Entries by

Bad Utilitarianism

Bad Utilitarianism   There are those who believe we have a moral obligation to donate a substantial part of our wealth to foreign aid if the net utility of doing so is maximized. Thus we should give away (say) 10% of our wealth to charity, even if we are not well off by local standards. […]

Share

Music and Language

    Music and Language   The analogies and connections between music and language are striking. This is most apparent in the case of song, but it applies quite generally. Music is made up of notes, phrases, bars, tunes, riffs, verses, movements, symphonies, operas, albums, etc. It has compositional structure. It proceeds from a finite […]

Share

Footnote to “Identity of Selves”

[1] A consequence of this is that it is in the nature of every mental state that it belongs to a single self: every mental state needs a subject, but there can only be one subject, so it is part of the essence of being a mental state that it can be instantiated by only […]

Share

Identity of Selves

Identity of Selves   It is plausibly urged that there can be no identity without identity conditions (“criteria”): for example, material objects are identical in virtue of being spatiotemporally coincident, or sets are identical if and only if they share their members. Likewise, we could say that distinctness requires conditions (“criteria”) of distinctness: no two […]

Share

One’s Own Mind

    One’s Own Mind   Several times in The Basis of Morality Schopenhauer remarks on the mysterious nature of compassion (or altruism). He says: “When once compassion is stirred within me, by another’s pain, then his weal and woe go straight to my heart, exactly in the same way, if not always to the […]

Share

Right and Ought: Schopenhauer on Kant

    Right and Ought: Schopenhauer on Kant   In The Basis of Morality Schopenhauer undertakes a wholesale critique of Kant’s moral philosophy. He begins by attacking the very idea of a categorical imperative: morality should not be conceived as consisting of imperatives at all; the concept of the “moral law” is defective; moral rightness […]

Share

Language and the Cave

  Language and the Cave   In Plato’s cave the inhabitants see nothing but shadows. Shadows are etiolated compared to the objects that cast them. You can glean very little from a shadow about the object that casts it. The shadow is two-dimensional, colorless, massless, and without texture: it is merely an absence of light, […]

Share