Michael F. Patton Jr. of Syracuse University presents a quandry: what does a brain-in-a-vat do when it’s controlling a runaway train and has to decide between killing two different railmen (all utilitarian considerations included)? Definitely will put a smile on your face. Link.
(via a discussion board post on the Philosophers + Philosophy Facebook application)
The latest Philosophers’ Carnival is being hosted at blog.kennypearce.net — check it out.
In other good news, seven layer cake will be hosting the Philosophers’ Carnival on May 25th! Expect a lot of content before then, and be sure to check it out!
For what avails correct speech that is not understood by the hearer, when there is no reason whatever for speaking, if what we say is not understood by those to whose understanding we are appealing. The teacher, then, will shun all words that do not inform. It is a mark of a noble character to love the truth in words, not the words. For what is the purpose of a golden key, if it cannot open what we want? Or what objection is there to a wooden key, if it is effective, since we seek only to reveal what is concealed?
Peter Abailard. “Obscurity as Sources of Error.” Sic et Non. Reprinted in Classics in Logic. Ed. Dagobert D. Runes. New York: Philosophical Library, 1962. p. 3
Sartre using dating as an example of self-deception still is one of my favorite philosophical comparisons. He describes a woman’s perspective surprisingly well and makes amusing observations on the whole dating scene. Consider this an official Valentine’s Day post.
“Take the example of a woman who has consented to go out with a particular man for the first time. She knows very well the intentions which the man who is speaking to her cherishes regarding her. She knows also that it will be necessary sooner or later for her to make a decision. But she does not want to realize the urgency; she concerns herself only with what is respectful and discreet in the attitude of her companion. She does not apprehend this conduct as an attempt to achieve what we call ‘the first approach;’ that is, she does not want to see the possibilities of temporal development which his conduct presents. She restricts this behaviour to what is in the present; she does not wish to read in the phrases which he addresses to her anything other than their explicit meaning. If he says to her, ‘I find you so attractive!’ she disarms this phrase of its sexual background; she attaches to the conversation and to the behaviour of the speaker, the immediate meanings, which she imagines as objective qualities….
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