Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Are beautiful towns better?


This year I'm studying for the final year of my Masters. I'm hoping to complete my MA in Philosophy after successfully completing year 1 in 2019/2020.  As this year I get to chose my subject focus I have chosen to look at aesthetics, in particular the affect a towns aesthetics has on the wellbeing of communities who live in them and other linked questions. My ultimate goal is to go on to complete a PhD related to similar research. 

'Are beautiful towns and cities better?' obviously this is a very broad question but this will lead to me researching firstly what we mean by 'better', what makes towns beautiful, whether beauty in terms of towns is subjective or objective, what effect being beautiful really has for the towns/cities and other linked questions. 

I'm looking for information and opinions on how people feel about the aesthetics of the towns and cities they live in. I'm talking about the architecture, layout and design but also the day to day look of the town. If it is well kept and tidy, if it is clean, has floral displays and freshly painted buildings etc 

Do you feel that the look of the town affects you? Does it make you feel proud of the town or feel frustrated with it? 

Do you feel that a towns aesthetics has an affect on its future development and investment potential? 

Do you feel that a towns aesthesis affects its ability to draw in tourism. 

Do the look or a town have no affect at all? Does it even matter? 

If you have any views on this or you have any advice for me on research already available. If you have studied this subject before and have any suggestions for me I would love to hear from you. You can comment here on my blog or you can email me at kabriggs@hotmail.co.uk 

Thank you in advance for any opinions or help you are able to offer. 

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Is ‘the conceivability argument’ a proof of dualism


Is ‘the conceivability argument’ a proof of dualism

        In this paper I intend to discuss how the conceivability argument helps to prove dualism. Dualism over the years has been the subject of many papers and studies. One of the most well known names linked to dualism is Rene Descartes who was arguably the first to formulate the ‘mind-body’ problem as it is known today. However, I intend to look closely at the more modern form of the conceivability argument as put forward by David Chalmers.  I will look at his arguments premise and in this paper and consider is they are true.

        The Conceivability Argument, also known as the modal argument or the Zombie argument, uses a theory which using David Chalmers modern explanation can be explained as 1) A ‘philosophical zombie’ is someone who appears outwardly as a normal human but does not have conscious experience or sense experience. 2) This ‘zombie’ would have all physical states but none of the mental states that of a human would. David Chalmers states that “according to this argument it is conceivable that there be a system that is physically identical to a conscious being but that lacks at least some of that being’s conscious states” (2010)  If this is conceivable, then it is metaphysically possible there are zombies. Chalmers is not the only philosopher to support the conceivability argument, Descartes is a supporter as is Saul Kripke though that have their own ways of explaining the argument.

There are various forms of dualism. Mind-Body dualism suggests that mind and body are capable of being separated and are distinct. Substance Dualism suggests that the mind is a different substance from the brain which leads to the thought that the mind can exist apart from the brain. Property Dualism states that mental states are nor physical states. That Mind cannot exist apart from body because mind and body are two aspects of the same substance. Though there are different forms of dualism all agree on one core theory. That physicalism is false.

Looking further in depth at the ‘Zombie Argument’ as put forward by Chalmers in his many papers and books he offers a strong case. It is important though for such philosophical claims to be considered sound. To be sound, an argument must be both valid and the premises must be true. Chalmers’s argument I and many others consider to be valid, the next questioned I intent to look further into through this paper is whether his premises are true.

Chalmers (2010) sets out his argument are follows:

1)      It is conceivable that there are zombies.

2)     If it is conceivable that there are zombies, it is metaphysically possible that there are zombies.

3)     If it is metaphysically possible that there are zombies, then consciousness is non-physical.

4)     Consciousness is non-physical.

        So if we consider Chalmers first premises, is it conceivable that there are zombies? This subject has been a popular topic over many years. Daniel Dennett (1995) argues that we cannot ‘clearly and coherently’ conceive or ‘imagine’ normal human beings without conciseness while leaving their behaviour unaffected. His argument goes further in his paper  ‘The unimagined preposterousness of zombies’ Where he appears to take a very strong stance against Chalmers Zombie argument arguing what that the use of the zombie argument is ‘misleading’ and he goes on to argue that it is not possible for us to imagine such things as zombies. Further to this he suggests an alternative that he calls ‘zimboes’. His argument could be considered similar to that of Kripes which I will further discuss in a moment. Initially though I want to consider what is needed for something to be conceivable. For something to be considered conceivable it needs to be coherently imaginable and free from contradiction.

Joseph Almog in his paper ‘What am I?’ raises an argument brought forward by Kripe “When we say that we seem to imagine water without oxygen, we mean that we have really imagined another substance that is qualitatively indiscernible from real water. Thus, he who says, that for example, he seems to imagine that this wooden table is made of ice is really asserting that another object, looking like this table, is really imaginable (and indeed is really possibly) made of ice.” (2002) Here it is being suggested that when we imagine something we know as one way to be another we are in fact imagining a whole other ‘thing’. Lloyd Reinhardt in his article Metaphysical Possibility argues  “that all Kripke has given us is either an overdressing of natural necessity as metaphysical necessity or a misperception of something like rules for the use of natural-kind terms” Kripe’s argument does raise questions. hough I would argue that the ability of something to be imaginable depends very much on the individual.

Some may consider something is imaginable whereas others may consider it not to be. This can be different for a number of reasons such as different ages, those who have had different experiences, different educations and upbringings. Some may consider themselves closed minded whereas others are more open to considering things to be conceivable. Interestingly things through history that at first seem unimaginable and in no way conceivable have gone on to be not only conceivable or metaphysically possible but possible in our world. Flight could be considered an example of this, as could water. We did not always know that water was H2O, at one point in time scientists discovered it to be so. Scientific and technological advances open our eyes to new facts daily that at one point would be considered inconceivable. I would be lead to believe therefore that Chalmers first premises is true, it is conceivable that there are zombie.

         We can look now at Chalmers second premise, ‘if it is conceivable that there are zombies, it is metaphysically possible that there are zombies.’ This raises a question that asks ‘if something is conceivable does that always make it metaphysically possible?’ Swinburne (2016) states that “A proposition is metaphysically necessary, possible, or impossible if it becomes logically necessary, possible, or impossible when informative designators of substances or properties are substituted for uninformative ones.” So for something to be considered metaphysically possible is must be ‘capable of occurring’ this is not to say that it needs to be capable of happening in the world as we know it, it can be considered so if it is possible in a world where the laws of nature were different. Does this not mean then that anything is metaphysically possible?? How are we to know what could be possible in another world or on another planet without knowing for a fact all the details of said planet or world. Technological and scientific advances are made daily and this changes our view of our planet and others and leads us to new thoughts and new theories. I would argue then that we cannot truly say something is not metaphysically possible as we do not yet hold all the facts. Having considered this it would leave me to believe that Chalmers second premise is true, it is metaphysically possible that there are zombies and therefore his third premise is also true conciseness is non-physical.

          Lets first look further into Chalmers third premise, If it is metaphysically possible that there are zombies, then consciousness is non-physical. Physicalist would argue that everything is physical and that nothing can been seen as over and above the physical. Physicalism is thought to have grown from materialism with the terms often used interchangeably. Physicalists argue that phenomenal properties are not separate from physical properties, so the former could not change without a change in the latter. There are many arguments against physicalism, one of the core arguments being thought to concern the notion of qualia, the felt qualities of experience. Further to this well discussed argument though is a thought by Ted Honderich who states in his paper “Descartes believed not only that I think therefore I am but also that consciousness is not physical, unlike the brain. That makes consciousness different, which evidently it is”. So Honderich too believes that consciousness is not physical but he had a slightly different view to that of dualists as he refers to actualism. Christopher Menzel explains actualism in his article “Actualism is a widely-held view in the metaphysics of modality. To understand the thesis of actualism, consider the following example. Imagine a race of beings — call them ‘Aliens’ — that is very different from any life-form that exists anywhere in the universe; different enough, in fact, that no actually existing thing could have been an Alien, any more than a given gorilla could have been a fruitfly. Now, even though there are no Aliens, it seems intuitively the case that there could have been such things. After all, life might have evolved very differently than the way it did in fact. For example, if the fundamental physical constants or the laws of evolution had been slightly different, very different kinds of things might have existed. So in virtue of what is it true that there could have been Aliens when in fact there are none, and when, moreover, nothing that exists in fact could have been an Alien?” (2018) Though this trail of thought is different to dualism it further supports the view that physicalism is false. It also adds strength to the term of metaphysical possibility. This gives way then that Chalmers third premise is true.

Chalmers further argues that “the failure of logical supervenience directly implies that materialism is false: there are features of the world over and above physical features” (1996) a theory and thought also supported by Descartes who believes that the mind is non physical and non-spatial. This though is also shared by the building blocks of many religions. We could look deeper into how religion helps to prove how physicalism is false but that I will do in another paper.

Metaphysical possibility of zombies means that physical properties do not determine all mental properties. As Chalmers states “consciousness must be nonphysical. If there is a metaphysically possible universe that is physically identical to ours but that lacks consciousness, then consciousness must be a further nonphysical component of our universe” (2010) and Ted Honderich (who supports Actualism) states that consciousness is “something's being actual. What that comes to on further reflection is that it has characteristics that add up to its being subjectively physical – and partly outside a brain and partly inside.” (2015) So whether we consider Honderich or Chalmers to be correct both argue here against physicalism being correct, making it false. Which leads us then to consider that Chalmers final premise is true, Physicalism is false and if physicalism is false then a form of dualism must exist. This leads us then back to our original question, is the conceivability argument is proof of dualism? Yes. The conceivability argument is a proof of dualism as is helps to make clear that physicalism is false.

*Essay written by me in 2019/2020 for my MA studies 


Almog, J. (2002) What am I?
: Descartes and the mind-body problem. New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Block, N. (1995) ‘On a confusion about a function of consciousness’, Behavioural and Brain Sciences, vol. 18, pp. 227–47.

Chalmers, D. (2010) The Character of Consciousness, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Chalmers, D. (1996) The Conscious Mind, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Dualism in Descartes and classical Philosophy posted by
Dr. Jordan B Cooper  Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmNHLlQzdCw (Accessed 12/02/2020)

Descartes Argument posted by openyalecourseselect Available at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0lwfYXvnHE (Accessed 12/02/2020)

Haugeland, J. (1982) ‘Weak supervenience’, American Philosophical Quarterly, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 93–103.

Introduction to Cartesian Dualism posted by University of Oxford Available at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bIS3oRb6ag (Accessed 12/02/2020)

Jackson, F. (1982) ‘Epiphenomenal qualia’, The Philosophical Quarterly, vol. 32, no. 127, pp. 127–36.

Jackson, F. (1986) ‘What Mary didn’t know’, The Journal of Philosophy, vol. 83, pp. 291–5.

Lewis, D. (1990) ‘What experience teaches’, in Lycan, W. (ed) Mind and Cognition: A Reader, Oxford, Basil Blackwell, pp. 499–519.

Locke, J. (1689) An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Oxford, Oxford University Press (this edition 1924).

Lycan, W. (1996) Consciousness and Experience, Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press.

Mellor, D. H. (1993) ‘Nothing like experience’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, vol. 93, pp. 1–16.

Menzel, Christopher, "Actualism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2018 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2018/entries/actualism/>.

Nanay, B. (2009) ‘Imagining, recognizing and discriminating: reconsidering the ability hypothesis’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, vol. 79, no. 3, pp. 699–717.

Nemirow, L. (1980) ‘Review of Mortal Questions by Thomas Nagel’, The Philosophical Review, vol. 89, no. 3, pp. 473–7.

Nordby, K. (1990) ‘Vision in a complete achromat: a personal account’, in Hess, R. F., Sharpe, L. T. and Nordby, K. (eds) Night Vision: Basic, Clinical and Applied Aspects, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, pp. 290–315.

Papineau, D. (2002) Thinking About Consciousness, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Reinhardt, Lloyd. “Metaphysical Possibility.” Mind, vol. 87, no. 346, 1978, pp. 210–229. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/2253419. Accessed 01 Mar. 2020.

Smith, A. (1985) The Mind, Harmondsworth, Penguin Books.

Swinburne, R. (2016) ‘Conditions for Coherence: Metaphysical Possibility’, in The Coherence of Theism. Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198779698.003.0003.

What is Dualism? posted by 60secondphilosophy Available at 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZY9F2EPtnU (Accessed 12/02/2020)

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Explain the argument Socrates presents for the claim that virtue is knowledge. Is the argument successful? Answer with reference to Meno 86c – 100b.


Explain the argument Socrates presents for the claim that virtue is knowledge. Is the argument successful? Answer with reference to Meno 86c – 100b.

Socrates’ argument within the Meno for the claim that virtue is knowledge is put forward through dialogue between Socrates and Meno. The question arises after much discussion between them of whether virtue can be taught and is in some ways used to aid in answering this initial question, interlinking the two questions deeply.

Though elements of the discussion start much earlier in the dialogue the key points that aid in Socrates argument for virtue being knowledge begin when Meno and Socrates who both agree that virtue must be a good thing as in Chappell’s translation “
this hypothesis is immovable for us: virtue is a good thing” (p.36 87d) now that they agree that virtue is a good thing it is suggested that virtue will be knowledge, if in fact every sort of good thing is included within knowledge. (p.36 87d) Robin Waterfield puts forward in his notes of his translation that “while Plato may there be saying that excellence (virtue) is the only thing that is always good, other things are conditionally good, the condition being that they must be put to proper use by knowledge or intelligence” (2005, p.179) The dialogue leads on to the suggestion that “virtue is beneficial” (p.37 87e) Meno and Socrates begin to discuss and agree on what they consider to be benefits Socrates then listing the agreed items of health, wealth, good looks and strength. Thought accept that there may be more.

The discussion then turns to identify that those ‘good things’ or ‘benefits’ can also be harmful, possibly to not only the person who has them but to those around them. (see page 5 of this essay for expansion on this)
Socrates’ puts to Meno that the previously stated benefits only become ‘good’ or ‘bad’ when combined with intelligence, or a lack of it, ‘folly’ as he puts it (p.38 88d). The only real virtue is therefore really understanding and knowing how to positively make use of the given benefits. This reinforces the idea that virtue is knowledge or at least links to it in that knowledge or wisdom is required in order to make positive choices that in return result in positive benefits. Socrates talks of this in a prior dialogue Protagoras where he suggests that men only want to do what is good as if they didn’t in his opinion they would be ignorant “Well,” I said, “if the pleasant is good, no one knows or thinks [that] things other than what he is doing are better and possible [for him to do], when he does these things [that he is doing], though it is [in point of fact] 219 allowable for him to be doing things that are better; nor is being less than oneself [358c] anything other than ignorance, nor is being stronger than oneself anything other than wisdom.” (Arieti et al p.85 358b) in Meno though it appears that Socrates is even more confident in his argument that people do not desire to be bad or evil he says “Therefore, Meno, if there’s no one who wants to be miserable and live badly, then there is no one who wants bad things. For what is it to be miserable, if not to desire bad things and get them?” (p.17 78a) Whatever the soul tries to do or to put up with, if it is guided by wisdom, it leads to wellbeing. But if it is guided by folly, to the opposite. (p.37 88c) Socrates here appears to confidently believe that it is only ‘folly’ a lack of sense that can lead to someone desiring bad things. He fails to acknowledge that some may simply seek to be bad because this is what they want.

Socrates appears to then finalise his argument of virtue being knowledge with his statement “So by our argument, since virtue is beneficial, it has to be some kind of wisdom.” (p.38 88d) leading Meno to agree with him making it appear that they together came to this conclusion.

If this conclusion were true it would surely mean that all those who truthfully understood virtue would then be empowered to become virtuous. Meno and Socrates both agree that virtue is linked to ‘good’ which leads me to ask, what about those who do truely understand it yet choose to live in a less that virtuous life? Criminals for example. It is well known that some of the most dangerous criminals in the world are the most well educated intellectuals with high IQ’s and would be considered as knowledgeable yet have made what would be considered to most as ‘bad’ choices which have resulted in less than desirable.

Up to this point (88d) is appears the Socrates himself is convinced that virtue is knowledge (though he later appears to backtrack from this claim which I will investigate later) given that this is where reasoning has left him. As a reader I too can see that at first glance the argument Socrates puts forward appears to make sense though in my opinion it leaves some questions unanswered. 1) How is the knowledge gained? 2) How do we then know we have the relevant knowledge needed? 3) Just because someone understands does it mean they will choose to be virtuous. These questions begin to be investigated in the later sections of the Meno where Socrates further claims that knowledge is teachable (87c) but that there are no teachers of virtue (90c – 942) it appears Socrates is then beginning to doubt his own initial claim that virtue is knowledge.

In dialogue with Meno and Anytus Socrates goes over the possibility of whether there are in fact any teachers of virtue if it is agreeable that it is knowledge. It appears that he has drawn the conclusion already that there isn’t and looks like he is trying to convince Anytus and Meno of the same. After much back and forth Socrates makes the statement “So the sophists aren’t teachers of virtue; and the ‘best kind of people’ aren’t teachers of virtue either. And isn’t it obvious that there can hardly be any other teachers of virtue?” (p.49 96b) Though in Socrates suggesting that there are no teachers of virtue it may for some, including Socrates himself as he goes on to state “And if there are no teachers, there aren’t any learners either?” (p.49 96e) suggest then that virtue isn’t knowledge after all, I would argue that this very much depends on how an individual views knowledge and how exactly knowledge is gained.

Knowledge in my view can be gained in a variety of ways. 1) It can be directly taught e.g. in a formal situation a ‘teacher’ can teach a student. 2) It can be indirectly taught e.g. a parent taking part in activities with a child for fun, not specifically teaching them but they are gaining the knowledge as they do the activity, through participation. 3) Through observation e.g. watching others doing an activity but not taking part. There are likely other ways of acquiring knowledge these are just a few (in my opinion) obvious examples. This I would argue opposes Socrates view that without teachers there are no learners and therefore virtue cannot be knowledge. I also agree with a point that Dominic Scott raisies in “But this assumption is easily questioned: the fact that there happen to be no teachers of virtue does not rule out the possibility that it might in principle be taught.” (2006 p2) just because something is presently at the time not taught, by teachers, it does not mean that it could not be or that in the future it may not be. There were at one point no teachers of parkour (a well known outdoor sport / training discipline also known as free running) until it was recognised as a sport and in turn teachers of such were sought. Later in the dialogue Socrates and Meno appear to agree that knowledge is actually teachable as Scott (2006) states they “agreed that it is teachable if and only if it is knowledge” and they “reject the possibility that it comes by nature (89a–b), something suggested by Meno at the very beginning of the dialogue.” This would suggest then that virtue is knowledge and is it has to be taught as is not gained in any other way is much in Socrates and Meno’s opinion then be knowledge.

Scott puts forward “Socrates cannot conclude that virtue is knowledge: he ought to say that virtue is a composite consisting of knowledge and a number of other psychological qualities” I agree that virtue is far more complex and cannot simply be defined as knowledge. If it was I feel that the world would be a very different place. If all it took was to ‘teach’ virtue or for someone to ‘learn’ virtue and they would then be good and act in a way that would be good for fellow man and their country what a different place I feel the world would be. I say this because as Scott states “We should always have been wary of accepting this claim in the first place, especially when Socrates was thinking about the role of external assets. It is noteworthy that in the argument as a whole he is thinking of virtue as a quality that will benefit both the individual and the city that he leads”
the benefit as spoken of above would impact no only on the person who is virtuous but those around him.

After much consideration it leaves me at a point where I do not feel that Socrates’ original argument is successful because his argument does not convince me that his claim that ‘virtue is knowledge’ is correct. I would go so far as to say he hasn’t even fully convinced himself given he later says “So, Meno, it seems that the result of our reasoning is that virtue comes by the gift of the gods – if it comes at all. But we shall only know the clear truth about virtue when – before we ask in what way virtue comes to humans – we try to answer the question about virtue itself: what virtue actually is.” (p.56 100b). As I have already highlighted his argument has a number of flaws and I feel there are too many unanswered questions as well as some (in my opinion) illogical conclusions that have been drawn. My thoughts on this may well be due to societal changes and developments which lead me to see the world very differently now in 2020 to how it would have been at the time of this dialogue or it may be because I have had the opportunity to read and research so many other philosophers points of view and arguments that I feel have more strength. There are many contributing factors as to why I believe that Socrates is mistaken which I plan to further explore in future research and essays. At this point though I am confident that in the Meno Socrates argument is not successful.

*Essay written by me in 2019 for my MA studies 


Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book 2, trans. T. H. Irwin (1999) Indianapolis, Hackett.

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book II [Online], trans. H. Rackham (1926) MA, Harvard University Press. Available at Loeb Classical Library Online (Accessed 27 July 2017.)

Hursthouse, R. (2001) On Virtue Ethics, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

McCabe, M. M. (2009) ‘Escaping one’s own notice knowing: Meno’s paradox again’, Proceedings Of The Aristotelian Society, vol. 109, no. 1pt3, pp. 233–56, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 14 April 2017.

Plato, Meno, (trans. S.G. Chappell (2019)), Open University [Online], Available at https://learn2.open.ac.uk/pluginfile.php/2707015/mod_resource/content/2/Block%202%20Platos%20Meno_e2i1_web081286.pdf (accessed 30/11/2019)

Plato's Protagoras : Translation, Commentary, and Appendices, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2010. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/open/detail.action?docID=500763.(Accessed 01/01/2020)

Plato, Protagoras [Online], trans. W.R.M. Lamb (1924) MA, Harvard University Press. Available at Loeb Classical Library Online (Accessed 27 July 2017.)

Plato, Protagoras, trans. C. C. W. Taylor (2006) Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Plato's Meno: The Geometry Lesson. You Tube video added by Geannikis, Erikk.
Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqDoLdmcyZo (Accessed 19/01/2020)

Gettier, E. L. (1963) ‘Is justified true belief knowledge?’, Analysis, vol. 23, no. 6, pp. 121–3.

Scott, D. (2006) Plato’s Meno, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Swanton, C. (2005) Virtue Ethics: A Pluralistic View, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Summary of Meno You Tube video added by Gary Gramenz Available here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7o_OlOXBc8 (accessed 01/01/2020)

Waterfield, R (2005) Plato Meno and Other Dialogues, Oxford, Oxford University Press

Weiss, R. (2001) Virtue in the Cave: Moral Inquiry in Plato’s Meno, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

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Wittgenstein, L., Culture and Value, trans. P. Winch (1980) Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell.

Wittgenstein, L., Zettel, trans. G. E. M. Anscombe (1967) Berkeley, University of California Press.



Sunday, 13 September 2020

Taking a tour of artists studios | Devon Open Studios 2020


I've been an art lover all my life and have always been a supporter of local artists of all levels. I myself am exhibiting as part of the Devon Open Studios again this year but i wanted to give myself a couple of days to go out and about in Devon touring studios of fellow artists too. I took the decision to close on Sundays to give me the opportunity to get out and i am so pleased i did! 

I went out and saw some amazing studios by very talented artists, below you will be able to see some photos of the places i visited. I wish i could have fitted in more visits and hope to be able to find time to get to some more in the next two weeks. I found talking to the artists and seeing the spaces in which they work very inspiring.  

Liese Webley : Venue 18 
I had seen some of Liese's work online and was drawn to visit by her use of vibrant colours which she applys in a bold and striking way. I got to see some of Liese's older watercolour work too which i loved and i purchased a small print of one of her pieces that i fell in love with. I really love her way of working and her little studio at the bottom of her garden was brilliant! If you are looking for a vibrant colourful piece to brighten up your home or office then i highly recommend a visit! You won't be disappointed. 


Rod Ashman : Venue 15 
Rods studio was a fantastic bright and light space full of his stunning work. I could have spent hours in his studio looking through his variety of sketch books. I love his use of mixed media, colour and texture. As someone who loves and lives by the sea Rod's main subject matter of coastlines meant i had to visit his studio. There were so many pieces i really wanted to bring home with me in fact i've made a note of a couple that i might have to go back and purchase as now i'm home i feel like they are calling me back. His work is beautiful and to me very calming so his work would suit anyone looking for something for their home or workspace. 


Jo Voller : Venue 33 
WOW. Wow was my first response to walking into this studio. I honest don't think i've ever seen a more beautiful studio in my entire life. Jo works in a converted outhouse that overlooks rolling hills. Her use of the space is fantastic and letting us see her raw studio space with all her art materials out on show was just fantastic and so inspiring. Looking at Jo's artwork i felt like i was in a London art gallery, her work is truly breathtaking. I love her style, her use of colour and movement. I really wanted a particular piece which unfortunately was out of my budget but i will be sure to save up and go back as i have the perfect spot for it among the various artwork i have at home (my house is full of artwork by local artists, you can read more about that here). I would highly recommend visit Jo's studio if you can you will likely come away totally inspired like i was. If you are looking for a very special piece for your home, office or as a present for someone special then you really must visit. 


Victoria Goodman : Venue 36
Victoria is actually next to me in the online brochure (i'm venue 37) and so i wanted to try and get to visit. Unfortunately she wasn't there to meet and it wasn't in her studio but in a set up space, however it was well worth a visit to see her beautiful work. Victoria's work to me is very soft and calm, i love her way of depicting views in a serene and thought provoking way. 

I did also visit a couple of other studios that i totally forgot to take photos of. They were all wonderful! I really hope that you will take my advice and get out to visit some of the venues showcasing talented local artists in Devon. 

You can find out more about Devon Artist Network and the Devon Open Studios here

Find out about my Devon Open Studios showcase and opening times here

*I would just like to mention that all were brilliantly COVID safe. We wore masks when visiting, there was sanitizer available and all were in open ventilated spaces. We felt very safe. 

Saturday, 12 September 2020

Sculpture Artist Wanted

 If you create sculptures suitable for outdoor display and live in the Seaton, Devon area we could be looking for you. 

At Devon Art Supplies in Seaton we showcase work by artists in our shop and studio. Adjoining the studio is a small courtyard garden which a number of visitors have mentioned would be great for displaying sculptures and garden ornaments for sale. We've taken on board the request and thought we would first reach out to you our community to see if there is anyone local that creates garden sculptures or ornaments that they would like to display / sell here at 30 Queen Street, Seaton. 

If you are interested please contact kabriggs@hotmail.co.uk, 01297 624246 or pop in and see us. 

Friday, 11 September 2020

Seaton Shop Tours : August & September 2020

Recently i have been working on a project to get a 'shop tour' video created for as many shops as possible in Seaton. I'm passionate about showcasing all the wonderful businesses available in Seaton and want to do everything i can to support them. 

Here are some of the video shop tours i have been able to get so far in August and September 2020. 

 ABOVE: Savooni Art Apace 

ABOVE: Usula's Art Gallery 

ABOVE: Seaton Sweets & Treats 

ABOVE: Mandy's Must Haves 

If you are based in Seaton and would like me to film a video tour of your shop, art studio, cafe or restaurant please let me know. This is free, i'm doing it simply to support Seaton. 

Sunday, 6 September 2020

but WHY?



A question i often get asked for a variety of reasons. 

Why do i put myself under so much pressure? Why do i write a blog sharing personal information? Why do i want to study to such a high level? Why do i set myself so many goals? Why do i want to help others in my community? 

There is no simple answer to these questions, and if i'm honest i don't even know if i fully understand the answers to all of them. I'm still learning about myself. 

I do know though that one of the core reasons i am the way i am is that i strive to achieve success in everything i do. I want to do the best i can, i'm not saying i want to be the overall best. I'm not looking at things in a competitive way, i'm not up against others, simply against myself. I set myself goals to challenge myself. I want to be the best version of myself that i can be. I also want to help others do this too. 

I've always been honest about my mental health. Anxiety and Bipolar obviously have some impact on me but i don't like to use them as excuses. They are just one very small part of me. 

I do have a part of me that wants recognition, but not from my friends or peers. I want recognition from my parents. I didn't and still don't feel connected to my parents in the way that i see others are, even my siblings. A big part of me (my inner child some would say) craves love from them. I want to feel like they are proud of me.

I was very lucky to have a Nanna who showed me what it is like to be loved, her level of love was unconditional and non-judgmental. When i messed up in my teen years (she raised me) she didn't make me feel like a failure instead she taught me how to be better, how to work harder. I know she would be proud of me, i miss her everyday and i hope she knows just how much of an impact she had on my life.

As a mum now to two beautiful boys age 8 and 10 i tell them every day how much i love them. I make sure they know how proud i am of them in everything they work at. I want them to know that i will forever be here for them and support them in everything they do. I will always show an interest in everything they do, even the things i don't understand, i will ask them to educate me and talk to me about their passions and their hobbies so that i can support them to the fullest. I never want them to feel the way i do.  

Why do i want to complete my MA and go on to a PhD? 
because i want to know if i can, i want to push myself academically and see what i am capable of. 

Why do i set myself goals? 
because by having goals i have an idea of what i'm working towards. I can focus my mind when it starts to wonder into areas of negativity. I can pull myself out of that zone and into an active zone where i'm working towards one of my goals. 

Why do i share such personal information? 
because if it can help just one person out there who is struggling then i know it was worth it. I want others to see that they can achieve their goals, they can push past the negative feelings and re-train their mind to focus on the positives. Writing is one of my therapies. It helps me and i hope it helps others too. 

Evaluate Allen Carlson’s account of the objectivity of aesthetic judgements about nature - OU Essay

In 2019 / 2020 i completed part one of my MA in Philosophy. I will upload some of my essays here on my blog to give an overview of some of the interesting points I've been studying and writing about. I'm now on my final year. 

*Please DO NOT copy or use any of my writing

Evaluate Allen Carlson’s account of the objectivity of aesthetic judgements about nature.

     Philosophical interest in the aesthetic appreciation of nature has been of particular significance to those working in the field of aesthetics for more two decades. One of the most discussed theories to emerge from this ever changing area of debate is put forward by Allen Carlson a professor currently based in Canada that he puts forward in a series of articles.  Carlson presents a framework and theory of aesthetic appreciation of nature and supports this with a set of constraints. He strongly supports his views throughout his papers and has been known to write additional papers in a response to those who argue against him and his what is now considered ‘model’ that he suggests aids in making objective judgements of nature.

Allen Carlson in his paper ‘Nature, aesthetic Judgement and Objectivity’ (1981) claims that nature can and should be analysed in a similar way to that of art. His suggestion is to use a system or what is sometimes called ‘model’ similar to if not the same as that that is put forward by Kendall Walton in his paper ‘categories of art’.  Though Carlson supports Walton’s model he argues against one of Walton’s claims about the model, he argues that the model Walton designed and claims should only be used to make judgements of art should also be used to judge nature
[EM1] .

    Carlson argues against a relativist view concerning judgements of nature and puts forward his position; that he considers there is an objectivist view
[EM2] .  Objective judgements of nature in Carlson’s view can be sought using the environmental model also called the natural-environment model. A model that he believes aids in identifying what and how something should be aesthetically appreciated or ‘judged’. In essence the model creates a set of constraints that are put forward;[EM3]  for us to aesthetically appreciate nature for what it is and for the qualities it holds. It suggests that we must firstly ensure that the natural environment is natural and that the environment plays a central role in the aesthetic appreciation. Carlson further states that the use of categories to put nature into is essential in aesthetic appreciation. He goes on to back this view up with a number of examples that make his model appear to work well, at least on the surface. [EM4] He also gives an adage in that he offers how we are to put nature into the categories. Carlson states that we should use science and common sense to tell us which categories to put something natural that we intend to judge into; he suggests that by doing so before making aesthetic judgements it will aid us in making the ‘correct’ judgements that are free from aesthetic omissions and deceptions.

   Allen Carlson’s paper ‘Nature, Aesthetic Judgement and Objectivity’ quickly became of interest to theorists working in the field of aesthetics and/or nature; many wrote papers in response to his. There are some who supported his views and some who raised concerns and objections. After reviewing a number of the thought-provoking responses to Carlson’s paper by a number of well-respected philosophers I found two particular objections to his view that appeared to be shared. After further study into these points I began to observe their validity which I will attempt to put forward in this paper.

The first objection to Carlson’s account I thought to be valid and well outlined I found in a paper by Robert Stecker a Philiosophy Professor based in Michigan. Stecker raises a number of points that question Carlson’s view in his paper ‘The correct and the appropriate in the appreciation of nature’ (1997) Stecker in the introduction of his paper talks of his own ways of appreciating nature, he does this by describing his observations and feelings as he takes a walk. He then states that his ways are not necessarily “
inappropriate ways of appreciating nature” and confirms that they are also not ‘correct’ either as he goes on to say thatit is not clear that there is a standard of correctness”. Stecker further states that a view, such as Carlson’s, that seeks to rule such judgements and appreciations of nature out without “powerful argument” are implausible. Stecker in his paper seeks to argue that Carlson’s arguments are in fact not successful and so do not rule out Stecker’s or anyone else who makes similar aesthetic judgements of nature.

This objection is one along the same lines as that of Noel Carroll’s that he puts forward in his paper ‘on being moved by nature’ (1993). Carroll at the very start of his paper states that his ‘Major worry about Carlson’s stance is that it excludes certain very common appreciative responses to nature – responses of a less intellective, more visceral sort’ which Carroll then goes on to call being ‘moved by nature’. Carroll steps further than Stecker though offering a model of his own calling it the ‘arousal model’ and suggests that it should co-exist with other models used.

Malcom Budd in his paper ‘The Aesthetic Appreciation of nature’ (2003) states that (at the time of him writing his paper) “at least five models are present in the literature: (i) the object model, (ii) the landscape (or scenery) model, (iii) the natural-enviroment model, (iv) the arousal model, and (v) the aloofness (0r mystery) model.” Budd goes through each model in his paper looking at their strengths and weaknesses and in some cases also tears apart Carlson’s objections to the models. Carlson’s view is that only his model is able to offer a solid aesthetic judgement. Budd disagrees with this.

Both Carroll and Stecker in their own papers question why Carlson is so set on there being only one very structured model and why multiple models cannot work harmoniously. They suggest that Carlson should accept that there are other models that could work together with the environmental model that would not only also create solid judgements when used independently but could enhance the judgements made when used together with other models.

Carroll’s ‘arousal model’ just one of the many identified earlier is broken down by Carlson in one of his follow up papers
where he argues that Carroll is actually supporting the use of scientific knowledge, a point brought forward by the natural-environment model. He abuses a feature of one of Carroll’s examples as Budd highlights in his paper. (2003) Budd argues against Carlson’s attempt to tear apart this example giving the point that “Carroll means not the precise amount of water, but only that the amount is large” therefore Carroll is not trying to highlight a need for scientific knowledge. Budd does himself suggest that Carroll neglects to solidly support his own model and mentions that “not only does he not provide an account of what makes a response an aesthetic response, some of his examples of emotional responses to nature are definitely not aesthetic responses” but Budd goes on to say that “these defects are easily rectified” leading to the assumption that Budd too can see a positive side to the use of multiple models when making aesthetic judgements about nature.

   A further objection I found intriguing argues directly against the usefulness of Carlson’s model in its entirety by challenging his emphasis on the need of knowledge before making a judgment. This is linked to and put forward with two core questions: How much knowledge is too much and when can knowledge hinder rather than help make a ‘correct’ aesthetic judgment about nature? 

Initially the most important question though is what is nature and what is natural? Robert Elliot in his paper ‘Faking Nature’ (1982) offers a good definition. “'natural' means something like 'unmodified by human activity'. Obviously some areas will be more natural than others according to the degree to which they have been shaped by human hand.” When considering this then do we need to know before making any judgements if a natural environment has been modified in any way and if it has been, say more that 50% would Carlson argue it is no longer natural and should not be judged as such. I would assume he would.

It is important to consider also what is meant by ‘common sense’ as this would vary immensely from person to person. Age, education, up-bringing and many other factors would need to be considered. Not everyone for example would know or fully understand how clouds are formed, the science behind how cloud formation works; but does this make their judgements on clouds any less valid or correct. I assume in Carlson’s eyes yes it would, he would possibly argue that someone without the basic knowledge of how clouds are formed and what they physically are, are not able to make an objective judgement. Even if they are putting the natural item they see into the ‘correct’ category of ‘cloud’, because they don’t actually understand what a cloud is, what it is made of or its purpose. Their judgement surely in Carlson’s opinion would be of less worth than someone who better understood what a cloud was. Yet in Carroll’s and Stecker’s opinion a less educated view would not necessarily be any less valid, it would simply be one made more instantaneously using perceptual responses.

A further point that supports this objection looks into when scientific knowledge can be wrong. An example of this would be when a natural object is first thought to be one thing before further studies by scientist’s result in it being found to be another. The initial category it was then thought to be in would have been incorrect and this could then have an effect on the correctness of the judgement if we look at using Carlson’s model. Carlson I expect would argue that it was ‘correct at the time’ yet I question whether this is a good enough response and whether it strikes a blow at the environment model. It leads me to question further then; what if a person, lets say person A believes they have the correct knowledge to make a judgement but the knowledge they have has been given falsely to them or even if not falsely but different to that of many others such as person B. I’m thinking here along the lines of religion, cults or even just different educational establishment. Person A making the judgement would believe they have the knowledge to make the correct judgement yet when compared to the judgement of Person B it would be considered wrong in Person B’s opinion as the knowledge they hold would be different. I sought to find an answer to which person Carlson would argue is correct but I couldn’t, maybe he would say whichever of the two had more supporters of their knowledge? Is the knowledge more correct if more people believe it to be true? I expect Carlson would think so.

Allen Carlson puts forward a good account of the objectivity of aesthetic judgements of nature but I would argue that there are clear issues and very valid objections to it that should be considered.  I hold that as Budd states at the end of his paper “The mistaken search for a model of the correct or appropriate aesthetic appreciation of nature reflects a lack of recognition of the freedom that is integral to the aesthetic appreciation of nature” (2003) Budd’s core opinion it seems is that judgements on nature have more to do with the aesthetic observer than say judgements of art have and therefore these judgements cannot be completely objective.

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Velvet and Parade gift shop in Honiton, Devon

Whilst out visiting my favourite little garden centre Coombe Garden Centre in Honiton I found a stunning little gift shop called Velvet and Parade. 

It is a truly beautiful space, lovely and open. Perfect for browsing and packed with quality treasures. I found many pieces which would make fantastic gifts for people. Time and thought has certainly gone into the displays which makes shopping such a nice experience. I must say it is one of the best displayed shops I've visited in a long time. 

I've mentally bookmarked present ideas for friends and family but I couldn't leave without treating myself to this little Chakra stone set. It caught my eye and drew me to it so I had to have it. 

The service was great and there was an option of gift wrapping which I didn't need this time but is great to know for next time. 

The staff were very polite, welcoming and helpful so an all round lovely shopping experience. 

The gift shop is inside my favourite garden centre which I have previously reviewed (click here to read) and next to the on site cafe too so if you are looking for somewhere nice to visit I would highly recommend popping in. 

 Find out more about Velvet and Parade here

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Weightloss Journey : Week 4


Monday 10th August was my week 4 weight in and i lost 2.8lbs taking my total loss to 1st 1.5lbs in 4 weeks. I'm really pleased with my progress so far but i know that this is the stage where it is going to get difficult. That stone is the stone i lose and gain all the time. Keeping it off and progressing with my new lifestyle plan to hopefully lose more weight is the challenge. 

The strange thing is i haven't actually had to 'restrict' myself, i feel like i'm eating the same amounts i always have. I am making what i think are better choices and documenting everything so i can keep track but other than that my eating hasn't changed. I'm having roughly 1250 - 1450 cals a day, varied depending on how i feel and what i choose to eat. What has changed though is i'm working out a lot more, i'm trying to keep my steps over 8000 a day with added home workouts including weights and PT training sessions once a week so far. 

I'm enjoying the process and making healthy lifestyle changes. I've found some great lower calorie alternatives to things i enjoy and i've found new things like coconut milk & almond milk. I only drink black coffee and i don't like milk so i hadn't had milkshakes / iced coffees in years. I tested out homemade almond / coconut iced coffees and they are amazing! I have also recently testing our caramel iced coffees which are super yummy and less than 40cals! 

Most importantly i haven't had any 'binge eating' episodes when feeling low. I've had low days and i've felt awful a couple of times but rather than turning to food i've turned to excersize like walking or a home workout with loud music. So far so good!