This is a blog to discuss philosophy, chess, politics,
C. S. Lewis, or whatever it is that I'm in the mood to discuss.
Totally off topic, but I was banned at Uncommon Descent. Pretty ironic given all their "Expelled" garbage.I didn't post anything disrespectful, but only disagreed.
I was also banned by Valicella. Thanks for not banning me.
I would like to see you banned. Not because you're an atheist, but because I strongly suspect you're a Duke fan.
Victor, can we please ban people from Chapel Hill from posting here?
And now we know the real reason you don't believe in God. You worship the Devil(s).Listen up, communist. Rock solid fallacious proof of God's existence.1. If God loves the Tar Heels, the sky will be Carolina Blue. (Unjustifiable Assumption)2. The sky is Carolina Blue. (From Science)3. Therefore, God loves the Tar Heels (Affirming the Consequent)4. If God loves the Tar Heels, God exists. (Just plain common sense)5. God loves the Tar Heels. (From 3)6. Therefore, God exists.QED.
If Valicella banned you, chances are you deserved it.
Also: Palin is clearly nuts. Since most of my fundie relatives love Palin for exclusively religious reasons, I've been telling them lately to check out the specifics of her pentecostal church on youtube. After being creeped the eff out and invariably concluding that the practices they witness are "not of the true Spirit" I ask, "now do you really want that kind of demonic influence in charge of our country?"(Suddenly naive socialists aren't nearly as bad as they used to be, compared to demons from hell.)
Victor,I'm going to have to go off topic slightly here, so I apologize in advance. Have you ever studied statutory interpretation? The reason I ask is that law students are told every year that linguistic philosophy has learned that "text lacks meaning until it is interpreted" 42 Stan. L. Rev. 321, 346 and other similar claims that often cite Wittgenstein and even Anscombe. This seems to me poisonous to legal education. For if "text lacks meaning until it is interpreted," then I have no reason for believing my interpretation to be true, and therefore no reason for believing that ""text lacks meaning until it is interpreted." In other words a critique of this plays out very similarly to the AfR, but is almost never said because philosophy has 'decided' that meaning 'is' interpretation and we aren't to argue with philosophy.
Charlie:You can see the thread here. I posted under my name 'Eric.' I don't think I "deserved" it, but you can make up your mind there whether he was reasonable.I wrote more about the topic in a blog more open to real discussion and disagreement here.Valicella has a strong preference for posts with a certain sycophantic bouquet.
anonymous: that is an awesome argument, better than Aquinas!
Bert,The reason I ask is that law students are told every year that linguistic philosophy has learned that "text lacks meaning until it is interpreted" 42 Stan. L. Rev. 321, 346 and other similar claims that often cite Wittgenstein and even Anscombe.That is a gross distortion of Wittgenstein’s later philosophy.Sometimes interpretation of a text is necessary, but an act of interpretation presupposes meaning in the text. If there were no meaning there would be nothing to interpret.The meaning of a word is given by an explanation of its meaning, not by an interpretation.
BDK,I ban all Brentano readers, too.That was facetious. I was banned by Valicella long ago, which is funny to me b/c we are both contributors to the group blog, Prosblogion.
Randy--I'm sure that's true making the fact that the article I cited as well as the school of thought that "defines legal meaning as 'semantic,' i.e...it receives its content from the intent of an author" 55 Cath. U.L. Rev. 655 is close to orthodoxy in statutory interpretation all the more troubling.
PS-- Recall the Geach quote in VR's book: "When we hear of some new attempt to explain reasoning or language or choice naturalistically, we ought to react as if we were told someone had squared the circle..."I think this is the root of the problem. These legal scholars insist on explaining language naturalistically and end up having to resort to Humpty Dumpty esque nonsense by saying things like words mean whatever their author intends them to mean because they have ex ante removed the true explanation: supernaturalism
I think this is the root of the problem. These legal scholars insist on explaining language naturalistically and end up having to resort to Humpty Dumpty esque nonsense by saying things like words mean whatever their author intends them to mean because they have ex ante removed the true explanation: supernaturalismOften in interpreting cases and law people try to understand what the person who wrote it was trying to say. Taken to its extreme you get strict constructionism. More liberal legal scholars and judges tend to be more flexible, and try to read the documents in light of the meanings of the words rather than author intent.I think with verbal utterances, their meaning is largely determined by speaker intentions. If, while sleeping, God switched certain word meanings for everyone but me, perhaps making 'woman' as offensive as 'c---', and I said, 'That woman is smart!' what would be the right way to interpret what I said?Indeed, if this thought experiment even makes sense (and it does, as the actual words themselves have an arbitrary connection to meaning--there is no necessary connection between the physical sign 'woman' and women), that suggests meannings of public utterances depends on speaker intent.And this is really a different issue than interpretivism, which you brought up above, that what X means is what X is interpreted as meaning. This also seems wrong, but I am surprised that you would then go on to criticize the view that meaning depends on speaker intent, as that is the main alternative to interpretivism!
Clayton: Give us a link! :)
Blue Devil Knight,With all due respect, you clearly lacked an understanding of Vallicella's project in that entry, and as a result your comments look misguided to serious readers. I'm surprised he didn't delete them altogether.Valicella's comment policy seems perfectly reasonable:Leaving comments is a privilege, not a right. The site administrator is under no obligation to accept comments at all, let alone from any particular person. And to underscore the obvious: nothing in the nature of a weblog requires that it accept comments from readers.2. Disallowing comments from a particular person, or deleting an offensive, off-topic, or otherwise substandard comment, has nothing to do with censorship. People who think otherwise confuse censorship with lack of sponsorship. I am under an obligation not to interfere with anyone's exercise of legitimate free speech rights. But I am not under any obligation to aid and abet anyone's exercise of free speech rights, legitimate or illegitimate.3. The Comments area is not an open forum for anyone to say anything about any topic. As the name implies, it is primarily for commenting on the author(s)' posts. But to comment on them, one must have read them. And if I have spent three hours on a post, a reader will not understand it in thirty seconds. Secondarily, the Comments area is to facilitate civil discussion between and among commenters as long as the discussion remains on-topic.4. Some undesirables: The skimmers, those who cannot read but only read-in. The sophists who, abusing argument, argue for the sake of argument. The ideologues, those who are out for power, not truth. The uncivil. The illogical. The politically correct. Worst of all, perhaps, are those who exemplify the anti-Socratic property: those who think they know what they don't know. If Socrates was famous for his learned ignorance, these types are marked by their ignorant unlearnededness.
BDK,Alas, I didn't get the official announcement of being banished. I was banned without ceremony. Last comment I remember making had to do with Moore's infamous proof of the external world and a remark to the effect that the historical Moore seemed more concerned with ontological issues than many have acknowledged. It was something Sosa had been saying in some papers and talks. Maybe he's been banned also, I've never seen any comments from him there.Fwiw, I think his policy is sensible enough. His application of the policy is an entirely different matter.
Charlie: I disagree. I know quite a bit about this topic, but don't take Brentano or Husserl as the last word. In modern philosophy of mind it is standard to take pain as 'exhibiting' intentionality. I was pushing these lines of thought, which from previous posts I know he is not very familiar (e.g., Dretske, about whom he writes ignorantly).What bugged me was that his post was meant to argue for the old-school pheneomenologist's claim about pain, but then in dismissing me he acted as if I should accept their "results." That was the whole point of the post, to make a case for that basic claim, so I went after premise 2 when he got his knickers in a bunch.Obviously it is his right to edit his blog and allow whomever to comment or not. My point wasn't to dispute that. That doesn't mean he isn't often mercurial (to use a euphemism). Indeed, that's part of what makes him entertaining even when he's flat-out wrong.At the other post I link, I have a positive story in which pain does have an intentional object. It seems much more reasonable than his, but maybe you can set me straight where I go wrong, since you seem to know enough about the topic to see my folly.
BDK,There is a difference between having a pain in one's hand and thinking about a pain in one's hand. I had the impression from your post on Valicella's blog that you were failing to distinguish the two.In any case, I do agree with you that Valicella seemed to overreact. At least he didn't delete your posts.
There is a difference between having a pain in one's hand and thinking about a pain in one's hand.Thanks Randy. I am arguing that when having a (conscious) pain in one's hand, the conscious content (i.e., the pain) is an intentional content. Even contents like 'red' (which Valicella would call 'properties) are intentional contents.If you mean to argue that unfelt pains are not intentional, I would probably disagree, but I doubt that is what you meant. I think even unconscious representations (often) have intentional content.On the other hand, I am not all that wedded to the word 'intentional' here. It is a strange word whose meaning has been dune-like over the last century. If he meant to simply stipulate his four conditions as definitional of intentional content, then things aren't as clear.
How is it that red as a *property* escapes the intentionality foothold? Or is this just another confusing Thomistic category regular people cannot understand? Just kidding. Thomists are great!
BDK,I have a positive story in which pain does have an intentional objectThat wouldn't matter, even granting your story. All it takes to disprove ∀xFx is ∃x~Fx. Responding with a case where ∃xFx is inconsequential. Now it does seem like Vallicella's point about felt pains was a bit strong. It welcomes many further questions. Nonetheless, he did present a tight argument for it, and your comments don't get at the argument at all. (Your unclear prose didn't help matters either (e.g. "If the unicorn is red is redness a different intentional state).) Raising questions of the sort you did in response to that entry ("How do you define an 'object'?") suggests that you didn't read his entry carefully. (BTW one could raise that question in just about any contemporary metaphysical dispute.) Either that, or you simply didn't understand the discussion, which seems to be Vallicella's conclusion.
BDN, banned at UD: Well, the banner-in-chief at UD is an ass. What can one say? (Also, intellectually and in most other ways, he'd "fit" better amoungt your set.) But then, frequently, so are you an ass. What can one say?
Illion, were you bullied as a child? Watch for the choke!
"Illion, were you bullied as a child?"This question is relevant to what, how?"Watch for the choke!"And this means what?
Charlie:I think you are just yanking my chain, but I'll pull back just a bit.Obviously I never thought giving one example proves all mental states are intentional. If you read his post, you see he was arguing that pain is a nonintentional mental state, and I was working up a counterargument to that specific claim.He doesn't define object. That is an important question that the old ones also didn't get at clearly. It is key for him that properties are not objects, and that is a nontrivial claim. I admit some of my prose was unclear. That is probably the biggest problem with my post.OK enough of this. This is very narcissistic.
BDK,Thanks Randy. I am arguing that when having a (conscious) pain in one's hand, the conscious content (i.e., the pain) is an intentional content. Even contents like 'red' (which Valicella would call 'properties) are intentional contents.I’d have trouble adopting that position as it appears that you are then simply replacing “conscious” with “intentional”. I wouldn’t say you were wrong adopting that position, but I have trouble seeing it being of much use. Why bother with the term “intentional” at all then?I see its use restricted to our intellectual capacity to have thoughts of things that may or may not be the case. And those thoughts are specified by descriptions of what they are thoughts of. If you mean to argue that unfelt pains are not intentional, I would probably disagree, but I doubt that is what you meant. I think even unconscious representations (often) have intentional content.I would say that imagining or thinking of a situation where I fell and cut my hand and then screamed as a result of the sharp pain in my hand is different than having the sensation of pain in my hand as a consequence of actually falling and cutting my hand. In the former case, in order to specify that particular imagined thought I would describe my hand as having a sharp pain. In the latter case, I would be by specifying the sensation I had: a sharp pain in my hand. To think of a pain or imagine a pain is a mental act. To feel a pain, have a pain or be in pain is not an act.And the fact that in both cases a specification is necessary does not mean both are intentional. If that were the case, then the fact that “to smoke” is specified by its grammatical object in the phrase ”to smoke a pipe” would make it intentional.So I would disagree with Bentano that intentionality is the defining feature of the mental.
For those interested in the subject of intentionality, I have found the following article to be very informative.
Randy: good points. I know that many tend to use 'propositional content' and 'intentional content' interchangeably, and I often do the same.
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