Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Hookup

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 PM

"Language is about the world— we use it to communicate
about things. So we must ask what this 'aboutness' is:
what is it and how does it work? That is, how does language
manage to hook up with reality?"

Colin McGinn in Philosophy of Language :
The Classics Explained
 , MIT Press, Jan. 16, 2015, 
as quoted by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein
in The New York Review of Books , Oct. 8, 2015

See also a Harvard Crimson  review of another book by McGinn.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Philosophy and Art

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

The current issue (dated Oct. 8, 2015) of
The New York Review of Books  has two
(at least) items related to philosophy —

See also Backstory, a Log24 post of Nov. 22, 2010:


"He said, 'I wrote a piece of code
 that they just can’t seem to do without.'
 He was a symbolic logician.
 That was his career…."

Saturday, August 3, 2013

In the Details

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:01 AM

By chance, the latest* remarks in philosopher Colin McGinn's
weblog were posted (yesterday) at 10:04 AM.

Checking, in my usual mad way, for synchronicity, I find
the following from this  weblog on the date  10/04 (2012)—

Note too the time of this morning's previous post here
(on McGinn)— 9:09 AM.  Another synchronistic check
yields Log24 posts from 9/09 (2012):

Related to this last post:

Detail from a stock image suggested by the web page of
a sociologist (Harvard '64) at the University of Washington in Seattle—

Note, on the map of  Wyoming, Devil's Gate.

There are, of course, many such gates.

* Correction (of about 11:20 AM Aug. 3):
  Later  remarks by McGinn were  posted at 10:06 AM today.  
  They included the phrase "The devil is in the details."
  Yet another check for synchronicity leads to
  10/06 (2012) in this  journal with its post related to McGinn's
  weblog remarks yesterday on philosophy and art.
  That 10/06 Log24  post is somewhat in the spirit of other
  remarks by McGinn discussed in a 2009 Harvard Crimson  review.

The Lotos Rose

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:09 AM

See the title in this journal.

Related material:

Philosophers on the Beach
George Santayana in AcapulcoColin McGinn in Miami.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 AM

For Women's Day—

Monday, March 5, 2012

For a Yale 10

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:00 PM

See a Harvard Crimson  review of a book
by philosopher Colin McGinn.

Beach Boy

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:48 PM


IMAGE- Outer Banks beach and 'The Stone' philosophy column by Colin McGinn, NY Times

See also McGinn in this journal.

IMAGE- On the beach: 'Once again the castle's architect is taken to task for using sand instead of stone.' --Sally Forth 7/13/08

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Entertainment continued

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 9:28 AM

Logic is all about the entertaining of possibilities.”

Colin McGinn, Mindsight: Image, Dream, Meaning,
   Harvard University Press, 2004

Geometry of Language,
continued from St. George's Day, 2009

Professor Arielle Saiber with chess set

Excerpt from Jasper Hopkins's 'Concise Introduction to the Philosophy of Nicholas of Cusa

Related material:

Prima Materia,
The Galois Quaternion,
and The Wake of Imagination.

See also the following from a physicist
(not of the most orthodox sort, but his remarks
  here on Heisenberg seem quite respectable)–

Ian J. Thompson, 7 Dec. 2009

Quantum mechanics describes the probabilities of actual outcomes in terms of a wave function, or at least of a quantum state of amplitudes that varies with time. The public always asks what the wave function is, or what the amplitudes are amplitudes of. Usually, we reply that the amplitudes are ‘probability amplitudes’, or that the wave function is a ‘probability wave function’, but neither answer is ontologically satisfying since probabilities are numbers, not stuff. We have already rehearsed the objections to the natural world being made out of numbers, as these are pure forms. In fact, ‘waves’, ‘amplitudes’ and ‘probabilities’ are all forms, and none of them can be substances. So, what are quantum objects made of: what stuff?

According to Heisenberg [6], the quantum probability waves are “a quantitative formulation of the concept of ‘dynamis’, possibility, or in the later Latin version, ‘potentia’, in Aristotle’s philosophy. The concept of events not determined in a peremptory manner, but that the possibility or ‘tendency’ for an event to take place has a kind of reality—a certain intermediate layer of reality, halfway between the massive reality of matter and the intellectual reality of the idea or the image—this concept plays a decisive role in Aristotle’s philosophy. In modern quantum theory this concept takes on a new form; it is formulated quantitatively as probability and subjected to mathematically expressible laws of nature.” Unfortunately Heisenberg does not develop this interpretation much beyond the sort of generality of the above statements, and the concept of ‘potentiality’ remains awkwardly isolated from much of his other thought on this subject [7]. It is unclear even what he means by ‘potentia’.


Heisenberg, W. 1961 On Modern Physics, London: Orion Press.


[6] W. Heisenberg, ‘Planck’s discovery and the philosophical problems of atomic physics’, pp. 3-20 in Heisenberg (1961).

[7] Heisenberg, for example, brings into his thought on quantum physics the Kantian phenomena/noumena distinction, as well as some of Bohr’s ideas on ‘complementarity’ in experimental arrangements.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Requiem for a Force–

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 3:30 PM

Where Three Worlds Meet

Venn diagram of three sets

From an obituary for David Brown, who died at 93 on Monday–

"David Brown was a force in the entertainment, literary and journalism worlds," Frank A. Bennack, Jr., vice chairman and chief executive officer of Hearst Corporation, said in a statement Tuesday. —Polly Anderson of the Associated Press

Mark Kramer, "Breakable Rules for Literary Journalists," Section 8–

"Readers are likely to care about how a situation came about and what happens next when they are experiencing it with the characters. Successful literary journalists never forget to be entertaining. The graver the writer's intentions, and the more earnest and crucial the message or analysis behind the story, the more readers ought to be kept engaged. Style and structure knit story and idea alluringly.

If the author does all this storytelling and digressing and industrious structure-building adroitly, readers come to feel they are heading somewhere with purpose, that the job of reading has a worthy destination. The sorts of somewheres that literary journalists reach tend to marry eternal meanings and everyday scenes. Richard Preston's 'The Mountains of Pi,' for instance, links the awkward daily lives of two shy Russian emigre mathematicians to their obscure intergalactic search for hints of underlying order in a chaotic universe."


Logic is all about the entertaining of possibilities.”

Colin McGinn, Mindsight: Image, Dream, Meaning, Harvard U. Press, 2004

"According to the Buddha, scholars speak in sixteen ways of the state of the soul after death…. While I hesitate to disagree with the Compassionate One, I think there are more than sixteen possibilities described here…."

Peter J. Cameron today

"That's entertainment!"

Jack Haley Jr.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Wednesday March 30, 2005

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:28 PM

Logocentric Theology

Logic is all about the entertaining of possibilities.”

Colin McGinn,
Mindsight: Image, Dream, Meaning,
Harvard U. Press (See yesterday’s entry.)

“God is the sum of all possibilities.”

— Isaac Bashevis Singer, according to
the Associated Press “Today in History
feature for today, March 30, 2005

“A probability space is a measure space with total measure one.”

Gregory F. Lawler, Probability Notes

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”

Deuteronomy 6:4

For other illustrations of logocentric theology, see

Matrix of the Death God (May 25, 2003),

Transcendental Meditation (July 30, 2003),

and, for Warren Beatty’s birthday today,

Graphical Password
(April 27, 2003).

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Tuesday March 29, 2005

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 4:01 PM


The stranglehold of the Wiener Kreis on Harvard philosophy may at last be breaking:

"… imagination and belief are related….  belief presupposes imagination…."

"To negate the actual is to move imaginatively into the realm of modality.  Logic is all about the entertaining of possibilities."

"… imagination is central to an account of linguistic understanding. To understand a sentence is to imaginatively grasp the possibility it represents."

Colin McGinn, excerpt (pdf) from Mindsight: Image, Dream, Meaning, published by Harvard University Press on November 22, 2004

From November 22, 2004:

Photo by Gerry Gantt

From Four Quartets:

And the pool was filled
with water out of sunlight,
And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,
The surface glittered out of heart of light…

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