• Noble Dust
    3.9k
    "The task of philosophy is to find the most perfect formulation for truth, perceived in intuition, and to synthesize formulae. These carry conviction by the light which shines out from them, rather than by demonstration or conclusions." – Nicolas Berdyaev, The Meaning of the Creative Act

    "The more narrowly we examine actual language, the sharper becomes the conflict between it and our requirement. (For the crystalline purity of logic was, of course, not a result of investigation: it was a requirement.) The conflict becomes intolerable; the requirement is now in danger of becoming empty. -- We have got on to slippery ice where there is no friction and so in a certain sense the conditions are ideal, but also, just because of that, we are unable to walk. We want to walk: so we need friction. Back to the rough ground!" - Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations

    "In philosophy intuition is the ultimate – logic is the penultimate. In the philosopher’s intuition there is its own justification and sanction and no foregoing knowledge is required. This is the way out of the evil infinity of the logical series. Philosophic intuition, being primeval, precedes every logic and every teaching of categories; it uses logic only as an instrument which it controls. But this means that philosophy does not need, neither does it permit, any sort of scientific logical foundation or justification. Science and its logic are always on a lower level than philosophy and always follow rather than lead. Logic is only a ladder by which intuitive philosophy descends to the given world; it is only an instrument. Philosophy has to explain logic – logic is incapable of explaining philosophy…the perception of the world as value or as meaning is essentially not a scientific perception of the world: it is a creative act and not an adaption to necessity." – Nicolas Berdyaev, The Meaning of the Creative Act

    The fundamental problem with basing all philosophical propositions on logic is that every building block, and most importantly, the cornerstone itself, must be perfectly assembled. One chink in the armor, and the argument becomes unsteady. Both atheists and theologians are equally guilty of relying too heavily on a logical series, and inventing theoretical realities for their flawed logical arguments to live in. Fundamentally, concepts like metaphysics, ethics, teleology/eschatology (whether religious or humanistic) don't avail themselves of such a building-block structure. These concepts aren't apprehended and don't exist linearly, but are diffuse, interconnected, and apprehended purely through experience. Logical reflection occurs after experience. The Western obsession with using discursive logic as the sole arbiter of reality is akin to viewing things with one eye closed; we see what's in front of us, but the depth of field is askew and we don't see accurately. We're liable to trip, or to use our shins for the only thing they're good for (finding objects in the dark).

    In contrast to a logical approach, an intuitive approach to philosophy apprehends concepts in a fluid, non-linear way. The advantage is that concepts can be played with and juggled at will until a harmony is found between seemingly paradoxical concepts. Ironically, it's almost a more abstract way of viewing concepts than logic because it requires the viewer to zoom out from the logical series in order to play with the concepts in the series in a creative manner, similar to how an artist plays with ideas until they fall together into a coherent piece that the artist didn't foresee until all of the elements were present in their proper places.

    As Berdyaev says, logic is a tool for the philosopher; a useful tool. But logic holds an oppressive grip over Western society, with it's religiously zealous obsession with science. There's a poverty of the spirit in the West that views the world through one eye only; nihilistic technocratism, consumerism and political corruption are just a few of the fruits of logicism's labor.
  • mcdoodle
    1k
    On the scale of history modern Western society doesn't seem awfuly corrupt to me. There's a thing: we could each take that proposition and examine it in relation to evidence, other theories and Madame Sosostris' tea leaves. Logic helps in all this. Often the sum of intuitions leads to mere populism.

    Ive been a creative artist most of my life and I can't say i recognise the intuitonist and the logical approach as mutually contradictory. Creativity involves pattern-making and pattern recognition. It helps to free up from preconceptions, but then, that requires some learned quality, the ability to discriminate. Only bad artists use no logic at all.
  • Barry Etheridge
    349
    These concepts aren't apprehended and don't exist linearly, but are diffuse, interconnected, and apprehended purely through experienceNoble Dust

    This seems a very odd thing to say about metaphysics given that its very definition is the study of that which cannot be experienced or observed.

    Overall you appear to be making an appeal for flawed 'experience' to take precedence over testable 'logic' in our examination of the world. What is there to prevent that becoming a free for all for every possible belief in which credibility is judged only by the fact that someone believes it? What safeguard is there against the grossest of error?
  • aletheist
    1.4k


    Your concept of logic seems too narrow. It encompasses not only deduction (explication), but also retroduction (conjecture) and induction (evaluation). Intuition (or instinct) and creativity are essential to retroduction, the formulation of explanatory hypotheses; it is the only way that new ideas are generated. We then employ deduction to work out the necessary consequences of each hypothesis, and induction to test experimentally whether those outcomes indeed occur under the appropriate conditions.
  • Noble Dust
    3.9k

    I disagree, I think populism is marked more by an overemphasis on emotion or even a misguided intuition. As you say next, being a good artist involves a balance of intuitions, which I agree with, as a songwriter/composer myself. Or maybe I'm misreading you? By "sum of intuitions" are you talking about logic, emotion, creativity etc. etc.? All of the human faculties? That's what I took it as.

    I don't see intuition and logic as contradictory either, I just think that in philosophy the emphasis is on logic, which I think is misplaced.
  • Noble Dust
    3.9k
    Overall you appear to be making an appeal for flawed 'experience' to take precedence over testable 'logic' in our examination of the world. What is there to prevent that becoming a free for all for every possible belief in which credibility is judged only by the fact that someone believes it? What safeguard is there against the grossest of error?Barry Etheridge

    Experience isn't flawed, it's just subjective. Logic is testable but still subject to flaws, as the constant bickering over logical arguments for any given topic on this forum demonstrates. Most importantly, logic itself is a part of experience. Nothing exists outside the realm of experience. Many things exist outside the realm of logic. Again, logic is a useful tool. Experience is the entire backdrop to the picture.

    And experience isn't about belief; acknowledging experience's primacy is a passive act, a simple opening of the eyes.
  • Noble Dust
    3.9k
    Your concept of logic seems too narrow. It encompasses not only deduction (explication), but also retroduction (conjecture) and induction (evaluation). Intuition (or instinct) and creativity are essential to retroduction, the formulation of explanatory hypotheses; it is the only way that new ideas are generated. We then employ deduction to work out the necessary consequences of each hypothesis, and induction to test experimentally whether those outcomes indeed occur under the appropriate conditions.aletheist

    The problem I have here is that philosophy is treated as a science. Philosophy should be a search for meaning. Meaning is not an empirical physical object or force that avails itself to scientific inquiry. This has always seemed self-evident to me. Meaning is spiritual, so naturally logic isn't the primary faculty for apprehending it.
  • aletheist
    1.4k


    Your concept of science seems too narrow. It encompasses not only the empirical study of physical objects, but also any other form of collaborative human activity that investigates the truth about reality. Mathematics, phenomenology, esthetics, ethics, logic, and metaphysics are all sciences in this sense, along with the physical and psychical sciences. Ascertaining meaning is a matter of retroduction, deduction, and induction just as much as anything else that we can come to know.
  • Noble Dust
    3.9k

    Your concept of science seems too broad. It's true that the scientific method is applied to things like ethics, metaphysics, etc., and this is exactly the thing I'm arguing against. It's a misapplication of science. Science studies the outer, philosophy should study the inner. The problem is modern society has no inner spiritual life for philosophy to study.
  • Buxtebuddha
    1.8k


    Firstly, I'm not getting your distinction between logic and intuition. Could you try and and differentiate them another way?

    misguided intuitionNoble Dust

    How exactly can an intuition be misguided? What does guide intuition? Certainly not logic, it would seem. Again, I think your terminology here is a bit off track, at least for my understanding.

    as the constant bickering over logical arguments for any given topic on this forum demonstrates.Noble Dust

    The problem I have here is that philosophy is treated as a science.Noble Dust

    It isn't philosophy's fault that some people treat philosophy as a science. Such is, quite ironically, illogical.

    Philosophy should be a search for meaning. Meaning is not an empirical physical object or force that avails itself to scientific inquiry.Noble Dust

    How have you decided this to be true?

    Meaning is spiritual, so naturallyNoble Dust

    What do you mean by this? And is spirituality necessarily natural?
  • Noble Dust
    3.9k
    Firstly, I'm not getting your distinction between logic and intuition. Could you try and and differentiate them another way?Heister Eggcart

    Logic - Arriving at knowledge through a linear series of 'if/then' statements. A systematic study of concepts. An emphasis on organization of concepts in a proper order before a conclusion is drawn. Fundamentally passive: requires abstraction away from participatory experience.

    Intuition - Beginning with an inner conviction or feeling (not in the emotional sense) of a truth, initially acquired through experience. Studying the concepts in a non-linear, non-systematic way. Beginning with a 'gnosis'. An emphasis on experience. Fundamentally active: begins with participatory experience.

    These are working definitions that I'm happy to be flexible on. I'm less well-read than most of you I'm sure, so I'm working through different concepts.

    How exactly can an intuition be misguided?Heister Eggcart

    That's not really an important part of what I'm talking about, but I concede the inconsistency.

    It isn't philosophy's fault that some people treat philosophy as a science.Heister Eggcart

    Right, it's the fault of those who treat it as such. ;) Or, fault is too strong. There are a lot of historical factors that go into that tendency.

    How have you decided this to be true?Heister Eggcart

    Through intuition. My aim personally is to search for truth. I'm happy to use a different word than philosophy to signify the search, if that seems necessary. The meanings of words constantly change. Is philosophy still "the love of wisdom"? I'm still looking for any evidence of wisdom in the discussions on this forum...

    What do you mean by this? And is spirituality necessarily natural?Heister Eggcart

    Meaning is extra-physical. It's the inner life of experience. Meaning is tied up with the development of language, the evolution of consciousness, the constantly shifting world of ethics...all of these things are primarily experiential, and as such, meaning is best apprehended directly through experience, not through abstracting concepts away from experience via logic. As to 'natural' I could have also used the word 'therefore' in that sentence. I appreciate your sensitivity to inconsistencies of language, though.
  • aletheist
    1.4k
    Science studies the outer, philosophy should study the inner.Noble Dust

    How exactly do you distinguish "outer" from "inner"? How and why would the best method of study - the one most likely to lead to the truth - be different between the two?
  • Janus
    9.4k


    I agree with what you say. Logic is entirely dependent on intuition; whereas intuition is not necessarily dependent on logic. We may have profoundly transformative experiences and insights which simply cannot be rendered into logical forms of discourse.

    A corollary of the negative view of intuition adopted by modernity in general is that philosophy has come to disparage rhetoric and its persuasive powers, and everywhere demands rigorous argument. Unfortunately no matter how rigorous an argument may be it is ultimately dependent on premises which cannot be supported by the argument and these ultimate premises are usually the presuppositions that philosophers take to be self-evident, which is to say intuitively obvious. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately depending on your viewpoint) not everyone agrees about what is intuitively obvious.
  • Noble Dust
    3.9k
    How exactly do you distinguish "outer" from "inner"?aletheist

    Again, through intuition. It's interesting to me that when I bring up this topic, the arguments against it all have to do with defining terms. This seems to be an important part of forming logical premises. But the meanings of words are always fluid and changing. Definitions are useful, but they don't need to be the starting point of an argument. In fact, they shouldn't be precisely because of the fluid nature of terminology. Again, it's a prime example of the attempt to treat language and concepts like scientific specimens under a microscope. They're not, precisely because language and concepts are spiritually alive, they aren't dead specimens for dissection.

    There isn't a logical argument against the argument that logic isn't primary; there's no logical argument for the primacy of logic. Like John is saying, thinking of logic as primary is an intuition; it's just a given state that many (logically-minded) people accept. Similarly, there's no logical argument against the primacy of experience; the primacy of experience just is. An appeal to defining terms in an attempt to invalidate this argument just distracts from the simple, self-evident truth of the primacy of experience.

    How and why would the best method of study...be different between the two?aletheist

    I'm not sure what you mean; I don't understand the sentence.
  • aletheist
    1.4k
    An appeal to defining terms in an attempt to invalidate this argument just distracts from the simple, self-evident truth of the primacy of experience.Noble Dust

    I asked you to define your terms in an effort to understand better what you were saying. Why would I bother trying to invalidate an "argument" being offered by someone who rejects logic? In what "simple" and "self-evident" sense do you believe that experience is primary? What happens when different people have different experiences?

    I'm not sure what you mean; I don't understand the sentence.Noble Dust

    Why would we use a fundamentally different method to study "the inner" than what we use to study "the outer"? How exactly would the two methods differ?
  • Noble Dust
    3.9k
    I asked you to define your terms in an effort to understand better what you were saying.aletheist

    Fair enough, I appreciate that. I think of "outer" and "inner" by way of this analogy: the engine of a car is made up of various components. Studying the components can lead you to the conclusion that it is, in fact, an engine. Maybe even that the engine is for propelling a car. But it won't lead you to an understanding of the various reasons why we drive cars, the countless different places you can go in a car, the rules of driving a car, etc etc. Engine knowledge tells us what the car is, but not why the car is used. Studying the engine components is "outer" knowledge. Learning why a car is useful is inner knowledge; we only fully learn the usefulness (and dangers) of cars through experience; through using them.

    Why would I bother trying to invalidate an "argument" being offered by someone who rejects logicaletheist

    I don't reject logic.

    In what "simple" and "self-evident" sense do you believe that experience is primary?aletheist

    How do I even answer this? You need to extricate yourself from abstract analysis to grasp the primacy of experience. It's grasped through experience. I keep saying the same thing over and over here. You're playing with a limited set of rules when everything has to be subjected to abstraction.

    What happens when different people have different experiences?aletheist

    How is this relevant? What happens is a wealth of different experiences accrue in the consciousnesses of countless people. Your question again assumes that an objective standard (presumably the first proposition of a logical hypothesis) has to be given before experience can be talked about. We can't talk about it first; we have to experience first, and then talk about it. Actually, things always happen in this order, we just aren't aware of it if we insist on the primacy of logic. It sounds like you're worried about the vast variety of different experiences that might conflict with each other. That's a very real reality, but it's not an argument against the primacy of experience. But you're beginning with the intuition that logic is primary, so it seems like an argument from that intuitive starting point.

    Why would we use a fundamentally different method to study "the inner" than what we use to study "the outer"? How exactly would the two methods differ?aletheist

    I think my analogy covers this. They are fundamentally different aspects of the same reality. Imagine reality as a sphere; it's a perfect, continuous surface, but we can never see all of it at once. Apprehending the entire sphere requires that we shift our perspective. In this analogy, shifting perspective is analogous to using a different method; method's of investigation are perspectival in that way; there isn't one method that suites all aspects of reality, just as there's not one perspective that apprehends the entirety of the sphere.
  • aletheist
    1.4k
    You need to extricate yourself from abstract analysis to grasp the primacy of experience.Noble Dust

    I am still trying to figure out what you mean by "the primacy of experience."

    You're playing with a limited set of rules when everything has to be subjected to abstraction.Noble Dust

    Well, we cannot think about everything in the universe all at once; so in that sense, we have no choice but to engage in abstraction - neglecting some aspects of reality in order to focus on others.

    We can't talk about it first; we have to experience first, and then talk about it. Actually, things always happen in this order, we just don't acknowledge it if we insist on the primacy of logic.Noble Dust

    Again, what do you mean here by "the primacy of logic"? Charles Sanders Peirce considered himself to be first and foremost a logician, yet he acknowledged that "our perceptual judgments are the first premisses of all our reasonings," and agreed with Aristotle and the scholastics that "nothing is in the intellect which was not previously in the senses."
  • Buxtebuddha
    1.8k
    Through intuition. My aim personally is to search for truth. I'm happy to use a different word than philosophy to signify the search, if that seems necessary.Noble Dust

    Having a philosophy about x, y, or z is different from the actual doing of philosophy. Does this make sense?

    The meanings of words constantly change. Is philosophy still "the love of wisdom"?

    I find there to be a difference between having knowledge of having an experience, and having knowledge of the experience itself.

    I'm still looking for any evidence of wisdom in the discussions on this forum...

    I think lots of posters here "love wisdom." This doesn't mean that everyone has knowledge of what wisdom is in practice, however :-*

    Meaning is extra-physical. It's the inner life of experience.Noble Dust

    wat

    ~

    How does one know whether intuition is intuitive or not?
  • Noble Dust
    3.9k
    I am still trying to figure out what you mean by "the primacy of experience."aletheist

    Just that everything is experience, including logic. Just like Pierce and Aristotle are saying in your later comments. But what did Pierce mean when he said he was first and foremost a logician, then?

    Well, we cannot think about everything in the universe all at once; so in that sense, we have no choice but to engage in abstraction - neglecting some aspects of reality in order to focus on others.aletheist

    I agree. The same can be said for other faculties like intuition and creativity.

    Again, what do you mean here by "the primacy of logic"?aletheist

    I guess there's some different shades to what I'm trying to talk about here...because when I say the primacy of logic, I'm more referring to a general trend in Western society to assume that logic is the ultimate tool for apprehending reality. The demand for rigorous argument and rejection of rhetoric that John mentioned is symptomatic of a society that places logic as the ultimate source of knowledge. So perhaps those people don't think of logic as "primary" in the same sense that I think of experience as primary. It's more just modernism's material optimism trickling down into the popular vernacular, and therefore the zeitgeist of the times (reference pop science articles with titles like "science just explained why you hate the word 'moist!'") As I think about it, I think part of the problem is that scientism is by and large the dominant way of viewing reality for the liberal progressive side of the general public, on a popular, everyday scale. Science is the arbiter of truth. Clearly scientism isn't a philosophical position claimed by anyone on a philosophy forum (or anyone at all; it retains it's pejorative sense), but it's noticeable in the popular, general public consciousness. This is an important part of my critique, and maybe I didn't make that clear yet.
  • Noble Dust
    3.9k
    Having a philosophy about x, y, or z is different from the actual doing of philosophy. Does this make sense?Heister Eggcart

    Sort of. Having a philosophy involves some sort of mental activity; "having" assumes a prior activity; I have cake by eating it. This is how I "do" cake; I eat it. Once that's done, I've had my cake. So, it makes sense, but I don't see why it's important. If you're trying to make a distinction between how everyone at least passively has some beliefs (a "philosophy") versus people who consciously study and build up philosophies, I would partially agree, but the binary distinction you're making is in reality just two points on a spectrum of human consciousness.

    I find there to be a difference between having knowledge of having an experience, and having knowledge of what you experience.Heister Eggcart

    So, memory versus content? I'm having trouble seeing why this is important as well.

    I think lots of posters here "love wisdom." This doesn't mean that everyone has knowledge of what wisdom is in practice, however :-*Heister Eggcart

    True, and perhaps my comment was a bit harsh, especially since I'm new.

    This makes no sense.Heister Eggcart

    Extra-physical is a pretty clunky word. I think the point I was making is that Meaning isn't a physical object that's subject to scientific scrutiny. So the application of scientific scrutiny to Meaning is a misuse.
  • aletheist
    1.4k
    But what did Pierce mean when he said he was first and foremost a logician, then?Noble Dust

    That he spent most of his time and energy studying the normative science of thinking - the kinds of habits that tend to help us adopt true beliefs and reject false ones. Logic is not a source of knowledge; it is the set of methods by which we obtain, organize, and communicate knowledge. If your critique is actually aimed at scientism, then your target is not logic, but a certain set of assumptions that are taken as the starting point. A perfectly valid logical argument with false premises produces a false conclusion.
  • Noble Dust
    3.9k
    Logic is not a source of knowledge; it is the set of methods by which we obtain, organize, and communicate knowledge.aletheist

    I agree it's not a source, I've made that clear in my definitions, I think. I'm not clear on what you mean that logic is a set of methods, though. I think of it as being one method out of several, but maybe I'm not thinking of it properly. But creativity, for instance, is not part of a set of methods called logic. Not by how I understand the terms at least.

    If your critique is actually aimed at scientism, then your target is not logicaletheist

    Well, scientism is part of what my critique is aimed at, which I didn't make clear. It's not the whole aim though. But one of the assumptions scientism seems to make is that logic is primary, or that it is, in fact, a source of knowledge.

    If you agree with Pierce that "nothing is in the intellect which was not previously in the senses", then do you understand what I'm trying to say about experience being primary? Do you agree, or no?
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    I'm still looking for any evidence of wisdom in the discussions on this forumNoble Dust

    Perhaps the wise would not look to Internet forums as the depositories of wisdom. :-}
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    2k


    The trouble with these approaches is it gets logical backwards. Logic is viewed as a transcendent from which anything else springs. To be "logical," supposedly, is to be derived from some rule, to be a necessitated by something else. Logic is mistaken as a foundation of knowledge.

    Logic is actually an expression. It's intuitive and creative. Not a rule that necessitates or means of knowing regardless of anything else, but an expression all of its own, found nowhere and defined by nothing else. Every logical truth is born from nowhere and dies all on its own. Logic reasoning functions not by determining rules, but in understanding expressions themselves.

    In this respect, it is far more powerful (or weaker, depending on what you are looking for) than an arbiter. Rather than a force which commands, it is an expression of the living. Logic is "undoubtable" because it is always an expression itself. Commanders can be defied. Each moment, itself, cannot be.
  • Noble Dust
    3.9k
    Perhaps the wise would not look to Internet forums as the depositories of wisdom.Thorongil

    ...I was cracking a joke about the etymological definition of the word philosophy...
  • Noble Dust
    3.9k
    Logic is actually an expression. It's intuitive and creative. Not a rule that necessitates or means of knowing regardless of anything else, but an expression all of its own, found nowhere and defined by nothing else. Every logical truth is born from nowhere and dies all on its own. Logic reasoning functions not by determining rules, but in understanding expressions themselves.

    In this respect, it is far more powerful (or weaker, deepening on what you are looking for) than an arbiter. Rather than a force which commands, it is an expression of the living. Logic is "undoubtable" because it is always an expression itself. Commanders can be defied. Each moment, itself, cannot be.
    TheWillowOfDarkness

    None of this is coherent. Can you explain it differently?
  • aletheist
    1.4k
    If you agree with Pierce that "nothing is in the intellect which was not previously in the senses", then do you understand what I'm trying to say about experience being primary? Do you agree, or no?Noble Dust

    If what you are trying to say is nothing more than what Peirce said, then I understand and agree. To quote him again, "The elements of every concept enter into logical thought at the gate of perception and make their exit at the gate of purposive action; and whatever cannot show its passports at both those two gates is to be arrested as unauthorized by reason." If you are saying something else, then I am still not sure what you mean.
  • Noble Dust
    3.9k
    "The elements of every concept enter into logical thought at the gate of perception and make their exit at the gate of purposive action; and whatever cannot show its passports at both those two gates is to be arrested as unauthorized by reason."aletheist

    That holds up for logic itself, but I could replace the word "logic" with "intuition" here; in other words, I still see logic as a member of a set of methods, along with intuition and creativity, even emotion (the horror!). So if Pierce means that logic is the only gate for perception to first go through in order to arrive at purposive action, then no, I disagree, and I don't mean the same thing as him.
  • apokrisis
    5k
    So if Pierce means that logic is the only gate for perception to first go through in order to arrive at purposive action, then no, I disagree, and I don't mean the same thing as him.Noble Dust

    But that's only because you keep refusing to reconsider your very narrow definitions of things like "logic".

    So you are sticking to your premises and arriving back at the same deductions. Yet aletheist has said more than enough to question those premises.

    For example, what is "emotion" other than reasonable habits of perception/action picked up over the evolutionary timescales of neurobiological adaptive learning?
  • aletheist
    1.4k


    As I stated previously, Peirce did not confine logic to deduction, or even deduction and induction; he also included retroduction, which is precisely where intuition (or instinct) and creativity come into play. Logic is the normative science of reasoning - how we should formulate, explicate, and evaluate hypotheses if our goal is to adopt true beliefs and reject false ones.

    So if Pierce means that logic is the only gate for perception to first go through in order to arrive at purposive action ...Noble Dust

    Please read the quote again, carefully. Peirce did not say that logic is the gate, at all; he said that perception is the only gate at which concepts enter logical thought, and purposive action is the only gate at which concepts exit logical thought. In other words, logic has nothing upon which to operate (no premisses) without perception, and no outward manifestation (no conclusions) other than purposive action.
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.