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Re: [stoics] Argument for TK

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  • Kevin
    Steve I think this article explains my point better than I have.   The key philosophically issue in my mind (which isn t discussed in this article but which
    Message 1 of 8 , Feb 1, 2012
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      Steve I think this article explains my point better than I have.
       
      The key philosophically issue in my mind (which isn't discussed in this article but which leads me to agree with what it says) is that there seems to be no evidence or plausible argument that I can ever know if a cognitive state I experience is the product of a intuitive faculty or the result of previous cognition. It seems we have no faculty to discern that. So if we do not know if this or that state is the result of previous cognition or is the result of an intuitive faculty there is no reason to suppose the existence of an intuitive faculty at all.
       
       
      Regards
      Kevin

      From: Steve Marquis <stevemarquis@...>
      To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Friday, January 27, 2012 12:48 PM
      Subject: Re: [stoics] Argument for TK

       
      Hi Kevin.  Your argument:
      ____________
       
      All true statements accord with the facts. This represents the traditional account of the correspondence theory of truth.     I’m going to drop this element of the definition because it seems to be accepted, and focus on the controversial element.
      ___________
       
      You haven’t stated what ‘facts’ are.  In a nut shell I would say there are other facts besides those empirical ones that are verified by measuring some physical object.  Also we haven’t distinguished between contingent and non-contingent facts.  There are non-contingent facts that are not descriptions of physical objects that can be conveyed by language in the form of rational argument and mathematics.  Normative ethics will fall into that category.  And isn’t striving towards the virtuous life the heart and soul of Stoicism?
      __________
       
      All true statements are social acts.   The purpose of a true statement is to establish belief and settle doubt. If one has doubt about a subjective experience  they are experiencing they do not utter true statements about it and if one has no doubt about their experience there is no belief to establish or doubt to settle. The very act of communicating a truth is for the purpose of establishing a belief and settling doubt in another.
      __________
       
      You are focusing on conveyance.  That is only instrumental to what really matters: assent by a rational agent to a true impression.  And that is a purely personal subjective action which is not socially sharable.  We also make ‘statements’ in our own internal dialogue all the time.  Is that social?  It certainly is subjective.
       
      Further if one has doubt about the meaning of a subjective experience / impression that is the very time to utter statements about it.  That is what Socrates did.  That is what the scientific method does.  If an agent has no doubt but erroneous beliefs he is stuck – stuck – stuck.
      ___________
       
      No social act involves necessarily private experience.     The objective of any social act is that which can be experienced by others as well as yourself by definition. Therefore: No true statements involve necessarily private experience.
      ____________
       
      For any deliberate act to be ‘seen’ by a third party (ie, to be social) it has to start with a private subjective assent first.  Social action defined as observable by others is an effect of a subjective cause (our internal character 'shape'; the act here I assume follows from a choice like a decision to say something).  You’ve got the cart before the horse:  All true statements necessarily involve private experience.  The sharing, if it is sharable, comes after.  Further you are excluding assents to true impressions that are not reducible to language.  I don’t see any reason to exclude those or say they don’t exist a priori without some reason to do so.  Low reliability or the inability to describe accurately does not equate to falseness or non-existence.  Stuff that doesn’t fit needs to be carefully considered, not rejected out of hand.  Is our cup full to the brim?  If it is how will we make progress?
       
      Assent is what is in our control.  And that is not an observable phenomenon precisely because it can only be recognized from a first person perspective.  The value of true facts is to have the opportunity to assent to what is true.  Truth by itself doesn’t do anything.  Food has to be eaten.
       
      I cannot agree that a necessary condition for truth is that it is socially sharable.  Truth corresponds to what is real whether it is conveyable by a language or other means or not.  It is that correspondence that makes it so, not its ability to be shared.  The ability to share is nice, it enables a community of rational creatures to help each other out, but I don’t see that as a logically necessary condition.
       
      What the scientific method does for us is discipline our speculation.  It is a tool only, an aid to establishing true impressions.  I think sometimes we are in danger of focusing on the finger that is pointing at the moon.
       
      All true facts by your definition Kevin to be in the social realm _MUST_ start in someone’s subjective experience.  That comes first.  And verification by another will become part of their subjective personal experience as well.  Objectivity is a myth.  We are trapped forever in our own subjective experience.  The throne of experience to which the modern empiricist bows is all subjective.  There is some arbitrary critical mass of repetitive similar subjective experience in a community’s history that at some magical moment transforms the content of this experience from subjective to objective.  This is seen as a difference in kind when it is not.  Really it is a matter of degree of reliable prediction.  It is a quantitative difference and not a qualitative difference at all.  The subjective-objective split is a false dichotomy.  I recommend Robert Pirsig ;). He has bit to say about how sanity is defined as well, a question you brought up earlier.
       
      BTW appreciate you putting this together.  It seems like a bit of dialectic to me ;).
       
      Live well,
      Steve


    • Steve Marquis
      Hello Kevin- I read your linked article. I’m well aware of the role that peer review plays in determining what is considered scientific and what is not.
      Message 2 of 8 , Feb 3, 2012
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        Hello Kevin-

         

        I read your linked article.  I’m well aware of the role that peer review plays in determining what is considered scientific and what is not.  But it is not as simple as that.  We have grown up with the words ‘subjective’ and ‘objective’ branded into our brains.  These terms are part of our modern paradigm.  Such terms are many times assumed to be self evidently clear and true.  In this case we as a rule severely distrust the one and overly trust the other such that a claim to ‘objectivity’ is all it takes in advertising or political claims to swing our support the desired way.

         

        If we learn anything from the Stoics (and Socrates) it is that the well examined life is the only kind worth living. The target audience of Stemwedel’s article is not professors of epistemology that’s for sure.  That and its length necessarily disable any serious attempt at a carefully constructed argument that would head off counter claims (I’m sure Stemwedel, being a philosophy professor, could construct or write such an argument just fine).

         

        For example the issue that this ‘objective’ world of science can never actually be experienced is not addressed.  That is quite outside the scope of the article.  Her point is absolutely credible for a certain approach to knowledge, an approach concerned exclusively with ascertaining reliable facts about the physical world.  The article’s purpose is to clarify subject matter the premises of which have already been agreed to.  On top of that the empiricist approach yields an overwhelming amount of pragmatic results such as modern medicine.  This success and the implication that there isn’t any other kind of knowledge that is valid or that can improve our quality of life does not encourage critical examination and will reinforce views already held, especially by table and chair personality types.  The article is in the Scientific American after all and not in a philosophy magazine.  The question is do we want to do philosophy or not.  One reason to do philosophy would be to address matters of value which is what Stoicism is about.  The scientific method address matters of physical fact and is supposed to be value free.

         

        I quite agree with Stemwedel’s point limited to the context she intends.

         

        Kevin:

        ______________

         

        The key philosophically issue in my mind (which isn't discussed in this article but which leads me to agree with what it says) is that there seems to be no evidence or plausible argument that I can ever know if a cognitive state I experience is the product of a intuitive faculty or the result of previous cognition. It seems we have no faculty to discern that. So if we do not know if this or that state is the result of previous cognition or is the result of an intuitive faculty there is no reason to suppose the existence of an intuitive faculty at all.

        ______________

         

        I also agree with your description of this dilemma.  I don’t know either how to discern between truly intuitive knowledge and something that just percolates up from the unconscious that is a regurgitation of previous experience and current stimuli.

         

        However in assuming the dichotomy of intuitive knowledge and ‘scientific ‘ knowledge we have left out a very important kind of knowledge: rational knowledge.  Intuition is a notoriously difficult subject to get a handle on.  To compare just intuitive and empirical knowledge in terms of reliability and especially in the arena of publicly accessible knowledge there is no contest.  The deck is stacked.

         

        Grant can clarify but I believe he is quite careful in appealing to intuition.  The goal is to have a consistent rational belief system. One of the limitations to such a system is that there must be starting axioms accepted as self evidently true.  An example would be Euclidian geometry.  To avoid an infinite regress hunting down a starting point he has stipulated his starting axioms.  There is nothing else to appeal to at that point but intuition and no one else can do any better no matter their belief system.  Even the die hard empiricist must use reason to give meaning to sense data and there are assumptions in there, admitted to or not, that are accepted as self evidently true.  Someone who wants to take the time may be able to show that intuition is logically necessary given these initial assumptions cannot be shown to be metaphors or something else (we must be careful about our prejudices here – it is easy to go one way or the other given our predispositions). I don’t agree with Grant’s plurality of initial assumptions but in my mind he is more honest in coming to grips with this particular issue and the result is a more consistent and well considered belief system.

         

        If it helps one can leave out the appeal to intuition and just give no reason for why certain assumptions are held to be true.  Personally I see that as heading towards the black hole of relativism which is where the value free descriptive only approach to knowledge is heading as well.  Both our grounding abstract assumptions and the explanations of basic reality science is attempting nowadays are very far removed from immediate sensation.  The empiricist has some work to do to get back to grounding physical evidence.  That long convoluted path flies in the face of elegance of explanation, one of the hallmarks supposedly of scientific hypothesis building.  It is possible that the desire to explain everything empirically may violate the very method championed.  It is this desire I bristle about, not the validity of the method in it’s proper context.

         

        The above needs more elaboration but I’m not going to have room :).

         

        I mentioned that rational knowledge is left out of your list.  Rational knowledge is bigger in scope than empirical knowledge but smaller in scope than intuitive knowledge.  Rational knowledge gives us access to questions of value and what might be normative and non-contingent.  Rational knowledge is subject to peer review just like empirical knowledge by using language and argument instead of physical testing.  So rational knowledge meets your criteria of being both accessible and sharable.  That’s what we do here all the time!  That is what rational discourse and the dialectic is about. One reason perhaps why the rational approach separated from physical evidence leaves a bad taste in some people’s mouths is the history of the individual speculator going off by himself in quite elaborate philosophical constructions without giving a hoot about anyone else’s critical opinion.  But then again to break free of a paradigm this may be necessary.

         

        The individual rational speculator and the intuitionist both have a difficulty IMO of justifying why I should follow their suggestions by an appeal to their or some other authority alone.  You would probably agree to that.  I don’t believe they have any business directing other peoples lives coercively.  Any direction on their part should have independent verification.  That may be possible with a ‘try it and see for yourself’ approach.  Isn’t that what we do if we wish to give Stoicism a test run?  Then the proof is in the _subjective_ pudding.

         

        Even if that fails or we are directed to do something nonsensical in blind faith (which I would reject) it does not invalidate this approach in their own personal lives.  They may be absolutely correct.  How would we know otherwise?

         

        Someone who sees inconsistencies in the Matrix may be branded as insane or even a threat to good community order.  This comes from confusing convention with objective truth.  This is done all the time to assuage our personal anxieties.  Science is not entirely free of this.  Read Thomas Kuhn :).

         

        Live well,

        Steve



        From: Kevin <kevin11_c@...>
        To: "stoics@yahoogroups.com" <stoics@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Wed, February 1, 2012 12:27:21 PM
        Subject: Re: [stoics] Argument for TK



        Steve I think this article explains my point better than I have.
         
        The key philosophically issue in my mind (which isn't discussed in this article but which leads me to agree with what it says) is that there seems to be no evidence or plausible argument that I can ever know if a cognitive state I experience is the product of a intuitive faculty or the result of previous cognition. It seems we have no faculty to discern that. So if we do not know if this or that state is the result of previous cognition or is the result of an intuitive faculty there is no reason to suppose the existence of an intuitive faculty at all.
         
         
        Regards
        Kevin

        From: Steve Marquis <stevemarquis@...>
        To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Friday, January 27, 2012 12:48 PM
        Subject: Re: [stoics] Argument for TK

         
        Hi Kevin.  Your argument:
        ____________
         
        All true statements accord with the facts. This represents the traditional account of the correspondence theory of truth.     I’m going to drop this element of the definition because it seems to be accepted, and focus on the controversial element.
        ___________
         
        You haven’t stated what ‘facts’ are.  In a nut shell I would say there are other facts besides those empirical ones that are verified by measuring some physical object.  Also we haven’t distinguished between contingent and non-contingent facts.  There are non-contingent facts that are not descriptions of physical objects that can be conveyed by language in the form of rational argument and mathematics.  Normative ethics will fall into that category.  And isn’t striving towards the virtuous life the heart and soul of Stoicism?
        __________
         
        All true statements are social acts.   The purpose of a true statement is to establish belief and settle doubt. If one has doubt about a subjective experience  they are experiencing they do not utter true statements about it and if one has no doubt about their experience there is no belief to establish or doubt to settle. The very act of communicating a truth is for the purpose of establishing a belief and settling doubt in another.
        __________
         
        You are focusing on conveyance.  That is only instrumental to what really matters: assent by a rational agent to a true impression.  And that is a purely personal subjective action which is not socially sharable.  We also make ‘statements’ in our own internal dialogue all the time.  Is that social?  It certainly is subjective.
         
        Further if one has doubt about the meaning of a subjective experience / impression that is the very time to utter statements about it.  That is what Socrates did.  That is what the scientific method does.  If an agent has no doubt but erroneous beliefs he is stuck – stuck – stuck.
        ___________
         
        No social act involves necessarily private experience.     The objective of any social act is that which can be experienced by others as well as yourself by definition. Therefore: No true statements involve necessarily private experience.
        ____________
         
        For any deliberate act to be ‘seen’ by a third party (ie, to be social) it has to start with a private subjective assent first.  Social action defined as observable by others is an effect of a subjective cause (our internal character 'shape'; the act here I assume follows from a choice like a decision to say something).  You’ve got the cart before the horse:  All true statements necessarily involve private experience.  The sharing, if it is sharable, comes after.  Further you are excluding assents to true impressions that are not reducible to language.  I don’t see any reason to exclude those or say they don’t exist a priori without some reason to do so.  Low reliability or the inability to describe accurately does not equate to falseness or non-existence.  Stuff that doesn’t fit needs to be carefully considered, not rejected out of hand.  Is our cup full to the brim?  If it is how will we make progress?
         
        Assent is what is in our control.  And that is not an observable phenomenon precisely because it can only be recognized from a first person perspective.  The value of true facts is to have the opportunity to assent to what is true.  Truth by itself doesn’t do anything.  Food has to be eaten.
         
        I cannot agree that a necessary condition for truth is that it is socially sharable.  Truth corresponds to what is real whether it is conveyable by a language or other means or not.  It is that correspondence that makes it so, not its ability to be shared.  The ability to share is nice, it enables a community of rational creatures to help each other out, but I don’t see that as a logically necessary condition.
         
        What the scientific method does for us is discipline our speculation.  It is a tool only, an aid to establishing true impressions.  I think sometimes we are in danger of focusing on the finger that is pointing at the moon.
         
        All true facts by your definition Kevin to be in the social realm _MUST_ start in someone’s subjective experience.  That comes first.  And verification by another will become part of their subjective personal experience as well.  Objectivity is a myth.  We are trapped forever in our own subjective experience.  The throne of experience to which the modern empiricist bows is all subjective.  There is some arbitrary critical mass of repetitive similar subjective experience in a community’s history that at some magical moment transforms the content of this experience from subjective to objective.  This is seen as a difference in kind when it is not.  Really it is a matter of degree of reliable prediction.  It is a quantitative difference and not a qualitative difference at all.  The subjective-objective split is a false dichotomy.  I recommend Robert Pirsig ;). He has bit to say about how sanity is defined as well, a question you brought up earlier.
         
        BTW appreciate you putting this together.  It seems like a bit of dialectic to me ;).
         
        Live well,
        Steve




      • Grant Sterling
        ... ***** OK, first I had to get past the fact that she used the phrase matter of opinion in a context where she really means matter of attitude or taste ,
        Message 3 of 8 , Feb 6, 2012
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          On 2/1/2012 2:27 PM, Kevin wrote:
          >
          >
          > Steve I think this article explains my point better than I have.
          > The key philosophically issue in my mind (which isn't discussed in this
          > article but which leads me to agree with what it says) is that there
          > seems to be no evidence or plausible argument that I can ever know if a
          > cognitive state I experience is the product of a intuitive faculty or
          > the result of previous cognition. It seems we have no faculty to discern
          > that. So if we do not know if this or that state is the result of
          > previous cognition or is the result of an intuitive faculty there is no
          > reason to suppose the existence of an intuitive faculty at all.
          > http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/doing-good-science/2011/07/20/the-objectivity-thing-or-why-science-is-a-team-sport/
          > Regards
          > Kevin

          *****
          OK, first I had to get past the fact that she used
          the phrase "matter of opinion" in a context where she
          really means "matter of attitude or taste", which is an
          elementary mistake that I try to pound out of my Freshmen
          at the very start of the semester. But leaving that aside....

          a) I agree with almost everything she says.
          b) I think it has nothing to do with truth in
          general.

          She asserts:
          1) The results of our sensory experiences seem to match up
          with the experiences of others pretty well, at least
          about some properties under controlled conditions.
          2) It's important to know what properties get matching
          results and which ones don't.
          3) If you're engaged in that worthy and important project,
          obviously you need to be doing it in cooperation with
          other people.
          4) One reasonable use of the word "objective" is "things
          that match up".
          5) There are some kinds of properties that fail to match
          up so systematically that they are best thought of as not
          being objective properties in _any_ sense--that is, there
          is no fact about the world that corresponds to them at
          all. (E.g., the "bestness" of Friday Night Lights.)

          All those statements are true.
          The problem is that she doesn't explore the following
          questions:

          a) Do we have reason to believe that _all_ facts about
          the world can be sensed?

          b) If not, do we have any reason to believe that we cannot
          make any reasonable assertions about such things?

          It seems to me that the answer to 'a' is "obviously,
          no". We have absolutely no positive reason to believe that
          there are no such things as non-physical moral facts, non-physical
          mental facts, non-physical logical or mathematical facts, etc.

          Having answered 'no' to question 'a', we must now
          confront question 'b'. And, again, the answer seems to be an
          unqualified 'no'. As she agrees, my mental states are facts
          about the world...and I have infallible knowledge of what they
          are. My knowledge of what my own mental states are is more
          certain than any scientific knowledge whatsoever. And the
          scientist should acknowledge that, because when we "match up"
          our sensory experiences, we'd better be able to know what our
          experiences are, or else we'll never know if they match! I
          think we can say reasonable things about what our duties
          are, and make reasonable inferences about whether our sensory
          experiences really do tell us about objective features of
          the external world (which is a philosophical, not a scientific,
          task!). I think we can make reasonable claims about historical
          facts, which are no longer subject to "verification" by our
          senses. Etc.

          Too many people, including this author, seem to
          leap from "he believes in at least one thing that is
          not scientifically verifiable" to "it's ok to believe in
          leprechauns and torture people to death who don't agree
          that _Friday Night Lights_ is the best show on tv and
          believe anything else you want". That is, they have the attitude
          that once you take the tiniest step away from the assertion
          that absolutely all rational belief comes from science, then
          all standards have been utterly abandoned and everything goes--
          once you've lost your virginity (even on your wedding night), then
          you must be an unprincipled whore who copulates with squirrels.

          OK, gotta go. I'm not sold on TK.

          -Grant
        • Kevin
          a) Do we have reason to believe that _all_ facts about the world can be sensed?   This is an interesting question. If I look at my umbrella it has a distinct
          Message 4 of 8 , Feb 6, 2012
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            a) Do we have reason to believe that _all_ facts about
            the world can be sensed?
             
            This is an interesting question. If I look at my umbrella it has a distinct conception for me I can feel it and look at it and lift it etc. All this data is unified by my conception of "umbrella" My conception isn't the umbrella indeed it has some coordinate points with whatever it is that an umbrella has in absolute form. My conception has a very vivid  reality to me as a i hold it and look at it closely, but when I lay it down and turn away my conception becomes less clear  and any sensations i experience are like an echo. Regardless I also accept the fact even as I hold that umbrella and experience my conception of umbrella most vividly that others  have shown that my experience is in some ways totally unlike what an umbrella is like from different relative points of view. So these supposed other facts were from the "senses" involved in all the experiments which took place to form the theories where actions which someone somewhere did; the math problems where done when someone took a pencil to paper, or someone looked at the results from an instrument, which could seen things my eyes or anybodies could not. Inferences  from all of this data lead to hypothesis which unified the information of what an umbrella is exactly like. The conception I have which unifies my senses to coalesce around the idea of umbrella is the same kind of thing. So in this sense a concept is a unifying construct for the purpose of making sense of a myriad of sensations and inferences which we experience. It seems that raw input such as a single nerve impulse is unintelligible to us, but from a continuous flow of input  conceptions and inferences arise. So the list of sensation, conception and inferences are all part of what we often call a "fact". Certainly the map is not the land it depicts and conceptions / inferences are maps of the world, so in one sense a map does exist independently of the reality which it represents but if there was no land there would be no map. and the world determines if the map is right not the other way around. I cannot call to mind a conception I have which doesn't seem to be explained by this theory. But I am open to learn. Certainly we can have maps about maps in a sense this note is just that and it can go one theoretically infinitely but the ground of all facts is reality and no conception could occur if reality didn't exist.
             
            Regards
            Kevin

            From: Grant Sterling <gcsterling@...>
            To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Monday, February 6, 2012 5:06 PM
            Subject: Re: [stoics] Argument for TK

             
            On 2/1/2012 2:27 PM, Kevin wrote:
            >
            >
            > Steve I think this article explains my point better than I have.
            > The key philosophically issue in my mind (which isn't discussed in this
            > article but which leads me to agree with what it says) is that there
            > seems to be no evidence or plausible argument that I can ever know if a
            > cognitive state I experience is the product of a intuitive faculty or
            > the result of previous cognition. It seems we have no faculty to discern
            > that. So if we do not know if this or that state is the result of
            > previous cognition or is the result of an intuitive faculty there is no
            > reason to suppose the existence of an intuitive faculty at all.
            > http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/doing-good-science/2011/07/20/the-objectivity-thing-or-why-science-is-a-team-sport/
            > Regards
            > Kevin

            *****
            OK, first I had to get past the fact that she used
            the phrase "matter of opinion" in a context where she
            really means "matter of attitude or taste", which is an
            elementary mistake that I try to pound out of my Freshmen
            at the very start of the semester. But leaving that aside....

            a) I agree with almost everything she says.
            b) I think it has nothing to do with truth in
            general.

            She asserts:
            1) The results of our sensory experiences seem to match up
            with the experiences of others pretty well, at least
            about some properties under controlled conditions.
            2) It's important to know what properties get matching
            results and which ones don't.
            3) If you're engaged in that worthy and important project,
            obviously you need to be doing it in cooperation with
            other people.
            4) One reasonable use of the word "objective" is "things
            that match up".
            5) There are some kinds of properties that fail to match
            up so systematically that they are best thought of as not
            being objective properties in _any_ sense--that is, there
            is no fact about the world that corresponds to them at
            all. (E.g., the "bestness" of Friday Night Lights.)

            All those statements are true.
            The problem is that she doesn't explore the following
            questions:

            a) Do we have reason to believe that _all_ facts about
            the world can be sensed?

            b) If not, do we have any reason to believe that we cannot
            make any reasonable assertions about such things?

            It seems to me that the answer to 'a' is "obviously,
            no". We have absolutely no positive reason to believe that
            there are no such things as non-physical moral facts, non-physical
            mental facts, non-physical logical or mathematical facts, etc.

            Having answered 'no' to question 'a', we must now
            confront question 'b'. And, again, the answer seems to be an
            unqualified 'no'. As she agrees, my mental states are facts
            about the world...and I have infallible knowledge of what they
            are. My knowledge of what my own mental states are is more
            certain than any scientific knowledge whatsoever. And the
            scientist should acknowledge that, because when we "match up"
            our sensory experiences, we'd better be able to know what our
            experiences are, or else we'll never know if they match! I
            think we can say reasonable things about what our duties
            are, and make reasonable inferences about whether our sensory
            experiences really do tell us about objective features of
            the external world (which is a philosophical, not a scientific,
            task!). I think we can make reasonable claims about historical
            facts, which are no longer subject to "verification" by our
            senses. Etc.

            Too many people, including this author, seem to
            leap from "he believes in at least one thing that is
            not scientifically verifiable" to "it's ok to believe in
            leprechauns and torture people to death who don't agree
            that _Friday Night Lights_ is the best show on tv and
            believe anything else you want". That is, they have the attitude
            that once you take the tiniest step away from the assertion
            that absolutely all rational belief comes from science, then
            all standards have been utterly abandoned and everything goes--
            once you've lost your virginity (even on your wedding night), then
            you must be an unprincipled whore who copulates with squirrels.

            OK, gotta go. I'm not sold on TK.

            -Grant



          • Steve Marquis
            Kevin writes: _______________   But I am open to learn. Certainly we can have maps about maps in a sense this note is just that and it can go one
            Message 5 of 8 , Feb 7, 2012
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              Kevin writes:

              _______________

               

              But I am open to learn. Certainly we can have maps about maps in a sense this note is just that and it can go one theoretically infinitely but the ground of all facts is reality and no conception could occur if reality didn't exist.

              ______________

               

              Reality is a better word than say ‘objective’.  From mostly this thread Kevin I understand the implication behind your ‘reality’ is what is empirically verifiable.  And that is the problem we are having.  My reality certainly consists of inanimate objects (matter) and animate objects (living things).  That entails the physical, the empirical world of the table and chairs guy.  But my reality includes more ‘patterns’ that I also consider real: social patterns and intellectual patterns to borrow from Pirsig again.  For the Stoics we have arête, something they considered very real and therefore a ‘body’ like any other ‘real’ object.

               

              Another problem we are having is the welding of rational to empirical.  As explained in my last response if we looked at a Boolean diagram the class of ‘empirical’ would be inside and smaller than the class of ‘rational’.  These two terms are not synonymous and do not overlap exactly.

               

              I also said that the desire to make everything fit into the empirical paradigm does sometimes violate some of the empirical paradigm’s own hypotheses building rules of thumb such as considering elegant solutions ahead of complex ones.

               

              I think it’s very difficult, once one has been embedded in the empirical paradigm for so long, to detach reason from sensation.  You asked me back a few posts how we learn to reason.  I would agree that we learn to reason by inferring from sensation  just like a good empiricist might propose.  However, once reasoning is learned, it can come to grips with other concepts beyond the mere sensible.  And I believe to truth about those things (Stoic dogmatism here).  Further, that those things, like ethical concepts, are just as real as physical bodies.  Why?  Because they motivate, they cause to move.  In short what is real has causal power.

               

              All of that is grist for the never ending thread I’m sure.  What I really see happening is that we’ve hit a wall, a wall we are on opposite sides of.  I don’t know if Grant can see it, but I’m sure its there because I’ve gone through it.  I was standing where you are Kevin.  Quite committed to the empirical and the rational.  I had a conversion.  But it was not easy and it was not quick.  It was by means of the dialectic and with a friend of the best Aristotelian type.  It took several months of hashing it through.  My mind really went through some gyrations.  I still remember the very weird dreams I had from that time.

               

              I was afraid, afraid of losing reason.  Presented with the possibility that there might be more to reality than tables and chairs it was like staring into a bottomless pit.  That pit was exactly what Grant described, that admitting to any one small thing beyond the empirical amounted to opening up Pandora’s Box for everything with no grounding anywhere.

               

              Well, I did not lose by reason.  I leaned to divorce rationality from mere sensation.  In a directly opposite move from sensation that grounds metaphorical reason I came to accept a reason that grounds sensation, not the other way around.  That is how you discern your way out of the Matrix.

               

              It is a big move and not one likely to happen via just our conversation here.  Keep that Socratic inquiry going!

               

              Live well my friend,

              Steve

            • Kevin
              No worries my only intent was to discuss other arguments which are materialist in nature which address the ontology of experience and reasoning. If anything I
              Message 6 of 8 , Feb 7, 2012
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                No worries my only intent was to discuss other arguments which are materialist in nature which address the ontology of experience and reasoning. If anything I come from a non-materialist background , but I've found many arguments in my studies which seem to make sense and I wished to discuss them.
                 
                Actually I think some of the philosophical materialists are very close to historical Stoics, or are remarkably similar in some of their positions. 
                 
                Regardless I'm done
                 
                Regards
                Kevin
                 
                From: Steve Marquis <stevemarquis@...>
                To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 10:11 AM
                Subject: Re: [stoics] Argument for TK

                 
                Kevin writes:
                _______________
                 
                But I am open to learn. Certainly we can have maps about maps in a sense this note is just that and it can go one theoretically infinitely but the ground of all facts is reality and no conception could occur if reality didn't exist.
                ______________
                 
                Reality is a better word than say ‘objective’.  From mostly this thread Kevin I understand the implication behind your ‘reality’ is what is empirically verifiable.  And that is the problem we are having.  My reality certainly consists of inanimate objects (matter) and animate objects (living things).  That entails the physical, the empirical world of the table and chairs guy.  But my reality includes more ‘patterns’ that I also consider real: social patterns and intellectual patterns to borrow from Pirsig again.  For the Stoics we have arête, something they considered very real and therefore a ‘body’ like any other ‘real’ object.
                 
                Another problem we are having is the welding of rational to empirical.  As explained in my last response if we looked at a Boolean diagram the class of ‘empirical’ would be inside and smaller than the class of ‘rational’.  These two terms are not synonymous and do not overlap exactly.
                 
                I also said that the desire to make everything fit into the empirical paradigm does sometimes violate some of the empirical paradigm’s own hypotheses building rules of thumb such as considering elegant solutions ahead of complex ones.
                 
                I think it’s very difficult, once one has been embedded in the empirical paradigm for so long, to detach reason from sensation.  You asked me back a few posts how we learn to reason.  I would agree that we learn to reason by inferring from sensation  just like a good empiricist might propose.  However, once reasoning is learned, it can come to grips with other concepts beyond the mere sensible.  And I believe to truth about those things (Stoic dogmatism here).  Further, that those things, like ethical concepts, are just as real as physical bodies.  Why?  Because they motivate, they cause to move.  In short what is real has causal power.
                 
                All of that is grist for the never ending thread I’m sure.  What I really see happening is that we’ve hit a wall, a wall we are on opposite sides of.  I don’t know if Grant can see it, but I’m sure its there because I’ve gone through it.  I was standing where you are Kevin.  Quite committed to the empirical and the rational.  I had a conversion.  But it was not easy and it was not quick.  It was by means of the dialectic and with a friend of the best Aristotelian type.  It took several months of hashing it through.  My mind really went through some gyrations.  I still remember the very weird dreams I had from that time.
                 
                I was afraid, afraid of losing reason.  Presented with the possibility that there might be more to reality than tables and chairs it was like staring into a bottomless pit.  That pit was exactly what Grant described, that admitting to any one small thing beyond the empirical amounted to opening up Pandora’s Box for everything with no grounding anywhere.
                 
                Well, I did not lose by reason.  I leaned to divorce rationality from mere sensation.  In a directly opposite move from sensation that grounds metaphorical reason I came to accept a reason that grounds sensation, not the other way around.  That is how you discern your way out of the Matrix.
                 
                It is a big move and not one likely to happen via just our conversation here.  Keep that Socratic inquiry going!
                 
                Live well my friend,
                Steve


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