January 25th, 2005


The point of philosophy

Bertrand Russell said,"Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize until you have tried to make it precise, and everything precise is so remote from anything we normally think, that you cannot for a moment suppose that is what we really mean when we say what we think."

I think he's right. Any attempt to break down a statement into "atomic" facts invariably assumes too much about the facts, and not enough about their relationship with each other.

But, on the other hand, "It may be true that everything ends in confusion, but it is wise not to be confused too soon."

It is important to pay attention to the relationships of necessity within facts (Hume would dispute that these exist, but be unable to assert any reason for me to change my behavior in response to his explanation, so I can disregard it.) and the structure of the facts themselves.