Combining Philosophers

All the ideas for Friedrich Schlegel, J.P. Moreland and Michael Williams

unexpand these ideas     |    start again     |     specify just one area for these philosophers

64 ideas

1. Philosophy / C. History of Philosophy / 4. Later European Philosophy / c. Eighteenth century philosophy
Irony is consciousness of abundant chaos [Schlegel,F]
     Full Idea: Irony is the clear conscousness of eternal agility, of an infinitely abundant chaos.
     From: Friedrich Schlegel (works [1798], Vol 2 p.263), quoted by Ernst Behler - Early German Romanticism p.81
     A reaction: [1800, in Athenaum] The interest here is irony as a reaction to chaos, which has made systematic thought impossible. Do romantics necessarily see reality as beyond our grasp, even if not chaotic? This must be situational, not verbal irony.
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 3. Metaphysical Systems
Plato has no system. Philosophy is the progression of a mind and development of thoughts [Schlegel,F]
     Full Idea: Plato had no system, but only a philosophy. The philosophy of a human being is the history, the becoming, the progression of his mind, the gradual formation and development of his thoughts.
     From: Friedrich Schlegel (works [1798], Vol.11 p.118), quoted by Ernst Behler - Early German Romanticism
     A reaction: [1804] Looks like the first sign of rebellion against the idea of having a 'system' in philosophy, making it a key idea of romanticism. Systems are classical? This looks like an early opposition of a historical dimension to static systems. Big idea.
2. Reason / B. Laws of Thought / 6. Ockham's Razor
Epistemological Ockham's Razor demands good reasons, but the ontological version says reality is simple [Moreland]
     Full Idea: Ockham's Razor has an epistemological version, which says we should not multiply existences or explanations without adequate reason, and an ontological version, which says reality is simple, and so a simpler ontology represents it more accurately.
     From: J.P. Moreland (Universals [2001], Ch.2)
     A reaction: A nice distinction. Is it reality which is simple, or us? One shouldn't write off the ontological version. If one explanation is simpler than the others, there may be a reason in nature for that.
3. Truth / C. Correspondence Truth / 3. Correspondence Truth critique
The only way to specify the corresponding fact is asserting the sentence [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: The trouble with appeal to facts in the correspondence theory is that, in general, we have no way of indicating what fact a sentence, when true, corresponds to other than asserting the sentence.
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch.12)
3. Truth / D. Coherence Truth / 1. Coherence Truth
Justification needs coherence, while truth might be ideal coherence [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: Contemporary coherence theorists are advancing a theory of justification, not of truth, …with those who argue that truth is also coherence explaining it in terms of ideal coherence, or coherence at the limit of enquiry.
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch.10)
Coherence needs positive links, not just absence of conflict [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: It is often claimed that coherence is more than 'absence of conflict' between beliefs; it also involves 'positive connections'.
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch.10)
5. Theory of Logic / A. Overview of Logic / 3. Value of Logic
Deduction shows entailments, not what to believe [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: The rules of deduction are rules of entailment, not rules of inference. They tell us what follows from what, not what to believe on the basis of what.
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch.18)
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 1. Nature of Existence
Existence theories must match experience, possibility, logic and knowledge, and not be self-defeating [Moreland]
     Full Idea: A theory of existence should 1) be consistent with what actually exists, 2) be consistent with what could exist, 3) not make existence impossible (e.g. in space-time), 4) not violate logic, 5) make knowing the theory possible.
     From: J.P. Moreland (Universals [2001], Ch.6)
     A reaction: A nice bit of metaphilosophical analysis. I still doubt whether a theory of existence is possible (something has to be 'given' a priori), but this is a good place to start the attempt.
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 13. Tropes / a. Nature of tropes
Tropes are like Hume's 'impressions', conceived as real rather than as ideal [Moreland]
     Full Idea: Tropes are (says Campbell) substances (in Hume's sense), and indeed resemble his impressions conceived realistically rather than idealistically.
     From: J.P. Moreland (Universals [2001], Ch.3)
     A reaction: An interesting link. It doesn't get rid of the problem Hume has, of saying when two impressions are the same. Are they types or tokens? Trope-theory claims they are tokens. Hume's ontology includes 'resemblance'.
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 13. Tropes / b. Critique of tropes
A colour-trope cannot be simple (as required), because it is spread in space, and so it is complex [Moreland]
     Full Idea: A property-instance must be spread out in space, or it is not clear how a colour nature can be present, but then it has to be a complex entity, and tropes are supposed to be simple entities.
     From: J.P. Moreland (Universals [2001], Ch.3)
     A reaction: Seems a fair point. Nothing else in reality can be sharply distinguished, so why should 'simple' and 'complex'?
In 'four colours were used in the decoration', colours appear to be universals, not tropes [Moreland]
     Full Idea: If a decorator says that they used four colours to decorate a house, four tropes is not what was meant, and the statement seems to view colours as universals.
     From: J.P. Moreland (Universals [2001], Ch.3)
     A reaction: Although I am suspicious of using language to deduce ontology, you have to explain why certain statements (like this) are even possible to make.
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 1. Universals
If properties are universals, what distinguishes two things which have identical properties? [Moreland]
     Full Idea: If properties are universals, what account can be given of the individuation of two entities that have all their pure properties in common?
     From: J.P. Moreland (Universals [2001], Ch.1)
     A reaction: Is this a big problem? Maybe only a space-time location can do it. Or, in the nice case where the universe is just two identical spheres, it may be impossible.
One realism is one-over-many, which may be the model/copy view, which has the Third Man problem [Moreland]
     Full Idea: One version of realism says that the universal does not enter into the being of its instances, and thus is a One-Over-Many. One version of this is the model/copy view, but this is not widely held, because of difficulties such as the Third Man Argument.
     From: J.P. Moreland (Universals [2001], Ch.1)
     A reaction: This presumably arises if the model is held to have the properties of the copy (self-predication), and looks like a bad theory
Realists see properties as universals, which are single abstract entities which are multiply exemplifiable [Moreland]
     Full Idea: Traditional realism is the view that a property is a universal construed as a multiply exemplifiable abstract entity that is a numerically identical constituent in each of its instances.
     From: J.P. Moreland (Universals [2001], Ch.4)
     A reaction: Put like that, it seems hard to commit oneself fully to realism. How can two red buses contain one abstract object spread out between them. Common sense says there are two 'rednesses' which resemble one another, which is a version of nominalism.
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 2. Need for Universals
The traditional problem of universals centres on the "One over Many", which is the unity of natural classes [Moreland]
     Full Idea: Historically the problem of universals has mainly been about the "One over Many", which involves giving an account of the unity of natural classes.
     From: J.P. Moreland (Universals [2001], Ch.1)
     A reaction: This still strikes me as the main problem (rather than issues of language). If universals are not natural, they must be analysed as properties, which break down into causation, which is seen as a human convention.
Evidence for universals can be found in language, communication, natural laws, classification and ideals [Moreland]
     Full Idea: Those who believe in universals appeal to the meaningfulness of language, the lawlike nature of causation, the inter-subjectivity of thinking, our ability to classify new entities, gradation, and the need for perfect standards or paradigms.
     From: J.P. Moreland (Universals [2001], Ch.1)
     A reaction: Of these, language and communication ought to be explicable by convention, but classification and natural laws look to me like the best evidence.
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 3. Instantiated Universals
The One-In-Many view says universals have abstract existence, but exist in particulars [Moreland]
     Full Idea: Another version of realism says is One-In-Many, where the universal is not another particular, but is literally in the instances. The universal is an abstract entity, in the instances by means of a primitive non-spatiotemporal tie of predication.
     From: J.P. Moreland (Universals [2001], Ch.1)
     A reaction: This sounds like Aristotle (and is Loux's view of properties and relations). If they are abstract, why must they be confined to particulars?
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 4. Uninstantiated Universals
How could 'being even', or 'being a father', or a musical interval, exist naturally in space? [Moreland]
     Full Idea: Many properties (being even) and relations (musical intervals, being a father) are such that it is not clear what it would mean to take them as natural things existing in space.
     From: J.P. Moreland (Universals [2001], Ch.4)
     A reaction: 'Being even' certainly seems to be a property, and it is a struggle to see how it could exist in space, unless it is a set of actual or potential brain states.
Maybe universals are real, if properties themselves have properties, and relate to other properties [Moreland]
     Full Idea: Realism about universals is supported by the phenomenon of abstract reference - that is the fact that properties themselves have properties ('red is a colour'), and stand in relation to other properties ('red is more like orange than like blue').
     From: J.P. Moreland (Universals [2001], Ch.1)
     A reaction: While a property may be an obviously natural feature, properties of properties seem more likely to be the produce of human perception and convention. It is a good argument, though.
A naturalist and realist about universals is forced to say redness can be both moving and stationary [Moreland]
     Full Idea: If a property is held to be at the location of the particular, then if there are two objects having the same property, and one object is stationary and the other is moving, the realist is forced to say that the universal is both moving and at rest.
     From: J.P. Moreland (Universals [2001], Ch.4)
     A reaction: The target of this comment is D.M.Armstrong. The example nicely illustrates the problem of trying to combine science and metaphysics. It pushes you back to Platonism, but that seems wrong too…
There are spatial facts about red particulars, but not about redness itself [Moreland]
     Full Idea: When one attends to something existing in space, one attends to an instance of redness, not to redness itself (which is a colour, which resembles orange). The facts about red itself are not spatial facts, but are traditionally seen as a priori synthetic.
     From: J.P. Moreland (Universals [2001], Ch.4)
     A reaction: This is the fact that properties can themselves have properties (and so on?), which seems to take us further and further from the natural world.
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 6. Platonic Forms / a. Platonic Forms
Redness is independent of red things, can do without them, has its own properties, and has identity [Moreland]
     Full Idea: Four arguments for Platonism: 1) there are truths about redness (it's a colour) even if nothing red exists, 2) redness does not depend on particulars, 3) most universals are at some time not exemplified, 4) universals satisfy the criteria of existence.
     From: J.P. Moreland (Universals [2001], Ch.6)
     A reaction: This adds up to quite a good case, particularly the point that things can be said about redness which are independent of any particular, but the relationships between concepts and the brain seems at the heart of the problem.
8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 1. Nominalism / a. Nominalism
Moderate nominalism attempts to embrace the existence of properties while avoiding universals [Moreland]
     Full Idea: Moderate nominalism attempts to embrace the existence of properties while avoiding universals.
     From: J.P. Moreland (Universals [2001], Ch.2)
     A reaction: Clearly there is going to be quite a struggle to make sense of 'exists' here (Russell tries 'subsists). Presumably each property must be a particular?
8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 2. Resemblance Nominalism
Unlike Class Nominalism, Resemblance Nominalism can distinguish natural from unnatural classes [Moreland]
     Full Idea: Resemblance Nominalism is clearly superior to Class Nominalism, since the former offers a clear ground for distinguishing between natural and unnatural classes.
     From: J.P. Moreland (Universals [2001], Ch.2)
     A reaction: Important. It seems evident to me that there are natural classes, and the only ground for this claim would be either the resemblance or the identity of properties.
8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 3. Predicate Nominalism
There can be predicates with no property, and there are properties with no predicate [Moreland]
     Full Idea: Linguistic predicates are neither sufficient nor necessary for specifying a property. Predicates can be contrived which express no property, properties are far more numerous than linguistic predicates, and properties are what make predicates apply.
     From: J.P. Moreland (Universals [2001], Ch.2)
     A reaction: This seems to me conclusive, and is a crucial argument against anyone who thinks that our metaphysics can simply be inferred from our language.
8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 5. Class Nominalism
We should abandon the concept of a property since (unlike sets) their identity conditions are unclear [Moreland]
     Full Idea: Some argue that compared to sets, the identity conditions for properties are obscure, and so properties, including realist depictions of them, should be rejected.
     From: J.P. Moreland (Universals [2001], Ch.6)
     A reaction: I have never thought that difficulty in precisely identifying something was a good reason for denying its existence. Consider low morale in a work force. 2nd thoughts: I like this!
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 7. Indiscernible Objects
Most philosophers think that the identity of indiscernibles is false [Moreland]
     Full Idea: Most philosophers think that the identity of indiscernibles is false.
     From: J.P. Moreland (Universals [2001], Ch.7)
     A reaction: This is as opposed to the generally accepted 'indiscernibility of identicals'. 'Discernment' is an epistemological concept, and 'identity' is an ontological concept.
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 4. Belief / a. Beliefs
We could never pin down how many beliefs we have [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: Asking how many beliefs I have is like asking how many drops of water there are in a bucket. If I believe my dog is in the garden, do I also believe he is not in the house, or in Siberia?
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch.11)
11. Knowledge Aims / B. Certain Knowledge / 1. Certainty
Propositions make error possible, so basic experiential knowledge is impossible [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: Propositional content is inseparable from possible error. Therefore no judgement, however modest, is indubitable. So if basic experiential knowledge has to be indubitable, there is no such knowledge.
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch. 8)
11. Knowledge Aims / C. Knowing Reality / 2. Phenomenalism
Phenomenalism is a form of idealism [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: Phenomenalism is a form of idealism.
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch.12)
11. Knowledge Aims / C. Knowing Reality / 3. Idealism / b. Transcendental idealism
Poetry is transcendental when it connects the ideal to the real [Schlegel,F]
     Full Idea: There is a kind of poetry whose essence lies in the relation between the ideal and the real, and which therefore, by analogy with philosophical jargon, should be called transcendental poetry.
     From: Friedrich Schlegel (works [1798], Vol 2 p.204), quoted by Ernst Behler - Early German Romanticism p.78
     A reaction: I think the basic idea is that the imaginative creation of poetry has the power to bridge the gap between the transcendental (presupposed) ideal in Fichte, and nature (which Fichte seems to have excluded from his system).
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 4. Sense Data / a. Sense-data theory
Sense data avoid the danger of misrepresenting the world [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: The point of insisting on the absolute immediacy of sense data is that representation always seems to involve the possibility of misrepresentation.
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch. 8)
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 4. Sense Data / d. Sense-data problems
Sense data can't give us knowledge if they are non-propositional [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: Acquaintance with sense data is supposed to be a form of non-propositional knowledge, but how can something be non-propositional and yet knowledge?
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch. 8)
13. Knowledge Criteria / A. Justification Problems / 1. Justification / a. Justification issues
Is it people who are justified, or propositions? [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: What exactly is supposed to be 'justified': a person's believing some particular proposition, or the proposition that he believes?
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch. 1)
     A reaction: A key distinction. See my comment on Idea 3752. What would justify a sign saying 'treasure buried here'? People can be justified in believing falsehoods. How could a false proposition be justified?
13. Knowledge Criteria / A. Justification Problems / 2. Justification Challenges / a. Agrippa's trilemma
Coherentists say that regress problems are assuming 'linear' justification [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: From the point of view of the coherentist, Agrippa's Dilemma fails because it presupposes a 'linear' conception of justifying inference.
     From: Michael Williams (Without Immediate Justification [2005], §2)
     A reaction: [He cites Bonjour 1985 for this view] Since a belief may have several justifications, and one belief could justify a host of others, there certainly isn't a simple line of justifications. I agree with the coherentist picture here.
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 2. Pragmatic justification
What works always takes precedence over theories [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: A theory that represents working practices as unworkable is a bad theory.
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch.13)
     A reaction: Good point. There's a lot of this about in epistemology, especially accusations of circularity or infinite regress, which (if true) don't somehow seem to worry the cove on the Clapham omnibus.
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 4. Foundationalism / a. Foundationalism
Traditional foundationalism is radically internalist [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: Traditional foundationalism is radically internalist. The justification-making factors for beliefs, basic and otherwise, are all open to view, and perhaps even actual objects of awareness. I am always in a position to know that I know.
     From: Michael Williams (Without Immediate Justification [2005], §1)
     A reaction: This is a helpful if one is trying to draw a map of the debate. An externalist foundationalism would have to terminate in the external fact which was the object of knowledge (via some reliable channel), but that is the truth, not the justification.
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 4. Foundationalism / b. Basic beliefs
Basic judgements are immune from error because they have no content [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: Basic judgements threaten to buy their immunity from error at the cost of being drained of descriptive content altogether.
     From: Michael Williams (Without Immediate Justification [2005], §4)
     A reaction: This is probably the key objection to foundationalism. As you import sufficient content into basic experiences to enable them to actually justify a set of beliefs, you find you have imported all sorts of comparisons and classifications as well.
Experience must be meaningful to act as foundations [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: If we are to treat experience as the foundation of knowledge, then experience must itself be understood to involve propositional content.
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch. 8)
     A reaction: This sounds right, but since pure 'experience' obviously doesn't have propositional content, because it needs interpretation and evaluation, then this strategy won't work.
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 4. Foundationalism / c. Empirical foundations
Are empirical foundations judgements or experiences? [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: Empirical foundationists must decide whether knowledge ultimately rests on either beliefs or judgements about experience, or on the experiences or sensations themselves.
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch. 8)
     A reaction: This clarifies the key issue very nicely, and I firmly vote for the former option. The simplest point is that error is possible about what sensations are taken to be of, so they won't do on their own.
Sensory experience may be fixed, but it can still be misdescribed [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: The fact that experiential contents cannot be other than they are, as far as sensory awareness goes, does not imply that we cannot misdescribe them, as in misreporting the number of speckles on a speckled hen (Chisholm's example).
     From: Michael Williams (Without Immediate Justification [2005], §4)
     A reaction: [Chisholm 1942 is cited] Such experiences couldn't be basic beliefs if there was a conflict between their intrinsic nature and the description I used in discussing them.
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 4. Foundationalism / f. Foundationalism critique
Foundationalists are torn between adequacy and security [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: The foundationalists dilemma is to define a basis for knowledge modest enough to be secure but rich enough to be adequate.
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch. 7)
     A reaction: ..And that is just what they are unable to do, precisely because adequate support would have to have enough content to be defeasibe or fallible.
Strong justification eliminates error, but also reduces our true beliefs [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: A strongly justificationist view of rationality may not be so rational; we want the truth, but avoiding all errors and maximising our number of true beliefs are not the same thing.
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch. 7)
     A reaction: An interesting dilemma - to avoid all errors, believing nothing; to maximise true belief, believe everything. It is rational to follow intuition, guesses, and a wing and a prayer - once you are experienced and educated.
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 5. Coherentism / c. Coherentism critique
Why should diverse parts of our knowledge be connected? [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: Why should political theory ever have much to do with quantum physics, or pet care with parliamentary history?
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch.11)
     A reaction: This hardly demolishes the coherence account of justification, since your views on pet care had better be coherent, for your pet's sake. It's a pity people can make their politics cohere with their ethics.
Coherence theory must give a foundational status to coherence itself [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: Coherence theory implicitly assigns the criteria of coherence a special status. …In so far as this status is assigned a priori, the coherence theory represents a rationalistic variant of foundationalism.
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch.11)
     A reaction: Nice move, to accuse coherence theorists of foundationalism! Wrong, though, because the a priori principles of coherence are not basic beliefs, but evolved pragmatic procedures (or something...).
13. Knowledge Criteria / C. External Justification / 1. External Justification
Externalism does not require knowing that you know [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: From an externalist point of view, knowing about one's reliability is not required for 'first-order' knowledge.
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch. 2)
     A reaction: Ah. 'First-order knowledge' - what's that? What we used to call 'true belief', I would say. Adequate for animals, and a good guide to daily life, but uncritical and unjustifiable.
Externalism ignores the social aspect of knowledge [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: A problem with pure externalism is that it ignores the social dimension of knowledge.
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch. 2)
     A reaction: This seems to be contradicted by Idea 3573, which allows a social dimension to agreement over what is reliable. I am inclined to take knowledge as an entirely social concept.
13. Knowledge Criteria / C. External Justification / 2. Causal Justification
How could there be causal relations to mathematical facts? [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: It is not clear what would even be meant by supposing that there are causal relations to mathematical facts.
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch. 2)
     A reaction: I agree, though platonists seem to be willing to entertain the possibility that there are causal relations, for which no further explanation can be given. Better is knowledge without a causal relation.
In the causal theory of knowledge the facts must cause the belief [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: According to Goldman's early causal theory of knowledge, my belief that p counts as knowledge if and only if it is caused by the fact that p. This is sufficient as well as necessary, and so does not involve justification.
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch. 2)
     A reaction: I take his theory simply to be false because what causes a belief is not what justifies it. I expect my mother to ring; the phone rings; I 'know' it is my mother (and it is), because I strongly expect it.
Only a belief can justify a belief [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: Justification requires logical rather than causal connections. That is the point of the slogan that only a belief can justify a belief.
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch.10)
     A reaction: It seems better to talk of 'rational' connections, rather than 'logical' connections. It isn't 'logical' to believe that someone despises me because their lip is faintly curled.
13. Knowledge Criteria / C. External Justification / 3. Reliabilism / a. Reliable knowledge
Externalist reliability refers to a range of conventional conditions [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: The radical externalists' key notion is 'reliability', which is a normative condition governing adequate performance, involving reference to a range of conditions which we decide rather than discover.
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch. 2)
     A reaction: If we can decide whether a source is reliable, we can also decide whether a reliable source has performed well on this occasion, and that will always take precedence.
13. Knowledge Criteria / C. External Justification / 3. Reliabilism / b. Anti-reliabilism
Sometimes I ought to distrust sources which are actually reliable [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: I may reach a belief using a procedure that is in fact reliable, but which I ought to distrust.
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch. 1)
     A reaction: The tramp on the park bench who gives good share tips. The clock that is finally working, but has been going haywire for weeks. Reliabilism is a bad theory.
13. Knowledge Criteria / C. External Justification / 5. Controlling Beliefs
We control our beliefs by virtue of how we enquire [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: We control our beliefs by virtue of how we enquire.
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch. 1)
13. Knowledge Criteria / C. External Justification / 10. Anti External Justification
In the context of scepticism, externalism does not seem to be an option [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: In the peculiar context of the skeptical challenge, it is easy to persuade oneself that externalism is not an option.
     From: Michael Williams (Without Immediate Justification [2005], §3)
     A reaction: This is because externalism sees justification as largely non-conscious, but when faced with scepticism, the justifications need to be spelled out, and therefore internalised. So are sceptical discussions basic, or freakish anomalies?
13. Knowledge Criteria / D. Scepticism / 1. Scepticism
Scepticism just reveals our limited ability to explain things [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: All the sceptic's arguments show is that there are limits to our capacity to give reasons or cite evidence.
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch.13)
13. Knowledge Criteria / D. Scepticism / 2. Types of Scepticism
Scepticism can involve discrepancy, relativity, infinity, assumption and circularity [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: The classical Five Modes of Scepticism are Discrepancy (people always disagree), Relativity ('according to you'), Infinity (infinite regress of questions), Assumption (ending in dogma) and Circularity (end up where you started).
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch. 5)
     A reaction: I take Relativity to be different from scepticism (because, roughly, it says there is nothing to know), and the others go with Agrippa's Trilemma of justification, which may have solutions.
14. Science / A. Basis of Science / 1. Observation
Seeing electrons in a cloud chamber requires theory [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: Armed with enough theory, we can see electrons in a cloud chamber.
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch.10)
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 3. Abstraction by mind
Abstractions are formed by the mind when it concentrates on some, but not all, the features of a thing [Moreland]
     Full Idea: If something is 'abstract' it is got before the mind by an act of abstraction, that is, by concentrating attention on some (but not all) of what is presented.
     From: J.P. Moreland (Universals [2001], Ch.3)
     A reaction: Presumably it usually involves picking out the behavioural or causal features, and leaving out the physical features - though I suppose it works for physical properties too…
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 4. Structure of Concepts / b. Analysis of concepts
It is always open to a philosopher to claim that some entity or other is unanalysable [Moreland]
     Full Idea: It is always open to a philosopher to claim that some entity or other is unanalysable.
     From: J.P. Moreland (Universals [2001], Ch.2)
     A reaction: For example, Davidson on truth. There is an onus to demonstrate why all attempted analyses fail.
19. Language / A. Nature of Meaning / 7. Meaning Holism / a. Sentence meaning
Foundationalists base meaning in words, coherentists base it in sentences [Williams,M]
     Full Idea: In the foundationalist picture the meaning of individual words (defined ostensively) is primary, and that of sentences is derivative. For coherentists sentences come first, with meaning understood functionally or inferentially.
     From: Michael Williams (Problems of Knowledge [2001], Ch.10)
     A reaction: Coherentism about language doesn't imply coherentism about justification. On language I vote for foundationalism, because I am impressed by the phenomenon of compositionality.
21. Aesthetics / B. Nature of Art / 8. The Arts / b. Literature
For poets free choice is supreme [Schlegel,F]
     Full Idea: Romantic poetry recognises as its first commandment that the free choice [Wilkür] of the poet can tolerate no law above itself.
     From: Friedrich Schlegel (works [1798], Frag 116 p.32), quoted by Terry Pinkard - German Philosophy 1760-1860 06
     A reaction: This leads to Shelley's 'poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the race'. We should also take it as a response to Kant's categorical imperative, which leads to the Gauguin Problem (wickedness justified by the art it leads to).
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 2. Values / e. Love
True love is ironic, in the contrast between finite limitations and the infinity of love [Schlegel,F]
     Full Idea: True irony is the irony of love. It arises from the feeling of finitude and one's own limitation, and the apparent contradiction of these feelings with the concept of infinity inherent in all true love.
     From: Friedrich Schlegel (works [1798], Vol.10 p.357), quoted by Ernst Behler - Early German Romanticism
     A reaction: [c.1827] This is more about idealist philosophy and its yearning for the Absolute than it is about the actual nature of love. Love is the door to the Absolute. The irony is our inability to pass through it.
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 3. Angst
Irony is the response to conflicts of involvement and attachment [Schlegel,F, by Pinkard]
     Full Idea: Irony is thus the appropriate stance to feeling that is both inescapably committed and inescapably detached at the same time.
     From: report of Friedrich Schlegel (works [1798]) by Terry Pinkard - German Philosophy 1760-1860 06
     A reaction: This is the epitome of romanticism, which carries over into the dilemmas of existentialism. Striking the right balance between caring and not caring seems to me to be the main focus of modern British people.
27. Natural Reality / C. Space-Time / 2. Time / f. Presentism
'Presentism' is the view that only the present moment exists [Moreland]
     Full Idea: 'Presentism' is the view that only the present moment exists.
     From: J.P. Moreland (Universals [2001], Ch.6)
     A reaction: And Greek scepticism doubted even the present, since there is no space between past and future. It is a delightfully vertigo-inducing idea.