Combining Philosophers

All the ideas for Michael Bratman, Euripides and Goodman,N/Quine,W

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6 ideas

1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 7. Despair over Philosophy
Our ancient beliefs can never be overthrown by subtle arguments [Euripides]
     Full Idea: Teiresias: We have no use for theological subtleties./ The beliefs we have inherited, as old as time,/ Cannot be overthrown by any argument,/ Nor by the most inventive ingenuity.
     From: Euripides (The Bacchae [c.407 BCE], 201)
     A reaction: [trans. Philip Vellacott (Penguin)] Compare Idea 8243. While very conservative societies have amazing resilience in maintaining traditional beliefs, modern culture eats into them, not directly by argument, but by arguments at fifth remove.
8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 1. Nominalism / c. Nominalism about abstracta
We renounce all abstract entities [Goodman/Quine]
     Full Idea: We do not believe in abstract entities..... We renounce them altogether.
     From: Goodman,N/Quine,W (Steps Towards a Constructive Nominalism [1947], p.105), quoted by Penelope Maddy - Defending the Axioms
     A reaction: Goodman always kept the faith here, but Quine decided to embrace sets, as a minimal commitment to abstracta needed for mathematics, which was needed for science. My sympathies are with Goodman. This is the modern form of 'nominalism'.
20. Action / B. Preliminaries of Action / 1. Intention to Act / a. Nature of intentions
Intentions are normative, requiring commitment and further plans [Bratman, by Wilson/Schpall]
     Full Idea: Intentions involve normative commitments. We settle on intended courses, if there is no reason to reconsider them, and intentions put pressure on us to form further intentions in order to more efficiently coordinate our actions.
     From: report of Michael Bratman (Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason [1987]) by Wilson,G/Schpall,S - Action 4
     A reaction: [a compression of their summary] This distinguishes them from beliefs and desires, which contain no such normative requirements, even though they may point that way.
Intentions must be mutually consistent, affirm appropriate means, and fit the agent's beliefs [Bratman, by Wilson/Schpall]
     Full Idea: Bratman's three main norms of intention are 'internal consistency' (between a person's intentions), 'means-end coherence' (the means must fit the end), and 'consistency with the agent's beliefs' (especially intending to do and believing you won't do).
     From: report of Michael Bratman (Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason [1987]) by Wilson,G/Schpall,S - Action 4
     A reaction: These are controversial, but have set the agenda for modern non-reductive discussions of intention.
20. Action / B. Preliminaries of Action / 1. Intention to Act / b. Types of intention
Intention is either the aim of an action, or a long-term constraint on what we can do [Bratman, by Wilson/Schpall]
     Full Idea: We need to distinguish intention as an aim or goal of actions, and intentions as a distinctive state of commitment to future action, a state that results from and subsequently constrains our practical endeavours as planning agents.
     From: report of Michael Bratman (Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason [1987]) by Wilson,G/Schpall,S - Action 2
     A reaction: I'm not sure how distinct these are, given the obvious possibility of intermediate stages, and the embracing of any available short-cut. If I could mow my lawn with one blink, I'd do it.
20. Action / B. Preliminaries of Action / 1. Intention to Act / c. Reducing intentions
Bratman rejected reducing intentions to belief-desire, because they motivate, and have their own standards [Bratman, by Wilson/Schpall]
     Full Idea: Bratman motivated the idea that intentions are psychologically real and not reducible to desire-belief complexes by observing that they are motivationally distinctive, and subject to their own unique standards of rational appraisal.
     From: report of Michael Bratman (Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason [1987]) by Wilson,G/Schpall,S - Action 4
     A reaction: If I thought my belief was a bit warped, and my desire morally corrupt, my higher self might refuse to form an intention. If so, then Bratman is onto something. But maybe my higher self has its own beliefs and desires.