• Isaac
    714


    Thanks, I think I understand your position now. We're not too far apart to be honest, I'm just far more casual about having a wider range of modes of speaking that I'm happy to accept, if they work for the group using them. I don't think people will look at me in bafflement if I say that one of the properties of a hammer is that it can be used to drive nails. I also don't think people will become confused if you say that's not really a property of the hammer for the reasons you've just given, so both are fine with me.

    I think people will be utterly confounded if we start trying to say that the word "dog" doesn't have anything that could be called a meaning the moment the last user of the word dies. That just seems like nonsense to me, so I'm immediately curious as to what advantage people think that way of talking has.
  • Isaac
    714
    Or one might simply say that if an apporach works, it tells us something about how the world actually is (it's structure is such that the approach works, at least in our perception). I think that's less confusing, anyways.Echarmion

    Yeah, that's fair enough, if it's less confusing to you to treat it as if the working theory describes the world, I see no problem with that, within science. The difficulty arises when the job the theory has to do is provide answers which can't be tested. Then I think you need to be far more flexible about what a good theory has that a bad one doesn't and what it's 'goodness' means.

    If there is no way to progress in philosophy, how did we come up with it, and why did it only happen a few hundred years ago?Echarmion

    Have you read Kuhn? I think your account of 'the scientific method' and the history of its development is flawed.

    I'd argue that philosophy has come up with quite a few useful results over the last 2000 years.Echarmion

    This is very interesting, care to name a few?

    Ah, but that causes an infinite regress, because "working" also needs to be defined. That's easy to do for empirical science (because we were all brought up with the scientific method already part of the culture), but how do we know whether or not, say, a theory on moral philosophy "works"?Echarmion

    As I said, if you can achieve your goals with it. Or rather if you can achieve them better than with any of the available alternatives. You wouldn't ask how we judge whether a painting 'works'.

    Deciding that a device works and should therefore be kept is a deduction.Echarmion

    Not one that can be carried out entirely 'from the armchair' though, that's the point. One must use it an observe the results. One cannot simply deduce that it will work.

    No, I haven't. Neither have you. That was my point. Your original argument relied on that definition being "right".Echarmion

    The difference is, I have no intention of doing so. I don't think there is a 'right' here in an objective sense. You're the one who thinks that there can be a 'right' and answer based on logical deduction, so I expected to read those deductions.

    If you don't think so, then why the hell are you still here?Echarmion

    If you genuinely can't think of any reason someone might write for a forum such as this other than to 'prove' they're right, then that explains quite a lot a lot about the direction of your posts.
  • Isaac
    714
    Some interpretations of qm are just nonsensical in my view. But I have no problem accepting the general notion of indeterminacy.Terrapin Station

    I ask because Feynman once said "Will you understand what I'm going to tell you?... No, you're not going to be able to understand it... That is because I don't understand it. Nobody does."

    The point being, if you keep trying to make everything precise and coherent you're going to miss out on an awful lot of perfectly useful stuff. Human psychology is incredibly complicated, we have more neural connections than there are stars in the galaxy. If you're going to try and limit the ways we communicate, and the way we conceive of the world to those that your conscious thought finds coherent then I think you're going to live in a very limited world.
  • S
    10.2k
    I think people will be utterly confounded if we start trying to say that the word "dog" doesn't have anything that could be called a meaning the moment the last user of the word dies. That just seems like nonsense to me, so I'm immediately curious as to what advantage people think that way of talking has.Isaac

    I agree. I don't think that they necessarily accept that it has an advantage over our ordinary way of talking. I think that that is lower down their list of priorities. Their priority is "being right". And some do not appreciate how large a role our use of language has to play here, instead dismissing this and thinking that they're just "doing ontology".
  • Echarmion
    322
    If you genuinely can't think of any reason someone might write for a forum such as this other than to 'prove' they're right, then that explains quite a lot a lot about the direction of your posts.Isaac

    Not only is that a misrepresentation of what I said, it's also poisoning the well.

    I think it's fair to ask you why you started arguing a point here, given your position on the value of argument as a whole. I find it incoherent to on the one hand state:
    that it cannot be resolved and is just a result of confusion over termsIsaac
    , but to at the same time take a position within the argument, namely that it's "better" to consider meaning to be objective.

    If I come across as annoyed, it is because I am getting the impression that you are on the one hand taking a position in a specific discussion but on the other hand deflecting any criticism by denying the value of the discussion itself. Perhaps I am just misunderstanding you though.

    Have you read Kuhn? I think your account of 'the scientific method' and the history of its development is flawed.Isaac

    I have not. I am vaguely familiar with his concepts of paradigm and the paradigm shift, which I consider fairly useful. What I know of his theories doesn't seem to be opposed to what I said. If you think it's worth considering, perhaps you could sketch the argument for me?

    This is very interesting, care to name a few?Isaac

    Sure. In no particular oder: Stoicism, Kant's categorical imperative, the collection of different forms of logic, universal human rights, the concept of a social contract, various arguments against religious dogma, economic theory and of course the philosophy of science.

    Not one that can be carried out entirely 'from the armchair' though, that's the point. One must use it an observe the results. One cannot simply deduce that it will work.Isaac

    You have to start somewhere though. If you start by observing, and go on observing, how do you arrive at anything other than observing?

    The difference is, I have no intention of doing so.Isaac

    Right, and this is the reason for my annoyance. Because it looks to me like you started making a specific argument, which you now claim you never intended to follow up on.

    I don't think there is a 'right' here in an objective sense. You're the one who thinks that there can be a 'right' and answer based on logical deduction, so I expected to read those deductions.Isaac

    Are you asking me to provide a full derivation from first principles, or are you merely unsure of what my exact position is? If it's the former, I don't think that's a reasonable request to make. If it's the latter, I can provide you with some quotes from my past posts.
  • Isaac
    714
    am getting the impression that you are on the one hand taking a position in a specific discussion but on the other hand deflecting any criticism by denying the value of the discussion itself.Echarmion

    My first posts in this discussion were along the lines of

    "I can't see how theories which assume it could be much use to us..."

    "I'm asking what the difference is, for you..."

    My first post to you merely clarified what I thought and my second post to you was the one in which I made it very clear I wasn't talking about 'right' at all.

    So I'm very unclear as to what I've done to give you the impression that I'm arguing for a position with regards to the ontology of meaning other than the one I've been clear about from the start. That it is perfectly unproblematic to treat meaning as if it were a property of the word, but that the matter of whether it 'really is' a property of the word is a pseudo-problem and not worth considering.

    I am vaguely familiar with his concepts of paradigm and the paradigm shift, which I consider fairly useful. What I know of his theories doesn't seem to be opposed to what I said. If you think it's worth considering, perhaps you could sketch the argument for me?Echarmion

    Probably not the place for it, but broadly speaking Kuhn saw the testing of theories as being specific to a culturally ingrained method of problem solving, so his work does not support the notion that Science is somehow being 'done better' as a result of a set of philosophical methods unavailable to past cultures.

    In no particular oder: Stoicism, Kant's categorical imperative, the collection of different forms of logic, universal human rights, the concept of a social contract, various arguments against religious dogma, economic theory and of course the philosophy of science.Echarmion

    But that's just a list of philosophies you like. Every single one has strong opposition from intelligent experts in their field. The context of the question was your claim that arguments can be judged by their logical validity. My counter to that was that this was not possible with sufficient granularity to produce useful results. So 'useful' here means the use checking logical validity can be put to, not the use of the philosophical theory itself. I'm arguing that it is of little use to compare two philosophical theories on the basis of their logical validity. To disprove this, you would have to present a pair of competing philosophical theories, one of which was rejected by all epistemic peers as a consequence of such a comparison.

    it looks to me like you started making a specific argument, which you now claim you never intended to follow up on.Echarmion

    As above, I can't see what's given you the impression that I've made any kind of truth claim with regards to the ontology of meaning other than the scope argument which I am currently exhaustively following up on.

    If it's the latter, I can provide you with some quotes from my past posts.Echarmion

    Yes, but the position in question was;

    "I don't think "radioactive" is a property if you stick to the letter of that definition. I think the dictionary definition provides a shorthand reference to the actual property of radioactive substances, which is that their atoms are unstable and therefore prone to emit radiation."

    Not only did it start with "I don't think... ", which seems to be a statement about the content of your mind rather than a state of affairs you've determined reality must match, but if it is the latter, it is this that I have not read your logical deduction of.
  • Mww
    682
    Empirical methods don't judge arguments.Echarmion

    Slippery slope aside, I think I’ll agree. Empirical methods may demonstrate the validity of arguments having empirical grounds, as in hypothesis validated by means of experiment, but particular empirical arguments themselves can only arise from judgements made on relations given from experience or possible experience, and those relations are nothing more than synthetic a priori propositions. I would add, however, empirical arguments can be judged by analytic propositions a priori, relational as well, but having only general empirical content.

    No empirical method is capable of judging arguments reason presents to itself, re: morality, the super-sensible, or the logically impossible.

    Radioactive is a condition, not a property. If a nucleus has certain properties it will be radioactive and it won’t be if it doesn’t. Being radioactive is contingent, the properties are necessary to identify the object, from which the possibility of being radioactive follows.

    you are imagining a scenario without humans, but when you are then trying to look at that which remains, you are looking at it from a human viewEcharmion

    Finally. Tacit understanding it is absolutely impossible to do otherwise, and only the rationally inept will attempt it.

    I now return me to my regularly scheduled life.
  • S
    10.2k
    You are imagining a scenario without humans, but when you are then trying to look at that which remains, you are looking at it from a human view
    — Echarmion

    Finally. Tacit understanding it is absolutely impossible to do otherwise, and only the rationally inept will attempt it.
    Mww

    You both still don't seem to realise that that, in itself, is beside the point. Yes, of course I'm imagining it from my human perspective. I am a human after all, and I can't imagine something without doing so from my perspective. That still doesn't mean that I can't imagine a scenario with no humans, and therefore no human perspectives. You're just playing with the language to make it superficially appear as though there's an impossibility which is logically relevant. It involves a sleight of hand, and is therefore an example of sophism, rather than philosophy.

    It's impossible for me to imagine something without imagining something: if you're saying something like that, then that's true, but trivial and irrelevant. There's a number of related truisms I could mention here. I can't imagine something without being alive, or without being capable of imagination, or without knowing anything about the thing that I'm supposed to be imagining, and so on. None of them are of any logical relevance.

    It's not impossible for there to be a scenario, which can be imagined, whereby in that scenario, there are no humans, and therefore no human perspectives; and that in that scenario, there are rocks, and a sign which says "Caves up ahead". Obviously, I am not in that scenario, so it doesn't matter that I'm human or that I'm imagining it and so on.

    If you don't get this, then you're rationally inept, @Mww.
  • I like sushi
    869
    S -

    That still doesn't mean that I can't imagine a scenario with no humans, and therefore no human perspectives. — S

    So you’re not human after all! Haha ;)
  • S
    10.2k
    Of course not, I'm an owl.
  • I like sushi
    869
    While I’m here may I ask with full bluster and aggression what is “ONTOLOGY”? Seriously?
  • I like sushi
    869


    Stupid swivelly-necked mo fo! :D

    Note: Sudden found myself wearing my “silly” hat ... I’ll take it off now :/
  • S
    10.2k
    Note: Suddenly found myself wearing my “silly” hat ... I’ll take it off now :/I like sushi

    You can take yours off?
  • Terrapin Station
    9.2k
    You both still don't seem to realise that that, in itself, is beside the point. Yes, of course I'm imagining it from my human perspective. I am a human after all, and I can't imagine something without doing so from my perspective. That still doesn't mean that I can't imagine a scenario with no humans, and therefore no human perspectives. You're just playing with the language to make it superficially appear as though there's an impossibility which is logically relevant. It involves a sleight of hand, and is therefore an example of sophism, rather than philosophy.

    It's impossible for me to imagine something without imagining something: if you're saying something like that, then that's true, but trivial and irrelevant. There's a number of related truisms I could mention here. I can't imagine something without being alive, or without being capable of imagination, or without knowing anything about the thing that I'm supposed to be imagining, and so on. None of them are of any logical relevance.

    It's not impossible for there to be a scenario, which can be imagined, whereby in that scenario, there are no humans, and therefore no human perspectives; and that in that scenario, there are rocks, and a sign which says "Caves up ahead". Obviously, I am not in that scenario, so it doesn't matter that I'm human or that I'm imagining it and so on.

    If you don't get this, then you're rationally inept, Mww.
    S

    The idea is the same as "You can't have a perception without it being a perception (obviously), but the perception can be of something that's not itself a perception." The mistake that's often made there is one of the things that leads to general, overarching idealism.

    So obviously you have to be imagining things, it has to be from your perspective, etc., but what you imagine can be a world without people imagining things, and having perspectives, and so on.
  • S
    10.2k
    The idea is the same as "You can't have a perception without it being a perception (obviously), but the perception can be of something that's not itself a perception." The mistake that's often made there is one of the things that leads to general, overarching idealism.

    So obviously you have to be imagining things, it has to be from your perspective, etc., but what you imagine can be a world without people imagining things, and having perspectives, and so on.
    Terrapin Station

    Ah, someone who gets it. Others still have some catching up to do. It's cringey when they think that they're making a meaningful point, and when they think that we're being so irrational as to deny a truism. They should be embarrassed.
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