Wednesday, June 27, 2012

No Church in The State of Nature

Although I had originally wanted to post this as a description of Hobbes's state of nature, I found Jay-Z had explicitly mentioned Plato and the Euthyphro dilemma! 

"I’m wonderin’ if a thug’s prayers reach.
Is Pious pious cause God loves pious?
Socrates asks, “Whose bias do y’all seek?”
All for Plato, screech
I’m out here ballin’, I know ya’ll hear my sneaks.
Jesus was a carpenter; Yeezy laid beats.
Hova flow the Holy Ghost, get the hell up out your seats.

Who says rappers don't know philosophy :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Katy Perry Knows that Agonizing Feeling

I'm not sure if she just stepped out of Plato's Cave or if she's describing the feeling you get when you realize that the idea/paper you've put so much time and effort into is completely wrong. Either way, it seems like students of philosophy have a sympathizer in Katy Perry :)

"Yeah, I was in the dark.
I was falling hard 
With an open heart
I'm wide awake.  
How did I read the stars 
So wrong. 
I'm wide awake

And now it's clear to me  
That everything you see 
Ain't always what it seems
I'm wide awake
Yeah, I was dreaming for so long."

In the pre-chorus Katy Perry offers a nice explanation of the shock and pain you experience when you come out of Plato's Cave:
"I wish I knew then 
What I know now
Wouldn't dive in. 
Wouldn't bow down. 
Gravity hurts.
You made it so sweet, 
'Til I woke up on, 
On the concrete."

Though it hurts, it sounds like Katy Perry's quest for truth has left her happier than she was before ;) 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Response to the Skeptics

Andy Grammer seems to have a solution to the arm chair philosophy that results in Cartesian Skepticism:

"I've got my hands in my pockets,
kickin' these rocks,
it's kinda hard to watch this life go by.
I'm buyin' into skeptics.
Skeptics mess with
the confidence in my eyes.

I'm seeing all the angles: starts to get tangled.
I start to compromise
my life and the purpose.
Is it all worth it?
Am I gonna turn out fine?

Oh, you'll turn out fine.
(Fine) Oh, you'll turn out fine."

Pragmatism anyone?

Friday, June 8, 2012

One Direction Has Really Weak Epistemic Standards...

Two things: First, I LOVE THIS SONG! Second, I'm not sure 1D has really proved that the particular person they are singing about in "That's What Makes You Beautiful" is in fact beautiful. For simplicities sake, let us name the particular person that 1D is singing about, oh, I don't know... how about... 'Natalie Portman.'

Consider the chorus:
"Baby you light up my world like nobody else.
The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed,
but when you smile at the ground it ain't hard to tell,
you don't know-oh-oh,
you don't know you're beautiful.
If only you saw what I could see,
you'd understand why I want you so desperately.
Right now I'm looking at you and I can't believe,
you don't know-oh-oh.
You don't know you're beautiful.
Oh oh,
that's what makes you beautiful!"

While I'm still not convinced that 'Natalie Portman doesn't know she's beautiful' can be derived from the fact that she smiles at the ground (what's worse is that they claim this ain't a hard inference to make!), the main focus of the song seems to center around providing standards for what makes Natalie Portman beautiful. This claim, however, seems to be vindicated way too easily! Natalie Portman is beautiful, apparently, because she doesn't know it! In other words, what makes Natalie Portman beautiful is that she doesn't know she's beautiful! I'm not sure whether 1D holds this standard of justification for all claims (or even a particular class of claims), but it seems like an odd standard to have. Consider justifying the claim that 'Natalie Portman is an actress.' What would make this claim true is if Natalie Portman didn't know that she is an actress! (Although, an explanation concerning 1D's conception of 'knowing' is required to make these inferences.)

Not to be insensitive, but if this is our standard for beautifulness, then the world suddenly just gained a crap-ton of new beautiful people... (e.g., everyone who doesn't know they're beautiful, is in fact, beautiful!). It's not even the fact that someone could be beautiful and not know it! There is no other standard for beauty other than not knowing you're beautiful. It's just in virtue of the fact that someone doesn't know they're beautiful, that they are, in fact, beautiful!

And, in case you need more justification, don't worry! Zayn's got ya covered. As Zayn starts off the second verse:
"So c-c-come on,
you got it wrong. 
To prove I'm right 
I put it in a sa-ah-ong."

If this is all it takes to provide justification for a particular claim, then I'm in the wrong profession! Simply by putting some claim in a song proves that you're right/provides justification for that claim? Wow. Although, I guess that could be right... it just means that LMFAO is actually sexy... AND THEY KNOW IT!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Kanye v. Cute Is What We Aim For: Who is Living the Better Life?

In the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle goes to great pains to explain the good life for a human. To help clarify this explanation consider two different approaches to a good human life: one exemplified by Kanye and the other articulated by Cute Is What We Aim For.

This is not what Aristotle meant by the 'good life.' Instrumental goods (money, sexual gratification, cars, etc.) do not, by themselves, lead to living a good life:

Rather, Aristotle emphasized activity through practice as being vital to living a virtuous life:

Discuss :)

Jordin Sparks on How to Write a Philosophy Paper

This song offers a nice outline of the steps one should take when writing a philosophy paper :)

Of course the start of any well developed idea is going to be messy at first. Part of the point of philosophical writing is to develop an idea more carefully by articulating the assumptions you've made and offering justifications for these assumptions in tiny steps. Be sure to carefully explain your ideas and justifications in detail. This will make it easier to see where your argument is flawed and where your argument is vulnerable to attack.

Philippa Foot (2001) offers a similar sentiment when describing Ludwig Wittgenstein's philosophical method:  
"Wittgenstein interrupted a speaker who had realized that he was about to say something that, although it seemed compelling, was clearly ridiculous, and was trying (as we all do in such circumstances) to say something sensible instead. 'No,' said Wittgenstein. 'Say what you want to say. Be crude and then we shall get on.' The suggestion that in doing philosophy one should not try to banish or tidy up a ludicrously crude but troubling thought, but rather give it its day, its week, its month, in court, seems to me very helpful. It chimes of course with Wittgenstein's idea that in philosophy it is very difficult to work as slowly as one should." (Natural Goodness, p. 1)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Weezy et al., Once Again, Relying Too Much on Suppressed Premises...

Here's an example of an invalid argument that I use as an introduction to validity and soundness.

It comes from Young Money's song, "Bed Rock." As Young Money artist Lloyd sings in the chorus: "Oh, baby. I be stuck to you like glue, baby. Wanna spend it all on you, baby. My room is the G-spot. Call me Mr. Flintstone, I can make your bed rock."

Thus, we seem to have an argument for referring to Lloyd as 'Mr. Flintstone.' The argument can be reconstructed as follows:
P1: My room is the G-spot
P2: I can make your bed rock
C: Call me 'Mr. Flintstone'

(NB: In the song P2 and C are flipped. I switched the positioning of each phrase to make it easier to follow.)

As it stands this argument is not valid (i.e., the conclusion does not follow from the premises). Knowing that Lloyd's bedroom is the G-spot, and knowing that he can make your bed rock, does not entail that you (or anyone else) should refer to him as 'Mr. Flintstone.' However, it seems like there may be some suppressed premises that we could articulate to make the argument valid. I need some help filling in these suppressed premises. Any thoughts?