metaphysics (or epistemology?) of "exceptions"

For all things philosophical.

Moderators: AMod, iMod

Post Reply
User avatar
polyglotinc
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2010 4:56 pm
Location: san francisco, ca
Contact:

metaphysics (or epistemology?) of "exceptions"

Post by polyglotinc »

bear with me folks...if I knew enough to ask this question better, I'd probably know enough to find the answer myself...
I seek advice for where to find the answer to the question: Is there a (what is the) philosophy of "exceptions", as in "exceptions to the rule", and even more pointedly "exceptions that prove the rule"?

I.E. Is it legit for a "rule" or a definition to own a collection of "exceptions", or is that rule/definition just broken/inadequate?
E.G. If I were trying to come up with a definition of something, and had one except for its exceptions (that prove the rule of course! :wink: ) ,
can I declare victory and come home? Or, do I need to go back to the drawing board till I get rid of all exceptions?

I am not looking for opinions, but rather references to books/articles/URLs (or at least which subcategory of philosophy that the topic likely lies in).
User avatar
polyglotinc
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2010 4:56 pm
Location: san francisco, ca
Contact:

Re: metaphysics (or epistemology?) of "exceptions"

Post by polyglotinc »

Here is a reply to my own question (which I found later):
http://www.askphilosophers.org/?panelis ... =exception

That search URL on another forum pulls up multiple discussions on the topic.
But don't let this post stop anyone else from posting references. :-)

(BTW, some of those posts effectively point out that, as analytic philosophers have already pointed out, we trip over everyday language having multiple meanings for single words.
Exception can mean:
- a case that a rule doesn't cover or incorrectly covers
- logical difference (pull out your venn diagrams), e.g. all countries except spain
- a case that has been GIVEN PERMISSION to be exempted from a general rule, e.g. 2 hour parking meter limit except sundays
)
chaz wyman
Posts: 5305
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:31 pm

Re: metaphysics (or epistemology?) of "exceptions"

Post by chaz wyman »

polyglotinc wrote:bear with me folks...if I knew enough to ask this question better, I'd probably know enough to find the answer myself...
I seek advice for where to find the answer to the question: Is there a (what is the) philosophy of "exceptions", as in "exceptions to the rule", and even more pointedly "exceptions that prove the rule"?

I.E. Is it legit for a "rule" or a definition to own a collection of "exceptions", or is that rule/definition just broken/inadequate?
E.G. If I were trying to come up with a definition of something, and had one except for its exceptions (that prove the rule of course! :wink: ) ,
can I declare victory and come home? Or, do I need to go back to the drawing board till I get rid of all exceptions?

I am not looking for opinions, but rather references to books/articles/URLs (or at least which subcategory of philosophy that the topic likely lies in).
So what is exactly meant by an exception that proves the rule? How is that actually possible. Have you a real life example?
chaz wyman
Posts: 5305
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:31 pm

Re: metaphysics (or epistemology?) of "exceptions"

Post by chaz wyman »


Any moron can consult Wiki.
I asked you for a personally understood example.
I'll take it that you do not have one.
User avatar
Notvacka
Posts: 412
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 2:37 am

Re: metaphysics (or epistemology?) of "exceptions"

Post by Notvacka »

The phrase "the exception proves the rule" has nothing to do with actually proving anything. "The exception defines the rule" would be more accurate.

I suspect that this confusion has something to do with the expression "no rule without exception". :lol:
User avatar
The Voice of Time
Posts: 2234
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:18 pm
Location: Norway

Re: metaphysics (or epistemology?) of "exceptions"

Post by The Voice of Time »

Relativism is the philosophy for you. Absolutism is the belief that things, such as rules, are absolute, in this case without exception, but stands firmly unchangeable to circumstances. Relativism argues that things can change as what you are reasoning about changes.
MGL
Posts: 235
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:58 pm

Re: metaphysics (or epistemology?) of "exceptions"

Post by MGL »

Not sure if this is what you are looking for, but perhaps consider:

Wittgentstein on family resemblance & rules, Kripke on Wittgentstein.
Quine on indeterminacy of translation
paradox of the heap
chaz wyman
Posts: 5305
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:31 pm

Re: metaphysics (or epistemology?) of "exceptions"

Post by chaz wyman »

To believe in moral absolutism I think it is necessary to also believe in God.

Without God one has to clumsily try to apprehend a moral absolutism based on Naturalism.
The usual next step is to invoke some misunderstanding of natural selection as the basis for a moral code. The only conclusion one can really impose on this is to suggest that whatever makes it more possible for you to out-compete another person in the regard to having more viable progeny than the next is that which is morally right.
I can imagine ways to maximally achieve this, but I do not think any one in their right mind would accept them as moral.

Beyond this the only recourse is to accept that moral codes are generated from the practice of culture; and are thus relative to that culture and can only be understood via a deeper understanding of that culture. Different cultures have different moral codes sometimes more or less in tune with the feelings of people in that culture, but often by being more in tunes with beliefs, not always true-beliefs, that the culture holds as basic assumptions often based on the most spurious of claims.
So whilst we have to accept a relativism is in place, that is not a reason for forbearance upon arguing effectively that one set of moral codes is much better than another. It is also possible to base such claims on certain moral premises (also relative); and also to argue the failure of some morals in light of other aims held in contradiction of them.

Thus if we wish a latitude and think that the mental suffering of a minority outweighs the mild disgust of the majority, we might impress on society a view that such minor victimless practices such as homosexuality or oral sex ought not to be met with moral sanctions. I understand that oral-sex is still illegal in some states of the US.
Post Reply