Discovering Your Hidden Talents

I’ve been reading Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit for a class.

Hegel seems to respond to a particular view of Kant’s, that I have been thinking about. If someone has a particular talent, then that person ought to pursue that talent to the fullest of their capacity, according to Kant. The reason this follows for Kant is that it can be universalized.

Hegel’s criticism in the section on the ‘Animal Kingdom of Spirit’ is focused on how one could know one’s talent. In other words, if I am supposed to strive to do well with my talents, then I obviously must know what my talents are. Therein lies the problem for Hegel. How can I know my talents? Suppose I have a strong desire to play music because I am a huge appreciator of music. I might have the desire, and yet I might not have any ability to play music. Hegel’s view is that the person is realized in action, not desire. I am not a musician because I have the desire to play music; I can only become a musician when I actually play music.

I think Hegel’s criticism stands: I can only perfect my talents,  only after I know what they are. I can only discover my talents through action.

Of course, I might begin to pursue some course of action on the basis of desire, but that is not enough to say that I have talent.


Do Evolutionists have any Values?

The short answer is yes.

The purpose of this post is not to revive the creationist/evolutionist debate. To be honest, I don’t really care too much about most of the details of these arguments. I merely want to point out a possible incongruity in some of the literature from the evolutionist side of things.

In philosophy of science, it is well-established that science is not as value free as many people would like to assume. Helen Longino and many others have given compelling evidence that proves this point. However, for some reason, much of the discussion [especially among lay-people] presents evolution as an objective and value free theory. I think the reason for this could be polemical: the creationists clearly have certain values driving their beliefs, so 0evolutionists want to be as far away from that as possible. I just think it would be more honest, if they would admit that evolution cannot possible be value-free, since evidence shows that values infiltrate all aspects of science.

The value-ladenness of evolution does not [in any way] disprove it, which is not my goal anyway. In some ways, I think it would strengthen it. Of course, it would require the opponents of evolution to realize that as well.


The Continental and Analytic Divide


I have recently taken an interest in the huge chasm that separates Analytic and Continental philosophy, albeit the chasm seems to be narrowing. I am reading several books on the topic right now, and I not sure how many conclusions I have been able to draw yet. However, I still wanted to raise some questions in this post, along with one strong claim. And, perhaps, I will have some stronger claims in the future.

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Rationalists versus Empiricists

The primary distinction that most people highlight between the Rationalists and the Empiricists revolves around the justification or foundation of knowledge. The Rationalists assert that knowledge is grounded in reason, and the Empiricists contend that knowledge is grounded in experience. Then, of course, Kant comes along and creates this hybrid view, which solves all sorts of disputes between the two previous groups. This picture is basically the one that I have heard for a long time.

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One’s Psychological Aspect and Personal Identity.

Is psychology enough to preserve one’s personal identity? I have been reading through the different notions of personal identity, and I am not convinced the psychological view resolves the issue. The psychological view asserts that what secures a person’s identity over time is something within their mind, i.e. memories, consciousness, beliefs, etc. For example, the reason I am the same person as I was when I was ten is due to the fact that I remember the time when I was ten and certain events occurred.

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The Principle of Charity and Gadamer’s View of Completeness

Hans Georg Gadamer describes the hindrance that prejudices make on our ability to interpret a text in his major work, Truth and Method. While I have a certain set of problems with his overall program and many of his conclusions, I do think he has some insight into the notion of charity (though I don’t think he ever uses that term). The principle of charity basically claims that we should interpret someone in a favorable light, i.e., we assume that they have some intelligence.

Continue reading ‘The Principle of Charity and Gadamer’s View of Completeness’


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