Saturday, 1 October 2011

Recommended and Suggested Readings and Writings

Some book you can consider to begin with, I just throw some books onto this list:
Logics - The Logic Book by Bergmann, Moor and Nelson, McGraw-Hill, 4th ed., 2004. There is also a 5th ed. now.
Philosophy of Science - The Philosophy of Science - Science and Objectivity by George Couvalis, Sage, 1997.
(I think I choose this book above Donald Gillies' book, The Philosophy of Science in the Twentieth Century, even though, there is a standing recommendation of mine that you digest all that you get the time to digest and widely so, including "ordinary" and "contemporary" science (not just the "cases" mentioned in Philosophy of Science books)!
Epistemology - Introduction to Contemporary Epistemology by Jonathan Dancy, Blackwell, 1985.
(This book is getting old and there should be enough room now to make a bigger and better book by now. You'll have to check yourself. If you're stuck with this information, then it's still a relatively good choice. I've enjoyed it a lot.)
(There is a lot of books to mention. I'm not any authority on these, I've just had the pleasure to learn greatly by them. So I'm coming up with more, especially the 7 areas (4 left) and other books with them, especially some compilations, like this one of Martinich, The Philosophy of Language, 5th ed. This is it from me for now.) Have fun!

Here are some webpages you can have reading advise from.
Half the expertise of philosophy (and the Ivy League) lies in guidance and enabling the students to become masters in their field. A key part of this is the curriculum. I present here some good advise on Philosophy books to read from the University of Oslo and I hope you can add others. Perhaps you like to comment on them as well. It follows:
Metaphysics and Philosophy of Mind:
Epistemology and Philosophy of Science:
Logics and Philosophy of Language:
History of Philosophy:

Don't be scared if you find Norwegian terms and words there and you can always use Google Translation, please.
The books are largely listed in English. This list is for the basics as noted by lower numbers, i.e., 1xxx rather than 2xxx or 3xxxx and so on. Enjoy! I'll add more later!
Post subject: Objectivity - Building a model of reality PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 2:30 am

[This post has been written in its entirety by Wootah!] By Wootah:
"There has been some discussion recently about objectivity and relativity. My point of view is that a belief system needs to not violate the following conditions.

1 - no contradictions

2 - resistant to being reduced to absurdity

3 - ability to achieve goals within the model

When it comes to objectivity I don't know of any contradictions or arguments of absurdity that it needs to overcome. I would appreciate if anyone knows of any to share them.

When it comes to relativity I feel it fails both 1, 2 and 3.

To whit: Everything is relative means that there is no necessary connection between what you and I mean. However I observe that we do understand each other on many issues.

Therefore to justify relativism you have to explain away:
- the apparent contradiction of 'everything is relative' but we understand each other,
- you have to explain how the example isn't absurd; to me it is absurd to think that this relativist system means that when you ask for the salt and pepper I can logically choose to take a dump on your food and relatively speaking it might be what you asked for.
- Finally you have to show how you can get 'anything' done when you don't even know if what you say is what you mean.

Please understand I know full well that this doesn't mean that objectivity is true. I understand full well that everything may be relative and that I may well just be functioning and thinking it is objective. It may well be flukes when I pass you the salt. I haven't proved objectivity.

But do I have to?

Aren't we compelled to take things as being objective because the alternative fails such simple tests of being a contradiction, absurd and without use.

Willing to be hammered by some arguments.

(There might be other conditions on a belief system that you value that I haven't added or that I value but haven't elucidated but that was the big 3 that came to mind. Share them.)
Post subject: Scientific vs Philosophical Methods - From PF PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 9:11 pm

This topic is imported from because I think it contains some good points! Here you are.
by reincarnated,
"The "scientific method" may be summarised roughly as follows (yes, we can argue about the details, but its generally as shown):

1. Define the question
2. Gather information and resources (make observations)
3. Form a plausible and falsifiable hypothesis which answers the question based on observations
4. Design experiment to test hypothesis
5. Perform experiment to test hypothesis, and collect data
6. Analyze and interpret data and draw conclusions – has the hypothesis been falsified?
7. Optionally, go back to step 3
8. Publish results & conclusions
9. Retest (frequently done by other scientists)

One very important element of the scientific method is the formation of a falsifiable hypothesis.

Can we define an agreed “philosophical method”? And if so, is it possible to summarise the key steps of the philosophical method in a fashion similar to the scientific method?"

By Postmodern Beatnik:
"I like this question. As above, I don't know if we can define a strict philosophical method, but I do believe there are certain general methods. One might be seen as directly parallel to the version of the scientific method you give:

1. Define the question.
2. Gather information and resources (do a literature search).
3. Form a plausible and defensible hypothesis.
4. Design arguments and thought experiments to defend the hypothesis.
5. Analyze the arguments and draw conclusions – has the hypothesis been demonstrated, or at least defended against possible objections?
6. Optionally, go back to step 3.
7. Publish results and conclusions.
8. Reformulate in light of responses (frequently done by other philosophers).

While the above method has the virtue of being parallel to the given version of the scientific method, it does not satisfy me. I can't say that I've spent a great deal of time formulating a superior philosophical method, but as a first attempt I would perhaps suggest the following variation:

1. Pose a question.
2. Refine the question into something explainable and conceivably answerable.
3. Gather information and resources (do a literature search).
4. Consider the logical space (that is, the space of possible answers).
5. Examine arguments for and against the various possible answers.
6. Design arguments and thought experiments for and against the various possible answers.
7. Analyze the results of these arguments: Which possible answers have been shown to be untenable? What do the various answers entail, or what are they entailed by? How does this affect the reasonableness of any given possible answer?
8. Form an opinion.
9. Publish results and conclusions.
10. Reformulate or abandon as necessary in light of responses.

One of the key differences between the first and second philosophical methods is when one forms an opinion. It is my own belief that far too many people have opinions first and look into philosophical justifications for them afterward, rather than examining the whole of a logical space and following the arguments where they go. No doubt I succumb to this temptation myself from time to time. Hopefully, a philosophical method more like the above would help mitigate this problem.

That said, I'm sure the method I suggest could deal with some refining of its own."

By myself:
"The instance of where scientific and philosophical methods align is that of Naturalism. Otherwise, I'm with the list that has been made by Postmodern Beatnik in his post of 01/19/09 - 07:51 PM. I'd like to add to point 1 the making of invention of fitting descriptions and what else like that of fallibilism, locutionary, illocutionary, perlocutionary, performative, transcendence. I think you can get far by inventing an appropriate perfect description in one of the philosophical fields that may set the course for others to follow."

By myself again:
"About the philosophical method:
I think philosophy today is all in the mind. Maybe you can draw on the results of sciences to make indications in your description or question, however, the speculation is a central theme and innovations of new angles and ideas are crucial toward the material of philosophy. You may be able to invent new areas in philosophy, but I find that incredibly hard. I'm satisfied with the classical questions for now. One project I have been thinking about, is to make an economic index in philosophy of science where you evaluate the impact of new scientific findings and express it in economic terms. In this way you may find the answer to your precision of evaluation which may not be bad. While scientists spend a lot of time designing experiments and working with engineers in this regard, philosophers innovate and evaluate the pure ideas that may lead to actual testing or normative standards. So words, words, words, that is all there is to philosophy."
Post subject: Truth and Words by Gary Ebbs and Frege's Riddle PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:33 pm

I'd like to present a book, Truth and Words by Gary Ebbs in relation to Frege's Riddle in particular. I've also commented this book.
Its table of contents:
1: Regimentation
2: The Tarski-Quine thesis
3: The intersubjectivity constraint
4: How to think about words
5: Learning from others, interpretation, and charity
6: A puzzle about sameness of satisfaction across time
7: Sense and partial extension
8: The puzzle diagnosed and dissolved
9: Applications and consequences

I bet that he calls Frege's Riddle dissolved because it's now clear (has been for a while?) that if the descriptions are proper, Frege's Riddle falls simply because the description is exhaustive in the sense that Truth is obtained by it just like our use of "metal" as substance or "ceramic jars" as ceramic jars.

I think this book will be a fine leading star to the end of providing good guidance to sensible philosophy (without having read it) and I also suspect that I'm more or less wholly in sympathy to its content. You can check it out!

(to be continued!)

1 comment:

  1. So here is an update on ReSuReWr:
    Philosophy of Language - A. P. Martinich, The Philosophy of Language, 5th ed. I also recommend that you read Quine's Word and Object to get the command you need. My books are also getting old, so be critical and find what suits you, please!
    Metaphysics - Richard Taylor, Metaphysics, 4th ed. This is a light book, but it's very condensed. You may think it's an easy read, but you will soon find out that there's a lot to learn and deep thoughts to be thought! A suggested reading is M. J. Loux, Metaphysics, 3rd ed. It's my advise also that you check with the TOC so that you get a grip on what's in the book, that you get the right book by TOC.
    Philosophy of Mind - Jaegwon Kim, Philosophy of Mind, 2nd ed. This book has it all and you should make sure that your book contains some of the same as this book if you buy a different book!
    Ethics - T. L. Beauchamp, Philosophical Ethics, 2nd ed. This is an introductory book along with many of the above. As you know, I've enjoyed every book and it's just to start acquire yours and browse them. There's no definite need to start reading from page 1. Look through them and read some here and there before you delve in them, seriously. You can possibly advance in the subject by Moral Reality by P. Bloomfield and Companions in Guilt by Hallvard Lillehammer. Ethics is now more interesting insofar as it has been proven that ethics is central to the human mind/psyche. It is very important and a classical, celebrated, central discipline of Philosophy. I check out for now! Goodbye!