Tuesday, November 04, 2003

The last post isn't a defense of emotionalism any more than Mendelsohn's article is. Our actions are colored by emotion, and those people who claim otherwise about themselves, while not always self-deluded are limited in their intellectual understanding of others. Singer, however, seems as confused about his own motivations for writing the book as he is about those of his grandfather. I'm thinking of paying 4 bucks for the web version of the article and putting it on my site.

Finally in reference to the by now absurd post at CT:  Let's remove the name "philosophy" from the subject heading of this discussion and replace it with "self-referential logic". That seems to be the only thing being discussed.  None of the categories discussed represent anything in the world; they refer only to each other. And when someone does make reference to the world,  to the point even of answering the question, he's ignored…
Mathematically, it wouldn't take that long. If you wait till the 4th day, you would get 4 flips giving you a 93.75% chance of getting at least one head. At the 12th day, you would have a 99.997% chance. Each extra day would give you only a very slight increase to your chances. (Waiting till the 13th day would increase your chances by 0.001% to 99.998% ...Then again, at the 13th day, you would have a 1/50,000 chance of losing. If you wanted to get the chances better than 1 in a million, you would have to hold out another week.
And this is because there is no interest shown in this discussion in the world as such, nor in anything concrete.

For a couple of years in the 80's I had a subscription to The Journal of Philosophy, and I've kept one issue on or around my desk for 15 years. It includes an article I've never forgotten: Morality and Self Other Asymmetry by Michael Slote, at the time and perhaps still of Trinity College Dublin. Not having read Allan Sokal's piece in Social Text, I can only say I'd be surprised if it were any more worthy of ridicule than this. What Slote attempts, using only the tools of logical analysis, is an explanation of why in common-sense morality it is considered appropriate to offer oneself as a sacrifice in place of another, but not to offer another in sacrifice in place of a third party. Any anthropologist would tell you about the ways in which societies create categories for those 'outiders' who are allowed, or required, to transcend such definitions. The military is the obvious example, since it is divided between the majority and the officers who live apart from them, but command them. This information could be used to reflect back on common sense morality, understood as the moral dynamic among the enlisted, as among the various officers (grouped by rank.) It takes an understanding of psychology to gather why this division is required, though it seems obvious. But Slote, being a philosopher, is unwilling to take account of such a mess. [On another front, the grapevine says Dear Leader is thinking about getting the draft up and running]

I'm done for now. I'm tired. But since I'm back on analytical philosphy, and I seem to be getting a few hits from CT I'll take this from a post on Sept 26:
In The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, Simon Blackburn writes this about Donald Davidson: 
"Davidson is also known for rejection of the idea of s conceptual scheme, thought of as something peculiar to one language or one way of looking at the world, arguing that where the possibility of translation stops so does the coherence of the idea that there is something to translate."

So if it is impossible to translate the finer points in Mallarmé, then no finer points exist.

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