Michael Stuart Kelly

Science and philosophy? Or philosophy and science?

Recommended Posts

so I think there's enough room to bestow intention on non-conscious entities.

If you used the last definition in your post I would have to agree, but to me 'intention' seems to carry a underlying meaning of volition in respect to the ability to have an intention or not toward something or some act, which I do not belive you could say of a non-conscious entity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dragonfly,

I have to agree with LW - in thinking about the way 'intention' is used, especially in contradistinction to 'purpose' or 'aim' or 'goal', I think it is used to mean consciousness and choice in what is being aimed at.

LW - I agree that it has a strong implication of choice, but I think we could talk about an animal's intention, too, so I wouldn't say that volition was necessarily a part of the meaning.

Okay, I'm just waiting now for people to jump all over this, but I do think I see my dog choose between an orange and a hot dog offered to him, for example. He's just not fully volitional in his abilities.

Marsha

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Marsha,

I hesitated to use the word non-conscious and instead started to use nonhuman in respect to the volition idea. I had an idea it might not be the best choice of words and I agree with your assessment of volition as a human trait.

In respect to Dragonfly's use of the term "living beings" in relation to intention I would have to narrow the scope down to 'human beings' for my previous contention to be a more stable. In doing so I would then have to argue that non-humans could not have intention whether they were living or not as that would infer volition also.

L W

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dragonfly,

Regardless of what word you wish to use, do you agree with the concept that there are higher forms of life who can make choices? If so, what word do you prefer to use to differentiate this concept from, say, the "intention" of the motion of an inanimate object?

Marsha and LW,

I see animals make choices all the time. They don't exercise conceptual volition, but they certainly exercise a perceptual level of volition. I once made an example of an obvious choice with doggie on another forum. It went something like this:

Doggie is half-asleep. Master offers him a hotdog. Doggie's ears slowly pop up, he raises his head and his tail thumps a bit, but he prefers to go back to sleep.

If that wasn't a choice based on values, I don't know what is.

Doggie didn't choose to like the value per se (but human beings do not choose to like hotdogs or sleep either - those are "the given" - and don't tell me that there are people who exist who do not like hotdogs - that is a vicious despicable myth worthy of the "death premise" :D ). Doggie chose the more important at the moment between two values - just like any conceptual being would.

Doggie made a value judgment.

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yesterday I wrote: "[...] the point being touched on here is one which continues to trouble me. How is a program, from a computer's 'perspective' (properly speaking, a computer doesn't have a perspective), analogous to money from a human cognizer's perspective? The program, from the computer's 'view,' is just electrical impulse on/offs (or whatever). Money is an idea which has meaning. 'Money' assumes an entity that operates in terms of meaning. To call both of these 'information' seems to me a play on words that elides past exactly what needs to be explained."

Dragonfly replies (in part):

Not at all. The program has a meaning from our perspective, and that is what counts. It's the same as those different levels of abstraction that are always bugging you: it is a description according to our view of the system, not how a system looks at itself.

Like the moth drawn to the flame, I looked at this thread. (Tomorrow, I'll be gone and won't be able to look for the next several days -- there will likely be an internet hook-up at the hotel, but I'll blessedly have too much else to do to avail myself of that.)

You are correct that this is the same problem as those "different levels of abstraction that are always bugging [me]." And I think that what you wrote illustrates exactly the problem I keep trying (though not very well) to point out: You appear to acknowledge that the program does not have meaning from the computer's perspective, but then you dismiss this as unimportant. I consider the dismissal a sleight of hand at the basis of the theory: The theory is supposed to explain how our mentality evolved. But it presumes our mentality as the perspective in order to analogize to something with a similar appearance in other systems. And then it uses that analogy in an attempt to explain how we evolved. In short, it presumes as part of your hypothesis what your hypothesis is supposed to account for.

That's the clearest I can say it in a bit of a rush. Obviously this is an issue to be continued.

Ellen

___

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Regardless of what word you wish to use, do you agree with the concept that there are higher forms of life who can make choices? If so, what word do you prefer to use to differentiate this concept from, say, the "intention" of the motion of an inanimate object?

Well, it's in fact of course a matter of semantics; what are the common definitions of words? I think you can discern to opposite trends: integrating definitions and differentiating definitions. My preference is for integrating definitions (at least with respect to this subject) which may be differentiated if necessary by qualifiers. The reason is that I want to see the common, unifying elements as I think these are useful for a better understanding. We can of course use terms that are specific only for humans and in some circumstances that may be a good choice. An example is that on the one hand we use the opposite categories "animal - human" and on the other hand we say that a human is an animal (a mammal), which is from a biological and evolutionary point of view more informative than the strict separation of categories, as we can learn a lot about us by studying other animals.

In fact you're doing the same when you attribute to animals volition (with which I heartily agree). You add the qualifier "perceptual" to distinguish it from the "conceptual" volition of humans (now I'm not sure about those qualifiers, as these raise the question about the meaning of "perceptual", but I won't open this can of definitional worms here - I just don't have enough time...). I just want to go a step further and use such terms like volition and intention for all systems to which we can attribute some purpose, that is all living beings and man-made machines. Now this may not be common usage, but perhaps it's time to introduce some new usage. You can always use qualifiers to distinguish the more primitive forms from the sophisticated forms found in human beings, or you can use scare quotes if people are too scared of such comparisons.

An illustration of this principle of generalization is the well-known legend about Newton, who realized that, although there can be hardly a bigger difference than that between a falling apple and the moon moving along the sky, their movement had a common origin, the law of gravitation. I still remember my fascination as a little boy when I read in a book that the moon was in fact "falling" just like an apple can fall. Ok, we still use the word "fall" only for things that hit the earth, but in principle we could use the same term for these phenomena, like "following a geodesic in space-time".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dragonfly,

You seem to want to extend to a common word the same all-inclusiveness you denigrate in axioms ("they don't tell you anything about the thing"). What could be more integrating than "existence exists"? It integrates the whole shebang, including time.

What bothers me about redefining words like volition is that one fundamental characteristic gets left out. That is life. I don't see much value in the idea of "inanimate volition," except that it tries to pretend that life doesn't exist as a specific kind of existent (based on the fact that volition is traditionally identified as an attribute of living entities with a high level of awareness).

If you invalidate the concept of life, the next step of pretending that awareness does not really exist at all is but a small one.

Matrix anyone? Why do we think we think, anyway?

btw - Do you have any particular word you like to use for what I asked in my previous post?

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I suspect you're conflating two different meanings of "information" -- and thus, ultimately, assuming the existence of mind as a means of explaining mind.  Definition of "information" please.

OK.  I broke down and posted.  But the point being touched on here is one which continues to trouble me.  How is a program, from a computer's "perspective" (properly speaking, a computer doesn't have a perspective),  analogous to money from a human cognizer's perspective?  The program, from the computer's "view," is just electrical impulse on/offs (or whatever).  Money is an idea which has meaning.  "Money" assumes an entity that operates in terms of meaning.  To call both of these "information" seems to me a play on words that elides past exactly what needs to be explained.

Ellen

___

I'm inclined to say a computer program does not exist at all from the computer's perspective, precisely because the computer has no perspective. A program exists from the programmer's perspective.

You may well be right that there are different senses of the word "information" involved, but I don't have a definition ready. -- Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Michael,

Here's one problem I have with the Doggie example; can an animal that is hungry make a volitional choice not to eat on it's own? I know that one can be trained not to eat untill told so, but that seems more a case of the master's will overriding the animal's through training.

With the Doggie in effect saying "no thanks" to the hotdog I can't see how we can really know that maybe he was not hungry at the time and simply passed on the meal.

Now I also know that it is very rare( maybe never, I don't have enough info to know for sure)) to see a dog pass up a hotdog, but I think we have to leave open the possibility that it could happen and although it may sound like nitpicking it would seem like you would need some controlled experiments to confirm or deny it.

Part of my doubt comes from a discussion on another forum along the same lines I was involved in a few months back and there were some real strong arguments made against animals having volition. To be honest, for me I am still somewhat unsure, but tend toward the not having.

L W

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LW,

I think many arguments that try to invalidate low-level animal volition postulate a higher level that maybe would need a conceptual level, say that the animal can't do it, thus the animal has no volition at all.

Note that in my example, the choice was not against hunger, which would need a conceptual level. It merely was a choice between two perceivable values. Doggie chose according to his feeling at the time. He chose to be lazy.

We love animals because of the choices they make. Can you imagine a dog loving his master because he has no choice at all? I grant you that he has a natural inclination to love humans, but he chooses within a small range. If he had no choice whatsoever and you are his master, then all you have is a robot and you are interchangeable. He will love the first person that comes along. Also, when he plays, he is choosing not to bite, but to pretend.

I once had a cat who fell in love with the catnip I would give her. Without me knowing why, she stopped coming immediately when I would put it near the scratching pole. I later discovered that she was hiding and studying me until she discovered where I stored the catnip. She made a mess trying to get it several times, too. Since it was locked up on high and wrapped in plastic several times over, it took me a while to figure that one out. Then I made a test, observing her, and caught her studying me.

There was lots of volition in that sneaky feline.

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You seem to want to extend to a common word the same all-inclusiveness you denigrate in axioms ("they don't tell you anything about the thing").

I do no such thing. I'm looking for a common factor between a wide range of phenomena, I'm not integrating just for the fun of it as you seem to suggest. As I said before, the common factor is "purposeful behavior", that is a common denominator for a large spectrum of systems, from quite primitive to something as sophisticated as human beings. If we want to study aspects that are somehow related to purposeful behavior, it does make sense to compare them in different systems, to see how more complex versions may have evolved from primitive ones.

What could be more integrating than "existence exists"? It integrates the whole shebang, including time.

Don't you see the difference between a useful integration and such an incoherently formulated platitude?

What bothers me about redefining words like volition is that one fundamental characteristic gets left out. That is life. I don't see much value in the idea of "inanimate volition," except that it tries to pretend that life doesn't exist as a specific kind of existent (based on the fact that volition is traditionally identified as an attribute of living entities with a high level of awareness).

I'm an unashamed reductionist. The essence of volition is not life, it is the possibility to make choices. It's the same for "intelligence": the essence of intelligence is not that it's found in living beings, but that what it does (I won't try to give a comprehensive definition here). If we define "intelligence" as something that can only be found in living beings (or only in humans if you like), then we cut off the possibility of artificial intelligence. Concluding that it isn't life that is the essential factor for these concepts does not invalidate the concept of life itself, as you seem to suggest.

Regardless of what word you wish to use, do you agree with the concept that there are higher forms of life who can make choices? If so, what word do you prefer to use to differentiate this concept from, say, the "intention" of the motion of an inanimate object?

Making choices is not the prerogative of higher forms of life. When Kasparov played against Deep Blue, he had to make choices for every move he made, weighing the advantages and disadvantages of several possible moves. But Deep Blue did the same: weighing the relative merits of several possible moves and choosing the best one. I always call a spade a spade, and making a choice making a choice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ellen:

You are correct that this is the same problem as those "different levels of abstraction that are always bugging [me]." And I think that what you wrote illustrates exactly the problem I keep trying (though not very well) to point out: You appear to acknowledge that the program does not have meaning from the computer's perspective, but then you dismiss this as unimportant. I consider the dismissal a sleight of hand at the basis of the theory: The theory is supposed to explain how our mentality evolved. But it presumes our mentality as the perspective in order to analogize to something with a similar appearance in other systems. And then it uses that analogy in an attempt to explain how we evolved. In short, it presumes as part of your hypothesis what your hypothesis is supposed to account for.

No, I really can't follow you here. I have a feeling that you're confusing two things, although the details aren't clear to me yet. Science is an activity of people who try discover regularities in the world around us, by building models of certain aspects of reality and testing those. Now one of the possible objects of research is the human consciousness. Such research is in a sense a selfreferential process, but why should that be a problem? We don't have to account for our mentality when we're researching subatomic particles, so why should we do it when we research the functioning of the brain? All scientific research uses the perspective of human beings, it's a human activity after all. So why shouldn't we allowed to do it when the human brain itself is the object of research?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dragonfly,

Let's try this from a different angle.

What is your definition of life?

Then what is your definition of awareness?

I'll think about Deep Blue after we get some basics down. For example, before we get to artificial, how about dealing with the genuine?

(btw - Validating consciousness with an axiom is not a platitude. It is simply validating consciousness. Why you despise this is beyond me. It is merely one of the tools humans use as a starting point.)

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What is your definition of life?

I won't try to give a comprehensive definition myself, see for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life. My preferred definition is the one found under "other definitions": the systemic definition or Kauffman's definition. The advantage of such definitions is that they don't limit life to life as we know it on Earth, these are definitions by essentials.

Then what is your definition of awareness?

I'd say that a system has awareness when it contains or can obtain information, generally from outside that system, upon which it may act.

I'll think about Deep Blue after we get some basics down. For example, before we get to artificial, how about dealing with the genuine?

The best way to understand the genuine is to approach it via the artificial, that's the way science works: it builds a model of that what is studied, in general a theoretical model, but sometimes physical models may also be informative. So it may be useful to understand the function of the heart if you know what a pump is and how it works.

(btw - Validating consciousness with an axiom is not a platitude. It is simply validating consciousness. Why you despise this is beyond me. It is merely one of the tools humans use as a starting point.)

You can validate anything with that axiom, and if you can validate everything you can validate nothing. It's therefore completely useless; the only function I can think of is as some kind of Objectivist prayer that you have to say before every argument you start.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is it just me or does everything always seem to come back to a freewill vs. determinism argument?

I'm joining in late because I was having computer trouble yesterday and I can't post when I'm at work because I work in a highly regulated field with strict internet usage policies. I'll just briefly share my views, which are more or less based on common sense and Objectivism 101 rather than intellectual or scientific study. Michael and Marsha pretty much have said what I think anyway, but here is my two cents worth...

Basically, living things have consciousness. Non-living things do not. Consciousness is one of the three axioms, undisputed by Objectivists to be a starting point in thinking. Without consciousness there can be no decisions, intentions, volition, determined course of action or anything like that. A brain is required to possess conciousness. People and animals are conscious. Plants and objects are not. An object cannot make decisions or have intentions. What an object does is more or less happens to it and is governed by nature, probability or is manipulated by outside forces. It cannot decide a course of action and do it. It is not possible for it to be self-directed. It cannot have motives. It has no mind. A thing doesn't have a brain and cannot think. Computers can be programmed but cannot think.

Animals have varying degrees of intelligence, but are basically a bundle of instincts and reflexes and some, such as dogs, are trainable. They have temperament and very basic decision making abilities that can be compared to a human infant, but cannot not develop much further. Brian from Family Guy is the exception, but alas, he is but a cartoon.

If someone wants to go off into talking about artificial intelligence, that may be a topic for another thread. Personally, I'm skeptical but open to listening to intelligent discussion on the topic. I saw the movie AI and wanted to walk out, it was awful.

Kat

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dragonfly,

We don't have to account for our mentality when we're researching subatomic particles, so why should we do it when we research the functioning of the brain?

We have no reason to think that subatomic particles have awareness or experience meaning; by direct experience, we have plenty of reason to think that our minds *do*. On top of our own, personal, individual direct experience, we have plenty of evidence that other humans have minds, because they can do so many things which no inanimate thing can do - in fact, which no other living being can do. (This latter is why we came up with the concept of volition, to explain that ability.)

This means that our minds are a property of matter not existing in inanimate matter like air or asphalt and, in fact, substantially different from the consciousnesses of other living things, too. This property requires an explanation: what aspects of our physical bodies give rise to this property of awareness and meaning?

You can see how important this question is for the development of artificial intelligence. Without the ability to create an artificial being that can experience meaning, we haven't created intelligence.

Marsha

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am going to try this, maybe I won't get bogged down in my own thoughts.

It seems we have argued from the original point of whether or not the nonconscious(possibly nonhuman) can have intention. So far it doesn't seem there is a big problem with intention having an underlying idea of volition behind it or maybe to put it in a more philosophical way 'intention presupposes volition'. I myself have no problem with letting the idea of nonhuman animals having volition on the perceptual level stand as a tacit agreement for the time being to keep the discussion more on track.

It seems that the place where Michael and Dargonfly stand- 'existence exists' aside for the moment- is whether the nonbiological can possess volition and at a deeper level is life as we usually understand it the strict domain of the biological.

Of course I understand that nobody else may necessarily agree with my assessment so far, but I am trying to keep my own perspective on which way the discussion is going and posted this to see if I am on track.

It would also seem that Marsha (if I understand her) doesn't believe the nonconscious can possess anything more than what humans endow them with and the ability of selection by machines does not imply intention on their part.

Kat seems to think the idea is not worthy of a B-grade movie :)

L W

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Marsha, I don't disagree, but I think that is not Ellen's point, at least as far as I understand her. If I try to describe the functioning of intelligent systems, she seems to object to the third-person perspective, while I only say that all serious science is done from this perspective (the heterophenomenological method in Dennett's terms). She seems to think that by using that perspective, you smuggle into your theory notions in that you want to prove. I absolutely don't see how that could be the case, but perhaps I'm misunderstanding her; at least the argument is not clear to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dragonfly speaks of the perspective of science:

[Ellen] seems to object to the third-person perspective, while I only say that all serious science is done from this perspective (the heterophenomenological method in Dennett's terms). She seems to think that by using that perspective, you smuggle into your theory notions in that you want to prove.

Perhaps more to the point, rather than smuggling notions into one’s theory, this perspective, by the nature of its orientation, precludes certain evidence from its considerations. Detachment from the perspective of any particular conscious subject is an essential element of this “serious science” perspective. If our interpretations of existence are tied too strictly to this perspective, it is easy to assume that “consciousness” and “free-will” are simply an apparition. After all, if we continue to maintain this detached perspective, we can maintain a remoteness even to the contents of our own subjectivity and claim that the actions of consciousness are only reactions to antecedent actions.

We human beings are capable of shifting from one orientation of consciousness to another: we can assume an empathic orientation; we can assume an orientation that is first person, located in our own bodies, fully connected to the unique information of our own subjectivity; we can assume a third person orientation, as an observer and overseer of our models, disconnected from our own unique place and subjective experience; etc. If we are to have a truly integrated perspective of existence, our perspective must be able to integrate the information from our different orientations of consciousness. What Dragonfly is suggesting is rather than integrate this information, we should just choose which orientation is right, and find ways to interpret the information from other orientations as being misleading or illusion.

On Dragonfly’s view, free-will is an illusion and consciousness is nothing more than information processing. This view is maintained by deciding, a priori, that the “serious science” perspective is the right one. The information gained from this perspective and the conclusions drawn must take precedence over other perspectives. The scientific perspective is, after all, verifiable. Other perspectives have the weakness of not being subjectively detached. Other perspectives can be effected by whims, wishes, desires, fears, etc. Other perspectives contain information that is hard to quantify and verify.

Choosing one perspective as more right than others precludes the evidence from other perspectives if it does not fit the primary perspective. I think this is what Ellen was referring to. There is no reason to assume this is the right method of coping with the unruly information contained in other perspectives.

Another approach is to assume that each of the orientations of consciousness we are able to take provides us with information about reality. Our task is to identify the elements of this information and integrate them into a unified perspective of reality. If we take this approach, consciousness and free-will cannot be so easily explained away as misleading and illusory. Consciousness really is something different to information processing. The conscious being doesn’t just process information via a process of action-to-action causation. The action of information doesn’t just cause an action of consciousness, which then causes an action of the body. The action of information causes a change in the contents of consciousness which is , in essence, a change in the identity of the being. That causal chain then triggers an automatic response. If the automatic response is to focus one’s awareness on the contents of consciousness, then the causal chain comes to an end.

Awareness creates understanding from the information through associations, logical connections and causal connections, and finds meaning in the information through an emotional response to that understanding. A computer does not do this. This represents the “free” part of free-will. Human consciousness is able to free itself from the necessary connections of action-to-action causation. If no understanding or meaning is available in the given moment, action can be deferred. Again, deferring action might be the result of considering one’s understanding of the best action to take. Once there is understanding and meaning attached to information, we are able to choose and initiate an action. This is the “will” part of free-will.

Between awareness and the initiation of action there is a hole in action-to-action causation. The causal chain comes to an end at awareness and has a beginning with an act of will. Action-to-action causation has no way to account for this. Entity-to-action causation does. So entity-to-action causation is not an empty concept.

Paul Mawdsley

I fixed the software glitch. It seems that volition was the key.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What is more, I cannot understand how it is that people are not grateful to someone who has helped them see an error they were making.  What is there in life that is of more value than seeing reality as it is?

That depends on what reality is.

Sorry. I'm thinking of the scientific community here. Reputations are often more important than accepting competing theories which better explain reality. Scientists go along for years accepting something as ... "truth"? Well, perhaps as "the accepted status quo" is a better description. Then some whipper-snapper shows up out of nowhere and invalidates everything they know with a new theory. The old guard circle the wagons, much storm and fury happens, and out of this process, a new (I hate this word!) paradigm emerges which better explains the Universe and opens up multitudinous doors to new research and new understanding.

It's an adversarial system, often frought with personality cults, nepotism, blind acceptance of peer influence, and an "Eat the young!" mindset.

But, if you happen to be one of those "whipper-snappers", the experience can be most gratifying and educational:

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best night and

day to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle

any human being can fight and never stop fighting.

-- e.e. cummings

... anyone who survives the process enriches mankind and grows stronger from the experience (theoretically). :-k

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Paul,

That was a very well done post. Thanks.

tqk,

Yes, there are many, many scientists who have difficulty being rational about the problem of mistakes. However, if they were commited to being right now, rather than pretending to be right when they were wrong, scientific progress would speed up a bit. The same is true with all other fields of study.

Marsha,

I do not know that I buy the idea that science did not exist before Aristotle and the philosophers of his time. Science has always been practiced as man figured out how to handle, make, and use fire. It was used as man figured out how to chip flint to make tools and weapons and how to identify other sources of flint that could be chipped like the previous flint was to make more tools. The components of science that consist of careful observation of reality and experimentation have been often neglected in the interest of the more theoretical approach that certainly speeded up progress since the Renaissance. This mathematical approach and formal prediction in an experiment with an observation of the result is a fine way of doing science, but in fact much science has always been done without all the formalism of this approach.

If the caveman saw lightning strike a tree and upon nearing the tree felt warmth and then decided to take a burning branch from the tree and pile other wood around it and it burned bright and he could stand by it and still feel warm, then he made a number of scientific observations and hypotheses and he tested them. Now, cavemen may not have been very effective scientists and they certainly were amateurs, but they were doing science when they made these discoveries. It was very important science at that. It was the beginning of man learning that he could use his mind to control some aspects of his environment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Charles wrote:

The components of science that consist of careful observation of reality and experimentation have been often neglected in the interest of the more theoretical approach that certainly speeded up progress since the Renaissance. This mathematical approach and formal prediction in an experiment with an observation of the result is a fine way of doing science, but in fact much science has always been done without all the formalism of this approach.

How right you are. One of my favourite characters from the history of physics is Michael Faraday. He was able to conceive of the nature of electromagnetism despite the fact that he had very poor mathematical skills. It always was and still is the power of non-mathematical imagination that drives science; the imagination making causal connections.

Charles, thanks for the compliment.

Paul Mawdsley

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Marsha:

~ You definitely raise 'the' basic question (which others have segued off of to other subjects): "What kind of 'thing' is consciousness?" Clearly, not many good answers arise anywhere. 'Reductionist' views re its being nothing more than a 'brain-state' do lack a bit. The idea of a 'brain-state' that thinks about brain-states is itself a more ethereal idea than it makes itself out to be. Yet the only apparent contrary 'vitalistic' views do smack of mysticalness akin to the old 'action-at-a-distance' concerns for gravity in astro-physics. What sort of thing is this...consciousness...we all speak of?

~ My idea is that it IS 'physical', but not in the sense material-reductionists make out. I think that there's more to the idea of 'physical' than we presently have; that is, it IS more than matter-as-we-know-it.

~ Consider: how 'physical' is the gravitational 'field' we now accept as part-and-parcel of physics? It, itself, is not 'matter,' though seems always conjoined to it.

LLAP

J:D

Edited by John Dailey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Marsha:

~ As regards your original topic re "...various objectivists claim that understanding proceeds from philosophy to science, not vice versa..." and conclude it is "bunk", I'm not sure that most would argue such...as you formulate it. 'Understanding?' Per se?

~ You ask (rhetorically, I gather): "Would Rand have been able to argue for capitalism in politics before the industrial revolution?" -- I believe N. Branden had said that she once told him that she couldn't have existed if born before it. Ergo neither she, nor anyone, could have developed...O'ism...then; clearly though, many others had developed 'philosophy' to the point of ethics (without much official 'science', might I add), and views re the place of the state in protecting one's 'rights' would be 'advanced' philosophy, in my view.

LLAP

J:D

P.S: Re your concept-formation disagreements, I'll leave that to others.

Edited by John Dailey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

~ No 'objectivist' will argue against "science informs philosophy", if, informs or helps develop is all that's meant. Also, no 'objectivist' will argue that 'scientific'-observation-and-thinking (apart from being a specialist) is irrelevent to developing a 'philosophy' (whether O'ism or whatnot.) Let's not set up straw men here.

~ Re the idea that it's not true that: a normal person with a normal learning ability is able to develop a useful 'philosophy'-of-life without acquiring specialized official training in (some) official 'science'. This sounds a bit 'elitist,' if I may, not to mention that it ignores much of History of Philosophy re Ethics (nm 'knowledge' and 'what-kind-of-place-am-I-in?', aka Epistemology and Metaphysics, however 'primitive'.)

~ Most people aren't official 'scientists', ergo, where does this idea of 'Philosophy' REQUIRES some 'Science-Learning' leave...all us others?

LLAP

J:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...