Category Archives: Philosophy

On Argumentation in the Mind-Body Dualism Debate and Mike A. Robinson

There is a fellow by the name of Mike A. Robinson running about and self-publishing just about everything he writes, blogging the rest.  I have yet to find, within the expanse of his writings, anything that is particularly good or well informed.  I stumbled upon one of his blog postings, entitled “The Brain and the Mind Are Not Identical,” and I felt it was closely enough related to my last blog post that I should comment on it.  Originally, my intention was to demonstrate how assumptions made by any side of a debate, such as the free-will/determinism and soul/no-soul debates, make it unlikely that we will ever have a clear and definitive answer; but this blog has turned into a review of Mike A. Robinson, as an author.  I cannot recommend avoiding his writings enough.

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Filed under Cognitive Science, Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind

A Response to “The Brain on Trial”

I want to take a look at an article published in the Atlantic a few years ago, called “The Brain on Trial” by David Eagleman.  (The link to the original article can be found here by clicking on this sentence.)  I will not critique the general legal conclusion that Eagleman pushes for, because I largely agree with him, i.e., the conclusion that neuroscience can be used to determine whether some temporary abnormality can and should exculpate an alleged criminal offender.[1]  What I will address is the sloppy philosophy that Eagleman performs.  I do appreciate that Eagleman is well aware of the intellectual domains of which he speaks, but his craft in each varies widely —his philosophy, in particular, needs critiquing.

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Filed under Cognitive Science, Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Science, Science

Understanding the Role of Kant’s Antinomies in Refuting Transcendental Realism

In one of my first blog posts, I posted the notes for help in understanding the role Kant’s antinomies play in the refutation of transcendental realism.  It was just a skeleton of references and bits of commentary over a secondary sources and the first Critique.  I have recently been impelled to flesh out this skeleton.  The essay presented is a work in progress.  Continue reading

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Filed under Kantian Philosophy, Philosophy, Pure Philosophy

There May Be No Such Thing as Quantity in Nature, with an Example from Physiology

Some time ago, I was discussing the qualitative-quantitative divide with a friend, a medical doctor, who happens to be very interested in the philosophy of science.  The discussion became a debate, where we trying to get to the bottom of whether it was as I said, that the world is a qualitative entity, wherein the mind supplies quantity; or as he said, that the world has a mathematical ontology, something like the worldview championed by Meillassoux or Galileo.  To be clear, I was just arguing that it could be either way, with some slightly greater likelihood that the world may not have quantity in it, apart from that supplied by the mind.  By contrast, my colleague, the M.D., did not understand how it could be that there is no such thing as quantity in the world, in the sense that he could not envisage as scenario in which number does not inhere in the world.  Between us was the barrier of language and experience, which was constituted in the difference between education of a physicist —though I did do a pre-med track and have interests in the philosophy of medicine— and that of a physician.  We ended up settling on an example that is grounded in physiology.  I will set up the groundwork for the discussion, then, give the example, and, finally, provide the resolution that has come to me only recently.

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Filed under Kantian Philosophy, phenomenology, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Science, Pure Philosophy, Science

Allusion to Forms in Plato’s Theaetetus

Between having had two undergraduate courses on the Platonic dialogues —one on ancient Greek philosophy, one on Plato’s dialogues, specifically, and having read the remainder of the dialogues on my own—, I had never encountered the “Unitarianism versus Revisionism” debate, until taking (currently) a graduate course on Plato’s theory of knowledge.  Not just that, I had no inkling or intuition that there might be such a debate.  In examining why, with a mind to Theaetetus, I felt it difficult to buy the Revisionist position, and so it seems blog-post worthy to explain.

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Filed under Ancient Greek, Literature, Philosophy, Plato

Thoughts on a Fractured Reality

There is some discussion going on in the blogosphere (and youtube) about whether the world we live in is pluralistic or monistic.  Critical Animal’s blog (click here) contains a list of some of these blog posts.  As with most ideas, I am of many minds about the issue.  While I think I would prefer a world that is as envisioned by the zeitgeist of the Enlightenment, axiomatically and formally structured from the bottom up, it is becoming very difficult to see how the world could be anything other than pluralistic.  What I will do in the following is lay out why it seems to me that the world is pluralist, and then lay out why I think the human mind has such a natural bias toward mosism.  On the latter point, I think most readers will agree with me that the commonsense disposition —the disposition of any ole jane or joe on the street— is one inclined toward a single truth, possibly slightly more nuanced, in the axiomatic manner I described; and so I will spend some time explaining why this is probably the case.

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Filed under Cognitive Science, Kantian Philosophy, Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Physics, Philosophy of Science, Pure Philosophy

Teleology and Immaterial Substance after the Physico-Chemical Turn in the Life Sciences

I am posting a paper (click here) I have been playing with for a little while.  I generally don’t post anything that I might publish, but, with some added input and further vision in formulating it, I may be able to turn this into something worth publishing.  The essence of the paper is on vitalism and how teleology has not been stripped out of the original nascent formation (i.e., romantische Naturphilosophie) of the biological discipline.  The paper grew out of my reading of Timothy Lenoir’s The Strategy of Life: Teleology and Mechanics in nineteenth-Century German Biology. Continue reading

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Filed under History and Philosophy of Science, History of Physics, History of Science, Natural Philosophy, Philosophy, Philosophy of Physics, Philosophy of Science, Physics