Monday, July 30, 2007

Where I Stand

Browsing around the Web I recently came across this post at Fides Quaerens Intellectum and thought I would put together a summary of my current philosophical outlook.

  • Trinitarian theism - God exists and is essentially tri-personal.
  • A-theory of time - There is an objective 'now'. The totality of reality is non-constant.
  • Presentism - Whatever exists, exists now. Past things are no more. Future things are not yet.
  • Indeterminism - Not all events are determined by prior events + causal laws.
  • Incompatibilism - Free will (in a morally significant sense) is incompatible with determinism.
  • Libertarianism - Free will (in a morally significant sense) requires that at some point in the aetiology (causal ascestry) of one's choices one have had the ability to choose either of two or more incompatible options.
  • Modal actualism - Non-actual possibilia do not exist.
  • Endurantism - Things persist by being wholly present at each of the several moments at which they exist.
  • Anti-physicalism/Anti-reductionism - The mental cannot be reduced or explained in wholly physical terms. I am more than my body.
  • Both internalist and externalist dimensions of justification are essential for knowledge.
  • Degrees of knowledge - "Knowledge" is an analogical concept. One doesn't have to have ideal knowledge (infallibility, deductive certainty, omniscience, or what have you) in order to have knowledge of a genuine and important sort.
  • Fallibilism - It is conceivable that we are mistaken about nearly everything that we think we know.
  • Personal probability - For epistemological purposes, the most basic probabilities are credences (personal degrees of belief). There are no such things as Keynesian logical probabilities.
  • Mental content is internal - Pace Putnam, meanings are "in the head".
  • Commonsensism - The mere fact that something seems to be true is, in the absence of defeaters, adequate justification for believing it to be true.
  • Foundherentism - Susan Haack's ugly term for a position that combines foundationalism and coherentism. Instead of the pyramid or the raft, her metaphor is the crossword puzzle!
Philosophy of Language
  • Propositions are the fundamental truth-bearers, not sentences.
  • Propositions are abstract, not concrete.
  • Correspondence theory of truth - Aristotle put it best: To say of what is that it is, or to say of what is not that it is not, is to speak the truth.
  • Serious tensing - I "take tense seriously". Tenseless discourse is parasitic upon tensed discourse.
  • Conceptual metaphor theory - According to recent cognitive linguistics, nearly all abstract thought is deeply metaphorical.
  • Moral realism - There are mind-independent moral facts. They are non-natural.
  • Moral objectivism - Moral facts are not relative either to individuals or to cultures/societies.
  • Virtue ethics - Neither strict utilitarianism nor strict deontologism is correct. Becoming a virtuous person should be the focus, more so than particular actions and choices.
Philosophical Style and Method
  • Analytic - Strive for clarity, precision, and rigor.
  • Systematic - A philosopher should always keep an eye on the big picture and work towards a comprehensive and unified metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, etc.
  • Pragmatic - From my extensive reading of Peirce I've acquired the habit of asking, with respect to any philosophical concept or distinction, what "conceivable practical experiences" could signify that it applies.
  • Dead philosophical heroes - Charles S. Peirce, Bernard Lonergan, Thomas Reid, Plato, Aristotle, Blaise Pascal, C.S. Lewis.


At 7/31/2007 9:09 AM, Blogger Ian said...

Thanks for the great summary, Alan! I always find it interesting to hear how much I agree with someone despite the telling the differences.

Things I disagree with:
A-theory of time (I like B-theory)
Presentism (I like eternalism)
Serious tensing (if that's understood as implying an A-theory of time)

Things I'm not sure about:
Endurantism (I'm also drawn to perdurantism)
Anti-physicalism/Anti-reductionism (there are one or two fairly convincing arguments on both sides)
Personal probability (just don't know enough about this stuff)
Mental content is internal (I have a hard time thinking that all content is external but just as hard a time thinking it is all internal)
Conceptual metaphor theory (simply not sure)

Pretty much everything else I'm in agreement with.

My own dead philosophical heroes include Aristotle, Augustine, Anselm, and David Lewis (lots of As there!)

At 8/01/2007 7:13 AM, Blogger Enigman said...

Aargh, not David Lewis!? More seriously, useful list. I'm going to attempt the same sort of thing myself. My first thought is that I'm a philosopher without much of a philosophy though!

At 8/01/2007 7:20 AM, Blogger Enigman said...

By the way, do you have any interesting links to "conceptual metaphor theory"? In thinking about Dummett's approach to mathematics last year, I too noticed that "abstract thought is deeply metaphorical" but I haven't yet met any analyses along those lines.

At 8/05/2007 6:26 PM, Blogger Alan Rhoda said...

Hi Enigman,

My list of the great philosophical dead is not necessarily exhaustive. D. Lewis arguably deserves a place on such a list. I'm somewhat ashamed to admit, however, that I really haven't read much of his work. That's a lacuna I intend to fill in the near future.

Regarding conceptual metaphor theory, the only works I've read so far are "Philosophy in the Flesh" by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, and "Where Mathematics Comes From" by Lakoff and some other guy that I don't remember right now. I don't buy into the entirety of their program (IMHO they unnecessarily tie it to a physicalistic doctrine of the human person), but on the role of metaphor as the conceptual bridge from the concrete to the abstract I think they're right on the money.

At 8/11/2007 2:21 AM, Blogger Enigman said...

Many thanks for those, I'm now awaiting the latter (Lakoff and Nunez) from my local library. (Re the physicalism, so far I've found only Searle to be good on language, and his materialism (although he doesn't call it that) also to be seperable.)


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home