Weekly Roundup

Could we learn some things from the Frankfurt School?  Probably.

Only two degrees. What do we do now?

Grieving for a despot and the perils of so-called nation building.

What are we to make of the Coptic Christians and their faith? The final witness.

On the limits of information and the importance of narrative and meaning.

The man is a wrecking ball, a hurricane of short-sighted buffoonery.

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2 Responses to Weekly Roundup

  1. Hello Darrell

    I enjoyed the piece on information. I think the point of working out exactly where our assumptions sit, and how we ground them (all of us, religious and non-religious alike) is crucial. I don’t know if you’ve come across the work of Wilfred Sellars, I think it’s from the fifties. He spoke of the scientific vs manifest image, and made the point that when we reduce from one level of analysis to the other, we are no longer talking about the same thing. So we can of course talk about the biological aspect of love, or indeed the chemical, even the basically physical if it were within our processing capacities. But none of them speak of the emotion, the agency, the sacrifice that makes human love human love. And you are right to point out as you do the very great danger of always instinctively dropping one level of analysis. The only out is ultimately to claim that in some sense agency, desire, values, aren’t real things, but metaphors with which we describe the world. And was you well know, the problem then arises that the same challenge could mounted with equal credibility against electrons.

    Anyway, to continue with my habit of agreeing when there is ground on which to agree, yes, an interesting discussion. I hope you’re well.

    Bernard

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    • Hi Bernard,

      Thank you for your comments. No, I have not come across or seen referenced Sellars, but he sounds interesting and I will look for his writings.

      Yes, there is a place where we in fact need to reduce something to the purely physical/material if we are trying to get to the core, or bottom, if you will, of those aspects (physical/material) of a thing. This is what science does with such great accuracy and explanatory power. And that is all well and good. However, as you note, there is no need to then also demand that such information is “all” a thing is, and such is where the reduction occurs and, we might add, the thing (metaphorically!) disappears. To do that (reduce in such a way) is to then slip into philosophy, not science.

      I am doing well and I hope you are too.

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