Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Barry Stroud on Philosophical Scepticism

There is a very general philosophical question which asks how, on the basis of what human beings get through the senses, they can ever have good reason to accept the beliefs, hypothesis, and theories they hold about the world. What is in question are the credentials or the degree of well-foundedness of what is taken to be a fully-formed conception of the world and our place in it, as embodied in everything we believe. To show how (or which of) those beliefs amount to knowledge, or to beliefs we have good reason to hold, would be to explain, philosophically, how knowledge of the world is possible. If there are no such questions, our best reasons are inadequate, scepticism is the right answer, we do not know what we think we know.

[This passage (1999, 139) by Stroud is culled from The philosophy of Donald Davidson, edited by Lewis Hahn. One would wish that Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye had read this. Before they made their pronouncements about philosophy.]

Monday, July 25, 2016

In what way is a theory of truth, a theory of meaning? From Donald Davidson's Truth and Predication

"A theory of truth for a speaker is a theory of meaning in this sense, that explicit knowledge of the theory would suffice for understanding the utterances of the speaker. It accomplishes this by describing the critical core of the speaker's potential and actual linguistic behavior-in effect, how the speaker intends his utterances to be interpreted. The sort of understanding involved is restricted what we may call the literal meaning of words, by which I mean, roughly the meaning the speaker intends the interpreter to grasp, whatever force or significance the speaker may want the interpreter to fathom" (2000, 53).

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Reading Shakespeare 1: Macbeth Tomorrow Soliloquy

     I am making this post because 2016 means 400 years of Shakespeare. I will try to get to a lot of the verses I know and maybe some of the more significant ones for 2016.

     And by "Reading Shakespeare", I mean reading his verse aloud. It's obvious to some, but if you want to get it, read it aloud. After all, this was meant to be performed. I have seen Kenneth Branagh do Macbeth (The National Theatre Live). I will also be seeing Patrick Stewart's soon.  Here is the soliloquy:

She should have died hereafter.
There would have been a time for such a word.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
I wonder how many who viewed Inarritu's Birdman (2014) notice it being recited there? I first encountered a snippet of this in Diane Barsoum Raymond's Existentialism and the philosophical tradition.  Then I saw Kurosawa's Throne of blood (1957) for a class on Shakespeare. I have yet to see the Justin Kurzel's 2015 adaptation of Macbeth (with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard).

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

All Roads Lead to Philosophy: Pathways to Research 3 July Friday at De La Salle University Manila

De La Salle University Graduate School of Philosophy presents
All Roads Lead to Philosophy: Pathways to Research
3 July Friday. ADMISSION is FREE

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Skepticism and the Problem of Knowledge: Passages from Rene Descartes 2

      "So that after having reflected well and carefully examined all things, we must come to the definite conclusion that this proposition: I am, I exist, is necessarily true each time that I pronounce it, or that I mentally conceive it."
     "But what am I, now that I suppose that there is a certain genius which is extremely powerful, and, if I may say so, malicious, who employs all his powers in deceiving me? Can I affirm that I possess the least of all those things which I have just said pertain to the nature of body? I pause to consider, I revolve all these things in my mind, and I find none of which I can say that it pertains to me."
      "—What of thinking? I find here that thought is an attribute that belongs to me; it alone cannot be separated from me. I am, I exist, that is certain. But how  often? Just when I think; for it might possibly be the case if I ceased entirely to think, that I should likewise cease altogether to exist."

Skepticism and the Problem of Knowledge: Passages from Rene Descartes 1

     "I suppose, then, that all the things that I see are false; I persuade myself that nothing has ever existed of all that my fallacious memory represents to me. I consider that I possess no senses; I imagine that body, figure, extension, movement and place are but the fictions of my mind. What, then, can be esteemed as true? Perhaps nothing at all, unless that there is nothing in the world that is certain."
     "But how can I know there is not something different from those things that I have just considered, of which one cannot have the slightest doubt? Is there not some God, or some other being by whatever name we call it, who puts these reflections into my mind? That is not necessary, for is it not possible that I am capable of producing them myself? I myself, am I not at least something? But I have already denied that I had senses and body. Yet I hesitate, for what follows from that? Am I so dependent on body and senses that I cannot exist without these?" 
      —Not at all; of a surety I myself did exist since I persuaded myself of something [or merely because I thought of something]. But there is some deceiver or other, very powerful and very cunning, who ever employs his ingenuity in deceiving me. Then without doubt I exist also if he deceives me, and let him deceive me as much as he will, he can never cause me to be nothing so long as I think that I am something"