Combining Philosophers

All the ideas for Peter B. Lewis, W Kneale / M Kneale and Alan McMichael

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8 ideas

4. Formal Logic / F. Set Theory ST / 4. Axioms for Sets / f. Axiom of Infinity V
The axiom of infinity is not a truth of logic, and its adoption is an abandonment of logicism [Kneale,W and M]
     Full Idea: There is something profoundly unsatisfactory about the axiom of infinity. It cannot be described as a truth of logic in any reasonable use of that phrase, and so the introduction of it as a primitive proposition amounts to the abandonment of logicism.
     From: W Kneale / M Kneale (The Development of Logic [1962], XI.2)
     A reaction: It seems that the axiom is essentially empirical, and it certainly makes an existential claim which seems to me (intuitively) to have nothing to do with logic at all.
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 3. Individual Essences
Only individuals have essences, so numbers (as a higher type based on classes) lack them [McMichael]
     Full Idea: Essentialism is not verified by the observation that numbers have interesting essential properties, since they are properties of classes and so are entities of a higher logical type than individuals.
     From: Alan McMichael (The Epistemology of Essentialist Claims [1986], Intro)
     A reaction: This relies on a particular view of number (which might be challenged), but is interesting when it comes to abstract entities having essences. Only ur-elements in set theory could have essences, it seems. Why? Rising in type destroys essence?
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 9. Essence and Properties
Essences are the interesting necessary properties resulting from a thing's own peculiar nature [McMichael]
     Full Idea: Essentialism says some individuals have certain 'interesting' necessary properties. If it exists, it has that property. The properties are 'interesting' as had in virtue of their own peculiar natures, rather than as general necessary truths.
     From: Alan McMichael (The Epistemology of Essentialist Claims [1986], Intro)
     A reaction: [compressed] This is a modern commentator caught between two views. The idea that essence is the non-trivial-necessary properties is standard, but adding their 'peculiar natures' connects him to Aristotle, and Kit Fine's later papers. Good!
Maybe essential properties have to be intrinsic, as well as necessary? [McMichael]
     Full Idea: There is a tendency to think of essential properties as having some characteristic in addition to their necessity, such as intrinsicality.
     From: Alan McMichael (The Epistemology of Essentialist Claims [1986], VIII)
     A reaction: Personally I am inclined to take this view of all properties, and not just the 'essential' ones. General necessities, relations, categorisations, disjunctions etc. should not be called 'properties', even if they are 'predicates'. Huge confusion results.
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 15. Against Essentialism
Essentialism is false, because it implies the existence of necessary singular propositions [McMichael]
     Full Idea: Essentialism entails the existence of necessary singular propositions that are not instances of necessary generalizations. Therefore, since there are no such propositions, essentialism is false.
     From: Alan McMichael (The Epistemology of Essentialist Claims [1986], I)
     A reaction: This summarises the attack which McMichael wishes to deal with. I am wickedly tempted to say that essences actually have a contingent existence (or a merely hypothetical dependent necessity), and this objection might be grist for my mill.
11. Knowledge Aims / C. Knowing Reality / 3. Idealism / d. Absolute idealism
Fichte, Schelling and Hegel rejected transcendental idealism [Lewis,PB]
     Full Idea: Fichte, Schelling and Hegel were united in their opposition to Kant's Transcendental Idealism.
     From: Peter B. Lewis (Schopenhauer [2012], 3)
     A reaction: That is, they preferred genuine idealism, to the mere idealist attitude Kant felt that we are forced to adopt.
Fichte, Hegel and Schelling developed versions of Absolute Idealism [Lewis,PB]
     Full Idea: At the University of Jena, Fichte, Hegel and Schelling critically developed aspects of Kant's philosophy, each in his own way, thereby giving rise to the movement known as Absolute Idealism, see reality as universal God-like self-consciousness.
     From: Peter B. Lewis (Schopenhauer [2012], 2)
     A reaction: Is asking how anyone can possibly have believed such a bizarre and ridiculous idea a) uneducated, b) stupid, c) unimaginative, or d) very sensible? It sounds awfully like Spinoza's concept of God. Also Anaxagoras.
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 5. Laws from Universals
Individuals enter into laws only through their general qualities and relations [McMichael]
     Full Idea: Individuals appear to enter into laws only through their general qualities and relations.
     From: Alan McMichael (The Epistemology of Essentialist Claims [1986], VIII)
     A reaction: This is a very significant chicken-or-egg issue. The remark seems to offer the vision of pre-existing general laws, which individuals then join (like joining a club). But surely the laws are derived from the individuals? Where else could they come from?