Ron Aharoni

ron aharoniRon Aharoni is a mathematician at the Israeli Institute of Technology.  On his webpage, he explains that he’s writing a book about philosophy:

Philosophy is possibly the most enigmatic of human intellecutal endeavors. I am mainly interested in what it is, really. What are the philosophers really doing? Their own answer to this question is usually complimentary: they clarify concepts, they clean up the stables of human thinking. This has very little to do with reality – the mind-body problem, for example, or the problem of determinism-free will, are not about the clarification of concepts. There is some other secret to it, having to do with the very specific way that philosophers investigate concepts. They study their concepts without making the necessary separation between the concepts investigated and those used for the investigation. This is the topic of a book, in the process of writing, “The cat that is not there”.

The Cat That is Not There doesn’t seem to be in a very advanced stage; a Google search for  his name and “the cat that is not there” does not bring up any results.  But it sounds promising.  When I was in college, I had to read a lot of W. V. O. Quine, and something about Quine’s arguments drove me nuts.  I could never figure out he was doing that irritated me so intensely, whatever it was, it was way too subtle for me to identify.  Maybe Quine was committing the fallacy Aharoni describes, and failing to make “the necessary separation between the concepts investigated and those used for the investigation.”


  1. cymast

     /  October 15, 2009

    Separating the tools from the investigated is tricky in philosopy.

  2. cymast

     /  October 15, 2009

    That’s “philosophy,” in case you had no idea what I was talking about.

  3. acilius

     /  October 16, 2009

    I got it! I hope Aharoni actually writes that book, it sounds really interesting.

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