PHILOSOPHY LESSON: Dogs, trees and quarrels

GreggRosenberg.gifNon-philosophers sometimes ask “What do philosophers do?” One thing philosophers do is: quarrel with other philosophers. Here is a small extract of one side of piece of a philosophers’ quarrel:

My attention has been restricted to three chapters of a fifteen chapter book. For those who are convinced by the arguments that did not convince me, or by similar ones, Rosenberg has much to say about the general worldview that results. I have not ventured to say anything about Rosenberg?s proposal, which he calls Liberal Naturalism. Nor have I said anything about his account of causation, constructed to be with Liberal Naturalism. That, I suppose, must stand or fall in its own right; and its presentation might have been a separate book. I think that Rosenberg will not be surprised that he has failed to convince me. As he says, ?Reinventing nature is hard work.? A Place for Consciousness is no doubt only a first pass at the task.

So writes philosopher Thomas Polger in “A place for dogs and trees?,” his 20-page take at a few aspects of fellow philosopher Gregg Rosenberg‘s quarrelicious book.

Gregg Rosenberg, by the way, has own answer to the question “What do philosophers do?” They get hired to be consultants. Rosenberg writes: “I am currently managing research at the [Washington-D.C.-based consulting firm] Corporate Executive Board.”

Not only are philosophers conscious that they love to quarrel?they consciously love to quarrel about consciousness. A web page called “Online Papers in Consciousness” lists and links to many fine consciousness quarrels. Like all good quarrels, these can be enjoyed even by the casual passerby who chooses a quarrel at random and dips into it midstream. Here are dipping points for three of the many quarrels available for dipping into: