• macrosoft
    381
    Truth and knowledge are things that we do. not things that the universe does apart from us.Terrapin Station

    I personally agree that this is a good way to think of them. But I always try to feel my way into the use at hand as I converse with an individual.

    t I'm using "truth" in a rather technical wayTerrapin Station

    I understand this. But for me the problem with these technical uses is that they are very local. If you bring back your findings about this technical notion of truth, then your results are going to be misinterpreted by everyone who hasn't followed your entire process in terms of that technical definition. Of course this is fine if one is happy to stay within a particular sub-community (those trained in AP and loyal to its vision of philosophy), but for me this would be too constraining. I want to talk to the weirdos and the autodidacts too, because heretics and outsiders can often see around limitations of method, encrusted 'invisible' stifling presuppositions, etc.

    And then as a matter of style I want to be as intelligible as possible to virtuous people who haven't studied AP philosophy (maybe because they are too busy studied engineering or literature or music.) And I don't want to feel the urge to interrupt them as they 'misuse' what for me is a term of art. Better I think to embrace having to learn lots of semi-private languages.
  • macrosoft
    381
    Objective facts in no way hinge on our existence to obtain.Terrapin Station

    I think this is a perfectly fine definition, but I don't think it exhausts the use of 'objective.' As I see it, there is a certain futility in trying to impose preferred meanings on words. For the most part, we have to live in the linguistic wild as we find and make sense of people who do not adopt our jargon. Since they do not adopt our jargon (and maybe have never even heard of it), we have to interpret them top-down and express ourselves top-down, from forest to tree --with the trees being our terms of art that only make sense within a wider context.
  • macrosoft
    381
    I am a nihilist to the point that I do not see value in defending or attacking nihilism and so that is not what I do. I am not trying to establish a metaphysical truth that metaphysical truths are impossible here, I am simply asking those who hold the metaphysical truth that metaphysical truths are possible to come and defend themselves purely for the fun of itkhaled

    Oh, sorry. I just observed some of your conversation with others and got the sense that you were defending nihilism. Now that you've clarified, I'll try to do better.
  • macrosoft
    381
    For anyone to respond to, if they like:

    Is it controversial that 'nature' is a kind of dead machine that doesn't care about us? Maybe a little, but mostly in terms of theism versus atheism. I think most atheists with an interest in science will agree that 'matter' or 'fields' or 'atoms and the void' or (whatever model is current) don't give a damn about us.

    So from the perspective that 'atoms and the void' is the 'really' real, of course humans are just babbling opinions. Atoms and the void don't care if we commit incest or genocide. That's all just 'silly' human preference. And I agree that this seems to follow from a certain vision of nature. We think of the stuff out there that gets in our way and doesn't care about our moral intuitions. While some might find this vision so troubling that it truly freaks them out, many people just take it as educated common sense. For that reason IMO the details are not terribly interesting.

    Why? Because we are embedded in communities that will kill us or celebrate us according to our behavior. We live largely in this 'second' nature. As a practical matter, we have to understand and move within the 'illusions' that humans 'project' on this indifferent atoms-and-void stuff. And given a little thought (instrumentalism), we can even say that this indifferent atoms-and-void stuff is one more useful language game or illusion. We might just as well take our immersion in the community as primary. Our most natural and primary experience of the world is that it is inexactly intelligible. I see things that I know how to manipulate. I know what they are for. I look around in terms of what I can use to do whatever it is I currently need to do. And I do little things in terms of larger projects. From this other perspective, our fundamental experience of the world is as something to manipulate and move within as well as the place where there are people to love and fear and converse with. We have lots of language games for lots of different human purposes. Within one of these games, all such games are 'illusions' or projections on the atoms-and-void stuff, even (awkwardly) the same game that proclaims all such games to be illusions/projections.
  • Valentinus
    59

    Well, this topic has consumed generations of thinkers.
    If you are trying to escape from cultures of superstition, Nature is looking good.
    If the nature arguments are asking for you to submit to something beyond your understanding, that is not good.
    For what its worth, Socrates was struggling with the problem back in the day and he was careful not to step beyond what he could wrestle with.
    I am sticking with his approach until something comes along to blow it away.
  • macrosoft
    381
    If you are trying to escape from cultures of superstition, Nature is looking good.Valentinus

    I agree generally, but there is the possibility of scientism. And then if we do think nature is a blind machine, then it doesn't help us much with deciding upon the human issues that mostly concern us --except by opening the space of possibility. I can appeal to a 'greater' and 'colder' authority than the wisdom of my tribe. I can gaze on all the legislators and pointing fingers from my imagination of the amoral atoms in the void. Democritus was the laughing philosopher.
  • Rhasta1
    20
    people pretend that theyre nihilist cuz we like to be non-caring stone cold heart people, but if you didnt care, you wouldnt start this discussion
  • khaled
    294

    nihilism =/= I don't care
    Nihilism = no matter how much I care, all of my cares are subjective and not objectively correct.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.3k
    Nihilism = no matter how much I care, all of my cares are subjective and not objectively correct.khaled

    Exactly.
  • macrosoft
    381
    nihilism =/= I don't care
    Nihilism = no matter how much I care, all of my cares are subjective and not objectively correct.
    khaled

    I pretty much agree. I'd just say that this is existential aspect of the basic scientific worldview. Nature is a machine that doesn't care about us. I do think you use 'objectivity' in a narrow way that doesn't exhaust its sense.

    objectivity (countable and uncountable, plural objectivities)

    The state of being objective, just, unbiased and not influenced by emotions or personal prejudices
    The world as it really is; reality
    That which one understands, often, as intellectually, of all and everything, of what is sensed as felt, thereof
    That which is perceived to be true to understanding
    The object of understanding
    — Wikictionary

    It seems to me that to identity the 'really real' with the output of natural science (however defensible that position is) is not trivially 'unbiased' or 'not influenced by emotions or personal prejudices.'

    To be clear, I share the vision of nature as a machine that doesn't care about us. So for me this isn't some way to sneak in God, etc. Instead, I'm trying to be 'objective' as I point out the presupposition that the 'really real' is stuffed into one human language game among others. One of many problems with such a view is that this same language game (science itself) becomes not really real and yet somehow is supposed to manifest the really real. While the temptation might be to interpret this criticism as 'anti-science,' I think that gets it wrong. What I oppose is whaet I perceive as a kind of ignoring this position has with respect to its own foundations.

    If we say that science reveals the 'really real' (which I very much understand in the usual ambiguity), we ignore that our equations are embedded in a wider language. Do we think 'E=mc^2" is out there? Do we think our concept of an electron is really out there? But that means 'ideas' are really out there, which is exactly what this position denies.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.3k
    'really real'macrosoft

    What is "really real"? Why use that phrase instead of just "real"?
  • macrosoft
    381
    What is "really real"? Why use that phrase instead of just "real"?Terrapin Station

    Mostly because we use 'real' in all kinds of ways. 'Now that was a real smile.' Or 'here is a real scoop.' Or 'let's get real.' Or 'is this money real?" And so on and so on. IMV, there are all kinds of senses of what it means to be, so that nailing down what is 'really' real is questionable when attempted outside of any and every human context. But I also think that's what a lots of philosophers are interested in, the true real, the official real, the realest real, the bottom-line real, the ground of our most important truths. I don't think such a ground can be stably clarified, though I do think there is a vague and yet massively important sense of true-for-us-and-not-just-me that people try to make explicit in this or that explicit rendition of the really real.
145678Next
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.