Combining Philosophers

Ideas for Sebastian Gardner, David Lewis and Chistoph Scheibler

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8 ideas

1. Philosophy / C. History of Philosophy / 4. Later European Philosophy / c. Eighteenth century philosophy
Hamann, Herder and Jacobi were key opponents of the Enlightenment [Gardner]
     Full Idea: Hamann, Herder and Jacobi are central figues in the reaction against Enlightenment.
     From: Sebastian Gardner (Kant and the Critique of Pure Reason [1999], 10 'immediate')
     A reaction: From a British perspective I would see Hume as the leading such figure. Hamann emphasised the neglect of the role of language. Jacobi was a Christian.
Kant halted rationalism, and forced empiricists to worry about foundations [Gardner]
     Full Idea: Kant's Critique swiftly brought rationalism to a halt, and after Kant empiricism has displayed a nervousness regarding its foundations, and been forced to assume more sophisticated forms.
     From: Sebastian Gardner (Kant and the Critique of Pure Reason [1999], 10 Intro)
     A reaction: See the ideas of Laurence Bonjour for a modern revival of rationalism. After Kant philosophers either went existential, or stared gloomily into the obscure depths. Formal logic was seen as a possible rope ladder down.
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 5. Aims of Philosophy / a. Philosophy as worldly
Honesty requires philosophical theories we can commit to with our ordinary commonsense [Lewis]
     Full Idea: The maxim of honesty: never put forward a philosophical theory that you yourself cannot believe in your least philosophical and most commonsensical moments.
     From: David Lewis (On the Plurality of Worlds [1986], 2.8)
     A reaction: I take it as important that this test is according to the philosopher's commonsense, and not according to some populist idea. This would allow, for example, for commonsense to be sensitive to scientific knowledge, or awareness of the logic.
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 3. Metaphysical Systems
I tried to be unsystematic and piecemeal, but failed; my papers presuppose my other views [Lewis]
     Full Idea: I should have like to be a piecemeal, unsystematic philosopher, offering independent proposals on a variety of topics. It was not be. I succumbed too often to the temptation to presuppose my views on one topic when writing on another.
     From: David Lewis (Introduction to Philosophical Papers I [1983], p.1)
     A reaction: He particularly mentions his possible worlds realism as a doctrine which coloured all his other work. A charming insight into the mind of a systematic thinker (called by someone 'the most systematic metaphysician since Leibniz').
Only Kant and Hegel have united nature, morals, politics, aesthetics and religion [Gardner]
     Full Idea: Apart from Hegel, no later philosophical system equals in stature Kant's attempt to weld together the diverse fields of natural science, morality, politics, aesthetics and religion into a systematic overarching epistemological and metaphysical unity.
     From: Sebastian Gardner (Kant and the Critique of Pure Reason [1999], 10)
     A reaction: Earlier candidate are Plato and Aristotle. Earlier Enlightenment figures say little about morality or aesthetics. Hobbes ranges widely. Aquinas covered most things.
1. Philosophy / F. Analytic Philosophy / 1. Nature of Analysis
Analysis reduces primitives and makes understanding explicit (without adding new knowledge) [Lewis]
     Full Idea: The object of analysis is to reduce our burden of primitive notions, and to make tacit understanding explicit - not to bootstrap ourselves into understanding what we didn't understand at all beforehand.
     From: David Lewis (On the Plurality of Worlds [1986], 3.2)
     A reaction: I am particularly keen on the idea of 'making tacit understanding explicit'. I connect this with faith in intuition, and with the coherence view of justification.
Armstrong's analysis seeks truthmakers rather than definitions [Lewis]
     Full Idea: I suggest that Armstrong has an unfamiliar notion of analysis, as not primarily a quest for definitions, but as a quest for truth-makers.
     From: David Lewis (Armstrong on combinatorial possibility [1992], 'The demand')
     A reaction: This is not a dichotomy, I think, but a shift of emphasis. A definition will probably refer to truthmakers; a decent account of truthmakers would approximate a definition.
1. Philosophy / F. Analytic Philosophy / 4. Conceptual Analysis
In addition to analysis of a concept, one can deny it, or accept it as primitive [Lewis]
     Full Idea: There are three ways to give an account: 1) 'I deny it' - this earns a failing mark if the fact is really Moorean. 2) 'I analyse it thus'. 3) 'I accept it as primitive'. Not every account is an analysis.
     From: David Lewis (New work for a theory of universals [1983], '1 Ov Many')
     A reaction: I prefer Shoemaker's view (Idea 8559). Personally I think 1) should be employed more often than it is (it is a very misunderstood approach). 3) has been overused in recent years (e.g. by Davidson and McGinn).