David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophical Investigations 34 (4):353-366 (2011)
The publication of Cora Diamond's important 2002 “The Difficulty of Reality and the Difficulty of Philosophy” (in Philosophy and Animal Life) stimulated the writing of this essay. “The Difficulty of Reality and the Difficulty of Philosophy” attempted to show that there are experiences of reality (recounted especially in literature like John Coetzee's novels and Ted Hughes' poetry) in relation to which philosophical concepts and words encounter difficulty. The experiences resist conceptualization. By examining several of Diamond's earlier writings, I try to show that the difficulty of philosophical conceptualization of reality is due to the fact that reality does not exist external to experience. Reality being internal to experience means that reality contains an unfixed set of possibilities. Being experiential, reality is historical. The historical dimension of reality – such as the reality of animal life suffering – makes the words through we describe this reality too weak, i.e. they are not powerful enough to capture reality, hence the difficulty. Consequently, as I argue, for Diamond, the weakness of words means that words are never complete concepts. The meaning of them seems always still to come since reality seems always to have a surplus of possibilities. I suggest that because of this always still “to come” aspect of the meaning of words, we might characterise Diamond's thought as a messianism
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References found in this work BETA
Lee Braver (2007). A Thing of This World: A History of Continental Anti-Realism. Northwestern University Press.
Cora Diamond (2001). Injustice and Animals. In Carl Elliott (ed.), Slow Cures and Bad Philosophers: Essays on Wittgenstein, Medicine, and Bioethics. Duke University Press. 118--148.
Cora Diamond (1988). Losing Your Concepts. Ethics 98 (2):255-277.
Leonard Lawlor (2011). Early Twentieth-Century Continental Philosophy. Indiana University Press.
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