Combining Philosophers

All the ideas for Peter B. Lewis, Saunders MacLane and Sally Haslanger

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11 ideas

4. Formal Logic / F. Set Theory ST / 4. Axioms for Sets / a. Axioms for sets
ZFC could contain a contradiction, and it can never prove its own consistency [MacLane]
     Full Idea: We have at hand no proof that the axioms of ZFC for set theory will never yield a contradiction, while Gödel's second theorem tells us that such a consistency proof cannot be conducted within ZFC.
     From: Saunders MacLane (Mathematics: Form and Function [1986], p.406), quoted by Penelope Maddy - Naturalism in Mathematics
     A reaction: Maddy quotes this, while defending set theory as the foundation of mathematics, but it clearly isn't the most secure foundation that could be devised. She says the benefits of set theory do not need guaranteed consistency (p.30).
5. Theory of Logic / L. Paradox / 2. Aporiai
By using aporiai as his start, Aristotle can defer to the wise, as well as to the many [Haslanger]
     Full Idea: The Aristotelian method of working form aporia allows one to use as starting points not only what is said by 'the many', but also what is said by 'the wise', including philosophers.
     From: Sally Haslanger (Persistence, Change and Explanation [1989], 1 n2)
     A reaction: [She mentions Nussbaum 1986:ch 7 for the opposing view] I like this thought a lot. Aristotle's democratic respect for widespread views can be a bit puzzling sometimes.
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 1. Nature of Existence
Ontology disputes rest on more basic explanation disputes [Haslanger]
     Full Idea: Disputes over ontology derive from more fundamental disputes over forms of explanation.
     From: Sally Haslanger (Persistence, Change and Explanation [1989], 1)
     A reaction: It immediately strikes me that Haslanger has stolen my master idea, but unfortunately the dating suggests that she has priority. The tricky part is to combine this view with realism.
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 3. Three-Dimensionalism
The persistence of objects seems to be needed if the past is to explain the present [Haslanger]
     Full Idea: The notion that things persist through change is deeply embedded in ideas we have about explanation, and in particular, in the idea that the present is constrained by the past.
     From: Sally Haslanger (Persistence, Change and Explanation [1989], 1)
     A reaction: I take this to be both an important and an attractive idea. Deniers of persistence (4D-ists) will presumably have some ability to explain the present, but it is the idea of the present being 'constrained' by the past which is a challenge.
Persistence makes change and its products intelligible [Haslanger]
     Full Idea: Persistence offers intelligibility: the possibility of understanding a change, and of understanding the products of it.
     From: Sally Haslanger (Persistence, Change and Explanation [1989], 8)
     A reaction: I think this is exactly right, and it is a powerful idea with wide implications for metaphysics. Haslanger claims that an understanding of 'substance' is needed, which leads towards my defence of essentialism.
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 5. Temporal Parts
We must explain change amongst 'momentary entities', or else the world is inexplicable [Haslanger]
     Full Idea: If the world of time-slices is to be explicable, then it must be possible to provide explanations of change understood as a continual generation and destruction of these 'momentary entities'.
     From: Sally Haslanger (Persistence, Change and Explanation [1989], 7)
     A reaction: While fans of time-slices can offer some sort of explanation, in the process of explaining a 'worm', there don't seem to be the sort of causal chains that we traditionally rely on. Maybe there are no explanations of anything?
If the things which exist prior to now are totally distinct, they need not have existed [Haslanger]
     Full Idea: How is the case in which A exists prior to B, but is distinct from B, different (especially from B's point of view) from the case in which nothing exists prior to B?
     From: Sally Haslanger (Persistence, Change and Explanation [1989], 7)
     A reaction: I sympathise with her view, but this isn't persuasive. For A substitute 'Sally's mother' and for B substitute 'Sally'. A 4D-ist could bite the bullet and say that, indeed, previous parts of my 'worm' need not have existed.
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.
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / g. Causal explanations
Natural explanations give the causal interconnections [Haslanger]
     Full Idea: Natural explanations work by showing the systematic causal interconnections between things.
     From: Sally Haslanger (Persistence, Change and Explanation [1989], 7)
     A reaction: On the whole I love this sort of idea, but I am wondering if this one prevents mathematical or logical explanations from being natural.
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / j. Explanations by reduction
Best explanations, especially natural ones, need grounding, notably by persistent objects [Haslanger]
     Full Idea: I am not resting my ontology on a simple 'argument to the best explanation'. ..What I want to say is that there are general demands on a kind of explanation, in particular, natural explanation, which require that there are persisting things.
     From: Sally Haslanger (Persistence, Change and Explanation [1989], 5)
     A reaction: This is a really nice idea - that best explanation is not just about specific cases, but also about best foundations for explanations in general, which brings in our metaphysics. I defend the role of essences in these best explanations.