• Book273
    65
    Or is it the very fact that we talk cross purposes that makes it worthwhile to discuss a topic?Benj96

    It is exactly that which allows a discussion to bear worthwhile fruit. I will expound upon a topic from my perspective, you from yours, and, through effective use of language we will come to a greater understanding of the topic, perhaps enough so to add to, or modify, our original perspective.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k
    That is a complete mischaracterization. Scientism claims that scientific certainty is exclusively authoritative, even in domains that are beyond that of its inquiry.

    Science obviously provides an accurate understanding of the phenomena it examines, that is the whole point of science.
    Pantagruel

    That says it all. Scientism attempts to extend "science" beyond its domain of enquiry, through the use of false premises, such as the one you describe above, that the human species is an entity which can be treated as a system. And so you assert that some sort of authoritative "scientific certainty" has been produced through the application of a false premise.

    In reality, human intention, which is the driving force behind the creation and use of language, and meaning in general, is outside the domain of science, being the domain of moral philosophy. But your false premise, that language can be defined as an attribute of a species, rather than as intentional actions between individuals, creates the illusion that it can be understood scientifically. That is a case of attempting to extend science beyond its domain. And you, insisting that the application of this false premise provides you with some sort of authority, (arising from the deceptive belief of "scientific certainty") over those who respect the true reality of the situation in this field, which is truly outside the domain of science for the reason stated, are demonstrating scientism.
  • Pantagruel
    1.1k
    That says it all. Scientism attempts to extend "science" beyond its domain of enquiry, through the use of false premises, such as the one you describe above, that the human species is an entity which can be treated as a systemMetaphysician Undercover

    That is not a false premise, but an established scientific fact. Aggregates of human behaviours have been proven to be amenable to systems theoretical analysis. That is good science.

    Rather, what you are doing is attempting to utilize the gloss of scientism to foster your own metaphysical agenda, which is bad philosophy, since it is pure prejudice.
  • Pantagruel
    1.1k
    In reality, human intention, which is the driving force behind the creation and use of language, and meaning in general, is outside the domain of science, being the domain of moral philosophy. But your false premise, that language can be defined as an attribute of a species, rather than as intentional actions between individuals, creates the illusion that it can be understood scientifically.Metaphysician Undercover

    The premise that concepts arose through interaction is pretty fundamental. Think of the genealogy of the mind. Individuals did not evolve in a vacuum, create a set of concepts, then proceed to try them out on each other. All of our concepts, including the concept of the individual self, obviously evolved through the normal, pragmatic, day-to-day interactions through which (the individuals of) our species survived and developed. If we are speculating, that speculation certainly makes more sense than the opposite (that we create our own concepts in vacuo, as it were).

    Talcott Parsons and Jurgen Habermas both wrote multi-volume works about this specific concept. So it certainly carries enough weight to be taken seriously.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k
    That is not a false premise, but an established scientific fact. Aggregates of human behaviours have been proven to be amenable to systems theoretical analysis. That is good science.

    Rather, what you are doing is attempting to utilize the gloss of scientism to foster your own metaphysical agenda, which is bad philosophy, since it is pure prejudice.
    Pantagruel

    Prejudice is not an issue in my position, because I am simply showing how yours is wrong. I don't have a strong belief, or position on the exact nature of language or meaning, but I do know that when there is a group of individuals, it is wrong to assign a higher degree of reality to the group than to the individual. That's pretty obvious, for the reasons I've stated, which you seem to have ignored. It's clear that individuals can stray from the herd at any time, and this does not diminish the reality of their existence. There is all sorts of evidence which proves your position wrong, especially the nature of evolution, as I've explained. So the rejection of your position is based in evidence to the contrary, not in prejudice.

    The premise that concepts arose through interaction is pretty fundamental. Think of the genealogy of the mind. Individuals did not evolve in a vacuum, create a set of concepts, then proceed to try them out on each other. All of our concepts, including the concept of the individual self, obviously evolved through the normal, pragmatic, day-to-day interactions through which (the individuals of) our species survived and developed. If we are speculating, that speculation certainly makes more sense than the opposite (that we create our own concepts in vacuo, as it were).Pantagruel

    Surely I agree that concepts arose through the interaction of individuals, that's what I've been arguing. What I've been denying is that there is an individual thing called "the species", and that concepts arose as an activity of this thing, the species. So what I am saying is that if we want to speculate about the nature of concepts, meaning, and language, we need to focus on the activities of individual human beings, not some illusory thing called "the species", and its supposed activities.
  • Pantagruel
    1.1k
    Surely I agree that concepts arose through the interaction of individuals, that's what I've been arguing. What I've been denying is that there is an individual thing called "the species", and that concepts arose as an activity of this thing, the speciesMetaphysician Undercover

    If concepts arose as the result of the interaction of individuals A and B, then the concepts are a function of those two organic beings. Since concepts arose as a result of the cumulative interaction of all organic beings (people) then the concepts are a function of the interaction of all those organic beings, aka...the collection known as...the species! It isn't something that has to be proven, it is simply an empirical fact.

    So while we may not seem to differ that much on this, I do think you are clutching at something more illusory, since you seem to believe that the individual has some kind of privileged, context-free status. Language is one giant set of inter-relations, where the meaning of anything is conditioned by its context, both present and historical. It's central to hermeneutics. And the same is true of people, qua language users. I don't necessarily ascribe an emergent-ontological status to the collective; however nor do I see any particular reason to deny it.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k
    If concepts arose as the result of the interaction of individuals A and B, then the concepts are a function of those two organic beings. Since concepts arose as a result of the cumulative interaction of all organic beings (people) then the concepts are a function of the interaction of all those organic beings, aka...the collection known as...the species! It isn't something that has to be proven, it is simply an empirical fact.Pantagruel

    This would only be the case, if a concept was something which existed independently of the human mind which creates it. And, this is how we often speak of concepts, as independent things. The usual method of supporting these independent Ideas ontologically, is through the premise of Platonic realism. But Platonic realism denies the notion that human minds create concepts, because of the very assumption that concepts are independent from human minds.

    So, when we reject Platonism in favour of the idea that human minds create concepts, then we lose the premise which allows concepts to be independent from human minds. Now the concept is right in the human mind, distinct and unique to the individual mind which holds it. My concept of "language" or of "meaning", or of "2", or "4", is created by my mind, and particular in its form as being unique to my mind, having been created by my mind through the education process which was specific to me, due to my personal circumstances.

    The point is, that to say concepts are created by human minds, and also that concepts are things which exist independently from individual human minds, is to conflate two incompatible premises. To make a statement about the existence of concepts, and claim it as "an empirical fact" is nonsensical because the existence of concepts is not even supported empirically.

    So while we may not seem to differ that much on this, I do think you are clutching at something more illusory, since you seem to believe that the individual has some kind of privileged, context-free status. Language is one giant set of inter-relations, where the meaning of anything is conditioned by its context, both present and historical. It's central to hermeneutics. And the same is true of people, qua language users. I don't necessarily ascribe an emergent-ontological status to the collective; however nor do I see any particular reason to deny it.Pantagruel

    The individual clearly does have a privileged perspective, because concepts are known to exist in minds and minds are the property of individuals. If your intent is to remove the concept from the mind, and say that it is something independent from human minds, then I think we'll have to move to some sort of Platonism to support the ontological status of the concepts. Otherwise where would you assume that a concept exists?

    .
  • Pantagruel
    1.1k
    minds are the property of individualsMetaphysician Undercover

    Rather, this is entirely what is in question. I think we have reached the impasse of a basic difference in approach which your premise about concepts doesn't address for me. It just seems another fiat to rescue the privileged role of the self.

    Another tack on this issue is the theory of embedded or distributed cognition:
    Cognitive processes may be distributed across the members of a social group.
    Cognitive processes may be distributed in the sense that the operation of the cognitive system involves coordination between internal and external (material or environmental) structure.

    Cultural artefacts for me are exactly the sedimentation of human actions and concepts. I do take sociology to be an empirical science, as do sociologists. It sounds to me as though you believe you live in a nominalist-idealist world. Charming, but really not reflective of the total gamut of modern understanding.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k
    Another tack on this issue is the theory of embedded or distributed cognition:
    Cognitive processes may be distributed across the members of a social group.
    Cognitive processes may be distributed in the sense that the operation of the cognitive system involves coordination between internal and external (material or environmental) structure.
    Pantagruel

    You appear to be introducing ideas here which have no support in evidence. My cognitive process is proper to myself, and there is no evidence to indicate that my thinking is shared with you. When your theory requires the concoction of unsupported magic, like ESP, to support it, then you ought to just admit that the theory has a problem.

    Sure, we share cognitive tasks, and an individual's cognitive system requires external factors, but true understanding of the reality which is the cognitive system, requires a proper distinction between what is internal to the system and what is external to it. A "system" needs an accredited boundary.. We can place the boundary at the individual, according to the evidence which we have, that my cognitive activity is separate and distinct from your cognitive activity, or we can ignore this evidence as you are inclined to do, and seek some other principles to support a boundary. Where would you place this boundary? The members of a family, a community, a state, or country, the species as a whole, animals as a whole, everything as a whole? Now that you have denied the real boundary, the one which we have clear evidence for, the individual, you no longer have anything real to support a boundary, and now the boundary, which supports your supposed system is arbitrary. This will not produce an accurate understanding because the truth as to what is internal and external to the system will be veiled.

    If you take a step back, and see the real true boundary, the one which we have an abundance of evidence for, the one which formulates the individual as distinct from other individuals, then you can grasp language as crossing the boundary of the system. Language is employed both internally, within the individual's cognition, and externally, as a communicative device. This is essential to the nature of language. And, I believe it is extremely important to the understanding of language, meaning, and the nature of the use of signs and symbols, to represent the system which employs the signs as an open system, which allows language to cross the boundary of the system. Otherwise you cannot account for the ambiguity which is inherent within language use. If it were the case, that language use occurred completely within a system (human species being the system). there would be no reason why the same word would be used in completely different ways within the very same system.

    Cultural artefacts for me are exactly the sedimentation of human actions and concepts. I do take sociology to be an empirical science, as do sociologists. It sounds to me as though you believe you live in a nominalist-idealist world. Charming, but really not reflective of the total gamut of modern understanding.Pantagruel

    Artefacts, like any works of art, are works of individuals. That many artefacts are a collaboration of individual efforts is testimony to the value of cooperation. But in my mind it is a big mistake to take human cooperation for granted. Cooperation is a product of moral effort. If "modern understanding" takes human cooperation for granted, then I think that's a misnomer and we ought to be saying "modern misunderstanding".
  • Pantagruel
    1.1k
    You appear to be introducing ideas here which have no support in evidence. My cognitive process is proper to myself, and there is no evidence to indicate that my thinking is shared with you.Metaphysician Undercover

    Distributed cognition has been studied extensively and experimentally. Hence it can be said to have empirical evidence. It is certainly a different paradigm of thought from the individual-centric one we have inherited from antiquity. However it just makes more sense inasmuch as it does explain socialized and coordinated behaviours. Outgrowing this individual-centric (selfish) paradigm will be key to the future of our society I believe.

    Anyway, yes, distributed cognition, environmental and social, is very much a real thing. I'm not going to try to sell you on the idea, the literature abounds. I've cited many already. George Herbert Mead's views are also insightful:

    One of the most important sociological approaches to the self was developed by American sociologist George Herbert Mead. Mead conceptualizes the mind as the individual importation of the social process.
    This process is characterized by Mead as the “I” and the “me. ” The “me” is the social self and the “I” is the response to the “me. ” The “I” is the individual’s impulses. The “I” is self as subject; the “me” is self as object.

    For Mead, existence in a community comes before individual consciousness. First one must participate in the different social positions within society and only subsequently can one use that experience to take the perspective of others and thus become self-conscious.


    You are free to explore these or not. It seems these domains of study are not familiar to you.

    Cheers.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k
    Distributed cognition has been studied extensively and experimentally. Hence it can be said to have empirical evidence.Pantagruel

    Well, maybe you could show me the empirical evidence of "distributed cognition", and explain how these instances of evidence are not better described as distinct cognitive beings involved in distinct acts of cognition, who are communicating with each other through language, rather than your assumption that these instances are a single act of cognition. Do you recognize the role of intention within cognition, and the fact that different people have different intentions?

    Anyway, yes, distributed cognition, environmental and social, is very much a real thing.Pantagruel

    Until you can either disassociate cognition from intention, or somehow show that my intention is exactly the same as yours, I think It should be very obvious to anyone with the capacity for individual thinking, that your goal of "distributed cognition" is just a pipe dream.

    Outgrowing this individual-centric (selfish) paradigm will be key to the future of our society I believe.Pantagruel

    You're showing your scientism again, assuming that science can go beyond is limits. This is consistent with your false claims of empirical evidence for distributed cognition. You take the evidence, draw a false conclusion from it, then claim that the false conclusion is empirical evidence from which your supposed "science" can proceed.

    You are free to explore these or not. It seems these domains of study are not familiar to you.Pantagruel

    These studies are familiar enough to me, familiar enough for me to reject them with sound argumentation, as I have in this thread. If it is your desire to continue in this misdirected study, that's your prerogative. I am only trying to show you how this direction is inconsistent with the facts of life, and therefore wrong.
  • Pantagruel
    1.1k
    Well, maybe you could show me the empirical evidence of "distributed cognition", and explain how these instances of evidence are not better described as distinct cognitive beings involved in distinct acts of cognition, who are communicating with each other through language, rather than your assumption that these instances are a single act of cognition. Do you recognize the role of intention within cognition, and the fact that different people have different intentions?Metaphysician Undercover

    Here, this is a pretty comprehensive article with lots of citations.

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13164-013-0131-x

    I would never want to persuade anyone who didn't wish to be persuaded of anything. For me, this perspective solves a lot more problems than it raises. I think that about says it.

    edit. Here's a nice excerpt from that article:
    Transactive memories reside in the memories of both individuals when considered as a combined system, given their shared awareness of the way information is distributed within the group, which can take more or less differentiated and specialized forms.

    edit2. I suspect the section on the Metaphysics of Group Memory will also interest you.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k

    Thanks for the reference Pantagruel. I have read through the article, only skipping over some of the closing notes about directions for future research. I really do not see how the evidence presented supports what you are arguing better than it supports what I am arguing.

    As I said, the human individual as an agent utilizes external and internal things during cognitive activities. What this indicates is that the individual thinking being is an open system, as described by von Bertalanffy, and as I said, language is utilized on both side of the boundary of that system.

    There is nothing in the article to indicate that any aspects of the activity of remembering, or the activity of cognition, occurs externally to the boundary demarcating the individual agent, except of course the activity occurring internally to another agent. The authors of this type of theory which you propose seem to observe an agent's use of external objects in the activities of remembering, and falsely conclude that some aspect of the memory activity occurs externally to the agent. The conclusion is false because the external objects are passive in relation to the act of remembering, and they only enter into that act according to the will of the agent who might make an association, representation, or utilize the external object in some other way.

    So to me, the whole article describes a misinterpretation of evidence. The empirical fact that I use external objects as memory aids, I take notes in a lecture for example, is not evidence that part of the act of remembering occurs externally to the individual. Nor is the fact that I use a calculator to sum figures evidence that part of the act of cognition occurs externally. Yet proponents of these types of theories use examples like these to support their theories, without explaining how the factual evidence is actually supposed to support the theory. So what it comes down to is a matter of interpretation of the evidence, and its what I would call misinterpretation.

    The section on the metaphysics of group memory provides a good example of this type of misinterpretation. They describe a phenomenon they call "alignment", in which two individuals interacting will behave similarly. Instead of proceeding toward understanding what is going on within each of the individuals, to produce this form of compatibility, the theorists present us with a supposed "alignment system" which exists externally to the individuals, and this is supposed to be what causes the alignment.

    You ought to be able to see how this is clearly a misunderstanding, a misinterpretation of the observed evidence. The cause of alignment is the willingness of the two distinct individuals, not an external system. The proof of this is the fact that the alignment, and therefore the proposed "alignment system" does not exist until after alignment has occurred. Therefore the alignment system cannot be the cause of alignment. This problem is endemic to the "systems" perspective on part/whole relations. They assume that the cause of part to part relations, which creates a whole, is a property of the whole itself. But it's quite clear that the whole has no existence until the part to part relations are established, and therefore it cannot be the cause of these relations. The part to part relations must come into existence before there is a whole. So it is illogical propose that the cause of the parts acting in cooperation to form a whole, comes from the whole itself. We must assume that the cause of such cooperation comes either from within the parts themselves, or from something else, completely independent.

    It seems as if the authors of the article respect the fact that these theories which you are proposing are just a matter of creative interpretation of evidence. Here is one of the closing statements:

    On the other hand, Clowes (though he argues that HEC may prove more useful than HEMC in investigating the effects of our increasing reliance on novel forms of external memory) points out that, given a case of putatively extended cognition, a theorist committed to one or another alternative view can always redescribe it so that it is consistent with his view. Thus it is at this point unclear whether empirical evidence can help to resolve the debate among the varieties of distributed theory.

    It seems to be, that these theories are dependent on a creative interpretation of empirical evidence in the first place. So they all rely on making up fictitious relations between the actual evidence and the proposed theory. Therefore one theory cannot be singled out as the true theory, because they are all false. They all propose an illogical part/whole relationship which ought to be rejected.
  • Pantagruel
    1.1k
    It seems to be, that these theories are dependent on a creative interpretation of empirical evidence in the first place. So they all rely on making up fictitious relations between the actual evidence and the proposed theory. Therefore one theory cannot be singled out as the true theory, because they are all false. They all propose an illogical part/whole relationship which ought to be rejected.Metaphysician Undercover

    Not so. They are simply based on a systems-aware perspective. One which you reject in favour of your individual-centric perspective. Which is no less an interpretive choice that you are making. The only difference is, the systems-centric perspective tends to solve problems rather than generate aporias.

    As an example, the calculation of quantum collisions is a massively complex operation requiring vast amounts of computational power. However a recently discovered mathematical entity known as the amplituhedron, which mathematically reconceives reality as a differently ordered type of system (removing the traditional constraints of locality and unitarity), facilitates the calculation of some quantum collisions on a sheet of paper.

    There is no "misinterpretation," just an alternate interpretation. One which can be meaningfully applied across many, many different domains. And that meaningful applicability is itself the best gauge of the power of a theory.

    Versus a metaphysical interpretation which only really works if you allow it to be unyoked from the constraints of scientific realism (which was your initial proposal, that ontological truths can/must exhibit independence of scientific truths).

    So yes, in a cooked up, abstract sort of way your notion of ontological singularity makes sense. In a much more robust and edifying way, the notion of systemic entities makes better sense, facilitating, as it does, a practical and universally inclusive model of reality.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k
    They are simply based on a systems-aware perspective.Pantagruel

    A person can claim a "system" to exist anywhere, and assert that evidence supports the reality of this system, but the evidence needs to be judged. I've made that judgement. A system has boundaries, and the boundaries of these supposed systems are not identified, nor are they evident. That is the basis of my judgement. I have nothing against a "systems-aware perspective", as I've said, a living being is an open system. The boundaries of that system are evident, yet thing pass through the boundaries. I object to claims of "a system" where evidence of a system is inconclusive, therefore the claims are not justified.

    The only difference is, the systems-centric perspective tends to solve problems rather than generate aporias.Pantagruel

    Also, I've already explained to you how usefulness of a theory does not indicate truthfulness. That is a fundamental feature of mathematics, it is very useful, but it does not necessarily reveal truth. Truth depends on the soundness of the premises employed in the application. So arguing the pragmatically effectiveness of applying systems theories all over the place does nothing to indicate that these theories might reveal truth.

    There is no "misinterpretation," just an alternate interpretation. One which can be meaningfully applied across many, many different domains. And that meaningful applicability is itself the best gauge of the power of a theory.Pantagruel

    That's your opinion. My opinion is that it is a misinterpretation because it veils the truth of the matter for a principle of pragmaticism. And so I stand by my judgement, that the truth of a theory is a better gauge of the theory than "meaningful applicability" is.

    So yes, in a cooked up, abstract sort of way your notion of ontological singularity makes sense. In a much more robust and edifying way, the notion of systemic entities makes better sense, facilitating, as it does, a practical and universally inclusive model of reality.Pantagruel

    I'm afraid you've got that backward. Truth is a much more robust principle than applicability.
  • Pantagruel
    1.1k
    I'm afraid you've got that backward. Truth is a much more robust principle than applicability.Metaphysician Undercover

    As a pragmatist, I would have to disagree with you one-hundred percent.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k

    I knew you were pragmatist. Pretty much anyone who vouches for the metaphysical virtues of systems theory is pragmatist. And pragmaticism is in bed with scientism because it cedes the quest for truth in areas which are beyond the limits of science, through the compromise of accepting what science can give in those areas, useful principles.

    But as I explained, systems theory is not applicable to ontology because of the false relationship between part and whole which it assumes. So it cannot give us a true understanding of the relationship between one being and another, and therefore we need to turn somewhere else, like moral philosophy for a true understanding in that field.
  • MAYAEL
    22
    I have this boner that I love and love to show it to all my friends especially my dog and when my dog showed my boner to his dog he thought it was so funny he just had to show it to his pup (hes just a little pup about 6yrs old) and of course you know how pup's can get when shown a really good boner.

    Now that story probably sounds a bit perverted at first glance but I promise you there is a valid reason for the unusual choice of words .
    this little story is to prove a point about how the meaning of words change over time and how even if your talking in your native language you can still get lost and confused as to the meaning of a word or phrase depending on if its from a time period before or after yours.

    So in this example I used different meanings ranging from the 1920's all the way to today
    As well as a variety of cultural influences

    See the name for a cartoon comedy back in the 1920's was called a "boner" because it would make you laugh so much your bones would hurt and only got its sexual meaning after the popularity of playboy in the 1950's

    and obviously dogs don't know how to read comics but bestfriends do and so a "dog" is when your in the hood referring to your close buddie/friend.

    So with that information I think it should completely change the interpretation of the story as well as shed a new understanding on how the original meaning of words will always change to fit the culture and the times they're in
  • Pantagruel
    1.1k
    And pragmaticism is in bed with scientismMetaphysician Undercover

    Now you crossed a line. That's unwarranted and insulting. Clearly you understand neither the meaning of pragmatism, nor scientism.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k
    Now you crossed a line. That's unwarranted and insulting.Pantagruel

    Is the system going to punish me now?

    Clearly you understand neither the meaning of pragmatism, nor scientism.Pantagruel

    I don't believe there's a system which sets the meanings to those words.
  • Pantagruel
    1.1k


    The very idea that, just because metaphysics is 'beyond physics', it somehow implies that physics (science in general) is invalid or untrue is ludicrous and laughable. That is a patent non-sequitur. I know of no serious philosopher who ever held such a view. Henri Bergson, a personal favourite of mine, was extremely well-versed in the science of his day. The only way to truly go beyond science is first to understand what it is you are going-beyond. Likewise Popper, the prototypical philosopher of science, advocated for "metaphysical research programs", which he conceived as building upon, but extending past, the limits of current science.

    There are some metaphysical notions that make sense. Yours...do not.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k
    The very idea that, just because metaphysics is 'beyond physics', it somehow implies that physics (science in general) is invalid or untrue is ludicrous and laughable. That is a patent non-sequitur. I know of no serious philosopher who ever held such a view.Pantagruel

    Clearly this does not apply to anything I've said. I've explained the reasons for, and given the logical demonstration as to why your system theory is unacceptable. It is not a matter of 'mine is metaphysics and yours is physics therefore yours is invalid', its a matter of yours has been shown to be inconsistent with the evidence, and illogical through the application of sound metaphysical principles.
  • Pantagruel
    1.1k
    The very idea that, just because metaphysics is 'beyond physics', it somehow implies that physics (science in general) is invalid or untrue is ludicrous and laughable. That is a patent non-sequitur. I know of no serious philosopher who ever held such a view.
    — Pantagruel

    Clearly this does not apply to anything I've said.
    Metaphysician Undercover

    usefulness of a theory does not indicate truthfulnessMetaphysician Undercover

    The usefulness of a theory certainly is a better indicator of truthfulness than of falsity. Whereas an utterly useless theory, if not false, is at least unsinn, or meaningless. Unless it is to be interpreted as art. I find yours unredeemed in that respect however.

    Oh, and just saying that you have refuted my examples, doesn't make it so. I stand by the fact of the entire science of sociology as validating my evaluation of the scientific status of collective-conceptual thought. And, yes, it has proven useful. I'd say that makes it more true than false. At least I admit of a definable and objective criterion of truth, beyond just opinion.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k
    The usefulness of a theory certainly is a better indicator of truthfulness than of falsity.Pantagruel

    I don't see any logic behind this. Perhaps, statistically speaking, a useful theory might be more likely to turn out to be true than to be false. But even if this is true, (and I doubt that it is), it does not give reason to accept a theory which is demonstrably false, yet useful, as true.

    Oh, and just saying that you have refuted my examples, doesn't make it so.Pantagruel

    Tell me then, what is your response to the simple logic which I presented. The activities of a group of people cannot be described as the activities of a "system", until the people can be observed to be acting in a specific way. The "system" only exists after the necessary behaviour of the people has been established. Therefore it is impossible that the "system" is the cause of the people acting in the specified way, because that type of activity is necessarily prior to the existence of the system. So, if we want a thorough understanding of this specific type of behaviour, we need to look beyond the "system", because analyzing the "system", which is posterior to the behaviour, is incapable of giving us an understanding of the cause of the behaviour. The specific behaviour is the cause of existence of the "system", not vise versa.
  • Pantagruel
    1.1k
    Tell me then, what is your response to the simple logic which I presented. The activities of a group of people cannot be described as the activities of a "system", until the people can be observed to be acting in a specific wayMetaphysician Undercover

    Yes, that is exactly what systems theoretic analysis does, establishes that systems of all types exist and behave according to predictive models.

    Therefore it is impossible that the "system" is the cause of the people acting in the specified way, because that type of activity is necessarily prior to the existence of the system.Metaphysician Undercover

    The system doesn't have to be the cause of the actions per se. Only that the actions of the individual components of the system, taken collectively, have additional effects at the (inter)systemic level. That is the essence of emergence.
  • Pantagruel
    1.1k


    Here is Mead's account of how mind and self are social emergents, and language provides the mechanism for their emergence.

    In order to express your ideas, you must convey them to an audience. In doing so, you therefore rely upon a commonly accepted vocabulary of "social acts." The social act can be described without introducing the pre-conception of consciousness. (Mind, Self and Society, p. 18)

    For illocutionary acts, the intent is to evoke a behaviour from the other. But, in general, communication is an illocutionary act where the intent is to evoke understanding of a specific meaning. So "consciousness of the content and flow of meaning involved depends on...taking the attitude of the other towards [your] own gestures" (p. 47) Gestures become symbols for particular types of responses within communities of understanding. The existence of mind is only intelligible in terms of these symbols.

    As Dewey says, meaning arises through communication. In other words, communication is fundamental to identity, not the reverse. The idea that sociation if fundamental to the genealogy of the self-concept is basic to the science of sociology.

    Or maybe some genius sat down and, through pure reason, constructed a template of symbolic actions, which the rest of the world then adopted owing to their manifest (although not pragmatic) superiority.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k
    Yes, that is exactly what systems theoretic analysis does, establishes that systems of all types exist and behave according to predictive models.Pantagruel

    Right, so understanding the supposed "system" cannot adequately inform us about the behaviour of individuals who comprise that "system". And evidence (evolution for example) indicates that it is the unique and particular features of the individual which provide the meaningful aspects of the "system". Therefore systems theoretical analysis cannot provide us with an understanding of meaning.

    The system doesn't have to be the cause of the actions per se. Only that the actions of the individual components of the system, taken collectively, have additional effects at the (inter)systemic level. That is the essence of emergence.Pantagruel

    To understand an activity requires understanding its cause. To remove this requirement and claim that you have an understanding of the activity without identifying its cause, is misunderstanding. That's what systems theory and "emergence" give us, when represented as an understanding, they give us misunderstanding. "Emergence" very clearly leaves the cause of what emerges as unknown. If "emergence" is presented as an understanding of that activity which falls under that name, it is a misunderstanding. If you recognize that "emergence" does not give an understanding of that activity, you would see the need to go beyond "emerge" for some real principles.

    What terms like "systems theoretical analysis", and "emergence" actually signify is a lack of understanding of the activity being referred to. This is evident from the quote I brought from your referred article on extended memory and extended cognition. They simply describe the evidence in a way which is intended to support their pet theory. There is no real understanding involved.

    In doing so, you therefore rely upon a commonly accepted vocabulary of "social acts."Pantagruel

    This is a false premise. If it were true that we rely on "commonly accepted vocabulary" to get our ideas across, nothing new would ever "emerge" in the realm of ideas. But clearly new ideas are coming out all the time, and being incorporated into the public domain. And each time we communicate it is actually a different idea which is being communicated. That's the reality of spatial-temporal being. Therefore what is really the case is that we rely on something other than "commonly accepted vocabulary" to get our ideas (which are fundamentally unique), across to others. You will baulk at this and say come on MU, obviously we use the same words. But what we "rely" on, to get our ideas across to others is unique formulations of words, and other unique aspects of context, such as our surroundings. So this proposed premise misrepresents what we "rely" on. Since each one of our ideas is unique and specific, occurring in unique and specific circumstances, what we "rely" on to get that unique and specific idea across to others is a unique and specific formulation of words. And, such a unique and specific formulation of words must be represented as a unique and specific "social act".

    For illocutionary acts, the intent is to evoke a behaviour from the other. But, in general, communication is an illocutionary act where the intent is to evoke understanding of a specific meaning. So "consciousness of the content and flow of meaning involved depends on...taking the attitude of the other towards [your] own gestures" (p. 47) Gestures become symbols for particular types of responses within communities of understanding. The existence of mind is only intelligible in terms of these symbols.Pantagruel

    So this paragraph actually contradicts the proposition which I objected to above. Notice the use of "depends on" in the middle of the paragraph. After first proposing that we rely on something common, the author now states that the flow of meaning "depends on" something very unique and specific, i.e. adopting the very particular, and unique "attitude of the other".

    Do you apprehend this contradiction Pantagruel? The obvious way to resolve it is to reject the original premise, that we "rely upon a commonly accepted vocabulary of 'social acts'", for the reasons I explained. The evidence is clear that we rely on a unique formulation of words, rather than something common, to get an idea across. And if it were true that we actually did rely on a commonly accepted vocabulary to get any ideas across, language could never have come into existence ("emerged") in the first place, because we could never have gotten any ideas across.

    As Dewey says, meaning arises through communication. In other words, communication is fundamental to identity, not the reverse. The notion sociation if fundamental to the genealogy of the self-concept is basic to the science of sociology.Pantagruel

    It's starting to appear to me, like the so-called "science of sociology" is one big misunderstanding; if it really is as you say it is.
  • Pantagruel
    1.1k
    And evidence (evolution for example) indicates that it is the unique and particular features of the individual which provide the meaningful aspects of the "system".Metaphysician Undercover

    This is a non-sequitur. Individual features are meaningful at an intra-systemic level certainly.

    To understand an activity requires understanding its cause.Metaphysician Undercover

    Exactly. This is why Mead stipulates that, in order to understand the meaning you are trying to convey, you must first understand the way that meaning is going to be perceived by someone else. Which is why meaning, and ultimately mind, is a social construct.

    What terms like "systems theoretical analysis", and "emergence" actually signify is a lack of understanding of the activity being referred to.Metaphysician Undercover

    No, they signify that there is a layer of meaning (and a corresponding entity) operating at a different level. Again, your conclusion is a non-sequitur which merely contradicts the principles being invoked.

    This is a false premise. If it were true that we rely on "commonly accepted vocabulary" to get our ideas across, nothing new would ever "emerge" in the realm of ideas.Metaphysician Undercover

    No, it means that language evolved through actual social interactions. This is so trivially evident I'm not even going to bother amplifying it.

    Do you apprehend this contradiction Pantagruel?Metaphysician Undercover

    No I don't apprehend any contradiction. The entire description is consistent, based on my previous clarifications. It is possible that you may misunderstand sociology. Sociology is a very real and valid science.

    Alternatively, I'd like to suggest that your conception of metaphysics really amounts to a mass of speculations, loosely attached to some collection of metaphysical notions, not borne out by any significant historical metaphysical thinkers. I reread the introduction to the Critique of Pure Reason last night. Kant certainly never construes metaphysics as contradicting science. Quite the contrary, he maintains the validity of science, within its domain. It just so happens that our current level of science has reached the point where it is able to account for mental constructs and entities, at least to some degree.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k
    his is why Mead stipulates that, in order to understand the meaning you are trying to convey, you must first understand the way that meaning is going to be perceived by someone else.Pantagruel

    I can't believe that you do not see how this is a false premise. To know how someone else is going to perceive something requires that you have communicated with the person already. But you cannot communicate without having an understanding of the meaning being conveyed. So this statement reflects a vicious circle, where it is implied that you cannot communicate unless you've already communicated.


    Sociology is a very real and valid science.Pantagruel

    Sure, sociology is a valid science. But like in all sciences, theories will be put forth which are illogical and not adequately supported by evidence. And, just like in the other sciences, proponents of these theories will twist the evidence in an attempt to support the illogical theories.

    Alternatively, I'd like to suggest that your conception of metaphysics really amounts to a mass of speculations, loosely attached to some collection of metaphysical notions, not borne out by any significant historical metaphysical thinkers. I reread the introduction to the Critique of Pure Reason last night. Kant certainly never construes metaphysics as contradicting science. Quite the contrary, he maintains the validity of science, within its domain. It just so happens that our current level of science has reached the point where it is able to account for mental constructs and entities, at least to some degree.Pantagruel

    Right, "within its domain" being the key words here. And when people twist the evidence to make it appear like science has answers to issues which are outside of its domain, that is called scientism. Do you recognize, that the proposition that the human species, or that society, or the community, is an entity, is an ontological claim. It is metaphysics, and therefore such claims are outside the domain of science.

    I have nothing against science, and I do not construe metaphysics as contradicting science. The two must work together. But when someone insists that some theory ought to be called "science", when the so-called "science" is really an attempt to validate bad metaphysics, through the misrepresentation of evidence, it is impossible to call this "bad science". That is because there really is no such thing as bad science. Therefore we must say that it is not science at all. This is what you have shown me in this thread, an attempt to support bad metaphysics (the human species is an entity) through the misrepresentation of evidence (this must be true because systems theory which treats the human species as an entity is useful). There is no science here.
  • Pantagruel
    1.1k
    I can't believe that you do not see how this is a false premise. To know how someone else is going to perceive something requires that you have communicated with the person alreadyMetaphysician Undercover

    No, it requires the genetic process of sociation in which concepts are formed. It's basic stuff.
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