Articles from 02/2015

11 February 2015

Beyond Pleasure and Pain

Aristippus' Hedonism is a simple concept, which has long perplexed and polarized serious thinkers. Its essence rests on the stark doctrine that all pleasure denotes good, and pain denotes evil. This sparks from a phenomenological standpoint, that all we can know is our own feeling. Within this idea, it is understood that pleasure is the sole driving force behind action, the ultimate goal, the purpose of life and the compass for moral determination. If one is to live well, he ought to seek pleasure and minimize or eradicate pain entirely.

Aristippus, the first hedonist and ancient creator…Read

Judgments of perception and judgments of experience

Article by Jason Zarri (1986 - 2014) Aspiring philosopher, writer, and co-founder of Scholardarity, a website for scholars and students in the Humanities - http://www.scholardarity.com/wp-content/ uploads/2012/09/Notes-on-Kant-draft-5-PDF.pdf.

1) We often observe that one appearance regularly succeeds another. For example, we may take notice of the fact that whenever a metal is heated, it expands. If we affirm that this is so, we have made a judgment of perception. But we don't stop there; usually, we go on to conclude that heating a metal causes it to expand. Now we have a…Read

The Roots of Reason Issue 77 Philosophy Now

Jeffrey Scheuer on the philosophical legacy of J. Renford Bambrough.

I never met John Renford Bambrough (1926-1999), the Cambridge philosopher who shaped and inspired my own thinking perhaps more than any other twentieth century figure. Looking back, I'm saddened and slightly surprised that I didn't take the opportunity to seek him out or attend his lectures during the year I spent as a graduate student in England in the 1970s. When I finally visited St John's College, Cambridge, in the fall of 2002, and met with some of Bambrough's former colleagues, it…Read

Pleasure Now

Dane Gordon on a forgott en philosopher who practiced what he preached.

Aristippus is remembered in the history of Western philosophy as the founder of hedonism, that is, as the first person to propose the theory that pleasure is the good of life. But he is not remembered very much, mainly as the shadowy forerunner of later Epicureanism. None of his many works, which might have given us the information we need about his teaching, have survived, and what we do know appears to be rudimentary.

But Aristippus was an interesting and complex…Read

Kant As He Is

There's an old Talmudic proverb anticipating Kant which says, "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." Kant's transcendental idealism gives this proverb an entirely new meaning. A Kantian might rightly amend it to say, "We can never know things in themselves, we can only know things as processed through our psychological filters." Certainly not as memorable a saying, but more philosophically accurate.

Interestingly, Kant presumed we all have the same cognitive architecture (with a few minor exceptions, such as colour blindness). This is why, when the glass fell…Read

Kant and the Smashing Beer Glass

You get back from the bathroom.

"Two more, please," your friend mouths to the bartender, holding up two fingers. She nods subtly in recognition. You watch as the busy woman reaches for two glasses with one hand, working the cash register with the other. In a moment of inattention, she loses grip of one of the glasses. It smashes as it hits the wooden floor. The shards glisten like toothed diamonds against the dull background.

While this event may seem trivial, a glass falling and hitting the floor actually brings up another interesting topic in…Read

Kant at the Bar: Transcendental Idealism in Daily Life

Patrick Cannon uses a popular sett ing to explain Kant's metaphysics.

It's Friday night and you're at the bar. It's packed. You snake through the sea of bodies.

"Ah! There's a free spot!" exclaims your friend, pointing to some stools across the counter. You part your way through a boisterous group of young women, sit down, and catch the bartender's eye. "Two beers, please," you say, holding up the peace sign.

"IDs please," she responds sceptically, holding her hand out.

"Uh!" You both…Read

Our Minds are not Mirrors

For Kant, our minds are not passive receivers of representations like mirrors. A normal flat mirror reflects the image from an object as if it is the same except in a twodimensional way. It was a common attitude among philosophers before Kant to treat the mind like a mirror. The mirror does not change the form of the object. Likewise, the mind does not affect or change the form of the objects, it just receives them. However, Kant changed the whole picture. He treated minds as active filters. Whatever is reflected on it is shaped in a certain way.<…Read

Kant made simple

Immanuel Kant (1724 - 1804) was a German philosopher who taught for many years at the University of Koenigsberg. He made pivotal contributions to the study of ethics and epistemology and was a leading figure in the German Enlightenment.

Two stages of knowledge

Kant identified two stages in the process whereby our mind works the raw material of sensation into the finished product of thought. The first stage is the coordination of sensations by applying to them the forms of perception - space and time. The second stage is the coordination of perceptions by applying to them…Read