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Stuart W. Mirsky
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Russell, the Analytics & Early Wittgenstein

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Citing Sources and Quoting Quotes

The quote below, from a blog by Wittgensteinian philosopher Reshef Agam-Segal, struck me as particularly interesting since it goes to the crux of many of our arguments here and in the past. Often when someone cites a claim or argument from another (a philosopher like Searle or Dennett or, needless to say, Wittgenstein) the response is something like 'prove that's what he said or didn't say, or prove that's what he meant or didn't mean.' It's as if the person posing that demand wants to say that there is a clear-cut received opinion concerning so and so's ideas about this which is clearly accessible to us in black and white if we just go read what he says. . . .

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On The Club's Meaning of "Analytic Philosophy"

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Missouri, Originalism & Stupidity

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Empathy and Reasons

This is a very preliminary draft which I expect will require a lot of revision. It's also longer than my usual offerings here which aren't especially short in general anyway. I also diverge here from the typical Wittgensteinian path I usually follow and verge, dangerously, on a kind of existentialist incoherence. I hope to fix that in a later iteration. But for now I've decided to put this up on the list anyway . . . in case anyone here shares my interest in trying to understand and explain how moral valuing works.

Wittgenstein pointed out that the search for justifications, for reasons, ultimately comes to an end. We can only dig so deeply and then, as he put it, our spade is turned. We can go no further. But valuing is a reason-giving game since in making any ascription of value we do so with reasons in mind. Not to have reasons leaves us without a basis for valuing the thing at all – in which case, even if our spade is turned at some point, it cannot be turned here, within the valuing game itself, or that game must collapse. Without the reasons we give others and ourselves – which reflect comparisons of different things, of different options, of different possibilities – value cannot be ascribed. Reasons are the explanations we give ourselves and others when called upon to justify what we do. . . .

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Defeating the Dennett Defense of Materialism

In his video presentation to the 5th Online Conference on Consciousness, Daniel C. Dennett proposed to defend materialism from dualism; but, oddly enough, Dennett only states a portion of the argument from which he intends to defend materialism. In what follows, I state a complete argument for dualism from the existence of experience. I take due care to

  1. to affirm Dennett's admission that the brain/experience relation is not the relation of logical identity
  2. to affirm the existence claim that Dennett admits the defender of materialism must deny.

I then show that denying the disputed existence claim leads to an unpalatable conclusion, the non-existence of experience. Consequently, the Dennett Defense to the Argument for Dualism from Experience fails. Some sort of dualism is inevitable.

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