Simon Blackburn

From Wikiquote
Jump to: navigation, search
We hope for lives whose story leaves us looking admirable; we like our weaknesses to be hidden and deniable... We want to enjoy our lives, and we want to enjoy them with a good conscience ... Ethics is disturbing.

Simon Blackburn (born 1944) is a British academic philosopher known for his work in quasi-realism and his efforts to popularise philosophy. He recently retired as professor of philosophy at the University of Cambridge, but remains a distinguished professor of philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, teaching every spring semester.

Quotes[edit]

An ethic gone wrong is an essential preliminary to the sweat shop or the concentration camp and the death march.
  • We hope for lives whose story leaves us looking admirable; we like our weaknesses to be hidden and deniable... We want to enjoy our lives, and we want to enjoy them with a good conscience ... Ethics is disturbing. We are often vaguely uncomfortable when we think of such things as exploitation of the world's resources, or the way our comforts are provided by the miserable labour conditions of the third world ... Racists and sexists, like antebellum slave owners in America, always have to tell themselves a story that justifies their system.
    • Simon Blackburn, Being Good (2001)

Think (1999)[edit]

Since there is no telling in advance where it may lead, reflection can be seen as dangerous.
It is logically impossible that there could exist an "unowned" dent, a dent without a surface that is dented.
A god that created the world and then walked off the site leaving it to its own devices is not a fit object of worship, nor a source of moral authority.
If nothing does as well as something about which nothing can be said, it vanishes.
  • The word "philosophy" carries unfortunate connotations: impractical, unworldly, weird.
    • Introduction, p. 1
  • Since there is no telling in advance where it may lead, reflection can be seen as dangerous.
    • Introduction, p. 11
  • The scientific world is to be less threatening than was feared. It is to be made safe for human beings. And the way to make it safe is to reflect on the foundation of knowledge.
    • Chapter One, Knowledge, p. 17
  • Thoughts are strange things. they have 'representational' powers: a thought typically represents the world as being one way or another. A sensation, by contrast, seems to just sit there.
    • Chapter Two, Mind, p. 78
  • A signpost doesn't in and of itself represent the way to the village. We have to learn how to take it.
    • Chapter Two, Mind, p. 78
  • Perhaps to restore human freedom we should deny determinism?
    • Chapter Three, Free Will, p. 84
  • Chance is as relentless as necessity.
    • Chapter Three, Free Will, p. 85
  • Contemporary culture is not very good on responsibility.
    • Chapter Three, Free Will, p. 105
  • "In Michigan recently a man won a lawsuit for substantial damages because, he claimed, a rear-end collision in his car had made him a homosexual."
    • Chapter Three, Free Will, p. 106
  • If our best efforts come to nothing often enough, we need consolation, and thoughts of unfolding, infinite destiny, or karma, are sometimes consoling.
    • Chapter Three, Free Will, p. 117
  • There was content, but no container.
    • Chapter Four, The Self, p. 135
  • But it is logically impossible that there could exist an 'unowned' dent, a dent without a surface that is dented.
    • Chapter Four, The Self, p. 136
  • We can grieve over lost powers and memories, or rejoice over gained knowledge and maturity, according to taste.
    • Chapter Four, The Self, p. 146
  • It can seem an amazing fact that laws of nature keep on holding, that the frame of nature does not fall apart.
    • Chapter Five, God, p. 162
  • A god that created the world and then walked off the site leaving it to its own devices is not a fit object of worship, nor a source of moral authority.
    • Chapter Five, God, p. 169
  • Nobody ever inferred from the multiple infirmities of Windows that Bill Gates was infinitely benevolent, omniscient, and able to fix everything.
    • Chapter Five, God, p. 170
  • But if nothing does as well as something about which nothing can be said, it vanishes.
    • Chapter Five, God, p. 173
  • Why should thinkers mock the simple pieties of the people?
    • Chapter Five, God, p. 190
  • Myself, I have never seen a bumper sticker saying "Hate if you Love Jesus", but I sometimes wonder why not. It would be a good slogan for the religious Right.
    • Chapter Five, God, p. 191
  • What underlies our assignment of probabilities in the real world?
    • Chapter Six, Reasoning, p. 212
  • Induction is the process of taking things within our experience to be representative of the world outside our experience. It is a process of projection or extrapolation.
    • Chapter Six, Reasoning, p. 225
  • Finding a mechanism does not bypass the problem of induction.
    • Chapter Six, Reasoning, p. 227
  • Paradigms can be asked to show their worth, an some of them do not stand up.
    • Chapter Six, Reasoning, p. 231
  • Motion however will not help unless we have things moving.
    • Chapter Seven, The World, p. 244
  • We think about what to do, and muster considerations and arguments in favor of one course or another. How are we to think about that?
    • Chapter Eight, What To Do, p. 270
  • According to Confucianism, the ideal life contains a large dose of respect for traditional ways. All these ideals can be fleshed out and painted in more or less attractive colours. Yet there is something uncomfortable about them, if only because there is little reason to suppose that there is any such thing as the ideal life. Since different people have different tastes and interests, and different cultures encourage different concerns, it seems unlikely that any 'ideal life' will be heavily contextualized: ideal for this person in these circumstances, perhaps, but not much more.
    • Chapter Eight, What To Do, p. 278-279

External links[edit]

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about: