phil Percs (with Jon Cogburn, John Fletcher, Debbie Goldgaber, BP Morton, and Duncan Richter) A person has all sorts of lags built into him, Kesey is saying. One, the most basic, is the sensory lag, the lag between the time your senses receive something and you are able to... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2015 at Philosophical Percolations
Sorry bzfgt, the stupid spam filter gets things for dumb reasons that we have no control over. I'll do a better job of watching it and making sure stuff gets posted in a timely manner.
There's so much great stuff here. At some point in Mark Silcox and my book "Philosophy Through Video Games" we (actually Mark wrote this bit) talk about how video game culture has problematized the notion of cheating. I was playing Morrowind at the time and at a few places just could not figure out how to complete the quests. So I started utilizing on-line strategy guides to get through. Since part of the point of the game is to figure this stuff out on your own, there's a sense in which utilizing the guides is cheating. But the game companies themselves put out official strategy guides which Gamestop employees hector you to purchase, so is it really cheating? Another step is the use of programs that allow you to level up or get an infinite supply of loot. The first one of these I used was for Diablo II. It was fun to be able to get through the story quicker, but by the end of the playthrough I realized it had robbed all of the meaning of the game, a meaning which revolved around the individuality of your character (part of the brilliance of Diablo II was the fashion show aspect of it as you decided how to deck your character out in loot she'd found). [Note that Morrowind itself got boring in the same way. If you played it long enough your character would max out in all of the classes. The end result is that every player's character asymptotically becomes exactly the same. It's a drag. They slowed down leveling up in Fallout (which used the same engine) to deal with this. I haven't played enough Skyrim to know if the Elder Scrolls team was moved by the same considerations.] One of the thing that's really fascinating about your examples is the way users have themselves made a new game which incorporates the cheats as permissible rules from the earlier game. It's brilliant and I think probably tells us something important about Homo Ludens; I'm waiting for Silcox to chime in.
It all started when that Mozart guy put so many notes in his songs (I think that's true; I saw it in a movie I couldn't finish). Anyhow, just who the hell does he think he is? And that Lucy sure had Schroeder's number. No one wants to hear you banging away at a piano. It's like no one ever invented radio or CDs or something.
Ooh, fantastic. I look forward to reading these. I'll make sure and archive them in the next few Linkoramas.
By Philadora Percs (with Jon Cogburn, John Fletcher, BP Morton, and Mark Silcox) Once, when a religionist denounced me in unmeasured terms, I sent him a card saying, "I am sure you believe that I will go to hell when I die, and that once there I will suffer all... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2015 at Philosophical Percolations
By Phil Percs All beings so far have created something beyond themselves; and do you want to be the ebb of this great flood and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man? What is the ape to man? A laughingstock or a painful embarrassment. And man shall... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2015 at Philosophical Percolations
Note that there are also links to a wonderful piece by Francis Beckwith as well as to a First Things roundtable on gay marriage. There will certainly be some kind of bias in this, which is just a collection of links that some of us here find interesting. I should note that I put the "schooled" stuff about inerrancy. On the one hand I agree with you that it was misconceived. On the other, I'm happy it provoked your interesting (and I think plausible) response.
By Jon Cogburn Somewhere Nietzsche says something like this: the person who hates himself for being a bad person doesn't really think he's a bad person, because at least he has the discernment to differentiate bad from good and the appropriate moral revulsion at the former. One can* push this... Continue reading
Posted Jul 5, 2015 at Philosophical Percolations
By Phil Percs (with the help of Jon Cogburn, John Fletcher, Debbie Goldfaber, and Duncan Richter) "That when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set... Continue reading
Posted Jul 4, 2015 at Philosophical Percolations
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One can get a kind of this from a certain cartoon version of Kant on autonomy. One is only acting freely if one is acting consistently with the categorical imperative. If being a self requires freedom then we are only a self to the extent that we follow the categorical imperative. I think Kant was attempting to accommodate something like the Gage intuitions but maybe he wasn't. Rocha has a nice theory of autonomy where considerations of well being have to be taken into account in determining whether an act is autonomous. It's very plausible, ties up a lot of problems in the literature, is simpler than the standard meta-belief/desire type views, and I think this is in the neighborhood of taking the Gage intuitions at face value as well. James, do you have intuitions about a tie between your autonomy work and the Gage intuitions?
It's weird to me that most of the internet discussion about these kinds of results are taken to show that the manifest image of the self is mistaken. As far as I can tell this is because it's just commonsensical among most of the commentators that ontology/metaphysics falls on the fact side of the fact/value distinction. Rorty was a bad cautionary tale for everyone. He problematized the fact/value distinction but could still only see values in the same way that logical positivists did, so everything became a conversation in his sense and philosophy is left with a quesy combination of quietism and relativism. The American appropriation of Hegel as an anti-metaphysician (contrast with Robert Stern's Hegel) has only deepened this. Hegelians aren't big on the fact-value distinction, but American Hegelianism thus seems to lead inextricably to Rorty because of the anti-metaphysical tendency. I'd be really interested in reading anyone taking these kinds of results at face value as showing the ways in which identity has a true normative dimension.