Heidegger

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Jan 7 2007 20:21

quote: "As I understand it, naturalism takes Hume's conviction that it is psychologically impossible tot take the scpetic seriously - and runs with it. So that naturalism says that it can't explain certain things but that does not matter. I am wary if this is stretched to include all manner of things - fine if it was just one proposition."

well, i think it's more a shift in how to understand epistemological justification. As I pointed out, Descartes and Hume also had this idea that warrant in belief requires some really tight, deductive link between premises and conclusion. But this overlooks the crucial importance of inference to the best explanation (abduction). Also, the shift involves questioning the idea of a moral obligation to believe or not believe.

t.

lem
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Jan 7 2007 20:45

So its just about how we prove how we prove (nb: doubling is deliberate) knowledge?

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Epistemological naturalism is more concerned with how in fact we do know things

This is a rhetorical claim (I hope I used that right!)

PS: Abduction, seems to me, to be the exact opposite of what the proponents of naturalism are viewed as: abduction is just intuition, disguised as "common sense"? Or mayve, mob-rule wink

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Jan 7 2007 21:13

lem: "Abduction, seems to me, to be the exact opposite of what the proponents of naturalism are viewed as: abduction is just intuition, disguised as "common sense"? Or mayve, mob-rule"

well, no. There is a logic to abduction. A hypothesis must not be refuted by facts inconsistent with it. There are a variety of criteria for telling how acceptable a hypothsis is. For example, if hypothesis H1 and hypothesis H2 try to explain the same things, but H1 makes fewer assumptions, is less complex, than H2, then, other things being equal, H1 is preferable because accepting it entails less risk of falling into error.

t.

lem
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Jan 7 2007 21:24

And, essentailly, epistemological naturalism essentially states that only science can explain that process? Am I right?

If so, I must say I am not convinced, and, I am slightly confused why people are so rabidly for it. Also, I will apologise for totally misunderstanding most of the prevoius thread...

lem
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Jan 7 2007 21:26

Also, I thought that naturalism thought it could explain why we ought to believe proven truth: because, ala Hume, its "common sense".

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Jan 7 2007 21:35

Yes, the abductive method could be examined from the point of view of emprical/evolutionary psychology.

But i forgot to mention a crucial part of naturalism. The previous philosophy since Kant had assumed the analytic/synthetic distinction, the necessary/contingent distinction, the apriori/aposteriori distinction. But Quine's attack on the analytic/synthetic distinction also led to philosophers questioning the idea of apriori ways of knowing.

Naturalism assumes there is no special apriori way of knowing about reality that could justify philosophy as a field firmly distinct from the sciences. if there is no special philosphical way of knowing, no apriori access to the world, then the abductive method, which is an empirical method, becomes fundamental, and there is no way of making a distinction betweem philosphy and science in the way that had been done since Kant. This busting down of the walls between philosophy and science (walls created so that philosophers could claim a separate field) is behind the rise of naturalism.

t.

lem
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Jan 7 2007 22:19

Or that philosophy should be destroyed, no?

To go back to an earlier point, I think that my inutuition has a method: but maybe I am just mad.

Anyway, I am STILL, for all my stuggling, unable to define epoistemological naturalism. Is one an epistemological naturalist if and only if, we hold that only the scientific method can indentify the proper way to establish what is true. So that the bit it bold is the complete defintion of epistemological naturalism.

Thanks again, sorry if I am way off the mark.

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Jan 7 2007 23:46

lem: "Is one an epistemological naturalist if and only if, we hold that only the scientific method can indentify the proper way to establish what is true."

if you read the lead paragraph in that piece by Feldman i cited, he says that the most extreme form of epistemological naturalism is that the way to find out how people know things, the conditions of knowledge, is thru empirical/evolutionary psychology. this would be akin to what you are suggesting above. but Feldman points out there are less extreme forms of epistemological naturalism.

Naturalism is also a metaphysical view, that the only things there are are the entities that exist in the physical cosmos, that is, the natural world. This is typically taken to embrace physicalism, that is, the view that everything can ultimately be explained in terms of physical forces, the sort of ultimate entities and laws posited by physics.

And because naturalized epistemology rejects apriori knowledge, typically, they will also try to construe mathematics as having an empirical foundation. So, for example, if i see two cats curled up on the sofa, among the things I see is the twoness of this group of cats. Penelope Maddy has tried to work this out in her book on mathematics.

t.

lem
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Jan 7 2007 23:51

The definition I have of meta nat is "the world is amenable to a unified study that includes the natural sciences and in this sense the world is a unity"

Husserl mathematics would have been acceptable to empiricists. May not have workedm though.

What is a less extreme form of meth nat. If its in that article, then no need to reply, and thanks.

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Jan 8 2007 13:46

I'm reading the Stanford article now, thanks. Are you are hardcore epistem-natiralist? It really doesn't make sense to me having stuidied phneomenology for a few months, and, am I right in thinking that it would make most philosophy of science irrelevent eek

Tbh, I can't see the appeal of Quniean natiralism. A) Your ruling out a form of investigation (I think, I'll edit if tats wrong as I read) and B) It just seems like a capitulation: in a way that Heidegger's answe to the sceptic is not: there seems a bifg difference between 'the problem is meaningless' and 'we can't answer the problem'. Again, I'm a bit rushed, so soz if I misunderstood.

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Jan 8 2007 15:58

This article is really very good http://www.seop.leeds.ac.uk/entries/epistemology-naturalized/
thanks. I am wondering about substansive naturalized epistemology now... what do phenomenologists say about it... willm google.

Eta: No hits. Can you help, syndicalistcat? smile

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Jan 8 2007 16:44

lem: "Are you are hardcore epistem-natiralist?"

I don't know. I don't believe there is any such thing
as apriori knowledge. It's hard to see how there could
be. How do brains have such a capacity? Thus i tend
to believe that even the law
of non-contradiction is merely a well-entrenched
empirical hypothesis. The law of non-contradiction is
true because of the way the world is structured.

t.

lem
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Jan 8 2007 16:55

Yes, but, you've given up on the possibility of grounding science, haven't you! I thoiught that Husserl's mathematics was apriori but acceptable to the empiricist, but that seems impossible looking at it.

Can't you argue that the brain has that capacity through how it develops? What is the mystery?

smile

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Jan 8 2007 17:31

What would it mean to ground science? Justification of methods lies in their ability to lead to truth.

Husserl's method wasn't just empirical, as the whole introspective method, of "bracketing", would seem to imply. In fact Husserl was a metaphysical Platonist. If we consider a perceptual situation, such as my looking at leaf, a variety of concrete states of affairs appear to be presented in my experience. I can describe one of these facts by "this is green." For Husserl, there are two entities that correspond to the sentence. There is the concrete state of affairs that consists in this leaf having this particular shade of green. This state of affairs wouldn't exist without the leaf and that feature, as it is simply made up of them. H. wants to say this concrete state of affairs is the denotation or reference of the sentence. But he also wants to say, in the manner of Frege, that the sentence has a "sense" (Sinn), that this is an eternal, necessarily existing entity, a Platonic proposition.

H. takes this view as a way of dealing with hallucination. When you "bracket", you don't assume there IS that state of affairs with the leaf and the color feature. But there is a "meaning" to the sense perception anyway. So what corresponds to "this" in the proposition? Here is where H. takes the view that the use of "this" here can be "reduced" to a definite description "the thing that is here and so on has the property of being green". This theory was developed in the early 20th century when the theory of names or designators as definite descriptions, developed by Russell and Frege, was generally accepted. In the '60s/'70s period a number of English-speaking philosophers critiqued the Russell/Frege theory, and it is now generally regarded as inadequate, especially in dealing with a very direct reference to something in your perceptual field, as when we would use a demonstrative like "this". The other defect in H.'s theory is that it seems to unnecessarily duplicate entities. Why suppose there is both the concrete state of affairs, this leaf being green, and an abstract eternal proposition, that this leaf is green? I don't see why we should posit Platonic propositions at all. I think that we can do without them by supposing that it is the concrete states of affairs that are what sentences stand for.

But in that case, what happens if this is a hallucination and there is no leaf? I think in that case we simply have a cognitive failure, a failure of a cogntive state, percpetion in this case, to actually pick out something even tho it appears to. Perceiving is a biological function and sometimes a biological organ can fail in performing its function. We can describe what the perception is like, by analogy with perceptions that do not fail. From the fact that we can't tell the difference "internally" always it doesn't follow there is not in fact a distinction between a cognitive state that succeeds, and thus has an object, and one that fails, and thus has no object, even tho we may think it does.

I highly recommend Ruth Garrett Millikan's theory of "intentionality" based on the notion of functions.

t.

lem
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Jan 8 2007 20:03

Bell thinks that H. and Frege are quite different, and perhaps that the critique of Frege is not relevent. Couldn't follow the argument tbh. Not convinced that H. isn't quite different to standard Platonic realism, as e.g. he was quite solipsistic.

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What would it mean to ground science? Justification of methods lies in their ability to lead to truth.

Not sure I undertand what you are saying. You don't seem to have provided any evidence that science leads to truth. Nevermind: I mean, your relying on Hume's claim that it doesn't matter and that we just are, justfied, because we "believe", aren't you? I can't see how that is very satisfactory, I mean, I can imagine it being an interesting field to work on, studying the brain and all that, but it doesn't answer any questions.

Stanford wrote:
abandon epistemology for psychology

Before I read any H. there was hints as this in undergraduate psychology. It was very confusing as it seemed to be missing something. Much the same as the quote from you I used.

lem
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Jan 8 2007 20:48

Yes, I mean, from what I can make out, nat-epi says that epi doesn't work, so it can't. But in the process it just ignores important questions that may be possible to solve. I mean, the argument just is: we haven't solved it yet, so we can't.

Better that psychology is studied with epistemology. Why rule out investigations, when one is looking for usefulness.

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Jan 8 2007 22:23

lem: "Bell thinks that H. and Frege are quite different, and perhaps that the critique of Frege is not relevent."

Well, Dagfinn Follesdal doesn't agree. He sees H. as strongly influenced by Frege. based on my reading of "Ideas," I tend to agree.

lem: "H. isn't quite different to standard Platonic realism, as e.g. he was quite solipsistic."

That's a misinterpretation of H. Why would there have been any point to H. introducing the concept of "bracketing", then? if he were a solipsist, there'd be no difference between a bracketed and non-bracketed cognition.

lem: "I mean, from what I can make out, nat-epi says that epi doesn't work, so it can't."

Not quite. They are proposing a different interpretation or theory of what epistemology is. This means they are proposing a different theory of warrant or justification.

This is why I asked you what it would mean to ground science. The question of epistemology is about warrant or justification.

if one is interested in warrant, then it seems to me one has to look at human cognitive functions. how can you address the question of warrant without an understanding of what human cognitive capacities are?

Let's say you think humans have a certain cognitive architecture. This was developed, via evolution, to extract information about states of affairs in a certain environment, and via language, to convey this information to others, to facilitate cooperative behavior, which has been hugely important to human flourishing and success as a species (so far, there are no guarantees in evolution that we won't be killed off).

Now you say I've not provided "evidence" that science leads to truth. But, as I've pointed out, one of the most basic inferential strategies that provides justification is abductive inference, inference to the best explanation. What we've found is that this method generates beliefs that have been confirmed and become entrenched for this reason. Their confirmation, and the lack of better explanatory hypotheses, is then the justification for this method.

Justification has to do with how we are led to true beliefs.

t.

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Jan 9 2007 00:08

in addition to naturalized epistemology, there is one other variation from traditional epistemology worth considering, this is so-called "standpoint" theory. This has been particularly developed by feminist epistemologists. A good summary is at:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/feminism-epistemology/

However, "standpoint" theory applies in the case of any social structure that divides into groups, so that one group is an oppressed group. The idea is that people in the oppressed group can, or are more able to, attain a clearer understanding of the oppressive features of society than those in the more privileged position. This applies to the working class in relation to the dominating classes -- class standpoint epistemology -- as well as to the position of women, and it could also be developed in regard to structural racism as well.

If we take the class variant, the idea is that through their position in the system of production, their immediate experience with the consequences to their lives of being a subordindated class, and the potential to develop an understanding of other possibilities and the exploitative nature of capitalism, through the class struggle, and solidarity, which develops class consciousness, there is a kind of knowledge that class consciousness gains for the working class which is not as accessible to those in the dominating classes, who tend not to see the true nature of capitalism due to their class position.

From the point of view of standpoint theory, traditional epistemology, including the phenomenological approach of Husserl, is too individualisic, it focuses only on the evidence that the individual has in abstraction from the social context.

t.

lem
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Jan 9 2007 01:32

I, don't doubt that H. was influenced, by Frege.

Quote:
no difference between a bracketed and non-bracketed cognition.

I don't think I agree. Even if my consciousness is all that exists, it does not follow that all the objects of my consciousness can be said to be as existent as one another. Even if I am wrong and pre-Descartes (?) H. was not solipsistic, then perhaps the difference I see between H. and platonic realism is that H. was an idealist.

I would not suggest that studying epi away from natural sciences would be as useful.

Quote:
(abduction) generates beliefs that have been confirmed and become entrenched for this reason. Their confirmation, and the lack of better explanatory hypotheses, is then the justification for this method.

Justification has to do with how we are led to true beliefs.

Not sure I follow at all. Like 2nd year cog science, it seems like I or you are missing something, and ime there's no fact that you have failed to give. I mean, it is true that nat-api can't answer come questions, it admits that? If all you can do is provide evidence of states of affiars then all your reasoning is contingent and doubtable.... maybe it is relevent then that nat-epi is doubtable, and one should therefore not close of a line of investigation.

Do you reject all the phenomenologists on account of the Frege critique/H. essentialism.

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Jan 9 2007 01:53

lem: "If all you can do is provide evidence of states of affiars then all your reasoning is contingent and doubtable."

Not all contingent...that doesn't follow. I would say there are many necessities in the physical world, e.g. that metals conduct electricity. But certainly all doubtable, yes. I don't think there is such a thing as incorrigible belief. That was a quixotic quest of the old Cartesian epistemology.

lem: "Do you reject all the phenomenologists on account of the Frege critique/H. essentialism."

I don't quite understand your question. I don't reject essentialim, which is not the same as H.'s Platonist
ontology. I do reject the idea of the "given", except
maybe in a very limited sense, because perception is embedded with interpretation layers, and because i don't agree with H.'s solution to "intentionality". I prefer the materialist account of intentionality given by Millikan. On H.'s theory, intentionality becomes an irreduciblly mentalistic feature of reality, not explainable in principle in physical terms, which is inconsistent with physicalism.

t.

lem
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Jan 9 2007 01:55

Maybe it just that I have help for a while that a justified belief is a belief that is true, or a belief that under standard conditions we ought to believe. Maybe not, but we can't empirically confirm any belief beyond all doubt. So no belief is totally justified. Hmm, that might make sense anyway... but philosophy doesn't make sense to me, again.

It (philosophy) doesn't, get, anywhere. Maybe, because it doesn't articulate with any (questions, experiences) I find meanigful. I mean, I would imagine that nat-epi can have the same charges levelled against it that most anti-continental stuff does - that it forgets what is important to people. I don't know.

lem
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Jan 9 2007 02:09

I understand your objections. But I do suspect there is more to phenomenology than that. But I won't know either for a long time or I read the right books smile Anyway, whagt do you think of Merleau-Ponty's explnantion of intentionality: a bodily "I can" isn't it?

lem
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Jan 9 2007 02:22

I don't want to dogmatically hang onto a faith in phenomenology, but philosophy doesn't feel right without it!

Quote:
Acknowledging Husserl's claim that his own "ideal" objects are "totally different from Platonic Ideas," the author does not explore the relevant distinctions and arguments except for a very brief reference (pp. 233-234) to the passage in the IInd "Untersuchungen" (§ 3), where Husserl claims that similarity between two entities can only obtain in virtue of a respect in which they are identical. It is not obvious that he was entirely wrong on this point, if the argument is developed. And in this same chapter there are at least three other arguments for 'Platonism' that are logically independent of the one here found lacking by the author.

To "evaluate" Husserl's philosophy on these matters would require a serious look at the distinctions and arguments he actually makes relevant to them. These conspicuously occur in various parts of the Ist and IInd "Untersuchungen," and in the Second Chapter of Ideen I.

The issue does not seem totally clear.

Eta: This came up on the last science thread. But I don't think you can justify science with science: its circular. So contrary to epi-nat there is some need for armchair philosophy. If you can answer this I will place nat-epi alongside phenomenology, until phenomenology is "disproved" (I mean, nat-epi as an answer to everyday ecepticism not involving daemons etc., no?). Though I think it may still have value, whether literally true or not.

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Jan 9 2007 05:15

lem: "Maybe it just that I have help for a while that a justified belief is a belief that is true, or a belief that under standard conditions we ought to believe. Maybe not, but we can't empirically confirm any belief beyond all doubt. So no belief is totally justified."

A justified belief need not be true. For thousands of years the most educated opinion thought that Euclid's geometry was true. There was nothing here in our terrestrial environment that could falsify the axiom of parallels. The Newtonian pysicists were justifed in their belief in the axiom of parallels, but it turned out to be false.

I don't understand why you think that beliefs must be "justified beyond all doubt" in order to be justified. Why require a super-human standard?

The function of belief is to guide, or be the basis for, action. The quality of the evidence one has reason to want in order to accept a belief will depend on how important to you the actions are that ride on that belief, i.e. how great are the stakes? The greater the stakes, the more confirmation you are rational in trying to obtain.

lem: "But I don't think you can justify science with science: its circular. So contrary to epi-nat
there is some need for armchair philosophy."

I didn't say it was "science" that justifies science or whatever. That is too positivist an interpretation for me. I said that the abductive method is very basic. But the abductive method goes beyond the communities called "science." Their methods are refined from our basic abductive capacity to meet the needs of their particular field of study. But a "science" is a social group. Why privilege that particular social group? Part of my point in mentioning standpoint theory is to question that.

Abduction is hard-wired in us and is constantly used in everyday life. As i say, it goes beyond science.

So then, I guess, your question is: "How can abduction justify abduction? Isn't that circular?"

First, I would point out that circularity, as an epistemic defect, only applies to linear chains of reasoning, in particular, deductive chains. That's because in a deductive argument, the conclusion has no more acceptability than the premises. If the premises are to convey acceptability onto the conclusion, the conclusion cannot be embedded among the premises.

But abduction is not a linear method of reasoning. Hypotheses gain support from each other, not just from the data they are posited to explain. The justification of an abduction is due to its place in a web or network of beliefs. Because abduction is not a linear method of reasoning, "circularity" is not well-defined for abduction and is therefore not a valid objection to an abductive
argument. The point is that hypotheses fit together into a whole web or scheme of ideas that explain our world. It's the fit of a hypothsis with the whole that is relevant to its evaluation.

lem: "It (philosophy) doesn't, get, anywhere. Maybe, because it doesn't articulate with any (questions, experiences) I find meanigful."

Philosophy is a process or activity. The problems don't get resolved but the potential answers get honed and reduced to the most plausible ones. This is analogous to the idea that scientific theories over time, thru practical test and debate, get modified to get a better approximation to what the world is like.

Academic philosophy is a very abstract subject. I'm entirely sympathetic to your feeling that is lacking in social relevance. That is part of the reason i'm not still in the academic world.

t.

lem
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Jan 9 2007 05:27

Can that be called Quinean though

Quote:
Epistemology, or something like it, simply falls into place as a chapter of psychology and hence of natural science. It studies a natural phenomenon, viz., a physical human subject.

Quote:
I don't understand why you think that beliefs must be "justified beyond all doubt" in order to be justified. Why require a super-human standard?

I'm not sure that I require beyond all doubt, maybe just some fancy footwork. But I think that everyday scepticism, whatever that is, is important. And that its only superhuman to ask for this if, indeed we can't. I think that may be relevent to your reply on abduction.

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Jan 9 2007 06:05

i'm not a Quinean. I agree with Quine about some things like his critique of the analytic/synthetic distinction. But Quine was an old positivist empiricist, who did tend to privilege science. I wouldn't agree with the more extreme naturalizers of epistemology. I think the argument I gave in relation to abduction is how to answer the skeptic.

t.

lem
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Jan 9 2007 07:52

cool grin

A pretty bid derial. Back to Hediegger.

lem
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Jan 9 2007 08:24

Not sure that I get the scepticism point though: abduction just is it fitting with the mesh of our other beliefs. How do you justify that if it does it is true? It seems like common sense... but we can doubt that common sense... which is to say no more than I doubt abduction. Maybe, you are saying that our faith in x (which was reached at with common sense) implies that abduction is correct. Or that we use abduction and live improves, so...

This sounds similar to Hume. After reading him, I was sure that it was an answer, but that the question could be asked again.

lem
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Jan 9 2007 08:42

Yeah, this thread has been eating into my time, so I understand if you don't reply. But, going back to laws quickly, because this is something I didn't understand when taught, but you are assuming that the universe is laws? But its not is it, its matter or space-time or whatever. That where my question on how laws are articulated came from. Is it that matter or space-time is just a category of the mind, like Kant and time?

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Jan 9 2007 16:52

The sceptic says that if your evidence for P is E, and P does not follow from E by deductive certainty, you have no basis for P because it might be false, given E. I'd just point out that it is false that one does not a justification to believe P, based on E, if P doesn't follow deductively from E.

The sceptic needs to prove that human purpose requires us to have this level of certainty for believes, in order for a belief to serve its human function of grounding/guiding action.

t.