“In order to discourage the reader beforehand from taking Hegel’s bombastic and mystifying cant too seriously, I shall quote some of the amazing details which he discovered about sound, and especially about the relations between sound and heat. I have tried hard to translate this gibberish from Hegel’s Philosophy of Nature as faithfully as possible; he writes: ‘§302. Sound is the change in the specific condition of segregation of the material parts, and in the negation of this condition;—merely an abstract or an ideal ideality, as it were, of that specification. But this change, accordingly, is itself immediately the negation of the material specific subsistence; which is, therefore, real ideality of specific gravity and cohesion, i.e.—heat. The heating up of sounding bodies, just as of beaten or rubbed ones, is the appearance of heat, originating conceptually together with sound.’ There are some who still believe in Hegel’s sincerity, or who still doubt whether his secret might not be profundity, fullness of thought, rather than emptiness. I should like them to read carefully the last sentence (which is the only intelligible one) of this quotation, because in this sentence Hegel gives himself away. For clearly, it means nothing but: ‘The heating up of sounding bodies . . is heat . . together with sound.’ The question arises whether Hegel deceived himself, hypnotized by his own inspiring jargon, or whether he boldly set out to deceive and bewitch others. I am satisfied that the latter was the case, especially in view of what Hegel wrote in one of his letters. In this letter, dated two years before the publication of his Philosophy of Nature, Hegel referred to another Philosophy of Nature, written by his good friend Schelling : ‘I have had too much to do . . with mathematics . . differential calculus, chemistry’, Hegel boasts in this letter (but this is just bluff), ‘to let myself be taken in by the humbug of the Philosophy of Nature, by this philosophizing without knowledge of fact . . and by the treatment’ of mere fancies, even imbecile fancies, as ideas.’ This is a very fair characterization of Schelline’s method, that is to say, of that impudent and audacious way of bluffing which Hegel himself copied, or rather exploited and aggravated, as soon as he realized that if it reached its proper audience it meant success.”
The fallacy of Backward Probability Calculation
By Eric Bright
Here is a simple puzzle for you with deep implications.
I have a deck of Bicycle cards with 52 cards plus two ? Jokers (a black and white and a coloured one), as well as one Bicycle ? introduction card, and an advertising card (56 cards in total).
I have been shuffling them for the past two months or so. Today, I got the following sequence of cards:
K♥, 5♠, 6♦, 5♥, 8♠, 7♦, K♣, 8♣, A♠, 4♥, 2♥, J♥, 8♦, ?C, 3♠, Q♦, ?B&W, A♥, 5♦, A♦, 9♠, Q♣, 2♣, 10♣, 3♦, K♠, J♦, 7♥, ?-ad., 9♦, 7♣, A♣, 3♥, J♣, 8♥, 4♣, 3♣, 4♦, 2♠, 10♠, ?-intro, Q♠, 9♣, 6♣, 10♥, 7♠, J♠, 4♠, 6♠, 5♣, 6♥, 10♦, 9♥, Q♥, K♦, 2♦.
The sky will fall if you keep religion out of philosophy. Seriously!
By Eric Bright
When I suggested that we ought to keep philosophy and philosophy communities and forums clear of religious discussions, I was greeted by comments similar to the following comment.
Kierkegaard is often considered to be a “Christian Existentialist.” How is one to discuss Kierkegaard without drawing on Christianity? One of his most famous books (Fear and Trembling) is about Abraham’s near-sacrifice of his son Isaac. How can ‘Fear and Trembling’ be discussed without “appealing to religion to prove a point” [he’s citing me saying that somewhere else]?
How to make better arguments in philosophy
By Eric Bright
I cannot remember reading any serious philosophy article or book, either by authors of antiquity or contemporary writers, in which the author engages in a fist-fight. I frequently see such fist-fights in some on-line philosophy communities. One reason might be because there is usually a monologue in those texts and no opponent’s voice can be heard. Yet, Plato’s dialogues do not suggest too many fist-fights between their participants either.
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” ~Aristotle
Is it possible to prove a negative?
Note: words in italic are technical terms with clear definitions in logic, which I’m going to omit explaining. Words in bold are substitutes for logical symbols with clear definitions and functions, which I’m going to omit explaining.
There are different kinds of impossibilities. One is physical. Another one is logical. Logical impossibilities are impossible, no matter what, no matter where, no matter the circumstances, no matter the universe, no matter the laws of nature, and no matter anything else. They are impossible and that’s the end of story.