Hello Fellow Ponderers

Tell us a little about yourself.

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zefan13
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Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:28 am

Hello Fellow Ponderers

Post by zefan13 »

Hello Moderators and Forum Members. I'm a recent college graduate who majored in philosophy. I fell in love with philosophy the summer between high school and college and knew immediately that I wanted to study it further in a more formal setting. I'm considering graduate school but wonder if perhaps philosophy is better suited for me as an avocation rather than a career. I always grab opportunities to discuss "the big questions" (especially since I'm not one for small talk), but unfortunately such opportunities have been few and far between since college--hence my joining this forum. I hope to strike some nasty debates (okay, not really, but still some civilized and heated discussions).
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The Voice of Time
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Re: Hello Fellow Ponderers

Post by The Voice of Time »

Nasty debates? I'll bring some popcorn then.
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SpheresOfBalance
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Re: Hello Fellow Ponderers

Post by SpheresOfBalance »

zefan13 wrote:Hello Moderators and Forum Members. I'm a recent college graduate who majored in philosophy. I fell in love with philosophy the summer between high school and college and knew immediately that I wanted to study it further in a more formal setting. I'm considering graduate school but wonder if perhaps philosophy is better suited for me as an avocation rather than a career. I always grab opportunities to discuss "the big questions" (especially since I'm not one for small talk), but unfortunately such opportunities have been few and far between since college--hence my joining this forum. I hope to strike some nasty debates (okay, not really, but still some civilized and heated discussions).
Welcome!

So what are the 'big questions' as you see them?
zefan13
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:28 am

Re: Hello Fellow Ponderers

Post by zefan13 »

I'm interested mainly in metaphysics, but I'm certainly ready and willing to discuss other areas of philosophy. I enjoy debate about...

--the existence and nature of abstract entities (e.g., the problem of universals)
--the ontology of time and temporal persistence (e.g., the A-theory and the B-theory; endurantism, perdurantism; presentism, eternalism, etc.)
--the metaphysics of modality (e.g., modal realism, de re and de dicto actualism, fictionalism, etc.)
--the philosophy of mind (e.g. the ontology of the mind: Cartesianism, behaviorism, identity theory, functionalism, etc.),
--metaethics (e.g., whether moral judgments are based on facts, opinions, feelings, etc.; whether there exist irreducibly moral entities)
--skepticism (e.g., is it viable or ultimately self-defeating?)
--metaphilosophy (e.g., what exactly constitutes philosophy? Does it fall along a spectrum with art? Science? Religion? Is it of its own category?

...the list goes on.
tillingborn
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Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:15 pm

Re: Hello Fellow Ponderers

Post by tillingborn »

zefan13 wrote:I'm interested mainly in metaphysics, but I'm certainly ready and willing to discuss other areas of philosophy. I enjoy debate about...

--the existence and nature of abstract entities (e.g., the problem of universals).
Well, let's start with that one. I don't have any strong conviction, but I will happily defend either nominalism or idealism for the hell of it and if there are any realists out there, we could have a proper nasty debate; failing that a civilized and heated discussion.
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fiveredapples
Posts: 145
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 10:47 am

Re: Hello Fellow Ponderers

Post by fiveredapples »

I'm interested mainly in metaphysics, but I'm certainly ready and willing to discuss other areas of philosophy. I enjoy debate about...

--the existence and nature of abstract entities (e.g., the problem of universals)
--the ontology of time and temporal persistence (e.g., the A-theory and the B-theory; endurantism, perdurantism; presentism, eternalism, etc.)
--the metaphysics of modality (e.g., modal realism, de re and de dicto actualism, fictionalism, etc.)
--the philosophy of mind (e.g. the ontology of the mind: Cartesianism, behaviorism, identity theory, functionalism, etc.),
--metaethics (e.g., whether moral judgments are based on facts, opinions, feelings, etc.; whether there exist irreducibly moral entities)
--skepticism (e.g., is it viable or ultimately self-defeating?)
--metaphilosophy (e.g., what exactly constitutes philosophy? Does it fall along a spectrum with art? Science? Religion? Is it of its own category?

...the list goes on.
Amazing, a new philosophy guy has joined. Looks like you went to an analytical department. Can I ask which college?
zefan13
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Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:28 am

Re: Hello Fellow Ponderers

Post by zefan13 »

Why is it amazing? Do I sense a little sardonicism, or am I just paranoid?
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fiveredapples
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Re: Hello Fellow Ponderers

Post by fiveredapples »

I think you're just paranoid.
zefan13
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Re: Hello Fellow Ponderers

Post by zefan13 »

I figured just as much. (Sorry, previous experiences on forums--many, many years ago--didn't turn out well.)

I went to Lawrence University, a tiny liberal arts college in Appleton, WI. I wouldn't call the philosophy department "analytic" as a whole, because, even considering how small it is (4 tenured positions and a fellow), it's diverse in terms of the faculty's specializations and methodologies. The professor who influenced me the most, however, was certainly of an "analytic" background and method--plus I was introduced to philosophy through Bertrand Russell--so I think it's fair to say that, yes, I am influenced most by the analytic strand of philosophy.
zefan13
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Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:28 am

Re: Hello Fellow Ponderers

Post by zefan13 »

tillingborn wrote:
zefan13 wrote:I'm interested mainly in metaphysics, but I'm certainly ready and willing to discuss other areas of philosophy. I enjoy debate about...

--the existence and nature of abstract entities (e.g., the problem of universals).
Well, let's start with that one. I don't have any strong conviction, but I will happily defend either nominalism or idealism for the hell of it and if there are any realists out there, we could have a proper nasty debate; failing that a civilized and heated discussion.

I don't know if this part of the forum is a proper place to begin a debate (if so, please let me know and I'll move it elsewhere), but I think one way to begin discussion about abstract entities is to ask if and when they are unavoidable. Are there cases in which we inevitably use terms that postulate such things as universals, or can we always, as Quine would say, "paraphrase away" such things?

(It may be worth noting that it's one thing to discuss universals using mundane examples like colors and shapes, and another, more troublesome thing to discuss them in terms of things like numbers, sets, and functions per se. This alludes to the difference between "abundant" and "sparse" properties...but that's a whole other matter, I suppose.)
duszek
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Re: Hello Fellow Ponderers

Post by duszek »

How about playing Socrates with us ?

Ask us a question and then pick holes in our answers.

It would be fun.
zefan13
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:28 am

Re: Hello Fellow Ponderers

Post by zefan13 »

duszek wrote:How about playing Socrates with us ?

Ask us a question and then pick holes in our answers.

It would be fun.
I could do that:

Assuming that morality is not grounded in the religious/supernatural, how do we account for our claims regarding good, bad, right, and wrong? Where do such notions originate?
tillingborn
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Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:15 pm

Re: Hello Fellow Ponderers

Post by tillingborn »

zefan13 wrote:... I think one way to begin discussion about abstract entities is to ask if and when they are unavoidable. Are there cases in which we inevitably use terms that postulate such things as universals, or can we always, as Quine would say, "paraphrase away" such things?

(It may be worth noting that it's one thing to discuss universals using mundane examples like colors and shapes, and another, more troublesome thing to discuss them in terms of things like numbers, sets, and functions per se. This alludes to the difference between "abundant" and "sparse" properties...but that's a whole other matter, I suppose.)
Are you not talking about mathematical entities? In which case, they are unavoidable when doing maths, but is there any meaning in the claim that they exist? You mention Russell; I like his take: "Mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about." which I presume is an empiricist lament. There is no evidence for the existence of numbers or sets other than numbers or sets of things, just as there is no thing that is colour that isn't a coloured thing.
I'm very rusty on this sort of metaphysics; to be honest, I read the book, did the paper and forgot all about it, so I have no idea what sparse or abundant properties are. (Didn't think much of Quine either; 'grue' indeed.)
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fiveredapples
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Re: Hello Fellow Ponderers

Post by fiveredapples »

This is definitely not the place for a philosophical discussion.

Universals is a good topic. Why don't you start a discussion in the Metaphysics room? It could be focused on numbers, attribute agreement, or whatever. They all lead to the same discussion, basically: realists and non-realists. It would probably be easier to layout a famous argument from a famous paper.
zefan13
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Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:28 am

Re: Hello Fellow Ponderers

Post by zefan13 »

fiveredapples wrote:This is definitely not the place for a philosophical discussion.

Universals is a good topic. Why don't you start a discussion in the Metaphysics room? It could be focused on numbers, attribute agreement, or whatever. They all lead to the same discussion, basically: realists and non-realists. It would probably be easier to layout a famous argument from a famous paper.
Sounds good to me, fiveredapples. You can find me in the Metaphysics room.
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