Philosophy Hurts Your Head

The blog of a cranky Philosophy PhD Student from Newcastle, Australia.

Ode to Stuff

Posted by Sam D on July 15, 2005

Where to begin?

I’ve been working more on my thesis the past week. Not writing alot, just reading some of the main propositions over and over, trying to see where the problem is. I know there has to be a problem somewhere, but what is it? Eventually I get bored and research more exciting topics, such as the Singularity and A.I.

Which leads me to the thought that one day I’m going to upset some cyberneticist, because I think that several of them are just plain wrong in their approach. There will be the inevitable “Philosophers don’t know shit about (in this case) A.I.” response. But I don’t much care. What I think I do understand is at least some of the foundational philosophy behind the work. Those who know me will probably know what comes next; Yes I am still pushing the anti-dispositionalism adgenda.

In a nutshell, if you defend ‘dispositions’ as a straight solution to Saul Kripke‘s sceptical problem, then you are completely wrong about how( language and) the human mind works. It would be no surprise then if your attempts at creating A.I. fail, becasue you aren’t even trying to emulate the right thing. Here is an example: ” Human beings, and, possibly, suitably complex machines, are capable of individually giving meaning to the symbols they use, in isolation from other speakers, by virtue of their second-order dispositions to maintain their first-order dispositions to use those symbols in response to environmental input” .

Damn, back at Kripke again!


In other interesting reading MP finds a quote that I liked and leads to interesting questions. For me it is: If you don’t believe in Modernity and you don’t believe in Post-Modernity, then what exactly do you believe in, and how in name of all that is holy do I coherently categorise this worldview?

In news closer to my geographical location, a decent argument seems to be unfolding at Dialectic, (the blog of the University of Newcastle Philosophy Club) about Terrorism. Stay tuned for when the knives really come out.


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