Combining Texts

All the ideas for 'Difference and Repetition', 'On the Law of War and Peace' and 'Events'

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20 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.
7. Existence / B. Change in Existence / 4. Events / a. Nature of events
Some events involve no change; they must, because causal histories involve unchanges [Lewis]
     Full Idea: Not all events involve change. We cannot afford to count the unchanges as nonevents, for the unchanges may be needed to complete causal histories.
     From: David Lewis (Events [1986], VI)
     A reaction: You end up calling non-changes 'events' if you commit to a simplistic theory that all causal histories consist of events. Why not allow conditions as well as events? Lewis concedes that he may be abusing language.
Events are classes, and so there is a mereology of their parts [Lewis]
     Full Idea: If events are classes, as I propose, then they have a mereology in the way that all classes do: the parts of a class are its subclasses.
     From: David Lewis (Events [1986], V)
     A reaction: Lewis says events are properties, which he regards as classes. It is not clear that events are strictly mereological. Could one happening be two events? Is WWII a simple sum of its parts? [see p.260]
The events that suit semantics may not be the events that suit causation [Lewis]
     Full Idea: There is no guarantee that events made for semantics are the same as events that are causes and effects.
     From: David Lewis (Events [1986], I)
     A reaction: This little cri de couer could be a motto for a huge amount of analytic philosophy, which (for some odd reason) thought that mathematics, logic, set theory and formal semantics were good tools for explaining nature.
Events have inbuilt essences, as necessary conditions for their occurrence [Lewis]
     Full Idea: Events have their essences built in, in the form of necessary conditions for their occurrence.
     From: David Lewis (Events [1986], III)
     A reaction: Revealing. He thinks the essence of an event is something which precedes the event. I take it as obvious that if an event has an essence, it will be some features of the event that occur in it and during it. They need to be intrinsic.
7. Existence / B. Change in Existence / 4. Events / c. Reduction of events
An event is a property of a unique space-time region [Lewis]
     Full Idea: I propose to identify an event with a property, or in other words with a class, a unique spatio-temporal region corresponding to where that event occurs.
     From: David Lewis (Events [1986], II)
     A reaction: [I've run together two separate bits, on p.244 and 245] Lewis cites Montague's similar view, that events are properties of times.
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 10. Properties as Predicates
Properties are very abundant (unlike universals), and are used for semantics and higher-order variables [Lewis]
     Full Idea: Properties are abundant, numbering at least beth-3 for properties of individuals alone; they are suited to serve as semantic values of arbitrarily complex predicates and gerunds, and higher-order variables. (If there are universals, they are sparse).
     From: David Lewis (Events [1986], II n2)
     A reaction: To me this is an outrageous hijacking of the notion of property which is needed for explaining the natural world. He seems to be talking about predicates. He wants to leave me with his silly universals - well I don't want them, thank you.
24. Applied Ethics / A. Decision Conflicts / 5. Omissions
Nations are not obliged to help one-another, but are obliged not to harm one another [Grotius, by Tuck]
     Full Idea: Grotius explored the implications of the idea that nation-states were under no obligation to help one another, but they were obliged not to harm each other.
     From: report of Hugo Grotius (On the Law of War and Peace [1625]) by Richard Tuck - Hobbes Ch.1
     A reaction: This is quite a striking disanalogy between accepted personal morality and political morality. There are signs in recent years of some recognition that other nations should not just sit and watch suffering.
25. Society / A. State of Nature / 2. Natural Values / c. Natural rights
Everyone has a right of self-preservation, and harming others is usually unjustifiable [Grotius, by Tuck]
     Full Idea: Grotius said that all men would agree that everyone has a fundamental right to preserve themselves, and that wanton or unnecessary injury to another person is unjustifiable.
     From: report of Hugo Grotius (On the Law of War and Peace [1625]) by Richard Tuck - Hobbes Ch.1
     A reaction: Who cares if it is 'justifiable'? Do I have to 'justify' killing a mosquito if it lands on my arm? Grotius is taking a step beyond saying that people should defend themselves, to say that they have a 'right' to - the only truly basic right.
25. Society / C. Social Justice / 3. Social Freedom / g. Freedom to leave
A person is free to renounce their state, as long as it is not a moment of crisis [Grotius, by Rousseau]
     Full Idea: Grotius thinks that each person can renounce his state and leave the country. (n15: provided it is not to evade one's duty the moment the homeland needs us; this would be criminal and punishable; it would not be withdrawal, but desertion)
     From: report of Hugo Grotius (On the Law of War and Peace [1625]) by Jean-Jacques Rousseau - The Social Contract (tr Cress) III.18
     A reaction: The obvious example is Britons going to America in 1939, or (more controversially) conscripts going to Canada to avoid fighting in Vietnam. I'm unclear whether the idea in the note is that of Grotius or of Rousseau). Is tax exile OK, then?
25. Society / D. Political Doctrines / 5. Democracy / a. Nature of democracy
Democracy needs respect for individuality, but the 'community of friends' implies strict equality [Grotius]
     Full Idea: There is no democracy without respect for irreducible singularity, but there is no democracy with the 'community of friends' without the calculation of majorities, without identifiable representable subjects, all equal.
     From: Hugo Grotius (On the Law of War and Peace [1625]), quoted by Simon Glendinning - Derrida: A Very Short Introduction 7
     A reaction: [source not given] Derrida calls this conflict 'tragic'. The obvious reply is that equality is not an absolute. We can be equal in voting rights while being unequal in height or musical talent.
25. Society / E. State Functions / 1. The Law / c. Natural law
A natural right of self-preservation is balanced by a natural law to avoid unnecessary harm [Grotius, by Tuck]
     Full Idea: For Grotius, there was a fundamental 'natural right' of self-preservation upon which all known moralities and codes of social behaviour must have been constructed, but it is balanced by a fundament duty or 'natural law' to abstain from harming others.
     From: report of Hugo Grotius (On the Law of War and Peace [1625]) by Richard Tuck - Hobbes Ch.2
     A reaction: This theory has the virtue of economy, but I don't see how you can clearly justify those particular natural rights and laws, without allowing others to creep in, such as a right to a decent share of food, or a law requiring some fairness.
Grotius and Pufendorf based natural law on real (rather than idealised) humanity [Grotius, by Ford,JD]
     Full Idea: Grotius and Pufendorf transformed the natural law tradition by starting from identifiable traits of human nature rather than ideas about what human beings ought to be.
     From: report of Hugo Grotius (On the Law of War and Peace [1625]) by J.D. Ford - Pufendorf, Samuel p.863
25. Society / E. State Functions / 1. The Law / d. Legal positivism
Grotius ignored elaborate natural law theories, preferring a basic right of self-preservation [Grotius, by Tuck]
     Full Idea: Grotius said there was a minimum core of morality (based on self-preservation), and disregarded the elaborate accounts of principles of natural law which Aristotelians had always sought to develop.
     From: report of Hugo Grotius (On the Law of War and Peace [1625]) by Richard Tuck - Hobbes Ch.1
     A reaction: Aquinas would be the key Aristotelian here. I tend towards the Aristotelian view. If you go for the minimal view, it is not clear why there is a 'right' to self-preservation, rather than a mere desire for it.
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 1. Causation
Causation is a general relation derived from instances of causal dependence [Lewis]
     Full Idea: Causation is the ancestral of causal dependence: event c causes event e iff either e depends on c, or e depends on an intermediate event which in turn depends on c, or....
     From: David Lewis (Events [1986], I)
     A reaction: This is Lewis making sure that we don't postulate some huge bogus thing called 'Causation' which is supposed to be in charge of Nature. Good point.
28. God / A. Divine Nature / 6. Divine Morality / b. Euthyphro question
Moral principles have some validity without a God commanding obedience [Grotius, by Mautner]
     Full Idea: In the Prolegomena to his work there is a famous statement that moral principles laid down in the work would have some degree of validity even if there was no God commanding obedience.
     From: report of Hugo Grotius (On the Law of War and Peace [1625]) by Thomas Mautner - Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy p.229
     A reaction: I am not clear why Grotius felt obliged to qualify his claim with the phrase 'some degree'. I don't see how God's command can affect the 'validity' of morality, or how there can be a middle ground between dependence on and independence of God.