• god must be atheist
    3.3k
    Science is a good thingBanno

    All good things, including science, prove to be bad things after a while.

    1. agriculture instead of nomad life. Lots of food; no starvation... Good. Running out of arable land... wars over land... bad. Hierarchical societies got created... good for 1 king and bad for millions of serfs.

    2. Medical science. Penicillin. Good not to get crippled, or die, due to illness. Bad to have to do with the population explosion.

    3. Slave trade to America. Good, cheap, cheerful labour. Bad about a hundered-two hundred years later, when age-old unfair biasses are challenged and defended.

    4. Viet Nam war. Good: stop the spread of communism. Bad: hot bed for the beginning of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and also a nation-sweeping drug culture that puts thousands to death and into prison, not mentioning the mind blow.

    5. I forgot this one.

    6. Industrial revolution.

    7. Philosophy.

    8. Pleasure and pain.

    9. Life.
  • Manuel
    1.2k


    Fair enough.
  • Janus
    10.4k
    It's only consequence is the production of philosophy papers and poor forum threads.Banno
    Not at all! You have forgotten all about religion and the arts, not to mention science; many of the greatest works of the human imagination would not have existed without the notion of the noumenon, and the attempt to imagine the unimaginable.
  • Banno
    13.5k
    You have forgotten all about religion and the arts;Janus

    Not at all. The Midgley thread is explicitly about the very thing you claim I forgot.

    It's just that I would insist on doing it well. The stuff that talks of the ineffable is literal nonsense - as can be seen plainly in much of theology.
  • Wayfarer
    13.1k
    Take care, because I am saying you are right.Banno

    Thanks - but in all fairness, that is sometimes a difficult thing to discern.

    I will always stand by Kant's differentiation of phenomena and noumena, because it is the central problem of philosophy, that being 'appearance and reality', and philosophy only ever consists of seeking new ways to re-frame it. It's not 'fuzziness' or 'mystical thinking' but extremely clear-eyed, indeed to deny it is to loose all sight of the boundary between science and philosophy proper.

    According to Kant, the very nature of science means that it is limited to certain kinds of understanding and explanation, and these will never satisfy us completely. For as he says in the first sentence of the Critique, human reason has this peculiarity: it is driven by its very nature to pose questions that it is incapable of answering. Now hardheaded types may dismiss out of hand as not worth asking any questions that don't admit of scientific answers. This, one imagines, is Mr. Spock's position, and possibly such an attitude will one day take over completely. But I suspect Kant is right on this matter for two reasons.

    One reason is that in our search for explanations we find it hard to be content with brute contingency. If we ask, “Why did this happen?” we will not be satisfied with the answer, “It just did.” If we ask, “Why are things this way?” we expect more than, “That's just the way things are.” Yet however deep science penetrates into the origin of things or the nature of things, it never seems to eliminate that element of contingency, and it is hard to see how it ever can. Leibniz's question, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” will always be waiting.

    A second reason, which I suspect is related to the first, is that some questions we pose probably can't be answered, yet we ask them anyway because they express an abiding sense of wonder, mystery, concern, gratitude or despair over the conditions of our existence. Why am I this particular subject of experience? Why am I alive now and not at some other time? What should I do with my life? Why do I love this person, and why is our love so important? Such thoughts may take the form of questions, but they are really expressions of amazement and perplexity. The feelings expressed fuel religion, poetry, music, and the other arts. They also often accompany experiences we think of as especially valuable or profound: for instance, being present at a birth or a death, feeling great love, witnessing heroism, or encountering overwhelming natural beauty.
    Emrys Westacott, The Continuing Relevance of Immaneul Kant
  • Janus
    10.4k
    I haven't looked at the Midgeley thread; I was simply responding to your comment here that

    It's only consequence is the production of philosophy papers and poor forum threads.Banno

    Perhaps you were indulging yourself in a little hyperbole then?
  • Banno
    13.5k
    I will always stand by Kant's differentiation of phenomena and noumena, because it is the central problem of philosophy, which only ever considers new ways to re-frame it.Wayfarer
    I would say that what has happened is the problem has been dissipated, but that you mistook the solution for another rendering.
    indeed to deny it is to loose all sight of the boundary between science and philosophy proper.Wayfarer

    ...you say that like it were a bad thing.
    some questions we pose probably can't be answered...Emrys Westacott, The Continuing Relevance of Kant
    And yet philosophers keep trying, when the only appropriate response is silence.

    Or music.
  • Janus
    10.4k
    And yet philosophers keep trying, when the only appropriate response is silence.

    Or music.
    Banno

    Or poetry, or art, or architecture, or philosophy as an exercise of the imagination, or even sometimes as a stimulus to scientific investigation, as Popper, distancing himself from the Positivists of the Vienna School, acknowledged.
  • frank
    8k
    I will always stand by Kant's differentiation of phenomena and noumena, because it is the central problem of philosophy, that being 'appearance and reality', and philosophy only ever consists of seeking new ways to re-frame it.Wayfarer

    But what if we evolved to be able to sense extra dimensions or some such. Could we get closer to knowing reality that way?
  • Banno
    13.5k
    philosophy as an exercise of the imagination, or even sometimes as a stimulus to scientific investigation, as Popper, distancing himself from the Positivists of the Vienna School, acknowledged.Janus

    No, not philosophy. As soon as it makes the attempt it becomes nonsense. And if it succeeds it is no longer philosophy.
  • Janus
    10.4k
    There is much of philosophy which is, strictly speaking, poetic nonsense; it is definitely a genre, and not without its joys and benefits, but not to your taste apparently...Oh well...
  • Janus
    10.4k
    No, logically speaking it's either "in itself" or it's not.
  • frank
    8k
    No, logically speaking it's either "in itself" or it's not.Janus

    I don't think that's actually a logical imperative. It's one solution to a problem.
  • Janus
    10.4k
    Not an imperative, a distinction. The logical distinction between things as they are in themselves and things as they are experienced by us is not a fuzzy one.
  • frank
    8k
    The logical distinction between things as they are in themselves and things as they are experienced by us is not a fuzzy one.Janus

    I didn't suggest it is. I was asking about a gradient or spectrum. Is there some reason to rule that out?
  • Leghorn
    384
    Science became what we now know it to be only after the Enlightenment. Before then, scientists were “natural philosophers”, where nature in this sense was understood to be physical nature, as opposed to that of the soul. Socrates was accused of being such a natural philosopher, investigating “the things under the earth and the heavenly things”, like a geologist and astronomer, whereas he was obviously more a student of the human soul. But though he didn’t care much about atoms or eclipses, he had much more in common with a Thales or Democritus than our present day psychologists have with physicists or astrophysicists. That’s because, though Socrates dealt with something that “hard” science cannot be applied to, yet he used reason, and took as his axioms the common notions the men of his day had as to what justice or law is, what courage or bravery, what piety or faithfulness, etc...

    ...after the Enlightenment only natural philosophers, i.e. scientists, became important to the ppl. Before then they lived in blessed autonomy, studying the stars and the earth only with the intention of knowing for themselves alone how the world works and is arranged by nature; afterwards, having made a pact with the devil so to speak and sold their souls, they were forced to make vaccines...and atomic bombs.

    In other words, the modern scientist, as opposed to the ancient one, is ambiguous: does he study these things out of disinterested desire for knowledge, or because his country needs that knowledge to placate its citizenry or overcome another country? Hitler drove the Jewish scientists out of Germany to America, where they collaborated to produce the atomic bomb, which we used to stop fascism. But those same scientists, whatever their political leanings, did not use the same intellectual rigor they employed in their atomic science when they chose what to do when they saw their ppl being oppressed and exterminated...

    ...this introduced a disparity between a Democritus and a Socrates that didn’t exist in ancient times. A Russian scientist relies upon his peers in other countries to gain the knowledge he needs in order to make a bomb or vaccine. This makes him cosmopolitan. But what he does with that bomb or vaccine depends upon the regime under which he labors, which makes him part of an autocracy. The Enlightenment’s merging of science and society produced both benefit to each...but also a compromise of both the former’s and latter’s aims.
  • Janus
    10.4k
    You mean a gradient of more or less 'in itself' and/ or 'for us'? How would we tell though, when all the telling is "for us"?

    Personally, I reject the idea that there is any "in itself" that could not, at least in principle, become a 'for us'. We can easily imagine that there is an ineffable, but what could it mean for us in rationally discursive terms, when to mean something in those terms would entail rendering the ineffable effable, and thus dissolving the distinction?

    Poetry, mysticism, religion go the closest to invoking the ineffable, but they cannot render it effable in rationally discursive terms.
  • ssu
    4.3k
    Their diet has been one critical of the scientific view, the emphasis on negative consequences of scientific work. It was interesting to see their faces change as they realised there was some hope.Banno
    That's the result when you teach only criticism. Before criticism, you have to learn what the actual idea is and how it explains issues. By only teaching criticism you make people negative and hopeless.

    Science is just a tool.
    — frank
    counterpunch

    No. It's not. And that's why Popper is wrong.counterpunch

    How about a method?
  • DingoJones
    2.4k
    How about a method?ssu

    Wouldn’t the method be the tool?
  • frank
    8k
    You mean a gradient of more or less 'in itself' and/ or 'for us'? How would we tell though, when all the telling is "for us"?Janus

    Whether we could tell that we're evolving toward increased knowledge is a separate issue.

    Personally, I reject the idea that there is any "in itself" that could not, at least in principle, become a 'for us'. We can easily imagine that there is an ineffable,Janus

    The in-itself is not about ineffability. It's that we don't apparently learn that, for instance, physical objects have spacial and temporal extension.

    So the idea is that we're sort of projecting an environment for the things we encounter.

    This is an interesting related idea, though: IIT theory of consciousness.
  • ssu
    4.3k
    Only for some.
  • TheMadFool
    10.8k
    I will be winning when this thread continues without my intervention. That's when I will know the point has been well-made and is bothersome.Banno

    The detective is the murderer! There's not much you can do about the murders without compromising the investigation. So, you may fault science all you want, you'll still need it to fix the problems. I consider that a win for science.

    I have absolutely no bad feelings towards Banno
    — Jack Cummins

    I can fix that...
    Banno

    :lol:

    @Jack Cummins I was just thinking about how science seems to operate. There's a lot of cases in the scientific world in which discoveries/inventions in one are turn out to be critical to discoveries/inventions in other areas as well e.g. CT scans and MRIs used in medicine began life in physics. This sometimes gives us the impression that the sciences are a well-coordinated system of ideas, working synergistically, complementing each other, like an orchestra playing music with a unity of purpose. This would be an ideal scenario, but alas, such is not always true - plastics, the internal combustion engine, pesticides, to name a few of the major sources of pollution are unmistakable signs that the orchestra of science needs more work than we thought it did.
  • Janus
    10.4k
    The in-itself is not about ineffability. It's that we don't apparently learn that, for instance, physical objects have spacial and temporal extension.frank

    I don't understand what you are saying here, frank.The idea of the in itself, per Kant, is the idea that there must be things in themselves (noumena) which appear to us as temporal phenomena. As far as I understand it, Kant claimed that, because space and times are the "pure forms of intuition", they cannot be predicated of things in themselves. And the same must be said of all his twelve categories of judgement, as they are only relevant to experience.

    So the upshot of the idea of the thing in itself is that we can say nothing about it ( except that we can say nothing about it and that nothing we say could be relevant to it, since the relevant context of anything said is experience, and, by definition, things in themselves are not within the ambit of experience.

    So the idea is that we're sort of projecting an environment for the things we encounter.frank

    I don't see how this follows; the idea seems incoherent, because it cannot be me or you or any individual projecting an environment which is patently independent of individuals; which means that the idea that it is projected could only make sense if a collective mind were posited. But the idea of a collective mind is purely speculative and could never be confirmed or falsified by experience.

    This is an interesting related idea, though: IIT theory of consciousness.frank

    I'll check it out, thanks.
  • Janus
    10.4k
    Wouldn’t the method be the tool?DingoJones

    Only for some.ssu

    My tool is not a method. :wink:
  • Manuel
    1.2k
    I will always stand by Kant's differentiation of phenomena and noumena, because it is the central problem of philosophy, that being 'appearance and reality', and philosophy only ever consists of seeking new ways to re-frame it.Wayfarer

    :100:

    Yes. Science gives us models to frame reality. Reality as it appears to human beings, which appear to include aspects of reality that are mind-independent.

    But it doesn't go beyond. It can't. Science only goes so far as the phenomenon we study impinges itself on our mode of cognition. But it's still a representation. By postulating things in themselves, we put in a framework that signals "beyond here we cannot venture", in part because we are the creatures we are, and in part because we cannot exhaust nature.
  • Banno
    13.5k
    More puffer-fish. Special pleading for non-scientists.
  • frank
    8k
    You said:

    We can easily imagine that there is an ineffable, but what could it mean for us in rationally discursive terms, when to mean something in those terms would entail rendering the ineffable effable, and thus dissolving the distinction?Janus

    This notion that the idea of the in-itself is rendered valueless by virtue of its absence from ordinary conversation is an apparently clever nugget, but pretty far off point.

    The argument for the thing-in-itself is about apriori knowledge. Yes, it ends up being ineffable, but that's just incidental.
  • Janus
    10.4k
    More puffer-fish. Special pleading for non-scientists.Banno

    This sounds somewhat puffer-fishish.
  • Manuel
    1.2k


    Cudworth postulated things in themselves before Kant and Chomsky thinks Cudworth ideas are more interesting than Kant, he doesn't think "things in themselves" are an empty idea.

    Kant was a Newtonian which is why he postulated space and time to be a priori. He didn't just postulate things in themselves for the fun of it or trying to be obscure.

    On the other hand Schopenhauer was a Kantian and built on that system. One of the portraits hanging in Einstein's office in Berlin were of Faraday, Maxwell and Schopenhauer. He apparently did not think it silly that Schopenhauer built the system he did.

    But if it's pufferfish to you, then fine.
  • Banno
    13.5k
    Along the East Coast of the Great Southern Land puffer fish are a nuisance that eat your bait.

    And they are Australian, so of course they are deadly.

    They are also known as blowfish.

bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.