• Pseudonym
    1.2k


    So no actual argument then? Just repeating the same ostracising bullshit. What I say is meaningless because you don't agree with it, what [insert philosopher here] says isn't meaningless because you do. Unless you have a definition of what is meaningful other than your own personal preference?

    Yet these apparent 'questions' are nowhere formulated by you,StreetlightX

    I wasn't aware that they were in much doubt. What is there? How can we know what there is? What ought we do? Pretty much covers the basics of ontology, epistemology and axiology.
  • StreetlightX
    2.9k
    I wasn't aware that they were in much doubt.Pseudonym

    That much is clear. Epecially given that one of the chief virtues of philosophy is to illuminate not merely answers to questions of these sort, but to determine, in varying contexts, what exactly they are asking. One of the things you learn once you shed the amaturism of unschooled ignorance is that engaging with very meaning of questions like these are bulk of what philosophy deals with. The hardest thing to do in philosophy is to get the question right. Taking them for granted is philosophical infantilism, not, perhaps, unlike 'scientism'.
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k


    From an interview with Willard Van Quine (1977):

    Interviewer: "What would you say were the main questions in philosophy?"

    Quine: "What is there, and how can we know what there is?"

    Quine's an infantile amateur is he?
  • StreetlightX
    2.9k
    Quine? Who spent his career trying to understand and elaborate upon what such questions entail? Quine, whose most famous paper had the distinction of rennovating, in an entirely novel way, the meaning of 'what is?' though an invocation of certain quantifying structures? Quine, whose understanding of those questions spawned entire trajectories of thought through which philosophy has been enriched? Quine, the consummate philosopher? No, not an amateur.
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k


    Did you not notice that I answered precisely the same question as was put to Quine with precisely the same answer, almost word-for-word?

    So in a post limited to a few sentences the statement that the main questions in philosophy are what is there and how do we know what there is, is neither infantile nor amateurish. Apology accepted. Or did you expect me to write an entire canon of investigation in response?

    Oh no wait, I forgot the golden rule that when a famous philosopher says it its very meaningful and sagacious, but when someone you disagree with says it its infantile and amateurish.
  • StreetlightX
    2.9k
    I'm quite convinced Quine understood those questions in a meaningful way because he left behind a rich and robust body of philosophical work demonstrating - and in fact elaborating in novel ways - his understanding and mastery of them. By contrast, what I see in this thread is the empty invocation of those questions, mobilized as nothing more than meaningless interrogatives used to draw vacuous conclusions.
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k


    As I said, stuff you like = meaningful, stuff you disagree with = meaningless.
  • StreetlightX
    2.9k
    Again, I know you're new at this, but you can't meaningfully disagree with the meaningless, only point out that it is meaningless.
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k


    How beautifully self immunised. "What you're saying is meaningless and I don't even have to present an argument to support that because one cannot argue against the meaningless"
  • StreetlightX
    2.9k
    You're the one making the psuedo-positive claim that only science can answer 'the questions of human existence', without elaborating on (1) what those questions are and what you understand them to imply; (2) what kinds of answers science can provide; (3) why science would have exclusive dominion to those answers. Without these, your claim is literally meaningless, actual word salad.

    Note also that as someone who loves science, I think this kind of scientism does more to hurt and diminish science than any philosophical critique could. It belittles not just philosophy, but science itself, which becomes tainted by a colonizing and imperialist disciplinary cancer that exists nowhere in its actual practice.
  • Wayfarer
    6.5k
    What you're saying is meaningless and I don't even have to present an argument to support that because one cannot argue against the meaningless"Pseudonym

    Gets my vote.
  • Wayfarer
    6.5k
    Basically, Pseudonym, you’ve joined a philosophy forum with the express and sole aim of declaring that philosophy is meaningless, and that only science says anything worth understanding. And then you act surprised and set-upon because denizens of said forum try to raise an argument. I think everyone here should stop indulging your personal jihad forthwith, and that you should find another hobby.
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k
    I think this kind of scientism does more to hurt and diminish science than any philosophical critique could. It belittles not just philosophy, but science itself, which becomes tainted by a colonizing and imperialist rot that exists nowhere in its actual practice.StreetlightX

    Yeah, so still no actual argument then?

    You're the one making the psuedo-positive claim that only science can answer 'the questions of human existence', without elaborating...StreetlightX

    Have you read my posts, or just presumed you know what I'm saying? I'm arguing that the theory of those accused of Scientism (in a pejorative sense), deserves to be taken as seriously as any other position in philosophy. The arguments to which I refer answer and elaborate those issues at great length. I'm not making the arguments themselves, I'm making the argument that they do not deserve such disdain.

    I don't see why it is so unreasonable to ask (of those who dismiss Scientism) why they do so, which means the request implicit in the question is for you to support your claim (that scientism is meaningless), not for me to support my claim that it isn't.

    If that's not a question that interests you, if you're happing just dismissing it as meaningless without debating the justification, then fine, just don't take part in the discussion. But I'd rather you didn't try to steer the post to an off-topic debate about how Scientism justifies its claims. Start another post, by all means and I'd be happy to comment. This post is about how those who dismiss Scientism pejoratively support their position.
  • Wayfarer
    6.5k
    As you’re basically trolling.
  • StreetlightX
    2.9k
    Ah yes, my mistake, to ask how scientism justifies its claims is quite obviously off-topic in a thread discussing scientism and its critics. Perhaps this kind of sophistry answers its own question with regard to its clearly deserved ill-repute.

    Do you read your posts?
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k
    Basically, Pseudonym, you’ve joined a philosophy forum with the express and sole aim of declaring that philosophy is meaninglessWayfarer

    So my posts about children's rights, free-will, consciousness, ethics, abortion, belief, responsibility politics... All somehow attempting to undermine philosophy are they?

    And what if whole swathes of philosophy are meaningless, what discipline exactly would discuss that possibility? Pretty much every major movement in philosophy has to some extent branded the investigations of other movements as meaningless. The idea that some portion of philosophical investigation is meaningless is a perfectly well-respected philosophical position.
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k


    Question - how do those who dismiss Scientism pejoratively support their claim?

    Your answer - Well how do those who argue in favour of Scientism support their claim?

    "No you say first..."

    "No you first..."

    "No you first..."

    We used to argue like that in primary school.
  • StreetlightX
    2.9k
    That's a nice revisionist retelling of our conversation, but you might recall that I wasn't trying to answer your question. I merely intervened to say that most of what you have written in this thread is, and remains, meaningless, and that your grasp of philosophy - at least as demonstrated in this thread - is weak to the point of intellectual atrophy. I did suggest that that the course of this thread's existence was argument enough in favour of the poverty of scientism, and this exchange is, if nothing else, further proof of that.
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k


    I see, so you're not interested in answering the question, you just popped by to insult my intelligence, and then make an ad hominen argument that if people as stupid as me support Scientism that means it mustbe rubbish.

    OK, job done.
  • StreetlightX
    2.9k
    It's not your intelligence at issue. It's your ignorance, which has the advantage of being open to remedy, if you'd care to.
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k


    One can only be ignorant of a topic if it contains facts to be ignorant of. I cannot be ignorant about dragons because there are no facts about dragons to be unaware of. I do not have to read every mythology involving dragons before declaring them to be most likely non-existent.

    Taking phenomenology as an example (seeing as it was raised, by another post as being a subject Dawkins should 'know' about). If one accepts the premise that intuition delivers knowledge, then there is something to 'know' about phenomenonolgy, but if one rejects that premise then there is no more knowledge there than there is knowledge of dragons in a fairy tale.

    As I asked in my response to another post, if Dawkins is required to understand phenomenology before making statements about knowledge, why is Satre not required to understand evolutionary biology before making claims about existence?
  • StreetlightX
    2.9k
    If one accepts the premise that intuition delivers knowledge, then there is something to 'know' about phenomenonolgy...Pseudonym

    Where do you get this nonsense from? Since when was phenomenology defined by 'the premise that intuition delivers knowledge'? Do you have a source for this utter balderdash? Or is phenomenology yet another philosophical topic you know nothing about? And even if one were to grant the centrality of intuition in, say, Husserl, would phenomenology stand or fall with the Husserlian theory of intuition? It certiantly played no major role in Heidegger. And Derrida made his critique of Husserlian intuition the centrepiece of early philosophy, without sanctioning any careless dismissal of intuition in philosophy altogether. And if not Husserl, what about Kant, Bergson, or Merleau-Ponty, who also developed well known, if divergent, theories of intuition? Can you engage in any specificity whatsoever, or can you only speak in empty generalities? In other words, are you willing to do philosophy? Or are you content to bask in your ignorance?

    I mean honestly, you couldn't get a better distillation of the kind of rubbish that's all through this thread: declarations that look meaningful but are based in either complete mischaracterization or sheer conceptual confusion.
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k
    Where do you get this nonsense from? Since when was phenomenology defined by 'the premise that intuition delivers knowledge'?StreetlightX

    "He then identifies intuition as the original phenomenon that leads to the concept of truth itself" - Introduction to 'The Theory of Intuition in Husserl's Phenomenology' - Emmanuel Levinas

    Husserl first calls attention to the intuitive givenness of experience, especially that of
    perception. He finds an ‘absolute ground’ in it - Hursserl's second lecture in the Five Lecture Series 1907.

    "Is it not the first aspiration of this type of philosophical approach ... in which man and his universe emerge by direct intuition, both certain and indubitable" The Teleologies in Husserlian Phenomenology

    Or, if you prefer a more lay approach...

    "An important and still largely unexplored claim of Husserl's is that any logically consistent meaning can in principle be subjectively fulfilled, more or less adequately, by a unified intuition, such as an act of continuous perception or intuitive imagination"

    "...the structure and other essential features of the meaning in question can be read off from the respective mode of intuitive fulfillment"

    -IEP

    Or more lay still ...

    "Husserl's method entails the suspension of judgment while relying on the intuitive grasp of knowledge" - Wikipedia

    Take your pick.
  • StreetlightX
    2.9k
    Ah yes, philosophy by last minute Google search. Or wikipedia. By Gods, the class of argument on display. Perhaps you can explain to me the relation between Husserlian intution, meaning, knowledge, and truth, which are are all seperate and distinct concepts, and why, as I asked, you think phenomenology nonetheless stands or falls with the Husserlian concept of intuition?
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k


    Ah, back to this again.

    All my quotes are just nicked blindly from the Internet and (and you know this how? Oh yes, because I disagree with you, therefore I must be an idiot, I forgot), whereas all your quotes... no wait, I forgot again, you don't need to provide any quotes because you don't need to provide any support for your argument, it's just so obvious to anyone who isn't ignorant.

    I have to do all the explaining and you just sit there and say "wrong" to everything without any explanation.

    How about, just for a change, you lay out why you think believing in the validity of the intuitive moment is not essential to gaining meaningful knowledge from phenomenology and I'll sit back and enjoy just telling you you're wrong without any explanation? Then we can swap back again, hell we could play this all day... Or we could actually try to have a discussion about the ideas without resorting to insults.

    Unless you're prepared to raise some kind of argument that isn't just an appeal to authority, and have that argument interrogated by someone who might even disagree with its fundamental premises, then I've no interest in continuing this 'discussion' (for want of a better word).
  • StreetlightX
    2.9k
    I don't care about defending phenomenology at all, at least to the degree that I'm not so callous and brazen to claim that phenomenology alone exhausts the grounds for making any kind of claim. And certainly, if there was any kind of 'phenomenologism' it would be laughed off the intellectual stage like the joke it would be.
  • Harry Hindu
    1.3k
    In ethical naturalism, a moral dilemma is the rational weighing of two possible methods for achieving the 'right' outcome to see which is most 'right'. Our genetics, coupled with our environment produces the concept of what is 'right', so that can be considered a brute fact, scientific investigation can determine what course of action is most likely to bring it about.

    I'm not seeing what your problem is with this approach, you just keep reiterating that morality is subjective. Perhaps you could explain why you think it must be?
    Pseudonym
    Okay, so give me an example situation that represents a moral dilemma.

    What do you mean by the environment and our genetics producing the concept of what is 'right'? If all we needed were genetics and environment, wouldn't that mean we would always be 'right' in everything we do?

    Did Sam Harris provide the name of the scientific field that studies what is right or wrong? — Harry Hindu


    No, meta-ethics is the name of the field which studies what is right or wrong. As far as I know the term was coined by GE Moore.

    What about any falsifiable theories on what if moral - did he provide any of that? — Harry Hindu


    He would probably like to say he did, but personally I don't read anything very new in his work. It's really just some further justification for theories already put forward by philosophers like Williams and Foot.
    Pseudonym
    You've given me names of philosophers but not specifically any scientists, so I still don't see where the relationship between what is right and wrong and science is other than science being able to explain what it is and why it helps us to survive and procreate.

    Is human survival and procreation a good thing? It may depend on who else you ask in the rest of the animal kingdom, or even in the rest of the universe for that matter.
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k


    I can't work out if we're just talking past one another, or if you're simply unwilling to engage in any epistemological questioning. I'm not asking that you defend phenomenology, I'm asking that you defend the many claims you've made to the effect that phenomenology (just as an example of an epistemological approach) has something meaningful to say, and with such authority that anyone making epistemological claims without engaging with it, is so wrong they don't even deserve an argument.

    In making a distinction between phenomenology and phenomenologism, you're implying, it seems, that the belief that something is a way of making claims to knowledge is acceptable whereas the belief that something is the only way to make knowledge claims is a joke, something so untenable as to be deserving of ridicule.

    But this falls foul of a point similar to that which Michael Friedman makes about Positivism. You must accept one of three positions; either all epistemological methods are valid, or none are, or some are and some aren't. If the first is the case, then we can make no knowledge claims at all, as every method of deriving them is equally valid. If you like this approach, fine, but what would be the point in requiring that Dawkins read Husserl, he may as well ask my Grandma. If you accept the second, then we can make no knowledge claims either, and still Dawkins need not read Husserl. This leaves us only with the last (which you seem to imply above). So then if only a finite number of epistemological claims/frameworks are valid, what is preventing that number from being one, such that phenomenologism would be an entirely reasonable position to hold.
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k
    Okay, so give me an example situation that represents a moral dilemma.Harry Hindu

    Whether to give a tithe to the poor might be an example, I'm not sure where this is leading, obviously you're not thinking I'd be unable to come up with a moral dilemma, so maybe I'm missing your point here?

    What do you mean by the environment and our genetics producing the concept of what is 'right'? If all we needed were genetics and environment, wouldn't that mean we would always be 'right' in everything we do?Harry Hindu

    No, knowing what is 'right', by the definition ethical naturalists give to the term, is not the same as doing what is right. The ethical naturalist position is that the we have, by evolution (or simply by our 'nature' in an Aristotelian sense) a range of urges/desires. These are neither complimentary, nor mutually exclusive, since they have evolved without purpose, they just are. Some of these desires represent the types of objective we have called ethical, others don't. So it's entirely reasonable that, given the range of environmental stimuli and the ranges of desires (responses to stimuli), one might experience a desire to both alleviate the suffering of someone in your community (by giving a tithe) and a desire to hoard you possessions (by not giving a tithe). This is not judged or given a value, it's simply something that's going to be the case, and the claim is that science can (eventually) simply demonstrate that it is the case.

    Now the issue is, can you have both? Can you maximise the satisfaction of your desires. again this is not the objective because it 'should' be, it simply is, like it or not, you're a biological machine and you're going to do what you're going to do. Again, the theory is that science can (eventually) answer that question. If we know what sorts of thing really satisfy the desires we seem to have, the extent to which they do so, how long such satisfaction lasts etc. then we can derive strategies which maximise satisfaction.

    I still don't see where the relationship between what is right and wrong and science is other than science being able to explain what it isHarry Hindu

    Because 'what is' is all there is.

    Is human survival and procreation a good thing? It may depend on who else you ask in the rest of the animal kingdom, or even in the rest of the universe for that matter.Harry Hindu

    Human survival and procreation is whatever we decide to call it. It is certainly a desire in humans, whether you prefer to think of it as by our nature or by evolution. The ethical naturalist position is that all the desires we've called 'good' are a subset of all the desires we have, we will desire them without any further motivation, as will we desire all the others. The argument of someone like Harris, is simply to further say that, given this position, scientific investigation is the best tool to help us maximise these desires.
  • StreetlightX
    2.9k
    either all epistemological methods are valid, or none are, or some are and some aren't.Pseudonym

    Or, tertium datur, different epistemological methods are valid or appropriate for different fields, each one calling for the best or set of best kinds suitable to it. One doesn't use a microscope to conduct anthropology, and rightly so, least you be correctly outed as a loon. And again, as another instance of invalid and unthinking presuppositions, why is knowledge the criteria by which philosophy is judged against? Philosophy has very rarely concerned itself with providing straightforward 'knowledge' about the world, insofar as the kind of 'knowledge' it deals with is largely second-order knowledge, knowledge of, among other things, what it means to know at all. Zizek actually puts it very nicely in one of the interviews he gives with Gyln Daly, where he speaks of the relation between science and philosophy:

    "When I understood that this is not to do with megalomania, in the sense of the standard counter-attack of naive scientists, namely, 'we are dealing with hard facts, with rational hypotheses, but you philosophers you are just dreaming about the structure of everything', I then realized that philosophy is in a way more critical, more cautious even, than science. Philosophy asks even more elementary questions. For example, when a scientist approaches a certain question, the point of philosophy is not 'What is the structure of all?' but 'What are the concepts the scientist already has to presuppose in order to formulate the question?' It is simply asking about what is already there: what conceptual, and other, presuppositions already have to be there so that you can say what you are saying, so that you understand what you understand, so that you know that you are doing what you are doing." (Zizek and Daly, Conversations with Zizek) This is what I mean, among other things, when I say that getting the question right is basically nothing other than the work of philosophy.

    Or else there is the position of someone like Wendy Brown, for whom the whole point is that philosophy, or theory more generally, ought specifically to strategically disengage us from the actuality of the world: "theory depicts a world that does not quite exist, a world that is not quite the one we inhabit. ... An interval between the actual and the theoretical is crucial insofar as theory does not simply decipher the world, but recodes it in order to reveal something of the meanings and incoherencies with which we live. This is not simply to say that political and social theory describe reality abstractly. At their best, they conjure relations and meanings that illuminate the real or that help us recognize the real, but this occurs in grammars and formulations other than those of the real." (Brown, Walled States, Waning Sovereignty)

    This similarly coincides with the view of Byung-Chul Han, for whom the appeal to 'data based science' cannot but destroy any critical gaze upon the world: "Theory in the strong sense of the word is a phenomenon of negativity. It makes a decision determining what belongs and what does not. As a mode of highly selective narration, it draws a line of distinction. On the basis of such negativity, theory is violent. Without the negativity of distinction, matters proliferate and grow promiscuously. In this respect, theory borders on the ceremonial, which separates the initiated and the uninitiated. It is mistaken to assume that the mass of positive data and information — which is assuming untold dimensions today — has made theory superfluous, that is, that comparing data can replace the use of models. ... The latter lacks the negativity of decision, which determines what is, or what must be, in the first place. Theory as negativity makes reality itself appear ever and radically different; it presents reality in another light". (Han, The Transparency Society)

    I quote these not as 'arguments from authority' but as demonstrations of perspectives - exemplary perspectives imo - that are totally, absolutely absent from your woefully anemic understanding of philosophy, its place, and its role. To put it excessively and starkly, perhaps philosophy ought to be understood as the study of non-knowledge, to all the better shed light on field of knowledge itself. These are alternate perspectives which far better capture what philosophy can and does do, rather than the violent caricatures presented in your vulgar presentation of the discipline.
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