Establishment Anglicans dunking dissenting Baptist preacher in VA

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Declaration Of Independence (D.O.I): Part 1

One of the most difficult problems for a historical analysis is to avoid taking two words or ideas that exist during two different eras and assume that the words or ideas are synonyms.  As we saw in the last post ordinary language philosophers, such as Ludwig Wittgenstein, created a philosophy that examined the usage of the words to avoid ambiguity between a word in different contexts.  For Wittgenstein, the use of language is called a language-game (Philosophical Investigations, pg 10).  Wittgenstein uses the term 'description' and how that term refers to "description of a body's position by means of its co-ordinates; description of a facial expression; description of a sensation of touch; of a mood".  Hence, the ambiguity comes from the inability to know what the term is referring to.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Comparing Philosophy and Science

Philosophy is the analysis of logical assumptions and underpinnings of a particular subject and/or methodology.  Philosophy differs from science in that science uses empirical investigation to gather facts and test current theories in the field of study that are constrained by the empirical discoveries, whereas philosophy may use (though it is not necessary) empirical facts, but the theories constructed are not constrained by facts.  For example, a scientific theory is defined as the general law that predicts particular events in the physical world.  This is contrasted by the layman use of 'theory' where people define it as a mere guess (this use of the term 'theory' is used by creationist critics of evolution).  In physics, Newton's laws of motion are theories in classical mechanics before it was replaced by Einstein's theory of relativity.  There is a debate in the philosophy of science (the field that attempts to understand the assumptions of scientific methodology) if Einstein's theory was simply a refinement of Newton's theory or if it was a completely different theory that caused a revolution in our thinking (different terms, theory, methodology, etc.).  One reason why many philosophers and scientists see Einstein's theory as a revolution is because, in classical mechanics, Newton's laws must be adjusted at higher speeds.  Thus, the theory cannot solve the problem by itself, whereas Einstein's theory can explain motion at all speeds.  What is interesting, however, is that Copernicus' theory of celestial movement predicted motion better than Ptolemy's prediction, but Ptolemy's theory was more simplistic and did explain motion at a lower level.  It wasn't that Ptolemy's theory couldn't explain motion at higher levels, but rather the tools were not yet developed yet to do so.  Thus, Ptolemy's theory was accepted due to elegance and predicting motion at a lower level more simply. This will be looked out in a later post.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Ethics in Editorials

I was planning on writing something on Philosophy today, but certain circumstances forced me to deal with this issue.  But first the back story.

Bill O'Reilly gave himself the self-proclaimed title as Culture Warrior.  He argues that he looks out for everyday folks.  But is this true?  I will argue with a resounding 'NO'!  To look out for everyday people you cannot claim that people simply want stuff when they vote.  As O'Reilly said on during the 2012 election night coverage on Fox,

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Hello!  Welcome to my blog.  As my first post I will introduce myself and describe what this blog will cover. My name is Brian and I am 33 years old.  I am a resident of the great city of Pittsburgh.  My educational background began at Slippery Rock University where I majored in English and had a minor in philosophy.  After I graduated I was uncertain what direction I wanted my life to go.  During this time I became interested in politics, especially the role of religion in politics thanks to Fox's Bill O'Reilly and his 'War On Christmas'.  It was at this time that I began to formulate my political views as a social Progressive.  By this I mean that all choices of an individual ought to be deemed outside the scope of government interference and that our duties as citizens ought to be continually on guard to protect minority groups and their freedom to choose and their freedom to be who they are without condemnation (i.e. homosexual, socialist, Islamic, etc.).