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Music is often described as having something to do with emotion. But a song or a sonata can't literally feel happy or sad, so what is the connection to emotion?

You're right that a work of music can't literally feel sad. It's also true that we, the listeners, often (perhaps even typically) don't feel sad when we hear a sad piece of music. In fact, we might feel exhiliration or awe in the presence of a wonderful performance of a sad piece--a slow one in a minor key, for example. (If sad music typically made us sad we probably wouldn't choose to listen to as much of it as we do.) There's no reason to think that the composer or performer(s) of a sad piece of music need to feel sad. So who or what is the subject of the emotions we seem to perceive in music?

And come to think of it, unlike garden variety emotions, the emotions that we perceive in music don't have clear objects either. What is the sadness of the music about?

Even though the emotions we seem to hear in music have no clear subjects or objects, it often (though not always) seems right to describe music in emotional terms. Saying how this can be is one of the central problems--if not the central problem--in the philosophy of music. And there's still significant disagreement because sorting it out touches on broader issues such as the nature of artistic expression and interpretation, as well as the nature of emotions and moods. I won't sketch the options here, but instead recommend Peter Kivy's recent book An Introduction to a Philosophy of Music, which provides a nice account of these issues.

Is there anything morally problematic about health inequalities which correlate to inequalities in social-economic status? If so, what, if anything, should be done? How can our "modern ideals" (health care system - NHS) be applied to the teachings of Rawls and Nozick?

If there are moral problems with inequalities in general, then they should apply to health issues also. If there are not such moral problems, then they need not. That is, if we allow inequalities to exist then we should not be surprised or even shocked that they exist in health care also, indeed we should expect this. Poorer people tend to be less capable at acquiring public health resources, and have often adopted unhealthy life styles for reasons connected with their poverty, and so any general attack on social inequality should work towards improvement in general health levels among the deprived sector of society. But this is only if you value equality, it might well be that those thinkers who do not would see it as perfectly acceptable for such inequalities to persist given the general desirability of inequality as a social phenomenon.

Hello. Thank you for reading this. I'm in grave need of philosophical counsel please. I cannot 'get' the distinction between 'a priori' and 'a posteriori'. It seems to me that anything that is known must be, in some way, related to experience. I'm troubled by this thought experiment: If a baby was born with a terrible genetic condition which excluded all the human senses, what would the child 'know'? Without the 'experience' of the senses, what could the child ever know? Not even syllogism would be possible; without experience, language would not be available to the unfortunate child. And I imagine that this would be true of numbers too. Yours truly, Blunderov.

Here's Frege's way of making this point:

Now these distinctions between a prioir and a posteriori, synthetic and analytic, concern, as I see it, not the content of the judgement but the justification for making the judgement. ...When a proposition is called a posteriori or a priori in my sense, this is not a judgement about the conditions, psychological, physiological and physical, which have made it possible to form the content of the proposition in our consciousness; nor is it a judgement about the way in which some other man has come, perhaps erroneously, to believe it true; rather, it is a judgement about the ultimate ground upon which rests the justification for holding it to be true. (Foundations of Arithmetic, section 3)

Frege attaches a footnote in the middle of the first sentence in which he says that he means "only to state accurately what earlier writers, Kant in particular, have meant by" these terms.

Hello. Thank you for reading this. I'm in grave need of philosophical counsel please. I cannot 'get' the distinction between 'a priori' and 'a posteriori'. It seems to me that anything that is known must be, in some way, related to experience. I'm troubled by this thought experiment: If a baby was born with a terrible genetic condition which excluded all the human senses, what would the child 'know'? Without the 'experience' of the senses, what could the child ever know? Not even syllogism would be possible; without experience, language would not be available to the unfortunate child. And I imagine that this would be true of numbers too. Yours truly, Blunderov.

Here's Frege's way of making this point:

Now these distinctions between a prioir and a posteriori, synthetic and analytic, concern, as I see it, not the content of the judgement but the justification for making the judgement. ...When a proposition is called a posteriori or a priori in my sense, this is not a judgement about the conditions, psychological, physiological and physical, which have made it possible to form the content of the proposition in our consciousness; nor is it a judgement about the way in which some other man has come, perhaps erroneously, to believe it true; rather, it is a judgement about the ultimate ground upon which rests the justification for holding it to be true. (Foundations of Arithmetic, section 3)

Frege attaches a footnote in the middle of the first sentence in which he says that he means "only to state accurately what earlier writers, Kant in particular, have meant by" these terms.

As far as I know, it's not illegal in football (soccer) to kick the ball really hard at someone's face if they are in the way of goal. Throwing dummies and gamesmanship are also treated as acceptable. So how exactly does agreeing on rules of a game remove normal moral constraints? I know people wouldn't be happy if I started blasting a football at their faces, but would it be morally ok?

It's not illegal but practitioners of the game would certainly be judged to be immoral if it was done with the intention of hurting someone. It is true though that we can do things in sports that would be judged to be immoral in other contexts and on this point I agree with Douglas Burnham that it is a matter of giving consent - accepting the rules of the game.

Hello. Thank you for reading this. I'm in grave need of philosophical counsel please. I cannot 'get' the distinction between 'a priori' and 'a posteriori'. It seems to me that anything that is known must be, in some way, related to experience. I'm troubled by this thought experiment: If a baby was born with a terrible genetic condition which excluded all the human senses, what would the child 'know'? Without the 'experience' of the senses, what could the child ever know? Not even syllogism would be possible; without experience, language would not be available to the unfortunate child. And I imagine that this would be true of numbers too. Yours truly, Blunderov.

Here's Frege's way of making this point:

Now these distinctions between a prioir and a posteriori, synthetic and analytic, concern, as I see it, not the content of the judgement but the justification for making the judgement. ...When a proposition is called a posteriori or a priori in my sense, this is not a judgement about the conditions, psychological, physiological and physical, which have made it possible to form the content of the proposition in our consciousness; nor is it a judgement about the way in which some other man has come, perhaps erroneously, to believe it true; rather, it is a judgement about the ultimate ground upon which rests the justification for holding it to be true. (Foundations of Arithmetic, section 3)

Frege attaches a footnote in the middle of the first sentence in which he says that he means "only to state accurately what earlier writers, Kant in particular, have meant by" these terms.

Natural language statements have quantifiers such as, “most”, “many”, “few”, and “only”. How could ordinary first-order predicate logic with identity (hereafter, FOPL) treat statements containing these vague quantifiers? It seems that FOPL, with only the existential and universal quantifiers at its disposal, is insufficient. I read somewhere that ‘restricted quantification’ notation can ameliorate such problems. Is this true, or are there difficulties with the restricted quantification treatment of vague quantifiers? What are some of the inference rules for restricted quantification notation? For example, in FOPL you have the existential instantiation and universal instantiation inference rules. Are there analogue inference rules for the quantifiers, "many", “most” and “few”? Can you recommend any books or articles that outline, critique or defend restricted quantification? I also read that there are issues with FOPL regarding symbolizing adverbs and events from natural language. Is this true or just a superficial problem? Another complaint about FOPL, (especially Russell’s treatment of statements in the form of “The so and so...”), is that, often there are no obvious correspondences between the grammatical structure of the natural language and its logical notation counterpart. For example, in the English statement, “All men are mortal” to the logical notation, (x)(Mx->Rx), there seems to be no obvious correspondence to the connective ‘->’ from anything in its natural language grammatical structure. In other words, the logical notation seems too contrived. What is the common response to this complaint if any? These seem to be grave problems for the applicability and effectiveness of FOPL to natural language arguments. (I am not referring to the “limits” of FOPL where extensions such as modal, tense, or second-order logic might accommodate the richer parts of natural language, but rather to the apparent inability of any logic(s) dealing with these problems.) Note: Much of these concerns I have come from an article I read by Kent Bach in “A Companion to Philosophical Logic” by Blackwell Publishing. Thanks Kindly for your reply, J Jones

One further point. Toward the end, you write:

These seem to be grave problems for theapplicability and effectiveness of FOPL to natural language arguments.(I am not referring to the “limits” of FOPL where extensions such asmodal, tense, or second-order logic might accommodate the richer partsof natural language, but rather to the apparent inability of anylogic(s) dealing with these problems.)

Waiving the issue about vagueness, there isn't any problem dealing with such quantifiers in a second-order context. Both of the quantifiers I mentioned, "Most" and "Eq", can be defined in second-order logic, so the caveat at the end kind of gives the game away. That said, what perhaps is puzzling about these quantifiers is that, as is the case with second-order quantifiers, there is, as I said, no sound and complete set of rules for them, with respect to the intended semantics. In that sense, there is no "formal" logic for these quantifiers. But, again, that is not to say that one cannot write down some rules for them, and these rules may even be adequate for most or even all of the intuitively valid arguments one might care to give. The really interesting question, to my mind, would be what kinds of resources one actually needs to be able to do that. And that is why it is interesting, to me, how hard it is to write down sensible "elimination" rules for "Eq". For more on that, see my paper "The Logic of Frege's Theorem", which is on my web site. (The example discussed there is more the ancestral, but similar points apply to "Eq".)

Of course, if we don't waive the issue about vagueness, then there are, as I also said, lots of other problems around. But these problems are not special to "few", "many", and the like.

I'm a student with the Open University in the UK, recently due to industrial action my tutors are no longer marking our essays with scores, they now only put comments on them. Personally I prefer this. I find myself feeling motivated to higher levels, and without the scores I cannot gauge what my average is, meaning that each essay is important to me. Initially this was because I didn't want to receive a bad comment, hence a bad score, but now it's because I am so much more absorbed in my subject. But other students don't feel the same, they feel as if it's their right to know their scores, after all, what is a degree if it isn't one massive score. I've decided that those of us who are enjoying the way things currently are, without scores are at University for the pursuit of knowledge. While those who do not like it are at University in pursuit of a degree. Two very different things. My question is, with this in mind, Do you agree that Universities would become better learning establishments, temples of knowledge even, if the current score system were to be abolished and replaced with a discussion and comment system? I also believe that the way Universities work have their roots firmly entangled in capitalist-democratic society and our Universities have been designed to promote the current way of doing things (life) in this society.

Grading at least some of students' work is probably unavoidable, but comments are essential. I've become fond of the British system of separating teaching from assessment. At Cambridge University, where I work, this means that the weekly philosophy essay that undergraduates write for their supervisions (tutorials) receives extensive comments and is the basis for extended discussion between the student and the supervisor, but the essay is not graded. The student's grade is based rather on tests and extended essays (both types of excercise submitted anonymously), and the grading is done by a board of examiners.

Some students who come into this system find it disconcerting: since their examiner is in general not their supervisor, they are nervous that they won't know exactly what the examiner wants to read. But that may be no bad thing, and the system gives students plenty of feedback and separates this from the grade. Since your supervisor is not your examiner, your relationship with her can be a little like that between an athlete and a coach -- you are working together to improve your skill and to help you to train to do well in the exams.

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