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I am saying, very simply, that there are ways of dealing with necessity that Raju did not know of. I do indeed think that discovering these ways constituted progress, but let's not argue about this. My more general point is that content matters in philosophy. Philosophy cannot be described as a series of formal or content-disregarding institutional decision points. A narrative that abstracts away from content can't capture what happened. You may be right that analytic philosophy demands knowledge of only certain techniques. But formal technique isn't what's important to the application of modal semantics to necessity; rather, it's understanding (say) how Hintikka comes at that technique differently from Marcus, or Follesdal, or Kripke. That's not mathematics; it's philosophy. I think you are neglecting my first narrative here, that of the buoyancy of analytic philosophy in the mid-twentieth century. It is more central here than that of post-colonial exclusion. The kinds of philosopher Raju met on his US tour—I wonder if it was Fulbright sponsored—and later corresponded with were equally excluded from JPhil. (He mentions W. F. Goodwin of the University of Wisconsin. JSTOR doesn't record any publications by Goodwin in the "top three" journals, but perhaps this is not the name under which he published.) Which makes me wonder: why do you think Raju's most natural venue was these three journals. It's as if I tried to publish in Deleuze Studies and complained of post-colonial exclusion when I got rejected. Mohan
One more observation. My daughter, who has a Masters in Economics, was surprised by the very existence of foreign exchange controls when she read this post. This was one reason why ordinary Indians were isolated back in the fifties and sixties. My mother, a worldly and sophisticated woman, travelled outside India only once. I left India for the first time when I went to graduate school. Travel was, for economic and also technological reasons, a rare luxury. Foreign goods, including books and journals, were restricted. In response to Joel's point at 10:49, I don't think that the "second generation" was able to keep up with the developments of the sixties. P. T. Raju's paper, "Actuality," in JPhil 1958, which I read when I was preparing to write this post, illustrates the point. It's an elegantly written piece, and certainly meets the standards of the journal. And, by the way, it cannot be said to lie completely outside the analytic province. But it takes a view of logic and modality that was already twenty years out of date, and completely out of fashion ten years later. Raju had travelled to the US and maintained a correspondence with philosophers of his own age. He would have been taken by surprise by the sudden emergence of modal semantics in the sixties, and he would have had no way of coming to appreciate its importance. (Don't forget that analytic philosophers of that generation treated possible worlds with Quinean disdain.) My teachers were in the same boat. I had to wait until I got to Stanford to hear the words "modal logic." Mohan
Hi Chris, JPhil does occasionally publish historical articles, but one can discern some non-historical interest in them. M. R. Ayers' famous article on Locke vs Aristotle on natural kinds was published there, for instance, and a number of papers by Robert Adams, some on unlikely topics like divine necessity. There is plenty in the Indian philosophical tradition that could be discussed in the context of similar contributions to logic and metaphysics. And I wish more of it did find its way into non-historical discussions. Of course, as you realize, my point is that there were very few people in India in the mid-twentieth century who had the network or the resources to produce anything of Adams-like relevance to contemporary questions.
There's a difference between philosophy and many higher-citing disciplines in that in philosophy, it's often a "point" or an argument that fails to be cited, rather than an experiment or a substantial conclusion. Suppose that I argue that X's conclusion "doesn't follow." Should this be cited by others who make the same point en passant? I don't think so. My own practice is to cite substantial positive theses in the general vicinity, whether they are in agreement or not, but not to worry about too much about others who might have trodden on the same ground. I find that this is pretty much in line with how others treat me. Do you feel that I am too casual?
Alan, that's certainly an interesting interpretation of Descartes' argument. I thought that ideas are all the same in intricacy (formally?), but different with regard to the intricacy of what they are ideas of (objectively). So I read the argument in the Meditations as supposing that no entity can conceive of anything more intricate than itself except by that thing being responsible for the idea. That's closer to the Eric/Dan reading. Mohan
Aren't there two separate arguments in this and your earlier post re Dennett? The first is: Here is this elaborate entity. (The clock/the world.) Who could doubt that it is constructed? The second is: Here is this idea of an elaborate entity. Only an elaborate entity could have been responsible for this idea. It strikes me that both arguments are bad, but that the second is worse. I don't think you can get the first by any reasonable modification of the second. best, A Rude Indian (called Mohan)
Orwin, Could you please explain what you mean? What are two orders of infinity? What dogmatic metaphysics? Who swallowed drivel about Von Neumann? Who thought that the genome copies itself?
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Nov 11, 2013