Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Philosophy for Elliot

Plato, Republic:
Suppose that we were painting a statue, and someone came up to us and said, "Why do you not put the most beautiful colours on the most beautiful parts of the body: the eyes ought to be purple, but you have made them black"; to him we might fairly answer, "Sir, you would not surely have us beautify the eyes to such a degree that they are no longer eyes; consider rather whether, by giving this and the other features their due proportion, we make the whole beautiful."
Kant, Critique of Judgement:
The faculty of desire, so far as it is determinable only through concepts, i.e. to act in conformity with the representation of a purpose, would be the will. But an object, or a state of mind, or even an action, is called purposive, although its possibility does not necessarily presuppose the representation of a purpose, merely because its possibility can be explained and conceived by us only so far as we assume for its ground a causality according to purposes, i.e. a will which would have so disposed it according to the representation of a certain rule. There can be, then, purposiveness without purpose, so far as we do not place the causes of this form in a will, but yet can only make the explanation of its possibility intelligible to ourselves by deriving it from a will.
Wittgenstein, Lectures 1932-35:
In teaching a child language by pointing to things and pronouncing the words for them, where does the use of a proposition start? If you teach him to touch certain colours when you say the word "red," you have evidently not taught him sentences. [...] What is called understanding a sentence is not very different from what a child does when he points to colours on hearing colour words. Now there are all sorts of language-games suggested by the one in which colour words are taught: games of orders and commands, of question and answer, of questions and "Yes" and "No." We might think that in teaching a child such language-games we are not teaching him a language but are only preparing him for it. But these games are complete; nothing is lacking.


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