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This is where philosophers get their reputation

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by KazeCraven, Sep 10, 2010.

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  1. KazeCraven

    KazeCraven Graduated from Typology : May 2011
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    Russell: Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy
    I should have a rudimentary understanding of the significance of the word "the" after our discussion in class today, so I'll be happy to explain later.
     
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  2. Faye

    Faye ^_^
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    In formal logic, definite and indefinite articles serve as quantifiers that modify the meaning of statements.

    Most philosophy isn't that bad though, but you're learning the philosophy of math, which may exceed even formal logic in the nerdiness and anal-retentive factor. You're learning the logic of logic.
     
  3. Faye

    Faye ^_^
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    ∃ a person x such that x is studying logic ∧ x is a nerd.
     
  4. TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    lol.. defining "the". that'll be interesting. i love that in the paragraph you quoted, they used "the" to describe why it's important to know what "the" means =P
     
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  5. OP
    KazeCraven

    KazeCraven Graduated from Typology : May 2011
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    Very true.

    What isn't clear is whether there is someone studying logic that isn't a nerd. It may be the case that all people who successfully study logic are now nerds.
     
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  6. deadred

    deadred Community Member

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    I enjoy studying Philosophy, but sometimes it seems their discussions degrade into mere semantics and the sophistry of rhetoric. It's like they make "observations" and call them objective, but it is like they are living in a parallel universe where up is down and down is up. Then you get to "postmodernism", and meaning has no meaning anymore because there are no absolutes, and even basic things can't be known with any certainty. It's like things are either all or nothing, with no middle ground, and it depends on the latest fad and nothing less. The concrete is not concrete, and the non-concrete is concrete. It reminds me of the blind men trying to describe the elephant!
     
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  7. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    Heh - this is weird; I remember asking my father when I was 11 what the word "the" meant. He looked at me like I was crazy, but I explained: Seriously, what did it mean. What significance did it serve? What did it intrinsically have, regarding substance?

    I think he really thought he'd sired a nut, then.

    I was a weird 11-year-old, though.
     
  8. OP
    KazeCraven

    KazeCraven Graduated from Typology : May 2011
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    Okay, sorry to hold you guys: I know you were all waiting with bated breath. Here's my current understanding:

    So then, "the" is a signifier that makes a claim about an object's existence. In essence, I am saying there exists an object, and it is unique in some regard, specifically in the context I am presenting it. For example, if I say "the man walked to the pier" then in this context I am highlighting the uniqueness of this particular man, probably (in this case) because he either did something and we are now tracking him after the fact, or because something in particular will happen to this man.

    Unfortunately, our discussion today was purely focused on using "the" as being an implicit claim of both existence and uniqueness. The professor used the phrase "The present King of France is bald" and stated that it was false. By the fact that either a claim is true or its negation is (the law of excluded middle), it must be true that the present King of France is not bald. Well, that's not true either. What we want to say is that the present King of France just doesn't exist. For that, we have to unpack the statement logically, and realize that the statement actually contains two additional statements: the King of France exists, and there is only one King of France. Thus we circumvent the apparent paradox by realizing that "the present King of France doesn't exist" is a negation of the original statement.

    [MENTION=442]arbygil[/MENTION]: I'm sure this leaves you wanting, as I have hardly said anything about the essence of the word "the", but that's all I have learned on the issue.:D
     
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  9. Gaze

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    I love studying language, so this is really interesting to me. Great analysis.
     
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    KazeCraven

    KazeCraven Graduated from Typology : May 2011
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    I actually talked with someone afterwards about the issue, and we basically ended up talking about the fact that all we convey in language is just concepts that represent how we see the world, and that we can't really fully understand anything beyond well defined ideas like mathematical theorems. If you say you understand what a cat is, you've basically said that you've collected enough data regarding cats that you know what to expect from them. But it's still just a working approximation, and insofar as I hold on to the idea I "know" what a cat is, I'll be jarred when I learn something new about cats that fails to meet my expectations.

    I suppose this would be clearer if I refer to the idea that we can think of someone as "a nice person" and not be able to accept when that person does something bad. But really, the concept of "nice" is just an approximation that allows us to predict someone's behavior, and all that really exists are our judgments about that person's past actions. Once we go beyond the level of sensory details, we must realize that we've entered into the world of concepts and interpretations. Not that conceptualization is bad, but rather that conceptualizations are approximations. This is, in essence, what language is.
     
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  11. Gaze

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    This is why I love Ferdinand Saussure and semiotic theory.

    Semiotic Resources:
    http://carbon.ucdenver.edu/~mryder/itc_data/semiotics.html
     
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  12. Wyote

    Wyote Xenoi
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    Do you suppose that our inability to experience/interpret anything beyond approximations holds us back, or helps us progress? Is our notion of the divine derived from the unreachable absolute?
     
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    KazeCraven

    KazeCraven Graduated from Typology : May 2011
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    Interesting question. I would say that conceptual thinking has aided us tremendously technologically speaking, but that it gets in the way emotionally and spiritually. I'd say it's a tool that we need to learn to set aside when it isn't necessary.
     
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  14. Gaze

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    As long as we avoid resorting to linguistic determinism, then we're good. Despite what textbooks say, thought is more likely to exist before language.
     
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  15. Trifoilum

    Trifoilum find wisdom, build hope.

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    Just want to say to the entire topic that this is a very interesting topic, as much as it blows my head. ._.;

    @add : reading the discussion about 'the'; I was randomly reminded of one of Japanese particles; ga. At least one function of it....
    I defined it as "the--". I think it's pretty similar in outer concept, as in to distinguish something....

    ....and I don't know what I'm talking about.
     
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    #15 Trifoilum, Sep 12, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2010
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