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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Where I Stand

I got this idea from this post of Alan Rhoda's at Analyzer, who got it from a post of Johnny-Dee's at Fides Quaerens Intellectum, who in turn got it from a post of Andrew Bailey's at Ratiocination. The object is to list your current stances on issues in those areas of philosophy that interest you. If you're a philosophy blogger and you're reading this, consider yourself tagged. :-D

Here's mine:


  • Constitution is not identity: One thing can’t literally be identical to many.

  • Eternalism: The past, present, and future all exist. The “passage of time” is an illusion.

  • Ersatz modal realism: There are no pure possibilia. There are other possible worlds, but they are non-concrete; most likely they are sets of propositions or maximal states of affairs.

  • Anti -Humeanism: There are necessary connections between at least some distinct existences.

  • Platonism: There are universals answering to at least some predicates and/or concepts, though probably not to all. There are also some other kinds of abstract objects, such as propositions and states of affairs.

  • Anti-substrativism: There are no such things as prime matter, bare substrata, or thin particulars.

  • Color subjectivism: The sky is blue, grass is green, and lemons are yellow... yeah right!


  • A means-end orientation: I feel that epistemology should primarily try to settle disputes between different parties concerning what we ought to believe or are justified in believing.

  • Internalism: A corollary of the above. Insofar as externalist analyses of knowledge and justification appeal to facts or processes to which we have no access, they are useless for resolving disputes over what we are justified in believing.

  • A very minimal Foundationalism: Justification has to start somewhere. One's justification derives from properly basic beliefs, but what is properly basic for one person may not be properly basic for another. There is also no reason to assume that properly basic beliefs must be self-evident or immune to revision.

Philosophy of Mind:

  • Phenomenal content internalism: Phenomena such as Churchland's Chimerical Colors show that, at least in some cases, experiences can have qualia and/or phenomenal contents that answer to nothing in "the external world"; and we can't be related, causally or otherwise, to things that aren't there. Personally, I think the case generalizes to other sorts of experience as well.

  • Indirect realism: Even assuming there are no such things as sense data or similar items, we still don't "directly perceive" external objects. This fits in nicely with phenomenal content internalism.

  • First person fallibilism: Things might not seem how they seem to seem.


  • Moral Realism: At least some moral judgments express true propositions.

  • Moral Objectivism: For any given morally evaluable situation, there is a right and a wrong response or set of responses, and whether a given response is right or wrong does not, in general, depend on whether people think it is right or wrong.

  • Non-consequentialism: Morality isn't about maximizing utility, the satisfaction of preferences, the amount intrinsic goodness in the world, or indeed anything. People have duties to each other which in some cases forbid one from bringing about the "greater good."

Style and Method:

  • Style: I try to write clearly and precisely, but as Brand Blanshard showed, these qualities are not the exclusive property of the Analytic tradition.

  • Method: Systematic—I have a broad range of interests and try to find connections between disparate areas of philosophy.

  • Philosophers I admire: Brand Blanshard, A.C. Ewing, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, W. V. O. Quine, David Hume, George Berkeley, Alvin Plantinga, Graham Priest, and Patricia Churchland.

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