night of the hunter


I was an accomplice to a slow and repeated and unacknowledged and unamended train wreck of failures that have brought us to now.
I’m a leader in an industry that miscalled election results, hyped up terror scares, ginned up controversy, and failed to report on tectonic shifts in our country.
I’m a leader in an industry that misdirected your attention with the dexterity of Harry Houdini while sending hundreds of thousands of our bravest young men and women off to war without due diligence.
The reason we failed isn’t a mystery. We took a dive for the ratings. In the infancy of mass communications, the Columbus and Magellan of broadcast journalism, William Paley and David Sarnoff, went down to Washington to cut a deal with Congress.
Congress would allow the fledgling networks free use of taxpayer-owned airwaves in exchange for one public service.That public service would be one hour of air time set aside every night for informational broadcasting, or what we now call the evening news.Congress, unable to anticipate the enormous capacity television would have to deliver consumers to advertisers, failed to include in its deal the one requirement that would have changed our national discourse immeasurably for the better.
!!!!!!Congress forgot to add that under no circumstances could there be paid advertising during informational broadcasting.They forgot to say that taxpayers will give you the airwaves for free and for 23 hours a day you should make a profit, but for one hour a night you work for us.!!!!!
From this moment on, we’ll be deciding what goes on our air and how it’s presented to you based on the simple truth that NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT TO A DEMOCRACY THAN A WELL-INFORMED ELECTORATE. We’ll endeavor to put information in a broader context because we know that very little news is born at the moment it comes across our wire. We’ll be the champion of facts and the mortal enemy of innuendo, speculation, hyperbole, and nonsense. We’re not waiters in a restaurant serving you the stories you asked for just the way you like them prepared. Nor are we computers dispensing only the facts because news is only useful in the context of humanity. I’ll make no effort to subdue my personal opinions. I will make every effort to expose you to informed opinions that are different from my own.



trick or treatment

“I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.”
― Leo Tolstoy


anthony kenny philosophy of history series




“Men often, from infirmity of character, make their election for the nearer good, though they know it to be the less valuable; and this no less when the choice is between two bodily pleasures, than when it is between bodily and mental. They pursue sensual indulgences to the injury of health, though perfectly aware that health is the greater good. It may be further objected, that many who begin with youthful enthusiasm for everything noble, as they advance in years sink into indolence and selfishness. But I do not believe that those who undergo this very common change, voluntarily choose the lower description of pleasures in preference to the higher. I believe that before they devote themselves exclusively to the one, they have already become incapable of the other. Capacity for the nobler feelings is in most natures a very tender plant, easily killed, not only by hostile influences, but by mere want of sustenance; and in the majority of young persons it speedily dies away if the occupations to which their position in life has devoted them, and the society into which it has thrown them, are not favourable to keeping that higher capacity in exercise. Men lose their high aspirations as they lose their intellectual tastes, because they have not time or opportunity for indulging them; and they addict themselves to inferior pleasures, not because they deliberately prefer them, but because they are either the only ones to which they have access, or the only ones which they are any longer capable of enjoying.”

mill utilitarianism


We do not say that a man who shows no interest in politics is a man who minds his own business; we say that he has no business here at all.(Pericles’ funeral oration, in Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War, 147)


Heaven and hell suppose two distinct species of men, the good and the bad. But the greatest part of mankind float betwixt vice and virtue.

David Hume

martin luther king jr

Letter from a Birmingham Jail


Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.
The glorious lamp of heaven the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.
That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.
Then be not coy, but use your time,
And, while ye may, go marry;
For, having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.
-Robert Herrick


david chalmers


“If your mind is going to cause your limbs to move, it presumably must first cause an appropriate neural event in your brain. But how is that possible? How can a mind, or a mental phenomenon, cause a bundle of neurons to fire? (Mental to physical) Through what mechanisms does a mental event, like a thought or a feeling, manage to initiate, or insert itself into, a causal chain of electrochemical neural events? And how is it possible for a chain of physical and biological events and processes to burst, suddenly and magically, into a full-blown conscious experience, with all its vivid colors, shapes, smells, and sounds? (Physical to mental) Think of your total sensory experience right now — visual, tactual, auditory, olfactory, and the rest: How is it possible for all this to arise out of molecular activities in the gray matter of your brain?”Excerpt From: Jaegwon, Kim. “Philosophy of Mind.”


utility monster





On the basis of subjectivism, Adolf Hitler and the serial murderer Ted Bundy could be considered as moral as Gandhi, as long as each lived by his own standards whatever those might be. Witness the following paraphrase of a tape-recorded conversation between Ted Bundy and one of his victims, in which Bundy justifies his murder:
“Then I learned that all moral judgments are “value judgments,” that all value judgments are subjective, and that none can be proved to be either “right” or “wrong.” I even read somewhere that the Chief Justice of the United States had written that the American Constitution expressed nothing more than collective value judgments. Believe it or not, I figured out for myself — what apparently the Chief Justice couldn’t figure out for himself — that if the rationality of one value judgment was zero, multiplying it by millions would not make it one whit more rational. Nor is there any “reason” to obey the law for anyone, like myself, who has the boldness and daring — the strength of character — to throw off its shackles…. I discovered that to become truly free, truly unfettered, I had to become truly uninhibited. And I quickly discovered that the greatest obstacle to my freedom, the greatest block and limitation to it, consists in the insupportable “value judgment” that I was bound to respect the rights of others. I asked myself, who were these “others”? Other human beings, with human rights? Why is it more wrong to kill a human animal than any other animal, a pig or a sheep or a steer? Is your life more to you than a hog’s life to a hog? Why should I be willing to sacrifice my pleasure more for the one than for the other? Surely, you would not, in this age of scientific enlightenment, declare that God or nature has marked some pleasures as “moral” or “good” and others as “immoral” or “bad”? In any case, let me assure you, my dear young lady, that there is absolutely no comparison between the pleasure I might take in eating ham and the pleasure I anticipate in raping and murdering you. That is the honest conclusion to which my education has led me after the most conscientious examination of my spontaneous and uninhibited self.”
Notions of good and bad or right and wrong cease to have interpersonal evaluative meaning. We might be revulsed by Bundy’s views, but that is just a matter of taste.


A just person is not prepared to do certain things, and so in the face of evil circumstances he may decide to chance death rather than to act unjustly. Yet although it is true enough that for the sake of justice a man may lose his life where another would live to a later day, the just man does what all things considered he most wants; in this sense he is not defeated by ill fortune, the possibility of which he foresaw. The question is on a par with the hazards of love; indeed, it is simply a special case. Those who love one another, or who acquire strong attachments to persons and to forms of life, at the same time become liable to ruin: their love makes them hostages to misfortune and the injustice of others. Friends and lovers take great chances to help each other; and members of families willingly do the same…. Once we love we are vulnerable. -John Rawls

john rawls


imitation game


Suppose one day they found a way to replace our eyes or ears. Would we still see or hear the same way? Would our qualia be different? For example when we look at a banana, a mental image of yellow shade 1 is produced. Imagine if we exchange our eye balls for a new pair of eye balls or possibly something fabricated in the lab or bionic in nature. Would we still see yellow shade 1 if we are presented with the same banana? Or do we see something else? Perhaps yellow shade 2.

answer; And you mean this is a purely philosophical question? Why don’t you just go and set up an experiment by asking patients who have already undergone eye surgery to see with a camera, and then tune their cameras?

i.e. We have *already* reached that point. Welcome to the 21st century.


frank sinatra

in the wee small hours of the morning

the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter — winston chrucill


i have always found that mercy bears richer fruit than strict justice-lincoln


Liar’s Paradox


david foster wallace

consider the lobster

planet Trillaphon


For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
-Ecclesiastes 1:18


The flâneur(loafer) was often juxtaposed to the figure of the badaud, the gawker or gaper. Fournel wrote: “The flâneur must not be confused with the badaud; a nuance should be observed there…. The simple flâneur is always in full possession of his individuality, whereas the individuality of the badaud disappears. It is absorbed by the outside world…which intoxicates him to the point where he forgets himself. Under the influence of the spectacle which presents itself to him, the badaud becomes an impersonal creature; he is no longer a human being, he is part of the public, of the crowd.”[6]



I never dreamed our ideas would separate us.
-Inherit The Wind


thesues ship

what the tortosie said to achilles caroll




he Invisible Gardener [Really short and awesome story]
Once upon a time two explorers came upon a clearing in the jungle. In the clearing were growing many flowers and many weeds. One explorer says, “some gardener must tend this plot.” The other disagrees, “There is no gardener.”
So they pitch their tents and set a watch. No gardener is ever seen. “But perhaps he is an invisible gardener.” So they, set up a barbed-wire fence. They electrify it. They patrol with bloodhounds. (For they remember how H.G. Wells’s The Invisible Man could be both smelt and touched though he could not he seen.) But no shrieks ever suggest that some intruder has received a shock. No movements of the wire ever betray an invisible climber. The bloodhounds never give cry.
Yet still the Believer is not convinced. “But there is a gardener, invisible, intangible, insensible to electric shocks, a gardener who has no scent and makes no sound, a gardener who comes secretly to look after the garden which he loves.” At last the Sceptic despairs, “But what remains of your original assertion? Just how does what you call an invisible, intangible, eternally elusive gardener differ from an imaginary gardener or even from no gardener at all?”
– From Antony Flew, Theology and Falsification.




nonidentity problem


spinoza ethics



We are now in a position to argue — controversially — that Spinoza accepts a thesis much stronger in many respects than determinism, namely necessitarianism. To see how necessitarianism is stronger, consider a possibility that determinism does not rule out. According to determinism, given the laws of nature (which are necessary), the antecedent conditions determine the later conditions. But determinism does not require that the antecedent conditions are themselves necessary. Determinism requires that if one of the antecedent conditions were changed, then its causes would have had to have been different, and the causes of these causes would have had to have been different etc., all the way back. But, as far as determinism is concerned, there is nothing in principle impossible about the chain of causes having been different all the way back. The laws of nature are necessary, according to determinism, but the particular series of events governed by these laws is not necessary: there could have been a different series of events. The view that there is more than one possible series of events (or, in Spinozistic terms, one possible series of finite modes) is precisely what determinism allows and necessitarianism denies. According to necessitarianism, there is no sense in which it is possible that I wore a purple polka dot shirt today, whereas determinism can allow that it is possible.


Contractarianism Ethics


Why Am I Not a Christian




A cynic is a man who, when he smell flowers, looks around for a coffin.
-H L Mencken

Read shit and you’ll think shit and you’ll create shit.

Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers

Great people need someone who will challenge their thinking, someone they can trust and respect.
Every McCartney needs a Lennon.
Sadly, Paul lost his Lennon and ended up writing ‘Mull of Kintyre.’ And this from a man who gave us ‘Yesterday,’ ‘Eleanor Rigby,’ and numerous other classics. So whatever happens, hold on to honesty. Hold on to your Lennon.




siddhartha herman hesse


elements of style william strunk


principle of suff reason



“Thus he who has raised himself above the alms-basket, and, not content to live lazily on scraps of begged opinions, sets his own thoughts on work, to find and follow truth, will (whatever he lights on) not miss the hunter’s satisfaction; every moment of his pursuit will reward his pains with some delight; and he will have reason to think his time not ill spent, even when he cannot much boast of any great acquisition.”
- Locke

“There are few, I believe, who have not observed in themselves or others, that what in one way of proposing was very obscure, another way of expressing it has made very clear and intelligible; though afterwards the mind found little difference in the phrases, and wondered why one failed to be understood more than the other. But everything does not hit alike upon every man’s imagination. We have our understandings no less different than our palates; and he that thinks the same truth shall be equally relished by every one in the same dress, may as well hope to feast every one with the same sort of cookery: the meat may be the same, and the nourishment good, yet every one not be able to receive it with that seasoning; and it must be dressed another way, if you will have it go down with some, even of strong constitutions.”





Locke’s empiricism is at once atomistic and constructivist.
In calling it ‘atomistic’, I mean that Locke regards ideas as falling into two classes, simple and complex, with complex ideas being analysable into simple components. For instance, the idea of a perceptible quality like redness is, for Locke, simple: our concept of redness cannot be analysed into any simpler elements — unlike, for example, our concept of a horse, which can.
In calling Locke’s doctrine ‘constructivist’, I mean this: he holds that all of our ideas ( = concepts) ultimately ‘derive’ from experience, that is, from percepts — but he does not hold that in order to possess a given complex idea ( = concept), one must have enjoyed a correspondingly complex percept, since it suffices for one to have enjoyed the various simple percepts corresponding to the simple ideas ( = concepts) into which that complex idea is analysable. Thus one can possess the concept of a unicorn despite never having perceived such a creature (or even a mock-up of one), because it is analysable in terms of simpler concepts (those of a horse and a horn) which themselves either answer to experience or are further analysable in terms of concepts which are thus answerable.
Notice that while atomism and constructivism go well together, neither entails the other. One could be a constructivist and yet deny that there are any conceptual ‘simples’. Alternatively, one could believe in conceptual simples and yet insist that complex concepts cannot be acquired in the absence of correspondingly complex perceptual experience.

a priori aposteriori

There is a perennial danger of confusing the distinction between innate and acquired knowledge with the distinction between a priori and a posteriori knowledge.
A priori knowledge is knowledge which is ‘prior’ to experience, but not in the sense that it is necessarily possessed before its owner has had any experience — only, rather, in the sense that in the case of a truth knowable a priori, a claim to know it does not depend for its justification upon any appeal to evidence supplied by experience. Thus, the arithmetical truth ‘2 + 5 = 7’ is knowable a priori and yet it may still be the case that some or all people owe their knowledge of it to their experience of combining small groups of objects and counting them, and consequently that it is not innately known.
Similarly, it is possible that a belief that is innate may depend for its truth as an item of knowledge upon circumstances whose obtaining can only be ascertained by recourse to empirical evidence. A creature might conceivably be born with a belief that a certain variety of toadstools is poisonous, but whether they are poisonous cannot be determined independently of experiment and observation.
We must distinguish, then, between the question of what caused someone to possess a given belief and the question of how that belief might be justified.



Anti-luck Intuitions, Ability Intuitions, Gettier Problem and the No False Lemma.

“Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity.
Immaturity is the inability to use one’s own understanding without the guidance of another. […] The motto of the enlightenment is therefore: Sapere aude! Have courage to use your own understanding.”

“The No Miracles Argument claims that science is very successful, in terms of making predictions later confirmed by observation, explaining phenomena, and so on. The No Miracles Argument then goes on to claim that unless we believe that scientific theories are at least approximately true, this success would be unlikely in the extreme — scientific success would be a miracle. The preferable explanation, says the proponent of the argument, is that scientific realism is true.”
“Scientific realism is more metaphysically committed than constructive empiricism. This, says the constructive empiricist, is risky. Scientific theories are continually being replaced by new theories, so unobserved entities figuring in today’s successful scientific theories — for example, neutrinos — might turn out to be non-existent according to future scientific theories. This would make scientific realism false, but not constructive empiricism. The constructive empiricist takes not having this metaphysical commitment to the existence of unobserved entities to be a theoretical advantage for her view.”
“The Inference to the Best Explanation argument puts pressure on constructive empiricism by calling into question the constructive empiricist’s characterisation of the observed/unobserved distinction. The IBE argument claims that we have good reasons for believing in the existence of some unobserved observables (such as dinosaurs), and that we have the same type of reasons for believing in the existence of some unobservables (such as Higgs bosons). The scientific realist claims that since these reasons are good in the case of unobserved observables, so they are just as good in the case of unobservables.”


earth wind fire


philosophy of perception

Bundle Theory;
an object consists of its properties and nothing more: thus neither can there be an object without properties nor can one even conceive of such an object;
Bare Particulars;
Take a particular, and mereologically subtract away its universals(for simplicity sake, just take universals for properties at this moment. i.e Green, Cold, Rough). Is anything left? According to the bundle theory, no. But according to the substratum theory, something is indeed left. Call this remaining something a bare particular. The bare particular does not contain the universals as parts; it instantiates them.





Occasionalism -Malebranche



Michael Sandel’s Justice.






Big History

Historical Determinism; Some argue that geography, economic systems, or culture prescribe “the iron laws of history” that decide what is to happen. Others see history as a long line of acts and accidents, big and small, each playing out its consequences until that process gets interrupted by the next.
“Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under given circumstances directly encountered and inherited from the past”

As we saw in Chapter 1, an a priori proposition is defined as one that is knowable just by thinking (e.g. “no one can be his or her own parent”), and an a posteriori proposition is defined as one that is knowable only by experience (e.g. “some people are over six feet tall”). To avoid possible misunderstanding, we should note here that “knowable just by thinking” does not mean “not knowable by experience;” for it is possible for an a priori proposition to be known by experience. For example, although mathematical statements are a priori, many of them are complex and so are known just by thinking only by those mathematicians who grasp their proofs, while other people may know them on the basis of experience — by hearing of their truth from mathematicians or reading that they are true in mathematics texts. Rather than meaning “not knowable by experience,” then, the phrase “knowable just by thinking” means, roughly speaking, “knowable without experience.” To see why this is still only roughly right, note that for us to know even a simple a priori statement like 1 + 1 = 2 or no one can be his/her own parent some experience is needed; namely, the experience required to learn the meanings of terms — of “1”, “+”, “2,” “parent,” etc. Thus, if “knowable just by thinking” meant “knowable without any experience whatsoever,” then no statements would be a priori, because a statement cannot be known unless it is understood; but it cannot be understood unless its constituent terms are understood, and those terms cannot be understood (at least by human beings) unless their meanings have been learned through various sorts of experience. Thus, a more accurate interpretation of the phrase “knowable just by thinking” is this: “knowable without experience, except for the experience required to learn the meanings of terms.”


Causal relations are not knowable a priori;
We are apt to imagine that we could discover these effects by the mere operation of our reason, without experience. [For example,] we fancy, that were we brought on a sudden into this world, we could at first have inferred that one Billiard-ball would communicate motion to another upon impulse; and that we needed not to have waited for the event, in order to pronounce with certainty concerning it.
[W]ere we required to pronounce concerning the effect . . . without consulting past observation; after what manner, I beseech you, must the mind proceed in this operation? It must invent or imagine some event, which it ascribes to the object as its effect; and it is plain that this invention must be entirely arbitrary.(E:29; S:18; F:75) Hume


There is a great difference betwixt such opinions as we form after a calm and profound reflection, and such as we embrace by a kind of instinct or natural impulse, on account of their suitableness and conformity to the mind. If these opinions become contrary, ’tis not difficult to foresee which of them will have the advantage. As long as our attention is bent on the subject, the philosophical and study’d principle may prevail; but the moment we relax our thoughts, nature will display herself, and draw us back to our former opinion.


On the interpretation of Kant’s transcendental deduction (as this argument is usually called) that we shall briefly consider, the incontrovertible fact of experience with which the argument begins is what we shall call the “unity of consciousness.”19 To see what this means, notice first that human consciousness at any given time is typically not consciousness of just one thing, but rather of many things. We are seldom if ever conscious of only one item — our experience would be very dull if we were — but of a diversity of items (which Kant called a “manifold of representations”). For example, when simply gazing into an ordinary furnished room, you are conscious not only of a door, but also of walls, a chair, a table, a bed, windows, a carpet, light fixtures, and so on. Now this simple fact requires something noteworthy; namely, that each of the items of which you are aware be presented to one and the same consciousness. If the chair were presented to one consciousness, the table to another, the bed to a third, and so on, then there would be no awareness of the furnished room, but only separate awarenesses of a wall, table, chair, bed, etc.

“Kant’s denial that things in themselves are spatial or temporal has struck many of his readers as incoherent. The role of things in themselves, on the two-object interpretation, is to affect our senses and thereby to provide the sensory data from which our cognitive faculties construct appearances within the framework of our a priori intuitions of space and time and a priori concepts such as causality. But if there is no space, time, change, or causation in the realm of things in themselves, then how can things in themselves affect us? Transcendental affection seems to involve a causal relation between things in themselves and our sensibility. If this is simply the way we unavoidably think about transcendental affection, because we can give positive content to this thought only by employing the concept of a cause, while it is nevertheless strictly false that things in themselves affect us causally, then it seems not only that we are ignorant of how things in themselves really affect us. It seems, rather, to be incoherent that things in themselves could affect us at all if they are not in space or time.”







Feminist philosophy [from Greek andro, the stem of the word man] Androcentrism is a male-centered perspective. According to many feminists, Western culture is androcentric because it is preoccupied with theoretical rather than practical issues and with reason rather than experience. It devalues women’s experience and does not take women’s concerns seriously. On this view, an androcentric bias is implicit in virtually every aspect of social life. One of the goals of feminism is to deconstruct the traditional androcentric philosophical framework. Androcentrism is opposed by gynocentrism [from Greek gene, woman], a female-centered perspective.


Lobachevsky and Riemann’s Geometry….. The Hydra Prinicple; Read 1 book and 2 more new books will take its place.


G.E. Moore took the lead in the rebellion, and I followed, with a sense of emancipation. [Absolutism] argued that everything common sense believes in is mere appearance. We reverted to the opposite extreme, and thought that everything is real that common sense, uninfluenced by philosophy or theology, supposes real. — Bertrand Russell


Leibniz’s Dispositional Innatism;

(1) [N]ecessary truths, such as we find in pure mathematics [. . .] must have principles whose proof does not depend on instances nor [. . .] on the testimony of the senses, even though without the senses it would never occur to us to think of them [. . .]. [S]o the proof of them can only come from inner principles described as innate. It would indeed be wrong to think that we can easily read these eternal laws of reason in the soul, as the Praetor’s edict can be read on his notice-board, without effort or inquiry; but it is enough that they can be discovered within us by dint of attention [. . .] what shows the existence of inner sources of necessary truths is also what distinguishes man from beast. (2) [I]deas which do not originate in sensation come from reflection. But reflection is nothing but attention to what is within us, and the senses do not give us what we carry with us already [. . .] can it be denied that there is a great deal that is innate in our minds since we are innate to ourselves [. . .] and since we include Being, Unity, Substance [. . .] and hosts of other objects of our intellectual ideas? [. . .] (3) I have also used the analogy of the veined block of marble, as opposed to an entirely homogeneous block of marble, or to a blank tablet [. . .] if there were veins in the block which marked out the shape of Hercules rather than other shapes, then the block would be more determined to that shape and Hercules would be innate to it [. . .] even though labour would be required to expose the veins and to polish them to clarity, removing everything that prevents them from being seen. This is how ideas and truths are innate in us — as inclinations, dispositions, tendencies, or natural potentialities and not as action; although these potentialities are always accompanied by certain actions, often insensible ones, which correspond to them. (5) [. . . A]t every moment there is in us an infinity of perceptions unaccompanied by awareness or reflection; that is alterations in the soul itself, of which we are unaware because these impressions are either too minute and too numerous or else too unvarying [. . .]. But when they are combined with others they do nevertheless have their effect and make themselves felt. (6) [A] special affinity which the human mind has with [necessary truths . . . ] is what makes us call them innate. So it is not a bare faculty [. . .] a mere possibility of understanding those truths; it is rather a disposition [. . .] a preformation which determines our souls and brings it about that they are derivable from it. (7) [A] “consideration of the nature of things” is nothing but the knowledge of the nature of our mind and of those innate ideas, andthere is no need to look for them outside oneself. (New Essays, 50–84)



Hegel saw fatal flaws in that gospel. Such an ethic is suitable more to a sect than the whole community, he argued, because while I can love my brethren, it is hard for me to love everyone, especially those who do not share my faith. It is also hard to square the Christian ethic, which demands that we give away everything, with the property rights so important for a larger community. Worst of all, though, the Christian ethic is simply too beautiful, too good for this world. Rather than fighting to make the world a better place, it attempts to escape from it, promising us salvation in heaven. The Christian does not fight for his rights but simply cedes them, turning the other cheek. In The Spirit of Christianity and its Fate Hegel explains how Jesus, embittered by the failure of his teaching to take hold among the Jews, cut himself off from the world, confined himself to his closest followers, and preached that one should render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. Jesus faced a dilemma: enter the world and compromise himself, or keep one’s purity and flee from the world (N 328). Jesus chose to maintain his purity, and so he withdrew from life. As a result, though, his ethic became irrelevant to the world. Because he refused to compromise with the world, because he fled from it to maintain his purity, Jesus could find freedom only in a void. Yet Hegel teaches that the man who seeks to save his soul by fleeing from the world only loses it. A heart lifted above all the ties of rights no longer has anything to give or forgive (286).


But what then does the subject do, beyond overturning all such constraints? Hegel’s answer is: nothing but realize the error of its ways. The subject’s fundamental nature is simply to overturn all external constraints, and then to realize that this is a futile and irrational activity. But in recognizing this, the subject gains a kind of knowledge of itself. The subject realizes that it has foolishly tried to assert itself against every form of constraint — precisely to achieve a sense of itself as active. And in understanding its actions in this way, the subject gains, finally, an accurate sense of itself — a sense that it would never have had without its seemingly fruitless attempt at revolt.

Hegel’s World Spirit; For the philosopher, the task is to justify our practices and our beliefs, to understand them as expressions of rationality. We do this by applying a thoroughgoing skepticism to our particular understandings of the world, by demanding of ourselves that we articulate and defend our implicit and as yet unexamined commitments. The results of this skeptical inquiry are, predictably enough, a rubble of discarded practices and beliefs. Philosophy has little to show for itself unless it can extract something positive from the casualties of its skeptical onslaught. But this something must be more than those practices and beliefs that survive skeptical challenge. For these would be nothing more than what we began with, unless we can show that we are better off for having gone through the process of philosophical criticism. To show that, to vindicate the philosophical process in philosophy’s own terms, we must be able to show not just that there is something positive that survives philosophical skepticism, but also that this something could never have been what it is for us now had it not gone through the pro- cess of skeptical challenge. Philosophy’s job, then, is to vindicate itself by describing its own destructive efforts as necessary for our current beliefs and practices. And this is something that can be achieved only in retrospect: by redescribing the history of philosophy not simply as a series of critical overturnings, but rather as a necessary process through which we came to our current ways of thinking.


The child . . . is born . . . into a living world . . . He does not even think of his separate self; he grows with his world, his mind fills and orders itself; and when he can separate himself from the world, and know himself apart from it, then by that time his self, the object of his self-consciousness, is penetrated, infected, characterized by the existence of others. Its content implies in every fibre relations of community. He learns, or already perhaps has learnt, to speak, and here he appropriates the common heritage of his race, the tongue that he makes his own in his country’s language, it is . . . the same that others speak, and it carries into his mind the ideas and sentiments of the race . . . and stamps them indelibly. He grows up in an atmosphere of example and general custom . . . The soul within him is saturated, is filled, is qualified by, it has assimilated, has got its substance, has built itself up from, it is one and the same life with the universal life, and if he turns against this he turns against himself.


Since later articulations become possible only as responses to earlier articulations, philosophy is necessarily historical.


Dogmatism gives us a standard but no reason to accept it. Infinite regress promises a standard, but we never reach it.

SOCRATES: So now I do not know what virtue is; perhaps you knew before you contacted me, but now you [d] are certainly like one who does not know. Nevertheless, I want to examine and seek together with you what it may be.
MENO: How will you look for it, Socrates, when you do not know at all what it is? How will you aim to search for something you do not know at all? If you should meet with it, how will you know that this is the thing that you did not know?
[e] SOCRATES: I know what you want to say, Meno. Do you realize what a debater’s argument you are bringing up, that a man cannot search either for what he knows or for what he does not know? He cannot search for what he knows — since he knows it, there is no need to search — nor for what he does not know, for he does not know what to look for.

Hume assume that if an idea cannot be traced to an impression, then the idea is a false idea. I disagree. Why not argue like Leibniz who say that precisely because so,e ideas cannot be traced to an impression or experience, then some ideas must be innate or acquired differently?

I think you should read this for yourself. One of the best dope stuff I’ve ever encountered. I’m trying to refute this, but not sure how. Socrates/Plato didn’t see the problem in the first place because they posit the recollection theory which conjecture that when we *see* or stumble upon the right form/definition, we will *know it right away*. Think of it as an epiphany, a religious experience or a Eureka moment that is accompanied by the certainty as the Cogito. For Socrates, there is no need for a standard, we know it when we see it.
But the recollection theory quickly slips into dogmatism and has an grossly large ontologically baggage.
Hegel tries to supply an alternative, but part of his solution involves modifying the interpretation of the question which I’m not sure his predecessors would be incline to accept. This is tantamount to realizing that we have no free will, and then comes the compatibalist who argue that freedom is simply doing what one wills unrestrained. But clearly that does not suffice. For who determines the nature of the will? If we are unable to determine the motive or direction or our will by ourselves, if our will has already been determined, then we wouldn’t consider ourselves free in the traditional laymen sense of the word.
So I don’t think Hegel succeeds. I think Kant is right; the limitations of our human cognition is that we can only come to know Appearances. We can never acquaint ourselves with the things-in-themselves, not even glimpse it. In fact I agree with his critics, we can’t even assert that there are such things as things-in-themselves. At the end of the day, we can either invoke deus ex machina to buy what we want to be true or we can simply contend that Appearances is enough.
“The point of the topsy-turvy world is to underscore that the appeals to inner forces are explanatorily useless. The world of inner forces at best superfluously replicates the world that appears to us. At worst, it turns everything upside down to no purpose.”


The logical positivists believed that there were observations, which could be described in observations sentences, that were independent of any theory. Theories are attempts to explain observations and to predict new observations, but the observations are the same regardless of the theory. According to the logical positivists, when Ptolemy disagrees with Newton, or Newton with Einstein, they disagree about theories but agree about observations.Several later philosophers of science — most prominently Thomas Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend — disagreed with the logical positivists. Kuhn and Feyerabend argued that observations themselves are dependent upon theory. Change the theory and you change not only what you will see but also what you can see. Pick any observation you want, that observation is embedded within a theory. On this view, when Ptolemy, Newton, and Einstein disagree, they disagree not only about which theory best explains the observations but also about what the observations are. Although contemporary philosophers of science squabble about the details, they have largely accepted the claim that observations become observations only within the context of a theory and that there is no observation that is theory neutral or independent.


a wild sheep chase



The Paradox of Inquiry

to explain a thing’s origin, one means to offer a causal, historical account of a succession of actual events that led to the “birth” — the coming into existence — of the specific phenomenon in question. This, however, is not what Rousseau is up to when he inquires into the origin of human inequality — despite the fact that he sometimes talks as though it were (DI, 133, 186/OC III, 133, 191–2), a fact that understandably confuses many readers. Most important, he is not asking how some singular phenomenon (the US Electoral College, for example) came into being at a particular place and time (in Philadelphia in 1787). Instead, his inquiry starts from a general observation about the pervasiveness of inequality in the various human societies known to him — through his own experience, to be sure, but also from the testimony of travelers, the accounts of historians, and so on — and proceeds to ask not how inequality actually came into the world but why, once there, it persists and is so widespread. In other words, the question at the heart of Rousseau’s inquiry into the origin of inequality can be formulated as follows: what accounts for the striking fact that nearly all of the human societies known to us are characterized by significant inequalities among their members in wealth, power, and prestige? What forces must be at work — not merely in a specific time and place but more generally — if inequality is so common as to appear to be an enduring feature of the human condition?

Cat’s Cradle



“Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly;
Man got to sit and wonder ‘why, why, why?’
Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;
Man got to tell himself he understand.”


Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
-Søren Kierkegaard


outlines of pyronism

sextus empiricus


Here, therefore, is a proposition, which not only seems, in itself, simple and intelligible; but, if a proper use were made of it, might render every dispute equally intelligible, and banish all that jargon, which has so long taken possession of metaphysical reasonings, and drawn disgrace upon them. All ideas, especially abstract ones, are naturally faint and obscure: the mind has but a slender hold of them: they are apt to be confounded with other resembling ideas; and when we have often employed any term, though without a distinct meaning, we are apt to imagine it has a determinate idea annexed to it. On the contrary, all impressions, that is, all sensations, either outward or inward, are strong and vivid: the limits between them are more exactly determined: nor is it easy to fall into any error or mistake with regard to them. When we entertain, therefore, any suspicion that a philosophical term is employed without any meaning or idea (as is but too frequent), we need but enquire, from what impression is that supposed idea derived? And if it be impossible to assign any, this will serve to confirm our suspicion.
If T is a general, classificatory, or descriptive term that supposedly has an idea, I, as its meaning, but there is no impression(s) from which I is derived, then T does not stand for any idea and is therefore meaningless.


“Teach the ignorant as much as you can. Society is to blame for not giving free education: it is responsible for the darkness it creates. the soul in darkness sins, but the real sinner is he who caused the darkness”
― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

les miserables

“The guillotine is the ultimate expression of Law, and its name is vengeance; it is not neutral, nor does it allow us to remain neutral. He who sees it shudders in the most confounding dismay. All social questions achieve their finality around that blade. The scaffold is an image. It is not merely a framework, a machine, a lifeless mechanism of wood, iron, and rope. It is as though it were a being having its own dark purpose, as though the framework saw, the machine listened, the mechanism understood; as though that arrangement of wood and iron and rope expressed a will. In the hideous picture which its presence evokes it seems to be most terribly a part of what it does. It is the executioner’s accomplice; it consumes, devouring flesh and drinking blood. It is a kind of monster created by the judge and the craftsman; a spectre seeming to live an awful life born of the death it deals.
This was the effect it had on the bishop….”
― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“…in the remaining time Monseigneur Myriel worked. That is to say, he dug his garden or read and wrote, and for him both kinds of work bore the same name; both he called gardening. ‘The spirit is a garden,’ he said.”

“We destroyed the structure of the ancein regime, but we could not wholly destroy its thought. It is not enough to abolish abuses; custom must also be transformed. The mill was pulled down, but the wind still blows.”
- Les Miserables

“It may be remarked in passing that success is an ugly thing. Men are deceived by its false resemblances to merit. To the crowd, success wears almost the features of true mastery, and the greatest dupe of this counterfeit talent is History. Juvenal and Tacitus alone mistrust it. In these days an almost official philosophy has come to dwell in the house of Success, wear its livery, receive callers in its ante-chamber. Success in principle and for its own sake. Prosperity presupposes ability. Win a lottery-prize and you are a clever man. Winners are adulated. To be born with a caul is everything; luck is what matters. Be fortunate and you will be thought great. With a handful of tremendous exceptions which constitute the glory of a century, the popular esteem is singularly short-sighted. gilt is as good as gold. No harm in being a chance arrival provided you arrive. The populace is an aged Narcissus which worships itself and applauds the commonplace. The tremendous qualities of a Moses, an Aeschylus, a Dante, a Michelangelo or a Napoleon are readily ascribed by the multitude to any man, in any sphere, who has got what he set out to get–the notary who becomes a deputy, the hack playwright who produces a mock-Corneille, the eunuch who acquires a harem…the bailiff of a great estate who so enriches himself that on retirement he is made Minister of Finance–all this is what men call genius, just as they call a painted face beauty and a richly attired figure majesty. They confound the brilliance of the firmament with the star-shaped footprints of a duck in the mud.”



Millions long for immortality who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

“Now and in the time to be, I think it will pay for you to zero in on being precise with your language. Try to build and treat your vocabulary the way you are to treat your checking account. Pay every attention to it and try to increase your earnings. The purpose here is not to boost your bedroom eloquence or your professional success — although those, too, can be consequences — nor is it to turn you into parlor sophisticates. The purpose is to enable you to articulate yourselves as fully and precisely as possible; in a word, the purpose is your balance. For the accumulation of things not spelled out, not properly articulated, may result in neurosis. On a daily basis, a lot is happening to one’s psyche; the mode of one’s expression, however, often remains the same. Articulation lags behind experience. That doesn’t go well with the psyche. Sentiments, nuances, thoughts, perceptions that remain nameless, unable to be voiced and dissatisfied with approximations, get pent up within an individual and may lead to a psychological explosion or implosion. To avoid that, one needn’t turn into a bookworm. One should simply acquire a dictionary and read it on the same daily basis — and, on and off, with books of poetry. Dictionaries, however, are of primary importance. There are a lot of them around; some of them even come with a magnifying glass. They are reasonably cheap, but even the most expensive among them (those equipped with a magnifying glass) cost far less than a single visit to a psychiatrist. If you are going to visit one nevertheless, go with the symptoms of a dictionary junkie.”
-Joseph Brodsky

cottage industries


“Any brain worth a nickel knows books are good for us.”



what money cant buy

“Had it not rained in the night of 17–18 June 1815, the future of Europe would have been different.”
- Les Miserables




“It is quite impossible for a thinking being to imagine nonbeing, a cessation of thought and life. In this sense, everyone carries the proof of his own immortality within himself.”


“The writer Umberto Eco belongs to that small class of scholars who are encyclopedic, insightful, and nondull. He is the owner of a large personal library (containing thirty thousand books), and separates visitors into two categories: those who react with “Wow! Signore professore dottore Eco, what a library you have! How many of these books have you read?” and the others — a very small minority — who get the point that a private library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool. Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. The library should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means, mortgage rates, and the currently tight real-estate market allows you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menacingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an antilibrary.”


ex machina



Silver Surfer; Who am I to stand in opposition to the will of the universe? To play the savior? The defender? Far better have tried. Have fallen. For all my power, what have I ever done but destroy?
But I cannot turn away. I have been given the gift of life. And with that life I will strive to make a difference. There is no disgrace in failure or fear. Shame or cowardice — lie only in never having tried!

Boredom indicates a lack of inner resources.
- Stannis Baratheon





Do away with that cavern of ignorance and you destroy that burrowing mole which is crime. We can sum it up in very few words. The real threat to society is darkness. Humanity is our common lot. All men are made of the same clay. There is no difference, at least on earth, in the fate assigned to us. We come of the same void, inhabit the same flesh, are dissolved in the same ashes. But ignorance infecting the human substance turns it black, and that incurable blackness, gaining the possession of the soul, becomes Evil.
-Les Miserables

Les Miserables has so many literary references; If you look up every allusion Hugo made and read those corresponding works, you can claim to be erudite.
I saw Diogenes’s Latern, Pascal’s Lightning, Rousseau’s Pickaxe and so forth. It’s so rich.


Jean Valjean was happy at the convent, so much so that in the end it troubled his conscience. Seeing Cosette every day, and with the sense of paternal responsibility growing in him, he brooded over her spiritual well-being, saying to himself that she was his and that nothing could take her from him, that certainly she would become a nun, being surrounded by soft inducements to do so; that the convent must henceforth be the whole world for both of them, where he would grow old while she grew into womanhood, until eventually he died and she grew old; and that, ecstatic thought, there would be no other separation between them, But as he thought about this he began to have misgivings, asking himself whether he was entitled to so much happiness, whether in fact it would not be gained at the expense of another person, a child, wheareas he was already an old man; whether, in short, it was not an act of theft. He told himself that the child had a right to know something about the world before renouncing it; that to deny her in advance, without consulting her, all the joys of life on the pretext of sparing her its trails, to take advantage of her ignorance and isolated state to prompt her to adopt an artificial vocation, was to do outrage to a human being and tell a lie to God.
-Les Miserables



quine attack on analyic synthetic distinction


“There were corpse here and there and pools of blood. I remember seeing a butterfly flutter up and down that street. Summer does not abdicate.”
-Les Miserables
Kurt Vonnegut fans will recall;
“Everything is supposed to be very quiet after a massacre, and it always is, except for the birds. And what do the birds say? All there is to say about a massacre, things like “Poo-tee-weet?”
-Slaughterhouse Five



What, then, is Progress? It is the permanent life of all people. But it sometimes happens that the momentary life of individuals is opposed to the eternal life of the human race.
To go into battle on every pretext, and whenever Utopia desires it, is not the will of the people. Nations are not always and at every moment endowed with the temperament of heroes and martyrs. They are positive. It often leads to disaster, and secondly because it’s starting-point is always an abstract idea.
The masses, ponderous bodies that they are, and fragile on account of their heaviness, fear adventure; and there is adventure to be found in every ideal.
Moreover we must not forget that there are interests which have little sympathy for the ideal and the sentimental. Sometimes the stomach paralyses the heart.
It is the grandeur and the beauty of France that she is less concerned with the belly than other peoples; she slips readily into harness.
France has her relapses into materials is, and at certain moments they obstruct the working of her splendid mind. The giantess plays the dwarf; great France has her fantasies of smallness. That is all
-Les Miserables



The Spectacular Now;


The Moral Landscape


“Films can indeed espouse a philosophy, an ideology, a political theory, but many of the greatest films are less likely to be paragons of narrative coherence than they are to be triumphs of spectacle and mise-en-scène. They communicate through the feelings evoked by their visual power rather than by logic.”


“No one has ever produced a plausible argument to the effect that the conditions under which our language has developed guarantee that one has only to use the language non-deviantly in order correctly to represent reality; nor does it seem likely that any such argument could ever be produced.”

Philosophers. . . have trusted in concepts as completely as they have mistrusted the senses: they have not stopped to consider that concepts and words are our inheritance from ages in which thinking was very modest and unclear.What dawns on philosophers last of all: they must no longer accept concepts as a gift, not merely purify and polish them, but first make and create them, present and make them convincing. Hitherto one has generally trusted one’s concepts as if they were a wonderful dowry from some sort of wonderland: but they are, after all, the inheritance from our most remote, most foolish as well as most intelligent ancestors. . . . What is needed above all is an absolute skepticism toward all inherited concepts (WP 409).



“But what is the sense in forever speculating what might have happened had such and such a moment turned out differently? One could presumably drive oneself to distraction in this way. In any case, while it is all very well to talk of ‘turning points’, one can surely only recognize such moments in retrospect. Naturally, when one looks back to such instances today, they may indeed take the appearance of being crucial, precious moments in one’s life; but of course, at the time, this was not the impression one had. Rather, it was as though one had available a never-ending number of days, months, years in which to sort out the vagaries of one’s relationship with Miss Kenton; an infinite number of further opportunities in which to remedy the effect of this or that misunderstanding. There was surely nothing to indicate at the time that such evidently small incidents would render whole dreams forever irredeemable.”
― Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day


“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.”
- T.E. Lawrence

Frege and Russell



One further important part of Nietzsche’s second-order analysis of such truths remains to be brought out. It relates to their social character, which is to be discerned not only in their conventionality but also in the kind of instrumental significance they possess. Given considerable prominence in On Truth and Lie, this point receives its most extended treatment in one of the central sections of the last part of The Gay Science (GS 354). Linking the emergence and character of ‘consciousness’ to the ‘capacity of communication,’ and this in turn to the ‘need for communication,’ Nietzsche argues that the ‘strength and art of communication’ are proportional to its practical necessity and utility, serving principally as a means of making possible and facilitating relations ‘between human beings.’ Thus ‘the development of language and the development of consciousness. . .go hand in hand,’ and both fundamentally do ‘not really belong to man’s individual existence but rather to his social or herd nature.’ ‘This is the essence of phenomenalism and perspectivism as I understand them,’ he goes on to say: ‘the world of which we can become conscious is only a surface- and sign-world, a world that is made common and meaner,’ through a process in which what is ‘useful in the interests of the human herd, the species,’ is decisive in determining the character of experience and language. And this is held likewise to be the essence of the (only) sort of ‘truth’ that is here to be found.

nietzche richard schact

Another sort of thing knowledge cannot be, Nietzsche contends, is the apprehension of various sorts of bare ‘facts,’ which when collected serve to make possible comparisons, generalizations and inferences. This empiricist picture of knowledge is as misguided in its own way as the rationalist model is ill-conceived. The latter rests upon the myths of ‘being’ and of the mind as a transcendent subject essentially attuned to its embrace in thought; the former, on the other hand, involves the myth of ‘the given’ and of thought as its mirror and articulation. ‘Against positivism, which halts at phenomena — “There are only facts” — I would say: No, facts are precisely what there is not, only interpretations. We cannot establish any fact “in itself”: perhaps it is folly to want to do such a thing’ (WP 481).
Myth of Being; the assumption that the world is a world of being and not a world of becoming and the assumption that one can avoid classing the human mind instead of belonging in the class of the inquiry.
Myth of The Given; the assumption that our empirical observation can be decrypted into objective facts without leaving behind some sort of ‘human stain’ or human mark.


Nietzsche undeniably attaches the greatest significance to ‘the enhancement of life,’ and makes much of the point that ‘lies,’ ‘errors,’ ‘illusions,’ ‘fictions’ and the like always have been and will continue to be of the greatest utility with respect to it. Yet he also was possessed of a lively intellectual conscience, confirmed in his view of himself as a ‘man of knowledge,’ persistent in his attempts to arrive at a deeper and clearer comprehension of our human reality and the character of life and the world than others had attained, and committed to the pursuit of something he does not hesitate to call ‘truth,’ the status of which he takes to be quite different from that of ‘man’s truths.’ He may be prepared to make large allowances where the flourishing and enhancement of life as it is and must be lived are concerned; but he is unflagging in his insistence upon ‘truthfulness’ in philosophy, contemptuously attributing an ‘absolute lack of intellectual integrity’ to those who suppose (as he clearly does not) that ‘it does not matter whether a thing is true, but only what effect it produces’ (WP 172).

‘when mendaciousness at any price monopolizes the word “truth” for its perspective,’ as it does in ordinary thinking and religious thought (and has for so long in philosophy as well), ‘the really truthful man is bound to be branded with the worst names’ (EH III:6:5).


Lord, please let my soul come to maturity before it is reaped.
- The Phantom Carriage



Focusing on what is given intuitively in experience led Husserl, in his late writings such as Experience and Judgment (1938),20 to focus on what he termed “prepredicative experience” (die vorprädikative Erfahrung), experience before it has been formulated in judgements and expressed in outward linguistic form, before it becomes packaged for explicit consciousness. As Husserl put it, all cognitive activity presupposes a domain that is passively pregiven, the existent world as I find it. Returning to examine this pregiven world is a return to the life-world (Lebenswelt), “the world in which we are always already living and which furnishes the ground for all cognitive performance and all scientific determination” (EJ § 10, p. 41, 38). Husserl claims that the world of our ordinary experience is a world of formed objects obeying universal laws as discovered by science, but the foundational experiences which give us such a world is rather different: “This experience in its immediacy knows neither exact space nor objective time and causality” (EJ § 10, p. 43,41). Returning to the life-world is to return to experience before such objectifications and idealisations (EJ § 10, p. 45, 44).


ilo ilo

Intetionality. Articles are ordered in increasing difficulty.


An image of a man walking up a hill also resembles a man walking backwards down a hill (Wittgenstein, 1953), whereas a thought about a man walking up a hill is not also a thought about a man walking backwards down a hill. Similarly, while an image of Mahatma Gandhi resembles Mahatma Gandhi, it also resembles everyone who resembles Mahatma Gandhi (Goodman, 1976). Thoughts about Mahatma Gandhi on the other hand, are not thoughts about anyone who looks like Mahatma Gandhi.

history of westernphilosophy


The Cycle of Philosophy ;
Brentano’s understanding of philosophy as a rigorous science is partly explained by his view of the cyclical progress of philosophy. From his earliest days in Würzburg, Brentano promulgated the theory that philosophy progressed in four phases, including alternating phases of abundance and different stages of decline.37 Brentano diagnosed his own age as a period of decline, and hence he advocated a renewal of philosophy as rigorous science. According to his periodisation, all great periods of growth in philosophy are characterised by the preponderance of the purely theoretical interest (ein reines theoretisches Interesse) and develop a method proper to the subject matter.38 In this stage philosophy is pursued as a theoretical science. Thus, in the period from Thales to Aristotle, there was the steady growth of pure theoria (similarly, with Aquinas in the thirteenth century, and Bacon and Descartes in the modern period). After a while, there comes an inevitable weakening of theoretical activity and practical interests begin to dominate, for example the Stoics and Epicureans in the post-Aristotelian period, nominalism in the medieval era. This phase of applied philosophy is in turn followed by a third phase when scepticism grows, counterbalanced by the construction of sects and dogmatic philosophies (among which he included Kant). Finally, in a fourth phase, mysticism, intuitionism and irrationalist world-views, ‘pseudo-philosophy’, and religious Schwärmerei start to proliferate (e.g. Plotinus at the end of classical philosophy; Eckhart and Cusanus in the Middle Ages; Schelling and Hegel in recent times with their defence of intellectual intuition), leading to a moral and intellectual collapse.39 Then the cycle begins again.


There is a famous passage in Robert Bolt’s play about Thomas More, A Man for All Seasons. More is urged by his son-in-law Roper to arrest a spy, in contravention of the law. More refuses to do so: ‘I know what’s legal, not what’s right; and I’ll stick to what’s legal.’ More denies, in answer to Roper, that he is setting man’s law above God’s. ‘I’m not God,’ he says, ‘but in the thickets of the law, there I am a forester.’ Roper says that he would cut down every law in England to get at the Devil. More replies, ‘And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you — where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat?’




The Ancestor of Determinism — Gorgias;
The first is a rhetorical exercise defending Helen of Troy against those who slander her, arguing that she deserves no blame for running of with Paris and thus sparking off the Trojan war. ‘She did what she did either because of the whims of fortune, the decisions of the gods and the decrees of necessity, or because she was abducted by force, or persuaded by speech, or overwhelmed by love’ (DK 82 B11, 21–4).
Gorgias goes through these alternatives in turn, arguing in each case that Helen should be held free from blame. No human can resist fate, and it is the abductor, not the abductee, who merits blame. Thus far, Gorgias has an easy task: but in order to show that Helen should not be blamed if she succumbed to persuasion, he has to engage in an unconvincing, though no doubt congenial, encomium on the powers of the spoken word: ‘it is a mighty overlord, insubstantial and imperceptible, but it can achieve divine effects’. In this case, too, it is the persuader, not the persuadee, who should be blamed. Finally, if Helen fell in love, she is blameless: for love is either a god who cannot be resisted or a mental illness which should excite our pity.

There were Euthydemus and Dionysidorus, a pair of logic choppers who would offer to prove to you that your father was a dog.

“One of the biggest gifts you can give your children is the memory of their mother’s cooking.”


Very succinct articulation of what the Dialectical Process (Hegel & Marx) is;
Each stage of history was determined by its predecessor according to fundamental logical or meta-physical principles in a process that had a rigour similar to that of a geometrical proof.


“Proverbs tells us that, “Whoever rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with his tongue” (28:23).”

Logical Atomism — What is Conceptual (as opposed to non-Conceptual) analysis? :
To use a general name for the kind of analytic philosophy practiced during the first half of the twentieth century, initially in Great Britain and German-speaking countries, and later in North America, Australia, and New Zealand, “conceptual analysis” aims at breaking down complex concepts into their simpler components. Successive analyses performed on complex concepts would yield simpler concepts. According to Moore, the process might lead ultimately to simple concepts, of which no further analysis could be given. The designation “conceptual” was supposed to distinguish the philosophical activity from various analyses applied to nonconceptual objects. Physics was famous in the twentieth century for breaking down atoms into protons, neutrons, and electrons, and these subatomic particles into an array of more exotic components. And analytic chemistry aims at determining chemical compositions. The analogy between philosophy and science inspired the name “logical atomism”.



“Our conclusion, then, is that though it may be true that proper names are equivalent to descriptions, those descriptions always in the end embed demonstratives. Since demonstratives cannot be explained in terms of descriptions, reference is not fundamentally descriptive. Even if the description theory is true of names, this does not show that the way we basically refer to things in the world is through descriptions. The basic way we refer to the world is by means of demonstratives, which are not equivalent to descriptions. The victory of the description theory over Kripke’s attack is therefore a Pyrrhic one. In the end, we must accept that some referential terms function nondescriptively.”

“When an atheist says, “God does not exist,” what he is really saying is “The propositional function ‘x is a god’ has no instance.” He is not saying about some individual named “God” that he does not exist — that would be self-defeating. Russell argues that a person cannot make a true negative existence statement about a named individual because he was never talking about any individual in the first place. Instead, the speaker was really talking about a propositional function and asserting that it has no instances. By paraphrasing the statement into a statement about a propositional function, we are not misled into believing that terms like “a man” or “someone” or “no one” are somehow functioning like names that require a reference. The only thing referred to with a propositional function is a concept, about which we state that it has, or lacks, instances.”






“I have been through enough torments from lack of clarity and from doubt that wavers back and forth . . . Only one need consumes me: I must win clarity, else I cannot live; I cannot bear life unless I can believe that I shall achieve it”
- Edmund Husserl

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