Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Philosophy and the challenges of the Analytics -

Next to CityLit
The format of the sessions in the course 'Ways into philosophy: great thinkers' at London's City Lit works well for me - although I find the endeavour challenging to say the least, looking and reading the Magee discussions does at least prepare me for the area of study and  our leader Scott Biagi does all the tremendous  favour each week of making us feel that learning has taken place  in the 2 hour sessions.

Now on first confronting the Philosophers who we were making at least a cursory look at this week I must admit I felt a degree of discomfiture, the very clear break from Philosophers who shared some of the values of Freud and others in the field of Psychology  was jarring and Bertrand Russell and Gottlob Frege  seemed very mathematical and 'cold'.

Bertrand Russell

What the German mathematician Gottlob and the British academic Russell saw was that there was  something lacking in mathematics around defining the elements  and to address this they concerned themselves with was the formalisation of ordinary language statements into a logical language.

I have though been somewhat won around by the discussion and explanation as to the importance of language and definition - it's clunky and hard work but without the right ground rules is it difficult to make progress on understanding -the mathematical formulas used in this branch of philosophy  look intimidating though  - here's one ~[(∃x)(Mx & Gx) & ∀y((My & Gy) → y=x)].

It was interesting to hear that in academia the split between Analytics and non-Analytics is almost absolute with each side finding little common ground with the other.

Gottlob and Russell did communicate and Russell discovered flaws in the work of the German mathematician.

Interestingly the two were very different in character Gottlob was an early supporter of German nationalism  and  something of an  inconsistent anti-Semitic with extreme right-wing political opinions.

Russell is remembered now more for his role as a peace activist and backing of the CND, Beatle Paul McCartney claims to have met Russell and discussed the Vietnam war with him ( but probably not  formalisation of ordinary language statements into a logical language).

Post a Comment