Tag Archives: academic philosophy

Quote for the Day – Philosophers Are Weird but Not Insane

I am sitting with a philosopher in the garden; he says again and again “I know that that’s a tree”, pointing to a tree that is near us. Someone else arrives and hears this, and I tell them: “This fellow isn’t insane. We are only doing philosophy.”

~Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations,  §467

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Quote for the Day – Theology and Idealism as Rhetorical Devices in Academic Philosophy

In old times, whenever a philosopher was assailed for some particularly tough absurdity in his system, he was wont to parry the attack by the argument from the divine omnipotence. ‘Do you mean to limit God’s power?’ he would reply: ‘do you mean to say that God could not, if he would, do this or that?’ This retort was supposed to close the mouths of all objectors of properly decorous mind. The functions of the bradleian absolute are in this particular identical with those of the theistic God. Suppositions treated as too absurd to pass muster in the finite world which we inhabit, the absolute must be able to make good ‘somehow’ in his ineffable way. First we hear Mr. Bradley convicting things of absurdity; next, calling on the absolute to vouch for them quand même. Invoked for no other duty, that duty it must and shall perform.

~William James, The Pluralistic Universe

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Quote for the Day: Huw Price on the “Ghost of metaphysics” haunting contemporary philosophy

“In my view, this metaphysical rebirthing myth is in large part bogus, in the sense that niether of Quine’s achievements actually supports what is now widely taken to rest on it. On the one hand, the ontology that Quine revived in “On What There Is’ is itself a pale zombie, compared to the beefy creature that positivists since Hume had being trying to put down. And on the other, Quine’s stake missed the heart of Carnap’s metaphysics-destroying doctrine completely, merely lopping off some inessential appendages, and leaving the argument, if anything, stronger than before.”

~ Huw Price, Metaphysics After Carnap: the Ghost Who Walks?

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The Unintentional Absurdity of Academic Philosophy…

I was reading Debbie Nathan’s book Sybil Exposed and I came across this passage:

“[American Chemical Society] membership was so overwhelmingly male that some meetings in the 1930s were still called “smokers” – a word implying cigars, beer, half-naked girls, and pornographic movies.”

If the ACS was “so overwhelmingly male” that Nathan thinks it was sexist to still call professional meetings “smokers” in the 1930s, I wonder what she would think if she knew that a prominent meeting organized by a professional philosophical association is still called a “smoker” in the 21st century?

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Quote of the day 6-12-2012

“Philosophers, of course, are supposed to be critical. We have trained, and daily refine our skills, at exposing the errors in others’ work. But while the exposing of error is an essential part of the doing of philosophy, it is not all there is to doing philosophy. Far too much of the practice of philosophy, both written and dialogical, has become one-sided: finding what is wrong in someone else’s work and failing to find what is right, useful, and meritorious in that work.” ~ Norman Swartz, “Philosophy as  a Bloodsport

h/t: The Philosophers’ Cocoon 

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