• Some remarks on Wittgenstein's private language argument (PLA)
    The shifts in context ushered in by my temporally unfolding self-talk already move me through a multitude of language games , prior to my engagement with others.Joshs

    Don't forget that it's parents (or the like, and usually many others) who teach baby to talk in the first place. The boy in the bubble doesn't need excuses, justifications, seductions, outright lies. I don't deny that after years of immersion with others that then a body could wander off into the woods to talk to itself in new and terrible ways.
  • Some remarks on Wittgenstein's private language argument (PLA)
    Each word that is ‘shared’ between us is a different sense of the word for you than it is for me. It must be in order for there to be an ‘us’.Joshs

    Complex terrain. In one sense, I agree. No token is ever used exactly the same way twice (is ever used in exactly the same context. That can't be a theorem, for we can't really do math with these tokens. (Nor can that be a theorem.) Does that make an 'us' possible? Perhaps. But you stress that the self is already a 'we' or an 'us' (and I agree), so perhaps the sign 'us' is more strongly rooted in us having separate bodies. Why were we ever tempted toward the singularity of the self? Why just one proper name on the birth certificate and gravestone? It's how we happen roll...and probably a more effective method for training those bodies to work together.

    I am already an other to myself when I talk or think to myself. The words I ‘use’ to think to myself come back to me in the instant I use them as if they came from another. I am changed in using my own words. You are a further other to my other that is myself.Joshs

    I agree with all of this. I am a further others to the others that you are to yourselves. Or we am.

    Wittgenstein begins culture between you and me , but culture begins most primordially between me and myself, as I find myself always changed from moment to moment via temporality.Joshs

    Here our paths diverge. I don't find it this prioritization of the single body plausible. Of course it's important, and we can imagine revolutions born in 'internal' 'monologues.' Granted. But bodies want food, love, sex, status. Even narcissism enjoys an image of how the self is seen, if only by an ideal other, a community to come.

    What are good looks, money in the bank, and fine words about the great dead philosophers without others to impress, seduce, protect, intimidate, fuck, and flee?
  • Against Stupidity
    I translate philosophy as the love of 'opposing folly & stupidity'.180 Proof

  • Some remarks on Wittgenstein's private language argument (PLA)
    For how can I go so far as to try to use language to get between pain and its expression (PI 245)."

    I would be interested in what others think of this passage. What would be in between pain and the expression of pain? Is there something there that could be referenced? I would think not. I'm not sure what Wittgenstein is getting at. What is it that he's trying to get us to think about?

    Perhaps he means the difference between some postulated 'raw feel' and all the understood-as-signs for it. 'Logically' one cannot be wrong about how things 'seem' to one. I mean simply that we don't usually challenge such claims. Some philosophers extrapolate from this kind of thing that some private show is involved. Pain is understood as one of those 'mental' (infinitely intimate) entities that the experiencer cannot misperceive. But this unmistakable private something is also unnamable...except through public actions that get associated with the public token 'pain.' I don't know if my red is your red, but we both know that roses are red. In the same way pain goes with injuries and aspirin.
  • Some remarks on Wittgenstein's private language argument (PLA)
    Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Wittgenstein, and I think this moralism is implied in his work.Joshs

    I don't see it (or I choose to ignore it perhaps.)

    It also seems to me that language games are vulnerable to Heidegger’s depiction of Das ManJoshs

    Roughy it's as if 'form of life' = 'Das Man.' Being-in-the-world, being-with-others,... is being-in-language-in-the-world-with-others.

    this would be discourse as a flattened sharing rather than Heidegger’s account of authentic discourse as oriented toward one’s ownmost possibilities.Joshs

    To me this is (or can be read as) Heidegger's moralism, related to Kierkegaard's.

    A more neutral rendition might a spectrum that runs from the hackneyed to the offensive and the obscure. If the point is the rescue a heroic subculture of the single genius, then's there a little room for that. Surely an individual can stand out against background more than others...but not without being primarily 'made' of that background, sensible in terms of it.

    You gotta use words when you talk to me, words you didn't define (if you define your own new jargon, it's in terms of the one we were thrown into.)
  • Bedrock Rules: The Mathematical and The Ordinary (Cavell-Kripke on Wittgenstein)
    as this is not about being told things as much as coming to see something for yourself.Antony Nickles

    :up: :100:

    The book is like a disposable vessel, or rather an incendiary device, since vessel misleads us in to thinking of some stable goo inside the string of tokens.

    Asking a philosopher what 'knowledge' means is like asking him the value of a dollar gold and him telling you how fond or not he is of art on it. The values of tokens are out there. If you want to know the value of a currency, look how it's tangled up in buying and selling stuff with intrinsic value. I think it's the same with tokens (words, equivalence classes of grunts and scribbles).

    If an even cleverer humanoid visits our planet, perhaps they'll see us as many of us see the other primates (incapable of metaphysics, since not truly liberated from materiality and animality.)
  • Some remarks on Wittgenstein's private language argument (PLA)
    For them self is not an entity, it is a constantly transforming interaction with world. They abandon the idea of outer and inner. The self is always outside of itself , coming back to itself from the world.Joshs

    Personally I find all this in implied/suggested by Wittgenstein. If meaning is outside, part of the world, then the 'internal monologue' is not longer either internal or a monologue in a strong sense.
  • Some remarks on Wittgenstein's private language argument (PLA)
    Why the talk about 'justification' when this fact of being in pain can be discerned from behavior?Shawn

    That's just it. The meaning of the sign 'pain' (if we insist that there is such a thing) has to be 'out there' in the behavior that one would appeal to in order to justify a claim.

    Is what I call 'pain' the same as what you call 'pain'? Those who think 'pain' has an internal/private referent would like to (or even have to) say yes. Maybe they'd justify that hunch in terms of similar behavior. But doesn't it make more sense to see that 'pain' gets its 'meaning' (as a token of social currency) in the behavior that surrounds it? To put it another, it's conceivable that an artificially intelligent agent could employ the word successfully and pass the Turing test. The 'structure' of the 'meaning' of 'pain' is 'out here' in public.
  • Why Was There A Big Bang
    I think nowadays ‘nature’ has become a stand-in for ‘the unconditioned’ in traditional philosophy. It’s the unpolluted, the pristine, the sacred ancestors - the nearest secular culture can come to ‘the sacred’. But that looses sight of the fact that in traditional cultures, although nature was esteemed, she was not idolized.Wayfarer

    For some perhaps. But 'shut up and calculate' might instead be interpreted in terms of worldly power and the species becoming more godlike. From this POV, it's the species that's (self-)idolized. Nature must only be obeyed as much as is necessary for its domination.
  • Why Was There A Big Bang
    Would you change places with a blithe Panda bear, contentedly chewing on bamboo, unbothered by the immanent extinction of its species?Gnomon

    Many, in times of crisis, might. I wouldn't, but then things are going OK for me, for now.

    I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain'd,
    I stand and look at them long and long.

    They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
    They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
    They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
    Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
    Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
    Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.
    — Whitman
  • Why Was There A Big Bang
    What other choice do we have, besides depression and suicide, when faced with our lack of omniscience or omnipotence?Gnomon

    Gallows humor. Was Sartre a bit of a Jerry Seinfeld? Is there fun to be had in the darkness? The entertainment industry suggests that we love to watch an apocalypse unfold.

    We can also speculate about a relationship between surfaces and depths. It may be that the darkness thinkers are more amused than most on some fundamental level, and this makes them able to play with ideas that others find sacred: like endless moral progress, some sort of Reason for or in it all. On the other hand, perhaps some surface optimists (not saying you) insist too much. The larger issue is how to take philosophers. Are they joking, bluffing, lying to us, lying to themselves, somehow telling the complete truth to everyone involved?

    As far as Pinker goes, I haven't looked closely, but I have a general idea. And many things are good today in a way that they haven't been before. I don't curse the way things are. I just think the future is hard to predict, and that the house of cards, imperfect as it already is, could be blown over. AFAIK, there's nothing stopping an asteroid from wiping us out. How do believers in a cosmic logic, with humans at the center of it, deal with this possibly? Square it with the Thesis?
  • In the Beginning.....
    One thing one has to do is drop common tongue of interpretation, the endless talk about everything in our everyday lives as the basis for understanding the world. That is isolating, for the more one does this in earnest, the less the world's common interests have a hold, and then, instead of alienation being on the outside of these affairs, these affairs becomes the alienating cause. Eventually culture will come to this, after it is done with pragmatic technology infatuations.Constance

    I'm not sure we can escape this 'prison.' To me it seems the high and free and awake self is built from the usual junkyard parts. To me, the meaning system is grounded in practical life. To escape this would require something like freeing us all, in the real world, from practical concerns. Perhaps in some high-tech utopia where AI tends to our non-spiritual needs, we'd reinvent the ground of meaning. But I suspect (might be temperamental) that we are primarily pragmatic-technological primates.
  • In the Beginning.....
    As to the isolated interior: Isolated from what?Constance

    Isolated from the world, from others. The basic myth of modern philosophy, one might say, is a version of the picture-box soul. Then one can ask whether we can be sure of anything, whether one is 'really' a brain in vat. One also assumes that words have their meanings inside, within this box where they 'really' live, infinitely intimate. 'I know what I mean, even if I can't say it.' That goes with this myth. Words are vessels for isolated self-stuff (meaning). But this picture of the picture-box is itself taken for granted by skeptics who misunderstand themselves as radical. That's there's only and exactly one of 'me' in here....that the ego is singular. Why? Because we count one body? Because the 'fiction'/artifice of 'self' is used to control this single body? Blame and praise and train this single body?

    This is not to say that we 'really' have 20 'souls' or no 'soul.' The point is to point out that which is ontologically farthest as it pretends to peep from the mirror.
  • In the Beginning.....
    [L]anguage is structurally not capable of foundational truth.But then: we live deep in meaning and caring and all the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. What can this be, to live on these terms of engagement, yet to acknowledge the emptiness of understanding. I think a Buddhist might have a clue or two...but she couldn't tell you; or could she? Another issue.Constance


    This bolded part is more of that good 'nonsense.' It can't be proved as a theorem, IMV, but it's a gesture, a poem, an aphorism...that tries to get at something. Language is fog with claws. Humans are amusingly sure that their barks are stuffed with mining. Chalk is cheep.
  • In the Beginning.....
    I never appreciated that, encouraging positivism and its insistence on clarity at the sacrifice of meaning.Constance

    To me it's more about being aware of how much clarity is possible or appropriate in a given context. The naive metaphysician does a pseudo-math with words without realizing that s/he does not and cannot sufficiently fix/govern the so-called meaning of those signs (hence 'pseudo-math'). From this perspective, one can grok deconstructive/Wittgensteinian critical gestures without losing the ability to write poetry, talk with Mom about God, etc. What does become difficult is to ask blurry questions naively, as if the signs had a clear enough sense for a relatively objective answer. The difference is basically something knowing when one is being a poet and when one is being a mathematician/scientist --which is not to say that this distinction can ever be perfect (this distinction is more of that illuminating nonsense that puts itself in question without erasing itself completely.)
  • What is your opinion of Transhumanism?
    Despite my personal doubts regarding transhumanism, that consider historical experience from the failed ,,homo soveticus’’ project, hence the effectiveness and optimality of the problem-solution path, I do find the movement rather refreshing in terms of daring life-approvement absolutism.Voidrunner


    What excites me is a willingness to fuck with the code. It may be a terrible idea, but it's hard for me to expect much from the tired, other ideas that leave the code as it is. I don't expect to live long enough to see any brave new world that might arrive, so it's more of a theoretical-aesthetic point for me.
  • What is your opinion of Transhumanism?

    It seems that a few English idioms are not within my house for wheels.

    I do appreciate the tender attention to my details.
  • Why Was There A Big Bang
    That's why I find Existentialism to be a pragmatic solution -- to make the best of a bad situation, by adapting your attitude to reality, rather than expecting reality to change to suit your preferences.Gnomon

    Let's throw in working to improve that reality while simultaneously adapting one's attitude and I'm with you. Also include an escape clause: some situations are so dire that a self-induced painless exit is reasonable.
  • Why Was There A Big Bang
    Animals have no such knowledge - they simply dwell in the present, eating and being eaten, fleeing from terror and seeking sustenance. The predicament of self-awareness has not yet befallen them.Wayfarer

    Small point, but do you not think certain non-human animals are complex enough to have crises of conscience? I doubt that they know they are mortal, but I image they suffer ambivalence, envy, guilt, grief.
  • Why Was There A Big Bang
    But knowing that the future can be better than the past is enough incentive for positivity to avoid sinking into existentialist despair. So, I'm just following the advice of Sartre : to accept the personal responsibility for giving my life meaning and value, by constructing an idiosyncratic positive worldview from the latest available evidence, instead of taking some ancient Utopian myth on faith.
    Signed, Just Another Veggie in the Stone Soup :cool:

    Now you add another layer as you present your optimism as a choice. Sartre's a dark philosopher, after all, speaking of human being as an impossible quest to become god (something like that, he's not easy to parse).

    But the knowledge that our world is not merely an astronomical accident -- randomly going nowhere -- does provide some incentive for global optimism -- realizing that the world is not just going to hell in a handbasket, but actually progressing toward some higher state.Gnomon

    I don't share that sense of cosmic progress, though I am aware and appreciative of technological progress. If we don't destroy ourselves, return to the dark age, or something like that....maybe we'll create a brave new world. Perhaps we'll neo-humans who live on water, minerals, a few plants, and sunlight. We could be at a sort of beginning, no matter how late it seems. Or perhaps the trans-humanist will take over in 3024 and create a vampiric apex predator. Or perhaps a big rock will smash up our unloved lifeboat in all this void.
  • What is your opinion of Transhumanism?
    :up: Not transcending it; rather steering it.TheMadFool

    Interesting distinction. I think I agree.
  • In the Beginning.....
    As to cyborgs through and through, this biological reduction and being cyborgs I don't understand.Constance

    To say we are cyborgs in this case is to emphasize how technological we are. Language is something the ur-technology, that plugs us into something like a species-essence. Our personalities are built as/from this kind of technology. I also include the old man's cane. And where would I be without my prescription glasses? What bare, poor, forks we'd be without the tech that completes us and makes as human. And then humanity is a kind of bridge from the monkey to the transhuman? (I'll respond more later, just wanted to get that out.)
  • Bedrock Rules: The Mathematical and The Ordinary (Cavell-Kripke on Wittgenstein)
    Behind all the fuss to be certain about what is right, is a desire to predict outcomes, which will avoid our being responsible after our act. That I can say, “Well, I followed the rule correctly!”Antony Nickles

    I think you nailed down something interesting here. We often prefer to be 'robots' on script, to escape any possible blame, as you say. When I was younger, I worked lots of jobs that left my mind free. They didn't pay well, but I followed different scripts. Now things are more complicated. How productive I've been is more nebulous, as is exactly what is expected of me.
  • What is a Fact?
    I suppose we ought to have a word for the opposite of reification, something like "nebulation", Banno's foe in this thread: the blurring of edges and misting over of shape to reduce definiteness so there aren't any facts anymore to worry about.Srap Tasmaner

    Beautiful. I love that. I like to think that my pragmatism is partially redeemed from that critique by pointing toward practical reality. 'Truth' is definitely a token in wide use. Not knowing how to use it can get you killed. Experience suggests that trying to pin it down exactly is...problematic. The self-proclaimed experts call one another idiots. There's some melancholy in this, because philosophy is addictive, exciting, and....not very respected. Well, gurus and mystics get some customers, but the whole elitist 'veganism of the mind' (conspicuously hyper-fastidious about knowledge claims) seems to be its own reward...sort of like atheists enjoying their higher standards. I think of bearded Romans turning their nose up at a plurality of superstitions, rationally and ethically eating their beans.

    (I confess to being enough of an analytic that I never met a distinction I wanted to elide.)Srap Tasmaner

    Seems like some positions, maybe mind, want to critique distinctions for being too simple without being eager to replace them. 'What do you think of my method?' 'I...don't see any method.' It occurs to me that the best way to express my own vague position would be to argue about conversations in the real world, predict where someone was going to get a job offer based on a recorded interview, for example. Advice for or against dating so-and-so.
  • Why not Cavell on Ethics?

    I like the way you wrote that up. Haven't read Cavell, but I came away with a sense of the gist of the book. Impressions: he seems reasonable, likable, decent. But the cynic in me thinks he's purveying an optional self-image to a particular market. And rearranging furniture on the Titanic maybe too.

    It's as if the game is to be loose, adventurous, daring, iconoclastic, ... while still being responsible and decent. It makes sense that we'd need to update our self-image as we change the world. How to be radical and fluid and adaptable and still be something in particular? And not just a vampire in gaseous form? 'This isn't relativism.' Maybe, maybe not. Could indeed be a new way to be nice and upper middle class on the safe green front lawn, chatting with neighbors.

    AFAIK, we are fairly stupid and simple animals morally. What I note is the punishment of violators and the reward of conformity. What gets one fired? What gets one accepted by an Ivy League school?
    We are trying to sort out how to live together. Impersonal reasons, insofar as they are impersonal, therefore lack all traction in what actually matters, ethically.Welkin Rogue

    But Cavell thinks the personal is essential. Our personal commitments - arising from our way of being in the world, our form of life - are the foundation of our ethics, if anything isWelkin Rogue

    On this standard view, it is not because I care about and am committed to my religious group that we ought to be allowed to practice our faith. It is because that's what duty requires (or some such thing). That is, I must give you an impersonal reason or criterion.Welkin Rogue

    Perhaps 'impersonal' reasons were always about appealing to the other's personal reasons. Since group identity is taken personally indeed (what is personality if not a quilt of transpersonal identities), we are tugging heartstrings when we talk of freedom or truth or fairness. I don't think non-philosophers are metaphysical, so post-metaphysical theatrics often strike me as unnecessary. Or maybe that's not quite right. How about magic words? Maybe I'm greedy in an animal way for rights to some resource but my more abstract enjoyment of a persona is threatened as the price. I can't be against freedom or equality or recycling, etc. I don't want to be seen (or perhaps more importantly) see myself as xenophobic or conformist or greedy. Perhaps you see what I'm getting at, the blurring of the personal and 'impersonal' reasons.
  • What is a Fact?
    I like "Reality bites back." (No doubt because it doesn't care about your feelings...)Srap Tasmaner


    I think reality not caring about our feelings is a 'cultural fact '(or a subcultural fact, let's say). As in I'd think it was flaky or suspect to talk otherwise, without being able to prove that I'm right and also not feeling the need. I just act on the apathy of nature. The mountain doesn't want me to fall. Nor will it mourn me if I do. It's on me to prepare for the climb.

    Subcultural intellectual 'elitist' 'facts' : One is scientific. One knows that we are clever monkeys who find ourselves in this strange, heartless machine. (One knows that God is fantasy, etc.)
  • What is a Fact?

    Excellent points. What comes to my mind is that gap between the game of philosophical spiderweb (some of them spectacular) and all the stuff we do outside the game of those spiderwebs. I suppose that law and politics are close to philosophy, perhaps even the 'real' or 'more' applied philosophy. 'I did not have sexual relations with that woman*'. Or judging edge cases of premeditation, deciding obscenity, what is reasonable, what are community standards. But here at least there's a counting of votes, some kind of objective measure (not definitive enough these days, it seems.).

    But with law and politics the stakes are obvious, whereas the spiderwebs of philosophy are more like art. 'If I accept principle X, then I have to edit principle Y, or the composition is fucked.' It's a slippery beast to articulate. Because I'm tempted to criticize statements like 'there is no fact of the matter.' Maybe a better play is gesturing toward the concrete case, mostly shooting down grand general statements. 'Meaning is use' can backfire, seeming to slake or encourage the thirst it can be taken to chastise.
  • Death
    From my witness of death of my father in the hospice, it was very painful process going into death. It was not some sort of momentary event. It was slow and gradual, sometimes up and down condition of the physical health, and deterioration of the mind into the demise.

    I am not sure what happens after one's death, but it was evident that the process of death was very slow and painful prolonged suffering of months for the dying.

    Of course, each and every death is different. But some can be long lasting painful process before the actual death.

    Sidepoint, but to me it sucks that our culture embraces pointlessly drawn-out and painful deaths for no reason that I find valid anyway. Obviously I wouldn't want death forced on other who felt the need to cling, but I do wish I could set up some auto-destruct feature for myself in case I'm unlucky enough to be trapped in some ugly state. For instance, maybe a stroke destroys my autonomy, or I'm paralyzed by an accident and physically can't choose to leave this world on my own terms (just having the choice would make post-accident life more endurable, I think.)
  • Death
    I wouldn't say that. No more TPF. No more heroes. No more thoughts about quantum physics. No more carrot cake. No more walking the dog. No more painting. No more watching children play. -No more Coldplay, Rammstein, Killing Joke, Doors, Satie, Nat King Cole or System of a down. Not to forget Allanis Morrisette. Or Nina Hagen. No more loving. No more realizations...MikeBlender

    I dig the catalog. I agree that we fear death as a loss of nice things. But we can reason that being dead involves no fear, no sense of loss. I'm in not rush, for reasons such as yours. But it's nice not to fear some absurd torture chamber at the end of the earthly journey.
  • Death
    Self-deception imho is an integral part of human being. The topic of death does very well to illustrate this.

    Either it's as you say and there is no downside to death - in which case our survival instinct would be a form of self-deception.

    Or there is a downside to death, in which case your proclamation that there is none is an individual self-deception on your part.

    So if we are to deceive ourselves either way, I might as well choose my delusions based on merit.

    I like your style. I vote for evolved self-deception. We're in the grip of a master madness, the fear of perfect sleep.
  • In the Beginning.....
    Sin (but put aside the Christian thinking here) is essentially being possessed by culture, but the manner of conceiving of sin is important: It is an existential break from something primordial. Heidegger will later dismiss K's religiousness, but move forward with this "break" saying K is right, we in our normal assimilated ways of living according to "the they" which is the thoughts that circulate so freely and dominate throughout society in the form of given institutions and ideas, are out of touch with something deeply important. He thinks there is some nonalienated original condition.Constance

    I like the way you are connected these concepts. One might first say that we are thrown into sin but then decide that having-been-thrown is itself the sin. This is to say that sin is inherited...not through baby talk but as baby talk and all the talk that's grown on top of that baby talk. But, as you say, this only makes sense if culture, any culture, offends or obscures something that precedes it. This I don't find plausible, personally. I suggest we're cyborgs through and through. Wipe away the cultural layer and we're just like the other monkeys with less hair and better fingers. What's more plausible but still difficult to credit is the notion that an inherited culture can be transformed, at least within the individual, into something higher, purer, better. Isn't the 'nonalienated original condition' the old fantasy of the garden before expulsion and consciousness of our nakedness? It can be read as the desire to return to an infantile state. And in many other ways of course.

    Language makes us forget, reduces the world to familar terms. We don't think this is so because we are IN this zeitgeist, and it takes philosophy to see it.Constance

    Point taken, but isn't it language that also freaks us out, slaps us awake? And isn't philosophy a social enterprise, offering a subculture's Zeitgeist? I agree that part of its thrill is seeing one's little world from the outside, gazing on it as a relatively amoral and detached alien.
  • What is a Fact?
    And let what we do be based on the facts; then it will be worth doing.

    That's my pompous hobbyhorse.

    Fair enough. God knows I'm not saving the world from its ordinary madness with my own points.
  • What is your opinion of Transhumanism?
    I like David Pearce. I'm not quite drunk on the Kool-aid, and I'd argue with some of the metaphysical baggage, but the whole project of transcending the Darwinian shitshow is spectacular. The idea that we could and should grab ourselves by the code and edit ourselves is daring. Then we fix nature, pluck out God's evil streak. Promethean, Satanic, sci-fi, naive, all sorts of things. Other solutions pale in comparison, while being more plausible, given who we are now (trans-humanism is way too secular for most people, I think.)
  • What is a Fact?
    In science decision making, 'fact' can only mean 'confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.'T Clark

    I like the focus on decision making. I'd make this even more active. Not mere assent but action, action with risk especially. For instance, it's one thing to assent to the soundness of a business idea and another thing to invest in that business. 'Put your money where your mouth is.'

    I suppose in your quote the perverse person is taking a social risk. To some degree the quote is proposing a relationship between the words 'science', 'fact', and 'perverse.' 'Reasonable' seems implicitly invoked as the opposite of 'perverse' in this context. Perhaps it could be translated as 'a fact is the kind of statement that all us reasonable people consider true, for now.' A more 'behaviorist' rendition might be ' a fact articulates a state of affairs that we seem to take for granted and rely on in our serious business.'
  • What is a Fact?
    Isn't the point that the election was fair, vaccines do save lives, climate change is man-made?

    If you start from the premise that truth doesn't matter, you've already lost.

    Butting in, but...I get your point. Perhaps the ultimate point, though, is what we do. Do people vote for creeps, allow the needle into the arm, change their non-verbal climate-affecting behavior? Talk is related to all this, but it's 'meaning' is 'grounded' in action, risk.

    It's as if the philosophy forum is a strange game somewhat isolated from the rest of life. With our philosopher caps on, we have clever and over-careful things to say about truth, facts, knowledge, reality, and so on. Still, it's easy to imagine people politically at odds agreeing on some metaphysical point...which isn't great for metaphysics, perhaps.
  • What is a Fact?
    If we didn't have the concept of height, there'd be no way for us to say anything about the height of Everest -- what that height is, that it has one, or doesn't, nothing. That is a tiny, tiny sliver of what the other side in this wants.Srap Tasmaner
    And then there's yanking Everest out of its background, etc.

    But we can also say this: given our concept of height, it makes no sense to talk about Everest not having one. Everest having a height -- as you say, Banno, a single specific height -- is built into our concept of height.Srap Tasmaner

    Agree, though we could shift away from concept talk toward something like usage. The token is usually employed in such a such a context. Things like mountains have a height that can be measured. That's just the way we talk. To say so would be a kind of empirical statement, albeit depending on linguistic competence (harder to imagine presenting quantitive summaries of the data.)

    The definiteness bit also implies that there can be a fact about the height of Everest -- and must be! -- but there can't be a fact about whether something is funny. (For other quite different cultures there might be facts about humor, but it will be obvious that their concept of funny works differently from ours.) And that's not only a matter of our concepts -- not just, we might say, a "fact about us" -- because not just anything gets a height, only Everest sorts of things. So there's that too.Srap Tasmaner

    Well said. And related this we have statements about sensations. A person can't be wrong about what something seems or feels like to them. That's a rule of politeness. It's baked in to the grammar of the words. Not a cosmic principle, just the way we use 'seems' and 'feels' and other 'subjective' terms. The 'funny' example is nice. I can imagine individualistic cultures stressing subjectivity (everyone has their own funny) and other cultures doing otherwise.
  • The Definition of Information
    Ha, ha, I happen to be an idealist also, though now an enactivist. Information is fundamental. To know anything at all, you have to have information about it. That is the bottom line. This is how we are enacted / interacted in the world.Pop

    I like enactivism, or at least the quote below.

    Radical enactivists often adopt a thoroughly non-representational, enactive account of basic cognition. Basic cognitive capacities mentioned by Hutto and Myin include perceiving, imagining and remembering.[16][17] They argue that those forms of basic cognition can be explained without positing mental representations. With regard to complex forms of cognition such as language, they think mental representations are needed, because there needs explanations of content. In human being's public practices, they claim that "such intersubjective practices and sensitivity to the relevant norms comes with the mastery of the use of public symbol systems" (2017, p. 120), and so "as it happens, this appears only to have occurred in full form with construction of sociocultural cognitive niches in the human lineage" (2017, p. 134).[16] They conclude that basic cognition as well as cognition in simple organisms such as bacteria are best characterized as non-representational.[18][16][17]

    Enactivism also addresses the hard problem of consciousness, referred to by Thompson as part of the explanatory gap in explaining how consciousness and subjective experience are related to brain and body.[19] "The problem with the dualistic concepts of consciousness and life in standard formulations of the hard problem is that they exclude each other by construction".[20] Instead, according to Thompson's view of enactivism, the study of consciousness or phenomenology as exemplified by Husserl and Merleau-Ponty is to complement science and its objectification of the world. "The whole universe of science is built upon the world as directly experienced, and if we want to subject science itself to rigorous scrutiny and arrive at a precise assessment of its meaning and scope, we must begin by reawakening the basic experience of the world of which science is the second-order expression" (Merleau-Ponty, The phenomenology of perception as quoted by Thompson, p. 165). In this interpretation, enactivism asserts that science is formed or enacted as part of humankind's interactivity with its world, and by embracing phenomenology "science itself is properly situated in relation to the rest of human life and is thereby secured on a sounder footing."[21][22]
    — Wiki
  • Complete vs. Incomplete Reality
    But physics is discovered via math. And I literally don't know something less "realistic" (mind-independent) than mathematics.Manuel

    We're on the same page. Real numbers, Turing machines,...infinite fictions that (impressively) guide/inform the creation of all the tech we depend on.

    Patterns which by necessity have to leave stuff out. Usually "noise" in the data, though not always.Manuel

    Same page again. I can imagine another clever species from some exoplanet that uses patterns we see only as noise.

    Side issue: how would we recognize a superior intelligence? My vote is that we'd respect their greater ability to control and predict our common environment.
  • In the Beginning.....
    Deconstruction can be loosely talked about, but it should never be considered an affirmation, a positing, regardless of how contradictory this is, and it is of course, contradictory in the extreme.....or is it? I mean, It is not to say one may not affirm this or that, but that such affirmations are never definitive, and all meanings issue from a diffusion of associated ideas. Language is always "under erasure" the moment it is spoken or written.
    So deconstruction puts one, Caputo says, in the ultimate skepticism as it annihilates all affirmations. This is where philosophy must go in order to be liberated from the tyrant of language. I affirm that to do so is a revelation, even, as the Buddha said, an apprehension of ultimate reality, though this really does push it, always keeping in mind that the very language that is used here is infinitely deconstructable. Ultimate??? Reality???
    What can these mean?

    I like deconstruction, and in general like what you say here. But does 'ultimate skepticism' keep one from successfully ordering a cup of coffee? Perhaps 'ultimate skepticism' is 'skepticism about the ultimate'? always keeping in mind that the very language that is used here is infinitely deconstructable. Ultimate??? Reality?? What can these mean?. That part speaks to me. I connect it to Wittgenstein. There are thinkers trying to slap us out of our complacency. Not sleepwalkers but sleeptalkers. Babbling inherited strings of tokens, thinking we know what we mean, that it's right there, glowing and whole and present, if we could only spit it out. Along with that the whole sacred fiction of the isolated interior. But, as you say, keeping in mind that the very language that is used here is infinitely deconstructable. Like W calling the TLP 'nonsense.' Even if his view kept evolving or changing, that gesture continues to resonate for me. It's as if the point is to start a fire. No particular phrase need be cast in a starring role. Are we ever liberated from the tyrant? 'History is a nightmare from which I'm trying to awake,' but often it's a game, not a nightmare. Anyway, what is 'escape' or 'freedom' like? Is that another impossible Ultimate? Another vague promise of rounded and fluorescent presence?
  • The Definition of Information
    Regardless of how you personally might relate to the idea that matter and energy and information are equivalent, there is a growing trend toward this understanding. I see it as a monism, where everything is made of matter, energy, and information.Pop

    I appreciate your polite engagement with a skeptic. So you are saying matter = energy = information = everything. I'm not up on the latest physics, so I don't deny that some version of that in some context is plausible and maybe even probable. But perhaps we treat the claims of physics differently. I guess I'm an instrumentalist about such things. It's the technology that speaks to me, including algorithms for predication that outperform others.

    That everything is information is easily falsifiable ( Popper ) by providing something that is not information?Pop

    I was just reading Popper earlier. If you want to present your thesis as an empirical claim, you should do something practical with it that couldn't otherwise be done or predict something that other, competing theories don't predict or even contradict. Your challenge is akin to the idealist saying: just show me something that isn't mind. But that's actually a defect, cuz 'everything is X' is basically as good as 'nothing is X' as no sorting of entities is involved. The Absolute 'Information' is the night in which all cows are black.