In his well known paper ‘Wittgenstein’s Builders’ Professor Rush Rhees has rightly criticized some appeals that Wittgenstein made to certain so-called ‘primitive languages’ while developing the early sections of the Philosophical Investigations. These appeals are taken by Wittgenstein to expose the shortcomings of an account given by Augustine at Confessions I, 8 of meaning and of learning language. I shall try first in this discussion to make it clear that at least some of Rhees’ criticisms and complaints are made for (...) very dubious reasons. Then I shall try to show that there are much better reasons for dissatisfaction, reasons which may tie up with recurrent muddles in Wittgenstein’s later thought. It will be contended that there is real point in construing several Wittgensteinian appeals to primitive languages as being somewhat vitiated by a systematic mistake. For, if I am right, a curious ambivalence arises in the text which results from confusion about what is largely false, because it is so inadequate, and what is wholly in error, because it is so fundamentally incoherent as to invite the label ‘Nonsense’. (shrink)
Summary This paper will attempt to integrate (1) some new reflections on the implications for ontology of Monistic interpretations of formulae in quantification theory, with (2) a review of earlier material that I have published on such implications, and with (3) a sketch of several points made by others which bear on related issues.
According to many believers there is no end to the enlightening things that may be truly said about God. Perhaps there is no end for them either to the useful ways of dividing these things up into illuminating classes. But as fairly traditional theists we suggest a need to stress two basic classes as two indispensable sides to a traditional theist’s coin. We suggest that neglect or rejection of either side can debase the currency under philosophical investigation, can lead a (...) philosopher—or at least his puzzled readers—into costly muddles about the analysis or evaluation of religious discourse and claims. (shrink)
Bruce Wilshire’s work has three parts: Theatre and the Reality of Appearance; Reality and the Self; The Limits of Appearance and the Limits of Theatrical Metaphor. Chapter One covers “What Is Theatre?”, Chapter Two “What Is Phenomenology?”, both in a popular lecturer’s manner. As actor and scholar, he discusses playwrights from Sophocles to Grotowski in the rest of Part One. There is no pretense of philosophical depth or originality. But Muses are brought intelligently and enjoyably together. Only when Husserl or (...) Heidegger is rather artificially injected, does the text turn occasionally opaque. Often Part Three is similarly readable. Welcome remarks on social scientists’ abuse of “role-playing” are usefully applied to Erving Goffman’s use of theatrical metaphors in theorizing on social roles. Excellent comments on those who “dismiss religious practices as [necessarily] regressive and self-deceptive” come soon after. Too mechanical, behavioristic or cheaply cynical views of human beings are attacked, despite Wilshire’s own concessions to pessimism. At the end one reads: “it is not clear whether vital and authentic individual identity is still possible for us….We must aim for a community of compassion in which each recognizes the tragic aspects of the other”. (shrink)
In approaching the subject of this symposium we have both worked from an assumption about the future of philosophia perennis. This is that a better general assessment of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s philosophy of language in his Philosophical Investigations is likely to lead to better work in the crucial areas of metaphysics and epistemology. We shall not argue for this assumption here. But we begin by stating it to make clear why we shall attempt some particular assessments of a few passages early (...) in the Investigations and of a few famous remarks offered about them by Wittgenstein’s close disciple and critical commentator, Rush Rhees. For we are flirting with at least two further assumptions. A stronger and riskier one is that the strengths and weaknesses of the Investigations’ initial discussions may well have had a profound effect on the wisdom of the work as a whole. A weaker one is that if we can find sources of error as well as inspiration in some of Wittgenstein’s beginning remarks and in some of his dedicated followers’ comments, then other philosophers will be less intimidated by his philosophical and literary genius or by the obvious talents of many who are called Wittgensteinians. Thus we hope that our particular investigations can contribute to a more effective general assessment of his philosophy of language and so stimulate further hopes among those who believe—as we do—that the most central problems of philosophy can gradually be solved but never be dissolved. (shrink)
We shall argue that there is adequate moral justification for capital punishment with linkage, that is, with linkage to keeping non-murderers from dying. We present the argument with two aims in mind. The first is to question the conventional wisdom, seldom challenged even by proponents of capital punishment, that being an abolitionist is closely connected to having a civilized respect for human life. This conventional wisdom, we hope to show, is somewhat off the mark. To this end we exhibit structural (...) similarities between so-called lifeboat dilemmas and the public's relationship to a murderer. In a lifeboat dilemma one must choose between saving this life or that, since the lifeboat will not hold both persons. Now if this life were an innocent's and that one a murderer's, a choice to save the latter would not be met with accusations of callousness towards human life. We hope to project everyone's intuitions about this case onto the more baffling case of a society's relationship to the murderers and dying innocents in its midst. (shrink)
CHARLES BABBAGE, OUTSTANDING 19TH CENTURY FIGURE ON THEORY OF COMPUTING, URGES ON PROTO-GOODMANIAN AND NEO-MAIMONIDEAN GROUNDS THAT HUME IS QUITE WRONG ABOUT THE PROBABILITY OF MIRACLES’ OCCURRING. AQUINAS’ CLASSIFICATIONS OF MIRACLES INDICATE THAT NOT SINGLE PROBABILITY JUDGMENT IS ALWAYS RIGHT. BABBAGE’S WORK ON COMPUTING STILL CIRCULATES, BUT HIS NINTH BRIDGEWATER TREATISE (ON MIRACLES) HAS LONG DESERVED REPUBLICATION.
2. Regimentation in Action. That these words of Quine's are unfortunate can best be shown by looking at two examples of regimentation in action and by considering how we might very naturally first appraise the regimenter's success with a metaphysical problem. One example will be taken from Paul Weiss's Modes of Being and the other from Quine himself.
Tarski's equivalence, as he allows, applies only roughly to assertions in ordinary language. Some of the relevant exceptions are of merely grammatical importance but others leave scope for interesting metaphysical pronouncements on science, mathematics and other fields of assertion. To understand these latter exceptions is to gain insight into Baylis' and Lukasiewicz' views on the question "Are some Propositions neither True nor False?" (this journal, 1936). From different standpoints each is right and each is wrong. This comment also applies to (...) some later contributions to their controversy. (shrink)
G. E. Moore’s famous “Refutation of Idealism” and related essays, like “Hume’s Philosophy” in his Philosophical Studies, signaled the rise of a passionate belief. That is, we cannot use less obviously lucid and acceptable claims or arguments to defeat propositions that are most clear and most obviously true by our plainest human standards. The plurality of material objects in material space is assured for us by the high degree of clarity and assuredness of our propositions about hands, trees, meals, clocks, (...) clouds, and rainfall. The soundness of belief in matter, time, space, and the plurality of material objects is upheld by such ordinary and obviously true propositions about the familiar. And the massive number of such commonsensical propositions makes the task of idealists and skeptics supremely unpromising. (shrink)
This note attempts first to broaden the investigation of ties expressed by ?my? and ?mine?, which was initiated in ?The Concept of ?Mine?; ? (Inquiry, Vol. 7, No. 3). Socially accepted types of use ties (active and passive), worth ties and other sorts are distinguished from the previously noted ties of ownership, agency, etc. These further distinctions of ties, it is argued, also deserve the attention of philosophers and conceptually oriented social scientists. The analysis of ?mine? is then applied to (...) the much disputed concept of ?imagining?: some major clusters of divergent facts and phenomena called human imaginings are mapped and related to ?mine? (shrink)
Dilman conjures up a memorable vision of two great twentieth-century dragons at war. Each takes a turn at stimulating the other with its blue breath of naturalist hellfire. Each responds like a venomously programmed beast with a cold douche of quotations. Quine is provoked to repeat famous statements—mainly from “On What There Is,” “Two Dogmas of Empiricism,” “Epistemology Naturalised,” and The Web of Belief. Wittgenstein is induced to hurl back commentaries from a great many works, up from the Tractatus. Wittgenstein, (...) of course, is said to triumph. (shrink)
Debate continues to rage among philosophers of religion over Anthony Flew's famous little paper ‘Theology and Falsification’ and the responses it provoked, most notably R. M. Hare's response that religious claims are in no way like scientific hypotheses. For now, twenty years later, we still find many theists taking a similar tack to Hare's. A particularly interesting example is J. F. Miller in Religious Studies , 1969, who replies to Flew that propositions like ‘God loves mankind’ cannot be subject to (...) falsifiability conditions because they are used as claims expressing ‘ religious first-order principles of the Judaeo-Christian Weltanschauung and as such are not amenable to falsification’ . Miller seems to put his faith in some kind of great gulf fixed between what he would consider decently falsifiable scientific hypotheses and what he takes to be unfalsifiable first-order principles both of theology and of contemporary science. In what follows we will try to sketch a more rational strategy for modern believers of a liberal empiricist type, for those whose interest in appealing and deferring to experience includes but is not restricted to so-called ‘sense experience’. This will involve accepting analogies between theological statements and so-called hypotheses, insofar as the latter are propositions held and put forward in a somewhat tentative spirit with a view to explaining what we experience. (shrink)
NO ANALOGY IS ADEQUATE FOR THE RELATIONS BETWEEN THE PERSONS OF THE TRINITY. A FAMOUS AND HELPFUL ONE OF ST AUGUSTINE’S IS DISCUSSED AND AN INADEQUACY SUGGESTED: TRIPLENESS OF PERSONS IS TOO RESTRICTED. ANOTHER LIMITED, BUT PARTLY OFFSETTING ANALOGY COUCHED IN TERMS OF ’MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES’ IN PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORY IS SPELLED OUT FOR EVALUATION.
IN ‘Thomistic First Principles and Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Language’ Professor Peter Dwyer SJ has put forward some suggestions, both learned and exciting, for increasing friendly commerce between admirers of Saint Thomas and admirers of Ludwig Wittgenstein. Recognising that there is considerable philosophical diversity within each set of admirers and that some fine philosophers already belong to both sets, Dwyer concludes: ‘Thomistic first principles complement and correct the philosophy of Wittgenstein by drawing attention to the fact that language has an objective (...) criterion of meaning which is, in the last analysis, independent of what we might say about reality’. (shrink)
Reeve's new book will be hailed by scholars and prove welcome both to senior undergraduates in classics and to graduates in philosophy who also face a major examination on the Nicomachean Ethics. This masterpiece of Aristotle can at first overwhelm us with a great bundle of partly ordinary, partly technical uses of such terms as theos, phronësis, endoxa, nous, epistëmë, eudaimonia, phainomena, philia, aporiai, and hëdonë. Reeve tries generously to clarify all these and more, also to relate their meanings to (...) each other. Scholars with whom he most likes to interact include J. L. Ackrill, J. M. Cooper, T. H. Irwin, Martha C. Nussbaum, and Richard Kraut. Behind the exposition of the epistemological, metaphysical, and psychological ideas in the Nicomachean Ethics, Reeve challenges a traditional understanding of Aristotle's view as involving a radical chörismos between scientific knowledge and ethical knowledge. Reeve complains that in contemporary literatures the difference between these types of knowledge is exaggerated and their similarity is to a large extent ignored. Reeve argues that most of the sciences--notably physics, biology, psychology--do not offer entirely unconditional scientific knowledge. Rather, like ethical knowledge, they constitute knowledge with the status of cognizing hös epi to polu. (shrink)
It is increasingly fashionable to attack McTaggart's arguments about the Unreality of Time with a minimum of attention to what he was trying to establish. Those who have only read his one still famous paper ‘The Unreality of Time’ [III] are too likely to assume from professional philosophers' current counter-arguments that the man was a sceptic with only a single idea in his head, rather than an ingenious, constructive metaphysician. Since so much formal and informal analysis has been directed against (...) so few of McTaggart's comments on Time, and mainly against his destructive claim that the vulgar concept of Time requires as explicans an incoherent ‘A-series’ of becomings with ever-shifted pasts, presents and futures, perhaps it is time to encourage some redirection of analytical assessment to what he was arguing for. I say this not only for historical reasons, though I shall draw historical comparisons, but because rationally assessing what McTaggart really denies about Time may require some serious interest in what he so interestingly asserts about our experience of what we call ‘Time’. Trousers, pace Austin, normally have one wearer but two legs. If McTaggart's negative points deserve such a plethora of analysis, then the positive view needs attention or the analysis is ill-aimed. (shrink)
M. Roch Bouchard has contributed an intriguing essay to Idealistic Studies: “Idealist Requirements and the Affirmation of the Other World—the Lachelier Case”. His subject, the distinguished French idealist, Jules Lachelier, is shown by M. Bouchard to have idealized in triumphantly paradoxical form certain tensions between Divine Immanence and Transcendence that have troubled Biblical religionists for millennia. Problems raised for the educated faithful by thinkers like Parmenides, Plotinus, Eriugena, Boehme, Spinoza, Goethe, and Hegel came home all at once to roost for (...) Lachelier, a devout Roman Catholic. (shrink)