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About Othesemo

  • Rank
    Core Member


  • MBTI
  • Enneagram
  • Global 5/SLOAN


  • Location
    Albuquerque, NM
  • Occupation
    Jazz Pianist
  • Interests
    Philosophy, Comp Sci., Music
  • Gender
  • Personal Text
    Time turns the old days to derision, Our loves into corpses or wives; And marriage and death and division Make barren our lives

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  1. It seems to me that you think the world in itself (what is in fact the case) matters. I do not. You appear to think that language is based on or in some way connected to the world in itself. I do not. That, to me, seems to be the nature of our disagreement. I would probably say 'that is wrong' in all of those situations, yes. Do you find that strange? Is it out of line with what you expect a competent user of our language to do?
  2. See, I find it very hard to believe that you exclusively use the term 'wrong' in situations where you definitely know the facts. Excluding the possibility that you claim to have infallabile knowledge (which is a whole 'nother conversation), you probably judge stuff to be wrong on the basis of things like "that contradicts what very knowledgable people have told me", or "that's internally inconsistent", or "that's far less likely than XYZ alternative". I'm just as capable of making those judgements are you, regardless of my metaphysics. Not really. I think most of what we think and say is instrumental, and should be evaluated on that basis. I've got buddies who go real hard on the 'everything is relative' thing, and it honestly bugs me a bit. It's not just a matter of blithely choosing "oh, this is true for me." A wrong-headed idea will produce poor results for you no matter how firmly you believe it. What I reject is the idea of 'truth' as some sort of metaphysical thing that's actually *there*, like a tether holding together the sounds we make and the noumenal realm of objective facts.
  3. You live in the world of humanity's perception (your perception, specifically). It's trivial that nothing existing outside of humanity's perception can exist within your world. Thus, whenever you make a judgement about something being wrong, you're doing it without the help of objective, external reality. So, I think you're already quite familiar with what it would mean to be wrong in such a world. Fair question. I mean something like 'what is the case, independent of any observer'. In principle it could have nothing to do with the experiences we have (brain in a jar, etcetera), so we can't reverse engineer it from our experiences with any certainty.
  4. Yep. Now, for example. You seem to believe that, if objective facts don't exist, then there would be no basis for a belief being incorrect (i.e. every belief would be correct). (Please, please correct me if I'm wrong about that, because I don't want to waste our time.) However, I assume (again, please say if I'm missing the mark here) that there are ocassions on which you think people are incorrect. I further assume that you do not have access to objective facts independent of humanity's perception. Therefore, I conclude that one doesn't need to reference objective facts etc. to conclude that someone is incorrect. In other words, the sense which you're giving to the word incorrect (disagreeing with the true nature of things) is clearly not the sense in which people actually use it (since people by definition do not have access to anything independent of humanity's perception, and thus would be utterly incapable of judging something to be correct or incorrect in the sense you seem to be using). Or, to put it shortly - the problem of 'how could we say people are wrong if we don't accept objective facts?' doesn't actually exist, and we don't need to accept objective facts to solve it.
  5. Ok, that's a great example of a situation where you aren't judging someone to be incorrect. However, I'm curious about the situations where you think people *are* incorrect. For example, you seem to disagree with me on this issue - am I correct in my assumption that you formed that judgement *without* looking at independent facts etcetera? I want to make sure I'm understanding you correctly, because if that's the case, then it's very clearly possible to think that someone is incorrect without being privy to any sort of objective reality. In which case it's not clear to me that your metaphysics is a required solution to the problem of 'how can we say people are wrong?'
  6. When you judge something to be incorrect, do you do it by comparing it to those objective facts that exist outside of humanity's perception?
  7. You're totally misunderstanding me, I'm afraid :( You suggest that there is something independent of humanity's perception. Every experience we could possibly have is compatible with that theory, just as every experience we could possibly have is compatible with the theory that there isn't anything independent on humanity's perception. Thus, there isn't any clear way to decide between the two theories, or even a clear indication that they really differ. It's '2+2' instead of '8-4' - the formulations are different, but the results are the same. It's sort of similar to talking about a multiverse, in a way. If there isn't a way for two separate universes to interact with one another, than the existence of other universes is really just the same as the non-existence of other universes, for our purposes. If I wanted to state as a positive theory, maybe I'd go with something like 'perception (in the sense of being perceived) is what makes things things.' That seems likely to me, at least - I don't think there's any sort of differentiating principle inherent in the universe. Multiplicity, distinguishing qualities, names and so forth would all arise out of the purposes of some observer. But I probably need to think about it more to come up with a tight formulation.
  8. It's a bit awkward that it's a priori impossible the affirm the antecedent in that syllogism, yeah? Since knowledge you had on the topic would necessarily fall under the scope of humanity's perception. That in mind, I submit that there's actually no difference between the two possibilities you suggest. Both hypotheses are equally consistent with literally everything we could experience.
  9. It can mean a lot of things. In terms of someone's appearance, a masculine person would probably be tall and muscular with generally angular features. In terms of someone acting in a masculine way, I take the word to mean a sort of reckless disregard for (or willingness to accept) the consequences of one's actions. That could range from thoughtlessly putting oneself in harm's way to save a loved one to 'hold my beer' moments where you attempt some ridiculous, dangerous stunt. The issue I have with your definition is that it seems to imply that, if a woman were interested in relentless self improvement and so forth, she would be acting out of line, i.e. in a non-feminine way. Or that personal integrity is in some way anomalous in women.
  10. I would not be surprised at the latter. The sort of 'soft skepticism' that says we view the world only through a lens or filter is relatively common. I have no sense of how many of them go as far as I do in claiming that the notion of facts lacks usefulness, but I don't imagine it would really impact their work that badly if they did.
  11. Oh, easily. In fact, I think the the functioning of science is a quintessential example of my attitude - that's why I've used so many examples featuring Newtonian physics or Ptolemaic astronomy and such. We wanted to get to the moon, we came up with a theoretical framework that let us build a machine to get there, and we did it. There's no doubt in my mind that future advances in physics etc. (perhaps even past ones) will supersede the theoretical framework that was used at the time, but it was good enough for what we wanted to do then, and thus as close to 'correct' as you need to be. Neither is logical positivism in vogue these days - most scientists you talk to will probably be happy to explain that theirs is a system of falsification that doesn't provide absolute, positive truth.
  12. I mean, it's worth arguing whether mathematics is actually an existant thing in the world. There are plenty of (non-relativist) philosophers iwho would dispute that there's something real out there to which the proposition "2+2=4" could correspond. But leaving that aside, there are lots and lots of situations where something that 'isn't the case' in your parlance is more useful and valuable than something that you might think is. Case in point - Newtonian mechanics are not fact. They cease to function at speeds approaching the speed of light. And yet, if you tried to engineer a bridge using Einstein, you'd succeed in nothing more than wasting time and making things more confusing than neceessary. Pi != 3.14. 1/3 != 3.67. If you're dealing with enormous numbers and decide to just deal with orders of magnitude, you're in error. But, all of these compromises are totally justified and often the correct moves. It is clearly not enough to say that something isn't the case - you also have to explain why it isn't functional in this scenario (for instance, if someone is trying to build a table and rounds 42 cm to 10). In other words, the determining principle is utility, not correctness. Stepping away from philosophy for a second, I don't think the world would be a worse place if fewer people were convinced that their beliefs were unassailable fact. Philosophically, your metaphysics only allows for something stronger than opinion if you also say that a) we have direct access to facts, and b) we can identify them as such. Unless you have an answer to the problems posed by skepticism, then the existence of facts lacks any bearing on beliefs held by humans. If two people choose positions by random or arbitrary means, is the person who unknowingly stumbles upon the 'fact' through sheer luck really to be esteemed over the other? How could we even identify the people deserving of such esteem when we ourselves are forced to make decisions with incomplete information?
  13. I would prefer 'knowledge is instrumental'. You don't need platonic numbers floating out there to figure out why believing '2+2=5' is a bad idea. Try balancing a checkbook, building a chair, or setting a dinner table with it in mind - the results will almost definitely run counter to your goals. Here's an example - Newtonian mechanics assumes that the universe is stationary. However, if you assumed that the universe was moving at any arbitrary speed, you would still be able to create an internally consistent physics that would make exactly the same predictions as Newtonian physics. Of course, the universe could not be 'in fact' moving at a rate of both 0 and 1. However, since the 'fact of the matter' is in principle unavailable to us, we ended up choosing the system that's simpler and easier to work with - the one that assumes no movement.
  14. Even if I thought facts were a useful concept, I wouldn't use them to describe a prediction about a future event. Would you? I think that certain knowledge of the future opens up a whole can of worms that's very difficult to deal with. Phenomenologically, probably. I'm more confident in some of my beliefs that others. Some of them I'm damn near certain about. Those are probably the ones I'd call knowledge. Well, for instance, let's say that I believe PUA is the best way to get a rich and fulfilling relationship. I try it out for a couple of months, and afterwards, I feel unsatisfied with the outcome. That would be a good reason for me to explore other options. Basically, beliefs are instrumental. My belief that doors swing on hinges and can be unlatched with keys has served me quite well throughout my life. If I moved to some foreign country where every door is sliding, I would very quickly be confronted with situations in which my belief is useless or even actively detrimental to what I want to be doing, so I would likely adopt a different, better belief system (in this case, that doors can also slide).
  15. I doubt they would be satisfied with the outcome, so I wouldn't advise it to anybody.