Combining Texts

All the ideas for 'Matter and Memory', 'An Analysis of Knowledge and Valuation' and 'There is no a Priori'

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8 ideas

7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 3. Being / c. Becoming
Bergson was a rallying point, because he emphasised becomings and multiplicities [Bergson, by Deleuze]
     Full Idea: Bergson was a rallying point for all the opposition, …not so much because of the theme of duration, as of the theory and practice of becoming of all kinds, of coexistent multiplicities.
     From: report of Henri Bergson (Matter and Memory [1896]) by Gilles Deleuze - A Conversation: what is it? What is it for? I
     A reaction: The three heroes of Deleuze are Spinoza, Nietzsche and Bergson. All philosophers are either of Being, or of Becoming, I suggest.
12. Knowledge Sources / A. A Priori Knowledge / 4. A Priori as Necessities
Why should necessities only be knowable a priori? That Hesperus is Phosporus is known empirically [Devitt]
     Full Idea: Why should we accept that necessities can only be known a priori? Prima facie, some necessities are known empirically; for example, that water is necessarily H2O, and that Hesperus is necessarily Phosphorus.
     From: Michael Devitt (There is no a Priori [2005], §2)
     A reaction: An important question, whatever your view. If the only thing we can know a priori is necessities, it doesn't follow that necessities can only be known a priori. It gets interesting if we say that some necessities can never be known a priori.
12. Knowledge Sources / A. A Priori Knowledge / 9. A Priori from Concepts
We explain away a priori knowledge, not as directly empirical, but as indirectly holistically empirical [Devitt]
     Full Idea: We have no need to turn to an a priori explanation of our knowledge of mathematics and logic. Our intuitions that this knowledge is not justified in some direct empirical way is preserved. It is justified in an indirect holistic way.
     From: Michael Devitt (There is no a Priori [2005], §2)
     A reaction: I think this is roughly the right story, but the only way it will work is if we have some sort of theory of abstraction, which gets us up the ladder of generalisations to the ones which, it appears, are necessarily true.
12. Knowledge Sources / A. A Priori Knowledge / 11. Denying the A Priori
The idea of the a priori is so obscure that it won't explain anything [Devitt]
     Full Idea: The whole idea of the a priori is too obscure for it to feature in a good explanation of our knowledge of anything.
     From: Michael Devitt (There is no a Priori [2005], §3)
     A reaction: I never like this style of argument. It would be nice if all the components of all our our explanations were crystal clear. Total clarity about anything is probably a hopeless dream, and we may have to settle for murky corners in all explanations.
12. Knowledge Sources / E. Direct Knowledge / 4. Memory
Bergson showed that memory is not after the event, but coexists with it [Bergson, by Deleuze]
     Full Idea: Bergson has shown that memory is not an actual image which forms after the object has been perceived, but a virtual image coexisting with the actual perception of the object.
     From: report of Henri Bergson (Matter and Memory [1896]) by Gilles Deleuze - The Actual and the Virtual p.114
     A reaction: It strikes me as plausible to say that all conscious life is memory. Perceiving the present instant is only possible because it endures for a tiny moment.
We rely on memory for empirical beliefs because they mutually support one another [Lewis,CI]
     Full Idea: When the whole range of empirical beliefs is taken into account, all of them more or less dependent on memorial knowledge, we find that those which are most credible can be assured by their mutual support, or 'congruence'.
     From: C.I. Lewis (An Analysis of Knowledge and Valuation [1946], 334), quoted by Erik J. Olsson - Against Coherence 3.1
     A reaction: Lewis may be over-confident about this, and is duly attacked by Olson, but it seems to me roughly correct. How do you assess whether some unusual element in your memory was a dream or a real experience?
If we doubt memories we cannot assess our doubt, or what is being doubted [Lewis,CI]
     Full Idea: To doubt our sense of past experience as founded in actuality, would be to lose any criterion by which either the doubt itself or what is doubted could be corroborated.
     From: C.I. Lewis (An Analysis of Knowledge and Valuation [1946], 358), quoted by Erik J. Olsson - Against Coherence 3.3.1
     A reaction: Obviously scepticism about memory can come in degrees, but total rejection of short-term and clear memories looks like a non-starter. What could you put in its place? Hyper-rationalism? Even maths needs memory.
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 5. Coherentism / b. Pro-coherentism
Congruents assertions increase the probability of each individual assertion in the set [Lewis,CI]
     Full Idea: A set of statements, or a set of supposed facts asserted, will be said to be congruent if and only if they are so related that the antecedent probability of any one of them will be increased if the remainder of the set can be assumed as given premises.
     From: C.I. Lewis (An Analysis of Knowledge and Valuation [1946], 338), quoted by Erik J. Olsson - Against Coherence 2.2
     A reaction: This thesis is vigorously attacked by Erik Olson, who works through the probability calculations. There seems an obvious problem without that. How else do you assess 'congruence', other than by evidence of mutual strengthening?