• Banno
    23.8k
    The flowers are Potentilla erecta, which have four true petals.
  • Hanover
    12.4k
    The flowers are Potentilla erecta, which have four true petals.Banno

    What does the word "true" add to this sentence?
  • Banno
    23.8k
    Not bracts.
  • Ciceronianus
    3k
    [
    You're thinking like a lawyer, not a philosopher. Except that we're at a philosophy forum.baker

    Even philosophers manage to live as part of the world, whether they want or not. Some even hire lawyers when they encounter problems of a certain kind in that world. Never philosophers, I think. Why not?

    But must these judgments amount to a certainty that justifies burning people at the stakes?baker

    Judgments made with the understanding that they cannot be made with absolute certainty aren't made with certainty. Your thinking of religion, not the law.

    People who are not lawyers and otherwise not in the business of professionally judging others, can get by just fine without pronouncing definitive judgments upon others, and can instead live with tentative.baker

    Lawyers don't judge, unless they're judges as well and their function is to judge, except in matters within the authority of a jury. Good judges know the law, like everything else, is uncertain. Even legal precedent isn't binding, as our Supreme Court Justices like to say when it suits them.

    That was actually the prevailing belief back then: that children are just like adults, only smaller. The belief was that children were only quantitatively different from adults, but not qualitatively.baker

    Ah, well. They were painting them quantitatively then.
  • Ciceronianus
    3k
    Actually, children do such things, according to Piaget's theory of cognitive development. :)
    It covers also issues of perspective, object size, object permanence.
    baker

    I didn't know we were speaking of children, sorry

    Western philosophy has affectation built in as a feature, in the assumption that an argument can somehow "stand on its own", regardless of who is making it; "a fallacious ad hominem" is considered a pleonasm, as if every argument against the person is automatically fallacious.baker

    I don't know what you mean by this.
  • Joshs
    5.5k


    ↪Wayfarer So, philosophy forums are pointless then? :wink:

    There are also a few definitions or conceptions of what doing philosophy consists in.

    It seems to me you fail to understand that others do understand your point of view and simply disagree with it.
    Janus

    I’m not getting the impression you’re grasping what Wayfarer is aiming at here. For phenomenology, it’s not just that the world appears to us as phenomena, it’s that things appear in particular ways, and these particular ways contribute the sense of what appears. This sense is neither purely a contribution of the subject nor the object but of a correlation between the two. Anothern way of putting it is that when a thing appears in a certain way as what and how we take it to be, this is a function not of some ‘raw’ data’ inherent in the world independent of us, but of the web of relations between it and other things in world from our vantage, and the relation between all of that and our own activities and expectations. We tend to distinguish between things we construct , and things that
    naturally appear to us, but it is better to understand all appearances as constructions. For instance, take a computer system. If i show you one and ask you what it is, you will recognize it as a unified thing with that name. If I were to travel back in time with the computer and ask someone what it is, they would see a disconnected series of objects that they would name according to what is familiar to them.

    In other words, what a thing is depends on how we put its pieces together, and this is based on how we use it. This might seem obvious, but go back to your assertion that there are myriad things in the universe outside of what appears to us. Now imagine that we systematically remove (or bracket off) everything about that data that we contribute to the things, all of the relations of relevance and pragmatic utility that turn random bits of effluvia into computers and cars and chairs. You might say what we have left are the stuff of the universe that physicists and chemists have identified and described. But even such seemingly humanity-independent features of objects such as geometric shape, size, mass and movement make no sense outside of our conceptually mediated relation with them out of which we construct idealizations of shape and form. There would be no sentence we could formulate to describe what exists in itself out there beyond our interaction with things except that it is devoid of everything that our scientific language is constructed of. This is why @Wayfarer says that “nothing can be said in respect of them in the absence of any observation of them”.

    The way I think about what is ‘out there’ independent of what appears to is in terms of a potentiality, not a specific set of contents or ‘furniture of the world’. The world is a constant changing flux, but it is not just this or we would have to say that our sciences are fabrications based on nothing. No, our sciences are useful because as the world interacts with us, patterns are produced in this interaction. And over time, we produce from our continued interaction with the world more and more integrally constructed patterns, leading to a progress in predictability.
  • Joshs
    5.5k


    [
    I would expect that an infant sees what I see when it looks at a flower, despite it not having any sense of what is socially agreed upon.
    — Hanover
    This is doubtful, already physiologically.
    A human infant's vision is qualitatively different from that of human adults; also, infants have not yet mastered object permanence.
    baker

    We don’t need to delve into physiology to demonstrate how what we see is importantly determined by how we put together the pieces, and more fundamentally, what constitutes the pieces for us. If we are familiar with an object that is a machine or other human-created thing (chair, computer, car), we scan it with our eyes differently than we would if we didnt know the object was created by humans for some purpose. When we recognize the car as a car, we organize its features ( front and back, tires, steering wheel) in relation to what we know a car does. Without this knowledge we have a disconnected series of things. And what that disconnected series of things amounts to for is itself a function of cultural background. Show a car to a 1st century Roman and they will recognize its parts differently from a Neanderthal.

    An infant who has never seen a flower will see what they are already prepared to recognize in terms of shape, color, line, etc, but it will likely be a disconnected series of small objects, not the unified concept of ‘flower’, which is a concoction based on what we know a flower is for. You might say here that they do in a general way see the shapes and colors and lines that we do, but even color, line and shape are a function of what we recognize the total configuration to be for. In the duck-rabbit kind of optical illusion what constitutes a line or point or angle is a function of what we see the picture as representing. It is not enough to point out that even if we don’t see the image as being both a duck and a rabbit we are capable of such due to the fact that ducks and rabbits are available in the same world for all of us to learn about.

    Because the duck and the rabbit. like the car and the computer and the flower, are constructions, ways we compose lines and points and curves based on how we interact with that aspect of the world i. relation to our goals and purposes, recognizing objects isnt simply a matter of giving everyone a chance to see a particular object. Perceptual objects are features of language, even for infants who haven’t learned to speak yet. They are language in the sense that they are constructions we put together from the resources available to us in our dealings go with others. Those dealings evolve over time to produce new cultures with new technologies, which changes how we recognize objects. In this way we reinvent how we see over time.

    When we throw the frisbee to the dog to catch, do t they see the object we do? Yes and no. For the purposes of playing catch, the dog must see the frisbee as the same object thoughout changes in its movement. They have to be capable of this to track it. But if we cover the frisbee with a blanket will the dog know the same object is still there but occluded? If we cut up the frisbee into two pieces will the dog associate the pieces with the former object? What the dog can and can’t see i. the frisbee will be a function of what it is capable of doing with it. The dog constructs its concept of frisbee in relation to its behavioral niche, which is more or less fixed. The behavioral niche of humans , on the other hand, continually evolves.
  • Tom Storm
    8.7k
    Nicely explained. Thanks.
  • Janus
    15.9k
    I’m not getting the impression you’re grasping what Wayfarer is aiming at here. For phenomenology, it’s not just that the world appears to us as phenomena, it’s that things appear in particular ways, and these particular ways contribute the sense of what appears.Joshs

    I understand what Wayfarer is aiming at, and I understand the project of phenomenology. My point is that it is just one way of looking at things. Phenomenology is concerned with describing and analyzing how things appear to us, but how things appear to us is not exhaustive of reality, even if it is exhaustive of what we can know of reality.

    Science deals with things as they appear to us (obviously, since what else could it deal with?} but it is not phenomenology, because it is concerned with studying the things and not with studying how we experience the things.

    This sense is neither purely a contribution of the subject nor the object but of a correlation between the twoJoshs

    Yes, the world as we experience it is a function of the interaction between the extra-human conditions and the human conditions.

    We tend to distinguish between things we construct , and things that
    naturally appear to us, but it is better to understand all appearances as constructions.
    Joshs

    I don't think it is better to understand all appearances as constructions, or at least not as purely human constructions. We do not create ourselves any more than we create the rest of nature; we are created by nature, we are always already pre-cognitively created by nature.

    We create human stories, about how we came to be in the world as we experience it, and of course those stories are cultural, historically mediated constructions, but to say they are exclusively constructed by us implies a creative freedom, a pure creative arbitrariness, which is misleading and brings about an anthropocentric illusion that reality is created by us tout court.

    Our human stories are constrained by the signs of the past that are discovered in nature, so our stories are constrained by those signs, most of which predate humanity altogether. Our stories are merely the map, and the map can never become the territory. All we can hope for is verisimilitude, not absolute veracity.

    Don't fall into the mistake of thinking that those who disagree with you, who have a different perspective, do not understand your way of understanding things. The important thing to understand, in my view, is that there are many ways of understanding things, and that those ways of understanding can only be more or less right, and that whether they are more or less right is not up to us but is determined, as our very beings are, by natural actuality. The challenge is to be able to accept that we must learn to live with uncertainty, since, as the limited beings that we are, we can only know things as they appear to us.

    When we throw the frisbee to the dog to catch, do t they see the object we do? Yes and no. For the purposes of playing catch, the dog must see the frisbee as the same object thoughout changes in its movement. They have to be capable of this to track it. But if we cover the frisbee with a blanket will the dog know the same object is still there but occluded?Joshs

    If the dog sees you cover the frisbee with a blanket she will likely stick her nose under the blanket to retrieve the frisbee. If she doesn't see you cover the Frisbee, she may sniff it out nonetheless. Of course, this depends on the dog. When I throw the ball for my dog and the throw is weak resulting in the ball falling into the metre high grasses where it is no longer visible, my dog does not assume it has simply disappeared but hunts relentlessly until he finds it. I presume he does this by scent, since I would be unable to find the ball in that grass.

    If we cut up the frisbee into two pieces will the dog associate the pieces with the former object?

    If you cannot come up with a clever experiment to test that, then we have no way of knowing. When the dog chews the frisbee to pieces does she know that the pieces are what is left of the frisbee? To my way of thinking your view suffers from excessive anthropocentrism. In a way of course our views are necessarily anthropocentric since we only know things as they appear to us, but that shouldn't stop us from trying to imagine beyond our human-centric understandings, or from realizing that those very understandings should in any case lead us to acknowledging that we are just one tiny part of a vast universe, the actuality of which is not dependent on us.
  • Ciceronianus
    3k
    It really is such a pointless, boring and interminable debate that lacks any significance for human life.Janus

    So it is. Perhaps this is perversion rather than affectation--turning away from or aside from what's generally done or accepted.

    I wonder though if much of this can be attributed to the selective application and subsequent disregard of metaphors. The claim is made that we "create" or "construct" objects or phenomena in the factory or workshop of our minds as if we carry tiny craftsmen or masons in us, building what we experience.
  • Janus
    15.9k
    The claim is made that we "create" or "construct" objects or phenomena in the factory or workshop of our minds as if we carry tiny craftsmen or masons in us, building what we experience.Ciceronianus

    :up: Nice image! I think you are right that metaphors often get taken literally, then reified.
  • Joshs
    5.5k


    Science deals with things as they appear to us (obviously, since what else could it deal with?} but it is not phenomenology, because it is concerned with studying the things and not with studying how we experience the thingsJanus
    The question is, what sort of notion of a thing do you have in mind, and how was it formed? The original notion of scientific ‘thing’ or object that can be traced back to Galileo, who recycled the geometric idealizations developed in the near East and Greece that were pure mathematical
    constructions. He applied these constructions to the messy realm of empirical phenomena and from this synthesis emigres the modern notion of scientific exactitude and the idea of a natural world composed entirely of causally related bodies in a fixed mathematical grid of geometric space and linear time. In other words, the scientific ‘thing’ was seen through the lens of an imposed construction. Putting it in your terms, how science chose to experience the things became the basis of what the things were in themselves.

    This sense is neither purely a contribution of the subject nor the object but of a correlation between the two
    — Joshs

    Yes, the world as we experience it is a function of the interaction between the extra-human conditions and the human conditions
    Janus

    It’s not an interaction between already formed , pre-existing condtions, but the production of something absolutely original, which is why it doesnt make sense to talk about an independently existing world. What our sciences discover never existed before in the history of the world, which doesnt mean that they aren’t reliable means of navigating that world or making predictions that pan out. But what we are navigating and predicting is not something pre-existing. It is the patterned , anticipatable way in which the world that we interact with changes in response to our interacting with it.

    We create human stories, about how we came to be in the world as we experience it, and of course those stories are cultural, historically mediated constructions, but to say they are exclusively constructed by us implies a creative freedom, a pure creative arbitrariness, which is misleading and brings about an anthropocentric illusion that reality is created by us tout court.Janus

    Building an apparatus that channels the behavior of particles is not just a story, it is a material configuration that interacts with and changes phenomena in predictable ways. Our narratives and theories, as products of brains as physiological systems, are also material apparatuses that are not exclusively constructed by us. They are co-constructions that require both our own material constitution and that of our environment. Our theories are not simply in the head, they are engagements between head and world that are composed of turnout of both aspects. New realities are created through this reciprocal relation, not from inside the head.

    To my way of thinking your view suffers from excessive anthropocentrism. In a way of course our views are necessarily anthropocentric since we only know things as they appear to us, but that shouldn't stop us from trying to imagine beyond our human-centric understandings, or from realizing that those very understandings should in any case lead us to acknowledging that we are just one tiny part of a vast universe, the actuality of which is not dependent on us.Janus

    You’re right. Recent research shows dogs have better object permanence than infants. But my point isn’t who has object permanence and who doesn’t, but how we and animals like us acquire it, and what it says about how the way we see the world reflects how we move around in it in relation to our purposes. We see based on what and how it is useful for us to see. this is not a fabrication of the mind, but neither does it allow us to assume lawfully fixed contents of a world independent of our dealings with it.
  • wonderer1
    1.8k
    Putting it in your terms, how science chose to experience the things became the basis of what the things were in themselves.Joshs

    This says to me that you don't have enough experience in engaging in scientific processes to know what you are talking about. It sounds like you have simply accepted a story about science. What basis do you have, for thinking people should believe that you know what you are talking about on this subject?
  • Joshs
    5.5k


    I wonder though if much of this can be attributed to the selective application and subsequent disregard of metaphors. The claim is made that we "create" or "construct" objects or phenomena in the factory or workshop of our minds as if we carry tiny craftsmen or masons in us, building what we experience.Ciceronianus

    Tiny craftsmen and masons have to allow the material they shape and mold to guide their efforts based on how that material lends itself to , affords and constrains their aims.
    Construction, constitution or construing, whichever term you prefer, refers not to a conjuring oblivious to an outside, but a back and forth , reciprocal conversation with a niche which feeds back into our efforts in very precise and specific ways to guide and adjust our direction. A craftsman can’t just use any methods they choose. Only some will get the job done, and this is how the real world shows its face. We build the models, apparatus of measure and observation, and the world responds just so to how we prod and alter it. It only gives up its secrets in the language of the questions we ask of it, and for the purposes we use it for.
  • Joshs
    5.5k


    This says to me that you don't have enough of experience in engaging in scientific processes to know what you are talking about. It sounds like you have simply accepted a story about science. What basis do you have, for thinking people should believe that you know what you are talking about on this subject?wonderer1

    The Wizard of Oz gave me a PhD.
    What your comment says to me is that the company I keep in philosophy of science and cognitive science is far removed from your neck of the woods.
    https://independent.academia.edu/JoshSoffer
  • Janus
    15.9k
    Putting it in your terms, how science chose to experience the things became the basis of what the things were in themselves.Joshs

    Science as it is has evolved to be practiced today is based on observing and describing things as they appear to us including augmented appearances via, for example, microscope and telescope, and as they are measured, quantified and modeled mathematically. It also involves educated conjectures regarding how things came to be as they appear to be chemically speaking. Modern chemistry is coherent with physics, and the whole system of understanding as it extends into cosmology, geology, biology is vastly more complex, consistent and coherent than any other body of knowledge.

    Putting it in your terms, how science chose to experience the things became the basis of what the things were in themselves.Joshs

    Those are not my terms; I think a distinction between things as they appear to us and things as they are in themselves is a valid distinction, even though we cannot (by mere definition) know what things are in themselves. Science deals, and can only deal, with things as they appear to us. But I don't see that appearing as artificial or culturally constructed, it too is a part of nature, and it is as real as anything else could be.

    So, I don't see much or even any "choosing ways to experience things", although of course there is choosing ways to test and experiment with the things as they naturally appear to us.

    Building an apparatus that channels the behavior of particles is not just a story, it is a material configuration that interacts with and changes phenomena in predictable ways. Our narratives and theories, as products of brains as physiological systems, are also material apparatuses that are not exclusively constructed by us. They are co-constructions that require both our own material constitution and that of our environment. Our theories are not simply in the head, they are engagements between head and world that are composed of turnout of both aspects. New realities are created through this reciprocal relation, not from inside the head.Joshs

    I don't disagree with anything you say here, although I would say the "new realties" you mention are realities of human experience. I don't think our experimenting changes the nature of the cosmos, but merely the nature of our conceptions and experience of the cosmos.

    We see based on what and how it is useful for us to see. this is not a fabrication of the mind, but neither does it allow us to assume lawfully fixed contents of a world independent of our dealings with it.Joshs

    I'm not talking about anything "fixed" in the sense of 'static'. We don't know what the contents of a world independent of our dealings with it are, but that does not preclude thinking that such a world, of which our world of experience and understanding is a small part, a manifestation, exists.

    The Wizard of Oz gave me a PhD.Joshs

    I am the Wizard of Oz, and I have issued no such qualification.
  • wonderer1
    1.8k
    What your comment says to me is that the company I keep in philosophy of science and cognitive science is far removed from your neck of the woods.Joshs

    True, I haven't spent nearly so much time in an ivory tower playing make believe.

    Sorry to break it to you, but you really don't know what you are talking about, in describing science. You might as well be telling a fairy tale.
  • Wayfarer
    21.5k
    +1

    sciences are useful because as the world interacts with us, patterns are produced in this interaction.Joshs

    :up: And numbers are exceedingly effective habits.

    There's an anecdote I sometimes tell. Three blokes are looking at a green field. One is a cattle farmer - he's looking for type of feed, if there is water, what trees are on it. One is a real estate developer looking at geographical situation, nearby infrastructure, zoning laws. Another is a geologist, he's looking at the rock formations on the surface to determine whether there is anything useable in the ground.

    Which is the real field?
  • Janus
    15.9k
    Which is the real field?Wayfarer

    The answer I would give is that in terms of specialist human experience and understanding they are all real aspects, relations or possibilities of the one field.
  • Wayfarer
    21.5k
    Fair enough, but I think still goes to the point that how things are seen relates to much more than any notion of their inherent existence.
  • Ciceronianus
    3k
    We build the models, apparatus of measure and observation, and the world responds just so to how we prod and alter it. It only gives up its secrets in the language of the questions we ask of it, and for the purposes we use it for.Joshs

    We do those things when we actually do them, not when we see something. It's a mere truism to say that we build buildings, roads, etc., and alter the world of which we're a part when we do so. We do nothing of the sort when we see a tree. We don't build it or images of it in our minds when we see it. We merely see it.
  • Joshs
    5.5k


    We do those things when we actually do them, not when we see something. It's a mere truism to say that we build buildings, roads, etc., and alter the world of which we're a part when we do so. We do nothing of the sort when we see a tree. We don't build it or images of it in our minds when we see it. We merely see it.Ciceronianus

    Do you also want to make this hard and fast distinction between technological and scientific know-how? We build computers but we don’t build concepts like neuron and quark? Or do you want to argue that neuron and quark are constructions, but perceptual achievements like object permanence, depth perception and recognition of chords are not? Let me ask you, how is it that we are able to recognize any aspect of the visual environment as familiar when no aspect of the seen world duplicates its features from moment to moment? Is there not, as Piaget would say, an accommodation of our memory- driven expectation to the novel aspects of what we encounter? Do we not do in perceiving what we do in understanding language, adapt and adjust our rule -based criteria to accommodate the new context of interaction?
  • Joshs
    5.5k
    Sorry to break it to you, but you really don't know what you are talking about, in describing science. You might as well be telling a fairy talewonderer1

    Perhaps. But you can’t know that for sure without familiarizing yourself with some of the scholarship behind my claims. Maybe I’m just doing a bad job of describing these points of view concerning the nature and foundation of science. If you were to give me a short list of the philosophers of science you follow, I would likely be quite familiar with them , and would be able to provide a summary of their thinking that agrees with your understanding.

    If , on the other hand, I were to give you my short list (Heidegger, Deleuze, Merleau-Ponty, Piaget, Husserl, Feyerabend, Hilary Putnam, Joseph Rouse, Karen Barad), would you be able to summarize their assertions about science? I would be more impressed with your claim that I’m concocting a fairy tale once you’ve provided an adequate summary of the view of one of these writers on science.
  • Ciceronianus
    3k
    Do you also want to make this hard and fast distinction between technological and scientific know-how? We build computers but we don’t build concepts like neuron and quark? Or do you want to argue that neuron and quark are constructions, but perceptual achievements like object permanence, depth perception and recognition of chords are not? Let me ask you, how is it that we are able to recognize any aspect of the visual environment as familiar when no aspect of the seen world duplicates its features from moment to moment? Is there not, as Piaget would say, an accommodation of our memory- driven expectation to the novel aspects of what we encounter? Do we not do in perceiving what we do in understanding language, adapt and adjust our rule -based criteria to accommodate the new context of interaction?Joshs

    If you don't think there is a difference between constructing a building or a road and seeing a tree, we aren't going to get much farther than we have in this discussion. That's all that I've been addressing, in any case. I don't understand how this relates to a distinction between scientific and technological know-how, nor does it seem to me that seeing is equivalent to what was done in arriving at concepts like neuron and quark, or what we do in understanding language. Clearly, we disagree on what it is to see something. When I say "I see a tree" I think most would understand what I mean by that, but it seems you don't, or that you would contend I don't see a tree.
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