Notes on Truth, Beauty, and Goodness -- Phil A231

William Jamison - Instructor

Private Language and Private Experience

What is admirable?

p 146 how is using another person's memory more certain than mine?

Sociological Cogito (The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change -- by Randall Collins; Paperback) and I will read from him then do a brief over view of philosophy, and then point out that current linguistic turn is a standing back from emotional commitment to a narrative.

I quoted (roughly) from Robert Nozick in his book Invariances argues on p. 1 that: (what I quoted in class I have put into italics)

Introduction: On Philosophical Method

Philosophy begins in wonder. How much of our view of the world is objective, how much is subjective? How much of what (we think) is true holds absolutely, how much is relative to our situation? Are truths only local or do some hold everywhere and always? Does ethics have an objective basis? Why are we conscious? What is the function of felt experiences in an objective world?

Previous philosophers, almost all of them, have sought to establish permanent truths in an enduring framework of thought; these truths were supposed to be absolute, objective, and universal. Details might remain to be filled in, but the essentials were meant to be in place and to stand firm for all time.

In mathematics, a fixed-point theorem states that all transformations of a certain type (for instance, continuous ones) leave at least one point in a certain space unchanged. The unchanged point is a fixed point of the trans- formation. It is not the point's intrinsic nature that leaves it fixed, however. Although every transformation may leave some point or other fixed, different points are left fixed by different transformations. No one point is left fixed by every transformation.

Philosophers, however, have sought points that remained fixed under all transformations, at least all the ones that were worth considering. Such points would constitute absolutely secure foundations for knowledge and values. The most prominent candidates for fixity were the cogito of Descartes, the sense data of the empiricists, and the necessary metaphysical truths of the rationalists. These points were supposed to be not only fixed but also fertile enough to support the rest of our knowledge and values. One by one, these purportedly certain, indubitable, and unassailable points have been shaken. And their fertility also was undermined. Little could be built upon them using only perfectly secure means of building.

The pragmatist Charles Peirce held, against Descartes, that nothing was indubitable. Each thing was open to doubt, although not all things at once.


Here is an Einstein quote from chapter

Geometry sets out form certain conceptions such as "plane," "point," and "straight line," with which we are able to associate more or less definite ideas, and from certain simple propositions (axioms) which, in virtue of these ideas, we are inclined to accept as "true." Then, on the basis of a logical process, the justification of which we feel ourselves compelled to admit, all remaining propositions are shown to follow from those axioms, i.e. they are proven. A proposition is then correct ("true") when it has been derived in the recognised manner from the axioms.



Terms from the Blue and Brown Books

quiz on metrosexual

Robert Nozick 

article on time equation

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