Posts

Grice on Practical Use of Philosophy

But I doubt if any of the other tasks which I would like to see the philosophers fulfill will be enough to satisfy some people who raise this objection. They want philosophy to be grand, to yield one important, nonempirical information which will help one to solve either the world's problems or one's personal problems, or both. To them I feel inclined to reply in the end: “You are crying for the moon; philosophy has never really fulfilled this task, though it may sometimes have appeared to do so (and the practical consequences of its appearing to do so have not always been very agreeable). It is no more sensible to complain that philosophy is no longer capable of solving practical problems than it is to complain that the study of the stars no longer enables one to predict the course of world events.” Paul Grice (1958) Postwar Oxford Philosophy

Grice on Conceptual Analysis and Mystification

Many of the great philos­ophers’ questions can be interpreted as requests for a conceptual anal­ysis (not necessarily in full with the greatest precision). No doubt the great philosophers themselves did not recognize the possibility of this kind of interpretation (how could they have?), but the link between contemporary discussion and their work is sufficiently close to pro­ vide some justification for the continued use of the term “philoso­phy.” Moreover, it seems to me that many of the questions and puz­zles raised by the great philosophers are capable of really clear and detailed and rigorous treatment after reinterpretation of this kind. If I have to choose between reinterpretation and continued mystification, I choose reinterpretation. Paul Grice (1958) Postwar Oxford Philosophy

Foot on why she wrote psychologism at the beggining

I wrote it because I knew that I needed to attack that preconception in order to get so much as a hearing for the thought that there is no change in the meaning of 'good' between the word as it appears in ‘good roots’ and as it appears in ‘good dispositions of the human will’. Foot, 2001, Natural Goodness

Schwartz on Features of Analytic Philosophy

Analytic philosophers have always struggled with themselves and each other, their tradition, its origins and ideas. No feature of analytic philosophy has gone unchallenged by other analytic philosophers.
Schwartz (2012) A Brief History of Analytic Philosophy: From Russell to Rawls, p.3

Kuhn and Positivists

Kuhn’s book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions was published as Volume II, No. 2 of the International Encyclopedia of Unified Science? This was a series of publications started by positivists. Many positivists and former members were on the editorial board. This irony reveals the extent to which they themselves were engaged in and sympathetic to overturning their own philosophical paradigm. Schwartz (2012) A Brief History of Analytic Philosophy: From Russell to Rawls, p.93

Crane's Citation of Wittgenstein

Wittgenstein is said to have asked his students why people used to think that the sun went around the earth. One replied: ‘because it looks as if the sun goes around the earth.’ To which Wittgenstein is said to have responded: ‘and how would it look if the earth went around the sun?’ The obvious answer—‘exactly the same!’—can be given to the analogous question about mind and brain: why did people use to think that the mind was not the brain? Because it seems as if the mind is not the brain? And how would it seem if the mind were the brain?
Crane, 2001, Elements of Mind, p.67

Frankfurt on Bullshit

For the bullshitter, however, all these bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose. Harry Frankfurt, On Bullshuit