Empiricism is False

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  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    Even ignoring that "describe" is as much an oversimplification as "observe", I'm not sure that we can actually describe physical objects. Our thoughts are just too loaded onto our abstractions of them.

  • Apothe0sisApothe0sis Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality? Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    This is sounding increasingly like the GEM...

    Apothe0sis on
  • TerribleMisathropeTerribleMisathrope 23rd Degree Intiate At The Right Hand Of The Seven HornsRegistered User regular
    edited May 2012
    redx wrote: »
    Both Rationalism and Empiricism are incomplete on their own (or FALSE to use your term). Just as Empiricism relies on a faulty basis: human perception, Rationalism is just as weak, because it is perfectly possible to make a perfect internally consistent and rational argument and be completely 100% wrong.

    Both are flawed, and neither is sufficient on their own to treat as dogma.

    A practical approach dictates using a mix of the two to under stand the universe, and even that is probably insufficient since there is no way to verify that the universe is completely observable, nor much convincing reason to believe that it is completely rational or consistent.

    This, I believe completely misses the point. I think, when mrmr speaks of knowledge he is talking about where ideas and beliefs come from, without any particular regard for their truth. This is sort of intertwined with his bootstraping example.

    Honestly, I am not sure about this. His argument seems to beg not only the question of the existence of knowledge, but its definition as well. I am not in any meaningful way versed in philosophy and thus am probably not using the same, probably highly codified, definition of the term.


    Edit: knowledge as something someone believes that is true and warranted? Meh.
    It is true that I missed the point, so I'll recap my limited understanding of the point at this time: we are discussing how humans acquire or create knowledge and there are 2 basic schools of thought: empiricism and rationalism. MrMister argues that Empiricism fails to provide a complete explanation, and I agree.

    I would add that the structure of the human brain makes it impossible to separate sense data received from the sensory organs from the interpretive faculties of the mind thanks to the best VR simulator ever created: the pre-frontal cortex. Frankly, I would argue that humans are structurally incapable of developing knowledge without some part of both rationalism and empiricism, and some other bits we give less weight to in this "rational" age. To me the discussion herein seems too akin to the vain search for the Unifying Theory in modern physics for me to pursue this any further, but I do find that language is really neat way to remind us that we interact with a personal simulation of reality and not reality itself as detected by our sense organs. For example, I can say "the blue whale was mating with a short cute mermaid" and induce pretty much any English literate person to simulate the experience of watching such an event, but most people assume that experience is fundamentally different than actually watching something like that, when it really isn't as far as the brain is concerned. The visual cortex activates the same pathways in perceiving something and then in remembering that something, and this is true of the other sense input processing centers as well.

    I do find the question of what knowledge is rather fascinating. I might suggest that knowledge is more or less equivalent to meaning, which we learn apply to otherwise value-neutral data, through heavily filtered and structured sense data, rationalization, memory, emotion, language and mental simulation/projection. Some meaning has broad acceptance thanks to the fact that some meaning has survival implications, but fundamentally, meaning is assigned by us, not the data. After all, language use depends on our automatic ability to deduce meaning from a series of repetitive-ish, semi-consistent noises that differ highly between individual humans.

    TerribleMisathrope on
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    try this
  • YarYar Registered User regular
    I had trouble with the OP, because it seemed to be a complicated version of the cliche about "what if what looks like green to you is really red to everyone else?" Color is somewhat unique in the analysis of consciousness because it largely exists only from a single of the five senses. If something looks large, you can also lift it, feel it, etc., to judge its size. Sound is also vibration that can be felt and modeled. Taste and smell are all kinds of inter-related, and are understood to be highly subjective, and deal directly with a number of biological and evolutionary responsibilities. Tastes and smells can also often be described with touch-sense descriptions, like pleasure or burning or whatever. But the sensory experience of color lies all alone. You can't feel it or taste it. It is wholly impossible to describe in thought or language to someone who is blind. And as such, you can screw with people's heads when you start playing with concepts of "what-if" when it comes to seeing colors.

    In the OP, the idea of thinking "it looks red, so it's red" before finding out the "real" color is a version of this screwing around. Your biological process of perceiving color might be somehow identifiably different from other people's, leading to an inability to be as specific as other people in differntiating color, or (and I don't know if this is even real or possible), not identifying colors in the same way that most others do.

    None of that changes the fact that all knowledge is (among other things) ultimately the result of interactions between both reason and observation.

  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    Yar wrote: »
    I had trouble with the OP, because it seemed to be a complicated version of the cliche about "what if what looks like green to you is really red to everyone else?" Color is somewhat unique in the analysis of consciousness because it largely exists only from a single of the five senses. If something looks large, you can also lift it, feel it, etc., to judge its size. Sound is also vibration that can be felt and modeled. Taste and smell are all kinds of inter-related, and are understood to be highly subjective, and deal directly with a number of biological and evolutionary responsibilities. Tastes and smells can also often be described with touch-sense descriptions, like pleasure or burning or whatever. But the sensory experience of color lies all alone. You can't feel it or taste it. It is wholly impossible to describe in thought or language to someone who is blind. And as such, you can screw with people's heads when you start playing with concepts of "what-if" when it comes to seeing colors.

    In the OP, the idea of thinking "it looks red, so it's red" before finding out the "real" color is a version of this screwing around. Your biological process of perceiving color might be somehow identifiably different from other people's, leading to an inability to be as specific as other people in differntiating color, or (and I don't know if this is even real or possible), not identifying colors in the same way that most others do.

    None of that changes the fact that all knowledge is (among other things) ultimately the result of interactions between both reason and observation.

    Alternately, you can get empirical data by taking the frequency of the light with the many tools we have for that purpose. Even if we can't, though, there's no reason to think it extends elsewhere. Just because we can't always know the truth doesn't mean we should switch to always using truthiness. We can also see where it goes here.

    At the end of the day, you, the main flaw of the OP is that it is a strictly rationalist argument that probably has no bearing on the core of empirical proof: we didn't rationalize penicillin killing bacteria, we didn't rationalize the heliocentric universe, and we didn't rationalize global warming into existence. What has rationalization given us? Global cooling? Malthusian theory? Saddam's collaboration with Al Quaida (if you want a real example of multiple realities, try using the spelling of that word and "[email protected]")? In all the real world cases where empiricism and rationalism went up head-to-head, empiricism won (at least when you look at the evidence and facts, an admittedly empirical conceit). How are the bond vigilantes and confidence faeries doing? Hell, even the best physicists can't rationalize bikes staying up what you ride them, but we still have this:

    Really, -J-'s argument against empiricism comes down to "sure, it might work in practice, but it still doesn't work in theory," which I suppose makes rationalists the philosophical version of paultards and goldbugs.

  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    One time I swore I saw an army of shadow goblins coming over the hill in my backyard. Reason beat out observation.

    Yar on
  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    Yar wrote: »
    One time I swore I saw an army of shadow goblins coming over the hill in my backyard. Reason beat out observation.

    That's what you think, stupid human.

  • Tiger BurningTiger Burning Dig if you will, the pictureRegistered User, SolidSaints Tube regular
    edited May 2012
    Bagginses wrote: »
    Yar wrote: »
    I had trouble with the OP, because it seemed to be a complicated version of the cliche about "what if what looks like green to you is really red to everyone else?" Color is somewhat unique in the analysis of consciousness because it largely exists only from a single of the five senses. If something looks large, you can also lift it, feel it, etc., to judge its size. Sound is also vibration that can be felt and modeled. Taste and smell are all kinds of inter-related, and are understood to be highly subjective, and deal directly with a number of biological and evolutionary responsibilities. Tastes and smells can also often be described with touch-sense descriptions, like pleasure or burning or whatever. But the sensory experience of color lies all alone. You can't feel it or taste it. It is wholly impossible to describe in thought or language to someone who is blind. And as such, you can screw with people's heads when you start playing with concepts of "what-if" when it comes to seeing colors.

    In the OP, the idea of thinking "it looks red, so it's red" before finding out the "real" color is a version of this screwing around. Your biological process of perceiving color might be somehow identifiably different from other people's, leading to an inability to be as specific as other people in differntiating color, or (and I don't know if this is even real or possible), not identifying colors in the same way that most others do.

    None of that changes the fact that all knowledge is (among other things) ultimately the result of interactions between both reason and observation.

    Alternately, you can get empirical data by taking the frequency of the light with the many tools we have for that purpose. Even if we can't, though, there's no reason to think it extends elsewhere. Just because we can't always know the truth doesn't mean we should switch to always using truthiness. We can also see where it goes here.

    At the end of the day, you, the main flaw of the OP is that it is a strictly rationalist argument that probably has no bearing on the core of empirical proof: we didn't rationalize penicillin killing bacteria, we didn't rationalize the heliocentric universe, and we didn't rationalize global warming into existence. What has rationalization given us? Global cooling? Malthusian theory? Saddam's collaboration with Al Quaida (if you want a real example of multiple realities, try using the spelling of that word and "[email protected]")? In all the real world cases where empiricism and rationalism went up head-to-head, empiricism won (at least when you look at the evidence and facts, an admittedly empirical conceit). How are the bond vigilantes and confidence faeries doing? Hell, even the best physicists can't rationalize bikes staying up what you ride them, but we still have this:

    Really, -J-'s argument against empiricism comes down to "sure, it might work in practice, but it still doesn't work in theory," which I suppose makes rationalists the philosophical version of paultards and goldbugs.

    I don't think that you grasp what rationalism means in the context of this discussion. The question isn't "Is empirical observation super duper useful in learning things about the world?" Of course it is. No one disputes that. The question is, is it absolutely necessary in every case? Is there any knowledge at all that we can have without reference to empirical observations?

    Your examples are strange and not on point, and all of them rely on empirical observation.

    Tiger Burning on
    Ain't no particular sign I'm more compatible with
  • YarYar Registered User regular
    Bagginses wrote: »
    That's what you think, stupid human.

    I reason you to be humorously lying to me and messing with my fragile mind!

  • Apothe0sisApothe0sis Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality? Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    As an argument against perceptual* dogmatism the colour blindness argument is not a good one. There are three or four responses, which should be largely universal for why we should not think it informative.

    Firstly there is the question of equivocation in the phrase "I have reliable colour vision"**:

    Under one reading it is not a conclusion simply a restatement of the fact that you have been given no reason to doubt the reliability of your colour vision and is not a novel piece of information, but rather simply the very same premise with which we began. In this case reliable is "not shown to be unreliable", or to put it explicitly "Without other evidence I am justified in believing my colour perception reliable, I perceive these cards to be green, I have no evidence to suggest they are not. Therefore I have no evidence as to the unreliability of my vision, therefore I am justified in believing it reliable". Which is banal and hardly an absurdity.

    On the other hand, if we are determined to take the conclusion as a novel one - specifically a meaningful confirmation of the reliability of one's colour vision then the argument is simply incoherent - for this to be the case 'reliable' means its accuracy has been confirmed by sources external to the viewer's colour perception. But it hasn't been confirmed by external sources at all! Once again we have the correct, but banal versus interesting but wrong situation.

    Lastly, despite it being in the form of reductio ad absurdum the absurdity is not particularly strong. We aren't presented with incoherence or contradiction as the result and the result while odd isn't entirely unpalatable especially in light of the previous points - after all, it only stands until challenged by other evidence and questions of parsimony, plausibility and conservatism have yet to be addressed.

    Of course even if we take it at face value and ignore the incoherence of the interesting but wrong interpretation, it also doesn't fully capture how we reason about things - we know things about colour vision anyway, unless we are positing a completely naive actor then the idea that our colour vision is uniquely and completely reliable would be ruled out by what we know about world in any case. So, at best, the example shows that in certain highly implausible situations it can allow people to believe strange things for free until challenged.

    I am also contemplating a contextualist/Quinean objection to the example but I think it requires more development.

    But my point is - whatever else the virtues of the positions of perceptual dogmatism, empiricism and rationalism, the colour blindness thought experiment doesn't get us very far in terms of mediation between them.

    *iPad keeps missing keystrokes and rendering them as "perpetual dogmatists".

    **"Exceptionally" is an unnecessary and prejudicial rhetorical flourish or renders the evidence used by the bootstrapper irrelevant to his thesis by definition and renders your concern with perceptual dogmatism insofar as it relates to this example moot.

    Apothe0sis on
  • YarYar Registered User regular
    Yeah, what apo said. The "oh man what if other people see red when I see green" stoner philosophy doesn't seem to bring anything new now that it didn't bring before.

  • Apothe0sisApothe0sis Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality? Registered User regular
    While I appreciate the support @Yar, I am sure you'll agree that @MrMister argument isn't really the "how do you know what you see is actually green" perception scepticism.

    His argument is rather about how we use our observations to support conclusions - and that the perceptual dogmatist's defense against the rationalist critique of empiricism supports a rather more board epistemology than we'd rightly be comfortable with. I don't see why this wouldn't be the case - only that the thought experiment presented doesn't actually support this assertion very well.

  • ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited May 2012
    To use a truly horrible analogy (warning: this is horribly messy in ways my mind practically wants to rebel against): consider a loosely Bayesian sort of perspective where we introduce arbitrary prior beliefs and combine them with a truckload of empirical beliefs (bear with me here...). We assign justified if p>some value. Under given prior probabilities and parameter data, we get justified posteriors without justified priors.

    The vague intuition I am trying to claim here is that it is entirely possible to have priors which are not knowledge whilst generating empirics which are knowledge, by playing with the notion of justification. Observe that "bootstrapping" here would never pass p>some value if the priors do not pass p>some value; you never get justified knowledge "for free" yet the carelessly Bayesian empiricist here is most certainly non-skeptical: she has prior beliefs, albeit non-justified ones.

    A loose version of 'perceptual dogmatism' can hold - a posterior justified belief that I have had a experience with content P leads to a justified belief that P - whilst saying exactly nothing about the unjustified priors I am throwing at the belief that I have had an experience with content P, which are the same priors I am attaching to the justified belief P to generate justified posterior knowledge about P - e.g., a unjustified prior that I have accurate color vision). Bootstrapping, as expected, grants no free lunch of knowledge.

    ronya on
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  • Apothe0sisApothe0sis Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality? Registered User regular
    Well, Bayesianism is one of the proposed ways of getting out of the problem of induction, empiricism and one of the proffered arguments for why we should prefer simpler rather than more complicated explanations (in that a conjunction is necessarily at best equally as likely as its least likely conjunct).

    So, ronya, you are not alone!

  • ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited May 2012
    There's a lot of problems with how priors are generated, and another whole other pile of problems in how beliefs are formulated and assigned probabilities, which make me twitch in places. I'm not really a fan of the Bayesian "solution" to epistemology, it seems to be answering the wrong problem.

    Still, I like the claimed problem in the OP even less. It seems too glib.

    ronya on
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  • Apothe0sisApothe0sis Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality? Registered User regular
    I have exactly the same feelings with regard to Bayesian epistemology! Go team ronyapothe0sis!

  • ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited May 2012
    I think the problem is getting unjustified beliefs to "accumulate" into justified beliefs, which Bayesians can do but reliablists cannot. Reliablists have to put justified beliefs into the box through sleight-of-hand and bootstrapping reveals those beliefs.

    ronya on
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  • MrMisterMrMister Please demonstrate your enthusiasm for e-marking and/or e-assessment with examplesRegistered User regular
    edited May 2012
    So, let's talk about Bayesianism. Bayesians hold that rationality requires that when one receives new evidence, one probabilistically updates one's prior beliefs by application of Bayes' rule. But, this updating procedure requires one to already have a set of prior beliefs before one can get in the business of forming new ones--in fact, the complete specification of one's priors settles, in advance of actually receiving any evidence, how one would respond to any conceivable course of experience. So: the priors do heavy duty. But where do they come from?

    Bayesians disagree about this. One answer is: the priors are subjective and arbitrary. Those who espouse this view are the subjective Bayesians, and as far as I understand, they are in ascendence within the Bayesian camp. Subjective Bayesians think that rationality requires that one's priors be probabilistically coherent (one does not, for instance, assign a 30% probability to P occurring, and a 90% probability to its negation occurring), but aside from that they take an anything-goes attitude. The problems with this view are right on the surface. There are many sets of probabilistically coherent priors which nonetheless seem perverse. For instance, if I set my prior probability in the existence of The Elders of Zion at 1, then it is rigid under Bayesian updating--nothing I could conceivably see would ever diminish my confidence in the existence of the Elders of Zion, at least if I am being a good Bayesian. Or, perhaps more topically, many prior probability distributions will fail to certify induction as a belief-forming method.

    (@Apo a respect for simplicity does not simply fall out of the logic, because theories which stand in a one-sided entailment relation (as a conjunction does to its conjunct) are only a special case of the simpler-than relation. Neither Copernican nor Ptolemaic astronomy stood in such a relation to the other, but the Copernican system is still the simpler by virtue of positing fewer epicycles and assimilating celestial and terrestrial motion to the same model; or, so the story goes).

    The good news is that the subjectivist doesn't have to say that it's irrational to disbelieve in the Elders of Zion, or that it's irrational to use induction. After all, if you started with a lovely and convenient set of priors, you will do both. The bad news is that they do appear to have to say that it isn't irrational to believe in the Elders of Zion and that it isn't irrational to reject induction as a method. Those might be perfectly rational, on the subjective Bayesian picture, provided that one had instead started with sufficiently perverse priors. And since the choice of priors is rationally unconstrained--entirely subjective and arbitrary--it follows that there is nothing irrational about choosing those perverse priors. But surely there is something rationally wrong with rejecting induction as a method or believing in the Elders of Zion. Subjective Bayesianism is too permissive.

    Some subjective Bayesians hope that experience will wash the arbitrary differences out of our priors and so, regardless of where we started from, in the long run we'll all converge on an accurate understanding of the world. That this will happen has been proven for some idealized situations. But those situations are highly idealized. As Keynes said, in the long run we're all dead.

    Other Bayesians, who reject subjectivism for these and other reasons, take a different view of the priors. They think that the priors have correct and incorrect values, and that these correct values correspond either to objective physical chances or perhaps to analytic relations between evidential propositions. Either way, they have to explain how we could possibly know what the correct and incorrect priors are. And since the priors are settled before evidence is even brought into the equation, knowledge of the correct and incorrect priors cannot itself be based on evidence: it must be a priori. I have seen some Bayesian attempts to save simplicity, for instance, on a priori grounds--I was at a talk where one professor argued that simplicity minimized the maximum time it could take to get the right answer, since it prevents backtracking. I did not think much of that particular rationale, but I am actually fine with much of this general picture. In fact, the Rationalist view I support is not so far removed from the objective Bayesian who believes that the correct priors are determined by analytic relations between evidential propositions. In both cases, the key point is a priori determination of the weight of evidence (and, as collateral, the a priori commitment to certain contingent truths); the difference is just that the objective Bayesian is dressing it up in the language of priors and updating.

    MrMister on
  • Apothe0sisApothe0sis Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality? Registered User regular
    The Copernican Revolution is interesting in that a number of arguments in the Copernican model's favour were straight up wrong, so I'm not sure it's the exemplar of rational discernment... Which is interesting given it is so often used for illustrative purposes.

    Nowadays, we can describe the two in an entailment relationship of sorts, in that we have a whole range of facts we believe about the world to which we add either Copernican or Ptolemac astronomy - Copernicanism falls out of universal gravitation, epicycles require a whole new set of rules for motion in the celestial realm (and a whole bunch of other things).

    That said, I do take your point that scientists will prefer and actively seek elegant mathematics which need not be any simpler from the perspective of parsimony...

  • ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited May 2012
    The non-skeptical empiricist has to admit some manner of non-empirical priors; the priors just don't have to rise to the level of being Knowledge with a capital K when subject to the same standard of justification as posterior knowledge (which for the sake of discussion we assume to require merely justification and nothing else). You're complaining about the non-skepticism, not the bootstrapping problem (which you seem to be implicitly acknowledging to be resolved...?).

    (e: I do agree that the arbitrariness of priors is troubling. I maintain it is also irrelevant to the discussion, however.

    I should note that the Bayesian has an easy dodge in arguing that there are fundamental problems in setting probabilities to one or zero exactly; the behavior of probabilistic axioms are a little dodgy at the extremes)

    ronya on
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  • MrMisterMrMister Please demonstrate your enthusiasm for e-marking and/or e-assessment with examplesRegistered User regular
    edited May 2012
    ronya wrote: »
    The non-skeptical empiricist has to admit some manner of non-empirical priors; the priors just don't have to rise to the level of being Knowledge with a capital K when subject to the same standard of justification as posterior knowledge (which for the sake of discussion we assume to require merely justification and nothing else). You're complaining about the non-skepticism, not the bootstrapping problem (which you seem to be implicitly acknowledging to be resolved...?).

    (e: I do agree that the arbitrariness of priors is troubling. I maintain it is also irrelevant to the discussion, however.

    I should note that the Bayesian has an easy dodge in arguing that there are fundamental problems in setting probabilities to one or zero exactly; the behavior of probabilistic axioms are a little dodgy at the extremes)

    Three notes--

    First, on the Bayesians: the behavior of the standard axiomatization of probability works just fine for zero and one, and probabilistic coherence under it in fact entails that you assign zeros and ones--namely, to the tautologies and their negations, respectively. This is already awkward as a model of human reasoning, since it entails that I can never change my mind about a mathematical proposition, but the oddity of mathematics is a problem that a lot of theories have to deal with so I wouldn't harp on it too much (notably, possible worlds semantics also entail logical omniscience). Of course, subjective Bayesians can say 'if you assign 0 or 1 to a non-mathematical contingent proposition, you'll never change your opinion,' but that is not yet an explanation of why not to do it. After all, if you have confidence 1 in some proposition, then you see no need for it to ever change. It is against the spirit of subjective Bayesianism to reject that confidence as ill-founded. The whole point of subjective Bayesianism is that prior confidences are not founded in anything at all (and hence cannot possibly be ill-founded).

    Second, on perceptual dogmatism: perceptual dogmatism is not the view that you have an a priori defeasible warrant to believe your senses are reliable. That is, in fact, the view that I endorse. Rather, perceptual dogmatism is the view that having an experience with a certain content P defeasibly justifies you in believing P in absentia of any beliefs whatsoever about the reliability of perception. The perceptual dogmatist is specifically trying to say that you can be utterly agnostic about whether you're a brain in a vat (or dreaming or whatever), but that seeing something still justifies you in believing. This is why you get the weird phenomenon of a gain in justification by way of bootstrapping.

    Third, on why a priori justification for contingent truths is a consequence of rejecting perceptual dogmatism: return again to the Bayesian framework. On that framework, my credence in some proposition P, after I am exposed to some evidence E, is equal to my prior conditional probability of P given E. But this requires that, in advance of encountering E at all, I must have had prior confidence in P|E to whatever precise degree. But if I am very confident, prior to all experience, in P given E, then I am also very confident, prior to all experience, in the material conditional E->P. But that is a contingent truth if ever there was one. Any reflective subject with competence in the epistemological theory, plausible auxiliary assumptions, and formal logic, will be able to transmute the implicit endorsements encoded in something like a prior probability distribution or a defeasible inference rule into the explicit endorsement of contingent conditionals.

    MrMister on
  • YarYar Registered User regular
    Apothe0sis wrote: »
    While I appreciate the support Yar, I am sure you'll agree that @MrMister argument isn't really the "how do you know what you see is actually green" perception scepticism.

    His argument is rather about how we use our observations to support conclusions - and that the perceptual dogmatist's defense against the rationalist critique of empiricism supports a rather more board epistemology than we'd rightly be comfortable with. I don't see why this wouldn't be the case - only that the thought experiment presented doesn't actually support this assertion very well.

    I'm being caustic perhaps... but no, I don't agree, the crux of his argument it seems to me does in fact entirely turn and rely on trivial perception skepticism. I'm not sure how else his analysis of reason and observation exists without it.

    We are born with innate senses of good and bad, and a structure and capacity for reason. Being hungry is bad. Getting hurt is bad. Being all warm and cozy is nice. From there, we start to form the basics of rationality. We form a concept of self because it hurts when baby pulls her own hair, but not when she pulls daddy's hair. We recognize that certain actions or motions lead to certain results, first and foremost with our own appendages. At what point in all of this does perceptual dogmatism apply? When do bayesians take root? I don't quite get that.

  • ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    A post I found funny, and possibly apropos. But I'll reply later.

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  • MrMisterMrMister Please demonstrate your enthusiasm for e-marking and/or e-assessment with examplesRegistered User regular
    ronya wrote: »
    A post I found funny, and possibly apropos. But I'll reply later.

    You can make the same 'I'm a person with limited capacities' thing prominent by talking about Goldbach's conjecture ('one of the oldest unsolved problems in mathematics'), which is either necessarily false or necessarily true, but we, limited humans that we are, have little idea which it is.

  • YarYar Registered User regular
    I can't help but feel that the limitations of consciousness aren't just a vague "who knows" but are a real, rational problem about our interpretations of the universe and our acquisition of truth.

    The translation of reality into thought and words and descriptions necessarily alters and destroys the reality. Even the ancient Taoists had this figured out pretty well.

  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    Yar wrote: »
    I can't help but feel that the limitations of consciousness aren't just a vague "who knows" but are a real, rational problem about our interpretations of the universe and our acquisition of truth.

    The translation of reality into thought and words and descriptions necessarily alters and destroys the reality. Even the ancient Taoists had this figured out pretty well.
    derrida.jpg

    Inquisitor wrote: »
    I fucking hate you Canadians.
  • YarYar Registered User regular
    Derrida... so... what?

    Deconstructionism aka solipsism?

    He needs to desconstruct the conflict between deconstructionism and materialism.

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