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Philosophy according to JoB: objective 3

I started here with an overview of the objectives. I continued here with the second one dedicated to our prior art. It is now time to finish this with the third and final objective which, when reached, will ensure a common context (foundation) for the real work we’d like to do later on.

This is what we said before about this objective:

3. Acquire the ability to integrate the prior art with the goals

Now this was probably not the most fortunate way of putting it. Acquiring an ability is an activity. Unless we believe all of the nonsense of brain scientists, there is no way of monitoring whether such a process takes place let alone whether it takes place successfully. To put it more directly: we can all think we are acquiring all kinds of abilities whilst we are just acquiring the ability of procrastination combined with that of complacency. The flip side of this is that anybody can attest to anybody else of us ‘doing our best’ or ‘putting in a lot of work’ but whilst all of that may have ‘merit’, neither has a direct link with that ability we want acquired.

So the better formulation would have been ‘to demonstrate the acquisition of the ability to integrate the prior art with the goals’ (even if it sounds horrible, as a sentence). How to demonstrate this? Via language of course. In our case specifically by using language to demonstrate we can create original links between the 8 philosophers reviewed and the conjecture of progress being the nature of language.

Below the fold you will find the concrete steps to do this in this community. Your contribution could well demonstrate in concrete fact an example of progress by language. In fact, that is the third objective.

Continue reading

June 16, 2013 Posted by | Tuesday Quought | , , , , | Comments Off

Philosophy according to JoB: objective 2

I left it here at stating the first two objectives with the second one being:

‘Understand the basic prior art i.e. relevant philosophy’ means that

  • you are able to pinpoint the basic claim to fame of following thinkers:
  1. I. Kant, H-G. Gadamer
  2. J. Habermas, J. Rawls
  3. D. Davidson, P. Grice
  4. H. Kyburg Jr., G. Gigerenzer
  • you can understand why they are in four categories, and,
  • you can inter-relate the main themes of their respective works.

Assuming you have completed the first bullet, I owe you some explanation on the last two bullets. Here goes: Continue reading

May 28, 2013 Posted by | Tuesday Quought | , , , , | 1 Comment

Philosophy according to JoB: objectives

This is an experiment in which I claim no expertise. The previous sentence will be my only disclaimer.

The goal is to join together people to examine the justifications for a belief I have: progress is the nature of language. I hope this is not an original thought because if it would be its examination would have to rely on the unlikely coincidence that the right people would find me and join me in a sustained way despite my strenuous use of language. I further hope that people do join and, if so, that they  join in the spirit of amateurism. Why the latter? Because my belief entails – or so I believe – that any true communication presupposes that amateurs, if sufficiently motivated, can contribute to it (call that “the grounding principle“).

Let me not get ahead of ourselves though: before we can get to the goal we have to cover our preliminaries. In this case, we have to establish a common context (a mental meeting place if you will) where we of course may see things differently but not because we see different things. This is the starting point as individuals can only come together after having established a common context i.e. after having formed a community. I know all this begs the initial question. That shouldn’t be an issue, I spoke of my belief as a belief and we have time to come back to whether it is justified or not (so I ask you to apply another corollary of my belief – one coined by Grice – “the principle of co-operation“).

The following three objectives are set for individuals aspiring to be part of this community:

  1. Continue reading

May 7, 2013 Posted by | Tuesday Quought | , , , , | 1 Comment

Weekly Confessional: Stolen Finish

I confess to getting hung up on a fairly minor point.

When the Boston Marathon bombings happened, I think my reaction was probably similar to most people’s. I was horrified. I’ve been at finish lines as both a runner and a spectator. They have an unbelievably positive vibe. Just about everybody there is personally invested and the people who aren’t are volunteering to help others and are usually very energetic about it. It seemed particularly vicious to wipe all that out with what seemed to be random violence.

Adding to my horror was a little exercise I did. In an attempt to properly empathize with the people affected, I pictured my last finish when I was able to find my wife, my brother, my mom and my sister cheering in the crowd as I crossed. That image is very positive and burned into my brain (I hope) forever. Superimposing the films from the bombings over that image in my brain was too effective, too emotional, because I assumed some poor soul didn’t have to imagine it. Some poor soul probably lived through it.

When I pulled back from that terrible image, I thought of all the ways people would be affected. I eventually realized I didn’t really hear anybody mention the runners who didn’t finish. That’s probably appropriate. They probably consider themselves lucky. I’d imagine most of them felt a little disappointment, but focused their energy on finding their loved ones and getting back home safe. Still, I felt bad for them. Continue reading

April 30, 2013 Posted by | Friday Afternoon Confessional | 1 Comment

Sunday Stories: Gass if

Time for my story.  It might very well be the last (I say, as if anybody cares). As if I care whether manybodies care. Faux is the pas of making an out-of-bracket comment on a between brackets comment. And that quite sums up my story. That and a rather improper use of the words ‘and’ and ‘that’ and that mainly at the start of sentences. And excessive self-commenting, I guess. That too.

As if I know the only one watching me am I; compelling me to do, comment on doing and reflect on the commenting – all at once. Not – also not a word to lead a sentence with, I might add (and just did: add that is) – particularly an attraction people will pay for. Not even an attraction people won’t pay for. Not even one to ignore. Just something not to notice. What if, then again, what if such and such?

Continue reading

April 28, 2013 Posted by | Sunday Stories | , , , , | Comments Off

Weekly Confessional: Good Dog

I confess to being very relieved this weekend when I found out my brother would get to keep his guide dog after it was retired from its work duties. He’s had this guide dog for the past eight years, but when he first received the dog the organization who trains and finds home for these dogs said they typically go to a new home after they retire. The reasoning behind this is the retiring guide dogs are often reluctant to hand over their duties to a new dog.

Guide dogs give up a lot of what we think of as “being a dog” to do their work, and to respond to that sacrifice by taking them away from their home for their final years seems almost too sad to bear. Actually, knowing my brother and his family, it would have been too sad to bear and that’s why they’re keeping him. It appears the organization he uses to get his guide dog has relaxed their policy somewhat, and if the owner can care for the dog in its retirement years, it is up to the owner whether they keep the dog or not.

Unfortunately, many people who need a guide dog are alone and/or on a fixed income and cannot care for a second dog. There was one such woman at the guide dog facility when my brother trained there eight years ago. He said she was openly weeping at her loss. I can’t help but wonder how the level of trauma compares for the dog being taken away from its owner.

I’m very happy for my brother and his dog, though. His dog is as wonderful as you’d imagine these dogs to be and has grown at least as protective of my brother’s family as he is of my brother. Now he gets to live out his “retirement” with the family he’s known his entire life and will get to enjoy life as a “normal dog”. For example, when he visits my house in retirement, he’ll be able to play with my black lab mix with abandon. This is a treat he was often unable to resist even when he was supposed to be working.

April 17, 2013 Posted by | Friday Afternoon Confessional | 2 Comments

The Sunday Tunnel: No Light, No Tunnel

[Continues from here.]

This is where it ends. Where I start yet another life filled to the brim with dreams that, if not frustrated, will get frustrating. So much is true of any tunnel: that if there is no light at the end of it, it is no tunnel (regardless of timeless logic which may always hold but which in time never applies.

“(..) you always lose at solitaire, she said, smiling a rare, mother-made smile: crosswords are never completed, only given up, and card games like these are never won; that’s why I play them.” (ibid., p. 631)

The truth in this book has been ample and like that word it feels amputated as if the truth in this book is a phantom joy, the sensation of excitement felt in what is no longer there. Cut and left wet, moist with tears for what cannot be; a be that stings, a life that stinks.

“But every dark is different. Some darks may be boundless, stratospherical, pure, but I prefer mine circumscribed like a corset, and where, if I had a soul, it would be squoozen, and where, when I’m found, I’ll be identified as the remains of a Continue reading

April 14, 2013 Posted by | Sunday Stories | , , , | 1 Comment

The Sunday Tunnel: Mother Makes a Cake

[Continues from here.]

“Early in life, I learned to fear my birthday. Later, Christmas would follow close behind in the measured amount of my dislike. Finally, every holiday, even the Fourth of July, my former favorite, would fill me with apprehension. But it was the onset of my birthday which made my palms sweat.” (ibid., p. 604).

This is a day for me where (when?) I am off; like: milk off, like: not turned on. This is the day I should need to quote from the best piece of prose I ever read. Luckily I am off: it spares me the frustration of not being able to do justice to what has to be quoted, so allowing me to cover my disability with inability. Read it, few friends, and weep because it is all that is wrong about the world and it also has the essence of what is good about this world. Charity as in hypocritical keeping up appearances and the Gricean principle of charity trying, even if flat-out failing, to understand.

This is not it but it is something which is neither false nor falsch:

Continue reading

April 6, 2013 Posted by | Sunday Stories | , , | 2 Comments

Weekly Confessional: Social cocoon

I confess I may not be as social a person as I like to imagine.

There is a local bar I go to a lot. Most of the time when I go there, it’s to place a takeout order and have a beer while I wait. The other day, I walked in and the bar appeared to be full to capacity. The only empty stools have drinks in front of them or jackets on the back of the seat.

So I planned to just stand as I waited. But a woman sitting at the bar noticed me waiting and said I could sit in the seat next to her, as there was nobody sitting there. I asked if she was sure, because there was a half full glass of wine and a jacket on the chair. The jacket was hers. the wine was her friends. It was fine if I sat down. When she explained why she had been reserving it, she trailed off and part of the reason for her trailing off may have been that she spilled her friend’s wine as she was moving it.

This situation was ripe for discomfort from my perspective. First, she had apparently not wanted somebody sitting next to her but after seeing me, had changed her mind. Potentially flattering, but not a situation I’m particularly keen on being involved in. Secondly, the spilled wine was to the right of her and I was on her left. I kind of felt like I should help with the cleanup, but a) she had it under control and b) it was pretty intimate quarters for two people to be doing the job. Therefore, I awkwardly sat in my chair trying to look appreciative for her having opened up the seat for me. Finally, when somebody spills wine all over the bar, there is a natural assumption that they are drunk. One of the least appealing conversations to have is with somebody who’s drunk when you’re sober. Continue reading

April 4, 2013 Posted by | Friday Afternoon Confessional | 2 Comments

The Sunday Tunnel: about This world and the Other

[Continues from here.]

Technically it’s a Monday but Jesus died in order for me to be able to call it Sunday. There is such a thing called serendipity (yes, it’s a thing, you can even kick it around although you don’t need a garden to do it in and it will not break windows – it could break hearts though, he added mellowly). I am reading Kripke and although that is not strictly a proof for what I just said, it does lend it – all in all and as per the below – more plausibility.

“She preferred me to begin at the base of her neck. I preferred to begin a bit higher up, on the shoreline of her hair. With my right forefinger slanted slightly to bring the nail into play, I would inscribe the course of a river – so gently, so slowly, it might have been a tear’s trail – running its convoluted way the length of Lou’s back, semicircling a buttock, and concluding in her crack, at a fulfillment one might call a delta.” (ibid., p. 554-555)

What joy is this which ends in mere tranquility? Continue reading

April 1, 2013 Posted by | Sunday Stories | , , , | 2 Comments


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