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Skeptical or skeptical? From: Mess or Masterpiece?

This overly long post has some gems that will help populate a separate Skeptic thread.

If one puts Randian theory through one's own experiences and thinking (without skepticism) the sky's the limit.

Do you here mean methodological or philosophical skepticism?

As I use it often, the philosophical skepticism. The criticality of the methodological type can be safely assumed. Facts (or 'factoids') need hard and constant checking, naturally. It's a world apart from 'Skepticism' - of ideas, of principles, and of any and all philosophy.

Fact-claims need checking is my skeptical aphorism. A Big S SKEPTIC philosophy by your definition is a toga-age offshoot of the SOPHIST school who pretended nothing could be known. This kind of skepticism of course lives on in a degenerated fashion by stoners and hippies who say 'it's all vibrations' and 'you never know.' UFOs, Cosmic Consciousness, on and on and on, that skeptical Big-S backwash is one of my special pains and complaints with the world. The Know-Nothing skeptics are in politics and everywhere people settle. It is oddly anti-science, pro-mystic; there are 'subtle energies' and satanic-cult-conspiracies and no amount of my own fact-checking can dislodge that cohort of our fellow humans. These are indeed the people who will believe Anything. Without a coherent theory of reality and its integral nature, they individually 'socially-construct' their moonbeam and rainbows (or darkness and fear) view of the world. So, I would agree that there is a know-nothing skeptical retinue alive in our worlds.

So, you can see that theirs is actually a raffle-bag of Old Skeptical methodology in stark opposition to the reason+science methodology of the modern skeptical movement (which has roots in, you guessed it, Darwin, the Scientific Revolution, blah blah). In a way, you are the tightest ally with modern, actual skeptical flowering . Skepticism co-evolved with the history of the philosophy of science. Modern skepticism is everything from local science-clubs to the sternest Supreme justice on earth. The practice of law and history is an exceedingly skeptical process. The philosophy of science guides skepticism in turn.

I am telling you the truth -- I cannot know without qualifiers which usage you intend and sometimes whether you understand the distinction in your own sentences. I suggest you use big-S backwoods simplelton drugged out sky-fairy hollow earth UFO captives and so on Skeptic/ism when that is what you intend to mean.

Please have the patience of mind to follow my concerns here. Which of these statements includes the awful Skeptical know-nothing retreat from rational process that bedevils the acquisition of reliable knowledge ... ?:

-- if one puts Randian theory through one's experiences and thinking, the sky is the limit

-- if one puts Randian theory through one's experiences and thinking (without Skepticism), the sky is the limit.

-- if one puts Randian theory through one's experiences and thinking (without skepticism), the sky is the limit.

-- if one puts Randian theory through one's experiences and thinking (with skepticism), the sky is the limit.

-- if one puts Randian theory through one's experience first (and rational inquiry), one can reach cognitive goals: understanding, winnowing, conclusions.

-- if one puts a particular Randian theory to a test of experience (from experiment to logical analysis, to comparison with the fruits of other fields of inquiry), one can do useful mental work.

-- if one puts a particular Randian theory or claim (about eg, art) to a critical, skeptical test (using appropriate rational tools of inquiry) one will probably end up with a better understanding of the reality of the claim at issue.

-- if one does not 'test' Randian theory, one might mistakenly assert it as true and proven to the satisfaction of 'everyman.'

Will you please answer my question about the two skeptical periodicals I noted, Tony? Answer nothing else but that, pretty please.

And another run at the same door:

I don't understand when you hold a red card for illicit cognition, Skeptical cognition. Looking at those points above, which are Skeptical (philosophical), which are skeptical (methodological)? I'd like you to know that I always use 'skepticism' as a methodological thing, a necessary component of rational thought. I have no truck with the ancient Greek philosophical tradition. Moreover, I cannot think of an example here of anyone whatsoever proffering a Skeptical note on your contributions in this thread.

They are absorbing, those 'emotion charts' you put up every so often, William. I guess by demonstrating a range of emotions (though not I think exhaustive) felt by mankind you are making some conclusive point.

No. And I don't believe you think I was. When you do this, "Oh? So what you really mean is drown all the kittens, right?" I shake my head.

Go back and see why I stressed emotional universals and personal individuation. These are the two crutches to my argument. In a pistachio shell, one's 'sense of life' emotional responses will be individual, even if 'statistically normal. An appreciation of art can be cultivated, but the individual opinions will both converge and diverge from the norm. Emotions are thus variable. Thus tastes will differ.

Can someone say tastes shouldn't differ? Sure, but saying tastes shouldn't differ is like saying you aren't planning to die. But ya are, Blanche. But ya are.

"If there are differing emotional reactions to particular pieces of art, that is the way it is--no amount of 'ought-ism' [punny] can change that reality. If a piece of art leaves you cold but inspires emotion in your neighbour, that is the way we are as humans".

That there can be differing emotions (to the same thing) is observable and apparent. It is 'a reality' of many men. But is it "reality"?

This is needless smoke and confusion. In the context of moralizing on differing tastes I am saying that 'tastes will differ' and there is no philosophical argument that shows 'tastes will not differ' -- and no logical contortions can change the reality that 'tastes in art differ.'

A whole lot of 'aught-ism' and 'ought-ism' does not change reality.

You are coming at me with photon emotion bombs. But I am Spock.

If confronted with a beautifully done artwork of the most foul image which you can conjur up, say, of human suffering and brutality, the response of predominantly-rational individuals would most likely be of horror and disgust. Horror at the image, and disgust with the artist.

I refuse to answer, Your Honour, on the grounds that the Prosecutor has not produced the artwork in question.

More seriously, Tony, you are providing support for my point, by qualifying your claim, even while adding more moralist lard and whoopee. I have posed a fairly-competent depiction in realistic format -- a painting of war in Syria. You had one reaction, I had another. Your moralisms then, and your contempt for an imaginative perfectly-awful perfectly disgusting painting now -- were a kind of doll-house argument, in a perfect world. You don't really want to trade in fancies. It's like you want us to join you with the other ladies of the Temperance Union and denounce, with full emotion, our disgust and horror at your imaginings. Meh.

Onward Rational Art Patrol! something christian war

All I can expect is that you spot the flaw in this kind of argument goring forward. You qualify 'tastes will differ' with an implied 'not among predominantly-rational people.'

This is pony land where one proves some moral point by sketching a universal moment in pink when everyone with moral-intellectual integrity will express (and deeply feel) that same mix of emotions as you. Everyone is a special pony. Cue the communist Coke song.

But anyhow, forgive me my excesses, and yet another banging at the door, about your way up there comment on my Suck It Up, That's the Way Things Are, Princess. It is just an instance of 'ought-ism' that meets an object/subject named William. If William does not share your emotions on viewing the AwfulHorrorDisgust, then he is a non-rational actor. I am trying to make this fun for all, Tony. Sorry if I make it seem like I wouldn't eat your sandwich at the Objective Picnic.

I think that would be an appropriate, moral, rational and objective (and "fully human") emotional response. If they know it or not, their responses are based on their value-judgments and "the reality" that man's life is the standard of value.

Another individual comes to the same image, and feels delight - or indifference - or ecstacy. Here is true "subjectivity". (What would you think of him? would you even want to know him?)

You have written magical prose. Now go find the horror-disgust item that has attracted gushes of hysterical praise, name the guy and quote his words. Then we will all kill him and feast on his remains like dogs and pickle the rest, and your point will be proved.

It is like you are baking a perfect imaginary pie, Tony, and demanding why we don't taste the lashings of factor X you put in the pie filling. It's not a real pie. You can't anticipate our 'taste' sensations nor our emotion. The thing is in your head and trying to get out.

Put up a picture/sculpture of the disgusting pie that illustrates your argument please. We cannot peer into your imagination as well as you think we can.

And another sweaty attempt to keep a ball in play on only two cups of coffee ...

Is that "differential" indeed at all "wonderful" ?

-- at the risk of repetition (among Scherk's greatest sins) you are misunderstanding me

The differential between person A's taste and person B's taste and on into the billions is I believe a wonderful thing, and something to learn from. I wish you could stop trying to get everyone on the same dang bus (265 - Randian Way Express) at the same dang bus stop at the same dang time. It must be tiresome for you.

Emotions MAY be all over the place for different people, but to the varying degrees he is rational, predicts a reasonably narrow range of any individual's emotional response.

Tony, Tony, Tony. "He" is now a fully imaginary thing. You have sketched a tale to confirm your prejudice (that only an irrational/immoral person can like Awful Horror Disgust Art. It just doesn't set the dye in your fabric as effectively as you may hope.

So I disagree with "no amount of ought-ism can change that reality".

Sure. We disagree. I grind the same nuts again: In context, the reality that 'tastes differ in art.' No amount of appealing to emotion or wagging the finger or constructing fanciful 'what ifs' or you-must-agree 'ought-istic' scenarios can persuade me that the differences in art taste between you and me is a function of our degrees of 'rationality.

Maybe a larger philosophical frame will convince you that we probably agree with each other on several points implicated in your 'Big-S small-s' distinction ...

We agree on the components, but differ on how to label the product ... ?

Actually, I observed a lot of that in myself. The first bit was my own, and then some embellishing from Rand's insights.

I always like answers that are true, it's a while since I was scared of any truths.

Clarity, consistency and sustainability - of cognition and emotion - are the most important benefits of philosophy in one's life, I think.

Clarity In Language, thy name is not Tony Garland. Before giving Phil-ish notes on clarity and consistency, you should work to make your prose more clear and communicative. "I observed a lot of that in myself." What freaking lot of what? The first bit of what was your own?

As, always, your kind friend in Canada.

Source: Mess or Masterpiece?



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