• flaco
    15
    And here is exactly why we need philosophy. (1) The data always comes packaged. System 1 won't give you the raw data, you couldn't use it even it did; it packages it up using whatever concepts it has. This is the major blow struck repeatedly against classic empiricism, the assumption that reason works with the raw data, the Myth of the Given. But that means there is a role for philosophy in understanding how the data is packaged: you may never be able to say "this wrapper is the concept" and "this part left over after I remove the wrapper is the data" -- that's very nearly Quine's first dogma, the futile attempt to distinguish analytic and synthetic; but you may at least be able to recognize the wrapper and know why it's there and how it relates to other elements of the conceptual apparatus, get a sense of the effect of how it was packaged. I also think we can send back what we get and ask for it to be repackaged in a different way. note added (2) Even though in some sense System 2 is the big leagues, where the stuff we find interesting happens, it's also the feeder system, the minor leagues, for System 1, right? Play enough chess and a lot of the stuff you had to agonizingly work out with step-by-step analysis when you started becomes habit, pushed down to System 1 and handled now in a flash. Stuff you know you know how to do, and could have explained back when you learned it, can become an ability you have trouble articulating. So there is a role for philosophy in making sure that what we do in System 2 is done well, since it's going to end up a habit. And that includes the conceptual apparatus itself; if you get in the habit -- I just mean "habit", still System 2 -- of sending back data packaged in a certain way, because it's not appropriate for your reasoning, System 1 will get the message, move that packaging to a less accessible part of the warehouse, and maybe eventually quit using it at all.Srap Tasmaner

    As I sit here in my armchair, I find that I am just not understanding this passage. I think I can accept the idea of packaging: stripping away extraneous information, abstracting. So for the purpose of this passage, do you have an example of the packaging that you have in mind.

    While my personal opinion is that system 1 is the "big leagues", we should probably discuss that some other time. I would like to understand your concept of system 2 sending data back to system 1 for repackaging. I get that system 2 can train system 1 for expertise like chess, but this idea about system 2 deciding that it wants data packaged in a certain way and training system 1 to do it just isn't resonating. Can you give an example to help me understand? Thanks.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    2.4k


    For repackaging I have in mind very familiar things we do in deciding how to carve up what we observe. If I show you a picture of a bunch of people and ask you what you see, there are a lot of right answers available! All of those answers are going to package the people in the picture (assuming that's even what you think about -- maybe you notice their clothes) in a certain way: a bunch of old folks, a bunch of white folks, a bunch of people. But suppose I then ask you how many women are in the picture? You might not have thought about this -- which may or may not mean you analysed the question and tried to guess what I was asking, depends on the circumstances. So now you need the "data" to be repackaged into [ the men in the picture ] and [ the women in the picture ]. Mostly you'll do that quite readily. But the categories used in the second version are still the province of System 1, your habits of identifying and classifying and conceptualizing, habits acquired largely through training to speak your native language; only if things get tricky will you settle down to analysing the data piece by piece, seeking justification for how you classify, etc.

    I'm also thinking of slightly more specialized pursuits like painting. As I understand it, in introductory painting classes some considerable pains must be taken to get students to see the patches of color in their visual field: they tend to think apples are a uniform red all over because the object they know is kinda like that. With enough practice they can learn to overcome color constancy and actually see the effects of light and shadow and reflectivity that present the apple not just in shades of red but with blues and purples and whatnot. Again, even that repackaging is not the raw data, but matches up with the names printed on the tubes of paint!

    Does that make sense?
  • flaco
    15
    Good example. So your suggestion is that on a really good day our interlocutors and our system 2 will show us a new way to look at a concept that will improve the way we understand the world, either by shifting our focus or by training system 1 to pre-process data differently. That's plausible.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    2.4k


    Yeah, I think there is overwhelming evidence that something like this must happen. I see what's on a chessboard dramatically differently from the way my kids do, and I know people who play a hell of a lot better than I do (or used to) see it differently still. System 2 as the minor leagues for System 1's habits is clear enough.
    anecdote
    (I think it's Feynman who tells a story about the first paper he presented, and some great physicist -- I forget who -- gets up at the end to ask a question which Feynman later realizes completely demolished what he was saying. He couldn't get over this man in real time putting his finger exactly on the weak spot in his paper.)


    And I have a sense -- I think! -- of how kids can be trained to conceptualize as we do but it still feels like System 1's pump needs to be primed somehow, if not so much our individual System 1s, since we have adults to pour a cup of water in, then the "original", the core conceptual apparatus we've been passing down to our progeny for millennia -- and I don't see much alternative there besides "thank you, Darwin", which is not overly satisfying.
  • flaco
    15
    I guess Darwin has become our "god of the gaps". But I don't see much in the way of alternatives either.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    2.4k


    Yeah. Many years ago I more or less gave up philosophy because of the rise of cognitive science -- I just didn't see anything much left for us to do. (I was young.)

    My evolving view -- which one can see evolving in this very thread! -- actually reinforces my desire to mostly ignore brain science but keep doing philosophy, because brain science is not in my purview but there's still a ton to say about whatever System 1 dumps into our awareness and what we do with it.

    And this still leaves two ways of reading Kant (should I ever get around to this), either as describing what System 1 throws our way or as the transcendental analysis of the conditions of possibility of experience -- in which case it can also be kind of a guide to what System 1 is constrained into coming up with.
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