Monday, January 31, 2005

Eagleton On Suicide Bombers

Terry Eagleton has written an interesting article on the suicide bomber, presenting the argument that the bomber is engaging in propaganda of the deed - a line that is nearly one hundred years old, if Conrad's The Secret Agent is taken into consideration - though it seems more plausable than Hondrich's position.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Squashed Philosophers ...

Not a substitute for engaging the Great's ad tandem, but a possible brief introduction: Glyn Hughes' Squashed Philosophers ...

Two Boethius Translations

Erik C. Kenyon has posted tranlsations of two of Boethius' brief theological works De trinitate and Utrum pater et filius et spiritus sanctus de divinitate substantialiter praedicentur.

As works they lack the flair of the Consolations of Philosophy, but are still an interesting read.

DJ Spooky On Loops Of Perception

DJ Spooky, who has just performed in Sydney as part of the Festival, made the following observation as part of an interesting essay:

we use our minds for so many different things that we can only guess at how complex the process of thinking is. Outside, it's a different scenario. Each human act, each human expression, has to be translated into some kind of information for other people to understand it: Some call it the "mind/brain" interface, and others, like Descartes, call it a kind of perceptual (and perpetual) illusion. In our day and age, the basic idea of how we create content in our minds is so conditioned by media that we are in a position unlike any other culture in human history: Today, this interior rhythm of words, this inside conversation, expresses itself in a way that can be changed once it enters the "real" world. When recorded, adapted, remixed, and uploaded, expression becomes a stream unit of value in a fixed and remixed currency that is traded via the ever shifting currents of information moving through the networks we use to talk with one another. It wasn't for nothing that Marx said so long ago that "all that is solid melts into air" - perhaps he was anticipating the economy of ideas that drives the network systems we live and breathe in today. In different eras, the invocation of a deity, or prayers, or mantras, were all common forms, shared through cultural affinities and affirmed by people who spoke the code - the language of the people sharing the story.

Talbot On Philosophy and the Internet

Marianne Talbot, in an article for the Telegraph (English), makes the observation that "Philosophy lends itself extremely well to online study, not least because it is essentially a solitary activity. Philosophy requires serious, sustained thought, and such thinking demands time alone to read and to think about the issues."

The latter part of the observation goes some way to answering Melbourne Philosopher's question on why philosophy is such an individual persuit.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Foucault On Abnormal - Review

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews has published this review of Abnormal, the latest collection of Foucault's Collage de France lectures (1974-1975).

Monday, January 24, 2005

Lentin On Racism

For those of you have do not keep a regular watch over the local politics of Newcastle, the area has seen of late the emergence of a vocal ‘anti-immigration’ organisation. They made an appearance last year when they campaigned contra the University’s International community. They made a further appearance last week when they tried to rally their supporters against the growing Sudanese community. According to the media they were not able to muster more than twenty supporters to their protest on Saturday. There has been a considerable opposition.

Their emergence has caused me to contemplate the nature of racism, in an attempt to do something to combat it. The Gentle’s at The Virtual Stoa were good enough to post this essay on racism and human rights only the other day.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Philosophical Links List

As promised the Philosophical Links list is now underway. At present only up to those Links which start with the letter 'N' have been put up, the othere letters are to follow. The Links are a mixed bunch, gathered during various cyber-wanderings. No assurity is made regarding their quality nor their legitimacy - this is the internet after all!

Saturday, January 22, 2005

On Genealogy And Personhood

Having spent time contemplating the nature of personhood, the following comment, from a review by David Hull, made a certain amount of sense:

'A ... reason why so many people are so conservative with respect to species is that we human beings form a species. If something is true of all species, then it is true of our species, and lots of people do not want to visualize the human species as part of a genealogical network. According to the class interpretation, a certain list of characters defines Homo sapiens. Anyone who lacks one or more of these characters is either not a human being or not a normal human being. On the part-whole interpretation, a newborn baby born without plantigrade feet is still a human being. If your parents are human beings, then you are a human being. If you mate successfully with another human being, then you too are a human being. Homo sapiens, like all sexual species, is part of a particular genealogical nexus. That may not sound right, but there it is.'

It must be asked whether or not genealogy forms a viable basis for personhood? Do we want to be able to say that anybeing born of a human being is automatically a person? Conversely, do we want to say than anybeing not born of a human being is not to be accorded personhood?

Thursday, January 20, 2005

David Chalmers' Blog

David Chalmers now has a blog. Will add to the blog list shortly.

Raz On Contempory Philosophy

Joseph Raz, a commissioning editor at Oxford University Press, made the following observation in a conversation:

Perhaps in our hyperactive world the mode of progress in philosophy has changed. Perhaps it now lies less with the singular achievements of exceptional thinkers like the classics of modern philosophy: Descartes, Locke, Hume, Kant, and others, and more in the cumulative products of hundreds of worker ants. This would suggest that the history of philosophy may assume the relation to philosophy that the history of physics has to physics. It would even make the ephemerality and forgetfulness of the age less regrettable. I doubt, however, that that can be the whole story. It is probably yet another manifestation of the lack of clear horizons in contemporary philosophical thought.

Monday, January 17, 2005

On The Status of Contributors

The Editor, in consultation with various members of the Committee, has determined the following guidelines regarding Contributor status.

All members of the University of Newcastle Philosophy Club are welcome to apply to become Contributors to the blog. Applications should consist of three sample posts, and should be addressed to: newcastlephilosophyclub(at)yahoo(dot)com(dot)au. Having been considered, applicants may be invited to become Contributors.

It should be noted that there are exceptions to this rule. Members who are honors or post-graduate students in philosophy, or related disciplines, are exempt from having to submit sample posts. All Faculty of the University of Newcastle are invited to become contributors by the Editor, and are exempt from having to submit sample posts. In such cases, a simple application should be sent to the aforementioned address.

Presidential statement thingy

Another year, another.....year?
So much for starting on a profound note. I'm obviously too sober for that. Or maybe it's you that is too sober. Who knows? Back to the point.

Why have a Philosophy Club? What are we here for?

The Club aims to support those who study philosophy at the University, as well as those in the broader community who are interested in philosophy. We also aim to promote and facilitate philosophic, and intellectual, discourse and scholarship on Campus and in the world at large.

I believe that by doing the former, we make a very good start on acheiving the latter. The support that we can give to student of philsophy can come in a range of forms. Mainly, we can provide (a few) people that will listen and argue at great length, about all things philosophical. We are less likely, for example, than the average person in a bar, or commerce tutorial, to tell someone with an anti-realist adgenda that they are crazy. We may give a warmer response to a disbelief in inductive reasoning than say, a chemistry lecturer. We tolerate discussions that most people find annoying, disturbing, boring, irrelavent or offensive (the fools).
This is important, as nothing helps to develop an idea like bouncing it off someone else who knows vaguley (is that spelt right?) what you are talking about. Furthermore, it can stop students of making fools of themselves (well, not completely). Something that might seem like a really good idea at 3:00 am over half a bottle of port/scotch/absinthe/ or several joints/cones/buckets (you get the idea), may sound somewhat less good in the cold light of the Godfrey Tanner Bar the next day when you try to explain it to a sober person.

We also host guest speakers (when we can actually get them).

-Sam Douglas (President)

The 8th Philosopher's Carnival

enwe's meta-blog
is presently hosting the 8th Philosopher's Carnival.

Foucault On Bureaucrats

“Do not ask me who I am and do not ask me to remain the same: leave it to our bureaucrats and our police to see that our papers are in order. At least spare us their morality when we write.”

- Michel Foucault
The Archaeology Of Knowledge
(London: Routledge, 2002), p. 19.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

On 'Learning To Write'

Melbourne Philosopher has published some useful notes on the topic of writing philosophical papers - available from:

Epicurus On Cheese

“Send me a pot of cheese, so that I may be able to indulge myself whenever I wish.”
- Epicurus, Fragments §39.
The Essential Epicurus
(Buffalo: Prometheus, 1993), p. 95.

Links Section

After much experimentation, we now have the seed of a links section. At present there are only a couple of links, but this list will rapidly grow.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

First Post - Eleventh Thesis

Philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.
- Karl Marx, 'Theses On Feuerbach'

Monday, January 03, 2005


The Fragmenta were compiled and included at the end of the various Issues of Dialectic.

New Series Volume 1, Issue 1, May 2004.

“Send me a pot of cheese, so that I may be able to indulge myself whenever I wish.” – Epicurus, Fragments §39. The Essential Epicurus (Buffalo: Prometheus, 1993), p. 95.

New Series Volume 1, Issue 2, June 2004.

“Philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.” – Karl Marx, ‘Theses On Feuerbach’ §XI The Portable Karl Marx (New York: Viking Penguin, 1983), p. 155.

“No, he’ll perceive it in itself and by itself, constant and eternal, and he’ll see that every other beautiful object somehow partakes of it, but in such a way that their coming to be and ceasing to be don’t increase or diminish it at all, and it remains entirely unaffected.” – Plato Symposium §211a,b (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), p. 55.

“Do not ask me who I am and do not ask me to remain the same: leave it to our bureaucrats and our police to see that our papers are in order. At least spare us their morality when we write.” – Michel Foucault The Archaeology Of Knowledge (London: Routledge, 2002), p. 19.

New Series Volume 1, Issue 3, July 2004.

“Men being all naturally inclined to sexual intercourse, and the consequence of this being the birth of children, whenever one of those who have been reared does not on growing up show gratitude to those who reared him or defended him, but on the contrary takes to speaking ill of them or ill treating them, it is evident that he will displease and offend those who have been familiar with his parents and have witnessed the care and pains they spent on attending to and feeding their children.” – Polybius The Histories VI.6 (London: William Heinemann, 1954), p. 279.

“When sight is taken away along with association and intercourse, erotic passion ceases.” – Epicurus, Vatican Sayings §18. The Essential Epicurus (Buffalo: Prometheus, 1993), p. 78.

“Sexual intercourse has never conferred a benefit; one should reckon oneself glad if it has not brought any harm.” – Epicurus, Fragments §8. The Essential Epicurus (Buffalo: Prometheus, 1993), p. 89.

“In one of his books of Exhortations, he [Chrysippus] says that sexual intercourse with mothers or daughters or sisters, eating certain food, and proceeding straight from childbed to deathbed to a temple have been discredited without reason. He also says that we should look to the beasts and infer from their behaviour that nothing of this kin is out of place or unnatural.” – Plutarch, On Stoic Self-contradictions 1044F–1045A in A. Long and D. Sedley [Ed.] The Hellenistic Philosophers, Vol. I 67F (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), p. 430.

“La sexualité, c’est assez monotone!” – Michel Foucault Dits Et Écrits II, 1976 - 1988 (Paris: Gallimard, 2001), p. 1428.

New Series Volume 1, Issue 4, August 2004.

“Only he [the wise man] is free, but the inferior are slaves. For freedom is the power of autonomous action, but slavery is the lack of autonomous action. There is also a different slavery which consists in subordination, and a third consisting in possession as well as subordination; this last is contrasted with despotism, which is also a morally inferior state.” – Diogenes Laertius 7.121-2 in A.A. Long and D.N. Sedley [Ed.] The Hellenistic Philosophers, Vol. I 67M (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), pp. 431, 432.

“Quite a few men have even been awarded cults before now because of the immortality of their children, where as no human child has ever yet earned his father a cult.” – Plato Symposium §209e (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), p. 53.

“For if A and B are friends, then the collaboration of each is for the sake (at least in part) of the other, and there is community between them not only in that there is a common interest in conditions, and common pursuit of the means whereby each will get what he wants for himself, but also in that what A wants for himself he wants (at least in part) under that description ‘that-which-B-wants-for-himself’, and vice versa. Indeed, the good that is common between friends is not simply the good of two successfully achieved coinciding projects or objectives; it is the common good of mutual self-constitution, self-fulfilment, self-realization.” – John Finis, Natural Law And Natural Rights (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980), p. 141.

New Series Volume 1, Issue 5, September 2004.

“Pindar turned it into a law of nature – which meant that he ‘justified the use of force extreme’, to quote his actual words.” – Plato Laws §713 (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972), p. 173.

“There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide. Judging whether life is worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.” – Albert CamusThe Myth of Sisyphus (London: Penguin, 2000), p. 11.

“killing is an act which of itself does nothing but damage the basic value of life.” – John Finis, Natural Law And Natural Rights (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980), p. 119.

New Series Volume 1, Issue 6, October 2004.

“Enlightenment is mankind’s exit from its self-incurred immaturity” – Kant, Immanuel, ‘An Answer To The Question: What Is Enlightenment?’ in James Schmidt [Ed.] What Is Enlightenment? (Berkley: University of California Press, 1996), p. 58.

“Each individual also requires, according to his status and vocation, different theoretical insights and different skills to attain them – a different degree of enlightenment. The enlightenment that is concerned with man as man is universal, without distinction or status; the enlightenment of man as citizen changes according to status and vocation. The destiny of man remains always the measure and goal of these efforts.” – Moses Mendelssohn, ‘On The Question’ in James Schmidt [Ed.] What Is Enlightenment (Berkley: University of California Press, 1996), p. 55.

“Man, it turns out, can lose all so-called Rights of Man without losing his essential quality as man, his human dignity. Only the loss of polity itself expels him from humanity.” - Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Meridian Books, 1960), p. 297.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Univeristy of Newcastle Philosophy Club Meeting Times

The University of Newcastle Philosophy Club meets weekly on campus.

Meetings are held on Tuesdays from 12 pm, in the McMullin Courtyard.

In the case of inclement weather, meetings are held in either the (Non-existent) Philosophy Common Room (in the McMullin Building, opposite MC 110) or in MC 110 (depending on room availability.

Hegel On Dialectic I

"That which enables the Notion to advance itself is the already mentioned negative which it possesses within itself; it is this which constitutes the genuine dialectical moment. Dialectic in this way acquires an entirely different significance from what it had when it was considered as a separate part of Logic and when its aim and standpoint were, one may say, completely misunderstood. Even the Platonic dialectic, in the Parmenides itself and elsewhere even more directly, on the one hand, aims only at abolishing and refuting assertions through themselves and on the other hand, has for its result simply nothingness.

Dialectic is commonly regarded as an external, negative activity which does not pertain to the subject matter itself, having its ground in mere conceit as a subjective itch for unsettling and destroying what is fixed and substantial, or at least having for its result nothing but the worthlessness of the object dialectically considered." - Hegel. Science of Logic I.67.

Singer On Dialectic

"In ancient Greece, dialectic was a form of reasoning that proceeded by question and answer, used by Plato. In later antiquity and the Middle Ages, the term was often used to mean simply logic, but Kant applied it to arguments showing that principles of science have contradictory aspects. Hegel thought that all logic and world history itself followed a dialectical path, in which internal contradictions were transcended, but gave rise to new contradictions that themselves required resolution. Marx and Engels gave Hegel's idea of dialectic a material basis; hence dialectical materialism." - Peter Singer. 'Dialectic' in Honderich [Ed.] The Oxford Companion To Philosophy (1995).

Augustine On Dialectic

"Dialectic is the science of arguing well. As you know, we use words when we argue. Words, you see, are either simple or complex. Simples are those which signify one thing, as when we say `man, horse, argues, runs'. You should not be surprised that `argues', though it is composed of two things {argue + s, trans.}, nevertheless is numbered among the simples; for this is clear from the definition. We said that a word was simple when it signified one thing. Thus it (argues) is covered by the definition, but it is not covered when I say `loquor' (I speak), for though this is one word, it does not have a simple meaning, since it also designates the person who speaks. Hence it is from the first subject to being either true or false, since it can be affirmed or denied. Thus, all the verbs of the first and second person, although pronounced as one word, nevertheless must be counted among the complex words, since they do not have a simple meaning. Thus, whoever says `ambulo' (I walk) makes understood both the action of walking (ambulation) and that he himself does it, and anyone who says `ambulas' (you walk) likewise signifies both the action performed and the person performing it. But when a person says `ambulat' (walking is going on), he signifies only the action of walking, whence third person verbs are always numbered among the simples and can never be affirmed or denied, except when they are verbs such that there is of necessity attached to them the signification of person by usage, as when we say `pluit' (it rains) or `ninguit' (it snows), even when we do not add what rains or snows; since it (the subject) is understood, they cannot be put under the simples." - St Augustine, de dialectica i, J. Marchand [Trans].

Dialectic Tables Of Contents: New Series, Volume One, 2004.

Copies of Issues are unavailable, though individual authors may wish to make their papers available on request – The Editor

New Series Volume 1, Issue 1, May 2004.
Foucault’s Subjects, Peter Woodward
Anselm’s Ontological Argument, Samuel Douglas

New Series Volume 1, Issue 2, June 2004.
On The Existence of Material Objects, Samuel Douglas
The German Ideology: Critique Of Marx’s Conception Of Ideology, Martin Roland Hill

New Series Volume 1, Issue 3, July 2004.
The Strategic Use of Pornography: The Eroticization of Desire and the Body, Rowan Blyth
On Pornography, Rowan Blyth

New Series Volume 1, Issue 4, August 2004.
On ‘The Concept of Power Revisited’, Samuel Douglas
Charles Taylor, “Foucault on Freedom and Truth.”, Michael Pender
On Foucault: What Is Enlightenment?, Martin Roland Hill
Foucault On Soul And Body, Peter Woodward

New Series Volume 1, Issue 5, September 2004.
The “Globalisation of Terror” – A Paradigmatic Shift and The Challenge It Poses to Nation States., Martin Roland Hill
On ‘The War On Terror’, David Jansen
The Problem of Evil: Malevolence, Impotence or Non-existence?, Paul Dowling

New Series Volume 1, Issue 6, October 2004.
Immanuel Kant: Brief Biographical and Philosophical Sketches, Martin Roland Hill
Incongruence, Dimensions and Kant, Paul Dowling

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Ad hominem

The Ad hominem area is intended for use when a member (or a non-member) feels the need to attack someone, as opposed to attacking their arguments.

This could be as simple and direct as flat out abuse, or as subtle as a detailed geneological analysis of a specific individuals motives and predjudices. When the knives come out, and there seems no alternative to telling someone what you think of them, (and why), this is the place to settle things.

On the validity of Ad hominem assaults, Wikipedia has this to say: "Premises discrediting the person can exist in valid arguments, when the person being criticized is the sole source for a piece of evidence used in one of his arguments."

Knock yourselves out.

University of Newcastle Philosophy Club – Executive Office Bearers

The Constitution of the University of Newcastle Philosophy Club (2005) provides for the election of an Executive consisting of five office bearers: the President, the Vice President, the Treasurer, the Secretary, and the Clubs and Societies Delegate.

The following roll records the Executives.


The President – Samuel Douglas BA(Hons)
The Vice President – Martin Hill BA(Hons)
The Secretary – Rowan Blyth BA


The President – Samuel Douglas BA(Hons)
The Vice President – Martin Hill BA(Hons)
The Treasurer – Rowan Blyth BA


The President – Samuel Douglas BA
The Vice President – Martin Hill BA
The Treasurer – Rowan Blyth BA
The Secretary – Chris
The Clubs and Societies Delegate – Rose Wallin


The President – Peter Woodward
The Executive – Leah G, Martin Hill

(Any information regarding the other executives of the Club would be greatly appreciated.)

Club Discussion Topics Forum

This Forum is intended as a place where Club members can raise topics for discussion at meetings.

The proposed system will be that a suggested topic may be posted here. Topics posted here will be chosen for discussion, and a post made on Blog notifying the Club of the date of the meeting and the topic for discussion.

It is asked that the Poster be prepared to lead the discussion at the relevant meeting.

Open Forum

The Open Forum is intended to be a place where individuals can post questions they would like to see discussed on this Blog for Editorial consideration.

Once posted as a comment, the question will be reviewed by the Editors. If it is deemed suitable, the question will then be posted on the Blog for discussion. It is requested that individuals avoid discussing posts in this forum.

All questions are welcome.

[Members of the Club should note that they are invited to become Contributors, and make their own posts.]

Dialectic - Roll Of Editors

The Editor Of Dialectic is an office of The University Of Newcastle Philosophy Club, as set out in the Club's Constitution. Alongside the Dialectic blog, the Editor is also responsible for the Club journal Dialectic. The following roll lists the Editors from the commencement of the blog in 2005 onwards.
Founding Editor - January-November 2005
Martin Hill BA.
Editor - December 2005-
Samuel Douglas BA.

Contact Details

The University of Newcastle Philosophy Club and the Editors of Dialectic may be reached via

newcastlephilosophyclub at gmail dot com

The List of Philosophical Links

The philosophy related links, here collected, are the product of several years of web-trawling. For ease of searching they have been vaguely assorted alphabetically.

The compiler of this list washes his hands, after the fashion of Pontius Pilate, of any responsibility for the quality of the contents and the Club and Editors assume none. The list has been developed with full awareness of the dynamic nature of the Internet, and the open and democratic discussions that form its contents. The Editors also announce that they have no concern for maintaining this list, though if Parties feel like informing us that links are no longer operational, by posting comments to such an effect, we may be inclined to make modifications.

Further, the Editors invite others to contribute links to this list – our aim is to develop as extensive a catalogue as possible – by detailing links in comments. They would also like to state, Categorically, that no Blogs will be added to this particular list and apologise for any Blogs that have been added.

The Editors.

The List Of Philosophical Links (as 2nd of November 2007).

Baudrillard on the Web
Derrida Online

Daniel C. Dennett
David Brink
Dictionary of Philosophy of Mind
Early Modern Texts
Erratic Impact
Evangelical Philosophical Society (EPS)
Michel Foucault Resources
Godel’s Theorems: An Introduction
Habermas Online
IJBS - International Journal of Baudrillard Studies
International Society For Philosophers
John Anderson

JESP - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy
LaTex for Logicians
Martin Heidegger Resources
Marx and Engle’s Writings
Marxists Internet Archive
Melbourne Philosophy
Meta-Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Morality, Ethics and Philosophy Resources
No Dogs or Philosophers Allowed Home Page
Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
Online Papers In Philosophy
Pathways to Philosophy
Perseus Digital Library
Peter Singer
Peter Singer Links
The Philosophers Carnival
Philosophers Imprint

The Philosophers' Magazine
Philosophy Collection
Philosophy Documentation Centre
Philosophy In Cyberspace
Philosophy Now
Philosophy Pages

Philosophy Talk
Plantinga Page
Postmodern Thought
Prisoner’s Dilemma

Radical Philosophy
Reason Papers
Squashed Philosopher
St James Ethics Centre
Stanford Encyclopaedia Of Philosophy
Stephen Woflram

The American Philosophical Association

The Bertrand Russell Archive
The Big Philosophical Internet Search Guide
The Cambridge Wittgenstein Archive
The Examined Life
The Fallacy Files
The Film and Philosophy Database
The Foucauldian
The Foucault Circle
The Hannah Arendt Papers (United States Library of Congress)
Ted Honderich
The International Association For Computing And Philosophy
The Internet Encyclopaedia Of Philosophy
The Isaiah Berlin Virtual Library
The Karl Popper Web
The Logical Fallacies
The Philosophical Lexicon
The President’s Council On Bioethics
The Realm Of Existentialism
The Royal Institute Of Philosophy
The Russellian Society
The Tanner Lectures On Human Values
The Wittgenstein Archive
The World Of Richard Dawkins
Truth Table Constructor
Voltaire’s Philosophical Dictionary
Walter Benjamin
Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language (so-called) Ultimate HomePage