• Isaac
    2.9k
    The combined effect on academics I think is it's either useless, error borne from lazy thinking and lack of education in their field, or not related to their research at all.fdrake

    Indeed. Although a (thankfully) small number of researchers I've known have expressed a similar opinion of their statisticians, so researcher's judgement on the value of other fields is fickle to say the least, and not always to be trusted.
  • Artemis
    1.9k
    So 'a=a' is really nothing special, it can only be used within some logical system and hence cannot be foundational.A Seagull

    It may seem obvious, but it is foundational in that it is the first step toward any logical system. And it is a fact about the universe in the same way gravity is. Moreso even.
  • Artemis
    1.9k


    You cannot maintain both things at once.
  • fdrake
    4.2k
    so researcher's judgement on the value of other fields is fickle to say the least,Isaac

    This. Also even within the same field but different subfield. "What you're doing isn't history/anthropology/linguistics/psychology..."
  • Isaac
    2.9k
    You cannot maintain both things at once.Artemis

    Not following you. What prevents maintaining both these positions? I'm saying there's a scale, based on intersubjectivity, and physics is at one end of it (or near the end). It's quite a standard position after Quine.
  • Isaac
    2.9k
    This. Also even within the same field but different subfield. "What you're doing isn't history/anthropology/linguistics/psychology..."fdrake

    Yes, and, just in my personal experience, it's not been a random trend, sub-fields seem to want to work up the Quinean scale. Clinical psychologists look down on social psychologists because they consider their field more rigorous. Physicists look down on material scientists for much the same reason.

    Mathematicians, of course cannot even see any of us to look down on without the aid of ocular technology of some sort, which is entirely as it should be!
  • Artemis
    1.9k


    Without getting into your misinterpretation of Quine and how the word "opinion" is used in the context of empirical science as well as logic....

    I'm saying there's a scale, based on intersubjectivity, and physics is at one end of it (or near the end).Isaac

    If there was a spectrum (which I would debate) then anything at the far end with physics would no longer be "just opinion" now would it?
  • Isaac
    2.9k
    Without getting into your misinterpretation of QuineArtemis

    Let's have the correct interpretation of Quine then...

    If there was a spectrum (which I would debate) then anything at the far end with physics would no longer be "just opinion" now would it?Artemis

    Yes. Which is most certainlynnot the location of metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics, political philosophy, philosophy of mind, ontology, theology...

    You're trying to tie a whole field, philosophy, to the merits of one small sub-field, logic.
  • Artemis
    1.9k
    Yes. Which is most certainlynnot the location of metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics, political philosophy, philosophy of mind, ontology, theology...Isaac

    I guess that's just your (unfounded) opinion then.
  • Artemis
    1.9k
    Let's have the correct interpretation of Quine then...Isaac

    Quine doesn't put them on a spectrum. It doesn't make any sense to put them on a spectrum. They are not the same category of thing.
  • 180 Proof
    1.8k
    What do non-philosophers make of philosophy?A Seagull
    I suppose "they" make of it what the non-religious make of religion: not much (until it threatens their livelihoods or bad habits).

    Do they consider it to be:
    Relevant?
    Uneducated - no.

    Educated - not academically or professionally.

    Important?
    (See "Relevant?")

    A guide to life?
    Religious - no.

    Spiritual - it can be.

    Secular - it should be.

    True?
    Uneducated - yes.

    Educated - n/a.

    Interesting?
    Uneducated - no.

    Educated - usually boring.

    What do you think?
    Philosophy, for me, is mostly nonsense (Witty) - but, more often than not, important nonsense - consisting of reflective exercises, sort of like tai chi or martial arts, which attempt to cultivate intellectual hygiene, maintain metacognitive health, and promote lucidly living in recovery from being a fool (à la soberly living in recovery from being a junkie or drunk). Like art, philosophy is play, but primarily with (abstract) concepts & arguments rather than just with (stylized) images & fantasies - which "most" find neither interesting nor important (though "they" believe it (& art) should be either or both).
  • Isaac
    2.9k
    Quine doesn't put them on a spectrum. It doesn't make any sense to put them on a spectrum. They are not the same category of thing.Artemis

    "Science is a continuum extending from History and Engineering at one end, to the more abstract pursuits like mathematics and philosophy at the other" - W.V.O. Quine

    "Quine denies that there is a fundamental difference between the existence questions debated in the special sciences...and the existence questions posed by philosophers ... The difference between the scientific and the philosophical problems is one of degree, not of kind." - Hans Glock

    What's your source for your conviction that Quine does not put them on a spectrum?
  • Artemis
    1.9k


    Where in either of those quotes does he say anything whatsoever about opinions???

    If anything, these are proof that Quine precisely did not believe what you previously attributed to him. :rofl:
  • Isaac
    2.9k
    Where in either of those quotes does he say anything whatsoever about opinions???Artemis

    The position I attributed to Quine was "there's a scale, based on intersubjectivity, and physics is at one end of it (or near the end)".

    The position you attributed to Quine which I asked for a citation to support was

    "
    Quine doesn't put them [the fields of physics and philosophy] on a spectrum.Artemis

    I'm still waiting for your citation.

    Or you can just exchange emojis, your choice.
  • frank
    5.2k
    The quote you provided doesn't indicate that Quine put physics on one end of a spectrum and philosophy on the other. Based on that quote alone, I'd think he would put the two of them on the same end of the Science spectrum (he appears to be using science in the ancient way, to mean knowledge.)

    Do you have another quote?
  • frank
    5.2k
    "Quine denies that there is a fundamental difference between the existence questions debated in the special sciences...and the existence questions posed by philosophers ... The difference between the scientific and the philosophical problems is one of degree, not of kind." - Hans GlockIsaac

    Note that the attitude attributed to Quine here is not about a general assessment of philosophy as it is. It's about Quine's beliefs about what it should be, IOW, Quine's philosophy. Quine's definition of philosophy hasn't become the common one, and doesn't appear to be headed for that status, so there's cause for confusion there.
  • Artemis
    1.9k


    Emojis are fine with me at this point, considering you just keep moving the target and pretending you didn't say what you did say.
  • Isaac
    2.9k
    The quote you provided doesn't indicate that Quine put physics on one end of a spectrum and philosophy on the other.frank

    Nor did I make that claim. Only that physics would be at one end (although I think Quine uses engineering as his example, which is better really in terms of intersubjectively verifiable results. The bridge either stays up or it doesn't. Quine doesn't put 'philosophy' anywhere on it because it's made up too much of sub-disciplines which themselves show these differences of kind. He does at one point mention mathematics and logic as being uniquely of the non-empirical kind and yet so widely agreed upon as to be unshakeable in most people's belief structures.

    Do you have another quote?frank

    Well, the first dogma in 'Two dogmas' is that there is a sharp distinction of type between analytic and synthetic facts. Unless you're thinking philosophy deals with propositions of synthetic fact then it's pretty clear that philosophy is at one end of the "difference in degree" he talks about. I don't know that anything would spell it out much clearer than that I'm afraid.

    I suppose you could have... "The boundary between naturalistic philosophy and the rest of science is just a vague matter of degree". Here he's quite clear that the matter of degree is between philosophy at one end and science at the other, not between {philosophy and science} at one end and something else at the other.
  • Isaac
    2.9k
    Emojis are fine with me at this point, considering you just keep moving the target and pretending you didn't say what you did say.Artemis

    What were my original goal posts, and what have I said which I later denied saying?
  • frank
    5.2k
    Only that physics would be at one end (although I think Quine uses engineering as his example, which is better really in terms of intersubjectively verifiable results. The bridge either stays up or it doesn't.Isaac

    Right. I barged into the conversation because one of my few pet peeves is conflation of science and engineering. Science is a servant to engineering. Don't get me started.

    But note that Quine uses "science" to mean knowledge. That ancient usage brings to mind the primordial days when science and philosophy were one. Socrates speculates about what clouds are one day and wonders if anybody really knows what justice is the next.

    Some would like to somehow press a claim there, the results being that philosophy as we know it disappears. And philosophy goes on just fine in spite of this (no matter how irritating those who press the claim get.)

    Here he's quite clear that the matter of degree is between philosophy at one end and science at the other, not between {philosophy and science} at one end and something else at the other.Isaac

    I think you're smushing the two quotes together to get a spectrum. The quotes don't actually fit together in that way.

    But what was the point you were originally making? That science and philosophy are kindred? Of course they are.
  • Isaac
    2.9k
    I think you're smushing the two quotes together to get a spectrum. The quotes don't actually fit together in that way.frank

    What makes you think that? They obviously seem quite clear to me, so I'd be interested to hear how you're reading them differently.

    But what was the point you were originally making? That science and philosophy are kindred? Of course they are.frank

    No, the point I was originally making was that it is possible for someone to be of the view that philosophy is constituted of opinions simply by being aprised of its methodology, without having to know or understand the full modalities of its propositions.

    That lead on to me saying that I did not hold to the fact/opinion dichotomy but rather used the terms to denote two ends of a spectrum of proposition taxonomy, based largely on the intersubjective agreement about measures of veracity. This I likened to Quine's 'difference in degree'.
  • Artemis
    1.9k
    What were my original goal posts, and what have I said which I later denied saying?Isaac

    Since I've already pointed a few of them out, and had you again try to move the target, it's clear that to point them out yet again would be a waste of everyone's time. Dead end here. Time to move on.
  • frank
    5.2k
    What makes you think that? They obviously seem quite clear to me, so I'd be interested to hear how you're reading them differently.Isaac

    The first quote is:

    "Science is a continuum extending from History and Engineering at one end, to the more abstract pursuits like mathematics and philosophy at the other" - W.V.O. QuineIsaac

    This is saying that knowledge pertains to particulars, abstractions, and combinations of the two.

    History seeks to uncover knowledge about particular events. Engineering is knowledge about how to accomplish particular goals. Math and philosophy are about abstractions. Where is physics on this spectrum? Physics is about making predictions. However we might like to explain our ability to make predictions, in real life, it's about uncovering what we think of as principles or laws. Therefore, it belongs on the abstraction side.

    Second quote:

    "Quine denies that there is a fundamental difference between the existence questions debated in the special sciences...and the existence questions posed by philosophers ... The difference between the scientific and the philosophical problems is one of degree, not of kind." - Hans GlockIsaac

    First note that the word "science" is being used differently here. Glock is using the contemporary meaning. We're talking about ontology (existence questions), and Quine is being recognized as an ontological anti-realist (in spite of his apparent claims to the contrary).

    An ontological realist would say that philosophy's ontology is distinct from that of physics. I think Chalmers referred to it as the special "philosophy room" where we seek to say something beyond what physics would say about reality. Quine is rejecting that special room. We posit stuff via our theories.

    Where would you say I'm off track?

    No, the point I was originally making was that it is possible for someone to be of the view that philosophy is constituted of opinions simply by being aprised of its methodology, without having to know or understand the full modalities of its propositions.

    That lead on to me saying that I did not hold to the fact/opinion dichotomy but rather used the terms to denote two ends of a spectrum of proposition taxonomy, based largely on the intersubjective agreement about measures of veracity. This I likened to Quine's 'difference in degree'.
    Isaac

    I see. I don't think philosophy is a body of propositions, but I agree with the rest (except I'm not seeing the Quine angle.)
  • Isaac
    2.9k
    The first quote is:

    "Science is a continuum extending from History and Engineering at one end, to the more abstract pursuits like mathematics and philosophy at the other" - W.V.O. Quine — Isaac


    This is saying that knowledge pertains to particulars, abstractions, and combinations of the two.
    frank

    I can see how you might have that interpretation in isolation, but in the context of Two Dogmas and Epistemology Naturalised, I think it's clear he's not talking only about the degree of abstraction. He talks about the analytic/synthetic divide, for example, just prior to distinguishing philosophy and science my matter of degree. The analytic/synthetic divide is about empiricism, not abstraction. I think Quine is more focused on this distinction than abstractness , but having said that, the message in Epistemology Naturalised is more holistic than that. It's not that there's one scale that constitutes the 'matter of degree' it's a multiplicity of differences.

    Quine is rejecting that special room. We posit stuff via our theories.frank

    Agreed. But in this particular debate, the relevant fact is that he nonetheless maintains that there exists a difference. I realise the main importance of Quine is the extent to which he declares no difference (no difference in type), but here I'm referring to the difference he does acknowledge, the difference in degree.
  • frank
    5.2k
    The analytic/synthetic divide is about empiricism, not abstractionIsaac

    True. Quine is killing empiricism in Two Dogmas by rejecting the analytic/synthetic divide. There's no "matter of degree" to it.
  • Isaac
    2.9k
    There's no "matter of degree" to it.frank

    But its right there in the introduction "One effect of abandoning them is, as we: shall see, a blurring of the supposed boundary between speculative metaphysics and natural science"

    Blurring... not removing entirely. It's practically the definition of 'a matter of degree' as opposed to either 'strictly divided' on the one hand, or 'identical in every way' on the other.
  • frank
    5.2k
    But its right there in the introduction "One effect of abandoning them is, as we: shall see, a blurring of the supposed boundary between speculative metaphysics and natural science"

    Blurring... not removing entirely. It's practically the definition of 'a matter of degree' as opposed to either 'strictly divided' on the one hand, or 'identical in every way' on the other.
    Isaac

    You're putting a lot of weight on the meaning of "blurring." The reason that's weird in reference to Quine is that he was a full-blown behaviorist. His indeterminacy of translation implies that meaning, reference, and belief all have to be replaced with behavior.

    I get the feeling you're trying to sort grains of sand while Quine is a category 5 hurricane.
  • Isaac
    2.9k
    You're putting a lot of weight on the meaning of "blurring."frank

    I don't think so. There's numerous other places, some of which I've given above, where Quine talks about differences between science and philosophy. At each of which he talks about matters of degree, not identicalness. You've not said what your textual support is for your view that there's no matter of degree in Quine's taxonomy of disciplines.
  • frank
    5.2k
    I don't think so. There's numerous other places, some of which I've given above, where Quine talks about differences between science and philosophy.Isaac

    So you point to the word "blurring" and mention of a knowledge spectrum from particular to abstract. And further, you note that Quine seemed to understand some difference between science and philosophy, and therefore you conclude that Two Dogmas is about matters of degree of difference between analytic and synthetic statements.

    Is this correct?
  • The Abyss
    12
    "My way to truth is asking the right questions," says Socrates in Plato's Protagoras. For those who claim never to have come into contact with philosophy or never to have revealed any interest in it, I think it is a case of not having been asked (or indeed asking of themselves) the right questions.

    In my experience, those who have never studied it formally or for themselves in their free time are usually basing any opinion of the subject upon preconceived ideas about its definition. I have heard people moan 'but it's so boring'. However, if we put aside academic professionals, who has not philosophized on some level during their lifetime? As human beings we are capable of complex emotions and therefore forced to reflect. Even the 'non-philosophers' have been philosophers in a basic sense and so their opinion of the simplistic definition of the field is not what we should be examining, for it does not encapsulate everything within.

    In my mind, such distinctions between philosophers and non-philosophers do not exist. We are all philosophers, though of varying degrees of study, capacity, knowledge and attainment.
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