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It annoys me when people who claim to be "pro-science" only have in mind physics, chemistry, and molecular biology (looking at u Alexander Rosenberg). I'd argue that a respectful view of science presupposes a belief in granularity or emergentism in nature. The "only atoms and the void" viewpoint is as much of an attack on ecology, linguistics, and astronomy as it is on common sense.
 

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It annoys me when people who claim to be "pro-science" only have in mind physics, chemistry, and molecular biology (looking at u Alexander Rosenberg). I'd argue that a respectful view of science presupposes a belief in granularity or emergentism in nature. The "only atoms and the void" viewpoint is as much of an attack on ecology, linguistics, and astronomy as it is on common sense.
why? its instrumental. it doesn't need to be common sense.

why granularity and emergentism? emergence is bs.
 

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why? its instrumental. it doesn't need to be common sense.

why granularity and emergentism? emergence is bs.
I had in mind Sir Eddington's "two tables" argument:

In his Gifford Lectures of 1927, he talked about two tables. First, the table of everyday experience: it is comparatively permanent, it is coloured, and above all it is substantial. Second, the table of science: it is mostly emptiness with numerous, sparsely-scattered electric charges rushing about with great speed.
There's the implication that he saw the everyday commonsense table as a convenient fiction at best. This would be an attack on not just commonsense, but the kinds of sciences I mentioned. That's why I feel some form of nonreductionism is necessary if you wanna take the existence of forests, languages, or galaxies seriously.
 

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I had in mind Sir Eddington's "two tables" argument:

There's the implication that he saw the everyday commonsense table as a convenient fiction at best. This would be an attack on not just commonsense, but the kinds of sciences I mentioned. That's why I feel some form of nonreductionism is necessary if you wanna take the existence of forests, languages, or galaxies seriously.
seems like playing esoteric games to me. system building. metaphysics. making stuff up. I don't see the point in it.
 

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seems like playing esoteric games to me. system building. metaphysics. making stuff up. I don't see the point in it.
I'm not sure who you're criticising here - the reductionist who insists everyday objects don't 'really exist', someone like Graham Harman (or me) who wants to defend their reality, or perhaps all of us for taking up positions on a metaphysical issue?

The thing is though, I like metaphysics! Old school metaphysical concepts (like that of particulars vs universals) have useful applications in areas like applied ontology. Even if elaborate systems aren't your thing, I think there are some basic metaphysical assumptions you just can't help but make when you get up in the morning and proceed to move about thru the world.
 

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I'm not sure who you're criticising here - the reductionist who insists everyday objects don't 'really exist', someone like Graham Harman (or me) who wants to defend their reality, or perhaps all of us for taking up positions on a metaphysical issue?

The thing is though, I like metaphysics! Old school metaphysical concepts (like that of particulars vs universals) have useful applications in areas like applied ontology. Even if elaborate systems aren't your thing, I think there are some basic metaphysical assumptions you just can't help but make when you get up in the morning and proceed to move about thru the world.
yeah ok. I wasn't criticizing anything. I don't play soccer either. its just not my thing.

my basic idea is that I'm not interested in what people suppose they are talking about when they talk about some "thing". the only Things I know are what I experience. it even pains me to say that. language lives in language land, things live in thing land. what I mean is there are personal things directly experienced, and part of the content of that experience is where language and talking about things reside. whatever content gets created - thoughts about things, whatever - its not verifiable against the brute fact things of experience. its just a supposed interaction between pieces of content. but interpretation of anything as an interaction is itself a piece of content, because we infer interaction, we don't experience it directly.

so there's that. and since we're talking pleasantly, we're not in thing land, this is all content, language. I can verify that it exists as an object of my consciousness, I can create more content about that content (those ideas about some supposed thing) eg that they are correct ideas about a really existing thing. but I can't elevate any content above any other content because all I can say is it exists, I am experiencing it. the content itself can say just about whatever it likes - that jesus came back to life, that a dingo ate my baby, any ****ing thing. just because it exists doesn't make it true, and just because some other content exists which says the previously mentioned content is true doesn't make this content true.

so yes I reduce the true true to lived experience, and the personal true to whatever the particular person thinks is true, and the objective true to whatever the people concerned agree on.

and then also, getting out of bed doesn't require any logic at all. a cat can get off a bed, so can a flea. they both move about just fine.
 

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So I've looked a bit into evolutionary psychology in the past, reading articles and blog posts by people like Robert Kurzban addressing some of the common criticisms. Based on what I've read -

1. Evopsychologists explicitly deny making claims about the behavior or intentions of individuals (i.e. even if cultural activities like music and science evolved through sexual selection, that doesn't give you the right to say that all musicians and scientists are "only in it to get laid" or w/e).

2. The average evopsychologist probably isn't trying to legitimize reactionary politics. There certainly have been a few before, but other evopsychologists are usually quick to denounce them.

Nevertheless there are still some ways they live up to common stereotypes, like there are actual academic articles analyzing sexy song lyrics, the popularity of romance novels, the way females and males speak to each other etc. and trying to draw evolutionary conclusions based on cultural phenomena. If my understanding of natural selection in general is correct, then I'd say the legitimate objects of evopsych research involve perceptual systems, cognitive abilities, problem solving, things we mostly share with other species and have for as long as we've been around. Yet there are some evopsychologists who seem eager to explain absolutely everything cultural in evolutionary terms.

If even the most recent adaptations are still in the process of developing after thousands of years (lactose tolerance), then why should cultural changes that take place over centuries or decades be open to direct evolutionary explanation?
 

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@Myosr I suppose the virtue of this "narrow sense" is that it has some clear, predefined limits.
I wonder then what advocates of this narrow-sense think of those who engage in broad-sense theorizing then, like do they see that kind of activity (analyzing song lyrics or romance novel sells) as a legitimate counterpart to what they're doing or more as something that gives EP a bad name?

Also the Robert Kurzban fellow I mentioned earlier is an advocate of the modular mind hypothesis, if I remember correctly he thinks it can explain hypocrisy and double standards. Apparently the ability for us to hold conflicting views is evidence of the mind being divided in such a way (so the brain engages in literal compartmentalization basically), not sure how I feel about that though.
 

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Random thought for today - I think it's interesting the way we can have perspectives on abstract concepts in a way roughly parallel with how we view 3D objects. To use an example from Dan Zahavi, "Niels Bohr's hometown" and "the capital of Denmark" is the abstract equivalent of viewing the same statue from different angles.
 

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The ontologist Barry Smith has some really interesting articles on common sense. I totally agree with him that common sense is a fallible but indispensable key to making any sense of reality, and personally I feel like thinkers should stop treating the violation of common sense as if it were an inherent virtue.

Towards an Ontology of Common Sense

Philosophers from Plotinus to Paul Churchland have yielded to the temptation to embrace doctrines which contradict the core beliefs of common sense. Philosophical realists have on the other hand sought to counter this temptation and to vindicate those core beliefs. The remarks which follow are to be understood as a further twist of the wheel in this never-ending battle. They pertain to the core beliefs of common sense concerning the external reality that is given in everyday experience -the beliefs of folk physics, as we might call them. Just as critics of Churchland et al. have argued that the folk-psychological ontology of beliefs, desires, etc. yields the best explanation we can have of the order of cognitive phenomena conceived from the perspective of first-person experience, so we shall argue that (1) the commonsensical ontology of folk physics yields the best explanation we can have of our externally directed cognitive experience and that (2) an ontology of mesoscopic things, events and processes must play a role, in particular, in our best scientific theory of human action.
Structures of the Common-Sense World

While contemporary philosophers have devoted vast amounts of attention to the language we use in describing and finding our way about the world of everyday experience, they have, with few exceptions, refused to see this world itself as a fitting object of theoretical concern. In what follows I shall seek to show how the commonsensical world might be treated ontologically as an object of investigation in its own right. At the same time I shall seek to establish how such a treatment might help us better philosophically to understand the structures of both physical reality and cognition.
Do Mountains Exist? Towards an Ontology of Landforms

The authors begin the paper with the question 'Do mountains exist?' They show that providing an answer to this question is surprisingly difficult and that the answer that one gives depends on the context in which the question is posed. Mountains clearly exist as real correlates of everyday human thought and action, and they form the archetype for geographic objects. Yet individual mountains lack many of the properties that characterize bona fide objects, and 'mountains' as a category also lacks many of the properties that characterize natural kinds. In the context of scientific modeling of the environment, especially of such phenomena as surface hydrology and fluvial erosion and deposition, mountains are not picked out as constituents of reality in their own right at all; rather, they are just parts of the field of elevations whose gradients shape the direction of runoff and influence the intensity of erosion. Thus, although an object-based ontology of mountains and other landforms is required to do justice to our everyday conceptions of the environment and to support spatial reasoning and natural language processing, topographic databases designed to support environmental modeling can be field-based at geographic scales.
Do mountains exist? The answer to this question is surely: yes. In fact, 'mountain' is the example of a kind of geographic feature or thing most commonly cited by English speakers (Mark et al., 1999; Smith and Mark 2001), and this result may hold across many languages and cultures. But whether they are considered as individuals (tokens) or as kinds (types), mountains do not exist in quite the same unequivocal sense as do such prototypical everyday objects as chairs or people.
 

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Apparently the Necker cube is supposed to be ambiguous, but I almost always see this particular one as facing southwest. I can see it the other way with enough concentration, but I can never 'hold' that view for very long. What about y'all?

 

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There's a certain Youtuber/Redditor who has a lot of informative philosophy videos with (as far as I'm aware) no experience in academic philosophy. He's also a Pyrrhonist skeptic who claims to suspend judgement on everything. In other words he claims not to believe or disbelieve in anything. For example, in a Reddit post he says he doesn't believe that he will die, and he doesn't believe he will live forever either. He suspends judgement on this as he does with everything else (supposedly) and says this brings him ataraxia. By doing this he's going much further than Sextus Empiricus ever did, who thought the skeptical attitude was limited to controversial theoretical/scientific/philosophical issues, not our everyday beliefs.

There's something disturbing about this right? I've seen him approach political and social issues with great care and understanding, and yet if he is to be consistent, he must suspend judgement on whether or not other people even exist (I haven't come across anything by him discussing this specifically though).

There's an objection that a skeptic, when faced with an on-coming car in the middle of the road, will jump out of the way just like everyone else, and so we can conclude that he holds at least a few beliefs himself. This person's response is to say that skeptics can act on 'proclivities' without necessarily acting on beliefs, enabling the skeptic to avoid danger all while remaining philosophically consistent.

My own objection is that he's assuming that proclivities are something entirely different from and independent of beliefs, and if the skeptic is to be consistent, they should suspend judgement on this issue. But then they're left with no defense (which they shouldn't have in the first place going by their own rules).

I really think cases like these, as with radical eliminativists who insist there's no such thing as meaning whatsoever (including semantic or "purely subjective" meaning), demonstrate that reason has her limits, and that we have to have faith in something if we're to make sense of anything at all. This is basically what St. Augustine argued and I completely agree, though his 'something' was God, and I'm not entirely sure what mine is.
 

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I read a book a long time ago that was based on this guy's idea of root metaphors / World hypotheses. I really like the idea (that everyone has a "root metaphor"), though I never could get hold of the actual book by Stephen Pepper.

The guy is fairly obscure though. His Wikipedia page is empty, and he's barely mentioned in a few Stanford Encyclopedia articles. :roll
My therapist is lending me that very book actually, and I've been meaning to return it since I'm probably gonna switch to somebody else soon :um

I suppose you mention him 'cause of his takedown of the "utter skeptic" in the first chapter? That's the only part of the book I read in full tbh, everything else I know comes from skimming later chapters or reading reviews.

Yeah, it's always disappointing to stumble across some interesting thinker only to learn how obscure their work is. His book has over 3000 citations according to Google Scholar, which isn't all that bad so I wonder why the articles on him are so empty.

I like the way he ends the book:

"Am I not dogmatically undogmatic? I leave that for the reader to judge from the evidence".
 

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I ordered a book by Avrum Stroll that's all about Surfaces, the kind of thing cubes, tables, planets, and lakes all seem to have. "...a surface-analysis, paradoxically enough, can carry us to the deepest levels of these problems" - problems dealing with perception, common-sense and the like.

I think this is a fascinating example of how philosophy can shed light on even the most mundane of things. Also I'm curious how many surface puns are in the book (already in the intro you have: "But even these queries scratch only the surface"), guess I'll have to wait and find out. :um
 

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I'd never heard of Henri Atlan before, but the subtitle of this book was enough to catch my attention and led me to decide right then and there that I had to take it home with me.





One of the blurbs on the back talks about him reconciling freedom and determinism, so I figured he was a compatibilitist. But I was disappointed to learn that he ultimately considers free will to be illusory and, like Spinoza, he believes that realizing this and learning more about our determined fate is what 'true freedom' really consists of. Or something like that.

Is it bad that this kind of killed my interest in reading the book? I did give it another try today, but got stuck and confused with one section about Jewish mythology.
 
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