Combining Philosophers

All the ideas for Friedrich Schlegel, Monroe Beardsley and D.H. Mellor

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15 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.
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 5. What Makes Truths / a. What makes truths
We might use 'facta' to refer to the truth-makers for facts [Mellor, by Schaffer,J]
     Full Idea: Mellor offers a distinction between 'facts' and 'facta' (the latter being the truth-makers for facts).
     From: report of D.H. Mellor (The Facts of Causation [1995]) by Jonathan Schaffer - The Metaphysics of Causation 1.1
     A reaction: The idea is that 'facta' can do the work in causation, because 'facts' are not part of the world. This seems a very helpful terminology, which should be encouraged, since 'fact' is plainly ambiguous in current usage.
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 2. Need for Properties
A property is merely a constituent of laws of nature; temperature is just part of thermodynamics [Mellor]
     Full Idea: Being a constituent of probabilistic laws of nature is all there is to being a property. There is no more to temperature than the thermodynamics and other laws they occur in.
     From: D.H. Mellor (Properties and Predicates [1991], 'Props')
     A reaction: How could thermodynamics be worked out without a prior concept of temperature? I think it is at least plausible to deny that there are any 'laws' of nature. But even Quine can't deny that some things are too hot to touch.
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 10. Properties as Predicates
There is obviously a possible predicate for every property [Mellor]
     Full Idea: To every property there obviously corresponds a possible predicate applying to all and only those particulars with that property.
     From: D.H. Mellor (Properties and Predicates [1991], 'Intro')
     A reaction: This doesn't strike me as at all obvious. If nature dictates the properties, there may be vastly more than any human language could cope with. It is daft to say that a property can only exist if humanity can come up with a predicate for it.
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 2. Need for Universals
We need universals for causation and laws of nature; the latter give them their identity [Mellor]
     Full Idea: I take the main reason for believing in contingent universals to be the roles they play in causation and in laws of nature, and those laws are what I take to give those universals their identity.
     From: D.H. Mellor (Properties and Predicates [1991], 'Props')
     A reaction: He agrees with Armstrong. Sounds a bit circular - laws are built on universals, and universals are identified by laws. It resembles a functionalist account of mental events. I think it is wrong. A different account of laws will be needed...
8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 3. Predicate Nominalism
If properties were just the meanings of predicates, they couldn't give predicates their meaning [Mellor]
     Full Idea: One reason for denying that properties just are the meanings of our predicates is that, if they were, they could not give our predicates their meanings.
     From: D.H. Mellor (Properties and Predicates [1991], 'Props')
     A reaction: Neither way round sounds quite right to me. Predicate nominalism is wrong, but what is meant by a property 'giving' a predicate its meaning? It doesn't seem to allow room for error in our attempts to name the properties.
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).
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).
21. Aesthetics / C. Artistic Issues / 6. Value of Art
Art leads to mental health, and mental clarity [Beardsley,M, by Carroll,N]
     Full Idea: Beardsley says aesthetic experience relieves tensions and quiet destructive emotions. It also aids us in sorting out the jumble in the flow of consciousness, by virtue of its tendencies toward heightened clarity and coherence.
     From: report of Monroe Beardsley (Aesthetics: problems in the philosophy of criticism [1958]) by Noël Carroll - Monroe Beardsley p.162-3
     A reaction: I find this claim highly implausible. I like art, but I feel neither healthier nor clearer after experiencing it.
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.
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 8. Particular Causation / b. Causal relata
Causal statements relate facts (which are whatever true propositions express) [Mellor, by Psillos]
     Full Idea: Mellor argues that causal statements relate facts, where facts may be seen as whatever true propositions express.
     From: report of D.H. Mellor (The Facts of Causation [1995]) by Stathis Psillos - Causation and Explanation §2.6
     A reaction: Choose between 'facts', 'objects', 'conserved quantities, 'events' (the usual one) or 'processes'. I rather like processes (Salmon) as they are a better prospect as the building blocks of an ontology.
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 8. Particular Causation / e. Probabilistic causation
Singular causation requires causes to raise the physical probability of their effects [Mellor]
     Full Idea: Singular causation entails physical probabilities or chances. ...Causal laws require causes to raise their effects' chances, as when fires have a greater chance of occurring when explosions do.
     From: D.H. Mellor (Properties and Predicates [1991], 'Props')
     A reaction: It seems fairly obvious that a probability can be increased without actually causing something. Just after a harmless explosion is a good moment for arsonists, especially if Mellor will be the investigating officer.
Probabilistic causation says C is a cause of E if it increases the chances of E occurring [Mellor, by Tooley]
     Full Idea: The basic idea of probabilistic causation is that a sufficient condition of C's being a cause of E is that C and E are actual, individual events, and the objective chance of E's occurring is greater given the occurrence of C than it would be without C.
     From: report of D.H. Mellor (The Facts of Causation [1995]) by Michael Tooley - Causation and Supervenience 5.3
     A reaction: Mellor has to include objective 'chances' in his ontology to support his theory. As it stands this looks like a weak theory, since the event might not occur despite C happening, and some less likely event might turn out to be the actual cause.