Comments

  • Solipsism is a weak interpretation of the underlying observation


    No, that's just a poor use of logic. A good use of logic would be to include all the variables involved, and that includes the particular context. As a very basic example, we can say the context of whether its raining or not todayPhilosophim

    When I talk about change in context, I dont mean going from ‘its raining’ to ‘its not raining’, but the subtle qualitative changes in sense of meaning of ‘it’s raining’ that take place over time while remaining within the logical category of ‘its raining’. In going from subject to predicate and back to subject again in a propositional statement, the variables that are collected together to form a propositional chain dont retain a fixed meaning as we move back and forth between them to build up a logical statement. A living sense-making system isnt just designed to adapt to a changing world, its own functioning modifies the meaning of the world it finds itself engaged with, even if that world consists simply of letter symbols connected by logical operators.
  • Knowledge and induction within your self-context
    Just to make sure I follow you here. You make three distinctions:
    1. Sense data
    2. Epistemic meaning
    3. Conceptual schemes

    Correct?
    Fire Ologist

    Pretty much
  • Solipsism is a weak interpretation of the underlying observation


    Logic does not require a full understanding of the underlying process. Assume A. If A is true... is all you need. We're not asking where A came from. The structure of A, its history, etc. We're assuming A exists. In this instance, "A program called Excel exists with these functions. If I use function B, I get output C." While one could operate Excel at an extremely basic level by someone giving them formulas and telling them to just plug the same numbers in again and again, logically they know using a different formula will lead to an unknown result. Our use of logic does not need to build Mt Olympus, sometimes its used to build a card board box house.Philosophim

    The problem with formal logic, or I should say its limitation, is that it ignores changes in contextual sense. A word concept in logic is defined in opposition to everything else in the world indiscriminately, but concepts as we understand them are contrasted in a context and person-dependent way with what they are not. The contrast pole
    for a word meaning may be different for you than for me. The more important limitation is that, while we build our computers to calculate by logical symbol manipulation, this doesn’t mean that this is the fundamental or most useful way that we think. Formal logic is a peculiar invention that has its uses, but falls short in addressing how we form and use meanings in everyday situations , and what causes breakdowns in interpersonal understanding.
  • Ethics: The Potential Advent of AGI
    I would also argue we should hope for a conscious system rather than some abstraction that we have no hope to communicate with. A non-conscious free-wheeling system that vastly surpasses human intelligence is a scary prospect if we have no direct line to communication with it (in any human intelligible sense)I like sushi

    Even though there are many things we don’t understand about how other organism function, we don’t seem to have any problem getting along with other animals, and they are vastly more capable than any AGI. More important is the way in which living organisms are more capable than our machines. Living systems are self-organizing ecological systems, which means that they continually produce creative changes in themselves , and thus in their world. AGI, like all human-produced machines, is an appendage of our ecological system. Appendages don’t produce novelty, only the larger system which they are a part (us) can produce novelty. They can only produce statistical randomness , a faux-novelty. There is no more risk of my agi suddenly running off and becoming independently sentient than there is of my left hand or liver doing so. The ethical danger isn’t from our machines, it is from our ways of engaging with each other as reflected in how we interact with our machines.
  • What is a "Woman"


    But seeing beyond what can be seen, beyond the arbitrary faux limits of what men think can be, is what separates the philosopher, the rightful ruler, whose proclamations or "truths" that are not based on so-called rationale propped up by inorganic states of detestable action, a dynamic of perpetual hypocrisy to simply maintain but a foothold in the mind of man instead of a persistent truth intrinsic to men rich and poor and even in infancy can recognize, the True Sovereign, from the commoner. Being alive, or open, knowing "statistically" (based on the view of the majority or "what is apparently, if not glaringly, seemingly-evident") is but a transient state of affairs that can be turned on its head in a moment's notice.Outlander

    I like your thinking here. It reminds me of my favorite psychologist, George Kelly:


    “…when we sit down to try to figure out what will happen in the future, it usually seems as if the thing to do is to start with what we already know. This progression from the known to the unknown is characteristic of logical thought, and it probably accounts for the fact that logical thinking has so often proved itself to be an obstacle to intellectual progress. It is a device for perpetuating the assumptions of the past. Perhaps at the root of this kind of thinking is the conviction that ultimate truth -at least some solid bits of it - is something embedded in our personal experience. While this is not the view I want to endorse, neither would I care to spend much time quarreling with it. It does occur to me, however, that one of the reasons for thinking this way is our common preference for certainty over meaning; we would rather know some things for sure, even though they don't shed much light on what is going on.

    To me the striking thing that is revealed in this perspective is the way yesterday's alarming impulse becomes today's enlivening insight, tomorrow's repressive doctrine, and after that subsides into a petty superstition. It is true that a person so caught up in the tide of circumstances, or so committed to the control of them, can scarcely be accredited as an unbiased observer. But, from the standpoint of constructive alternativism, the issue is not bias versus unbias, but the question of what the bias is
    and how long it takes to see things in a new light.
  • Knowledge and induction within your self-context

    We both agree that we directly experience Sensory Data. You perceive that Sensory Data as having been caused by objects (hence you have indirect perception of objects). I perceive Sensory Data and more Sensory Data.Treatid

    I wonder if you’re familiar with Wilfred Sellars’s Myth of the Given? It states that there is no non-conceptual perception of sense data, which means that we filter that data through linguistic schemes. Furthermore those schemes are not given a priori as with Kant’s categories. So it doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about seeing object and their relations or just relations of relations, the epistemic meaning of the sense data we perceive is dependent on the nature of our conceptual schemes. Do you agree with this?
  • (Ontological) Materialism and Some Alternatives
    But what physics means is not itself a question for physics. ‘Scientism’ comprises not recognising that, or ignoring the fact that the meaning of scientific theories is not itself a scientific theory, or believing that science will “one day” explain the meaning.Wayfarer

    I see what you’re saying, but I am inclined to think that the failure to think reflexively about what science does, and the methods a particular science uses, is not a limitation of a thing called science meant in some universal, ahistorical sense, but of a certain era of science which doesn’t recognize human becoming, including the wives we create, as open-ended, historical, and contextual. This is where newer sciences, like enactivism , hold the promise of taking this historicality and situatedness into account.
    Hanne De Jaegher explains:

    . Enaction is a particular kind of nonreductive naturalism, one that stresses the continui­ties but also the innovations that occur between natural pro­cesses, life, mind, language, and human communities; as much an approach to embodied minds as a rethinking of
    nature. Dichotomies become ambiguous in this approach,
    such as that between descriptive and the normative dis­course (a distinction more normative than descriptive in its
    deployments). A lesson that refectively emerges from enac­tive epistemology is that theorising of any kind, a fortiori
    theorising about human beings, is never purely descriptive.
    From the choice of technical language to decisions about
    perspective and relevance, awareness of implications, and concern for potential uses, theorising is always an ethical
    engagement, situated in a community of embodied research­ers and institutions. This is not to say that normative ques­tions can be exhausted by any kind of theorising, enactive or otherwise.
  • (Ontological) Materialism and Some Alternatives


    Materialism is metaphysics, a philosophical perspective on reality, a way of thinking about things. As I, and R.G. Collingwood, think, metaphysical positions are not true or false, right or wrong… Newtonian mechanics is a set of scientific theories. I don't think it's correct to call it "wrong," it's just that it's limited. But for most uses in our everyday world, it's adequate to give us good answers. I can make accurate predictions about events here on Earth using Newton's principles. I can't make any predictions with metaphysics - that's just not how it works.T Clark

    Yes, materialism is a philosophical perspective. Newtonian mechanics , like all scientific theories, also rests on a philosophical perspective. As a theory, its predictions are ‘good’ and ‘accurate’ according to a particular metaphysical way of thinking about things. The predictions of quantum physics are also good and accurate, but in relation to a changed metaphysical perspective. Both the old and the new physics use terms like mass and energy, but their qualitative meaning has shifted in subtle ways that, as you and Collinwood say, can’t be subsumed under the categories of true and false. The new physics isn’t simply ‘more true’ than the old, it is qualitatively different in its concepts, but in subtle ways that are easy to miss.
  • (Ontological) Materialism and Some Alternatives


    It's unclear to me whether what's being referred to as "The One" is meant to be supernatural (outside of or apart from nature) or a part of nature (the universe). If it's supernatural, it seems to me to suffer from the problems which result when a transcendence is assumed rather than immanence--I don't think we can know anything about what's "outside" of nature/the universe. But if some aspect of nature/the universe is being referred to, why can't that be a kind of materialism (in which what is "material" would include all of the universe)?Ciceronianus

    I agree with this. There is more than one conception of the natural and the material. If a particular variety of materialism seems too reductive, it is not necessary to go in search of an extra-material ground. Rather, one can do what the New Materialists have done, transform our understanding of material reality so it has room for consciousness and linguistic conceptualization, uniting what Sellars called the manifest and the scientific image without making one the foundation for the other.
  • (Ontological) Materialism and Some Alternatives


    Right. Scientism is the result of attempting to apply scientific methods to philosophical problemsWayfarer

    I would argue that scientism involves the belief that the science-philosophy separation you’re suggesting is even possible.
  • Is atheism illogical?

    I agree that everything is contingent. The Buddha’s dying words were supposed to have been something like ‘all compound things are subject to decay’. But your sentiment is ultimately a form of relativism or scepticism, I would think. The difficulty is, that to even attempt to name or indicate something beyond the contingent or constructed, brings it within the scope of a ‘community of discourse’ which is once again one of social construction and languageWayfarer

    It isn’t robust relativism that leads to skepticism, but Idealism and empiricism, by not realizing that the practices of meaning we find ourselves enmeshed within are already real and true, already of the world, absent of any need to valid them on the basis of conformity to anything outside of these already world-enmeshed practices , ‘beyond the contingent’. As Merleau-Ponty says

    “[t]he world is inseparable from the subject, but from a subject who is nothing but a project of the world; and the subject is inseparable from the world, but from a world that it itself projects”

    Looking for truth beyond the contingent is the best way to court skepticism. Critics of relativism ignore the meaning of the word, that it is fundamentally about relationality, and instead associate it with incommensurability and failure to relate. For authors like Kuhn, a paradigm or worldview only appears incommensurate with ones it has overthrow from the vantage of the non-relativist and the scientist still wedded to the older paradigm.

    There is nothing beyond the contingent, but this doesn’t mean that the intimacy and intricacy of our experienced relation to the world we are immersed in doesn’t evolve. Our understanding doesn’t evolve by more and more closely approximating some foundational content but by using our past world-engaged practices to construct more intricately relational forms of understanding.
  • Vervaeke-Henriques 'Transcendent Naturalism'


    I'd say this abductive shift is key in these sorts of arguments. "Which is more rational or plausible? To say that kinds do exist, or to say that they do not exist?Leontiskos

    Not only is saying kinds exist more rational, I would say that the notion of categorical identity is essential to most definitions of rationality. But then, there are more rigorous, more fundamental ways of grounding truth and meaning than by means of identity and rationality.
  • Vervaeke-Henriques 'Transcendent Naturalism'


    I must respectfully disagree with the passage from Derrida, which I find to be 'nonsense on stilts.' Identity, or what things are, is a fundamental constituent of rational thought and cognitionWayfarer

    I agree that identity is a fundamental constituent of rational thought. My argument, shared by Varela, Thompson and other enactivists that Vervaeke claims to be influenced by,
    is that rationality is secondary and derivative of a more fundamental form of sense-making, mindful skilled coping, which places relation and difference as prior to identity.

    In focusing on the abstraction involved in identifying kinds and likenesses, it's an overstatement to claim there are no kinds, repetitions, or likenesses in nature. These elements are plainly evident and essential; without any similarity or repetition, there would be only chaosWayfarer

    If we abandon the abstraction, or more precisely, see the variation within the abstraction that we employ to turn similarities and likenesses into fixed kinds, we not only do not lose what we are aiming for , the intimate relationality, harmony , compatibility and meaningfulness between events, but we gain a richer and more robust sense of the radical interconnectedness of events than we do when we smother phenomena with the stifling templates of self-identical kinds.
  • Vervaeke-Henriques 'Transcendent Naturalism'


    Kind is an abstraction from natural regularities, and as such is a fixed or static identity. Abstractions, like number, are static, although obviously their instantiations are not.Janus

    I agree.
  • Vervaeke-Henriques 'Transcendent Naturalism'


    Derrida wants to say here that the old ontological metaphysics, built around the notion of ‘presence’, is over. It means that the present that eludes our consciousness is the other, always unknown side of what sustains ‘pure repetition’. The primary part of whatever we are doing now, at this present time, is completely absent from what we can see or feel. Yet, it is not clear how the absolute break, ‘pure repetition’ is related to iterability. What is the process of production? The identical is not the ultimate gap, but the structure of operative recursive connections, maintaining temporal stability and persistent self-referenceNumber2018

    Consciousness for Derrida and Heidegger implies self-affection, a selfless turning back to itself to reflect on itself.
    To be conscious is always to be self-conscious. This is the origin of identity, A=A. To say that experience is not conscious to itself does not mean that ‘the primary part of whatever we are doing now, at this present time, is completely absent from what we can see or feel’. On the contrary, differance, as the in-between of transit, is precisely what we see and feel.

    Derrida famously wrote:

    “The iterability of an element divides its own identity a priori, even without taking into account that this identity can only determine or delimit itself through differential relations to other elements and hence that it bears the mark of this difference. It is because this iterability is differential, within each individual "element" as well as between "elements", because it splits each element while constituting it, because it marks it with an articulatory break, that the remainder, although indispensable, is never that of a full or fulfilling
    presence; it is a differential structure escaping the logic of presence..(Limited Inc)

    His thinking about identity was strongly influenced by Heidegger’s notion of Being as event. Heidegger introduced us to a beginning for thinking that is ontologically prior to the overt distinction between the present and the absent, the same and the other, familiarity and subversion, schemes and their dislocation, something and nothing, the relevant and the strange, binding and separating, identity and difference, being and becoming, good and evil. What Heidegger elaborated in the guise of the ‘as' structure, temporality and the making of the work of art marries these gestures within the same paradoxical moment. Heidegger constantly struggled to come up with an adequate way of articulating a notion of transit, othering and difference that the grammatical structure of language mitigates against, an essencing which is neither simply present nor absent, neither something nor nothing, neither future, now nor past.
  • Vervaeke-Henriques 'Transcendent Naturalism'
    I get the argument that the concept serves a purpose in how we talk. The claims about what exists in nature seems to contradict the limits presented regarding such description. But how does that let us say what exists in nature?Paine

    I should have said that it is the nature of a meaning intention that contextual change intervenes in the repetition of the same ‘identity’. For Husserl, number in itself is not tied to anything but itself. Enumeration, as an empty ' how much', abstracts away all considerations that pertain to the nature of the substrate of the counting, including whether that substrate offers itself up for measurement in qualitatively or quantitatively changing increments. Enumeration represents what Husserl calls a free ideality. Derrida characterizes this feature of number in the following way;
    “I can manipulate symbols without animating them, in an active and actual manner, with the attention and intention of signification(crisis of mathematical symbolism, according to Husserl) .”

    “Now, Numbers, as numbers, have no meaning; they can squarely be said to have no meaning, not even plural meaning. …Numbers have no present or signified content. And, afortiori, no absolute referent. This is why they don't show anything, don't tell anything, don't represent anything, aren't trying to say anything. Or more precisely, the moment of present meaning, of “content,” is only a surface effect.”

    Numeric idealization is unbound (within the strict limits of its own repetition); no contextual effects intervene such as was the case in the attempt to repeat the same word meaningfully.
  • Vervaeke-Henriques 'Transcendent Naturalism'
    Flocks of birds, schools of fish, all comprise collections of ‘the same kind’. There are repetitions and patterns and instances of ‘the same kind’ in nature. How is that not so?Wayfarer

    It comes back to the issue of identity. Same kind is not identical kind. The same only continues to be itself slightly differently from one moment to the next. Iterability produces
    "an imperceptible difference. This exit from the identical into the same remains very slight, weighs nothing itself...". “It is not necessary to imagine the death of the sender or of the receiver, to put the shopping list in one's pocket, or even to raise the pen above the paper in order to interrupt oneself for a moment. The break intervenes from the moment that there is a mark, at once. It is iterability itself, ..passing between the re- of the repeated and the re- of the repeating, traversing and transforming repetition.”“Pure repetition, were it to change neither thing nor sign, carries with it an unlimited power of perversion and subversion. (Derrida)
  • Vervaeke-Henriques 'Transcendent Naturalism'
    Kind and generality consist in identity. Each particular is unique, so there is no identicality of particulars. Things are counted as being of the same kind, so there is identicality of kindJanus

    Exactly. We invented the concept of ‘same kind’ in order to count, but same kind doesn’t exist in nature.
  • Why are drugs so popular?


    Why are drugs so alluring to some and growing in popularity amongst (quite a few) Americans?Shawn

    Well, at least with regard to psychedelics, for some they help to catalyze higher states of enlightenment. Here’s Timothy Leary’s account of his acid acid trip:

    My previous psychedelic sessions had opened up sensory awareness, pushed consciousness out to the membranes. Psilocybin had sucked me down into nerve nets, into body organs, heart pulse, and air breath; had let me spiral down the DNA ladder of evolution to the beginning of life on this planet. But LSD was something different. Michael's heaping spoonful had flipped my consciousness into a dance of energy, where nothing existed except whirring vibrations and each illusory form was simply a different frequency.

    It was the most shattering experience of my life. And through it all, sitting with his head cradled in his knees, was the architect of this enlightenment, the magician who had flicked the switch to this alchemical show, Michael, the trickster. The effects of the drug began to wear off by dawn. I was still higherthan ever before, but some structure was coming back. The flow of electronic vibrations was slowing, and I felt myself freezing into a mold plastic. There was a terrible sense of loss, of nostalgia for the radiant core of meaning.

    I walked up to the Fergusons' room. They were feeling the same despair, ejected from paradise. I knelt before Flo with my head in herlap. Tears came down her eyes, and I found myself shaking with sobs.Why had we lost it? Why were we being reborn in these silly leather bodies with these trivial chessboard minds? For the rest of the morning I was in a daze, stunned by what had happened, trying to figure out what to do with these revelations, whatto do with life routines that were completely artificial.

    I remember driving to my office in Cambridge the next day, still feeling a strange electric noise in my brain. Why did I return? Where had I lost the flow? Was it the result of fear, greed, past stupidities? And would I ever again break through to that other illusion, dance at the center of the great vibration dance? Then I realized what I was doing. I was imposing a pre-acid mental game on the revealed mystery of life. It all had to do with trust and acceptance.

    It has been twenty years since that first LSD trip with Michael Hollingshead. I have never forgotten it. Nor has it been possible for me to return to the life I was leading before that session. I have never recovered from that ontological confrontation. I have never been able to take
    myself, my mind, or the social world quite so seriously. Since that time I have been acutely aware that everything I perceive, everything within and around me, is a creation of my own consciousness. And that everyone lives in a neural cocoon of private reality. From that day I have never lost the sense that I am an actor, surrounded by characters, props, and sets for the comic drama being written in my brain.
  • Solipsism is a weak interpretation of the underlying observation


    I'm confused as to why you think this is an argument against solipsism or its' underlying observations.

    You point out that the definition of 'I' or 'self' is unclear. I agree with this.

    I think you are then making an (unstated) assumption that if we cannot define the strict meaning of words then arguments involving those words are meaningless and we shall all just give up.
    Treatid

    I was only introducing a commonly accepted definition of solipsism, which isn’t unclear at all, and wondering if it corresponds to your use of the word. And if it doesn’t, how does your use differ? You keep on referring to me my, I. Would you be amenable to getting rid of these terms and instead just describing a constantly changing center of activity that we mistakenly refer to as a ‘self’? What other things do you believe can be definitively said about this center of experiencing without having to dip into mathematics and logical axioms?

    Can we say this center has memory , consciousness of a past, present and future? If we throw out the language of propositional logic and math , aren’t we still able to keep a range of neuro-psychological descriptions of human experiencing? Is your purpose in this thread simply to critique the assumed pre-eminent role of math and logic in the ascertaining of truth ( in which case you have a lot of company, not only in philosophy but in the social sciences)? Or is your aim also to critique what you understand to be the cutting edge of ideas in philosophy and the sciences ( in which case you run the risk of reinventing the wheel)?
  • Vervaeke-Henriques 'Transcendent Naturalism'
    The ability to cognize abstractions, such as mathematical truths, may be an evolved trait; however, the abstractions themselves are not products of evolution. Instead, they represent cases of exaptation, where a cognitive capacity evolved for one function is repurposed to engage with another: in this case, the realm of objective (or 'transjective') truths that transcend biological adaptation. (This is what I mean by 'transcending biology'.) It challenges the reductionist view that everything about us can be fully explained through the lens of biological adaptation.Wayfarer

    The most valuable idea buried within the biological concept of exaptation is that meanings , purposes and other living patterns of organization can be re-invented in ways that are not logically derivable from the previous schemes of organization. The limitation of the concept as it is usually employed is that it makes such inventiveness secondary to and derived from deterministic causal mechanisms. I think people slip into reductive determinism to ground process of change for the same reason that you want to ground human rationality in something that transcends or precedes exaptation. That is, if I were to propose a notion of exaltation not based on mechanisms of efficient causation, you would find it not grounded enough. Becoming, untethered from any conception of the right path, the true source, the objectively real, is just meaningless chaotic drift.

    But not all relativistic philosophies of becoming see historical change as directionless from an ethical or empirical point of view. The direction is always toward the most intimate engagement with contextual circumstance that is possible via mindful skilled coping. The use of propositional, logical, mathematical axioms and conceptual abstractions flattens and conceals the intimacy of change in our perceived world , which reinvents itself just as continually as humans invent understandings to anticipate and cope with it. Our mathematical abstractions appear to ‘slow down’ the creative becoming of the world enough to make us convince ourselves that the world gives itself to us ‘naturally’ as transjective universals. The price we pay for such illusions is a world that is alternatively self-identical and arbitrary.

    An inherent violence attaches to the becoming of the world in the extent to which change is construed as arbitrary. The perceived arbitrariness and externality of change is in turn a function of how we understand beings to BE in themselves as mathematically self-present.
  • A Case for Moral Anti-realism
    I say that blame is not any more rationally justifiable in cases where harm is caused by humans than it is in cases where harm is caused by other animals or natural events.Janus

    I happen to agree with you on that, but just to make sure we’re on the same page, do think that any of the following cognitive assessments can be rationally justified, and if so , which ones and on what rational basis?

    the cool, non-emotional, rational desire for accountability , condemnation, contempt, righteous indignation, perceiving the other as deliberately thoughtless, rude, careless, negligent, complacent, lazy, self-indulgent, malevolent, dishonest, narcissistic, malicious, perverse, inconsiderate, intentionally oppressive, anti-social, hypocritical, repressive or unfair, disrespectful, greedy.

    Most philosophers find anger to be a rational assessment in certain situations. For instance, Robert Solomon argues that anger can be ‘right'. Striking his own balance between subjective relativism and objective rationalism, he says
    “Anger, for example, is not just a burst of venom, and it is not as such sinful, nor is it necessarily a “negative” emotion. It can be “righteous,” and it can sometimes be right.”

    Philosopher Jesse Prinz writes:

    …we have strictures against killing innocent people; and we have strictures prescribing equal opportunity. These principles are grounded in reason and subject to rational debate. . But justice also requires passion. We don't coolly tabulate inequities—we feel outraged or indignant when they are discovered. Such angry feelings are essential; without anger, we would not be motivated to act....Rage can misdirect us when it comes unyoked from good reasoning, but together they are a potent pair. Reason is the rudder; rage propels us forward.

    Existentialist philosopher John Russon offers:

    “Anger can be unjustified, to be sure, and in that case it enacts a fundamentally distorted portrayal of the other. But anger can also be justified, and in that case it can be the only frame of mind in which the vicious and hateful reality of the other is truly recognized.”

    The social constructionist Ken Gergen writes that anger has a valid role to play in social co-ordination “There are certain times and places in which anger is the most effective move in the dance.”

    Eugene Gendlin, a phenomenological psychologist and philosopher allied with Heidegger, considers anger to be potentially adaptive. He says that one must attempt to reassess, reinterpret, elaborate the angering experience via felt awareness not in order to eliminate the feeling of anger but so that one's anger becomes

    “fresh, expansive, active, constructive, and varies with changes in the situation”. “Anger may help handle the situation because it may make the other change or back away. Anger can also help the situation because it may break it entirely and thus give you new circumstances.” “ Anger is healthy, while resentment and hate are detrimental to the organism.“

    Do you agree with any of these philosophers about the rational value of anger?
  • Vervaeke-Henriques 'Transcendent Naturalism'


    —recognition and thus the workability of cognition itself entails difference and similarity, which in turn entails diversity and kind and thus generalities and numberJanus

    Recognition does involve difference and similarity, but number requires the concept of identity , the repetition of the exact same. We look at an aspect of the world and construe that aspect on the basis of ways in which it appears similar to previous events and differs from others. When we count 1,2,3 instances of a ‘this’, we assume that the categorical whole , the ‘this’ , of which we are counting instances ( apples, people, trees) , remains identical in its meaning for the duration of the counting. If the ‘this’ changes its meaning and became a new ‘this’ every increment of the counting we could only ever count one instance of it before having to start the count over. What allows us to enumerate is a convenient ignoring of the fact that similarity in the real world never means identity. So we invent the device of numeric identity, the exact same, which is very useful but at the same time covers over intricate changes in what is being counted.

    As Heidegger expressed it:

    “The same never coincides with the equal, not even in the empty indifferent oneness of what is merely identical...The same…is the belonging together of what differs, through a gathering by way of the difference. We can only say "the same" if we think difference.
    “The most insidious manner of forgetting is the progressive "repetition" of the same. One says the same with a constantly new indifference; the mode of saying and interpreting changes.
  • Vervaeke-Henriques 'Transcendent Naturalism'
    John Vervaeke is completely on-board with the 4E approach - embodied, embedded, enacted, and extended by way of extra-cranial processes and structures. I am reading up on that and trying to understand it better. But he also advocates for a kind of modernised neoplatonism, and remains committed to natural science. He's not a post-modern theorist (although I'll look out for anything he might say aboutWayfarer

    I would say that Vervaeke subscribes to what I would consider a more conservative variant of enactivism than do Gallagher, De Jaegher and Thompson. I agree that he is not a postmodernist, and that his approach is quite likely consonant with yours.
  • A Case for Moral Anti-realism


    ↪Joshs I disagree with everything you've written there, or at least find it all irrelevant to the questionJanus

    You find it irrelevant to the question because you have paired down your definition of blame (strictly the product of sui generis will) so severely that most of the ways in which it is treated by contemporary psychologists and philosophers is off limits to the discussion.
  • Vervaeke-Henriques 'Transcendent Naturalism'


    As regards the contention that number is invented, this doesn’t account for the consilience between mathematics and nature, the subject of Eugene Wigner’s well-known essay The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences. By abstracting from the observable and measurable properties of objects and their relations, many things have been discovered that would be otherwise unknowable. Wigner can't explain it, but he also doesn't attempt to explain it away.Wayfarer

    Mathematics only seems unreasonably effective because we don’t notice the sleight of hand we perform by forcing aspects of the world into idealized objects that persist identically and then apply mathematical calculations to these constructed idealities. Our invented axioms don’t represent a world, any more than our scientific theories represent a world. They enact a world by our inhabiting it , moving within it in a particular way, like an animal constructs a niche. We don’t say that the spider’s web or the bird’s nest is an unreasonably accurate representation of their world. We say that it produces a lived world unique to the animal , that it navigates in a specific normative way. Mathematics, science and technology are how we navigate our constructed world in ways that express how we build that world . We create these patterns of interaction in a back and forth with the environment within our bubble, and then exclaim in wonder how unreasonably precise the response of our niche is to the very patterns that constrain it to respond in that way.

    Von Uexkill illustrated how creatures like us build a ‘bubble’ around us that we consider world. In the following, he takes us on a
    stroll into unfamiliar worlds; worlds strange to us but known to other creatures, manifold and varied as the animals them­selves. The best time to set out on such an adventure is on a sunny day. The place, a flower-strewn meadow, humming with insects, fluttering with but­terflies. Here we may glimpse the worlds of the lowly dwellers of the meadow. To do so, we must first blow, in fancy, a soap bubble around each
    creature to represent its own world, filled with the perceptions which it alone knows. When we ourselves then step into one of these bubbles, the familiar meadow is transformed. Many of its colourful features disappear,
    others no longer belong together but appear in new relationships. A new world comes into being. Through the bubble we see the world of the bur­rowing worm, of the butterfly, or of the field mouse: the world as it appears
    to the animals themselves, not as it appears to us. This we may call the phe­nomenal world or the self-world of the animal.

    The only difference between us and other animals is that we continually produce new bubbles , new niches, via new technologies. It’s not a question of the human subject positing a world as an epistemological knowing, but the active engagement of the human organism with its surrounding according to stable patterns of interaction which define the person as a living system and at the same time define its world. To be alive means to produce a normative pattern which maintains its dynamic stability in changing conditions. Our sciences enact ,through the feed forward and feedback reciprocity between our actions on and response from the world , a way of navigating through it in a consistently anticipatory manner.

    A scientific, mathematical or technological niche( paradigm) have a certain contingent stability, what Kuhn called normal science. During this period of stability we can predict the response of the world to our observations of it in precisely logical ways through our mathematical schemes. But when we replace one niche, paradigm, worldview for another, the old logical relations either become irrelevant or we change the sense of the concepts they refer to (Newtonian vs Relativistic).
  • Vervaeke-Henriques 'Transcendent Naturalism'
    I wonder if there is a confusion here between counting and conceptualising counting. In many cultures counting begins with the human body, and the names for certain numbers correspond to different parts of the body - hence, digits. Some of the names for numbers have magical or (un)lucky qualities, or associations with non-numbers.

    Then it would be in algebra, the generalisation of counting, that one arrives at 'same thing different time'. But perhaps this is what you meant.
    mcdoodle

    I was doing a rather static analysis of a contemporary thinking of number, but a historical account would support my argument that them concept of number is invented, and thus there were many concepts of number that appeared over the past centuries. As I said in an earlier post , the modern notion was invented in bits and pieces over time , in different ways in different cultures.
  • Fate v. Determinism
    Science is more fundamental than scientific paradigms, but science is also secondary in itself. It presupposes things like sense data, an intelligible world, etc. It is a reorganization of what is pre-given in order to arrive at abstract knowledgeLeontiskos

    Heidegger made a similar argument, claiming that science ‘doesn’t think’. What he meant was that it rests on metaphysical presuppositions that it can’t examine. Husserl praised the human sciences for abandoning the causality of the natural sciences in favor of intentional analysis, but argues that this intentional methodology remained grounded in unexamined naturalist assumptions.

    .. perhaps it will turn out later that all externality, even that of the entire inductive nature, physical and even psychophysical, is only an externality constituted in the unity of communicative personal experience, is thus only something secondary, and that it therefore requires a reduction to a truly essential internality.” (Phenomenological Psychology)

    the most fundamental and essential realities are always indivisible or irreducible. The Atomists say that nothing makes sense without atoms, but they do not complain that atoms cannot be further analyzed; they recognize it as an irresistible conclusion. The spat between the idealists and the materialists is a spat premised upon the search for a unified theory, where there is only one irreducible reality.Leontiskos

    The most fundamental and essential reality for Husserl was transcendental subjectivity, but the essence of this ‘internal’ subjectivity was an irreducible interaction between subjective and objective poles of an intentional act, continually remaking the nature of self and world in their reciprocal dance. For Husserl, the pure ego functions as nothing but an empty zero point or center of activity. Heidegger’s position is more radical. The interaction between self and world is not the function of a reflective consciousness being affected by a world, but a self continually reinvented by a world which transcends it. In both Husserl and Heidegger, the most fundamental and irreducible reality is relational becoming.The freedom in this becoming is to be found neither in a solipsist ‘inside’ nor in an empirical ‘outside’ but in the way that a self is continually exposed to and changed by an irreducible outside , a radical alterity that cannot be dominated by a pre-defined will.

    Lee Braver speaks about this outside in terms of

    a reality unformed by human concepts, when a true beyond touches us, sending shivers through our conceptual schemes, shaking us out of any complacent feeling-at-home.”

    Building a bridge, or making a sculpture out of clay, involves a fine-grained sensitivity to context such that one’s desires, intentions and perceptions adjust themselves to the way that what is at stake and at issue is responsive to the world that talks back to
    us from beyond our own resources. A common criticism of Idealist notions of that will is that while it gives us the freedom to think what we want , it sees wanting and desiring as already within the control of the willing subject rather than it being the case that we can’t choose to want what we want but find ourselves desiring. My question to you is what, if any, substative properties and attributes do you see as irreducibly associated with the will, properties unaffected by exposure to an outside?
  • Fate v. Determinism
    As I've said, fundamental realities cannot be explained by secondary realities. Numbers are not explained by addition, because addition presupposes numbers. That we think everything should be scientifically or "logically" analyzable is a symptom of our intellectual biases. Science and logic both presuppose free will, they don't explain itLeontiskos

    This is not to say that science and logic deal only with secondary realities. That is , an aspect of what science does, the philosophical aspect that allows it to move from one scheme to alternative schemes , frees it from remaining stuck within any particular secondary logic. Meanwhile, there are primary philosophical logics (Hegel’s dialectic, Husserl’s transcendental logic) that describe fundamental realities. There is no inherent limitation in science that should prevent it from addressing fundamental realities, only provisional limitations of the same sort that limit particular philosophies. I would say that the scientific approaches Hanover has in mind don’t destroy freedom in nature (quantum indeterminacy) , but question the coherence of certain unitary notions of the will. I would also question those unitary notions, preferring to see the will as a differential system. But unlike Hanover I don’t see this system as operating via the unfreedom of efficient causality.
  • Vervaeke-Henriques 'Transcendent Naturalism'

    It is sometimes said that the natural numbers are objectively real, but I don’t agree. I think they’re ‘transjectively’ real - the same for all who can count, but only perceptible to one capable of counting.Wayfarer

    They are the same for all who can count because that is the meaning of numeric unit, ‘same thing different time’. There is no experience in nature that conforms to ‘same thing different time’. In order to understand the empty, generic concept of ‘same thing different time’, one must start by noticing multiplicities, and then separating out particulars within such multiplicities. There is no concept of number yet to be found at this point in the process of going from multiplicity to the deliberate noticing and separating out of particulars. In order to arrive at the concept of the number unit, one must turn away from the meaningful world of continually changing senses by inventing a new notion, that of the empty, context and content-free particularity, a particularity which can be returned to again and again as ‘same thing different time’ because it has no content, stands for nothing other than a placemark. It is not just that the apples we count are never identical to each other in their attributes, but that the very meaning of the category of ‘apple’ changes as we move from one ‘apple’ to the next in our enumeration. In order to count, we mist ignore this slippage of sense, not only of attributes of the particulars , but of the meaning of the category as a persisting identity. Nothing about the world we perceive gives us the notion of identity of content, which is why we can only count by ignoring the actual
    content.

    Whatever we look at in the world, or imagine in our minds, changes in such a way that every difference in degree is simultaneously a difference in kind. It is necessary for the invention of the concept of enumeration that we ignore this about actual experience. Such a strange notion of ignoring and flattening the real world had to be invented, and invented in order to accomplish specific purposes. To say that numbers are the same for all who can count is merely to say that all who can count have already invented the concept of identical sameness, since counting depends on that concept. We have become so accustomed to the idea that the notion of repeated identicality is built into the universe that we forget how peculiar an invention it was, the imposition of a subjective idealization onto our experience ofnthe world that precisely ignores , prescinds from , the fabric of reality in order to create the illusion of pure difference in degree that is not at the same time a difference in kind.

    …without accepting the fictions of logic, without measuring reality against the wholly invented world of the unconditioned and self-identical, without a constant falsification of the world through numbers, people could not live.” (Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil)
  • Vervaeke-Henriques 'Transcendent Naturalism'


    I guess that debate would focus on whether number and logic were invented or 'discovered'.Tom Storm

    Like other empirical knowledge, we invent these schemes and then discover their usefulness in our dealings with the world. The fact that we find them useful does not make them part of the fabric of reality, any more than our other invented technologies are a part of the fabric of reality.
  • Solipsism is a weak interpretation of the underlying observation
    Do you have a specific reason why we should disregard solipsism and the observations that lead to it?Treatid

    I can think of reasons to disregard the following definition of solipsism from Enclyclopedia Brittanica:

    In philosophy, solipsism is an extreme form of subjective idealism that denies that the human mind has any valid ground for believing in the existence of anything but itself. The British idealist F.H. Bradley, in Appearance and Reality (1893), characterized the solipsistic view as follows

    “I cannot transcend experience, and experience must be my experience. From this it follows that nothing beyond my self exists; for what is experience is its [the self’s] states.”

    My critique centers on the Idealist conception of self expressed in the definition. If we must remain skeptical about the existence of everything but the sense data we experience, what kinds of presuppositions are invoked in talk of an ‘I’, a self that has these experiences, and where do these presuppositions come from? Do they come from experience or do they force a certain account onto experience, a certain interpretation of sense data wherein a self remains absolutely fixed as the subject of experience, reflecting back on itself as self-identical over time?

    If all sense data are fundamentally in a state of changeable, interrelational becoming, then isnt this also true of the self, subject, ego, I? Does any notion of self make any sense outside of its inextricable relations with others? Plenty of philosophical positions deconstruct this notion of the absolute unchanging self in favor of a self which is constructed though social interaction. For them the self is a continually changing product of these interactions rather than an unchanging substance. You can also check out this ongoing thread:
    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/15267/concept-of-no-self-in-buddhism
  • Vervaeke-Henriques 'Transcendent Naturalism'

    I propose that universals such as the principles of logic and natural numbers have an ontological status that transcends individual cognitive processes. They are not mind-dependent in the sense that they do not rely on being conceived by any particular mind to exist. Instead, these universals are fundamental aspects of the fabric of reality that reason can discern and understand.Wayfarer

    But how can number and logic be aspects of the fabric of reality when what we think of today as number and logic were invented bit by bit over the course of cultural history? I will go so far as to predict that at some point in the future we will replace numeric calculation and propositional logic with alternative technological languages.
  • A Case for Moral Anti-realism
    ↪Joshs I disagree; blame is attendant upon the idea that the person really could have done otherwise; it is based on a libertarian notion of free will which is entrenched in the western psycheJanus

    It doesn’t have to be a libertarian notion of free will. All one needs in order to justify the concept of blame is to believe that habits of thought can become ‘sticky’, that we can become entrenched in a way of thinking such that it becomes self-reinforcing and blinds us to other possibilities. We get angry and blame when we believe we can get that person ‘unstuck’ , make them see the error of their ways, force or cajole them into an empathy or relational intimacy they have fallen away from. When you raise your voice in anger at someone you know in order to shake them out of their complacency, are you indulging in a fantasy that they have libertarian free will, or is it because you have discovered that it often achieves its effect?

    Blame assumes the freedom of arbitrary influences and temptations , or stubborn inertia , acting upon volition. It does t need to assume the will is hermetically sealed within itself. And even when one does believe in libertarian free will , this can still be seen as the influence of outside ‘demons’ acting on the will in evil ways.

    .Blame discovers the arbitrary and capricious in a behavioral system, wherever it is to be found. If we are a biological determinist we blame heredity. If we are a behaviorist we blame the environment. If we are a Freudian we blame unconscious impulses. But regardless of what we blame, when we find ourselves getting angry with another person, we believe, however their motivational demons line up ,they can be responsible for showing contrition and mending their ways.

    The way to transcend the need for blame is not to substitute for free will a determinism in which we are conditioned by forces beyond our control. This only displaces the target of blame. Rather, it would require believing that human beings are intending sense-makers whose thinking can never be arbitrary, subject to wayward demons and influences. But it would also require that thinking can never be deliberately unethical. I know of no philosophical position that accepts both of these propositions, so in some sense all philosophy is a thinking of blame.
  • A Case for Moral Anti-realism
    My point was that there is no indissoluble logical or rational connection between intent, responsibility and blameJanus

    When we deem someone responsible for what we see as an unethical action, when we believe it was intentional, deliberate, this is precisely what blame is. Blame is synonymous with the attribution of intentional capriciousness, waywardness to another, their straying from the path of right behavior.
  • A Case for Moral Anti-realism
    Of course they are intelligible without the implication of blame. We can say as Jesus reportedly did: "forgive them for they know not what they do". The idea of intent and responsibility may be inherent to those ideas, but the imputation of intent and responsibility is not indissolubly linked with the idea of deserving blame.Blame is precisely the assignment of intent and responsibility to an action that one deems to be unethicalJanus

    Forgiveness and turning the other cheek only make sense in the context of blame, which implies a belief in the potential capriciousness of human motives. From this vantage, if, rather blaming and condemning another who wrongs me, I respond with loving forgiveness, my absolution of the other presupposes my hostility toward them. I can only forgive the other's trespass to the extent that I recognize a sign of contrition or confession on their. part. Buddhist perspectives talk of substituting compassion for anger. Others say we move beyond anger by forgiving those who wrong us. Traditional religious ideals of unconditional forgiveness, of turning the other cheek, loving one's oppressor need to be seen as conditional in various ways.

    In the absence of the other's willingness to atone, I may forgive evil when I believe that there are special or extenuating circumstances which will allow me to view the perpetrator as less culpable (the sinner knows not what they do). I can say the other was blinded or deluded, led astray. My offer of grace is then subtly hostile, both an embrace and a slap. I hold forth the carrot of my love as a lure, hoping thereby to uncloud the other's conscience so as to enable them to discover their culpability. In opening my arms, I hope the prodigal son or daughter will return chastised, suddenly aware of a need to be forgiven.

    Even when there is held little chance that the sinner will openly acknowledge their sin, I may hope that my outrage connects with a seed of regret and contrition buried deep within the other, as if my `unconditional' forgiveness is an acknowledgment of God's or the subliminal conscience of the other's apologizing in the name of the sinner. This kind of unconditional forgiveness forgives in the name of a divine or natural moral order that the guilty party is in some sense answerable to, thereby linking this thinking to the normalizing, conformist impetus of conditional forgiveness.
  • A Case for Moral Anti-realism


    No, not addressing the question of blame. but rather of value and disvalue. Love is generally preferred over hate, courage over cowardice, selflessness over selfishness, kindness over cruelty, help over harm and so on. Murder, rape, torture, theft, deceit, exploitation and the like are universally (perhaps sociopaths excepted) condemned as being evil acts. As far as I can tell these facts about people are the only viable basis for moral realism, not some imagined transcendent "object" or whatever.Janus

    We can associate disvalues with people that don’t involve blame, such as ugliness, physical weakness, cognitive slowness. But are concepts like murder, hate, deceit, exploitation, cowardice, cruelty and evil at all intelligible without the implication of blame? We only blame persons for actions that they performed deliberately, with intent. Is it possible to be an accidental, unintentional murderer, coward, deceiver or hater?

    I beleive that all forms of blame, including the cool, non-emotional, rational desire for accountability and justice and well as rageful craving for vengeance, are grounded in a spectrum of affective comportments that share core features. This affective spectrum includes irritation, annoyance, hostility, disapproval, condemnation, feeling insulted, taking umbrage, resentment, anger, exasperation, impatience, hatred, fury, ire, outrage, contempt, righteous indignation, ‘adaptive' or rational anger, perceiving the other as deliberately thoughtless, rude, careless, negligent, complacent, lazy, self-indulgent, malevolent, dishonest, narcissistic, malicious, culpable, perverse, inconsiderate, intentionally oppressive, anti-social, hypocritical, repressive or unfair, disrespectful, disgraceful, greedy, evil, sinful, criminal, a miscreant. Blame is also implicated in cooly, calmly and rationally determining the other to have deliberately committed a moral transgression, a social injustice or injustice in general, or as committing a moral wrong.
  • Vervaeke-Henriques 'Transcendent Naturalism'
    Only when identity is understood as a derived modification of difference can the concept of union free itself from Platonic dogmatism and metaphysical presuppsitons.
    — Joshs

    Where does that critique come from? What's the theory behind it?
    Wayfarer

    I dont know, but it’s got a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Just kidding. Actually, that’s a kind of thinking common to Foucault, Deleuze, Heidegger and Derrida. They all trace it back to Nietzsche’s Eternal Return. They read it as eternal return of the always different. Deleuze wrote

    In accordance with Heidegger's ontological intuition, difference must be articulation and connection in itself; it must relate different to different without any mediation whatsoever by the identical, the similar, the analogous or the opposed. There must be a differenciation of difference, an in-itself which is like a differenciator, by virtue of which the different is gathered all at once rather than represented on condition of a prior resemblance, identity, analogy or opposition.

    On Nietzsche’s Eternal Return, Deleuze says:

    When the identity of things dissolves, being be­gins to revolve around the different. That which is or returns has no prior constituted identity: things are reduced to the difference which fragments them, and to all the differences which are implicated in it and through which they pass.
  • Fate v. Determinism
    They might tell you they convicted because of facts A, B and C, and they may beleive that, but the reason they convicted and the reason they believe facts A, B and C mattered are just because of other causes in their head. That is, free will is necessary for meaningful decision making, and if it doesn't exist, then all decisions are either pre-determined or random.Hanover

    You act as though no determinists are behaviorists. For behaviorists there are no billiard balls in the head, since nothing going on in the head can be objectively measured. All that counts are the billiard balls outside the head (environmental stimuli) conditioning the body’s observable behavior in consistent and predicable ways. Skinner’s Walden Two was about a socially engineered society based on billiard balls outside the head.You don’t need individual free will for that, just a structure of enculturation that can be identified and modified. It was a behavioral justice system, based on rehabilitation, re-socialization and re-education. A person was responsible to the extent that they were responsive to social conditioning. Is that thinking really so far removed from holding persons accountable with the assumption that they are responsive to the influence of social pressure? There would be two aspects involved here, the system of enculturation beyond the control of the individual which is responsible for their maladaptive , anti-social behavior, and the individual as locus of behavior, responsible not for that history of enculturation but for recognizing it and being amenable to reform by a justice system.