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Showing posts from March, 2017

The Other is not a way out - it is an impossible necessity or just a source of ethical noise

I have been having a very interesting discussion with Julio Cabrera, my metaphilosophical guru, from Brasilia about negativity in ethics. He has been putting forward for years now a negative ethics that is presented in several books including one hopefully forthcoming soon in English. He understands negative ethics as an ethics based on the assumption that life itself has no value. He argues that among other things, his ethics entails antinatalism: procreation, as assassination, is ethically bad. This is the centre of my present discussion with him which has taken the form of three texts I concocted and four replies he sent back. (Some of my texts are in previous posts in this blog). I received his last reply more than a week ago and I'm still uncertain about what is going to be my next move. I'm just wondering now about one feature present in his last text that can be more than a detail. In my previous text I propose a different kind of negative ethics, one based on interr

Perception as hospitality

In a lot of the discussion concerning the content of perceptual experience and the alternatives to what Sellars diagnosed as a myth of the Given, including in positions that try to avoid the myth while intending to claim that there is a content to what the senses deliver (and not only a causal connection with thought, like in Davidson), there is a tacit and important assumption: that the senses grasp in a flash. That is, perception is not a process bounded together with acts of understanding and movements of intentionality but rather the capture (and eventually the co-ordination) of a state of affairs - such as 'x is red'. McDowell's struggles to determine what is the nature of what the senses deliver - conceptualized content in the form of propositions or intuitions that require conceptual abilities - still fail to escape from the flash predicament. He assumes perception is separable in principle from the workings of the understanding - and response-dependence is set apart

Interruption in agency

The challenge of correlationism can be put like this: how can the other reach me (so to break in an established correlation that seems to be what makes thought and knowledge possible). The challenge is indeed often put this way. It can however be understood in terms of agency: how can the other act through me (make me think or know, for instance, what is not already prefigured in me). The issue of the Great Outdoors can therefore be thought in terms of a general co-existence with the other - how can the other be not only interdependent but also external to me? Last week, in Jon Cogburn's classes about McDowell's changing views on the deliverances of the senses from Mind and World to "Avoiding the Myth of the Given" through his discussions with Travis, we were trying to understand what exactly was at stake in the talk about exculpations (and excuses as opposed to justifications). McDowell refers in a footnote to a discussion with Zvi Cohen around someone being excul