Philosophical Fragments

Short musings on philosophy and everyday life

I think everyone should take the time to watch this panel discussion, and especially check out the individual presentations delivered by each of the panelists.  My favorite parts are when Blackburn quips about global warming, and how Pinker explains the similarity between fiction and philosophy.  My least favorite:  surprisingly not Sam Harris, but pretty much everything that Lawrence Krauss has to say.

IN ANY CASE

Does anyone else know of an author who argues that science can not only inform our decisions of right and wrong, but can clearly answer such questions?  Does anyone else make Harris’s claim, or at least one that’s very similar, and apply some philosophical sophistication to it?

“To me there is something repulsive when a natural scientist, after having pointed to some ingenious design in nature, sententiously declares that this reminds us of the verse that God has counted every hair on our heads. O, the fool and his science, he has never known what faith is! Faith believes it without all his science, and it would only become disgusted with itself in reading all his volumes if these, please note, were supposed to lead to faith, strengthen faith, etc.”

—   

Kierkegaard, journals 3:2810

Basically that creationism and intelligent design are shams.

(via fear-and-trembling)

There is a possible world in which I am good at math.

You can read my Wittgenstein paper here.

Here’s a quick abstract:

In this essay I will examine the sport of football as a case study for Ludwig Wittgenstein’s notion of “language-games” as expounded in Philosophical Investigations. I will then go on to critically evaluate the extent to which some fairly common movements in football, such as head-fakes, might count as linguistic practice or gesture, and whether they might be better understood as non-lingustic indicators of action. I will argue that such movements are best understood as “instruments” or “elements” of language, but that the context in which they are performed is based on non-linguistic indication or inference.

“While I will defend my (and other atheists) right not to believe, there seems something so peevish in these lines of reasoning. The intolerance that organized religion bestowed to humanity is certainly part of its legacy. But to think that exhausts the subject of human spirituality and the impulse behind so many people’s will to a life of compassion based in their faith is, I don’t know, dumb.”

So in this post I alluded to a Wittgenstein paper that I have to write.  Here’s my intro so far:

In Section 19 of “Philosophical Investigations,” Ludwig Wittgenstein says that to imagine a language “is to imagine a form of life (Lebensform)”.  By “form of life” I understand him to mean the sum of all daily activities and enterprises that are customary for a particular community – a way of life, perhaps.  As such, languages resemble something like games, in that they may appear to have much in common with other languages, but not with all of them (PI, 19).  What defines the character of these “language-games” is the nature of the forms of life in which they are uttered; more specifically, what sorts of things the languages are used for.  This is one of Wittgenstein’s main theses in “Philosophical Investigations,” and if it is true we should expect to find that linguistic practices vary according to what sort of activities and conventions a particular community engages in.  In this essay I will examine American football and the language-game(s) therein as a case study, paying special attention to the use of gesture.  I will then go on to critically evaluate the extent to which some fairly common movements in American football, such as head-fakes, might count as linguistic practice, or whether they might be better understood as non-lingustic indicators of action.  I will argue that such movements are best understood as “instruments” or “elements” of language, but that the context in which they are performed is framed by non-linguistic indication or inference.

I usually have a lot of anxiety about introductions, so any opinions are worthwhile (?)

Got to see Alvin Plantinga today.

Our event made the university paper today!

Fascists covering our signs.