• David Mo
    488
    My response to your reply to Ciceronianus the White consists of rhetorical questions, not "riddles".180 Proof

    I thought so, but you oppose concepts that I do not understand or that do not seem to be opposed. For example, supposition and presupposition.
  • David Mo
    488
    In what sense does his concept constitute knowledge of the world in which we live, though, and how was it obtained?Ciceronianus the White

    Since I don't know what knowledge is for you, I will answer according to my criteria: The concept of anguish in Sartre is the feeling caused by the knowledge of the factuality and responsibility that freedom entails. It is proposed as knowledge. True or false, it is another matter.

    I remind you that this was a condition for not being an armchair thinker and therefore would exclude existentialism from philosophy, according to his definition.
  • David Mo
    488
    But they don’t provide a way of telling what is good for someone who doesn’t already know, the way that “the scientific method” provides a way of telling what is true for someone who doesn’t already know.Pfhorrest
    Sorry, comment deleted. It was not directed to you.
  • Pfhorrest
    2k
    I think you're conflating different threads of this conversation.
  • David Mo
    488
    Hedonism by itself doesn’t tell you what particular things are good, it just provides a criterion for assessing the goodness of things: does it feel good? Just like empiricism provides a criterion for assessing the truth: does it look true?Pfhorrest

    First: To say that it is good that produces pleasure is an empty statement if you do not specify what pleasure you are talking about. The difficulties of hedonism in giving content to the term "pleasure" are well known to all those who know a little about ethics. For example, the "scientifically" unsolvable alternative between quantitative and qualitative hedonism.

    Second: you cannot find a circumstance that generates pleasure in every person, unless there are a few basic situations that do not serve to "scientifically" resolve the moral problems that arise every day.

    Third: Even if you find that there is a situation that produces pleasure in every person, that does not mean that it is morally good. Human beings could be conditioned by society or their instincts to enjoy violence, and that would not make violence good. This is the old problem that you can't start from being to conclude the duty. An old problem that no one has solved, in my opinion.

    I think these three points disarm your claim that hedonism can be justified as a scientific truth.
  • David Mo
    488
    I think you're conflating different threads of this conversation.Pfhorrest

    You are right. I have deleted my previous comment.
  • David Mo
    488
    List of religions and spiritual traditions.VagabondSpectre

    Sorry, I asked him for examples of philosophers pontificating. I don't think the Pope is an example of a philosopher. And the list of "spiritualisms" I don't know what it's about.
  • David Mo
    488
    You can try, and many have, to formulate one, coming up with a list of factors -- observation, experimentation, predictability, peer review, data collection, hypothesis, theory, etc. -- and of course there are plenty of examples. But there are plenty of exceptions as well.Xtrix

    The fact that there are exceptions to a definition does not invalidate it. It is difficult to find a word that does not have margins of vagueness. But that natural science is based on controlled experimentation and observation and philosophy doesn't so, is a clear enough difference. Of course, if you go back to antiquity and the Middle Ages, where modern science did not exist, the confusion between philosophy and science is almost absolute. But we are in the 21st century of the Common Era and we talk about the difference between philosophy and science now.
  • David Mo
    488
    Many of Aristotle's particular claims have been shown to be incorrect, sure.Xtrix
    Wittgenstein does not dismantle particular claims of Aristotle, but the heart of Aristotle's philosophy: metaphysics.
  • Pfhorrest
    2k
    To say that it is good that produces pleasure is an empty statement if you do not specify what pleasure you are talking about.David Mo

    I am not saying that. I am saying hedonic experiences, broadly construed, are the only public criteria by which we could judge things good or bad without some kind of appeal to faith. I am saying the opposite of “there is such a thing as a victimless moral crime”. If something is bad, it’s bad because it hurts someone. To say otherwise is to say that some things are bad just because, even though they don’t feel bad to anyone.

    And that this is analogous to how empirical experiences are the only public criteria by which we can judge things real or not, without appealing to faith in claims about things that are supposedly real even though nobody could ever tell if they were or not.

    you cannot find a circumstance that generates pleasure in every personDavid Mo

    The trivial case of giving every person their own private virtual world would satisfy that.

    Human beings could be conditioned by society or their instincts to enjoy violence, and that would not make violence goodDavid Mo

    Violence has to be bad because it hurts people. The only reason it could possibly be justified is that it prevents more hurting of people. Still we find ourselves judging by hedonic criteria.

    your claim that hedonism can be justified as a scientific truthDavid Mo

    I didn’t claim that hedonism was a scientific truth, but that it’s the moral analogue of empiricism, which underlies the physical sciences. Anti-hedonic philosophies end up at the conclusion that we can’t really ever tell what is moral in a way that is both critical and objective, in a way comparable to how science approaches reality, but must instead either take someone’s word for what is moral, or else take all claims of morality to be utterly baseless opinion, either of which is just to give up on doing philosophy to morality.
  • David Mo
    488
    In everyday life, it's certainly not the case that definitions "work in the background" -- or if they do, it's exceptional.Xtrix
    I repeat my argument: the definition of a word is to make its meaning explicit and the meaning is the use of that word. You cannot avoid using a word in one way or another. Therefore, you cannot avoid using an implicit meaning of the word when you speak. You can avoid the explicit definition, but not the implicit one. In certain circumstances this can create a problem of confusion that is at the root of many false problems that arise even in specialized languages. In metaphysics, especially.
    Do you disagree with what I have said? Do you have another concept of definition or meaning?
  • David Mo
    488
    The lived world isn't "concrete"? Experience isn't concrete? On the contrary, it's the most "concrete" thing we have.Xtrix
    Every experience is concrete. There is no such thing as the experience of the universal. Your mistake consists in believing that the universal categories do not intervene in experience. You do not see a thing; the thing is constructed by your mind with impressions and ideas. That your mind does it automatically does not mean that it does not do it. Look for the difference between sensation and perception in contemporary psychology. It will confirm what I am saying.

    We don't have to remember them, draw conclusions about them, or evaluate them at all -- we just do them.Xtrix
    If you didn't remember how you opened past doors you couldn't open this door. If you did not compare the shape of the present door with others you have seen, you could not open this door. If you were not able to reason why the door has not been opened you would not be able to realize that it is because someone has thrown away the key. That these thoughts are not made explicit is frequent, but they work in your head constantly.

    You are constantly thinking when you go to the dentist's office, when you park your car in the garage, when you bake a chicken, when you invite your friends over for a barbecue, when you read a book, when you get restless because your wife hasn't come home, etc. These are thoughts that do not require special concentration. In many cases you are not aware of yourself thinking about them, but they are working permanently, without you being able to avoid them.

    In other cases, the failure of this way of thinking -almost reflex- forces you to think about your way of reasoning about the problem. This is less common, but it also occurs abundantly in everyday life. You begin to think "How come...", "Why did she...?" And on a higher level when someone tells you, "You have no reason to think that..."

    You can see how reason has weight in our daily life.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.8k
    Sorry, I asked him for examples of philosophers pontificating. I don't think the Pope is an example of a philosopher.David Mo

    I didn't realize that the grand pontiff had to swear an oath of celibosophy...

    And the list of "spiritualisms" I don't know what it's about.David Mo

    You asked for a list of philosophies that don't reason what they say...

    Do you not consider them philosophies because they don't reason what they say?

    If so, then that's circular reasoning (your conclusion is actually just a premise; aka: begging the question)

    What is philosophy?
  • David Mo
    488
    If something is bad, it’s bad because it hurts someone.Pfhorrest
    You've skipped the hedonism here. Hedonism claims that something is good when it produces pleasure. If I find pleasure in hurting, hurting is good.

    And that this is analogous to how empirical experiences are the only public criteria by which we can judge things real or not,Pfhorrest

    I didn’t claim that hedonism was a scientific truth, but that it’s the moral analogue of empiricism, which underlies the physical sciences.Pfhorrest

    Of course, because you're not treating hedonism from an ethical point of view, but from the point of view of psychology: People look for what gives them pleasure and they say it's good.
    Now the problems are not ethical, they are of a different nature. Is it true that everybody looks for what produces pleasure? What do we do with those who look for suffering? What do we do with those who choose a pleasure knowing that it will produce more pain in the long run? Are they not human beings?
  • David Mo
    488
    Do you not consider them philosophies because they don't reason what they say?

    If so, then that's circular reasoning
    VagabondSpectre

    Yes.
    No.
    It's a way of differentiating two things that are different. If you want to call the pope a philosopher, you have to differentiate him from those who do not speak from the pulpit. I think the difference is strong enough to justify the usual differentiation between philosophy and religion. If you want to call them by another name, that is your right, but do not use terms that lead to the confusion of what is different.
  • David Mo
    488
    What is philosophy?VagabondSpectre

    See here, please:

    These are my criteria for distinguishing philosophy from what is not.David Mo
  • David Mo
    488
    What is philosophy?VagabondSpectre


    Philosophy is what philosophers do in academia. It is not that a philosopher cannot be self-taught, but if we want to avoid philosophy being an empty field, we must limit it. Knowing what philosophers do in the academic field is a first criterion to separate cheap mysticism, pseudoscience and youtubers from serious philosophy.
    Philosophy is about the human being. Although it sometimes seems to treat the universe, it always does so from the perspective or background of the human being.
    Philosophy is not based on authority but on the exercise of personal reason.
    Philosophy is revolutionary. It does not stop at the commonplace or the impositions of authority. It questions everything.
    Philosophy is formed in debate. Bearing in mind that there are no universal philosophical truths, philosophical knowledge can only arise from free debate between various options. Let a hundred flowers open.
    Philosophy is clarity. Philosophical discourse is pronounced to clarify the problem in some way, not to make it darker.
    Philosophy is rationality. Even when it defends the irrational, it must do so with arguments that can be shared.
    Philosophy does not rival science as a form of knowledge of facts.
    Philosophy asks. Philosophy does not stop at any question. Nor does it always guarantee solutions. But it helps to ask the right questions.
    Philosophy is inevitable. Since it is faced with radical problems that affect the human at their root, philosophy cannot be avoided. It is like freedom: one cannot stop being free even if one wants to.

    You're welcome.
  • David Mo
    488
    It's a way of differentiating two things that are different.David Mo

    For example:
    Thus it is our particular thoughts and feelings that have primitive certainty. And this applies to dreams and hallucinations as well as to normal perceptions: when we dream or see a ghost, we certainly do have the sensations we think we have, but for various reasons it is held that no physical object corresponds to these sensations. Thus the certainty of our knowledge of our own experiences does not have to be limited in any way to allow for exceptional cases. Here, therefore, we have, for what it is worth, a solid basis from which to begin our pursuit of knowledge. — Text 1

    The Only-begotten Son of God ever paid to His Most Holy Mother indubitable marks of honour. During His private life on earth He associated her with Himself in each of His first two miracles: the miracle of grace, when, at the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in the womb of Elizabeth; the miracle of nature, when He turned water into wine at the marriage - feast of Cana. And, at the supreme moment of His public life, when sealing the New Testament in His precious Blood, He committed her to his beloved Apostle in those sweet words, "Behold, thy Mother!" (John xix., 27). — Text 2

    You choose which is the philosophical one. It's not difficult.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.8k
    Why is it that your standard of evidence requires me to fetch ten bona fide philosophies or philosophers, while it allows you to just quote yourself ten times?

    Isn't that some kind of double standard?
  • David Mo
    488
    Why is it that your standard of evidence requires me to fetch ten bona fide philosophies or philosophers, while it allows you to just quote yourself ten times?VagabondSpectre

    I didn't ask you to look for ten bona fide philosophers. I asked you to look for ten cases of philosophers pontificating. It's not difficult. Above I have presented an instance to the contrary.

    Ay caramba, I repeat myself because you repeat the same question like if I have not answered previously.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.8k
    I repeat myself because you repeat the same question like if I have not answered previously.David Mo

    You're restating your opinion, sure, but I'm just holding you to the same standard you held me to in your criticism of my response to the thread.

    What makes your opinions about the scope and definition of philosophy any more philosophically valid than mine?
  • Ciceronianus the White
    980
    Since I don't know what knowledge is for you, I will answer according to my criteria: The concept of anguish in Sartre is the feeling caused by the knowledge of the factuality and responsibility that freedom entails. It is proposed as knowledge. True or false, it is another matter.David Mo

    We're probably thinking of "knowledge" differently, then, or at least "branches of knowledge." What Jolly Jean-Paul (sorry, I enjoy giving philosophers nicknames) felt was caused by knowledge of the factuality and responsibility that freedom entails, whatever that may be, and why he considered it anguish wouldn't meet my definition of knowledge, any more than the dread I would say is caused, in me, by the thought of reading his work. It strikes me that in the case of Sartre's anguish we have speculation, and in the case of my dread we have what may be called taste, as in inclination or judgment.
  • David Mo
    488
    What makes your opinions about the scope and definition of philosophy any more philosophically valid than mine?VagabondSpectre
    I think my philosophical opinions are better than yours because I raise objections and questions that you do not answer, while you ask me questions that I answer.
    This is a criterion for judging two competing philosophies. We can raise more, if you like.
  • David Mo
    488
    What Jolly Jean-Paul (sorry, I enjoy giving philosophers nicknames) feltCiceronianus the White

    I did not propose the feeling of anguish as knowledge, but Sartre's theory on the feeling of anguish. They are two very different things.
  • Xtrix
    831
    The fact that there are exceptions to a definition does not invalidate it. It is difficult to find a word that does not have margins of vagueness. But that natural science is based on controlled experimentation and observation and philosophy doesn't so, is a clear enough difference. Of course, if you go back to antiquity and the Middle Ages, where modern science did not exist, the confusion between philosophy and science is almost absolute. But we are in the 21st century of the Common Era and we talk about the difference between philosophy and science now.David Mo

    And when did the change occur between then and now? When was this special method "discovered"? By our current standards, what was Aristarchus and Newton doing?

    Exceptions don't invalidate the definition, but in this case they make it rather arbitrary. There's little motivation for such an unjustified demarcation. All it does is drill into kids' heads that there is a special method that people consciously follow which makes them "scientists." And this simply isn't true.

    Science is still natural philosophy, in my view. The fact that Galileo and Descartes lived around the time of Francis Bacon and the rise of inductive logic, and that we've become nervous about Christian dogma and superstition creeping up into our attempts to understand the world, doesn't justify such rigid categorization. It's fine for university curricula -- but it has no bearing on the real world.
  • Xtrix
    831
    Many of Aristotle's particular claims have been shown to be incorrect, sure.
    — Xtrix
    Wittgenstein does not dismantle particular claims of Aristotle, but the heart of Aristotle's philosophy: metaphysics.
    David Mo

    Metaphysics isn't the heart of Aristotle's philosophy. The term "metaphysics" itself means "after the physics lectures." Take a look at Aristotle's physics. I haven't read much Wittgenstein, but I doubt he's "dismantled" much there. My hunch is he's very much moving in the space Aristotle opened up, but if he did dismantle it -- good for him. Not an easy task.
  • Pfhorrest
    2k
    You've skipped the hedonism here. Hedonism claims that something is good when it produces pleasure. If I find pleasure in hurting, hurting is good.David Mo

    Hedonism as about all kinds of experiences of pleasure, pain, enjoyment, suffering, etc. Hurting means inflicting pain or suffering: making someone feel bad. Hedonism just says that badness lies in things feeling bad, goodness lies in them feeling good. Just like empiricism says truth lies in things looking true, and falsity in them looking false. In both cases there are a lot of other details to work out (that I already went over in those paragraphs you skipped earlier), but that’s the basic experiential criteria.

    Of course, because you're not treating hedonism from an ethical point of view, but from the point of view of psychology: People look for what gives them pleasure and they say it's good.David Mo

    Quite the contrary, I say nothing at all about what people DO pursue, and I don’t support any psychological theories of hedonism that say that people are just looking out for their own pleasure. People do all kinds of things for all kinds of reasons without always factoring pleasure or pain etc into it.

    I’m only saying that when we come around and judge the morality of those actions, the only non-arbitrary way we can judge them is by how good or bad they make people feel, in a way that is replicable, as I have already detailed in those paragraphs you skipped before.
  • Xtrix
    831


    Context here is important:

    Maybe we simply have to say "So much the worse for definitions," and leave it to intuition and specific situations.
    — Xtrix

    You can't avoid definitions. If you don't make them explicit, they will work in the background. And this is a source of pseudo-problems.
    — David Mo

    It depends on what you mean. In explicit, theoretical understanding -- that's certainly true. In everyday life, it's certainly not the case that definitions "work in the background" -- or if they do, it's exceptional.
    — Xtrix

    Again, this is exactly right.

    So you can indeed avoid definitions, because we're simply not thinking this way in most of our everyday lives. We can discuss "meaning," but that's a different and more complicated story in linguistics.
    Xtrix

    Do you disagree with what I have said? Do you have another concept of definition or meaning?David Mo

    "Meaning," I repeat, is an interesting topic in linguistics and worth looking into. You can define it any way you like -- so that they're in the head or not in the head (as Putnam argued, for example). What we usually refer to when using "meaning" is a person's intentions -- "What did you mean by that?"

    Meanings are often tied up with values, interests, goals, feelings, intuitions, etc. It can also mean a definition of a word, like we find in a dictionary. In the latter usage, there's no evidence to suggest this is how we "think" in our everyday activities. Which gets back to:

    The lived world isn't "concrete"? Experience isn't concrete? On the contrary, it's the most "concrete" thing we have.
    — Xtrix
    Every experience is concrete. There is no such thing as the experience of the universal. Your mistake consists in believing that the universal categories do not intervene in experience.
    David Mo

    That's not what I'm saying. There's certainly a place for that.

    Look for the difference between sensation and perception in contemporary psychologyDavid Mo

    One, my background is in psychology. Two, your comment isn't relevant.

    We don't have to remember them, draw conclusions about them, or evaluate them at all -- we just do them.
    — Xtrix

    If you didn't remember how you opened past doors you couldn't open this door. If you did not compare the shape of the present door with others you have seen, you could not open this door. If you were not able to reason why the door has not been opened you would not be able to realize that it is because someone has thrown away the key. That these thoughts are not made explicit is frequent, but they work in your head constantly.
    David Mo

    No, they don't. This is the mistake. I don't have to do any of the above to open a door. All of what you mentioned are phenomena that occur in the human mind when it's in a completely different mode -- a consciously aware, rational mode, where we need to "recall" something, compare and contrast, deduce, etc. That's not what's happening in opening a door. It's like saying "muscle memory" involves the muscles activity "remembering" what to do. For that matter, why not apply these terms to reflexes as well? Would that even be coherent?

    In fact there's all kinds of actions we perform on a daily basis that simply don't involve any of the above factors. It's not that I have to "remember" how to drive a car -- I just do it. I don't have to think about it at all; I can be carrying on a conversation, thinking about physics, making plans for the future, etc. To describe these activities using the terms we apply to conscious, rational activity is at best very misleading, and at worst incoherent.

    In other words, we know something happens in the brain and nervous system when it comes to habits and skills, but to invoke the terms we use for conscious, rational, abstract activity to explain it is the wrong way forward.

    You are constantly thinking when you go to the dentist's office, when you park your car in the garage, when you bake a chicken, when you invite your friends over for a barbecue, when you read a book, when you get restless because your wife hasn't come home, etc. These are thoughts that do not require special concentration. In many cases you are not aware of yourself thinking about them, but they are working permanently, without you being able to avoid them.

    Sure. And this is a radically different kind of thinking than philosophical or scientific thinking, as you know. Likewise with activity. To say there's some kind of "thinking" involved in these activities is like saying there's "thinking" involved in our breathing. Sometimes you can become conscious of breathing and control it to a degree, but mostly it's completely unconscious and does not involve thoughts at all.

    Ditto for walking, talking, hammering, or driving a car. All of these we had to learn at some point, and some (like driving and riding a bicycle) even required formal teaching, following rules, repetition, etc. But once those rules are used, they are not then compiled somewhere in the brain, being "invisibly" used once we achieve mastery -- they're just gone. Maurice Merleau-Ponty has some interesting things to say about this in his Phenomenology of Perception, in fact.

    In other cases, the failure of this way of thinking -almost reflex- forces you to think about your way of reasoning about the problem. This is less common, but it also occurs abundantly in everyday life. You begin to think "How come...", "Why did she...?" And on a higher level when someone tells you, "You have no reason to think that..."

    You can see how reason has weight in our daily life.

    Of course reason has weight in our daily lives. I'm not claiming otherwise.
  • Mww
    1.5k
    my background is in psychology.Xtrix

    Of course reason has weight in our daily lives.Xtrix

    What role does reason play....wherein lays its weight....in humans generally, from a psychological point of view?
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