• 180 Proof
    14.1k
    A promise is not an ‘is that entails an ought’, for it is the obligation to fulfill one’s promises that furnishes one with a valid deductive argument for any obligation contained in the promise itselfBob Ross
    I don't understand your objection. Consider this SEP article ...
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/promises/
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    Hello Judaka,

    Nope, goals must be rational as well, if your ethical position is invalid, inconsistent or illogical, then you aren't being rational by merely being consistent.

    Saying one’s ethical position is irrationalif they are inconsistent or illogical, is to agree with me. Saying it is “invalid” is ambiguous: what you do mean by “invalid”?

    Besides your criteria of validity, you just agreed with the sentence you quoted of me while attempting to disagree with it:

    But, as I said before, rationality does not consider anything ethical except for being consistent in one’s ethics; and I thought you agreed with me on that? – Bob Ross

    Perhaps the confusion lied in me not explicitly saying ethics must adhere to one’s logical theory?

    give me an example like "the serial killer has this goal and this opinion and these values", that's remarkably distinct from reality.

    It isn’t. There have been, historically speaking, very rational serial killers. In fact, there were some who did it in such a rational and ingenious way that it took the authorities a really long time to catch them.

    I have no basis by which I can question the traits or opinions of a hypothetical serial killer, and so your word is law here.

    That’s why it is called a “hypothetical”: you evaluate it based off of the stipulations. This is not a problem whatsoever.

    You can give your serial killer all the traits, values and beliefs (and you have done that) to make him rational, and thus, I can't reasonably call him irrational. That's true for the hypothetical serial killer, but not in any real-life case.

    Firstly, you admitting in the hypothetical that the serial killer is rational refutes your position that ethics is a criteria for rationality—that’s why I used that example. Hypotheticals are really good ways of teasing out incoherencies and inconsistencies in peoples views.

    Secondly, there are many real life cases of serial killers that were quite rational: they just didn’t value other human beings’ well-being.

    In real life, I'll be using my interpretations, my beliefs, my characterisations, my knowledge and my understanding of the serial killer, not yours.

    This is completely irrelevant and misses the point of hypothetical thought experiments: they test whether you are being coherent and consistent in your beliefs, by giving you stipulations and seeing if the necessary conclusion is made that aligns consistently and coherently with your claims.

    I already tried to, but you just found ways of dismissing everything I said, as though that meant something. Whatever traits or beliefs your serial killer needed to be rational, you gave him, however, it was required to interpret his actions to be rational, you argued for. As someone who considers rationality highly subjective, none of this is compelling. Mostly you're just proving that he who acts the judge can conclude how they deem fit.

    You have not given a counter-example nor an example of how my definition leads to nonsensical and true propositions: you have continued to beat around the bush, and if you aren’t willing to give them then just say so!

    If you really think you are provided counter-examples, then please quote them from a past discussion response you made, and I will happily concede if I am wrong here.

    Just rationality's importance in ethics.

    I am starting to think we may need to just agree to disagree here, because we seem to be getting no where: I already stated that this is a non-issue for us and is not the claim I am contending with but, rather, your claim that ethics pertains to rationality.

    Can you explain how two unthinking concepts can be "in agreement"? Explain how that works.

    I don’t quite understand what you are asking. Two concepts could be in agreement in the sense that they cohere well with each other, are equivalent to each other, are analogous to each other, etc. But the concept is in agreement with reality iff that concept corresponds to something in reality.

    So a concept which is of another concept (like the concept of concepts) would be true (and in agreement with reality) if, in reality, that really is the concept of that other concept (e.g., my concept of concepts corresponds to what the concept of concepts is in reality). Is that what you are asking about?

    Perhaps a better definition is “an act that attempts to agree with reality” — Bob Ross

    That would be a significant improvement for sure.

    On second thought, I actually don’t think intentions matter for rationality, because one could be intending to be rational while actually being incredibly irrational; so I think the definition stands as “to act in a manner that agrees with reality”.

    surely, you can think of examples without my help.

    I honestly am starting to believe you don’t any examples of what you are claiming, as you never provide them and constantly beat around the bush about them. So long as you provide none, I am going to assume you have none.

    Your understanding is a mess as expected.

    If you want to discuss theories of truth, then please post it in that discussion board (I linked): this one is for this OP.
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    Hello Apustimelogist,

    I think maybe there is still a kind of something like an is-ought problem in epistemology

    There are, indeed, those who argue for the non-existence of categorical epistemic norms based off of Hume’s is-ought gap; but, to me, since epistemology is predicated off of the hypothetical imperative of “one ought to know the world” and that impertive is outside of epistemology itself (as a precondition for it), then there are objective norms which are derived from the hypothetical imperative which, within the context of epistemology, are categorical.
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    Hello 180 Proof,

    I don't understand your objection.

    In your post you shared with me (where you outlined your justification for their being ‘moral facts’) I understood the crux of your argument to be that promises are some sort of ‘is’ that is an ‘ought’ and thusly are moral facts (as that is what you said in that post). My point was that they are not an ought that is an ‘is’: I am claiming that I ought to do X because I promised X, but that isn’t a valid argument (but, rather, a colloquial shorthand). The real argument is:

    P1: I ought to fulfill my promises.
    P2: I promised X.
    C: Therefore, I ought to do X.

    Notice that the promise is not an ‘is’ that is also an ‘ought’ but, rather, a mere description: a fact, but not a ‘moral’ fact. Thusly, as far as I understood your post, you didn’t prove nor suggest any sort of moral facts.
  • Apustimelogist
    314


    In hindsight I think is-ought was a poor analogy/description for what I meant which was just that there doesn't seem to be a straightforward link between the evidence you accumulate and your decision to take up a belief.

    In what sense would you say your norms are objective?
  • Judaka
    1.7k

    Besides your criteria of validity, you just agreed with the sentence you quoted of me while attempting to disagree with it:Bob Ross

    You said rationality stipulates only that one must be consistent with one's ethics, and I took that to imply that one's ethical positions can be anything, rationality just requires one to act in accordance with them. I disagreed by saying that ethical positions are held to standards within rationality, but if you agree with that, then great.

    It isn’t.Bob Ross

    I will make this my last response, as you're right this is getting nowhere. Mainly, from my perspective, because you are adamant about not interpreting my meaning as I intended. What I said was that your hypothetical example was different from reality, which is just true, for the reasons I said it was. Instead of saying something like, "Yes, I agree, but there are plenty of examples where serial killers are rational in real life", you instead tell me that I'm wrong because there are examples of serial killers who are rational in real life. Which makes no sense.

    All of your responses are like this. You so rarely deal with what's actually being said, you either don't understand it or you assert its invalidity, but for the latter, unfortunately, with no argument for why.

    That’s why it is called a “hypothetical”: you evaluate it based off of the stipulations. This is not a problem whatsoever.Bob Ross

    I explained the problem, and emphatically telling me I'm wrong isn't an argument.

    Firstly, you admitting in the hypothetical that the serial killer is rational refutes your position that ethics is a criteria for rationality—that’s why I used that example.Bob Ross

    I've stated probably at least four separate times that ethics isn't a mandatory criterion for rationality, I argued only that it's an important aspect that in practice is almost always considered.

    I didn't amend anything, I merely said it was unlikely (for the serial killer to be considered rational) and then gave some if statements.Judaka

    I said it was possible for a serial killer's actions to be considered rational, but it was unlikely, and then I defended that assertion of unlikelihood. I did not give points to assert that it was inherently irrational.Judaka

    Technically, yes, any ethical theory could suffice, but it's more complicated than that as I explained earlier.Judaka

    My claim isn't that by definition it entails moral goodness, but I think one could reasonably interpret moral goodness to be a condition for rationalityJudaka

    I'm sure there are more than that, but all of those quotes acknowledge the possibility of a serial killer being rational, a sentiment I've repeated from the very first response to you bringing up this example.

    Your thinking is unbelievably binary, and most of your arguments are related to a binary, and you strongly reject any challenge to your binary thinking as irrelevant or illegitimate. I don't see the value in that, and I don't subscribe to such absolutism. Rationality is heavily entangled with ethics, and I don't feel even remotely threatened in this claim by your serial killer example, I never have, and I have no idea why I would be. I see you are unwilling to budge, if I have no absolute binary to present, then you're uninterested, so be it, suit yourself.

    You have not given a counter-example nor an example of how my definition leads to nonsensical and true propositionsBob Ross

    I've explained that it's impossible and that I wouldn't give one, which I believe I've said twice, but you're still asking for one. Rather than addressing my explanation, you ask again and again as though I just ignored you, unbelievable.

    But the concept is in agreement with reality iff that concept corresponds to something in reality.Bob Ross

    Your overall explanation is unintelligible to me, I ask to have it disambiguated if I intended to continue this discussion, but I don't. This sentence stands out at least, as an egregious misunderstanding which helps me to understand the issue here. I appreciate that you see yourself as reasonable and willing to be proven wrong, but that's not my view, so I don't see the point in putting effort into explaining your error. You should more strongly emphasise the role of language, don't take it for granted, that's all I'll say.

    On second thought, I actually don’t think intentions matter for rationality, because one could be intending to be rational while actually being incredibly irrational; so I think the definition stands as “to act in a manner that agrees with reality”.Bob Ross

    Rationality is a manmade concept, it can refer to whatever we want it to, intentions or acts. Obviously, an understanding of rationality as acts where intention is irrelevant, finds intentions to be irrelevant, but you actually seem to think you're saying something deeper than that. Rationality isn't some natural phenomenon that one studies like a scientist, the word just refers to what it refers to, but I agree, it disregards intention. Hence why I went through a list of problems that creates, which you avoided dealing with quite masterfully.

    I honestly am starting to believe you don’t any examples of what you are claiming, as you never provide them and constantly beat around the bush about them.Bob Ross

    Your lack of ability to provide your own examples only demonstrates that you don't understand what I'm talking about, which, well, makes sense considering you rarely do. Examples are in areas of psychological factors, mental health problems, working memory/memory, executive function, thinking patterns, environmental factors, socioeconomic factors, physical factors and many other considerations. To begin with, one's prioritisation of long-term goals represents itself a goal, and is not purely reflective of someone's feelings and thinking. Many want to become fit, for example, is their inability to succeed in that a mere knowledge problem? Surely, you can understand it's deeper than that.

    You're clearly willing to deviate from your definition as it suits you to make things work, and you might be okay with that, but I'm not. The truth conditions of your rationality are exclusively about acts, and yet all of the implications have to do with knowledge, and that's a problem. You know that if mental health issues or executive function problems are at fault, then one is not just being irrational, because the term clearly implies problems with thinking. What you've done in agreeing isn't defend the legitimacy of your definition, you've torn it apart, you've demonstrated how absurd it is to understand rationality as an epistemic term. It's disappointing that you can't see that, but I'm not surprised.

    Our discussion was regrettable, despite everything I've said, I know your intentions were genuine, and I wish you the best.
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    Hello Apustimelogist,

    In what sense would you say your norms are objective?

    I would say that there are objective (i.e., mind-independent) epistemic norms insofar as there are objectively better ways to “know the world” which, in turn, is the precondition for epistemology in the first place. In other words, epistemology, as a practice, is predicated on the acceptance of the hypothetical norm that “one ought to acquire how to come to know the world” and this, as a precondition of this practice, has objective consequences (e.g., that since I am committed to knowing the world, I should use whatever principles/norms are the best at acquiring knowledge).
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    Hello Judaka,

    Our discussion was regrettable, despite everything I've said, I know your intentions were genuine, and I wish you the best.

    I agree that our conversation, regrettably, has not been fruitful; but, likewise, I recognize that you are also being genuine and I respect you for that! Sometimes when two people converse the words which they use to express their positions are being used in such foreign manners to the other person that it becomes hard to convey anything; and that seems to be the case here.

    I appreciate you taking the time to discuss the topic with me, and I wish you nothing but the best as well!
  • Apustimelogist
    314


    That may be, I just thought that these rules would have to work all the time to be objective but I can imagine scenarios where the rules you suggest would sometimes would fail.
  • 180 Proof
    14.1k
    You take my usage of promise out of context and then object rather than engaging with what I've actually written. For example, there's nothing about saying "I promise", which you quarrel with tendentiously. Show me how my actual reasoning goes wrong (and the addenda too which follows in the rest of the post), sir, if you are interested in discussing these matters and not just scoring points shadowboxing with strawmen. Again for your reconsideration:

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/540198
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    I see! You are right that they would have to absolutely apply to epistemology, so if you have examples where they fail then I would love to hear them!
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    You take my use of promise out of context and then object rather than engaging with what I've actually written. For example, there's nothing about saying "I promise", which you quarrel with tendentiously

    I apologize if I misunderstood (and thusly misrepresented your view), but I can assure you it is not on purpose. Here's why I thought you were speaking of promises as moral facts:

    Suffering signals the need for help; other sufferers either keep the promise implicit in their own need for help or they break the promise. A promise is an IS that entails an OUGHT, no? A moral fact that warrants a moral claim? So it seems reasonable to say the "furniture of the (our) world" does contain moral facts: suffering sapients.

    You are absolutely talking about 'promises', which you seem to have denied in your current response, and you definitely claimed that a 'promise' is an IS that entails an OUGHT. So I am failing to see how I misrepresented you; but please feel free to clarify as I do not wish to misrepresent you.
  • Apustimelogist
    314


    1. Intuitions (i.e., intellectual seemings): one ought to take as true what intellectual strikes them as being the case unless sufficient evidence has been prevented that demonstrates the invalidity of it.Bob Ross

    Obviously your intuitions may be wrong but it also seems to be that I could apply the opposite rule and it wouldn't necessarily have an effect on how well I gather knowledge.

    2. Parsimony (i.e., Occam’s Razor): entities ought not be multiplied without necessity.Bob Ross

    I just don't see why this needs to be the case. I can imagine someone applying this and it turning out that the correct option had more entities than they woukd have deemed necessary.

    3. Coherence: the belief (in question) should cohere adequately with one’s higher-prioritized beliefs about the world.Bob Ross

    Your higher-prioritized beliefs may be wrong.

    4. (Logical) Consistency: there ought not be logical contradictions in the belief nor in contrast to higher-prioritized beliefs.Bob Ross

    This one I agree with most and is most intuitive of what we want to do but at same time maybe sometimes we do hold inconsistent models about the world which nonetheless are useful.
  • wonderer1
    1.7k
    1. Intuitions (i.e., intellectual seemings): one ought to take as true what intellectual strikes them as being the case unless sufficient evidence has been prevented that demonstrates the invalidity of it.
    — Bob Ross

    Obviously your intuitions may be wrong but it also seems to be that I could apply the opposite rule and it wouldn't necessarily have an effect on how well I gather knowledge.
    Apustimelogist

    Indeed. I'd suggest it could have a salubrious effect on how well a person gathers knowledge, in that someone might be more likely to see through faulty intuitions which impede having a more accurate view as a result of questioning intuitions.
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    Hello Apustimelogist,

    Obviously your intuitions may be wrong but it also seems to be that I could apply the opposite rule and it wouldn't necessarily have an effect on how well I gather knowledge.

    Are you saying that taking what doesn’t strike you to be the case as the case would be equally legitimate as doing the contrary?

    I just don't see why this needs to be the case. I can imagine someone applying this and it turning out that the correct option had more entities than they woukd have deemed necessary.

    With parsimony, it is not a principle that determines what is necessary to explain but, rather, to restrict one’s explanation thereto; so, a person not explaining the entire phenomena (which would thusly require more entities to explain) would not be more parsimonious than a person would utilized more entities to explain it but they were all necessary for explanatory purposes. Parsimony is not ‘the simplest answer wins’, it is ‘entities should not be multiplied without necessity’. Of course, what one thinks is necessary could be different than what another thinks, but that is not of concern for this principle itself.

    Your higher-prioritized beliefs may be wrong.

    True. But if you believe something with higher confidence than something else, then why would it ever make sense to, when in conflict, take the less confident belief as true over the more confident one? This seems irrational to me and clearly not a good way of ‘knowing the world’.

    This one I agree with most and is most intuitive of what we want to do but at same time maybe sometimes we do hold inconsistent models about the world which nonetheless are useful.

    Of course! However, utility is not knowledge. For utility, as opposed to knowledge (truth), the goal is only to provide whatever is the most useful towards another goal, which could entail any sort of explanation so long as it achieves just that. Thusly, you are absolutely right that it may be the case that a inconsistent, paraconsistent, illogical, incoherent, paracoherent, etc. theory may be a more useful than one which is perfectly consistent—but its usefulness, to me, says nothing about its truth (other than, of course, that it is true that it is useful).
  • 180 Proof
    14.1k
    So I am failing to see how I misrepresented you ...Bob Ross
    Well, your quote cherry-picks its emphasis (indicative of uncharitably reading me out of context again) by missing / ignoring the following...

    To suffer is also to desire help to reduce my suffering; but there are only other sufferers who can offer, and effectuate, (some) help. This desire, or need, for help, however, implicitly promises to help others to reduce their suffering. This promise is natally prior to reciprocity, contract, cooperation, etc; it's implicit, fundamental, and inheres in each of us being individual members of the same species with the same functional defects (re: physical & psychological homeostasis) which if neglected or harmed render an individual dysfunctioning or worse [...]180 Proof

    In this eusocial-existential context, the fact of suffering is not 'value-free' – it's the disvalue – and therefore Hume's guillotine does not obtain; thus, again I refer you to the following article on "promises" with my stated reasoning on moral facts* in mind:

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/promises/

    *à la ecological facts & medical facts
  • Apustimelogist
    314


    Are you saying that taking what doesn’t strike you to be the case as the case would be equally legitimate as doing the contrary?

    Yes, because at the end of the day, aslong as you are receptive to evidence and change your views based on that then it should lead to the same result.

    Of course, what one thinks is necessary could be different than what another thinks, but that is not of concern for this principle itself.Bob Ross

    Yes, but why should one have to use parsimony if a non-parsimonious explanation is just as good? If the non-parsimonious one gets the job done, is there really a requirement to use a more parsimonious one?

    True. But if you believe something with higher confidence than something else, then why would it ever make sense to, when in conflict, take the less confident belief as true over the more confident one? This seems irrational to me and clearly not a good way of ‘knowing the world’.Bob Ross

    Yes, true it subjectively doesn't make sense to take the less confident belief to be true but then if you are mistaken about your high confidence beliefs then this practise will systematically give people wrong answers.

    I will grant that it doesn't actually make sense to go against this principle but at the same time this principle is not guaranteed to give you knowledge.


    but its usefulness, to me, says nothing about its truthBob Ross

    This is fair ; I am probably just less inclined tp believe that there is a strong line here between truth and models or that even truth is something that we can access beyond the restrictions of employing models.
  • Philosophim
    2.2k
    Hello again Bob! I have wanted to dive into your posts but I have not had the time to give them the thought they deserve. I am impressed by this particular post. I wanted to go over why.

    Although moral facts may not exist and—even if they did—are useless, epistemic normative facts exists; for epistemology has a hypothetical imperative as its precondition: that one ought to gain knowledge. Thusly, one is already committing themselves to “knowing the world” when they engage in epistemology, and there are objectively better ways of “knowing”: there are epistemic normative fact-of-the-matters which are better for “knowing”.Bob Ross

    This was a good way of focusing the discussion. I will have to take a look at your ethics post, but I can agree with this approach. You're not trying to justify why one ought to gain knowledge, you are simply noting it is something which exists. This is irrefutable and removes the whole discussion of ethics from knowledge.

    Is it a precondition? Again, you cleverly note that it is not a precondition to have knowledge, it is a precondition to actively understand and pursue epistemology.

    1. Intuitions (i.e., intellectual seemings): one ought to take as true what intellectual strikes them as being the case unless sufficient evidence has been prevented that demonstrates the invalidity of it.Bob Ross

    A minor quibble with the word "true". I would replace "true" with "known".

    2. Parsimony (i.e., Occam’s Razor): entities ought not be multiplied without necessity.Bob Ross

    Correct. It is not that we attempt to make things simple. It is that if we have two equal theories that serve the same outcomes, but one takes fewer steps and words to communicate, we take the simpler theory.

    3. Coherence: the belief (in question) should cohere adequately with one’s higher-prioritized beliefs about the world.Bob Ross

    I don't think this quite works. Your focus is epistomology, which is the study of knowledge. Beliefs are of course part of the discussion of knowledge, but beliefs are steps towards knowledge, not knowledge itself. Good epistemology does not seek coherence by forcing our rational outcomes into a belief system, but an already established knowledge system. To clarify further, it is not that we change or alter knowledge to keep coherence, it is that a system of knowledge should be coherent naturally. A lack of coherence is evidence of contradictions or poor methodology. A lack of coherence is a hint that what you hold is not knowledge, but a poorly constructed belief.

    4. (Logical) Consistency: there ought not be logical contradictions in the belief nor in contrast to higher-prioritized beliefs.Bob Ross

    Again, I would replace the word "belief" with "knowledge". Beliefs are like the clay that the pottery of knowledge is built out of. While the pottery is not yet set, the clay will go through many shapes and contradictions to its initial path. Often times while trying to construct perfect pottery, we must experiment with the clay. Going against the norms, or doing things which seem contradictory can at the end of the day result in new ways of creating that pot.

    The first epistemic norm (i.e,. #1 above) is, I would say, inevitably circularly justified—like reason in generalBob Ross

    This is not circularly justified. In fact, you made no justification for it at all. All you did was make a statement as a given. Someone could of course question or ask for justification. If you recall, that's what I did in my paper. It is justified by the fact that logically, it is our best way of assessing reality within our limitations. You are listing norms, but you have not given any justification for them at this point.

    I think that, in light of this, “rationality”, in the sense of “acting in a manner that agrees with reality”, can be objectively grounded insofar as the hypothetical imperative (of knowing the world) is a presupposition of epistemology and thusly not within it; and so “rationality”, which in the sense defined (above) is deeply rooted in epistemic principles, is grounded in the objective epistemic norms.Bob Ross

    I'm going to sum up what I believe you are stating here. Rationality = acting in a manner that agrees with reality. This is grounded by the epistemic norms you listed above.

    I don't think anything you stated leads up to this conclusion however. You list norms that exist, but you do not give any justification for them. Listing norms as a discussion topic is good, but I don't think you made the steps to take this topic beyond a list of norms and into a justification of them. At a basic level, wouldn't it make more sense that rationality is what the epistemic norms are grounded in, and not the other way around?
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    Hello Philosophim!

    I have wanted to dive into your posts but I have not had the time to give them the thought they deserve. I am impressed by this particular post. I wanted to go over why.

    It is great to hear from you again! I always enjoy our conversations, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on my posts!

    Firstly, your reservation that I did not justify the epistemic norms themselves nor “rationality” adequately in the OP is completely warranted: my main purpose was to just demonstrate the objectivity of epistemic norms, and then to very briefly enumerate some of the principles I find to be such norms (and to define rationality). In terms of giving an elaboration justification for them, I can absolutely provide those. Although, I will disclaim that I am still thinking through my own epistemological theory, but I am looking forward to hearing your critiques of what I am thinking so far!

    To elaborate a bit, my justification for those four principles as epistemic norms is based off of intuitions; so I will need to start us off with the first principle (namely, intuitions as a principle itself), which leads me to:

    This is not circularly justified. In fact, you made no justification for it at all

    Correct, I merely alluded to the circularity of, well, the first principle; so here’s my thinking on why it is actually circular.

    If one is to say that one ought to take what strikes them as the case as “true” until counter evidence is provided that demonstrates its unreliability (p.s., I know you don’t like that word in this usage, so I quoted it to defer that conversation for now), then what justification is there for that claim other than that it strikes them as the case that one ought to take what strikes them as the case as “true” <...>? I submit to you that there isn’t. I can only justify my belief that intuitions should be taken as “true” <...> based off of my intuition that it has been my best means of navigating life. But if someone were to ask “why are intuitions reliable?”, then I have nothing but an intuition to give them—hence the circularity.

    You alluded to a solution that you have in your epistemological theory:

    If you recall, that's what I did in my paper. It is justified by the fact that logically, it is our best way of assessing reality within our limitations

    But I think your solution is plagued just the same by this issue, as I could ask “what justification do you have for intuitions being the best way of assessing reality within our limitations?”...is that not an intuition you have based off of your experience which strikes you as the case that your intuitions, which have not been invalidated as unreliable by counter-evidence, are the best way of assessing reality?

    Intuitions, by my lights, seems to be an epistemic primitive: I cannot even invalidate intuitions (by claiming them all as unreliable) without thereby trusting intuition that they are all unreliable, which thusly leads to a paradox.

    Next up, is your alluding of ‘true’ being improper within epistemology, as, if I remember correctly, you believe that epistemology is devoid of consideration of truth and, rather, is about cogency. You express this here (I think):
    A minor quibble with the word "true". I would replace "true" with "known".

    To me, to claim something is ‘known’ is to take it up as true, even if it is not certain as to whether it is true. I don’t see (anymore) how a person could claim to “know” something and simultaneously not take it as true (even if they are not certain about it). Perhaps, as I suspect you disagree here, you could briefly give me a refresher on how this would work in your epistemological theory?

    To me, whatever the proposition may be, it has prepackaged within it a context (i.e., a scope), and to claim to know it (about the world) is to take it up as true within that context. We may not be able to know the absolute truth of things, but we are, by my lights, still getting at truth in this contextual manner. For example, if I claim “Bob Ross exists”, then it is pretty ambiguous—as I could be saying many things with that statement, such as “Bob Ross exists in the world-in-itself” or “Bob Ross exists in the world-for-us”. However, once the ambiguity is resolved, it becomes clear (to me) that if I were to agree that “Bob Ross exists in the world-in-itself”, then I am taking that proposition as true—it is not somehow not true and I know it.

    Another thing you noted was the role of ‘beliefs’ in ‘knowledge’, which I would like to briefly address:

    Beliefs are of course part of the discussion of knowledge, but beliefs are steps towards knowledge, not knowledge itself.

    Although it has indeed been awhile since I read your papers (so correct me if I am misremembering here), I remember your use of ‘belief’ as something like an initial attitude towards a proposition (i.e., a conjecture/hypothesis about reality which hasn’t been verified yet). To me, it seems as though ‘beliefs’ are knowledge (i.e., the verified claim) and the conjectures (i.e., the preliminary attitudes towards something), and the difference is only whether the claim has passed the rules of verification (within the epistemological theory). My conjecture “that I exist” is a belief, and even after it has been verified it is still a belief I have: it is just now a verified belief (viz., I stamp it with the approval of it passing my epistemic validation, like a value returning a 1 when inputted into a function).

    I would say that within you clay analogy the beliefs are indeed the clay, and so is the pot that is made out of it—and the difference is merely in the clay passing the validation of being whatever it was intended to be made into by the potter (in this case, a pot).

    Another thing you mentioned is coherence not being a consideration of epistemology, for
    Good epistemology does not seek coherence by forcing our rational outcomes into a belief system, but an already established knowledge system...it is not that we change or alter knowledge to keep coherence, it is that a system of knowledge should be coherent naturally
    .

    I agree that the epistemological theory should itself, be coherent; but I also add that within the theory a consideration of coherence of current knowledge with the candidate knowledge is important. For we assimilate the world around us via what we already claim to know about it, and we attempt not to incessantly force the candidate knowledge to bend and appropriate to our current knowledge but, rather, to assess the hierarchy ‘web’ of our knowledge with the inclusion of the candidate knowledge to see how well it fits in contrast to our higher-prioritized knowledge (within that hierarchy web). For example, I reject that I can fly by flapping my arms in the air because it is, among other things, incoherent with my current knowledge (beliefs, as I would call them) of the world. There is absolutely no logical contradiction in such a claim, but nevertheless it is incoherent with all the knowledge I have that I prioritize higher than that claim (as potential knowledge).

    Lastly, you mentioned that:

    At a basic level, wouldn't it make more sense that rationality is what the epistemic norms are grounded in, and not the other way around?

    I would say no, for then “rationality” would be defined outside of epistemology, which, in turn, only leaves it room to be crafted within morality, which, to me, doesn’t quite fit what ‘rationality’ tends to mean. We don’t mean that you are rational or irrational in relation to whatever ethical theory one has (e.g., you are acting irrationally because I take ethical theory A to be true and in A your action is immoral) but, rather, we take rationality to be epistemic (and, thusly, psychopaths can even act very rational when committing egregious crimes). If it is to be placed in epistemology, then it would have to be derived from the epistemic norms, whatever primitive ones exist, which are objectively better for “knowing the world”--and thusly rationality is not the prerequisite for the epistemic norms themselves.

    For the sake of brevity, I shall stop here and give you a chance to respond.

    I look forward to hearing from you,
    Bob
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    Hello Apustimelogist,

    Yes, because at the end of the day, aslong as you are receptive to evidence and change your views based on that then it should lead to the same result.

    I don’t think this works, as you are saying that if it strikes you as the case that the counter-evidence (which would change your mind) was true, then you should do the opposite and thusly not change your mind. I don’t see how one would be receptive to evidence if they always have to negate their intuitive reaction to the situation, as they would be obligated to never accept counter-evidence that they would normally accept.

    Yes, but why should one have to use parsimony if a non-parsimonious explanation is just as good? If the non-parsimonious one gets the job done, is there really a requirement to use a more parsimonious one?

    If they both explain the same data, then it is extraneous to accept the more complicated theory: it is just superfluous and, thusly, there is no legitimate reason to accept it.

    I will grant that it doesn't actually make sense to go against this principle but at the same time this principle is not guaranteed to give you knowledge.

    That is absolutely fair enough! Yes, I am not saying that this principle, in itself, provides any understanding of how accurate one’s beliefs are in relation to the world, but I do think that it is a factor for ‘knowing the world’ better, if that makes any sense.
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    Hello 180 Proof,

    Well, your quote cherry-picks its emphasis (indicative of uncharitably reading me out of context again) by missing / ignoring the following...

    Since I seem to be misrepresenting you, let me just ask for clarification: are you claiming that these promises are moral facts because (1) they are mind-independent (as biologically embedded into us as organisms) and (2) also obligations? Is that the idea?
  • Philosophim
    2.2k
    But I think your solution is plagued just the same by this issue, as I could ask “what justification do you have for intuitions being the best way of assessing reality within our limitations?”...is that not an intuition you have based off of your experience which strikes you as the case that your intuitions, which have not been invalidated as unreliable by counter-evidence, are the best way of assessing reality?Bob Ross

    My intention is not to go back into my view of epistemology, but just provide a point that whether I succeeded or failed, I did attempt to justify this notion. I feel I succeeded, and would agree with you that intuitions defined as such are a norm of epistemology. The difference is I feel it is actually justified more than in a circular fashion. If you believe that it is impossible that intuitions cannot be justified in any other way other than circular reference, then that is of course your choice. I will not rehash my original paper, as that is not the focus of your thread; I just felt that you could make your point stronger.

    Next up, is your alluding of ‘true’ being improper within epistemology, as, if I remember correctly, you believe that epistemology is devoid of consideration of truth and, rather, is about cogency. You express this here (I think):
    A minor quibble with the word "true". I would replace "true" with "known".
    Bob Ross

    Cogency is a descriptor of reasonable inductive beliefs. Knowledge is a sound and valid deductive belief. But my definition of knowledge is unimportant to your thread. Truth as defined is what "is" despite what one knows. I view, and many others, that one can know things which aren't true, and one can encounter truth without knowing it. Truth is what we seek in knowledge, but that does not mean we obtain it. So in general, the words truth and knowledge have remained separate.

    If however you feel that what is known is true, then there is one question which must be answered: "How do I know that what I know is true?" If I have a coin in the palm of my hand, and everything I can observe and identity leads me to say, "I know this is a coin", how do I actually know its a coin? Because it turns out that its not a coin, its a transponder disguised as a coin that I was unable to detect. I had never even known that such a thing could exist. Is it not possible that many of the things we think we know, actually have something about them that we are unaware of or are unable to detect?

    To me, whatever the proposition may be, it has prepackaged within it a context (i.e., a scope), and to claim to know it (about the world) is to take it up as true within that context. We may not be able to know the absolute truth of things, but we are, by my lights, still getting at truth in this contextual manner.Bob Ross

    If we are stating something is contextually true, is it contextually true, or contextually known? The idea of truth tends to be what "is" regardless of context as well. At least this can better answer the question of "How do I know that what I know is true?" However, a second question now forms. "How do I know which context is the true context?" Meaning, if we have two contexts where one person concludes A is true, an in the other context one concludes A is false, which one is correct? Our idea of contextual truth turns out not to be true.

    Although it has indeed been awhile since I read your papers (so correct me if I am misremembering here), I remember your use of ‘belief’ as something like an initial attitude towards a proposition (i.e., a conjecture/hypothesis about reality which hasn’t been verified yet). To me, it seems as though ‘beliefs’ are knowledge (i.e., the verified claim) and the conjectures (i.e., the preliminary attitudes towards something), and the difference is only whether the claim has passed the rules of verification (within the epistemological theory).Bob Ross

    For my purposes here, there is again no need to go into my paper. We can use the normative idea of beliefs. You are proposing a normative set of epistemic normative facts, and by the norm, a belief is something we use in gaining knowledge, but is not knowledge itself. If I believe the sun will explode tomorrow, normatively, no one would claim I knew that. A belief is a claim about reality that has in some combination neither been confirmed nor denied. A conjecture is normally defined as a knowingly incomplete belief. It is a belief that knows it does not have all of the information to make a claim to knowledge, but commits to the claim regardless. A belief can be knowingly incomplete, or believed to be so tight that it is claimed it is knowledge itself. Epistemology's attempt is to find a consistent method to examine beliefs and claim without inconsistency or indeterminacy whether someone's belief is knowledge.

    I agree that the epistemological theory should itself, be coherent; but I also add that within the theory a consideration of coherence of current knowledge with the candidate knowledge is important. For we assimilate the world around us via what we already claim to know about it, and we attempt not to incessantly force the candidate knowledge to bend and appropriate to our current knowledge but, rather, to assess the hierarchy ‘web’ of our knowledge with the inclusion of the candidate knowledge to see how well it fits in contrast to our higher-prioritized knowledge (within that hierarchy web). For example, I reject that I can fly by flapping my arms in the air because it is, among other things, incoherent with my current knowledge (beliefs, as I would call them) of the world. There is absolutely no logical contradiction in such a claim, but nevertheless it is incoherent with all the knowledge I have that I prioritize higher than that claim (as potential knowledge).Bob Ross


    I believe we are fully in agreement here! My quibble was mostly with the term "belief" instead of knowledge.

    At a basic level, wouldn't it make more sense that rationality is what the epistemic norms are grounded in, and not the other way around?

    I would say no, for then “rationality” would be defined outside of epistemology
    Bob Ross

    Since I separate truth and knowledge, then yes, it would necessarily follow that rationality is a precursor to epistemology. First comes the desire to make claims that are not contradicted by reality, then comes the establishment of norms and theories that help us refine and become successful at this. Since you do not separate knowledge and truth, then of course you would reasonably disagree with me here. So until that is resolved or an agreement of disagreement is reached, I believe we each have a valid reason to believe our own conclusions on this part here.

    Again, I largely agree with your approach here besides a few conceptual and semantic differences!
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    Hello Philosophim,

    It seems as though we use the term ‘truth’ differently, as you appear to use it in the sense of ‘being’ and I use it in the sense of the correspondence of thought and ‘being’. You say:

    Truth as defined is what "is" despite what one knows.

    For me, I hold that truth is a relationship between subject and object, such that the asserted being (i.e., thoughts about reality) correspond to (i.e., agree with) actual being (i.e., reality). Truth, for me, is thusly not subjective nor objective, but emergent from both. For the full story, see my discussion board on truth.

    So, within my terms, truth serves the same role as knowledge; since wanting to ‘know the world’ is to try to correspond, to orientate, one’s thoughts to what reality is.

    I think, semantics aside, this is mostly what you are claiming as well, and my term ‘truth’ would just be the ideal function of epistemological theories for you and your term ‘truth’ is simply reality for me (i.e., being).

    Which leads me to:

    If however you feel that what is known is true, then there is one question which must be answered: "How do I know that what I know is true?"

    I agree with you that the ideal of epistemology is to try to get at, as best as possible, reality (i.e., to ‘know reality’) and that it can’t ever absolutely obtain it. So I can, generically speaking, only “know” that what I “know” is “true” iff I have sufficient reasons (i.e., it passes epistemic verification) that what I am thinking corresponds with reality. Of course, I can only be certain of this correspondence on limited examples (such as ‘a = a’ as a logical principle), and the rest I only can be more or less confident in their truth.

    My point knowledge always equating to truth is that it makes no sense to me, within my terminology, to claim something is ‘true’ (that is, it corresponds to reality with respect to whatever it is alleging of reality) but that I don’t ‘know’ it; nor that I ‘know’ it but that I don’t affirm it as ‘true’. Sure, even if I affirm it as ‘true’, that doesn’t mean I am certain of it—but, by my lights, I am taking it up as ‘true’ by saying I know or, otherwise, I am saying that ‘I don’t believe this corresponds to reality, but I somehow know it anyways’.

    If we are stating something is contextually true, is it contextually true, or contextually known?

    By contexts in propositions, I was merely trying to note that if one affirms a proposition, then they are thereby claiming it is ‘true’ (i.e., that it corresponds to reality); and that proposition, whatever it is claiming, has a scope—so one is claiming it is ‘true’ insofar as it is within that scope. If I affirm that “cats are green”, then the scope I am affirming is “every cat is green” which is the totality of whatever I classify as a “cat”.

    To say it is “contextually true” (or ‘known’) was, for me, just to say that the claim corresponds to reality and that claim is limited in some scope (i.e., everything, totality of a class of objects, etc.). Perhaps I made it more confusing than it needed to be by invoking “contexts”.
    To clarify, I am not claiming that truth (or knowledge) is contextual (in the sense of what I believe you are asking), as I would say it is absolute (in that sense); and this is why claims can be propositionalized. Either the proposition, when inquired, passes the tests to be considered corresponding to reality (with respect to what it claims about reality) or it doesn’t: it isn’t relative.

    Epistemology's attempt is to find a consistent method to examine beliefs and claim without inconsistency or indeterminacy whether someone's belief is knowledge.

    I mainly agree, but I would add there is more to it than being merely logically consistent and providing clarity (determinacy). Logical consistency, in itself, does not promise any sort of correspondence to reality (which I think you agree with me on that).

    Since I separate truth and knowledge, then yes, it would necessarily follow that rationality is a precursor to epistemology. First comes the desire to make claims that are not contradicted by reality, then comes the establishment of norms and theories that help us refine and become successful at this.

    Interesting, I think we largely agree here (just not about where to finally place rationality). I would say, epistemologically, that the desire to “know the world” (i.e., ‘know reality) is the prerequisite to epistemology and stemming from that desire is to want to not contradict reality. The desire itself to want to not contradict reality can be taken on without wanting to know reality; however, I don’t think one needs to the desire, as a prerequisite, to desire to know reality.

    The big issues I would have here is that it makes (1) the desire to know the world not the sole imperative of epistemology and (2) it places rationality as moral tenants, which I would argue are inevitably going to bottom out at subjective moral judgments. When placed in epistemology, it becomes objectively based.

    Again, I largely agree with your approach here besides a few conceptual and semantic differences!

    Wonderful! I figured we would agree on quite a bit, but that there are some places we won’t (as of yet).

    I look forward to hearing from you,
    Bob
  • 180 Proof
    14.1k
    Since I seem to be misrepresenting you, let me just ask for clarification: are you claiming that these promises are moral facts because (1) they are mind-independent (as biologically embedded into us as organisms) and (2) also obligations? Is that the idea?Bob Ross
    Yes, more or less ...

    In any group of sufferers, suffering engenders an implicit promise to reduce each other's suffering as much as possible; this implicit promise is a fact (i.e. human eusociality) and it is moral (i.e. optimizing human well-being) because it constitutes participation in soliciting help and being solicited to help reduce suffering.
  • Apustimelogist
    314


    I don’t think this works, as you are saying that if it strikes you as the case that the counter-evidence (which would change your mind) was true, then you should do the opposite and thusly not change your mind. I don’t see how one would be receptive to evidence if they always have to negate their intuitive reaction to the situation, as they would be obligated to never accept counter-evidence that they would normally accept.Bob Ross

    I was assuming a separation between one's initial intuitions and the process fo evaluating evidence but this is a good point that they could converge in the sense that accepting or denying evidence would rely on intuition.

    However, at the same time this conception seems to be viciously circular in a way that almost defeats the purpose of framing the question the way you did when it could have been done simpler - just follow your intuition (because I am using intuition to accept or reject evidence also - or perhaps you could frame it as "follow your intuition and then when you get an intuition that this last intuition was wrong, follow the new intuition"). I don't see how this could be an objective rule though as your intuitions could be faulty and never lead you to truth, never lead you to accept the correct evidence or interpret it in the correct way. It presupposes something about our intuitions which may not be objective; in fact, in a scenario where we have no reason to think our intuitions are very good, including intuitions about evidence, going against intuitions may still be as effective a way to find knowledge.

    I agree that it makes very little sense to not follow your intuitions in the way i described above in the bold part, and it makes little sense to something like take up a belief which you believe to be wrong. At the same time, just because this is the only really coherent way to go about looking for knowledge, doesn't mean it objectively gives us knowledge.

    If they both explain the same data, then it is extraneous to accept the more complicated theory: it is just superfluous and, thusly, there is no legitimate reason to accept itBob Ross

    But so what? Some people may have a preference for superfluous explanations. Why does that matter if a superfluous one is just as good at predicting what we want to predict as the non-superfluous one?

    but I do think that it is a factor for ‘knowing the world’ better, if that makes any sense.Bob Ross

    Yes, I think almost everyone wants their beliefs to be logically consistent and not to actively select inconsistent models or views of the world.
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    Hello 180 Proof,

    Yes, more or less ...

    In any group of sufferers, suffering engenders an implicit promise to reduce each other's suffering as much as possible; this implicit promise is a fact (i.e. human eusociality) and it is moral (i.e. optimizing human well-being) because it constitutes participation in soliciting help and being solicited to help reduce suffering.

    I see: that would be qualified as moral facticity. However, I neither think that a promise is implicit (to one’s biology) nor that my biology is mind-independent.
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    Hello Apustimelogist,

    However, at the same time this conception seems to be viciously circular in a way that almost defeats the purpose of framing the question the way you did when it could have been done simpler - just follow your intuition

    That is fair: I just like to elaborate a bit more as ‘follow your intuitions’ seems a bit ambiguous to me (and doesn’t precisely nail down what I mean). With ‘sufficient evidence’, I do not merely mean intuitions but, rather, all forms of evidence (which includes intuitions).

    I don't see how this could be an objective rule though as your intuitions could be faulty and never lead you to truth, never lead you to accept the correct evidence or interpret it in the correct way.

    It is an inevitable rule that we must follow if we want to know the world as best as we can. The goal is not to merely follow whatever intuition they have blindly (as, of course, they should try to critically think about it) and it isn’t that evidence is purely ‘intuitional’ (for a person should be developing an intellectual seeming about reality and not just their imagination).

    n fact, in a scenario where we have no reason to think our intuitions are very good, including intuitions about evidence, going against intuitions may still be as effective a way to find knowledge.

    Like I said previously, strictly going against one’s intuitions will almost certainly lead to accepting that which is false.

    I agree that it makes very little sense to not follow your intuitions in the way i described above in the bold part, and it makes little sense to something like take up a belief which you believe to be wrong. At the same time, just because this is the only really coherent way to go about looking for knowledge, doesn't mean it objectively gives us knowledge.

    It’s an objectively better way of gaining knowledge in contradistinction to the alternatives, I would say. It doesn’t guarantee that one’s intuitions are purely factual.

    But so what? Some people may have a preference for superfluous explanations. Why does that matter if a superfluous one is just as good at predicting what we want to predict as the non-superfluous one?

    Because it claims to know extraneous information about reality, since it deploys extraneous explanatory entities to explain the same data about reality. It is purely imaginative and non-factual “knowledge”.
  • Apustimelogist
    314


    I do not merely mean intuitions but, rather, all forms of evidence (which includes intuitions).Bob Ross

    Yes, fair. I don't think this changes my interpretation of what was said however since I was explicitly thinking that we accept or reject evidence in a way which has recourse to intuition so I was actively envisioning both of these being subsumed under "follow your intuition".

    It is an inevitable rule that we must follow if we want to know the world as best as we can.Bob Ross

    It seems to me most likely the only coherent way of approaching knowledge but if it doesn't necessarily give me knowledge I don't see it as objective. If someone has particularly bad intuitions then maybe a different rule would give them knowledge better.

    and it isn’t that evidence is purely ‘intuitional’Bob Ross

    I think my point thought evidence being intuitional is that if you look at some evidence and accept it then ask yourself why you accept it, it leads to intuitions eventually. You may have a reason why you think that evidence is good, but then ask yourself why that reason is good, and then the reason for that reason and so on... I feel like it would just end up at intuitions and so in a sense, everything we do here is on some level driven by intuition.

    Like I said previously, strictly going against one’s intuitions will almost certainly lead to accepting that which is false.Bob Ross

    But my point is that it depends on the context so I can't say it is objective unless I rule out that alternative contexts (e.g. having awful intuitions) are possible, which I cannot do. There will be contexts when going by someones intuitions will be counterproductive too.

    Because it claims to know extraneous information about reality, since it deploys extraneous explanatory entities to explain the same data about reality. It is purely imaginative and non-factual “knowledge”.Bob Ross

    I think the notion of parsimony I'm more used to is about what seems most parsimonious choice between some options so it is in some sense a subjective thing and not really about factual knowledge. The way you have described it just now seems to be more or less equivalent to "just pick the correct explanation" which is a bit redundant since you don't know what that is. Who knows maybe what you thought was the most parsimonious explanation may turn out insufficient under further evidence which would be an example if the rule not working out.
  • 180 Proof
    14.1k
    Well, (your) mind is nonmind-dependent unless solipsism obtains (which, of course, it does not).
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    Hello Apustimelogist,

    Yes, fair. I don't think this changes my interpretation of what was said however since I was explicitly thinking that we accept or reject evidence in a way which has recourse to intuition so I was actively envisioning both of these being subsumed under "follow your intuition".

    I agree. Here’s how I envision it:

    Level 1: I intuit X.
    Level 2: Someone provides me (or I myself provide) counter evidence, which does not include intuitions.
    Level 3: I intuit that the evidence provided sufficiently counters my initial intuition (X), such that I no longer hold X.

    So, for me, I don’t think this kind of reasoning is sufficiently elaborated on by saying “follow your intuition”--as, for me, that sounds like all levels would contain intuitions.

    It seems to me most likely the only coherent way of approaching knowledge but if it doesn't necessarily give me knowledge I don't see it as objective

    I think it does give you knowledge, by intuitively making mistakes and intuiting refurbishments (at rock bottom) based off of the evidence. Sure, someone could be particularly bad at intuiting, but there is no better alternative, for the alternative is to reject ones intuitions (which I don’t think works).

    I think my point thought evidence being intuitional is that if you look at some evidence and accept it then ask yourself why you accept it, it leads to intuitions eventually

    You are absolutely correct, and that is why I call it an ‘epistemic primitive’.

    But my point is that it depends on the context so I can't say it is objective unless I rule out that alternative contexts (e.g. having awful intuitions) are possible, which I cannot do. There will be contexts when going by someones intuitions will be counterproductive too.

    I think this is a fair point that I overlooked: if one were to “not follow their intuitions”, that may actually help them navigate the world. However, upon further reflection, this is a paradox (which annihilates it as a possibly viable alternative) principle, as in order to follow it one would have to intuit that it is true that they ‘should not follow their intuitions’; but if that is true, then they should not ‘not follow their intuitions’; but if they are intuiting that as true (which they would have to to accept it), then they should not not ‘not follow their intuitions’...ad infinitum. They would not be able to operate, which is means no knowledge of the world whatsoever.

    I think the notion of parsimony I'm more used to is about what seems most parsimonious choice between some options so it is in some sense a subjective thing and not really about factual knowledge. The way you have described it just now seems to be more or less equivalent to "just pick the correct explanation" which is a bit redundant since you don't know what that is.

    Parsimony, as I am using it, is that “entities should not be multiplied without necessity”, which is Occam’s razor. I do not mean that one should merely “just pick the correct explanation”, as, you mentioned correctly, that just begs the question. Rather, I mean that when explaining a set of data (about reality), do not extraneously posit entities (as it is superfluous and corresponds to nothing confirmable in reality).
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