Haunting the House: The Spectre of Relativism in Philosophy

Epistemological Relativism: If Truth is simply a matter of "agreement" amoung speakers, we can easily slide into relativism.  This, Putnam claims is the implication of Rorty's and Foucault's reliance on language. They had gone too far in their skepticism of  our ability to represent the world of language. Putnam contends that we can assume that our knowledge about familiar things "sometimes gets the facts right". This view is essentially known as objective realism.

Rorty contends that Putnam relies on scientific realism to support his objective realism; a view of science which is incorrect for science is based upon agreement of experts and the utility of scientific theory.

Foucault asserts that power structures directly effect knowledge. This can be observed when defining the group that is involved in fighting for instance. Should we call the Palestinians "freedom fighters" or "extremists"? The designation conferred upon the Palestinians by the state apparatus of power in the West would be negative whereas the state power apparatus in the Middle East would be positive. Such a designation certainly colors not only the facts of any analysis but also the direction to which knowledge is pursued. (The West and The Rest: Discourse and Power, Stuart Hill chpt. 11)  This only one of countless examples in which knowledge is promulgated by the power of the state.

The laws of our country and others could be said to be instruments of the state enforcing the domination of one group over another i.e. the rich and the poor. Of course, this is certainly a contentious claim and many might argue that the opposite holds true.

Philosophy Working Thesis Statement Oct. 26th

For your working thesis statement students should demonstrate their understanding of the text they have been assigned by presenting an interesting argument about the author's work. The thesis statement may be modified later based upon continued reading and research. If you are having trouble formulating a thesis statement search the internet for secondary sources on the text and ask me about it on Monday. I am happy to help as long as you demonstrate an honest effort. Some of the philosophers you are studying can be found by scrolling down on my blog. Commentary on your philosopher may also be found in Philosophy Now magazine. Simply click on the picture of the thinker.

Grade Nine Religion October 21st

How does Plato view justice? What does the blind-folded lady holding the scales of justice signify? What does the Scopes Monkey trial reveal about the conflict between religion and science? Can they co-exist?

The Amazon Code: "Grammar of Happiness"

Watch the documentary, "The Grammar of Happiness", on YouTube. Apply what you have learned about the Pirhaha's language to the contention of Merleau-Ponty, Nietzsche, Heidegger and Wittgenstein regarding the crucial role of language to Epistemology. Ask yourself, "How would I see the world without language for the past or the future, colors, and numbers?"

Causality and David Hume

Investigate the thesis that matter at the subatomic level does not work in a causal manner and consequently supports Hume's contention that causality is simply an assumption based upon the consistent results of prior experience.

Grade 9 Religion Homework for Friday, Oct. 21st

Students are to complete chpt. 6 questions 1-5 pg. 142 for Friday

Grade 12 Philosophy Homework Monday, Oct. 24th

Students are to complete all questions for Chapter 11 for homework for Monday.

Philosophy RST Conference Wednesday, October 26th

Students will have conference with me on the topic they have been assigned for their RST. Students are expected to have a working theses statement and be able to discuss the thought of their thinker in detail by that time.

The Grammar of Happiness