• Marchesk
    3.1k
    I just listened to an old podcast on The Partially Examined Life website about the Tractatus and Wittgenstein's view on science. Wittgenstein put forth a Humean view of causality in which A just happens to always be followed by B, even though both are contingent, such that our expectation that B will follow A in the future is merely one of past habit, which need not hold. C might follow A next time.

    The example given is Hume's sunrise every day. The podcasters were gushing about Wittgenstein's view of necessity just being a series of contingent events where the sun always rises, even though it could not rise on any given day.

    I find this view of causality to be extremely impoverished. Let's take a coin flip. We say it's 50/50 whether it will be heads or tails. Now if we came across a coin that had landed heads for hundreds of billions of days in a row (the sun rising), then we wouldn't think this was because of some incredibly low statistical event had occurred. We would think that the coin had been rigged to always land heads. As such, we would predict that the coin would continue to land heads because of the rigging. And this is how physicists treat the sun continuing to shine everyday.

    They go on to discuss laws of nature as just being logical propositions related to empirical observations of particulars, and nothing further. So gravity is an equation derived from making a bunch of observations of falling objects.

    Again, this is an extremely impoverished view of laws. General Relativity talks about gravity in terms of not just particulars, but spacetime itself being bent. And this applies generally across the entire universe, to the point of determining the eventual fate of the cosmos regarding further expansion or contraction.

    If laws of nature are merely logical propositions regarding sets of particulars, then why would we expect them to have such far reaching consequences? When Newton arrived at his law of gravity, people were surprised and astonished that there would be a force that pulled the same on cannon balls, feathers, and heavenly bodies. That was not expected.

    Furthermore, the relationships between different fundamental concepts in physics, such as acceleration, gravity, energy mass, space and time combines the cosmos into an extremely deep and astounding order that goes beyond noticing that you can apply an equation to some particulars.

    The really big question for Humean causation is why would we expect the universe to be contingently ordered to such an astounding degree? Why would it stay ordered for billions of years when it can at any time be otherwise? The sun could blink out tomorrow, and gravity could become repulsive, and so on. Would you expect that kind of contingency to result in the universe we see around us?
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    This does not imply that they are a matter of chance. Indeed, admitting that they are a matter of chance would amount to offering a further explanation—a chancy one—of their presence. The friends of RVC firmly deny the alleged need to appeal to a different ontological category (something which is not a regularity but has metaphysical bite) to explain the presence of regularities — Psillos

    But the claim was that the sun could cease to rise (shine) tomorrow. That it continues to rise is just a contingency that has always held to this point.

    I don't see how that's different from the coin always landing heads. It could land tails, but it just doesn't. That sounds no different than probability, except we wouldn't know what sort of probability to assign to a star ceasing to shine, since we haven't observed that.
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    I have a hard time with the concept that B following A always happens, but it could also not happen. It just so happens in our universe that the sun will continue to shine as long as the physicists estimate, but the nuclear/gravitational process that produces fusion might not hold tomorrow for no reason.

    In the podcast, they were noting that Wittgenstein's analysis showed that scientific laws are mistaken when presented as reasons for why things always happen a certain way. The sun doesn't shine every day because of gravitational pressure resulting in fusion of atoms, that's just what a bunch of atoms in the sun happen to do for billions of years. But they might not tomorrow. However, in our universe, it just happens to be the case that they will (or so we think).

    Thus Wittgenstein/Hume can preserve necessity (if B does end up always following A), while not introducing any mysterious causality. That sounds absurd.
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.7k
    A physical law is a mathematical relation that has been observed and confirmed, between some physical quantity values.

    The fact that a physical law has always been known to obtain doesn't mean that it will continue to. For one thing, new physics could be discovered.

    For example, Newtonian mechanics turned out to be incomplete, when relativity and quantum mechanics were found to give a better description of what happens physically.

    There have been a number of instances in which known physical law seemed to be violated or events inconsistent with it. For example: The black-body-radiation's energy vs wavelength curve; the Michaelson-Morely experiment's result; the planet Mercury's seemingly anomalous rotation of apsides.

    Those things were later consistently explained by new physics.

    But of course there remain other unexplained events. No one has satisfactorily explained ball-lightning. The universe's expansion is evidently accelerating, contrary to expectation, and implying that there's physics that isn't known. Dark energy isn't explained.

    Based on previous experience, it can reasonably be expected that our universe's physical laws are consistent, but not known, and that the events in the paragraph before this one might be explained by physics that isn't known yet.

    Presumably it couldn't be proved that a physical world is inconsistent, because it could always be saids that new physics might consistently explain any observed inconsistency.

    Why should a universe's physics be consistent? A self-contradictory universe would be impossible,

    I just listened to an old podcast on The Partially Examined Life website about the Tractatus and Wittgenstein's view on science. Wittgenstein put forth a Humean view of causality in which A just happens to always be followed by B, even though both are contingent, such that our expectation that B will follow A in the future is merely one of past habit, which need not hold. C might follow A next time.

    The example given is Hume's sunrise every day. The podcasters were gushing about Wittgenstein's view of necessity just being a series of contingent events where the sun always rises, even though it could not rise on any given day.

    I find this view of causality to be extremely impoverished. Let's take a coin flip. We say it's 50/50 whether it will be heads or tails. Now if we came across a coin that had landed heads for hundreds of billions of days in a row (the sun rising), then we wouldn't think this was because of some incredibly low statistical event had occurred. We would think that the coin had been rigged to always land heads. As such, we would predict that the coin would continue to land heads because of the rigging. And this is how physicists treat the sun continuing to shine everyday.

    They go on to discuss laws of nature as just being logical propositions related to empirical observations of particulars, and nothing further. So gravity is an equation derived from making a bunch of observations of falling objects.

    Again, this is an extremely impoverished view of laws. General Relativity talks about gravity in terms of not just particulars, but spacetime itself being bent. And this applies generally across the entire universe, to the point of determining the eventual fate of the cosmos regarding further expansion or contraction.

    If laws of nature are merely logical propositions regarding sets of particulars, then why would we expect them to have such far reaching consequences? When Newton arrived at his law of gravity, people were surprised and astonished that there would be a force that pulled the same on cannon balls, feathers, and heavenly bodies. That was not expected.

    Furthermore, the relationships between different fundamental concepts in physics, such as acceleration, gravity, energy mass, space and time combines the cosmos into an extremely deep and astounding order that goes beyond noticing that you can apply an equation to some particulars.

    The really big question for Humean causation is why would we expect the universe to be contingently ordered to such an astounding degree? Why would it stay ordered for billions of years when it can at any time be otherwise? The sun could blink out tomorrow, and gravity could become repulsive, and so on. Would you expect that kind of contingency to result in the universe we see around us?
    Marchesk
  • Magnus Anderson
    350
    I find this view of causality to be extremely impoverished.Marchesk

    Perhaps you find it impoverished because you are used to thinking that causality is something that it is not?

    Thus Wittgenstein/Hume can preserve necessity (if B does end up always following A), while not introducing any mysterious causality. That sounds absurd.Marchesk

    See, I think that sounds perfectly sane. I think the reason you think it sounds absurd is because it goes against what you thought causality is (but is not.)
  • apokrisis
    4.5k
    I have a hard time with the concept that B following A always happens, but it could also not happen.Marchesk

    History has a way of constraining possibility. So it is true that the world seems to be fundamentally causal in this fashion. We can describe some general law that must be obeyed by every particular material event. Regularity gets locked in by a context.

    However physics also now tells us that at the fundamental level - once history and context have been stripped away - then action seems to become a-causal or indeterministic.

    Take the decay of an atom. It is a Poisson process. In any instant, the probability of it happening or not happening remains the same. There is no temporal sequence in which we can say that the pressure to decay built until it was an inevitability. The decay remains a spontaneous or "un-caused" event.

    Of course, there are still the distal or contextual causes of the decay. Someone or some history would have had to prepare the atom that does the decay. But our conventional deterministic notion of causality breaks-down at the quantum limit. The determinism we assign to the world is revealed to be an emergent feature - a statistical property of large numbers.

    So this does not support what you call a Humean view of causation - that it could all be just one mass of amazing coincidences. There is good reason to think in terms of general laws that cause particular events to happen. The weight of history, the weight of context, is a real thing. Completely predictable statistical regularity does develop on the large scale.

    But it also has to change our understanding of what we could mean by law or causal determinism. We are only justified to talk about the general constraints on spontaneity. We have to accept that anything could happen next - at the primal or small scale level. Fluctuations rule.

    Yet then, the expectation that "anything could happen" recedes to the degree that some regularising history has developed. Once we are dealing with large numbers, the probability that A is followed by B - that the sun will rise tomorrow - becomes "almost sure". We may as well call the probability to be 1, absolute certainty.

    Of course, our belief that the sun will rise is bolstered by our having a rational explanation. We know that stars last billions of years, and earth rotates as it orbits the sun. We have a mechanical story of the causes involved.

    But again, mechanics is just an account of a system in a state of "absolute constraint". All the degrees of freedom, all the spontaneity, have been adequately suppressed. We can throw away any doubt and model the system as a clockwork.

    So mechanics is just a limit state description of fluctuations gone to equilibrium. It is not the way the world fundamentally is - at the small or primal scale. But it is certainly the way the world has pretty much become once it has cooled and expanded enough to be completely constrained by its own history.
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    See, I think that sounds perfectly sane. I think the reason you think it sounds absurd is because it goes against what you thought causality is (but is not.)Magnus Anderson

    Nah, I think it goes against any adequate explanation of necessary relations between A & B.
  • charleton
    1.2k
    Now if we came across a coin that had landed heads for hundreds of billions of days in a row (the sun rising), then we wouldn't think this was because of some incredibly low statistical event had occurred.Marchesk

    You are missing the point. First you are not comparing like for like. And this might lead to to your dissatisfaction. There are contingent reasons why the coin is 50/50, whilst the sun coming up is near certain. If a coin comes up heads a thousand times, there is still a 50/50 chance it will come up tails next. Not so with the sun. A lot would have to happen for the sun to NOT rise, for reasons we can offer in evidence. Induction tells us that the flipping of a coin is not like the dawning of the day
    Wittgenstein incidentally reminds us the the sun never comes up and asks what would it look like if it was the earth moving and not the sun, as indeed it is. They might look the same, but through complex induction and observation we know better.
    But the point about habit was Hume's. In observing billiard balls for the first time, we have no a priori reason to say what will happen when one ball strikes another. Will it bounce back, will the balls break; will the second ball move; or will the second ball change into a bunch of petunias??
    Hume demands that we can only observe and record. The only way we can have knowledge about the universe is to see if our observations repeat, and by habitually we can come to conclusions a posteriori. That is perfectly satisfactory as in fact that is all we have ever done.
    The laws we devise are consequent on this and not things that the universe is compelled to obey. It's just the way things are. Making physical laws is just a short hand to assist us to describe our understanding, and as such are contingent on the continued observations we make.
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    Hume demands that we can only observe and record. The only way we can have knowledge about the universe is to see if our observations repeat, and by habitually we can come to conclusions a posteriori.charleton

    Kant doesn't think Hume can do this without causality being a structure of our cognitive capabilities. It's not that we observe B always following A and then come up with the concept of causality out of habit, it's that we're wired to filter the world that way. We expect causality to be a feature of the world like space & time, because that's how we experience the world.

    Hume demands that we can only observe and record. The only way we can have knowledge about the universe is to see if our observations repeat,charleton

    The worry here expressed by both Plato and Kant is that skepticism is the result, not knowledge. Sensory impressions alone can't give us knowledge. There must be something that structures our experiences, whether it be Kantian categories of Plato's forms/remembrances.
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    The laws we devise are consequent on this and not things that the universe is compelled to obey. It's just the way things are. Making physical laws is just a short hand to assist us to describe our understanding, and as such are contingent on the continued observations we make.charleton

    That still doesn't answer the question as to why the sun would rise hundreds of billions of times in a row. The claims is that there is no reason for the sun to continue to shine, it just does. This is at odds with scientific explanation, which posits reasons why the sun shines, and thus it's perfectly valid for us to expect it to continue to do so. This isn't because of habit, it's because of gravity and nuclear physics.
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    So mechanics is just a limit state description of fluctuations gone to equilibrium. It is not the way the world fundamentally is - at the small or primal scale. But it is certainly the way the world has pretty much become once it has cooled and expanded enough to be completely constrained by its own history.apokrisis

    That's a much better attempt than mere regularity. Regularity renders everything as brute. The sun could stop shining for no reason, but it just continues to shine for no reason. The fact that we can come up with good explanations for many necessary situations belies this account of causation.

    It's only when we get down to the quantum level, or are dealing with entropy that the causal explanations turn into probabilistic explanations, and we arrive at brute posits. But there's no reason to do that for phenomena we can provide causal explanations for. As such, Humean causation is impoverished.
  • charleton
    1.2k
    That still doesn't answer the question as to why the sun would rise hundreds of billions of times in a row.Marchesk

    It's not even a question. There is no more reason 'why' the "sun rises" than why there is a universe in the first place!

    However what the Enlightenment of philosophy and science has provided us with is the answer "HOW is it that the sun appears to rise each morning." For the answer to that is; it does not! The earth goes round!!! Please consult Isaac Newton for more information; all sought by induction non fingo hypothesis. If you don't like it there is nothing I can do for you. I'm interested in facts. What you want is a church I think. If you are more satisfied with the answe "god did it", you are welcome to it.

    It is not at ANY 'odds" with scientific explanation. You seem to misunderstand what science does.
  • sime
    462
    I believe that the Later Wittgenstein would have understood causality more through the lens of epistemological behaviourism in the sense of it being demonstrable through our "use" of epistemic judgements, as opposed to viewing causality as a metaphysical 'thesis' about cognition, nature or reason, or as a concept empirically reducible to mental pictures or propositions.

    For example, suppose that while out bird-watching Bob suddenly declares

    A. "All swans are white".

    As Hume might agree, in spite of appearances A is NOT an empirical proposition about swans. And if we were to have a clear understanding of what Bob meant by this sentence we would either have to continue to observe Bob, or we would have to ask Bob for further information. He might for example reply "Having seen twenty swans, I have given up searching for a black swan and have decided to go home"

    Likewise if group of physicists declares that "particle A always follows particle B", we can tell what they mean by watching their behaviour when they perform future experiments.


    Like with any rule or principle of necessity, what we mean by causality cannot be verbally represented but only behaviourally demonstrated, similar to how a mathematician cannot linguistically represent what he means by "infinity", for it is a rule pertaining to the behaviour of the mathematician and it is not an object that the mathematician is pointing at.
  • charleton
    1.2k
    The worry here expressed by both Plato and Kant is that skepticism is the result, not knowledge. Sensory impressions alone can't give us knowledgeMarchesk

    The truth is that ONLY sensory impressions give us all the knowledge we will ever have. If that leads you to skepticism you'll just have to lump it.
    The only exception to this is Kant's idea that we are structured to understand space and time, but nothing about that predicts what the universe is actually like - for all of it we have to build on what we can perceive.
  • Magnus Anderson
    350
    That still doesn't answer the question as to why the sun would rise hundreds of billions of times in a row.Marchesk

    You don't understand what the question "why the sun would rise hundreds of billions of times in a row?" means. That's the problem. When you ask a question such as "why X at point in time t?" you are asking "how can we calculate that the event X, and not some other event Y, will occur at point in time t based on events that occured before the event X?" That's all that is being asked by such a question. And such a question may or may not have an answer. This is because it presupposes that the event X can be predicted based on the events that preceded it. That's not always the case.

    The claims is that there is no reason for the sun to continue to shine, it just does.Marchesk

    That's not what the claim is. The claim is that causality is a human invention. We connect the events. They are not connected themselves. We do this because we want to predict the future. But then, that does not mean we can connect them any way we want. Observations limit the manner in which we can make connections.

    There may or may not be a reason for the sun to continue to shine. But you have to understand what the word "reason" means.

    This is at odds with scientific explanation, which posits reasons why the sun shines, and thus it's perfectly valid for us to expect it to continue to do so.Marchesk

    It isn't. You are merely confused. And the reason why it is "valid" for us to think that the past will repeat in the future is because we have evolved in relatively stable environments.

    This isn't because of habit, it's because of gravity and nuclear physics.Marchesk

    It is because of observations + habit. Our method of reasoning is a habit. This habit has evolved in relatively stable environments.
  • Magnus Anderson
    350
    History has a way of constraining possibility.apokrisis

    History does not constrain possibility other than in the epistemological sense i.e. our method of reasoning relies on history to tell us what is most likely to occur in the future.

    So it is true that the world seems to be fundamentally causal in this fashion. We can describe some general law that must be obeyed by every particular material event. Regularity gets locked in by a context.apokrisis

    Repetition isn't necessarily locked in, constrained or caused by context. Repetition, like any other kind of sequence of events, simply is. It is simply something that occurs.

    The reason the universe appears to be fundamentally causal is because we live in an environment that is very stable (i.e. that does not change too fast.)

    However physics also now tells us that at the fundamental level - once history and context have been stripped away - then action seems to become a-causal or indeterministic.apokrisis

    Lack of causal relations isn't always due to epistemology (i.e. lack of history and context.)

    So this does not support what you call a Humean view of causation - that it could all be just one mass of amazing coincidences.apokrisis

    An event X is said to be a coincidence if there is no event Y that preceded it that can be used to predict it. With that definition in mind, events are not necessarily coincidental. Nonetheless, it is events that are fundamental and not laws that we create based on them.
  • sime
    462
    One potential point of difference between Wittgenstein and Hume concerns the notion of "habit". For Hume, are his remarks concerning the psychological association of mental impressions a thesis about his own experience or merely a description of own his experience?

    Speaking of my own case, it isn't obvious to me that i call a banana a "banana" due to mental habit, but i might offer it as psychological explanation. Likewise it isn't immediately evident to me that my understanding of colliding snooker balls is based on repetitive familiarity, for me that would again be a psychological thesis.

    Wittgenstein made this point in the blue book, that we often interpret our personal actions through the lens of rules or mechanisms as a post-hoc justification or explanation of what we did when defending our actions to others, even if we we did not consciously follow a rule or experience obeying a rule when performing our actions.

    Also recall that the Later Wittgenstein even went further to say that one's conscious experience could not be generically described in terms of "following a rule" or "obeying a law", for rules can be variously interpreted and hence cannot be grounded in other rules, while words such as "following", "being guided by" and "obeying" imply no particular experience.

    It is therefore only meaningful to say whether or not our experiences are obeying a particular rule if we can be shown in the individual case what constitutes obeying and disobeying the rule by something external to our immediate imagination and supposed "use" of the rule.

    Hence putting aside all thesis about what causality is and referring only to lived experience, how do we even arrive at Hume's problem?

    I don't normally behave in a matter that is epistemically coherent with the sun coming-up tomorrow because I have a reason to believe it, and neither am i aware of following a habit. I simply act in a certain fashion and then the sun comes up, without me having a reason for my behaviour. And the scientist after giving all of his verbal justifications acts similarly, without reasons.
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    Using that as an argument in favor of a metaphysically thick theory of causality is really weird, since what Kant does is to take causality out of the world and put it in us.Πετροκότσυφας

    Right, but the point was that Kant saw a big problem with Hume's view of causation, which was that it led to widespread skepticism, and made science impossible. So Kant's objective was to save science by reintroducing causality and other necessary categories as structures of human thought.

    The consequence is the unknowable things in the themselves, but at least we're still able to do science confidently within our human filtered objective (or intersubjective) world of common experience.
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    There are various suggestions as to what that something might be. As there are criticisms of them. But noone conception of causality seems to be free of legitimate criticism.

    * What I understand here as necessary connection is "production", not just dependence.
    Πετροκότσυφας

    Good point. There needs to be something else to show why A necessarily follows B, but D only follows C by accident. Or to show how correlation differs from causation.

    It's true that all conceptions of causation have difficulties. I lean toward an underlying relationship between phenomena, because it all came from a common starting point in or prior to the Big Bang, whether that was the quantum vacuum or what not

    It's not that there are brute particulars that happen to always behave a certain way, it's that all the particulars are related in a way that necessitates their common behavior. And that's why physics has been so successful in unifying phenomena, such as electricity and magnetism.

    In short, there are fundamental underlying relationships to the cosmos that explain the observed regularities. That's the causation, however it works.
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    It's not even a question. There is no more reason 'why' the "sun rises" than why there is a universe in the first place!charleton

    But cosmologists do ask and attempt to answer the question as to why the observable universe exists, and how it came to be the way it is. Saying there is no reason why is settling for skepticism before all possible science and metaphysics has been explored. How do we know there isn't a why?


    Like with any rule or principle of necessity, what we mean by causality cannot be verbally represented but only behaviourally demonstrated, similar to how a mathematician cannot linguistically represent what he means by "infinity", for it is a rule pertaining to the behaviour of the mathematician and it is not an object that the mathematician is pointing at.sime

    I don't agree with that notion of mathematics at all. And as for the white/black swans, all that example shows is that induction means we can be wrong about what we take to be universal. That doesn't mean there aren't universal laws.
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    The truth is that ONLY sensory impressions give us all the knowledge we will ever have. If that leads you to skepticism you'll just have to lump it.charleton

    Plato, Kant and plenty of others have disagreed with radical empiricism. Sensory impressions alone cannot give you any knowledge. You must be able to conceptualize your impressions.
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    You don't understand what the question "why the sun would rise hundreds of billions of times in a row?" means. That's the problem. When you ask a question such as "why X at point in time t?" you are asking "how can we calculate that the event X, and not some other event Y, will occur at point in time t based on events that occured before the event X?" That's all that is being asked by such a question.Magnus Anderson

    That's not at all what I mean by asking the why question. I mean the causal reason for why B always follows A, not how to calculate a prediction that B follows A. That's the difference between interpretations of QM (for example), and the shut up and calculate folks.

    And I do understand it just fine, thanks.
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    t isn't. You are merely confused. And the reason why it is "valid" for us to think that the past will repeat in the future is because we have evolved in relatively stable environments.Magnus Anderson

    And why have we evolved in relatively stable environments? You realize that in order for biological evolution to happen, the physics have the universe has to be a certain way? It all goes back to the Big Bang. Pretty far reaching stuff. Offering evolution as an answer to why we presuppose causality is just begging the question of why evolution would exist at all in a merely contingent universe.

    It is because of observations + habit. Our method of reasoning is a habit. This habit has evolved in relatively stable environments.Magnus Anderson

    No, it's not a habit. It's an evolved faculty for making sense of a causal world, just like eyes are an evolved organ for using light as a means to perceive objects.
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    I simply act in a certain fashion and then the sun comes up, without me having a reason for my behaviour. And the scientist after giving all of his verbal justifications acts similarly, without reasons.sime

    The reason for your behavior is because you evolved in a causal environment, where it makes sense for you to understand the consequences for actions that can lead to death or reproductive success.
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    ). At any rate, there's no reason to suppose that cognitive science which examines the infants' abilities at causal representation supports Kant's apriorism and not Hume's habit theory. In fact, I think it tends towards the latter.Πετροκότσυφας

    I've heard otherwise. That young children quickly develop an intuition for object permanence and casual expectation.
  • charleton
    1.2k
    You are mistaking what I am saying. I don't know if deliberately . but your objection is a complete non sequitur.
    Obviously you have to conceptualise, but you can only conceptualise FROM sensory information which is the source of ALL knowledge - quite obviously.
    Locke suggests we start as a Tabula Rasa, I do not exactly agree with that, yet without the sensations we have nothing to work on.
    The knowledge we start with is very basic; such as where to find milk from a nipple, what is up and down, and hot and cold, maybe. But without experiencing those things even those primitive instincts fail us.
    I have no idea what your objection or solution to this rather obvious reality is.
  • charleton
    1.2k
    But cosmologists do ask and attempt to answer the question as to why the observable universe exists, and how it came to be the way it is.Marchesk

    Yes and no. They do not ask why, they DO ask how.
    If you want to know why ask a priest, as they have all the answers ready made.
  • apokrisis
    4.5k
    That’s a bunch of assertions. I don’t see any supporting arguments.
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    Yes and no. They do not ask why, they DO ask how.
    If you want to know why ask a priest, as they have all the answers ready made.
    charleton

    I'm not going to get into a semantic argument over when to use why and when to use how. I take scientific explanations to be causal reasons for the regularities we observe. Humean causation undermines that, which was Kant's concern.
  • Magnus Anderson
    350
    That's exactly how I feel about what you're saying.
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    Obviously you have to conceptualise, but you can only conceptualise FROM sensory information which is the source of ALL knowledge - quite obviously.charleton

    Not quite obviously, or Plato and Kant wouldn't have objected to that and come up with their own schemes for how knowledge is possible.

    Locke suggests we start as a Tabula Rasa, I do not exactly agree with that, yet without the sensations we have nothing to work on.charleton

    Yeah and people like Steven Pinker and Noam Chomsky have argued otherwise.

    I have no idea what your objection or solution to this rather obvious reality is.charleton

    The objection goes back to Plato in which he argued that the flux of the world presented by our senses cannot be a source of knowledge in and of itself.

    The solution in modern terms is that our brains have built-in structures or modules for learning how to apply concepts to sensations to form knowledge.
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