Combining Texts

All the ideas for 'Difference and Repetition', 'De Veritate (On Truth)' and 'The Question of Realism'

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


23 ideas

1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 2. Possibility of Metaphysics
If metaphysics can't be settled, it hardly matters whether it makes sense [Fine,K]
     Full Idea: If there is no way of settling metaphysical questions, then who cares whether or not they make sense?
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], 4 n20)
     A reaction: This footnote is aimed at logical positivists, who seemed to worry about whether metaphysics made sense, and also dismissed its prospects even if it did make sense.
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 7. Against Metaphysics
'Quietist' says abandon metaphysics because answers are unattainable (as in Kant's noumenon) [Fine,K]
     Full Idea: The 'quietist' view of metaphysics says that realist metaphysics should be abandoned, not because its questions cannot be framed, but because their answers cannot be found. The real world of metaphysics is akin to Kant's noumenal world.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], 4)
     A reaction: [He cites Blackburn, Dworkin, A.Fine, and Putnam-1987 as quietists] Fine aims to clarify the concepts of factuality and of ground, in order to show that metaphysics is possible.
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.
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 1. Truth
Anselm of Canterbury identified truth with God [Anselm, by Engel]
     Full Idea: Anselm of Canterbury identified truth with God.
     From: report of Anselm (De Veritate (On Truth) [1095]) by Pascal Engel - Truth §1.6
     A reaction: An interesting claim, perhaps, depending on what it means. God decrees truth, God knows all truth, God makes truth possible, God connects us to the world, God is the world…?
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.
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 1. Grounding / a. Nature of grounding
If you make 'grounding' fundamental, you have to mention some non-fundamental notions [Sider on Fine,K]
     Full Idea: My main objection to Fine's notion of grounding as fundamental is that it violates 'purity' - that fundamental truths should involve only fundamental notions.
     From: comment on Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001]) by Theodore Sider - Writing the Book of the World 08.2
     A reaction: [p.106 of Sider for 'purity'] The point here is that to define a grounding relation you have to mention the 'higher' levels of the relationship (as in a 'city' being grounded in physical stuff), which doesn't seem fundamental enough.
Something is grounded when it holds, and is explained, and necessitated by something else [Fine,K, by Sider]
     Full Idea: When p 'grounds' q then q holds in virtue of p's holding; q's holding is nothing beyond p's holding; the truth of p explains the truth of q in a particularly tight sense (explanation of q by p in this sense requires that p necessitates q).
     From: report of Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], 15-16) by Theodore Sider - Writing the Book of the World 08.1
     A reaction: This proposal has become a hot topic in current metaphysics, as attempts are made to employ 'grounding' in various logical, epistemological and ontological contexts. I'm a fan - it is at the heart of metaphysics as structure of reality.
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 1. Grounding / b. Relata of grounding
Grounding relations are best expressed as relations between sentences [Fine,K]
     Full Idea: I recommend that a statement of ground be cast in the following 'canonical' form: Its being the case that S consists in nothing more than its being the case that T, U... (where S, T, U... are particular sentences).
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], 5)
     A reaction: The point here is that grounding is to be undestood in terms of sentences (and 'its being the case that...'), rather than in terms of objects, properties or relations. Fine thus makes grounding a human activity, rather than a natural activity.
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 2. Reduction
Reduction might be producing a sentence which gets closer to the logical form [Fine,K]
     Full Idea: One line of reduction is logical analysis. To say one sentence reduces to another is to say that they express the same proposition (or fact), but the grammatical form of the second is closer to the logical form than the grammatical form of the first.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], 3)
     A reaction: Fine objects that S-and-T reduces to S and T, which is two propositions. He also objects that this approach misses the de re ingredient in reduction (that it is about the things themselves, not the sentences). It also overemphasises logical form.
Reduction might be semantic, where a reduced sentence is understood through its reduction [Fine,K]
     Full Idea: A second line of reduction is semantic, and holds in virtue of the meaning of the sentences. It should then be possible to acquire an understanding of the reduced sentence on the basis of understanding the sentences to which it reduces.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], 3)
     A reaction: Fine says this avoids the first objection to the grammatical approach (see Reaction to Idea 15050), but still can't handle the de re aspect of reduction. Fine also doubts whether this understanding qualifies as 'reduction'.
Reduction is modal, if the reductions necessarily entail the truth of the target sentence [Fine,K]
     Full Idea: The third, more recent, approach to reduction is a modal matter. A class of propositions will reduce to - or supervene upon - another if, necessarily, any truth from the one is entailed by truths from the other.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], 3)
     A reaction: [He cites Armstrong, Chalmers and Jackson for this approach] Fine notes that some people reject supervenience as a sort of reduction. He objects that this reduction doesn't necessarily lead to something more basic.
The notion of reduction (unlike that of 'ground') implies the unreality of what is reduced [Fine,K]
     Full Idea: The notion of ground should be distinguished from the strict notion of reduction. A statement of reduction implies the unreality of what is reduced, but a statement of ground does not.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], 5)
     A reaction: That seems like a bit of a caricature of reduction. If you see a grey cloud and it reduces to a swarm of mosquitoes, you do not say that the cloud was 'unreal'. Fine is setting up a stall for 'ground' in the metaphysical market. We all seek structure.
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 2. Reality
Reality is a primitive metaphysical concept, which cannot be understood in other terms [Fine,K]
     Full Idea: I conclude that there is a primitive metaphysical concept of reality, one that cannot be understood in fundamentally different terms.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], Intro)
     A reaction: Fine offers arguments to support his claim, but it seems hard to disagree with. The only alternative I can see is to understand reality in terms of our experiences, and this is the road to metaphysical hell.
What is real can only be settled in terms of 'ground' [Fine,K]
     Full Idea: Questions of what is real are to be settled upon the basis of considerations of ground.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], Intro)
     A reaction: This looks like being one of Fine's most important ideas, which is shifting the whole basis of contemporary metaphysics. Only Parmenides and Heidegger thought Being was the target. Aristotle aims at identity. What grounds what is a third alternative.
Why should what is explanatorily basic be therefore more real? [Fine,K]
     Full Idea: We may grant that some things are explanatorily more basic than others, but why should that make them more real?
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], 8)
     A reaction: This is the question asked by the 'quietist'. Fine's answer is that our whole conception of Reality, with its intrinsic structure, is what lies at the basis, and this is primitive.
In metaphysics, reality is regarded as either 'factual', or as 'fundamental' [Fine,K]
     Full Idea: The first main approach says metaphysical reality is to be identified with what is 'objective' or 'factual'. ...According to the second conception, metaphysical reality is to be identified with what is 'irreducible' or 'fundamental'.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], 1)
     A reaction: Fine is defending the 'fundamental' approach, via the 'grounding' relation. The whole structure, though, seems to be reality. In particular, a complete story must include the relations which facilitate more than mere fundamentals.
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 2. Qualities in Perception / d. Secondary qualities
Although colour depends on us, we can describe the world that way if it picks out fundamentals [Fine,K]
     Full Idea: As long as colour terms pick out fundamental physical properties, I would be willing to countenance their use in the description of Reality in itself, ..even if they are based on a peculiar form of sensory awareness.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], 8)
     A reaction: This seems to explain why metaphysicians are so fond of using colour as their example of a property, when it seems rather subjective. There seem to be good reasons for rejecting Fine's view.
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / j. Explanations by reduction
Grounding is an explanation of truth, and needs all the virtues of good explanations [Fine,K]
     Full Idea: The main sources of evidence for judgments of ground are intuitive and explanatory. The relationship of ground is a form of explanation, ..explaining what makes a proposition true, which needs simplicity, breadth, coherence, non-circularity and strength.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], 7)
     A reaction: My thought is that not only must grounding explain, and therefore be a good explanation, but that the needs of explanation drive our decisions about what are the grounds. It is a bit indeterminate which is tail and which is dog.
14. Science / D. Explanation / 3. Best Explanation / b. Ultimate explanation
Ultimate explanations are in 'grounds', which account for other truths, which hold in virtue of the grounding [Fine,K]
     Full Idea: We take ground to be an explanatory relation: if the truth that P is grounded in other truths, then they account for its truth; P's being the case holds in virtue of the other truths' being the case. ...It is the ultimate form of explanation.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], 5)
     A reaction: To be 'ultimate' that which grounds would have to be something which thwarted all further explanation. Popper, for example, got quite angry at the suggestion that we should put a block on further investigation in this way.
19. Language / D. Propositions / 5. Unity of Propositions
A proposition ingredient is 'essential' if changing it would change the truth-value [Fine,K]
     Full Idea: A proposition essentially contains a given constituent if its replacement by some other constituent induces a shift in truth value. Thus Socrates is essential to the proposition that Socrates is a philosopher, but not to Socrates is self-identical.
     From: Kit Fine (The Question of Realism [2001], 6)
     A reaction: In this view the replacement of 'is' by 'isn't' would make 'is' (or affirmation) part of the essence of most propositions. This is about linguistic essence, rather than real essence. It has the potential to be trivial. Replace 'slightly' by 'fairly'?