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All the ideas for 'Difference and Repetition', 'On the Law of War and Peace' and 'From an Ontological Point of View'

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67 ideas

1. Philosophy / F. Analytic Philosophy / 5. Linguistic Analysis
If you begin philosophy with language, you find yourself trapped in it [Heil]
     Full Idea: If you start with language and try to work your way outwards, you will never get outside language.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], Pref)
     A reaction: This voices my pessimism about the linguistic approach to philosophy (and I don't just mean analysis of ordinary language), though I wonder if the career of (say) John Searle is a counterexample.
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.
2. Reason / B. Laws of Thought / 6. Ockham's Razor
Parsimony does not imply the world is simple, but that our theories should try to be [Heil]
     Full Idea: A commitment to parsimony is not a commitment to a conception of the world as simple. The idea, rather, is that we should not complicate our theories about the world unnecessarily.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 13.6)
     A reaction: In other words, Ockham's Razor is about us, not about the world. It would be absurd to make the a priori assumption that the world has to be simple. Are we, though, creating bad theories by insisting that they should be simple?
A theory with few fundamental principles might still posit a lot of entities [Heil]
     Full Idea: It could well turn out that a simpler theory - a theory with fewer fundamental principles - posits more entities than a more complex competitor.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 13.6)
     A reaction: See also Idea 4036. The point here is that you can't simply translate Ockham as 'keep it simple', as there are different types of simplicity. The best theory will negotiate a balance between entities and principles.
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 4. Truthmaker Necessitarianism
The view that truth making is entailment is misguided and misleading [Heil]
     Full Idea: I argue that the widely held view that truth making is to be understood as entailment is misguided in principle and potentially misleading.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], Intro)
     A reaction: If reality was just one particle, what would entail the truths about it? Suppose something appears to be self-evident true about reality, but no one can think of any entailments to derive it? Do we assume a priori that they are possible?
4. Formal Logic / F. Set Theory ST / 8. Critique of Set Theory
God does not create the world, and then add the classes [Heil]
     Full Idea: It is hard to see classes as an 'addition of being'; God does not create the world, and then add the classes.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 13.4 n6)
     A reaction: This seems right. We may be tempted into believing in the reality of classes when considering maths, but it seems utterly implausible when considering trees or cows.
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 / 2. Reduction
The reductionist programme dispenses with levels of reality [Heil]
     Full Idea: The reductionist programme dispenses with levels of reality.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 04.3)
     A reaction: Fodor, for example, claims that certain causal laws only operate at high levels of reality. I agree with Heil's idea - the notion that there are different realities around here that don't connect properly to one another is philosopher's madness.
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 3. Levels of Reality
There are levels of organisation, complexity, description and explanation, but not of reality [Heil]
     Full Idea: We should accept levels of organisation, levels of complexity, levels of description, and levels of explanation, but not the levels of reality favoured by many anti-reductionists. The world is then ontologically, but not analytically, reductive.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], Intro)
     A reaction: This sounds right to me. The crunch questions seem to be whether the boundaries at higher levels of organisation exist lower down, and whether the causal laws of the higher levels can be translated without remainder into lower level laws.
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 1. Realism
Realism says some of our concepts 'cut nature at the joints' [Heil]
     Full Idea: Realism is sometimes said to involve a commitment to the idea that certain of our concepts, those with respect to which we are realists, 'carve reality at the joints'.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 14.11)
     A reaction: Clearly not all concepts cut nature at the joints (e.g. we have concepts of things we know to be imaginary). Personally I am committed to this view of realism. I try very hard to use concepts that cut accurately; why shouldn't I sometimes succeed?
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 3. Anti-realism
Anti-realists who reduce reality to language must explain the existence of language [Heil]
     Full Idea: Anti-realist philosophers, and those who hope to reduce metaphysics to (or replace it with) the philosophy of language, owe the rest of us an account of the ontology of language.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 20.6)
     A reaction: A nice turning-the-tables question. In all accounts of relativism, x is usually said to be relative to y. You haven't got proper relativism if you haven't relativised both x and y. But relativised them to what? Nietzsche's 'perspectivism' (Idea 4420)?
7. Existence / E. Categories / 5. Category Anti-Realism
Concepts don't carve up the world, which has endless overlooked or ignored divisions [Heil]
     Full Idea: Concepts do not 'carve up' the world; the world already contains endless divisions, most of which we remain oblivious to or ignore.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 05.3)
     A reaction: Concepts could still carve up the world, without ever aspiring to do a complete job. We carve up the aspects that interest us, but the majority of the carving is in response to natural divisions, not whimsical conventions.
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 9. Qualities
I think of properties as simultaneously dispositional and qualitative [Heil]
     Full Idea: Some philosophers who accept that properties are intrinsic features of objects regard them as pure powers, pure dispositionalities; I prefer to think of properties as simultaneously dispositional and qualitative.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], Intro)
     A reaction: I am uneasy about 'qualitative' as a category, and am inclined to reduce it to being a dispositional power to cause primary and secondary qualities in observers. Roughness is only a power, not a quality, if there are no observers.
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 10. Properties as Predicates
A predicate applies truly if it picks out a real property of objects [Heil]
     Full Idea: When a predicate applies truly to an object, it does so in virtue of designating a property possessed by that object and by every object to which the predicate truly applies (or would apply).
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 03.3)
     A reaction: I am sympathetic to Heil's aim of shifting our attention from arbitrary predicates to natural properties, but it won't avoid Fodor's problem (Idea 7014) that all kinds of whimsical predicates will apply 'truly', but fail to pick out anything significant.
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 13. Tropes / a. Nature of tropes
A theory of universals says similarity is identity of parts; for modes, similarity is primitive [Heil]
     Full Idea: The friend of universals has an account of similarity relations as relations of identity and partial identity; the friend of modes must regard similarity relations as primitive and irreducible.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 14.5)
     A reaction: We always seem to be able to ask 'in what respect' a similarity occurs. If similarity is 'primitive and irreducible', we should not be able to analyse and explain a similarity, yet we seem able to. I conclude that Heil is wrong.
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 3. Powers as Derived
Powers or dispositions are usually seen as caused by lower-level qualities [Heil]
     Full Idea: The modern default position on dispositionality is that powers or dispositions are higher-level properties objects possess by virtue of those objects' possession of lower-level qualitative (categorical) properties.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 09.2)
     A reaction: The new idea which is being floated by Heil, and which I prefer, is that dispositions or powers are basic. A 'quality' is a much more dubious entity than a power.
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 6. Dispositions / a. Dispositions
Are a property's dispositions built in, or contingently added? [Heil]
     Full Idea: There is a dispute over whether a property's dispositionality is built into the property or whether it is a contingent add-on.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 09.4)
     A reaction: Put that way, the idea that it is built in seems much more plausible. If it is an add-on, an explanation of why that disposition is added to that particular property seems required. If it is built in, it seems legitimate to accept it as a brute fact.
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 2. Need for Universals
Universals explain one-over-many relations, and similar qualities, and similar behaviour [Heil]
     Full Idea: Universals can explain the one-over-many problem, and easily explain similarity relations between objects, and explain the similar behaviour of similar objects.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 13.1)
     A reaction: A useful summary. If you accept it, you seem to be faced with a choice between Plato (who has universals existing independently of particulars) and Armstrong (who makes them real, but existing only in particulars).
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 6. Platonic Forms / d. Forms critiques
How could you tell if the universals were missing from a world of instances? [Heil]
     Full Idea: Imagine a pair of worlds, one in which there are the universals and their instances and one in which there are just the instances (a world of modes). How would the absence of universals make itself felt?
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 13.7)
     A reaction: A nice question for Plato, very much in the spirit of Aristotle's string of questions. Compare 'suppose the physics remained, but someone removed the laws'. Either chaos ensues, or you realise they were redundant. Same with Forms.
8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 2. Resemblance Nominalism
Similarity among modes will explain everthing universals were for [Heil]
     Full Idea: My contention is that similarity among modes can do the job universals are conventionally postulated to do.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], Intro)
     A reaction: See Idea 4441 for Russell's nice objection to this view. The very process by which we observes similarities (as assess their degrees) needs to be explained by any adequate theory of properties or universals.
Similar objects have similar properties; properties are directly similar [Heil]
     Full Idea: Objects are similar by virtue of possessing similar properties; properties, in contrast, are not similar in virtue of anything.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 14.2)
     A reaction: I am not sure if I can understand the concept of similarity if there is no answer to the question 'In what respect?' I suppose David Hume is happy to take resemblance as given and basic, but it could be defined as 'sharing identical properties'.
8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 5. Class Nominalism
Objects join sets because of properties; the property is not bestowed by set membership [Heil]
     Full Idea: The set of red objects is the set of objects possessing a property: being red. Objects are members of the set in virtue of possessing this property; they do not possess the property in virtue of belonging to the set.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 12.2)
     A reaction: This seems to be a very effective denial of the claim that universals are sets. However, if 'being a Londoner' counts as a property, you can only have it by joining the London set. Being tall is more fundamental than being a Londoner.
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 1. Physical Objects
Trope theorists usually see objects as 'bundles' of tropes [Heil]
     Full Idea: Philosophers identifying themselves as trope theorists have, by and large, accepted some form of the 'bundle theory' of objects: an object is a bundle of compresent tropes.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], Intro)
     A reaction: This view eliminates anything called 'matter' or 'substance' or a 'bare particular'. I think I agree with Heil that this doesn't give a coherent picture, as properties seem to be 'of' something, and bundles always raise the question of what unites them.
Objects are substances, which are objects considered as the bearer of properties [Heil]
     Full Idea: I think of objects as substances, and a substance is an object considered as a bearer of properties.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 04.2)
     A reaction: This is an area of philosophy I always find disconcerting, where an account of how we should see objects seems to have no connection at all to what physicists report about objects. 'Considered as' seems to make substances entirely conventional.
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / c. Types of substance
Maybe there is only one substance, space-time or a quantum field [Heil]
     Full Idea: It would seem distinctly possible that there is but a single substance: space-time or some all-encompassing quantum field.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 05.2)
     A reaction: This would at least meet my concern that philosophers' 'substances' don't seem to connect to what physicists talk about. I wonder if anyone knows what a 'quantum field' is? The clash between relativity and quantum theory is being alluded to.
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / e. Substance critique
Rather than 'substance' I use 'objects', which have properties [Heil]
     Full Idea: I prefer the more colloquial 'object' to the traditional term 'substance'. An object can be regarded as a possessor of properties: as something that is red, spherical and pungent, for instance.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 15.3)
     A reaction: A nice move, but it seems to beg the question of 'what is it that has the properties?' Objects and substances do two different jobs in our ontology. Heil is just refusing to discuss what it is that has properties.
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 3. Unity Problems / c. Statue and clay
Statues and bronze lumps have discernible differences, so can't be identical [Heil]
     Full Idea: Applications of the principle of the indiscernibility of identicals apparently obliges us to distinguish the statue and the lump of bronze making it up.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 16.3)
     A reaction: In other words, statues and lumps of bronze have different properties. It is a moot point, though, whether there are any discernible differences between that statue at time t and its constituting lump of bronze at time t.
Do we reduce statues to bronze, or eliminate statues, or allow statues and bronze? [Heil]
     Full Idea: Must we choose between reductionism (the statue is the lump of bronze), eliminativism (there are no statues, only statue-shaped lumps of bronze), and a commitment to coincident objects?
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 16.5)
     A reaction: (Heil goes on to offer his own view). Coincident objects sounds the least plausible view. Modern statues are only statues if we see them that way, but a tree is definitely a tree. Trenton Merricks is good on eliminativism.
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 2. Qualities in Perception / a. Qualities in perception
If properties were qualities without dispositions, they would be undetectable [Heil]
     Full Idea: A pure quality, a property altogether lacking in dispositionality, would be undetectable and would, in one obvious sense, make no difference to its possessor.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 11.4)
     A reaction: This seems to be a very forceful and simple reason why we cannot view properties simply as qualities of things. Heil wants properties to be dispositions and qualities; personally I would vote for them just being dispositions or powers.
Can we distinguish the way a property is from the property? [Heil]
     Full Idea: It is not clear to me that we easily distinguish ways a property is from the property itself.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 11.6)
     A reaction: To defend properties as qualities, he is confusing ontology and epistemology. Presumably he means by 'ways a property is' what I would prefer to call 'ways a property seems to be'. I don't believe a smell is simply what it seems to be.
Properties don't possess ways they are, because that just is the property [Heil]
     Full Idea: Objects possess properties, but I am sceptical of the idea that properties possess properties; just as a property is a way some object is, a property of a property would be a way a property is, but that is just the property itself.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 12.1)
     A reaction: This is quite a good defence of the idea that properties are qualities as well as dispositions. However, if we make the qualities of properties into secondary qualities, and the dispositions into primary qualities, the absurdity melts away.
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 2. Qualities in Perception / b. Primary/secondary
Objects only have secondary qualities because they have primary qualities [Heil]
     Full Idea: Secondary qualities are not distinct from primary qualities: an object's possession of a given secondary quality is a matter of its possession of certain complex primary qualities.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 17.3)
     A reaction: The bottom line here is that, if essentialism is right, colours are not properties at all (see Idea 5456). Heil wants to subsume secondary properties within primary properties. I think we should sharply distinguish them.
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 2. Qualities in Perception / d. Secondary qualities
Secondary qualities are just primary qualities considered in the light of their effect on us [Heil]
     Full Idea: Secondary qualities are just ordinary properties - roughly, Locke's primary qualities - considered in the light of their effects on us.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 14.10)
     A reaction: Unconvincing. If they only acquire their ontological status as primary qualities if they have to be considered in relation to something (us), then that is not a primary quality.
Colours aren't surface properties, because of radiant sources and the colour of the sky [Heil]
     Full Idea: Theories that take colours to be properties of the surfaces of objects have difficulty accounting for a host of phenomena including coloured light emitted by radiant sources and so-called film colours (the colour of the sky, for instance).
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 17.4)
     A reaction: Personally I never thought that colours might be actual properties of surfaces, but it is nice to have spelled out a couple of instances that make it very implausible. Neon and sodium lights I take to be examples of the first case.
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 2. Qualities in Perception / e. Primary/secondary critique
Treating colour as light radiation has the implausible result that tomatoes are not red [Heil]
     Full Idea: Theories that tie colours to features of light radiation deal with radiant and diffused colours, but yield implausible results for objects; tomatoes are not red, on such a view, but merely reflect red light.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 17.4)
     A reaction: I see absolutely no problem with the philosophical denial that tomatoes are actually red, while continuing to use 'red' of tomatoes in the normal way. When we analyse our processes of knowledge acquisition, we must give up 'common sense'.
13. Knowledge Criteria / E. Relativism / 6. Relativism Critique
If the world is just texts or social constructs, what are texts and social constructs? [Heil]
     Full Idea: For those who regard the world as text or a social construct, are texts and social constructs real entities? If they are, what are they?
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 20.6)
     A reaction: A nice turn-the-tables question. The oldest attacks of all on scepticism and relativism consist of showing that the positions themselves rest on knowledge or truth. Nietzsche may be the best model for relativists. E.g. Idea 4420.
14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 1. Scientific Theory
If the world is theory-dependent, the theories themselves can't be theory-dependent [Heil]
     Full Idea: If the world is somehow theory-dependent, this implies, on pain of a regress, that theories are not theory-dependent.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 06.4)
     A reaction: I am not sure where this puts the ontology of theories, but this is a nice question, of a type which never seems to occur to your more simple-minded relativist.
14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 2. Aim of Science
Science is sometimes said to classify powers, neglecting qualities [Heil]
     Full Idea: The sciences are sometimes said to be in the business of identifying and classifying powers; the mass of an electron, its spin and charge, could be regarded as powers possessed by the electron; science is silent on an electron's qualities.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 11.2)
     A reaction: Heil raises the possibility that qualities are real, despite the silence of science; he wants colour to be a real quality. I like the simpler version of science. Qualities are the mental effects of powers; there exist substances, powers and effects.
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / j. Explanations by reduction
One form of explanation is by decomposition [Heil]
     Full Idea: One form of explanation is by decomposition.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 19.8)
     A reaction: This is a fancy word for taking it apart, presumably to see how it works, which implies a functional explanation, rather than to see what it is made of, which seeks an ontological explanation. Simply 'decomposing' something wouldn't in itself explain.
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 4. Intentionality / b. Intentionality theories
Dispositionality provides the grounding for intentionality [Heil]
     Full Idea: Dispositionality provides the grounding for intentionality.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], Intro)
     A reaction: This is a view with which I am sympathetic, though I am not sure if it explains anything. It would be necessary to identify a disposition of basic matter that could be built up into the disposition of a brain to think about things.
Intentionality now has internalist (intrinsic to thinkers) and externalist (environment or community) views [Heil]
     Full Idea: Nowadays philosophers concerned with intentionality divide into two camps. Internalists epitomise a traditional approach to thought, as intrinsic features of thinkers; externalists say it depends on contextual factors (environment or community).
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 18.2)
     A reaction: This is basic to understanding modern debates (those that grow out of Putnam's Twin Earth). Externalism is fashionable, but I am reluctant to shake off my quaint internalism. Start by separating strict and literal meaning from speaker's meaning.
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 5. Qualia / c. Explaining qualia
Qualia are not extra appendages, but intrinsic ingredients of material states and processes [Heil]
     Full Idea: Properties of conscious experience, the so-called qualia, are not dangling appendages to material states and processes but intrinsic ingredients of those states and processes.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], Intro)
     A reaction: Personally I am inclined to the view that qualia are intrinsic to the processes and NOT to the 'states'. Heil must be right, though. I am sure qualia are not just epiphenomena - they are too useful.
17. Mind and Body / A. Mind-Body Dualism / 7. Zombies
Philosophers' zombies aim to show consciousness is over and above the physical world [Heil]
     Full Idea: Philosophers' zombies (invented by Robert Kirk) differ from the zombies of folklore; they are intended to make clear the idea that consciousness is an addition of being, something 'over and above' the physical world.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 20.1 n1)
     A reaction: The famous defender of zombies is David Chalmers. You can't believe in zombies if you believe (as I do) that 'the physical entails the mental'. Could there be redness without something that is red? If consciousness is extra, what is conscious?
Zombies are based on the idea that consciousness relates contingently to the physical [Heil]
     Full Idea: The possibility of zombies is founded on the idea that consciousness is related contingently to physical states and processes.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 20.3)
     A reaction: The question is, how do you decide whether the relationship is contingent or necessary? Hence the interest in whether conceivability entails possibility. Kripke attacks the idea of contingent identity, pointing towards necessity, and away from zombies.
Functionalists deny zombies, since identity of functional state means identity of mental state [Heil]
     Full Idea: Functionalists deny that zombies are possible since states of mind (including conscious states) are purely functional states. If two agents are in the same functional state, regardless of qualitative difference, they are in the same mental state.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 20.5)
     A reaction: In its 'brief' form this idea begins to smell of tautology. Only the right sort of functional state would entail a mental state, and how else can that functional state be defined, apart from its leading to a mental state?
17. Mind and Body / C. Functionalism / 1. Functionalism
Functionalists say objects can be the same in disposition but differ in quality [Heil]
     Full Idea: A central tenet of functionalism is that objects can be dispositionally indiscernible but differ qualitatively as much as you please.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 11.3)
     A reaction: This refers to the multiple realisability of functions. Presumably we reconcile essentialism with the functionalist view by saying that dispositions result from combinations of qualities. A unique combination of qualities will necessitate a disposition.
17. Mind and Body / C. Functionalism / 8. Functionalism critique
Functionalism cannot explain consciousness just by functional organisation [Heil]
     Full Idea: Functionalism has been widely criticized on the grounds that it is implausible to think that functional organization alone could suffice for conscious experience.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 20.2)
     A reaction: He cites Block's 'Chinese Mind' as an example. The obvious reply is that you can't explain consciousness with a lump of meat, or with behaviour, or with an anomalous property, or even with a non-physical substance.
17. Mind and Body / D. Property Dualism / 6. Mysterianism
The 'explanatory gap' is used to say consciousness is inexplicable, at least with current concepts [Heil]
     Full Idea: The expression 'explanatory gap' was coined by Joseph Levine in 1983. McGinn and Chalmers have invoked it in defence of the view that consciousness is physically inexplicable, and Nagel that it is inexplicable given existing conceptual resources.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 19.8 n14)
     A reaction: Coining a few concepts isn't going to help, but discovering more about the brain might. With computer simulations we will 'see' more of the physical end of thought. Psychologists may break thought down into physically more manageable components.
17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 5. Causal Argument
If a car is a higher-level entity, distinct from its parts, how could it ever do anything? [Heil]
     Full Idea: If we regard a Volvo car as a higher-level entity with its own independent reality, something distinct from its constituents (arranged in particular ways and variously connected to other things), we render mysterious how Volvos could do anything at all.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 02.3)
     A reaction: This seems to me perhaps the key reason why we have to be reductionists. The so-called 'bridge laws' from mind to brain are not just needed to explain the mind, they are also essential to show how a mind would cause behaviour.
17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 7. Anti-Physicalism / b. Multiple realisability
Multiple realisability is actually one predicate applying to a diverse range of properties [Heil]
     Full Idea: Cases of multiple realisability are typically cases in which some predicate ('is red', 'is in pain') applies to an object in virtue of that object's possession of any of a diverse range of properties.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 14.8)
     A reaction: If the properties are diverse, why does one predicate apply to them? I take it that in the case of the pain, the predicate is ambiguous in applying to the behaviour or the phenomenal property. Same behaviour is possible with many qualia.
18. Thought / C. Content / 6. Broad Content
Externalism is causal-historical, or social, or biological [Heil]
     Full Idea: Some externalists focus on causal-historical connections, others emphasise social matters (especially thinkers' linguistic communities), still others focus on biological function.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 18.5 n6)
     A reaction: Helpful. The social view strikes me as the one to take most seriously (allowing for contextual views of justification, and for the social role of experts). The problem is to combine the social view with realism and a robust view of truth.
18. Thought / C. Content / 7. Narrow Content
Intentionality is based in dispositions, which are intrinsic to agents, suggesting internalism [Heil]
     Full Idea: I suggest that intentionality is grounded in the dispositionalities of agents. Dispositions are intrinsic to agents, so this places me on the side of the internalists and against the externalists.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 18.4)
     A reaction: I think this is a key idea, and the right view. The key question is whether we see intentionality as active or passive. The externalist view seems to see the brain as a passive organ which the world manipulates. If the brain is active, what is it doing?
19. Language / A. Nature of Meaning / 2. Meaning as Mental
The Picture Theory claims we can read reality from our ways of speaking about it [Heil]
     Full Idea: The theory of language which I designate the 'Picture Theory' says that language pictures reality in roughly the sense that we can 'read off' features of reality from our ways of speaking about it.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 03.2)
     A reaction: Heil, quite rightly, attacks this view very strongly. I think of it as the great twentieth century philosophical heresy, that leads to shocking views like relativism and anti-realism.
19. Language / D. Propositions / 2. Abstract Propositions / b. Propositions as possible worlds
If propositions are states of affairs or sets of possible worlds, these lack truth values [Heil]
     Full Idea: When pressed, philosophers will describe propositions as states of affairs or sets of possible worlds. But wait! Neither sets of possible worlds nor states of affairs - electrons being negatively charged, for instance - have truth values.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], Intro)
     A reaction: I'm not sure that I see a problem. A pure proposition, expressed as, say "there is a giraffe on the roof" only acquires a truth value at the point where you assert it or believe it. There IS a possible world where there is a giraffe on the roof.
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
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
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.
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 / 9. General Causation / b. Nomological causation
The standard view is that causal sequences are backed by laws, and between particular events [Heil]
     Full Idea: The notion that every causal sequence if backed by a law, like the idea that causation is a relation among particular events, forms a part of philosophy's Humean heritage.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 04.3)
     A reaction: This nicely pinpoints a view that needs to come under attack. I take the view that there are no 'laws' - other than the regularities in behaviour that result from the interaction of essential dispositional properties. Essences don't need laws.
27. Natural Reality / E. Chemistry / 2. Modern Elements
The real natural properties are sparse, but there are many complex properties [Heil]
     Full Idea: I am sympathetic to the idea that the real properties are 'sparse'; ...but if, in counting kinds of property, we include complex properties as well as simple properties, the image of sparseness evaporates.
     From: John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 13.4)
     A reaction: This seems right to me, and invites the obvious question of which are the sparse real properties. Presumably we let the physicists tell us that, though Heil wants to include qualities like phenomenal colour, which physicists ignore.
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.