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Philosophy On The Mesa is the blog of philosophy faculty at San Diego Mesa College. It is dedicated to quality discussions of philosophy or anything else we find interesting. All posts on this blog reflect the opinions of individual authors and do not reflect the views of other authors on this site or the views of Mesa College. Authors retain copyright on the content of all posts.

We welcome comments by the public, especially students, but please keep comments on point. Comments that are irrelevant, offensive, or otherwise deemed unworthy by the administrators of this blog will be deleted.

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1. Hawk - April 1, 2008

Americans are ignorant about certain specific topics. Why might Americans have singled out those particular areas of ignorance as being dangerous? What specific kinds of knowledge should be widespread and highly valued among Americans? Do you think the kinds of knowledge that you identify are, in fact, either widespread or valued highly? Either way, what makes you think so?

2. Renee Carignan - December 6, 2008

Hello, I just discovered this by googling one of my professors and I highly commend this effort. It’s amazing when teachers go above and beyond to keep their students connected, give them a chance to speak, and above all, keep their work relevant. This is very cool and I shall spread the word to those I know on the Mesa campus who are interested in philosophy.

3. Nina Rosenstand - December 11, 2008

Renee,
Welcome to the blog! Thanks for the kind words–I hope you and other students will visit us often in 2009.

4. Omid - August 8, 2009

Consider the following statement: “All triangles have three angles.” According to Kantian philosophy, this statement is “analytic” and “a priori”. It is analytic because the concept of the predicate (i.e., “three angles”) is already contained within the concept of the subject (i.e., “triangles”). Moreover, the statement is a priori because its truth is necessitated before empirically verifying it. Suppose that I have never seen a physical representation of a triangle, and hence, of a point, line, and angle. Further suppose that someone orally instructs me as follow:

1. A “point” is a unit having a definite position. Further, a “point” is the beginning of dimension, but not itself a dimension, and likewise the beginning of a line, but not itself a line.
2. A “line” is a juxtaposition or extension of points extended in space.
3. An “angle” is the distance or space between two intersecting lines.
4. Every triangle is composed of three straight lines whereby each line intersects other two lines, causing formation of three angles (one at each intersection), and that the sum of the three angles amounts to 360 degrees.

Assuming, again, that I have never experienced a physical representation of a triangle, do you suppose that, upon receiving the instructions enumerated above, I immediately mentally apprehend that the statement “all triangles have three angles” is a priori analytic statement? To understand the statement, won’t I need to have at least some empirical experience of—either in representational form or else—a point, position, extension, straightness, line, space, dimension, intersection, distance, and measure? My point is that some, if not all, a priori analytic judgments seem impossible to be purely mentally grasped prior to and without aid of any sensory experience. The truth of the statement seems contingent upon how the subject (i.e., “triangle”) is defined, and whether the definition corresponds to the concept of the predicate (i.e., “three angles”). However, to understand the definition itself, it seems to me that one needs the aid of some sensory experience. Consequently, this indicates, at least in this particular case, that while the statement “all triangles have three angles” is analytic, it is not a priori—that is, its truth can not be verified without the aid of some sensory experience. I think it was Nietzsche who said that if we deduct the nervous system, then we simply miscalculate.

5. Paul J. Moloney - August 9, 2009

It does seem to me that a priori knowledge is based on sense experience. It is at least based on sense knowledge. Anyway, sense knowledge precedes intellectual knowledge.

6. IEPR - October 16, 2009

Mesa College is a institution were i feel like a real-student, this is just one example on how professors really are in to their area of study , there are REAL professors that enjoy sharing knowledge and clariy to their students. Thanks Professor Nina for your knowledge, you make philosophy easy for us to understand and your greaT. Thanks Every one at Mesa College.


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