David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In D. Darby & T. Shelby (eds.), Hip Hop and Philosophy. Open Court (2005)
A major theme in rap lyrics is that the only way to survive is to use your head, be aware, know what’s going on around you. That simple idea packs a lot of background. The most obvious ideas about knowledge turn out if you look at them close up to be pretty questionable. For example: How do we get knowledge about the world? A natural and ancient answer to this question is that much if not all of our knowledge comes from our senses. So for example the nose gives us knowledge of what things smell like, and if all goes well, also indicates whether the thing we’re smelling is healthy, tasty, or noxious. Likewise, the eyes tell us the color and shape of things, and thereby give us information about whether those things are useful, dangerous, and so on. Like everybody else, rappers know all this. Or do they? Maybe some rappers know that this isn’t really so. I’m not talking about Extra-Sensory Perception, channeling, auras, or about what.
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