Friday, May 29, 2020

Metaphysical taxidermy

I’ve often emphasized that the reason consciousness poses such a persistent problem for materialism has less to do with consciousness itself than it has to do with the desiccated conception of matter that we’ve inherited from early modern philosophy and science.  Barry Dainton makes the same point a couple of times in his book Self.  For example, he writes:

Friday, May 22, 2020

The lockdown is no longer morally justifiable

As I have said before, I think that the lockdown that was put in place in the United States two months ago was morally justifiable given the circumstances at the time.  In my opinion, under current circumstances, it is no longer morally justifiable.  To be sure, I am not denying that some social distancing measures are still justifiable and even necessary.  I am also not denying that a more modest lockdown may still be defensible in some localities.  But the draconian total lockdown that was put in place across most of the country is at this point no longer defensible, and state and local authorities who are relaxing it are right to do so.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Oderberg on the hierarchy of being

In February, David Oderberg gave a lecture in Oxford on the theme “Recovering the Hierarchy of Being.”  You can now watch it on YouTube.  Be sure also to check out David’s new book The Metaphysics of Good and Evil (about which you can find information at the publisher’s website).

Friday, May 15, 2020

The lockdown and appeals to authority

Here are two things every serious student of logical fallacies understands.  First, if what is at issue is the soundness of an argument, then the motives and expertise of the person giving the argument are completely irrelevant.  To fail to see this is to commit an ad hominem fallacy of “poisoning the well.”  Second, if what is at issue is the credibility of expert testimony, then the motives and expertise of the person giving the testimony are highly relevant.  To fail to see this is to commit a fallacy of “appeal to authority.”

Friday, May 8, 2020

Presentism and analogical language

Terms are used univocally when they are used in the same sense, as the word “bat” is in both “The baseball player swung the bat” and “The cricket player swung the bat.”  Terms are used equivocally when why are used in completely unrelated senses, as the term “bat” is in “The baseball player swung the bat” and “A bat flew in through Bruce Wayne’s window.”  The analogical use of terms is a middle ground kind of usage.  I gave an example when discussing Aristotelian realism in my recent First Things review of William Lane Craig’s book God Over All:

Friday, May 1, 2020

Joe Biden Superstar

For something lighter as you go into the weekend, have a listen to songstress Hannah Hoffman’s “You Know the Thing,” a setting to music of Joe Biden’s deep thoughts on the foundations of human rights.  This promises to become something of a new genre, given that we’ve already had The Gregory Brothers’ now-classic Biden-penned hit “Hairy Legs.”  Certainly you can take it to the bank that Biden will keep providing us with interesting lyrics.

While you’re at it, you should check out also the jazzy Ms. Hoffman’s philosophical tunes “Euthyphro,”  “Fallacy Funk,” and “The Trolley Problem.”