• Wheatley
    1.2k
    It seems to me than many users here are lacking in their knowledge of different philosophical schools and concepts. I thought it would be beneficial and convenient to have a thread that provides those who are new to philosophy a chance to learn about the basics oh philosophy. Here's your chance to ask questions about philosophy, request information about different schools of philosophy. There are many users here that are knowledgeable about the field of philosophy.

    Feel free to ask questions requesting information about philosophy. Feel free to provide information about philosophy here to those in need.
  • Wheatley
    1.2k
    This view assumes the subject/object distinction.Banno
    Can someone please explain to me what Banno means by the subject/object distinction?
  • Wheatley
    1.2k
    1.3 Contrast: Objects vs. Subjects
    In surveying the possible contrasts or complements of object, we have thus far emphasized the intuitive grouping of items into categories like object (substance, individual, particular, etc.) on the one hand and property (or attribute, universal, feature, etc.) on the other. These are standard metaphysical categories, and they suggest that the proper contrast or complement of object includes properties or other property-like items.

    But there is another compelling usage (both in and out of philosophy) of the English word ‘object’ and its cognates that suggests a rather different kind of contrast. Here, the divide is between object and subject. Each object is, roughly, an ‘it’, and each subject is a ‘you’. On this usage, it is items like us that stand in contrast to objects. We are subjects; trees, universals, colleges, colors, and—well, all things not like us in relevant respects—are objects.
    --- SEP


    We are subjects; trees, universals, colleges, colors, and—well, all things not like us in relevant respects—are objects.
    Seems legit.
  • A Seagull
    533
    It seems to me than many users here are lacking in their knowledge of different philosophical schools and conceptsWheatley

    You seem to think that the study and the gaining of knowledge about philosophy requires knowledge of different philosophical 'schools'; are you able to justify this?
  • Wheatley
    1.2k
    Not necessarily, but it helps to know more about a particular school of philosophy if you happen to criticize or discuss it.
  • unenlightened
    5k
    Stanford is the philosophers' bible for expert coverage of most topics. But what amateurs and newbies need is something a bit more manageable, that will introduce technical terms, big cheeses, and the multitude of 'isms sufficiently concisely that you don't entirely lose the will to live. Something like this:

    http://www.philosophypages.com/dy/

    I would only caution that children and other newbies do not learn to talk by consuming dictionaries, but by being immersed in a language. This is because meaning is use, as Wittgenstein discovered. Thus if we use 'terrific' and 'awesome' to mean the same as 'fabulous' and 'fantastic', then they mean the same, despite technical historical differences. Also, the terms that philosophers have real difficulty with, are the little ones, like 'I' and 'thing' and 'mean' - terms which are too familiar and useful to be constrained by a definition.

    I tend to refer people who get hung up on definitions to a favourite book that constitutes a reductio ad absurdum__ The Meaning of 'meaning', by Ogden and Richards. 400 pages of analysis of the technical philosophical meaning of one word may seem like cruel and unusual punishment, but it is an infallible cure for definitionism.
  • Banno
    8.4k
    A note to endorse the resource linked by @unenlightened; I'll go along with it's distinction between objective and subjective, while adding that I'm on the side of those who think it unhelpful.
  • DoppyTheElv
    25
    Dang, I had made a thread before reading this.
  • schopenhauer1
    4.3k
    I'm game.. Can anyone differentiate "Speculative Realism" from just "Realism" or even "Neo-Realism" besides that it is newer, a new neologism of sorts, and has certain characters attached to it?

    Let me try to answer.. The speculative aspect is perhaps what is missing in regular "Realism". But, I thought that Realism is really just the idea that what is "out there" is what exists. What is "in here" is simply another form of what is "out there" (i.e. materialism, material monism of some sort). So, I guess Speculative Realism is more "speculative" in that it posits an ontology or metaphysics to the "out there" which is often looked on with suspicion by (more tradition?) realists who might not go beyond the materials we can gather with our senses and empirical scientific methods. So, perhaps there is an underlying claim that traditional Realists are only focusing on epistemology and not on metaphysics. This is where Speculative Realists step in and try to regain a place for metaphysics in Realism.
  • fdrake
    3.9k


    My take on it:

    Post phenomenological realism; a return to emphasising scientific content rather than human discourse. Nature philosophy done by appropriating the material and thinking styles of modern natural science and mathematics (contra strict constructionisms) rather than historical a-priori ratiocination (contra the German idealisms and discourse analysis). Social philosophy done through the lens of modern social science (contra discourse analysis) that leverages neuroscience+psychology (or psychoanalysis) to link it to the part of nature which is us (contra linking discourse to the subject through phenomenology).

    ({Speculative realism} is to {the various post-Kantian threads}) as ({models of the generative conditions of phenomena} are to {conditions of possibility of their conceptualisation-articulation}). Generativity vs Conceptual possibility.

    Where thinkers in the movement I'm somewhat familiar with fit in:

    Badiou: return to truth, mathematics as ontology. Linking human life to that ontology through norm-generative/norm-destructive events through psychoanalytic insights. Importantly not a naturalist (natural science is part of a truth procedure rather than ontologically primitive, it reveals the reality of things but only informs what's made of the discoveries)

    Bryant: emphasises the autonomy (generativity) of objects; still very sympathetic to Heidegger (invert the canonical example of hammering, the hammer bends the arm in the striking). Stresses the importance of "flat" ontologies (contra anthropocentrism and superveniance style reductionism)

    Brassier; nihilism as a speculative opportunity; we're always already dead (contra centralising discourse and human significance in philosophical projects). Truth as "optimally justified assertibility".
  • schopenhauer1
    4.3k
    Post phenomenological realism; a return to emphasising scientific content rather than human discourse.fdrake

    Can you provide the context of this? If it is a return, what was the original (I'm thinking Logical Positivism?). If it was a breaking away, then what started it and why? I'm thinking late Wittgenstein and social based philosophers?

    Social philosophy done through the lens of modern social science (contra discourse analysis) that leverages neuroscience+psychology (or psychoanalysis) to link it to the part of nature which is us (contra linking discourse to the subject through phenomenology).fdrake

    As an aside, how is the subject/phenomenology not a "part of nature"? I think this is where my characterization might come in handy:
    But, I thought that Realism is really just the idea that what is "out there" is what exists. What is "in here" is simply another form of what is "out there" (i.e. materialism, material monism of some sort).schopenhauer1
    .
    But then here it just goes back to the usual questions of Philosophy of Mind and things like the hard question of consciousness. How can you divorce the phenomenology of the subject from the equation? How is "that" a complete view? Then we just go to our usual philosophies of Eliminative Materialism, panpsychism, etc.

    ({Speculative realism} is to {the various post-Kantian threads}) as ({models of the generative conditions of phenomena} are to {conditions of possibility of their conceptualisation-articulation}). Generativity vs Conceptual possibility.fdrake

    Yes, I think it is something going beyond the conditions of how our mind sees the world, and seeing the world as understood through direct analysis of the given conditions as found in our empirical studies of it. One assumes an idealism of the mind to form the reality, the other affirms an "out there" reality that the mind can comprehend to some extent, in and of itself.

    However, it seems like Speculative Realism might be based on a non-existent problem.. It is aimed at certain idealist philosophers as most people take the "out there" as something that can be directly understood, and is not just how we perceive the world through our minds. It's kind of a straw man enemy created for a certain kind of Continental philosopher perhaps, to then knock down. Who besides these small contingent of post-Kantian philosophers are they addressing it for then? Not realists who already deal with realist assumptions off the bat.
  • sucking lollipops
    6


    Those who are new to philosophy certainly feel enlightened by your response, their ignorance of different philosophical schools and of the basics of philosophy has now vanished.

    God only knows how that answer would look like if the title of the thread was Philosophical circlejerk instead of The Educational Philosophy Thread.
  • fdrake
    3.9k
    As an aside, how is the subject/phenomenology not a "part of nature"? I think this is where my characterization might come in handy:schopenhauer1

    For what they're reacting against; nature is claimed to be construed as nature-under-the-aspect-of-the-norms-of-scientific-discourse, with the critical injunction that its concepts are more social construction than true. The conceptions of nature that transcendentally ground scientific discourse are emphasised as a "for us", never approximately true of an "in itself".

    Can you provide the context of this? If it is a return, what was the original (I'm thinking Logical Positivism?). If it was a breaking away, then what started it and why? I'm thinking late Wittgenstein and social based philosophers?schopenhauer1

    The "return" is against the heritage of Kant, severing us from the "in itself" despite inhabiting it. The "speculative" part is a return to using what is established scientifically as a fuel for philosophical thought. If you imagine a particularly staunch Wittgensteinian who would see something like "F=ma" and claim that it holds only within a language game rather than approximately reflecting reality under certain contexts, it's close I think. What is "empirically real" is transformed into an "empirically real for us".

    It's kind of a straw man enemy created for a certain kind of Continental philosopher perhaps, to then knock down. Who besides these small contingent of post-Kantian philosophers are they addressing it for then?schopenhauer1

    God only knows how that answer would look like if the title of the thread was Philosophical circlejerk instead of The Educational Philosophy Thread.sucking lollipops

    Thank you!

    Kant's critical project was to split perception from nature. Things like space and time become part of perception rather than principally parts of the natural world.

    Post-Kantian means those who are inspired by Kant and take his themes seriously. Phenomenology, the study of our perceptions and experiences, was inspired in the canon by a reaction to Kant. If you're severed from the reality of the world by the transparent cage of your perceptions, you still have your perceptions to analyze for patterns.

    Heidegger fits into that narrative as someone who took the analysis of perceptions and related it to an idea of environment/world. Language use plays a crucial role in constructing the interpretive texture of the world.

    After that, there's people who take the interpretive texture of the world very seriously and analyse "discourse", norms of interpretation, principally. Talking about how knowledge is created (Foucault) and how worldviews are generated within the confines of language use. If you're gonna interpret the world in some way, you're going to reach for how you already know to interpret it.

    Somewhere along the way, contextualising scientific claims as just statements of norms of interpretation of the world engendered a neglect for scientific content. Science was interpreted as a human affair rather than an investigation into reality (as well as a human affair).

    That leads to a kind of skepticism through re-interpretation, something like "The universe is 13.8 billion years old" becomes transformed to "The universe is 13.8 billion years old for our current scientific discourse", the statement is no longer about the reality of nature it's about the reality of our norms of interpretation of it.

    That injunction to interpret statements about nature instead as statements about our norms of interpreting nature is an injunction against using statements about nature in the first sense. Thou shalt not speculate, especially philosophically, beyond the boundaries of current discourse.

    Hence the "speculative" part. People in the movement affirm some truths and work with them to output statements about reality without worrying about all that "we're really talking about the norms of interpretation" stuff.

    One interesting way of doing that, now that you're gonna speculate anyway, is to follow how models of reality work and be inspired by them; those models are now interpreted as being approximately true of the objects they concern. This invites talking about models of reality as well as models of humanity's behaviour and thoughts.

    That invites a certain egalitarianism in ontology; removing the implicit "it's about us" from the human norm centered interpretation of the models invites seeing objects as pattern generative; they do stuff in a structured way, there are models of the structure, they can be used to form perspectives on related stuff. Now you can do ontology about patterns in that context, human and inhuman - that's what I think speculative realism is.

    I dunno how accurate the story is historically. I just tried to take the shared themes and put them in a narrative.
  • sucking lollipops
    6


    Thank you!

    Much better. Although, if that's your best, I would still not let you anywhere near a novice.
  • fdrake
    3.9k
    Much better. Although, if that's your best, I would still not let you anywhere near a novice.sucking lollipops

    I don't know how user friendly a description of speculative realism can be. I don't even really think it's a thing; it's more of a perspective that "science and scientific thinking styles are OK now, and we're gonna use them for ontology and other stuff!" than any doctrine. It's also more of a reaction of otherwise tenuously related philosophers to the excesses of some parts of continental philosophy - and that means describing what positive content there is after the reaction, why the reaction is taken, and what the reaction is to.

    In <500 words that's hard.
  • schopenhauer1
    4.3k
    For what they're reacting against; nature is claimed to be construed as nature-under-the-aspect-of-the-norms-of-scientific-discourse, with the critical injunction that its concepts are more social construction than true. The conceptions of nature that transcendentally ground scientific discourse are emphasised as a "for us", never approximately true of an "in itself".fdrake

    Interesting, but things like the Arche-fossil and such seem like it goes to straight Kantianism, not social constructivists. Constructivists don't necessarily take on a Kantian view of time as only existing "in one's head". They may not be mutually exclusive and there may be some overlap, but certainly not entailed.

    If you imagine a particularly staunch Wittgensteinian who would see something like "F=ma" and claim that it holds only within a language game rather than approximately reflecting reality under certain contexts, it's close I think. What is "empirically real" is transformed into an "empirically real for us".fdrake

    Yes, sounds like we are on the same page there on how to characterize late Wittgenstein's influence contra ideas of Speculative Realism or the "in itself". I guess my main question then is what functionally, do we gain or not gain from Speculative Realism vs. Kantianism? The scientific method works the same under both assumptions. The conclusions are the same. It is definitely a metaphysical claim of sorts, I get that. But I also don't really get the notion "Science is giving us metaphysical truths" vs. "Science is giving us human truths" other than one thinks the truths are "really real" and the other essentially assigns a mystery question mark in what is "really real". I guess what are the implications?

    One interesting way of doing that, now that you're gonna speculate anyway, is to follow how models of reality work and be inspired by them; those models are now interpreted as being approximately true of the objects they concern. This invites talking about models of reality as well as models of humanity's behaviour and thoughts.fdrake

    Isn't this just normal social sciences, neurosciences, evolutionary biology and the like?

    That invites a certain flatness of ontology; removing the implicit "it's about us" from the human norm centered interpretation of the models invites seeing objects as pattern generative; they do stuff in a structured way, there are models of the structure, they can be used to form perspectives on related stuff. Now you can do ontology about patterns in that context, human and inhuman - that's what I think speculative realism is.fdrake

    I just think this is normal discourse on "emergence" and such that you see all over now.. Information theories, and all that stuff. It's essentially constructing theories on scientific research. I guess it is just an attitude towards the subject at hand. What it pretty much seems to always go back to is philosophy of mind usually. I know that sounds weird that I am reducing these problems to specifically that field, but this is where all that comes to a head really. Things like ideas about panpsychism and eliminative materialism is where this pretty much plays out. I am guessing that is why the so-called Speculative Realists gravitate towards one or the other as far as I see.
  • sucking lollipops
    6


    How friendly it will be depends on the person that does the description. In other words, it depends on the words, the grammar and the syntax the explainer will choose. When novices are introduced to new ideas, the style of writing should not mess with their effort to understand the ideas. Writing 1000 easy words is easier than writing 500 not so easy words or writing 200 difficult words. It's also easier to read and understand the 1000 easy words. If it has become easier for someone to write in jargon or if someone finds it difficult to use proper grammar, then maybe explaining ideas to novices is not their forte. Maybe they should stick to discussing these ideas with other advanced enthusiasts, at least until they have unlearned the habits of the advanced.
  • fdrake
    3.9k
    I guess my main question then is what functionally, do we gain or not gain from Speculative Realism vs. Kantianism? The scientific method works the same under both assumptions.schopenhauer1

    You're right, it does. I think it's more apt to characterise speculative realism by what questions its philosophers ask and how they ask them. I'm under no illusions that scientists in general actually give a damn about this kind of thing unless it's at the margins or very interdisciplinary anyway.

    The "how" is characterised by asking questions about how stuff works in the broadest sense and describing abstract structures and commonalities, then speculating about what ties them together/generates 'em. The "what" is about anything as with any philosophy, though they seem interested with inhuman stuff, or seeing humans in more general ways.

    I just think this is normal discourse on "emergence" and such that you see all over now.. Information theories, and all that stuff. It's essentially constructing theories on scientific research. I guess it is just an attitude towards the subject at hand. What it pretty much seems to always go back to is philosophy of mind usually.schopenhauer1

    Isn't this just normal social sciences, neurosciences, evolutionary biology and the like?schopenhauer1

    There's a synthetic flavour to it though; an eclectic mix of references dealing with a common theme, taking cues/inspiration from scientific ideas (and probably doing it badly) and philosophical ones (and probably doing it slightly better) together. They use the ideas for philosophical purposes; asking different types of question from the springboard they've bricolaged together.

    I'm not certain that speculative realism or speculative materialism is actually a thing. It's probably more an attitude of frustration and a loose collection of similar methodologies/styles.
  • fdrake
    3.9k


    Fair. Depends on the intended audience.
  • Wheatley
    1.2k
    @Brett
    Q: In Asia in the 1970s, many countries had strong population control programmes that provided family planning services. Didn’t women in these countries receive better care than women in countries where contraception was not supported by the government?

    A: While contraception was an essential and desired service, too little attention was given to service quality because the goal was to promote acceptance of contraceptives. In India, for example, a lot of intrauterine devices (IUDs) inserted during periodic “camps” were not fitted properly and led to unwanted pregnancies. The women involved often ended up having unsafe abortions because abortions were rarely available in health-care facilities, especially in rural areas, even though it had been legalized in 1972 for pregnancies up to 10 weeks. This is still the case in rural areas. Although abortion services are now more widely available in urban areas, especially from private, for-profit providers, low-income urban women must still resort to unsafe procedures. IUDs remain unpopular in India. Other contraceptive choices were very limited and services then, as now, were often poor, yet women were blamed for not wanting to use them. In Indonesia, contraceptive services were often delivered to villages by the military. Women were given no choice in contraception-related matters; they were not offered support or information on dealing with its side-effects or guidance in choosing alternative methods. Again, the drive to increase acceptors trumped interest in service quality.

    https://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/90/2/12-040212/en/
  • StreetlightX
    5.9k
    You should read too about the female infanticide in China as a result of the one child policy too.
  • Wheatley
    1.2k
    I learned about that in high school. :razz:

    If I recall correctly, female infants were abandoned in the woods.
  • Wheatley
    1.2k
    China’s One Child Policy: In 1979 China introduced its one-child policy which set up penalties for families that chose to have more than one child.[52] Women were compelled to undergo a surgical implantation of an IUD following the birth of their first child and tubal ligation if they were to have another child.[52] Families that disobeyed the law were levied a fine and lost their right to many government services, including access to health and educational services.[53] Nevertheless, transgressions of the law most certainly occurred.[53] Consequently, over the course of over three decades, hundreds of thousands of children, the majority of which were girls, were abandoned and required caretaking.[53] Non-governmental organizations stepped in to assist with the re-housing of these girls, leading to the international adoption of over 120,000 Chinese children.[54] Today, China's fertility rate has not quite returned to the rate of replacement (the birth rate that will maintain population size under conditions of zero net immigration/emigration). In fact, in the years since the relinquishing of the policy, China's fertility rate has only risen .04 per family.[55]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_abandonment

    @Brett
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