• Is there any way I can subscribe to TPF without jamalrob receiving any of my money?
    Uhhh..... dude. 5/10 bucks a month is not a lot for most of us. And regardless of jamal's politics, he's keeping the sight running. So just... decide i guess? The money just keeps the sight up.
  • What's Wrong about Rights

    I feel like you're getting close to my criticism of rights, in general.

    With your ending I suspect we're closer in mind than the language of rights would predict.

    My feelings: We should be able to be craven, jealous, etc... because those are human emotions that need to be expressed and felt. Even acted upon.

    But, to express my own sentiments, property rights are a bad place to express those sentiments.

    I am not a stoic at all. I'm a bad epicurean. I just hope this is an invitation to talk about, as your title says, what is wrong about rights.

    cuz I think rights are bullocks. lol. Just so you know where I come from.
  • Currently Reading
    Through twitter i got a new pluhar translation of kant's "critique of judgment"

    my old copy broke at the A side of "On the Mathematically sublime" and was falling apart.

    Gonna prolly start rereading that when i get it.

    Kinda makes me wonder if people who just like Kant like to give his books away?
  • Joe Biden: Accelerated Liberal Imperialism
    I have not read the replies, but in reply to your initial question...

    I suspect that Biden will continue Obama-precedent imperialism.

    And it is a bad thing.
  • Systemic racism in the US: Why is it happening and what can be done?
    The problem with inviting everyone to the table, including the police, the businessman, etc., is that not everyone is effected the same by police targeting black people. The policeman, the businessman, the politician -- those are the people that have been in charge, and we all already know the results of them being in charge.

    It seems to me that governors are actually quite concerned with the demonstrations. Hence the curfews and police repression. They wield a big stick, but in doing so they lose more legitimacy in the eyes of the people they serve.

    Hence why there have also been concessions in direct response to the rebellion -- to placate the people into going home and returning things to a normal order. But the concessions so far haven't been structural changes -- they have been the sorts of things which the government should have already done, if it were applying the law fairly: indicting the police officers on criminal charges.

    As small a victory as that is -- who really wants to have to destroy businesses and loot them just to make the state do their job every damn time a cop kills someone unjustifiably? That is madness. -- there are structural changes which as being brought up by black-led organizations. After all, unless you plan on using the stick, these organizations are likely the ones that can placate the crowd without using the stick.

    It seems to me that it'd be better to implement those as concessions if they want everyone to return home.
  • Does systemic racism exist in the US?
    Heh, it's ok. It's just the myth handed down that needs to be dispelled. No need to feel like you need to know the myths of other countries that should go away anyways. :D
  • Does systemic racism exist in the US?
    My impression is that alot of Americans think that black issues came to an end after reconstruction and it's been more or less hunky dory ever since. What say the Americans here?StreetlightX

    I'd say the school book story is that after MLK racism was solved, more or less.
  • Does systemic racism exist in the US?
    That has nothing to do with the fact of systematic racism. Just because an officer is black that doesn't mean he's not an officer. The race of the police officer doesn't matter for the claim that there is systematic racism -- the race of those effected by the criminal justice system does. And that is disproportionate.
  • Does systemic racism exist in the US?
    One study stripping away history and using statistical methods on a database covering a single year while denying the "benchmark method" because of a supposed assumption does not throw doubt on the whole claim of "systematic racism" among police shootings, especially when said database is primarily focused on fatal shootings alone, when a gun isn't the only method police use to kill.

    I'd say this is cherry picking. Maybe something interesting in there, but I can play that game too by traveling down your articles citations, which I did take a gander at, but figured it was better to just point out what it is we're doing.
  • Does systemic racism exist in the US?
    is there "systematic racism," absolutely notSam26

    One can affirm each instance that goes to support the notion that there's systematic racism in the country, and yet deny the inference at the end of it all.

    What would motivate such a denial?

    It's not like George Floyd's case is unique in the most important way for a belief in systematic racism -- that he was killed when he should not have been killed because he was black. And it's not just the unjust and racialized treatment of the criminal justice system to supports the notion. It's a social fact -- so we don't need to look into the intents of individual officers or ideologies propogated, though those are bound to also be there. But we don't need to. We need only look at the social treatment of blacks vs. whites in the United States, and the inference is supported. At the very minimum we cannot just declare that there is absolutly no systematic racism, like it's a fairy tale to be dismissed and disgusted with.
  • Systemic racism in the US: Why is it happening and what can be done?
    I think there is an interesting discussion to be had on what social functions the current police fulfills, what functions it should fulfill, and which ones should be transferred to other kinds of institutions.

    I don't know enough about American beat cops, in my experience with the police, they're mostly on beat so they can respond to calls from the area quickly. Not sure what else their job is besides "making people feel safe", which obviously doesn't apply to many black communities in the US.

    I think this is well trod territory. It's not so much a discussion as much as dispelling actively believed myths about police.
  • Systemic racism in the US: Why is it happening and what can be done?
    I don't think it's the only way. After all, plenty of police forces around the globe perform much better. Unless by "defund" you mean essentially "demilitarise", i.e. stop throwing more guns at the problem.Echarmion

    Nope, I mean "spend less money so there are substantially fewer persons playing the role of police officer" - get rid of beat cops. Make it a service you request rather than one that shows up to keep "order".
  • Systemic racism in the US: Why is it happening and what can be done?
    There's a line that's been well orchestrated in the media about good and bad protestors, with examples of the poor people effected by violence, usually shop keepers and mayors and the like. It's so well orchestrated that I see it here, during family dinners, at work, on twitter. . .

    A rebellion is not surgical. Good people do, indeed, suffer. As good people have suffered before rebellion, it should be added. I just want people sympathetic to understand that this is a line being fed, orchestrated, to prey on your otherwise good moral sensibilities. No, good people shouldn't suffer. But the suffering began before even George Floyd was casually murdered while his friends watched. And all the marching, voting, hugging, and talking has already been done -- more times over than the usual highlight of events counts, too. The reason rebellion spread so quickly at George Floyd was because of the number of similar stories that locals are so very familiar with. These talking points about anarchists and outside agitators and what-not -- they are just talking points. If anarchists had the power to instigate this kind of rebellion they would have already done so long ago. You can find black faces that counter this because, as with any human group, not everyone agrees on the right way of things -- but life is more chaotic than that. Some, even if it counters a news narrative, choose to rebel by means outside of the usual peaceful protest, voting, marching, etc.

    What does it matter that you have the people on your side when, after all that having been done before, the police continue to grow in funding, numbers, and continue to kill without repercussion?

    I'm tempted to be more base, but instead will just say that defunding the police is the only way to have fewer killings -- because at least then there will be fewer cops doing the killing.

    And since no one is voting for that -- after all, it is a minority position, yes? -- how exactly was voting, marching, and so forth supposed to effect that change anyways?

    But surely we can agree that the police murdering people is wrong, and should be changed. So what then?
  • What counts as listening?
    In a sense, yes you listened to the whole piece. However, you did not listen to it in the way the composer designed it to be heard as. You listened to it in pieces to get to the whole instead of listening to it in one piece. Music is made in a way to absorb the whole rhythm, style,etc as a whole to see the full beauty of it.Julia

    I agree.

    I'm wanting to finish this Goodman stuff before posting next, but I think I'd say that though one could be in a position to form a rudimantry judgment on a first listen, even with maybe a single pause in the middle, that listening depends upon hearing the whole piece in one sitting -- actually hearing what the score sets out as the identity of the piece.
  • What counts as listening?
    Hang on, though... not to be ungrateful but, is "the above" the OP? So you are agreeing after all with the suggestion that an instance of an artwork can be served up in two halves and still be an instance of the same artwork? :grimace:bongo fury

    The above was the OP, but like I said I'm still meandering and it's entirely possible that I'm conflating things or just saying something stupid without realizing all the implications. Thanks for the patience you've had.

    I think I'd like to accept the distinction between hearing and listening, and try to be more rigorous from now on with it. Hearing refers to the physical sound-events, and so the identity, so I should say that I did not hear the same artwork -- introducing a pause causes me to hear something very similar, but not the same, because it introduces a sound event to the set of sound-events. (should probably introduce some sense of ordered sets, too, considering the joke that actually made a good point in the video you linked).

    Whereas, say I am reading a book but the recording goes on un-interrupted, so I do hear the same work of art -- it retains its identity -- but perhaps I did not listen.

    However, maybe we could say that we still listened to the artwork in spite of hearing something different -- listening, at this point, remaining vague but is in some way related to our ability to judge a work aesthetically. Or, maybe, more just related to an audience's experience of sound events. Not sure, as that is exactly the vague somewhere I'm still trying to puzzle through! :D

    Still?? Despite the preceding? But I'm totally on board with you and the TheMadFool for that preceding paragraph. So, what's coming?...bongo fury

    Sorry, chalk it up to the meandering style. I think the above is clearer. Hopefully?

    Well, in the sense that the artwork is still either the set of continuous plays of the recording or the set of complete realisations of the score, whether or not you facilitated one of those plays or realisations on this occasion, yes. But in the sense that you got both halves and therefore all of one of the continuous plays or realisations that multiply instantiate the artwork, no.bongo fury

    Cool. I think that does clarify your position. Sorry for being unclear on my part! I'm very much a novice here, so I'm bound to conflate things or miss implications without even realizing it.
  • What counts as listening?
    I did get drawn into your thread, but on reflection, it seems rather a contrivance to me now. Why should the word 'listening' actually have meaning at all if we interrupt a piece of music to do something seeming more important at the time?ernestm

    I'm not sure I'm following here. I mean I might have to go do something else but everything I was doing before having to do something else was still what I was doing, regardless. The verb still has meaning.

    So if I'm hammering nails from nine to noon "Hammering" still has the same meaning even though I went to lunch after that.

    Or by "meaning" do you mean something like "significance"?


    What if, as jamalrob said before, our mind happens to drift during a large performance for a moment but then we're right back, attentive. Still the same as a pause?

    And if so, when do we hear it?
  • What counts as listening?
    It does grab me, because I've had the same thoughts, and my post was almost a reproach to my own tendency towards essentialism.jamalrob

    No worries. Nothing wrong with beating down essentialism. :D

    This might be an unwelcome spanner in the works, but I feel like asking, why is this about listening? The complete appreciation or absorption in a piece of music is just as often represented by dancing. Thinking of it like that puts a different light on the question, I think. Unless we want to restrict the discussion to art music.

    Hrmm, I think it just started there with me because of the original song that inspired the line of thinking, and then also because listening is related to quietism.

    But, no, I don't think we have to restrict ourselves purely to music. And I like the idea of including dance, and just being absorbed in some work of art -- though I'll admit that I'm much more versed in musical appreciation than dance appreciation.

    Then it might seem like the whole idea of the "entire piece" is a historical artifact of the development of music alongside visual art since the Renaissance: the work of art as a neatly delimited thing of special value. Maybe a great piece of music can be a living, changing thing, hardly just a thing at all.

    I wonder, though I am sympathetic to this line of thinking too in my intuitions, if we might call lateer iterations of the same artwork different from the original? Or is it better to call them the same, but organic?

    Maybe just a terminological preference.

    Your example of Coltrane's My Favorite Things is a good example of a living work of art though. And it is very much his own.

    EDIT: RIP McCoy Tyner


    May he rest in peace.
  • What counts as listening?
    Well, all. Please forgive the meandering. Thanks for the input so far, it's helping me to at least express something and not just get stuck in an intuitive yet unspoken rut.

    Did you find the article on his aesthetics, specifically?bongo fury

    Sure, but for me the crucial insight is that musical artworks are sound-events: or, usually, sets or classes of sound-events, identified either through notation or recording or both.bongo fury

    Let's go along with this. The identity of a musical artwork is a set or class of sound-events identified through notation, recording, or both. This will allow us to differentiate between the work of art and our appreciation of the work of art, or as @Outlander put it :

    Often people differentiate between hearing and listening.Outlander

    So we could say, in the above that we heard the entire peice, at least. And avoid something along the lines of @jamalrob asserting that we never hear the entire peice, which seems pretty absurd too.

    I've never experienced a musical piece aired on TV being interrupted by ads. Maybe they're too short or maybe the producers intuit that any interruption to a piece of music amounts to altering it. :chin:TheMadFool

    You know YouTube has the audacity to intersperse ads into long orchestral recordings? Heathens, I tell you.

    I like how you point out that when we push pause we're introducing something to our experience which the composer also uses in the artwork. That would be why the visual division served as analogue -- because the artist uses space in the case of paintings.

    Still, I think I'm being won over by the identity theory posited by @bongo fury, for now at least. Whereas pausing it does introduce a significant difference to the work of art, the identity of the work of art is unchanged by my pausing it and starting it back up again.

    Yeah, you heard the entire piece but not in one setting, so it's different if you heard it in one setting. It's probably an irrelevant distinction, but I suspect if you took 800 breaks so that it was so disjointed and so much time elapsed that you couldn't formulate it as a single piece in your head, it'd be relevant.

    It's like if I watched the entire Game of Thrones over a few days versus if I watched 20 seconds a week for several years and then declared I had seen the whole thing.

    I knew a guy who told me he hiked the entire Appalachian trail, which seemed less impressive when he explained he had done it over the course of many years, taking a different section each time. It was still a feat, but much less than someone who set out for many months and finished without a break.

    I think this gets along with what @bongo fury is saying. We hear the entire peice in any instance, but our aesthetic appreciation -- or the impressiveness of the hike, in the other case you mention -- *can* differ depending on how broken up it is.

    What if you didn't hear the entire piece, and yet you loved it, you were able to analyze it and understand it and be inspired by it and other good things? I'd say in that case that you did appreciate the piece aesthetically.jamalrob

    I think I am inclined to agree, now, against my former intuitions. I think the distinction between our aesthetic appreciation and the identity of the artwork is useful here. While there is something to be said about listening to the whole thing with that intention, or even in being absorbed in a work of art -- like what you mention about dance being just as good an example for absorption -- it probably shouldn't define the identity of the work of art, or be some sort of necessary condition for aesthetic appreciation.

    Taking this to its natural conclusion: we never listen to the entire piece. What then?jamalrob

    Decide whether the question is about whether or not we have encountered a complete and genuine instance of the artwork, or is instead one of any number of related questions about our processing of and response to whatever it is we have actually encountered.bongo fury

    I think, given the eventual focus on listening, I like the idea of deciding that we have heard a genuine instance of teh artwork, but that the identity of the artwork differs from our appreciation of the artwork. So, define the stimulus as such-and-such to explore our response and processing of the stimulus.

    I'll tell you what I was more interested in for this topic...

    I listen to a song once, it leaves a different imprint than twice, but the second time makes a pattern, subsequently third and fouth are different but still make a pattern, and then a different pattern emerges in tries 5 - 8, after that a pattern is possible but it's not as strict as 1-8.

    1. The First Imprint.
    2. (with partial memory)The Imperfect Judge.
    3. (with a semi good memory)The Crossing.
    4. (with good memory)The Perfect Judge.

    Without going on to 8, I just want to highlight again that the 2nd listen is a different resound than the 1st and subsequently 3-8, and there's a rather strange pattern to it.

    I have called this previously, mathematically, a nexus but I won't build on that just yet.

    Any clue what I'm on about? Anyone?

    I agree that the 2nd time I listen to something it's a different experience from the first time. Even more than that -- the more I listen to a particular genre the more I'll hear on a first listen of songs in the same genre, or sometimes even just having more conceptual tools will enhance my ability to pick out different meolodies, instruments, or harmonies as I listen.

    Something that really surprised me when I first got into classical music was this phenomena -- the more I read about classical music, the more I heard when listening to both well-worn musical pieces and new ones that I hadn't heard before. There was a definite conceptual element to my direct hearing of the music, at least in producing my experience of the work of art.

    And I think this iteration continues on. Some works of art can be listened to so many times that it goes on even greater than 8, and is probably relative to both the listener and the work of art.

    And each listen seems a little different from the previous, I'll agree.
  • What counts as listening?
    I guess I don't understand the significance of the question to you. So I'll offer a deflationary response.

    If it is required to hear the entire thing in one go to count as listening, you didn't listen.
    If it isn't required, you did.

    I can see a few intuitions regarding continuity of the piece in the background, but I dunno how they relate.

    The obvious question is: why is this important?jamalrob

    Still wanting to loop back around to @TheMadFool, and also more of what you post @jamalrob -- but it's taking me more time to formulate thoughts there so I wanted to quickly address the question of significance.

    First, this is more of an errant thought on my part -- a musing. Maybe it'll go nowhere, maybe it'll just trip me off into something that's already well explored that I just hadn't thought of before, and maybe it'll come up with something interesting.

    Second, the concept of listening is something that I think is pretty well unexplored and directly relates to quietism. Further, aesthetics is one of those areas that I think is pretty awesome for philosophy -- it's not as trapped by all the intuitions about truth and knowledge and seems to be able to work more freely because of this. So there are some other interests that pursing this question relates to, but it's also just kind of interesting unto itself.

    But, again, I want to emphasize that this is very much in errant thought territory, and not well-thought out or historically grounded or anything like that. Just something interesting to think through and about, if it happens to grab you.
  • What counts as listening?

    Still by far my favorite things to come from the internet is the wealth of references I never would have stumbled upon on my own, or would have done so at much slower speeds. I took a peak at the SEP Nelson Goodman article, and started to read the entry on identity, but this in turn went back further into the article. So I thought, before just reading the whole thing, I'd at least ask if I was on the right track in finding this bit on print-making and photography?

    Not that it's necessary for me to read it all before responding. I'm more collecting there. In response:

    It's interesting to me to think of music in these two different categories - the notational vs recorded (or perhaps even live as another category? Jazz improv without recording comes to mind)

    In a way it's like we're trying to match something. Not that there can't be small differences -- such as the small differences between different conductors or musicians when playing from the same score. You mention this -- it's a matching that doesn't have to be exact, it just has to fall within some limits. Limits that are likely imposed by the listener, to an extent -- someone who has an ear for a particular orchestra or conductor likely has more narrow limits to someone who is just passingly familiar with some orchestral work.

    With recorded music I don't know if matching is as easy. What makes a "small" difference? A few pops at the beginning of the recording that weren't there in the master don't seem to make much of a difference. We begin listening when the instruments begin, not in the dead space around the recording.

    Hrm hrm. Still more errant thoughts on my part, I'm afraid.
  • What counts as listening?
    Oh, OK!

    I may have misread @TheMadFool then, or just read him into your response too. My mistake.

    I guess I'd say that you did not hear the entire peice then, and for some reason I read you as saying you had -- but you stated that the listener heard something different from the original score. OK.

    This makes common sense to me when I look at examples.

    But I wonder if there's some conceptual dimension here -- like, is there something that spells out what a complete work is? When do you stop listening? And what are these levels of commitment to listening? To what extent is the listener a part of the listened (for a work of art, at least)?

    That sort of thing.

    And I find it hard to give much of an answer, but it's something I'm thinking about -- hence the thread, to see if others have thoughts on the same matter.
  • What counts as listening?

    This was the piece of music I was listening to when I formulated the question. It's something that really only works when taken as a whole. Other examples would be movements in a symphony or even very pronounced melodies within symphonies -- like Beethoven's 5th and 9th, which have very distinct and remembered melodies that everyone recognizes, but which require at least many different parts to be heard in full.
  • What counts as listening?

    Let's try it like this.




    We have here two parts of the old guitarist. Together as a whole:


    Now, by your reckoning, all we would need are the first two images and we could say we have seen the old guitarist. Break it up however you might imagine, too -- we can imagine it broken into hundreds of squares and triangles by some randomization algorithm, and by your reasoning if we have seen each of the hundreds of pieces then we have seen the entire painting. Hopefully you'll excuse me for not carrying out the demonstration, and you're able to see why someone would object to that.

    We need to see the whole painting. Sometimes we need to see the entire painting hanging on a wall, and not just pictures of them on the internet, to get the whole effect. To stay with Picasso, Guernica is very much like that: its size has an effect on the viewer which is missed in looking up images of it.

    I'd like to posit, at least, that the same holds for music. I can put music on in the background and hear it while focusing on something else, I can pause it and then go to work and come back hours later and restart where I was at. But there is also something to be said for listening to the entire work in a single session while concentrating on it. And I don't think the analogy is perfect -- I think there really is a difference between the visual and the audible, in terms of art. But it's close enough to hopefully highlight that there is something about continued listening which is important in evaluating music.
  • Metaphilosophy: Historic Phases
    I, for one, am very appreciative of historical methods. You've given me a lot of good thoughts to chew on @Snakes Alive, and for that I am appreciative -- especially in times such as these where I have time, and find myself continually returning to philosophical quietism in my own loop of thoughts.

    In the interest of the historical method I decided to look up whatever happened to be published in Nous. I'm not sure where to get a copy of the article, but they at least post abstracts. Two abstracts popped out for me.

    In the first we have some of the tools you identify as philosophy. And we also have useage of other concepts. A lot of philosophy of science, and related, is like this in my experience. So, for instance, we have the author asking after an analysis of biological function -- which is a conceptual request on a discipline. What is wanted is the form you posit -- "What is X?" -- however we can arrive at some concept and have it be productive. We can, of course, say what is productive is definitionally not philosophy. But then I'd say we're not staying true to our historical roots -- we have an artifact of philosophy, a philosophy journal, and what we see are the use of classical tools being put to use.

    The second link is an example of what I'd say is something of the normative dimension of philosophy that your account misses. Even Plato had normative concerns. One can even fairly read his ouevre in that vain -- that the death of his teacher at the hands of sophists was the monumental injustice that spurred on his philosophy, and that all other concerns are tertiary to his desire for justice in the world. I thought of bringing up late antiquity to highlight this too, as they emphasize this element much more strongly, but the concern is right there in Plato. Which isn't to say your account his wrong, here, since this is actually a through-line back to Plato -- but that drive for knowledge of what is good is a major part of a lot of philosophy, and is missing from your account. It is, in part, a kind of literature dedicated to wisdom.

    Second, and others have noted this too, I'd say that as interesting as your account is it might be more local than you're putting out, and that philosophy -- while it may not follow the usual lines put forward -- may also have a more general impulse. I'd say that I'm inclined to think in this direction, simply because philosophy as arisen in other parts of the world other than Greece. So, like money, religion, art, and politics philosophy comes about seemingly spontaneously, and this is even confirmed in everyday sorts of conversations on philosophical topics -- such as "how do you know?", "Do we have freewill?", or "Does God exist and what is he like?". There's one particular story and pseudo-lineage we call Western Philosophy that draws from Greece, and it likely picked up, along with that influence, the blind-spots from which that tradition draws -- in your thesis, the litigious aspect of ancient Athens. And it would be a very interesting historical exercise to see in what sorts of conditions philosophy finds itself -- does it find itself in similar circumstances, where argument in court is given such importance, and then these same language-games then get applied more generally to other subjects? Or does it arise in times of despair, such as when Plato despaired humanity? Or is it merely the mark of powerful and great civilizations, employing artisans and priests and philosophers to demonstrate their superior civilization, thereby giving them empirical proof of their right to conquest?

    Third -- I'd hesitate a little in putting too much stock into historical methods. Not because I don't prefer them. I do. But because they also end in aporia! :D The same with art. The same with religion. The answers are ambiguous and always will be, in these disciplines. Yet, somehow, they mutate and become something different along the way, they add on new creations while assimilating the old.
  • Analytic Philosophy
    Yeah. I have some drafts thus far, but that's the kind of thing I'm actually focusing on right now with occassionally looking up sources to see where the previous authors came from. But for the most part I'm just trying to improve the brass tacks writing of the thing! :D
  • Analytic Philosophy
    Dooo eeeeet.

    One thing I think I'd stand by is saying that while rigor and clarity are defining features of analytic philosophy -- even values commonly agreed upon -- that doesn't mean that these values are exclusively analytical, just definitive for analytic philosophers.

    The page is kinda a spaghetti mess and I'm trying to untangle it bit-by-bit as I go about all my things in life, but I was going with the approach that analytic philosophy can be characterized without reference to other traditions since I don't think there's a good distinction to be made between the usual suspects -- i.e. continental or existential, etc.
  • Analytic Philosophy

    well -- here's an attempt at replacing the whole first paragraph into something succinct. Then move the bullet points down below to different features, maybe. Tried to cut out the compare/contrast type stuff because I generally don't think there's a distinction to be made between analytic/continental/existential/marxist/whatever. They're just historical categories.

    I signed up for an account to edit, but the editing portal was... intimidating. lol

    Analytic philosophy is a tradition of philosophy that began around the turn of the 20th century and continues to today. Like any philosophical tradition it includes many conflicting thinkers in a broad umbrella with its own particular lineage and history and so is resistant to a clean-cut summary. Some aspects generally found are a fascination with modern scientific practices, an attempt to focus philosophical reflection on smaller problems that lead to answers to bigger questions, and valuing clarity and rigor in one's philosophical thoughts and arguments.
  • An hypothesis is falsifiable if some observation might show it to be false.
    I can't think of another way to say it that's any different from the wiki.
  • Davidson - On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme
    Still mulling over the significance of Davidson's rejection of conceptual schemes. I'd be interested to hear some new thoughts on the questions below:

    If the essence of a conceptual scheme can be located in a far-ranging belief, are we back to square one? Back to an essentially (although a belief- rather than a concept-based) relativistic picture?

    What is the significance of the rejection of conceptual schemes if our beliefs continue to paint a picture of fundamentally different ontologies (and sister -ologies)?

    Belief seems just as potent in creating a kind of weltanschauung-relativism. Different people believe the world fits best into such and such a belief system. Not such a far cry from conceptual relativism. Maybe someone can clarify the distinction.

    I guess it depends. We could just get by by saying that even if they believe such and such, and there are different meanings to the beliefs, that they could also just be false beliefs, or they could be the sorts of statements that are only apparently truth-apt because of their form but are not truth-apt because of their content. Maybe other ways too. Also it depends on what we mean by fundamental difference, as opposed to just difference.

    IIRC you referred to a difference between physicalism vs. idealism as examples of fundamental difference. I guess from my perspective I don't think either thesis really gives us much to go off of, at least in the general statements of such. What exactly is being argued over? What is being said in saying "Everything that exists is composed of physical/mental substance"? Well it depends on the individual stating as much. For a philosopher the meaning is embedded usually in a pretty intricate series of inferences are reasons that begin to give shape to the statement that makes it something almost unique unto itself -- it has a new meaning that the original sentence I put on display doesn't elucidate, and usually that meaning is critical. In more popular discussions usually what is at stake is the truth of some other belief like "God exists" or "There are objectively good acts" and so on -- things which are similarly problematic and not easy to describe or assume, as long as study philosophy. Sort of like the original statement.

    So given that these things are not clear, or at least problematic, I have trouble believing that they are fundamentally different and true, and so I have trouble believing that the mere existence of these beliefs makes truth relative to them or something along those lines. It would depend on the details of a given position.
  • Davidson - On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme

    My apologies for being slow in replying.

    So then I think, to focus my first reply here -- which is directed at partial untranslatability -- I'd say that we could learn two different paradigms (to keep Kuhn in sites) by using them. And then this would be how we'd be able to tell that the two different paradigms do not have the same meaning.

    So here, I think we can say, language is presumed as you note. It was only on the topic of total untranslatability that a criteria for languagehood was sought after -- which has some interesting implications, I think, like when you were talking about understanding dolphins and other alien intelligences. But I think I'm going after making sense of paradigms, here -- or making nonsense of them too, if that be the case.

    So when I ask what more someone could want -- well, they could want as faithful a rendition of the meaning as possible, and recognition that the meaning is not exactly the same. We want someone to recognize that there is value to the statement in its original language, that the resonances of meaning are lost in translation, that there is something valuable in not just translating one language into another but in learning the language from which some work of science or art comes from.

    I think that for paradigms to work, though, I would have to go a step further. As you note this is about a comparison between words -- from words to words, meanings to meanings, and not from words and meanings to world. It would seem that in order to argue in favor of paradigmatic change in the interesting sense Davidson is talking about here (and not just in a sociological sense as we can also take Kuhn to be talking about) that not only would meanings have to differ, but the relationship between the world would have to be one of truth.

    And that's the kicker. Is what is lost in translation not just the resonances of meaning, but also truth? And that's a somewhat cryptic phrasing -- maybe it's cleaner to say are there languages where some sentences cannot be translated into one another, but truth is retained in both instances? Which actually differs, a bit, from merely contradiction. It's not like there's a proposition P and ~P, one of which is expressible in one language and one of which is expressible in another where they are both true but cannot be translated between each language, but P is only expressible in L1, and ~P is only expressible in L2. We might call that a version of hard paradigms. But all that would be required is that there is some sentence in a language that cannot be expressed in another language, and it also is true -- a sort of soft version of paradigms. So there's a proposition P which is expressible in L1, is true, and is not expressible in L2

    And while it may be too early to tell at present it seems that we have reason to believe that the differences between quantum mechanics and relativity give us some example of this smaller, partially untranslatable, and soft paradigm (here I have in mind their different characterizations of causality -- which, in spite of various attempts to make QM deterministic, the actual usage of causality in practice is stochastic and so I'd say we're safe in inferring a difference, even if we want to put that difference in different ways that harmonize more than not). How do we understand the two? Well, we use them in their respective contexts -- we learn their meanings. We then compare them and see that there are some sentences in one that are not translatable to the other, but are also true. Some people work on trying to bridge these two theories, but it is enough for my point that right now we do not have such a bridge. They could, after all, both be true in their respective ways. Perhaps the true sentences in one are just better equipped to deal with certain phenomena in certain contexts -- hence why one isn't expressible in terms of the other. They really do just mean different things and are useful in those respects because they are fine-tuned technical languages built for that express purpose, rather than to serve as a universal-sort of language of the universe.

    Anytime we delve into specifics there's a host of interpretive difficulties that would take longer than a paragraph to go through, and may in fact just be distracting to our overall argument. Hopefully I've elucidated how we might understand a paradigm, at least, even if you disagree with the example -- the hard/soft version of paradigms, with a focus more on the soft because that's the easier one to defend, and really it's all that's required. Meaning may be ineffable, but surely we can at least recognize a difference in meaning in spite of not having a theory of meaning? And if that be the case then we should be able to point to examples of sentences which cannot be translated into at least one other language, and are true. And if that be the case then all that I might ask, at least, is for our translator to recognize that difference.
  • Davidson - On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme
    I'm concerned about criticizing the article correctly, hence my defense of it. But I suppose what gets me is this, @Banno -- how do we learn our first language? Surely we don't translate back into some more primitive language through the T-sentence, or some formulation like that. Obviously we wouldn't do it explicitly, but we could claim implicitly that it's so -- but then we'd have to have some proto-language or something going on to allow that to be the case.

    I'd submit that there's a far simpler explanation -- that we learn the meaning of a language through using it. But if that be the case then the T-sentence provides a hopping-over point for learning some phrases within another language through the " true" predicate -- but there comes a time in learning another language that we simply know how to use said language.

    If that be the case then we can come to know two separate languages with partially different meanings. And we know they have partially different meanings not because we translated back to our native tongue, but because we learned this new language in the same way we learned our first language.

    That is: rather than translating, all we do is compare meanings.

    And in the same way that we can compare meanings in two distinct languages we could also compare meanings in two different conceptual schemes. No? So the way a person would know, ala Kuhn, that two paradigms are different in meaning is they bothered to spend the time to learn the meanings of the different paradigms.

    And while we could understand them both, just as we can understand two languages, we didn't understand them through translating back into our native language -- but by becoming familiar with the meanings of the beliefs related (or concepts? Not sure I even require "concepts", i.e., I could follow your suggestion that we replace concepts with beliefs and I think this line of thinking would hold).

    And this is how we'd come to make an understanding of partial non-translatability -- through knowledge of two distinct languages with different meanings.

    Now one thing I'll acknowledge here is that this does not provide a criteria of language-hood, as Davidson sets out to do. Or, insofar that it does, it's something of a fiat criteria -- we know it's a language because we speak it.

    But then I'm still compelled by this thought that we do just simply learn a language, rather than translate a language back into some other tongue -- else, how did we learn the native tongue?

    edit: just to clarify a bit on my thoughts on Kuhn -- I tend to think of Kuhn, and Feyerabend's, claims as being a little more local than the more general place that Davidson is operating from. I read them of talking about science specifically, and scientific theories specifically, more than knowledge generally. Just to be clear on some of expressed resistance to Davidson's treatment. But I'll go along with the more general claim because I think with Kuhn, especially, it's easy to read him going both ways.
  • The New Center, the internet, and philosophy outside of academia
    Rereading this thread just makes me miss Tgw :(

    As far as I'm concerned these days, at least -- insofar that you're happy with your life, living a good life, then you're doing philosophy well. No need for recognition. No need to complete that degree. No need to worry about being in-between, too rigorous or not rigorous at all.

    Happiness is all that matters. The rest is just for fun. And rigor can be fun. But it needn't impede your happiness.
  • Davidson - On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme
    Thank you for clarifying that. So your point is that there is no disagreement concerning the meaning of the words, the disagreement is about something else, some other "belief". So how do you construe the disagreement itself as being meaningful?Metaphysician Undercover

    In one case we disagree because I don't understand what you believe. In the other case we disagree even though I understand what you believe.
  • Davidson - On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme
    Alright I can see that my attempt at demonstrative persuasion didn't work -- but I'm afraid I've lost the plot here Meta.

    Meaningful disagreement, by my lights, is the sort of disagreement you have with someone while understanding the words they say. So we do not share the same belief. But I understand the statement the belief is about. edit: So its opposite is disagreeing with someone but not understanding the statement the belief is about -- so you don't really even disagree with their belief as much as you disagree with a statement, hence why it is a kind of meaningless disagreement -- a disagreement arrived at by way of not having the same meaning in mind.
  • Davidson - On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme
    As you're no doubt aware - having spent so much time on the forums - it's a rare thing for a mind to be ahubristic and circumspect enough to draw a distinction between its truths and its beliefs.ZzzoneiroCosm

    Granting that -- there is still a difference between true sentences, and a mind's truths, and a mind's beliefs.

    A true sentence is: On the 25th of November at about 10 in the morning Moliere wrote some posts on the Philosophy Forum.

    Now, unless we are frequenting this discussion, this surely wouldn't be a believed sentence. And, to be honest about my own beliefs, I didn't really believe it until I wrote it now. I don't get in the habit of documenting everything I do, I just go about and do it. But it was a true sentence before I believed it because that's what I was doing.

    "A mind's truths" has the air of a different sort of thing, to me -- sort of like "We hold these truths to be self-evident". Things that are important to some mind that need no further explanation and which, if you do not believe, you just don't see The Truth.

    Do you see the difference, in spite of what a mind might be inclined to do?
  • Davidson - On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme
    Meaningful disagreement is an oxymoron.Metaphysician Undercover

    Yeah, right!

  • Davidson - On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme
    I agree the stock characters create an atmosphere of caricature. At the same time, I've encountered, on these forums, both simplistic reductive materialism and its immaterialist nemesis, duking it out in a nearly caricatural dialogue.

    I've simplified my "stock characters" for the sake of clarity and non-complexity. The historical approach sounds useful too.

    Cool. Just as long as we keep it in mind I think that's all that's needed -- since they are stock characters, it is we who are actually talking, putting words into their mouths, and what-not. So we can easily modify what they say along the way, too.

    This is clear to me. We assume a background of shared belief and practice charity to facilitate communication.ZzzoneiroCosm


    Rephrasing this to see if you think I understand you:

    Broadly speaking, to facilitate communication (or "translation") charity and the presupposition of a background of shared belief are brought into play.

    But in the case of ideological nemeses duking it out, charity is suspended and the presuppsition of a background of shared belief is abandoned.

    In the former case, communication is the priority.

    In the latter case, something like evangelism is the priority.

    Yeah that's what I'm thinking. You see this sort of thing when you watch some of the debates between New Atheists and Christian apologists. The speakers are more addressing their audience than they are addressing one another. Sometimes that's not the case, but I've noticed that whenever they start to understand one another the audience also starts to lose interest. :D Or, at least, some of the audience starts to lose interest -- they wanted to see the bad guy taken to task, not understanding.

    Also, I think it's worth noting that even in these cases, at least with respect to the Davidson paper, the two usually do understand one another -- the differences between these extreme beliefs is not a matter of untranslatability. It's a difference in emotional commitment to two beliefs that are percieved to be in competition -- it's a matter of a threat to one's identity, a psychological matter, and not a linguistic one where the schemes the two hold make it impossible for them to communicate, even partially so, or impossible for them to both be wrong. They can still both be wrong, or maybe just one of them be wrong.
  • Davidson - On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme
    ah! That's... very nice and good. Thank you.

    Gotta think.

    Also, whilst I have fielded a few retorts today... well, you know -- family, life, and all that. Be back in a bit.
  • Davidson - On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme
    Partial failure in as much as the immaterialist and materialist behave in a similar way, suggesting a common core of practical beliefs. I can't really imagine a case of total failure apart from examples of severe psychosis.ZzzoneiroCosm


    So let's take a trip into partial untranslatability.

    But first I feel it important to note that these are stock characters -- the materialist and the immaterialist. At least they are stock characters unless you happen to have some specific philosophers you have in mind. I mean I can imagine referencing Berkeley vs. Epicurus, as some sort of arch- versions of both, but they didn't speak to one another and I'm just conjuring them up as arch-examples.

    I feel that's important to note because I'm kinda super into history-of-whatever. That's my jam. So stock characters stand as paradigmatic (to us) examples of thought, not as real examples. And the reason I like the historical approach so much is that it often dispels these phantoms of thought and imagination when we look closely.

    So partial untranslatability. I will admit that the Ketch and Yawl example seems *extremely* close. And kinda. . .. uhhh... let's just say poor people have to google to understand it. All the same -- I think it makes sense to say that we do, in fact, reinterpret our conversation partners words to mean something else. They don't have to mean what we think they mean. And the closeness of the example is actually strong because it shows one case where we are very close but, rather than attributing a belief to another person, we accept the belief and reinterpret the words.

    That's big.

    And I think one good thing Davidson notes is that we do this on pain of not being understood.

    So we have our stock characters. I think the more popular example of stock characters are the atheist materialist and the Christian spiritualist. In that situation -- might the people involved wish to be misunderstood? Maybe not consciously. That's a psychological matter. But maybe they just want to assert their belief and have others believe it.

    I don't want this to be read universally. But, at least ,as an explanation for some -- maybe the examples we are all thinking of, I hope -- of our experiences with conceptual schemes?

    Tell me what you think.
  • Davidson - On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme
    :) Thanks. I feel the warm fuzzies of flattery.