UCSB Philosophy Blog

Members of the UCSB Department of Philosophy and anyone else are welcome to talk philosophy with us. Bring your own brain.

Friday, September 23, 2005

New department blog

Welcome, fellow philosophers. This is the newly opened UCSB Philosophy Department blog, on which we hope to have some random discussion of philosophical (or other) issues. If you've got an issue that you're thinking about (and who doesn't?) write up a little something for other readers to respond to. I'll post some of my own concerns soon, but here are a few starter questions that I mostly don't know how to answer.
  1. What is the object of belief? I.e., when George believes that it is raining, is there a thing to which he is thereby related, and if so, what is that thing? E.g., is it a Russellian proposition, a neural state type, or what? Is there an answer that is satisfying from both a semantic and psychological point of view?
  2. Can I name anything anything? I.e., does a name have to be a linguistic entity, or could it be, e.g., a person or a tree or an event? Could I name something as the Battle of Trafalgar (not "The Battle of Trafalgar")? (MG's question)
  3. Does art have moral properties, as well as aesthetic properties? Are good works of art morally good, or is art morally neutral? What's the relation between these notions?
Have fun with that.


  • At 10:42 AM, Blogger Anand Vaidya said…

    Art has moral properties. One way of thinking of the moral properties of art is by considering it potential to influence others. This especially relevant when for the most part people respond to an artisitc work in the same way. Suppose some piece of art is such that it causes people to want to kill each other. Couldn't we say in that case that the piece of art has a moral property? Of course this is the shallow answer. The much more interesting question would be if art has any non-relational moral properties? The prima facie answer there is no. Okay :)

  • At 3:14 PM, Blogger Luke Manning said…

    Thanks Anand. Yes, the question was not sufficiently specific, and there are probably multiple interesting ways to take it. One possibility I had in mind was the question of whether works of art (can) have moral properties in virtue of their aesthetic properties, or vice versa, perhaps. Is it ever, e.g., morally good that something is beautiful? Whether or not we think that these morally properties are ultimately non-relational, this question is still open.
    I'm not sure if your example could be an example of aesthetic properties, but then I can't think of a suitable way to delimit the class of aesthetic properties right now. But that's a bigger problem.


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