• bongo fury
    1.3k
    If the proposition "it is raining" does not exist then it is not raining.Michael

    Time again. There were dinosaurs and it was raining, but there were no (propositional) utterances there and then.
  • Joshs
    3.5k
    A third possibility. Yes, it might not refer to anything. I'd just ask what do you want it to refer to? Reference appears alarmingly flexible - inscrutable, as Quine and Davidson put it. There simply might not be any fact of the matter.

    But this is a side issue, I'm just flagging it because it might become relevant is someone (↪Joshs ?) wanted to follow through on Putnam's model- theoretical argument for anti-realism, mentioned previously
    Banno

    I just finished re-reading Putnam’s collection ‘Realism with a Human Face’. He leans a lot here on the later Wittgenstein and the American Pragmatists. His realism with a small ‘r’ , as he calls it, is a relativism almost all the way down. I say almost because although he calls analytic philosophy a dead end, he stops short of the value relativism of Rorty and the French Postmodernists.

    On the one hand , he argues that “Logical positiv­ism maintained that nothing can have cognitive significance unless it contributes, however indirectly, to predicting the sensory stimulations that are our ultimate epistemological starting point (in empiricist phi­losophy). I say that that statement itself does not contribute, even indirectly, to improving our capacity to predict anything. Not even when conjoined to boundary conditions, or to scientific laws, or to appropriate mathematics, or to all of these at once, does positivist philosophy or any other philosophy imply an observation sentence. In short, positivism is self-refuting. Moreover, I see the idea that the only purpose or function of reason itself is prediction (or prediction plus "simplicity") as a prejudice-a prejudice whose unreasonable­ness is exposed by the very fact that arguing for it presupposes intel­lectual interests unrelated to prediction as such.”
    “…the success of science cannot be anything but a puz­zle as long as we view concepts and objects as radically independent; that is, as long as we think of "the world" as an entity that has a fixed nature, determined once and for all, independently of our framework of concepts."
    “So much about the identity relations between different categories of mathemati-cal objects is conventional, that the picture of ourselves a describing a bunch of objects that are there "anyway" is in trouble from the start.”
    “…what leads to "Platonizing" is yielding to the temptation to find mysterious entities which somehow guarantee or stand behind correct judgments of the reasonable and the unreasonable.”

    On the other hand, “…intelligence, in the sense of the ability to use language, manipulate tools, and so on, is not enough to enable a species to do science. It also has to have the right set of prejudices…” “…plausible reasoning that is often subjective, often controversial, but that, nevertheless, comes up with truths and approximate truths far more often than any trial-and-error procedure could be expected to do.”

    “If coherence and simplicity are values, and if we cannot deny with­out falling into total self-refuting subjectivism that they are objective (notwithstanding their "softness," the lack of well-defined "criteria," and so forthright), then the classic argument against the objectivity of eth­ical values is totally undercut.”
  • Joshs
    3.5k
    Yes, I agree. Here is an example:

    We agree that the cup is on the table
    The only way we could agree that the cup is on the table is if there is a cup, and there is a table, and the cup is on the table.
    There is a cup, and there is a table, and the cup is on the table.

    Compare:
    We agree that the cup is on the table
    The only way we could agree that the cup is on the table is if something like Q can be an externality in relation to mind only to the extent that it have its own internality, a subsistence , a being into itself that can be clearly separated from what causes or influences it. A thing can persist as itself , and external to another thing, for so many milliseconds, for instance. This notion of how things exist in time rests on a particular kind of metaphysical thinking, or something like that.
    hence... you get the point
    — Banno

    This is gold.
    Tom Storm

    Are the two paragraphs saying essentially the same thing? And if not, what could possibly be the practical significance for our daily lives of the difference between them?

    So let’s cut to the chase. First off, notice that cups and tables are value objects , whose meaning is established from their cultural use. Cups and tables don’t exist in physics , which deals with a different set of conventions. And they don’t exist for certain abstract artists , and they don’t exist for any of us when our attention is elsewhere. We see them but see right though them. So cups and table appear for us with the sense that you are intending here within certain contexts but not others.

    But Instead of the value objects of cups and tables , let’s
    choose a knife held by one person piecing the body of another. What is taking place here? A murder? Self defense? Justified punishment? Accounts of the motives involved will differ , but so may accounts of the basic facts of the matter, once we get past the superficial aspects. After all , even the world from the vantage
    of physics can no longer be considered deterministic.

    As Hilary Putnam writes:

    “Elizabeth Anscombe, in her powerful inaugural address, recognizes both the importance of the determinism issue and the importance of the fact that the scientific evidence no longer supports determinism, if it ever did. One way of scoffing at the significance of indeterminism is to pretend that it makes no difference to "ordinary macroscopic events" such as the motions of human bodies. This is an outright mistake, and Anscombe disposes of it with great elegance.”
  • Tom Storm
    4.3k
    Are the two paragraphs saying essentially the same thing? And if not, what could possibly be the practical significance for our daily lives of the difference between them?Joshs

    Could be. I was responding to the Daedalian poetry of the language in the second account which led me to quite forget what the content was intended to be. :wink:
  • Janus
    12.4k
    All I was looking for was your idea of why we can say we are modeling a cup, or from different perspective, we can say we are modeling “something”.Mww

    OK, I'll take a stab. We can say we are modeling a cup because others also see a cup and have their own perceptions (models) of it. We can say we are modeling "something" because no one knows, apart from their models, what the cup is, or what produces the perception of the cup, and the very idea of a cup is meaningless outside the context of our perceptions and ideas.

    I said "Kantianism" because it seems analogous to his idea that all we perceive are representations (models).
  • Mww
    3.3k


    Cool. Nothing there to seriously jeopardize my initial agreement.

    Thanks.
  • Banno
    17.4k
    So where do you wish to go with that? It's all over the shop.
  • Banno
    17.4k
    2. ∀p: T("p") → ∃"p" (from 1, by existential introduction)Michael

    Again, this looks problematic. "p" is an individual variable, so ∃"p" is like ∃(a). You would have to move to a free logic and use ∃!"p"; but that something exists cannot be the conclusion of an argument in free logic. You have to assume that p is true and that there is a sentence "p".

    This is now spread over two threads. https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/13170/an-analysis-of-truth-and-metaphysics
  • Banno
    17.4k
    Keep in mind that the models Isaac and I are referring to are weightings in neural networks.

    Thy are not symbolic; they are not referential. They are not paintings or sentences.
  • Joshs
    3.5k
    ↪Joshs So where do you wish to go with that? It's all over the shop.Banno

    I’m assuming you agree with Putnam’s value objectivism , but what do you object to in the quotes I included concerning his conceptual relativism?
  • Tate
    377
    Keep in mind that the models Isaac and I are referring to are weightings in neural networks.Banno

    That's just theoretic, so don't put too much weight on your weightings.
  • Wayfarer
    16.1k
    Is that what I'm doing if I look at a fMRI of someone looking at a cup? Modelling the model?Isaac

    To have a model of a cup necessarily implies there's a cup.Isaac

    The discussion of 'the real cup' - that, if the perception of the cup is neural activity, then what is the 'real cup'? - is premissed on a misunderstanding. When you turn your attention to the 'nature of consciousness' then it's a qualitatively different type of act to 'turning your attention to the cup'. Why? Because the cup is by definition an object ('cup' being a token for any external object).

    But understanding the sense in which the mind constructs reality, as idealism posits, requires a different kind of attention to examination of 'the cup', because that is not an objective process, it's not concerned with objects, but with the actual process of knowing. It requires a kind of stopping (epoché) or 'cessation' which is more characteristic of contemplative than discursive reasoning.

    All the machinery of modern science is basically geared towards the object as an external phenomenon - you see this very clearly in the attempts to model consciousness scientifically. (There, you're trying to 'objectify' the process of knowing by understanding the mind or brain as another objective process.) The endeavour of objective understanding has no limits - I was just reading yesterday that it is now thought that there are literally trillions of galaxies, and at the other end of the scale that the Large Hadron Collider is getting started up again (New! Improved!) But understanding the nature of knowing is not necessarily amenable to that extraordinary scientific power that we now have access to.

    The cardinal difficulty is that this requires a shift in perspective, or a different mode of understanding.

    Common to Schopenhauer on the one hand and Buddhism on the other is the notion that the world of experience is something in the construction of which the observer is actively involved; that it is of its nature permanently shifting and, this being so, evanescent and insubstantial, a world of appearances only. — Bryan Magee, Schopenhaur's Philosophy

    You can see that also in Platonist philosophies with their focus on universals or ideas as the sub-structure of judgement; whilst the individual cup is an ephemeral instance, the idea of the cup is a universal, and so not something that can be broken or lost. Furthermore 'the idea of the cup' is neither objective nor subjective, but straddles the object-subject divide.

    From Spirituality and Philosophy in Kant's Critique of Pure Reason:

    I think we could call “spirituality” the search, practice, and experience through which the subject carries out the necessary transformations on himself in order to have access to the truth. We will call ‘spirituality’ then the set of these researches, practices, and experiences, which may be purifications, ascetic exercises, renunciations, conversions of looking, modifications of existence, etc., which are, not for knowledge but for the subject, for the subject’s very being, the price to be paid for access to the truth ~ Michel Foucault, The Hermeneutics of the Subject

    The decisive distinguishing feature of Western philosophical spirituality is that it does not regard the truth as something to which the subject has access by right, universally, simply by virtue of the kind of cognitive being that the human subject is. Rather, it views the truth as something to which the subject may accede only through some act of inner self-transformation, some act of attending to the self with a view to determining its present incapacity, thence to transform it into the kind of self that is spiritually qualified to accede to a truth that is by definition not open to the unqualified subject.

    That, I claim, is precisely what has been lost in analytic philosophy, although still alive in contintental and perhaps phenomenological philosophy.
  • Joshs
    3.5k
    You can see that also in Platonist philosophies with their focus on universals or ideas as the sub-structure of judgement; whilst the individual cup is an ephemeral instance, the idea of the cup is a universal, and so not something that can be broken or lost. Furthermore 'the idea of the cup' is neither objective nor subjective, but straddles the object-subject divide.Wayfarer

    Could you say a little more about your position concerning what Putnam calls conceptual relativity, his belief that the mind-dependence of facts means that there is no fact of the matter that our language about objects like cups and tables refers to, only a plurality conventional accounts with no external real referent to justify them?
  • Janus
    12.4k
    No worries. Any misgivings at all?
  • Janus
    12.4k
    The proposition "it is raining" is true if and only if it is raining
    If the proposition "it is raining" is true then the proposition "it is raining" exists
    If it is raining then the proposition "it is raining" exists
    If the proposition "it is raining" does not exist then it is not raining
    Michael

    What about if it is not raining? Again the idea of temporality seems to be missing in the above. I could agree with the idea that if it were the case that it never rained; if there were no such thing as rain then the proposition "it is raining" would not exist, and it would follow from that that if the said proposition did not exist then it could not be raining. Beyond that I'm not getting the sense.
  • Janus
    12.4k
    just to avoid there being intrinsic properties and I can't see why.Isaac

    The main reason I would see is that intrinsic properties are conceptual and there is a difficulty involved in trying to understand how something brutely physical, as that seems to be commonly understood, could possess conceptual attributes. McDowell and Brandom and perhaps Davidson get around this by saying that reality is always already conceptually shaped in some sense. The issue here is that if the effects on the senses were initially completely non-conceptual then nothing we say about anything could be justified by them because all justification is in conceptual form and there seems to be no way to create a logical relation of entailment between something pre-conceptually physical and any deductive or inductive inference.
  • Wayfarer
    16.1k
    Putnam is yet another gap in my philosophical education, but found a paper with this abstract:

    The Harvard philosopher Hilary Putnam criticizes philosophers who advocate scientism: the view that science offers the only true and correctdescription of the world. Scientism, for Putnam, undermines the finite and contextual nature of human perception. Putnam is also critical with the plurality of worlds espoused by Nelson Goodman in which different and incompatible ways of seeing things are actually valid. The problem with this idea for Putnam is that it undermines the fact that we interact with the same piece of reality and so there can be an interface despite diversity and incompatibility of description. ...Putnam points out that conceptual relativity or the different ways of seeing the same state of affairs internal to a conceptual scheme steers a middle course between the excess of scientism and relativism. The paper argues that conceptual relativity rejects scientism and relativism while still affirming science and plurality of views.

    which seems a good approach and one I would agree with (although I note on page 3 a ref to 'the philosopher Richard Dawkins' :rage: )

    As far as Platonism is concerned as I've often said, I find platonic realism persuasive. I've now come around to the point of view that the 'objects' of platonic realism, such as universals and natural numbers, are real and invariant structures of reason. And as 'the world' is actually 'our experience of the world', then these are not simply 'in the mind' as conceptualism argues. They're as real as tools or utensils or anything else we use, but they're not physical.

    //have to say, reading that essay, I'm an instant Putnam fan.//
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    10k
    And as 'the world' is actually 'our experience of the world', then these are not simply 'in the mind' as conceptualism argues. They're as real as tools or utensils or anything else we use, but they're not physical.Wayfarer

    What you seem to be missing is the advancements which Aristotle and Aquinas have made, the division between the non-physical Forms which are independent from the human mind, and the non-physical forms which are dependent on the human mind. It is necessary to uphold a separation between these two, to allow for the reality of human failures in knowledge, the deficiencies of human knowledge.

    The human being has extreme difficulty in its attempt to understand the divine (independent) Forms because of this separation, which is actually matter itself. And the material aspect of the human being, its body, provides the means by which we gather information about the independent Forms, through sensation. This is why Aquinas says we cannot properly understand God, a divine Form, while being united with a body. Our knowledge, existing as a unity of human minds, is tainted by this medium, matter, which separates human minds.

    What I think, is that the only true way to the independent Forms is through one's own internal being. I think we do have a direct point of contact with non-physical, independent Forms, through the internal being of oneself. And this is why mathematicians who practise what is called pure mathematics, can produce principles which are purely a priori, and completely independent from any dependence on empirical verification.

    We cannot ever get to an adequate understanding of the internal aspects of a physical object through the approach of empirical science. This is because the observations required for the scientific method will always be an act of looking at the object from the direction of from the outside of the object, inward, so there will always be the medium of matter in between. The only way that a human being can truly access the inner aspects of a physical object is from within oneself, where one truly has access to the inside, from the inside, thereby avoiding the medium of matter. So this is the only way that we'll produce true knowledge of the inner aspects of a physical object.
  • Mww
    3.3k
    Any misgivings at all?Janus

    Ehhhh....suffice it to say there are differences in modeling perspectives. One perspective is mere convention....we model a cup because we already know what that thing is; the other perspective is ignorance....we model “something” because we don’t know what that thing is.

    The perspective is, then, experience; the difference is whether or not there is any.

    Ahhhh....but the technicalities. That’s where the fun is, ne c’est pas? When does “something” become cup? Somewhere in that theoretical exposition, will reside the possible misgivings.
  • Wayfarer
    16.1k
    What you seem to be missing is the advancements which Aristotle and Aquinas have madeMetaphysician Undercover

    We've discussed that a lot, and no, I haven't missed it. As I just said, which you seem to have missed, I am quite persuaded by platonic realism - by which I also mean Aristotelian's take on it. We discussed this blog post on it a long time ago. I also frequently refer to Maritain's criticism of empiricism.
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