May 13, 2010

Workouts for IPO team

Hello team,
With the frenzy to read and read and read and ... we also need to write a bit. So apart from the essays you have been writing, I need you to practice this: Sketch your argument for these topics into this blog. The argument should be about 10 lines and should roughly have the following structure:
A. What does the author say? Guess all the possible senses of the quote given and meanings thereof and all possible interpretations of the words within the quote.
B. What does the author stress on? Usually philosophical quotes are of the kind A is connected to B. Is the author stressing on the subject (A) of his discussion or the predicate (B) or on the connection between them, or is the stress on a hidden factor to the connection?
C. How does the author justify himself? Usually the quote contains some background to the proposition the author makes. (unless the quote is simply a question, in which case the background is common knowledge)
D. Do you think the justification is appropriate? If yes support; if no, oppose  - with reasoning & examples. (establish the reasoning in this sketch)
E. What do you think? Justify? Sketch your counter-attack (if applicable)


1. But to be able to say that a point is black or white, I must first know under what conditions a point is called white or black; in order to be able to say: "p" is true (or false), I must have determined under what conditions I call "p" true, and thereby determine the sense of the proposition. (L. Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico Philosphicus, IPO 2002)

2. The decisive argument which is employed by common sense against freedom consists in reminding us of our impotence. Far from being able to modify our situation at our whim, we seem to be unable to change ourselves. I am not "free" either to escape the lot of my class, of my nation, of my family, or even to build up my own power or my fortune or to conquer my most insignificant appetites or habits. (Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness, IPO 2004)

3. Does science need philosophy? (IPO 2004)

4. Hedonism, pessimism, utilitarianism, eudemonism - all these systems that measure the value of things taking into account the pleasure or pain that go along with them, that is to say, according to any non-core condition or facts, are seen as if they do not go in depth and being naive. Any man with his constructive faculty in place and a conscience of an artist, can only regard this with irony and pity from a distance. (Friedrich Nietzsche, IPO 2005)