Friday, December 19, 2008

note taking
Leiter's references are to formal not empirical science. But language is a medium, like paint, or clay, while numbers are seen by most as Platonic: not as representations but as the foundation of the world.

A philosophy that sees the structure of language as replicating the structure of the world renders the sociological study of language production of secondary interest. Leiter's naturalism is the naturalism of Quine, not Santayana. Yet Santayana's terms apply, all too well.

Arguing for a philosophy ‘in tandem with the sciences,’ Leiter nonetheless admits philosophy is not a science, leaving us to assume that the relation of the two must be like the Nietzschean relation of the best of modern men to absent gods: one of sympathetic vibration. His philosophy is based on little more than romantic analogies, of philosophy to science and philosopher to scientist, that foster an insular formalism and champion a model of academic hierarchy as immune to criticism from outside its walls as the 11th century Church. I know of no other self-proclaimed leftist so utterly contemptuous of the philosophical foundations of democracy.

Again: Language does not describe the world; it is a medium through which we describe to one another our perceptions of it. It is a medium. Numbers are not. Naturalized epistemology in language proceeds only by analogy to the "natural epistemology" of number. And analogy is a rhetorical device.

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