Getting Started

Often the worst thing to do with what looks like a real philosophical question is to answer it. It can get in the way of fuller understanding of what the problem really is and where it comes from.    —Barry Stroud

In philosophy it is always good to put a question instead of an answer to a question. For an answer to the philosophical question may easily be unfair; disposing of it by means of another question is not.       —Wittgenstein

When people ask me what philosophy is, I say philosophy is what you do when you don’t know what the right questions are yet.        —Dan Dennett

We do not live in several different, or even two different, worlds, a mental world and a physical world, a scientific world and a world of common sense. Rather, there is just one world; it is the world we all live in, and we need to account for how we exist as part of it.       —John Searle

Without consciousness the mind-body problem would be much less interesting. With consciousness it seems hopeless.                      —Thomas Nagel

…if it isn’t literally true that my wanting is causally responsible for my reaching, and my itching is causally responsible for my scratching, and my believing is causally responsible for my saying . . . If none of that is literally true, then practically everything I believe about anything is false and it’s the end of the world.               —Jerry Fodor




I have been accused of denying consciousness but I am not conscious of having done so.                                    —WVO Quine

There are three basic problems: how a mind can know the world of nature, how it is possible for one mind to know another, and how it is possible to know the contents of our own minds without resort to observation or evidence. It is a mistake, I shall urge, to suppose that these questions can be collapsed into two, or taken into isolation.                                                         —Donald Davidson

All good philosophical fun and games.                                      —Sean Carroll



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When we can’t think for ourselves, we can always quote.                   —Wittgenstein