Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
x Turn on thread page Beta

TSR Philosophy Society (TSR PhilSoc) watch

Announcements
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by wanderer)
    I think you'll find Plato wrote in ancient greek...
    :hahaha:

    Seriously, the translations though. Its sooo long and roundabout. You only find out what he's talking about at the end of the three-page sentence.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by skevvybritt)
    :hahaha:

    Seriously, the translations though. Its sooo long and roundabout. You only find out what he's talking about at the end of the three-page sentence.
    Well, as I said, different linguistic enivonment - he was writing for an intellectual elite with a lot of time on their hands. The translators have to find a balance between giving an accurate representation of the original and communicating the ideas clearly - thats why a lot of translations have summaries of each section at the beginning. I see what you mean though - and Aristotle is worse!

    Anyone see the program about torture on channel 4 the other night? We were asked to watch it for ethics, and I'm actually pretty glad I did.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by wanderer)
    Anyone see the program about torture on channel 4 the other night? We were asked to watch it for ethics, and I'm actually pretty glad I did.
    Oh yes, I read about that- I missed the programme though, damn same. What happened on it?
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Mimo)
    Oh yes, I read about that- I missed the programme though, damn same. What happened on it?
    This was the earlier one of the two - I didn't watch the 'experiment.' It was a lawyer who represents some of the guanatanamo inmates, basically denouncing torture completely, although he did talk to those who advocate its use. I thought the case against was excellently made though, even if the programme was quite one-sided.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by wanderer)
    This was the earlier one of the two - I didn't watch the 'experiment.' It was a lawyer who represents some of the guanatanamo inmates, basically denouncing torture completely, although he did talk to those who advocate its use. I thought the case against was excellently made though, even if the programme was quite one-sided.
    I though it could have been a lot more biased, he was obviously really trying hard to give an opposite view on a subject he's very close to - it was very well done considering his position
    You'd never get anything like it on the BBC - Channel 4 all the way :top: !
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by skevvybritt)
    :hahaha:

    Seriously, the translations though. Its sooo long and roundabout. You only find out what he's talking about at the end of the three-page sentence.
    Plato is a walk in the park compared to Husserl's Vienna Lecture, or the end part of Heideggers 'what is philosophy'
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    If anyone can help with some J S Mill C/W please reply at my c/w post
    Thanks!
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Mad_Monkey59)
    Plato is a walk in the park compared to Husserl's Vienna Lecture, or the end part of Heideggers 'what is philosophy'
    Trying to read Sartre's 'being and nothingness' pretty much put me off attempting, Hegel, Husserl or Heidegger, and I'm pretty certain at least some of the modern continental philosophy I've tried to read is actually simple nonsense.
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    I've always found Plato to be amazingly clear, and JS Mill to be extremely difficult to read. :P

    I think because I've read Plato in translation (Obviously) it's written in modern English, JS Mill is written in the English of the 19th Century.
    Plato's works are little pieces of drama as well as philosophy.

    alex
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    Here you go Toyl

    Haha, Kierkegaard = :cool:

    :tsr:

    ZarathustraX
    Attached Images
     
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by coldfish)
    I've always found Plato to be amazingly clear, and JS Mill to be extremely difficult to read. :P

    I think because I've read Plato in translation (Obviously) it's written in modern English, JS Mill is written in the English of the 19th Century.
    Plato's works are little pieces of drama as well as philosophy.

    alex

    Yeah I get that a lot too. Old translated foreign philosophy is often much better than the old english stuff. Trouble is, when you get to modern day its very much hit and miss. Sometimes its wonderful other times its almost incomprehensible.


    Seeing as I agree with many here who said ethics is dull, I thought, how about getting rid of it. How about this:

    Ethics doesn't exist.
    You can't have a theory of ethics because that presupposes that we all use words like 'good' 'evil' 'right' etc in similar ways and always mean the same thing. We don't. So therefore it is wrong to try to make a theory which says what 'good' 'right' and so forth mean. We shouldn't say what we mean when we say 'good' we just can't. All we can really do is show how we use the words. So ethics is not a subject, it is simply an arbitrary collection of words put together and called a subject.

    Any thoughts?
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    Evenin' all

    Vote for the Greatest Philosopher in the BBC poll: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/...losopher.shtml

    Take a look at the full list anyway, I think it's quite interesting - I am both surprised and pleased (and, more to the point, surprisingly pleased) that Fanon has made the list.

    Some of the descriptions of their thought are rather misleading though (*cough*Derrida*cough*) but oh well, what can one expect from a BBC Philosophy poll, eh?

    I'm thinking: Berkeley, Hume, Kant, Kierkegaard, Fanon...well, some of those I wouldn't actually think are the "greatest" and may not have had much influence (Berkeley, Fanon), but I like 'em. I would have considered Mill as well (for phenomenalism), but...I don't know...aaargh I can't remember why he's not on my list now!!

    What does anyone else reckon? Shortlists?

    ZarathustraX

    EDIT: Charles Kennedy votes JS Mill :cool:

    EDIT 2: Anne Robinson votes Nietzsche!! :rofl:
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    I was just about to say...Nietzsche !!. It goes well with her Death Reaper garb and nihilism on "The Weakest Link".

    I do think Berkeley's influential even though his philosophy IS significantly outdated - but of course he needs to be considered in context of the times he was writing in. But I still think Kant, Locke and Hume surpass him by far. There's always going to be a subjective element in voting for "best philosopher" anyway.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Reema)
    I do think Berkeley's influential even though his philosophy IS significantly outdated - but of course he needs to be considered in context of the times he was writing in. But I still think Kant, Locke and Hume surpass him by far. There's always going to be a subjective element in voting for "best philosopher" anyway.
    Well...there's "subjective"...and then there's choosing Locke over Berkeley :rolleyes: That's just another crime altogether :p:

    So which one you choosing? *can't make own mind up* lol

    ZarathustraX
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    You can't have a theory of ethics because that presupposes that we all use words like 'good' 'evil' 'right' etc in similar ways and always mean the same thing. We don't.
    An interesting thought, and a real problem with ethical language but on closer analysis I don't think it holds in the absolute way you present it. For example, although we do use a word like "good" in a different context ("Kate is good" to "My table is good"), there is a relation between that ethical language. It is analogical - takes on shifted meaning, rather than being essentially equivocal. While the context changes, there is effectively an element of "good" that relates the "goodness" of Kate to the "goodness" of the table. The problem is identifying what precisely this is and to what extent it works this way. Otherwise I think you'd get sucked into ethical relativism - and that brings its own baggage with it. I'm afraid you'll have to give some examples about what you mean by "similar ways and always mean the same thing" and that "we don't" - and justify it, otherwise i can't really go any further on that.
    So therefore it is wrong to try to make a theory which says what 'good' 'right' and so forth mean. We shouldn't say what we mean when we say 'good' we just can't.
    Just because we somehow can't find the words to express what "good" means, does not necessitate that it holds no meaning. If it does hold meaning, then perhaps we can sharpen and refine language to accommodate what we attempt to express in ethical terms.
    All we can really do is show how we use the words. So ethics is not a subject, it is simply an arbitrary collection of words put together and called a subject.
    Again, clarity is needed here. In what sense do you "show how" to use the words? If it is simply an arbitrary collection of words, then that's arguing ethics as a whole has no meaning. There is the difference between ethical language meaning different things (cf your first proposition), and ethical language being entirely meaningless. I think you may be unconsciously slipping between 2 different contexts here. Ayer for example, took an emotivist view of ethics, but as far as I can recall he did not jump to the claim that ethics consisted of an arbitrary collection of words. He still maintained that ethics conveyed *something*.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Zarathustra)
    Well...there's "subjective"...and then there's choosing Locke over Berkeley :rolleyes: That's just another crime altogether :p:

    So which one you choosing? *can't make own mind up* lol

    ZarathustraX
    I think I will go for Kant, simply because of his influence in bringing 2 streams of philosophy together. Also I think his moral philosophy is incredibly influential. I think as philosopher, he has had one of the most diverse impacts on the development of thought. So yes, probably Kant....but I keep getting tempted by Hume too. The thing is - what does this mean? "the most accessibly readable philosopher" would go to Hume as well as the title of contributing a lot to philosophy. But then I think Kant has had a greater impact, even though he's definitely not as accessible....

    Argggh!
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Calvin)
    Seeing as I agree with many here who said ethics is dull, I thought, how about getting rid of it. How about this:

    Ethics doesn't exist.
    You can't have a theory of ethics because that presupposes that we all use words like 'good' 'evil' 'right' etc in similar ways and always mean the same thing. We don't. So therefore it is wrong to try to make a theory which says what 'good' 'right' and so forth mean. We shouldn't say what we mean when we say 'good' we just can't. All we can really do is show how we use the words. So ethics is not a subject, it is simply an arbitrary collection of words put together and called a subject.

    Any thoughts?
    Well I reckon - I'm not addressing your main point here, just noting something - that when we use the word "good" in the examples Reema gives (the goodness of the table) we are just saying that the thing does what it is meant to do well - it fulfils its purpose as a table. A "bad" table would be one which fell down when you put food on it or something!

    But with regard to ethics, I think people just use good as a word of approval with no specific meaning in mind. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's a redundant concept - perhaps the purpose of Ethics should be to identify things which all humans could reasonably approve; then we'd know what was good (by example at least if not by definition). Unless we were relativists, and conceded that what's good for us here might not be good for them there, of course. :p:

    Something more coherent later perhaps...

    ZarathustraX
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Reema)
    An interesting thought, and a real problem with ethical language but on closer analysis I don't think it holds in the absolute way you present it. For example, although we do use a word like "good" in a different context ("Kate is good" to "My table is good"), there is a relation between that ethical language. It is analogical - takes on shifted meaning, rather than being essentially equivocal. While the context changes, there is effectively an element of "good" that relates the "goodness" of Kate to the "goodness" of the table. The problem is identifying what precisely this is and to what extent it works this way. Otherwise I think you'd get sucked into ethical relativism - and that brings its own baggage with it. I'm afraid you'll have to give some examples about what you mean by "similar ways and always mean the same thing" and that "we don't" - and justify it, otherwise i can't really go any further on that.
    Just because we somehow can't find the words to express what "good" means, does not necessitate that it holds no meaning. If it does hold meaning, then perhaps we can sharpen and refine language to accommodate what we attempt to express in ethical terms.
    Clarity is definitely required. It was left out initially in case no one was interested.
    There is certainly a difference (to recognise Zarathustra's point) between a table being good and a person being good. We might usually say a table is good to convey something like 'the table is suitable for its purpose'. In the case of a good person is used to mean something like 'they are a virtuous person'.

    You say their is a relation between the two senses but I'd challenge you there. We use the word 'bank' to refer to both a financial institution and the side of a river, yet there is certainly nothing that combines the two, why must it be the case with a good person and a good table?

    However, that's not the real point. Even if we don’t distinguish between a good person and a good table (as I think we should) you still can’t say that there must be a single predicate which ties together all uses of the word ‘good’.

    To bring in Wittgenstein’s point with the word 'game': there is no single attribute which ties all games together. Some involve dice, some boards, some balls and bats, some are played in pairs and groups and some alone. No single thing can be identified as being unique and present in all games.
    Words like 'game' are best understood not as identifying some predicate that something has, but rather as grouping a number of things together which resemble one another.
    The same is arguably true in the case of 'good', 'bad', 'right' and so forth. There is no singe thing which makes all good things good. Rather all good things bear some loose resemblance to each other.
    Thus when I say that we use 'good' in a similar sense that is what I am saying. That there is no unique predicate which is 'goodness' but rather we use it to refer to a number of things which resemble each other in some way, but do not share a particular thing.


    Again, clarity is needed here. In what sense do you "show how" to use the words? If it is simply an arbitrary collection of words, then that's arguing ethics as a whole has no meaning. There is the difference between ethical language meaning different things (cf your first proposition), and ethical language being entirely meaningless. I think you may be unconsciously slipping between 2 different contexts here. Ayer for example, took an emotivist view of ethics, but as far as I can recall he did not jump to the claim that ethics consisted of an arbitrary collection of words. He still maintained that ethics conveyed *something*.
    We show how to use the words in the sense that, because the word is tied to a resemblance rather than a predicate we cannot point to some thing and say "this is what we mean by 'good'". All we can do is show how we use the word, that is, the sorts of things which we perceive as being part of that family.
    By saying it is an arbitrary collection of words I mean simply that we see certain resemblances and create a family out of them, but that equally an alien race might see different resemblances and create different families. The resemblances we see between words that make up ethics is arbitrary.
    Thus I'm not saying that ethical words have no meaning, far from it, they definitely do, all I'm arguing is that we cannot say what that meaning is. because it's no some one thing.

    Hope that was legible. Though perhaps like my exams I shall read it tomorrow and it won't make any sense
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Calvin)
    Words like 'game' are best understood not as identifying some predicate that something has, but rather as grouping a number of things together which resemble one another.
    The same is arguably true in the case of 'good', 'bad', 'right' and so forth. There is no singe thing which makes all good things good. Rather all good things bear some loose resemblance to each other.
    What would you say that all things we label "good" [in the moral sense] have in common then, other than the fact that they're all things that we somehow approve of them, which is more a common feature of our attitudes towards these than a common property of the things themselves (unless we are counting 'ability to inspire approval' as a common property of good things)?

    I like your analogy, but still think that it's not quite how the term 'good' works (imho, obviously). To re-cast it in terms of 'bad' for a moment - because I can think of an example for that now! - rather than designating a group of things with a common property, it could just designate a group of things with nothing really to tie them together apart from our distate for them...like weeds. There isn't really any class of plants that count as 'weeds', it's just a name we've applied to all the plants we don't want in our gardens. Similar with good and bad. Games, on the other hand, do, as you (and Wittgenstein) say, loosely resemble each other.

    That make sense?

    ZarathustraX
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    I voted J S Mill, all the way. He talks sense.

    (Original post by Reema)
    An interesting thought, and a real problem with ethical language but on closer analysis I don't think it holds in the absolute way you present it. For example, although we do use a word like "good" in a different context ("Kate is good" to "My table is good"), there is a relation between that ethical language. It is analogical - takes on shifted meaning, rather than being essentially equivocal. While the context changes, there is effectively an element of "good" that relates the "goodness" of Kate to the "goodness" of the table. The problem is identifying what precisely this is and to what extent it works this way. Otherwise I think you'd get sucked into ethical relativism - and that brings its own baggage with it. I'm afraid you'll have to give some examples about what you mean by "similar ways and always mean the same thing" and that "we don't" - and justify it, otherwise i can't really go any further on that.
    Most great philosophers addressing the question start off with defining 'good', surely? e.g. Aristotle (only one on my mind atm since revision :rolleyes: ) starts off by trying to define what the 'good man' is.
    He'd have disagreed with you, Reema - that's a very Platonic approach you're taking where there is one supreme 'goodness' which makes all things good. A would've argued that things are good by association with the ultimate target, the good life.
    e.g. knowledge is good because it helps you to live the good life. By association with the good life, not good within itself. Because knowledge can be used for bad things, it could be bad too - it depends on how you use it. Hitler was very clever but you wouldn't call him good!

    Sorry... does that make sense?
 
 
 
Turn on thread page Beta
Updated: September 14, 2010
Poll
Do you agree with the proposed ban on plastic straws and cotton buds?

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.