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Re: [ontolog-forum] Two

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Barker, Sean (UK)" <Sean.Barker@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2007 10:00:32 +0100
Message-id: <E18F7C3C090D5D40A854F1D080A84CA41F1B1C@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Pat    (01)

        In a brief other life as a Dominican friar, part of the syllabus
was a study the philosophies of early Greeks (Pre-Socratics to
Aristotle), Medieval (Thomas Aquinas) and Modern (Wittgenstein),
primarily as aid to understanding the cultural assumptions we bring to
any discussion. I found Aristotle's discussion of Causation in his
Metaphysics very illuminating, particularly when translated into the
context of chemical reactions. (My tutor for this was a Czech dissident,
known for holding illegal seminars on Aristotle). Since philosophy has
been has been describes as footnotes to Plato and Aristotle, it might be
worth reading Aristotle before adopting the metaphysics implicit in
one's culture.    (02)

Sean Barker
Bristol, UK    (03)

This mail is publicly posted to a distribution list as part of a process
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contrary non-withstanding. It is the opinion of the author, and does not
represent an official company view.    (04)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
> [mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Pat Hayes
> Sent: 18 June 2007 21:58
> To: Chris Partridge
> Cc: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Two
>                *** WARNING ***
> This mail has originated outside your organization, either 
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> >John,
> >
> >I am not too bothered about the name itself. However, one reason I 
> >would suggest for being aware of the name, if not actually 
> using it, is 
> >that so much work has been done in (blue-sky, impractical) 
> philosophy 
> >in rigorously laying out the choices - and the name 
> 'metaphysics' (or 
> >'metaphysical
> >choices') points to this work. It would be a pity if people were not 
> >aware of it.
> Well, I guess I agree and disagree. Obviously it is hard to 
> argue with the proposition that it would be nice if people 
> were aware of stuff. On the other hand, there is a dangerous 
> tendency, which others in these lists have noted, for 
> philosophical writings to be treated with a kind of 
> uncritical awe by non-philosophers, so that they - the texts 
> - are treated with a reverence that they do not deserve. One 
> should never forget that most philosophers work not by doing 
> anything empirical or even by talking to people who do 
> anything empirical, but by reading and criticizing what other 
> philosophers have written. 
> The result can be rather in-bred, and indeed is often so 
> remote from the actual world that it is hard to even make any 
> sensible connection between the concerns of a good deal of 
> philosophy (including metaphysics) and anything in the real 
> world at all. Recent debates about twin-Earth, Mary the color 
> expert and zombies provide a host of examples.
> On the whole, I suggest, it is probably better to re-do ones 
> own metaphysics from scratch than to try to read through the 
> history of philosophy and sort out the very small fraction 
> that may be relevant. Just be aware of a few common mental 
> traps, such as not making the use/mention confusion, and you 
> should do OK.
> Pat
> >Regards,
> >Chris
> >    (05)

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