October 30, 2008
Quote of the Day: Berkeley's Own Summary of the Argument from Representational Realism to Skepticism
In a previous post, I summarized Berkeley's argument against representational realism. I just came across a very good passage in the Dialogues where Berkeley himself gives a summary of his argument that representational realism leads to unpalatable skeptical consequences: It is your opinion, the ideas we perceive by our senses are not real things, but images, or copies of them. Our knowledge therefore is no farther real, than our ideas are the true representations of those originals. But as these supposed originals are themselves unknown it is impossible to know how far our ideas resemble them; or whether they resemble...
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October 23, 2008
The Simplicity of Berkeley's Argument Against Representative Realism
A passage in T.E. Jessop's introduction to the Siris reminded me today of how simple Berkeley's argument against representative realism is. Jessop writes, "Such archetypes - material things as understood by the Cartesians and Locke - [Berkeley] rejected on the epistemological ground that they require a representative theory of perception, which logically entails scepticism, since it excludes the possibility of comparing the sensed object and the supposed 'real object'." (Berkeley, Works, ed. Luce and Jessop, vol. 5 p. 17) The argument, in all its simplicity, goes like this: Representative realism holds that, for each object of our experience, there exist...
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October 22, 2008
California Proposition 8: What Rights?
There are some issues that I always hesitate to talk or write about on account of the fact that it seems to me that most of the discussion on the issue - regardless of which side it's coming from - is, well, stupid. Evolution (in the context of either (1) theology, or (2) public education) is one of those issues. Another is gay marriage. Nevertheless, since, now that I'm a Californian, I have to decide how to vote in two weeks, I suppose I had better wade in. When the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of allowing gay marriage,...
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"Can Berkeley's God Raise the Same Body, Transformed?'
My paper "Can Berkeley's God Raise the Same Body, Transformed?"
, which is to be presented at the Society of Christian Philosophers, Pacific Division conference
next week is now available on the conference web-site. I would greatly appreciate any comments or criticisms.
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October 21, 2008
The End of Libertarianism?
I'm still on the newsletter of the Penn Libertarian Association
, which has pointed me to an article on Slate
entitled "The End of Libertarianism"
. Author Jacob Weisberg believes the current US financial collapse proves that libertarianism is not viable in the same way that the fall of the USSR proved that Communism is not viable. I offer two brief practical responses and one theoretical response.
, without any government involvement, it is unlikely that any of this would have happened...
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October 17, 2008
Quote of the Day: Why do Relativists Write Books?
The sophist Protagoras of Abdera
(c. 490-420 BC) wrote a book entitled Truth
(which does not survive) in which he argued that 'man is the measure of all things;' an early form of relativism. In Plato's Theaetetus
, Socrates gives the following review of Protagoras' book: Well, I was delighted with his general statement of the theory that a thing is for any individual what it seems to him to be; but I was astonished at the way he began. I was astonished that he did not state at the beginning of the Truth
that 'Pig is the measure of all things'...
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October 14, 2008
Minimalist Ontology and Familiar Object Talk
I have just finished reading Mark Johnston's 1992 paper, "Constitution is Not Identity," reprinted in Michael Rea's Material Constitution: A Reader
. After arguing against a variety of theories of material constitution, Johnston claims that, with regard to our talk about familiar objects, "the distinction it embodies is acceptable as it stands and what is bogus is the conception of justifying our practice which requires that, for the distinction to be justified, the difference between an F
and its constituting matter must be a deep metaphysical difference secured by an extra ingredient of the F
." (Rea, p. 58) Johnston calls the person who holds this view 'the Minimalist'...
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October 8, 2008
Baber on the Real Presence
Some of the papers to be presented at the Society of Christian Philosophers, Pacific Division Conference
have now been posted
. Mine isn't up yet, but I will provide a link when it is. For now, I want to point readers to a paper by the University of San Diego's Harriet Baber
which she has entitled simply "The Real Presence"
. We have previously discussed here the difference between transubstantiation and real presence
. Baber describes this quite nicely in her introduction...
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October 6, 2008