Combining Philosophers

All the ideas for Mary Astell, Herman Cappelen and Andy Douglas

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4 ideas

2. Reason / E. Argument / 7. Thought Experiments
So-called 'though experiments' are just philosophers observing features of the world [Cappelen]
     Full Idea: What are called 'thought experiments' in philosophy are in effect just philosophers drawing our attention to interesting features of the world.
     From: Herman Cappelen (Philosophy without Intuitions [2012], 11.3)
     A reaction: Thought experiments are said to rely (perhaps excessively) on 'intuition', but Cappelen says intuition is irrelevant, because we are merely making judgements. It think they ARE experiments, if one feature varies while the rest is held steady.
12. Knowledge Sources / E. Direct Knowledge / 2. Intuition
The word 'intuitive' often plays not role at all in arguments, and can be removed [Cappelen]
     Full Idea: Careful study of uses of 'intuitive' will reveal that it often plays no significant argumentative role, and that removal will improve overall argumentative transparency.
     From: Herman Cappelen (Philosophy without Intuitions [2012], 04.1)
     A reaction: This is a key part of Cappelen's argument that 'intuition' is a rather empty concept, and that philosophers do not really rely on it. In effect, he is consigning it to mere rhetoric. He gives lots of examples in support.
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 3. Privacy
We could know what a lion thinks by mapping both its brain patterns and its experiences [Douglas,A]
     Full Idea: In principle, it seems possible to monitor both the brain activity and the external experiences of a lion cub from birth, and by extensive mapping of one against the other to work out fairly accurately what a lion is thinking.
     From: Andy Douglas (talk [2003])
     A reaction: This has limitations (e.g. we could monitor the external events, but not the way the lion experiences them), but it seems to me to offer a real theoretical possibility of breaching the mental privacy of an inarticulate creature.
24. Political Theory / A. Basis of a State / 3. Natural Values / a. Natural freedom
If men are born free, are women born slaves? [Astell]
     Full Idea: If all men are born free, how is it that all women are born slaves?
     From: Mary Astell (A Serious Proposal to the Ladies I [1694]), quoted by Johanna Oksala - Political Philosophy: all that matters Ch.9
     A reaction: What a magnificent question for such an early date. She is said to have been the 'first British feminist'. It is not just a feminist point, but a strong objection to the idea that anyone is 'born free'. Because there is no way to tell if it is true.