Combining Texts

All the ideas for 'Difference and Repetition', 'Empiricist View of Religion' and 'Mental Events'

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19 ideas

1. Philosophy / H. Continental Philosophy / 1. Continental Philosophy
'Difference' refers to that which eludes capture [Deleuze, by May]
     Full Idea: 'Difference' is a term which Deleuze uses to refer to that which eludes capture.
     From: report of Gilles Deleuze (Difference and Repetition [1968]) by Todd May - Gilles Deleuze 3.03
     A reaction: Presumably its ancestor is Kant's noumenon. This is one of his concepts used to 'palpate' our ossified conceptual scheme.
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 3. Being / a. Nature of Being
'Being' is univocal, but its subject matter is actually 'difference' [Deleuze]
     Full Idea: Being is said in a single and same sense of everything of which it is said, but that of which it is said differs: it is said of difference itself.
     From: Gilles Deleuze (Difference and Repetition [1968], p.36), quoted by Todd May - Gilles Deleuze 3.03
     A reaction: This is an attempt to express the Heraclitean view of reality, as process, movement, multiplicity - something which always eludes our attempts to pin it down.
Ontology can be continual creation, not to know being, but to probe the unknowable [Deleuze]
     Full Idea: Ontology can be an ontology of difference ....where what is there is not the same old things but a process of continual creation, an ontology that does not seek to reduce being to the knowable, but widens thought to palpate the unknowable.
     From: Gilles Deleuze (Difference and Repetition [1968]), quoted by Todd May - Gilles Deleuze 5.05
     A reaction: I'm inclined to think that the first duty of ontology is to face up to the knowable. I'm not sure that probing the unknowable, with no success or prospect of it, is a good way to spend a life. Probing ('palpating') can sometimes discover things.
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 3. Being / i. Deflating being
Ontology does not tell what there is; it is just a strange adventure [Deleuze, by May]
     Full Idea: In Deleuze's hands ontology is not a matter of telling us what there is, but of taking us on strange adventures.
     From: report of Gilles Deleuze (Difference and Repetition [1968]) by Todd May - Gilles Deleuze 3.03
     A reaction: Presumably you only indulge in the strange adventure because you have no idea how to specify what there is. This sounds like the essence of post-modernism, in which life is just a game.
Being is a problem to be engaged, not solved, and needs a new mode of thinking [Deleuze, by May]
     Full Idea: In Deleuze, Being is not a puzzle to be solved but a problem to be engaged. It is to be engaged by a thought that moves as comfortably among problems as it does among solutions, as fluidly among differences as it does among identities.
     From: report of Gilles Deleuze (Difference and Repetition [1968]) by Todd May - Gilles Deleuze 4.01
     A reaction: This sounds like what I've always known as 'negative capability' (thanks to Keats). Is philosophy just a hobby, like playing darts? It seems that the aim of the process is 'liberation', about which I would like to know more.
17. Mind and Body / B. Behaviourism / 4. Behaviourism Critique
There are no rules linking thought and behaviour, because endless other thoughts intervene [Davidson]
     Full Idea: We know too much about thought and behaviour to trust exact and universal statements linking them. Beliefs and desires issue in behaviour only as modified and mediated by further beliefs and desires, attitudes and attendings, without limit.
     From: Donald Davidson (Mental Events [1970], p.217)
     A reaction: Now seen as a key objection to behaviourism, and rightly so. However, I am not sure about "without limit", which implies an implausible absolute metaphysical freedom. Davidson goes too far in denying any nomological link between thought and brain.
17. Mind and Body / D. Property Dualism / 1. Reductionism critique
Reduction is impossible because mind is holistic and brain isn't [Davidson, by Maslin]
     Full Idea: Davidson rejects ontological reduction of mental to physical because propositional attitudes are holistic; there must be extensive coherence among someone's attitudes to treat them as a rational person, and this has no counterpart in physical theory.
     From: report of Donald Davidson (Mental Events [1970]) by Keith T. Maslin - Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind 7.5
     A reaction: I don't find this view persuasive. We treat the weather in simple terms, even though it is almost infinitely complex. Davidson has a Kantian overconfidence in our rationality. A coherence among the parts is needed to be a tree.
17. Mind and Body / D. Property Dualism / 2. Anomalous Monism
Davidson claims that mental must be physical, to make mental causation possible [Davidson, by Kim]
     Full Idea: Davidson's thesis is that if mental events of a particular kind cause physical events of a particular kind, and the two kinds are connected by a law, then they must both be physical kinds.
     From: report of Donald Davidson (Mental Events [1970]) by Jaegwon Kim - Philosophy of Mind p.137
     A reaction: Davidson would pretty obviously be right. The whole problem here is the idea of a 'law'. You can only have strict law for simple entities, like particles and natural kinds. The brain is a mess, like weather or explosions.
Anomalous monism says nothing at all about the relationship between mental and physical [Davidson, by Kim]
     Full Idea: Davidson's anomalous monism says no more about the relationship between the mental and the physical than the claim that all objects with a colour have a shape says about the relationship between colours and shapes.
     From: report of Donald Davidson (Mental Events [1970]) by Jaegwon Kim - Mind in a Physical World §1 p.005
     A reaction: Indeed, I find the enthusiasm for property dualism etc. quite baffling, given that we are merely told that mind is 'an anomaly'. I take it to be old fashioned dualism in trendy clothes.
Mind is outside science, because it is humanistic and partly normative [Davidson, by Lycan]
     Full Idea: For Davidson, mental types are individuated by considerations that are nonscientific, distinctly humanistic, and part normative, so will not coincide with any types that are designated in scientific terms.
     From: report of Donald Davidson (Mental Events [1970]) by William Lycan - Introduction - Ontology p.8
     A reaction: I just don't believe this, mainly because I don't accept that there is a category called 'nonscientific'. All we are saying is that a brain is a hugely complicated object, and we don't properly understand its operations, though we relate to it very well.
Anomalous monism says causes are events, so the mental and physical are identical, without identical properties [Davidson, by Crane]
     Full Idea: Davidson's anomalous monism says that events are causes, so we can identify mental and physical events without having to identify their properties.
     From: report of Donald Davidson (Mental Events [1970]) by Tim Crane - Elements of Mind 2.18
     A reaction: As Fodor insists, a thing like a mountain has properties at different levels of description. We can have 'property dualism' and full-blown reductive identity.
If rule-following and reason are 'anomalies', does that make reductionism impossible? [Davidson, by Kim]
     Full Idea: Davidson takes mental anomalism (that the mind exhibits normativity and rationality), and in particular his claim that there are no laws connecting mental and physical properties, to undermine mind-body reductionism.
     From: report of Donald Davidson (Mental Events [1970]) by Jaegwon Kim - Mind in a Physical World §4 p.092
     A reaction: A nice summary of the core idea of property dualism. Personally I expect the whole lot to be reducible, and to follow laws, but the sheer complexity of the brain permanently bars us from actually doing the reduction.
17. Mind and Body / D. Property Dualism / 3. Property Dualism
If mental causation is lawless, it is only possible if mental events have physical properties [Davidson, by Kim]
     Full Idea: Since no laws exist connecting mental and physical properties, purely physical laws must do the causal work, which means mental events enter into causal relations only because they possess physical properties that figure in laws.
     From: report of Donald Davidson (Mental Events [1970]) by Jaegwon Kim - Philosophy of Mind p.138
     A reaction: Surely no such laws exist 'yet'? I can see no plausible argument that psycho-physical laws are impossible. However, the conclusion of this remark seems right. Interaction requires some sort of equality.
17. Mind and Body / D. Property Dualism / 5. Supervenience of mind
Supervenience of the mental means physical changes mental, and mental changes physical [Davidson]
     Full Idea: The supervenience [of mental characteristics on the physical] might be taken to mean that there cannot be two events alike in all physical respects but differing in some mental respect, or an object cannot differ mentally without altering physically.
     From: Donald Davidson (Mental Events [1970], I)
     A reaction: This is the first occasion on which Davidson introduced his notion of supervenience. Supervenience is often taken to be one-way. The first implies physical causing mental; his second implies that mental causes physical.
17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 5. Causal Argument
Davidson sees identity as between events, not states, since they are related in causation [Davidson, by Lowe]
     Full Idea: Davidson's version of the identity theory is couched in terms of events rather than states, because he regards causation as a relation between events.
     From: report of Donald Davidson (Mental Events [1970]) by E.J. Lowe - Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind Ch.2 n12
     A reaction: I think it may be more to the point that the mind is a dynamic thing, and so it consists of events rather than states, and hence we want to know what those events are made up from. I think my chair is causing me to rest above the floor…
17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 7. Anti-Physicalism / b. Multiple realisability
Multiple realisability was worse news for physicalism than anomalous monism was [Davidson, by Kim]
     Full Idea: Davidson's argument about psychophysical anomalism has not been embraced by everyone; multiple realisability of mental properties has had a much greater impact in undermining reductionism (and hence type physicalism).
     From: report of Donald Davidson (Mental Events [1970]) by Jaegwon Kim - Philosophy of Mind p.218
     A reaction: My view is that functional states are multiply realisable, but phenomenal states aren't. Fear functions in frogs much as it does in us, but being a frightened frog is nothing like being a frightened human. Their brains are different!
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 8. Particular Causation / b. Causal relata
Causation is either between events, or between descriptions of events [Davidson, by Maslin]
     Full Idea: According to Davidson analyses of causality proceed at two different levels: at the lower level it holds between events regardless of how they are described; higher level explanations hold between descriptions of events, which pick out properties.
     From: report of Donald Davidson (Mental Events [1970]) by Keith T. Maslin - Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind 7.4
Whether an event is a causal explanation depends on how it is described [Davidson, by Maslin]
     Full Idea: Davidson says causal explanations hold between descriptions of events and not between the events themselves, so the possibility of events as explanations depends on how they are described (e.g. a wind collapsing a bridge).
     From: report of Donald Davidson (Mental Events [1970]) by Keith T. Maslin - Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind 7.4
29. Religion / D. Religious Issues / 1. Religious Commitment / b. Religious Meaning
If meaning is use, then religious sentences have meaning because they are used to assert an intention about how to live [Braithwaite, by PG]
     Full Idea: If the meaning of statements is their use (as Wittgenstein claims), then religious people use religious claims to assert an intention to follow a religious life and morality, and this intention gives their sentences meaning.
     From: report of R.B. Braithwaite (Empiricist View of Religion [1955]) by PG - Db (ideas)