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SAustinTx
01-14-2004, 03:54 PM
I'm no expert on the history of philosophy by any means, but from my amateur readings it's apparent that the theory of evolution had some degree or other of influence on subsequent philosophical thought (ie. creating less of a need for deism and thus freeing things up a bit for existentialism). Nonetheless, most books, websites, etc. that offer info a la "Philosophy 101" for beginners don't tend to offer much post-Sartre. I'm interested in the possibility that the Computer Age may have a reductive influence on the course of philosophy in the next century, insofar that the "if-then" structure of PC programming and hence the way we interact with them may spill over into the way we think (a la the "osmosis" effect Darwinism seemed to have 100 years ago). If anyone has any cites or ideas along these lines I'd like to hear them.

eponymous
01-14-2004, 04:20 PM
SAaustinTx,

You might try looking at some of Daniel Dennett's recent work; more specifically Freedom Evolves (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0140283897/t/026-5541141-5961262).

Here's an interview (http://reason.com/0305/fe.rb.pulling.shtml) with Dennett discussing his theory on how evolution generates free will.

eponymous
01-14-2004, 04:53 PM
SAustinTx,

Here's another link (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/guides/guide-display/-/6DWKCXKMHJZK/ref=cm_bg_dp_l_1/002-7880331-3443252) that might be helpful.

BrainGlutton
01-14-2004, 09:27 PM
In their book An Incomplete Education (New York: Ballantine Books, 1987), Judy Jones and William Wilson try to give a thumbnail sketch of all the knowledge you need to be a sophisticated New York intellectual. In the chapter on "Philosophy," they give brief bios and content-summaries of every major philosopher from Plato to . . . John Dewey, who died in 1952. They don't mention Bertrand Russell, or Jean-Paul Sartre, let alone any later thinker. (Not in that section, anyway, although there is, later in the chapter, a blurb on poststructuralism.) I always wondered why.

Aren't their any philosophers alive and writing NOW who will someday be ranked with Plato, Aristotle, etc.?

I have read that Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) pronounced that henceforth there can be no more philosophy, only philosophizing, but I have not read his books and do not understand what he meant.

UnwrittenNocturne
01-14-2004, 09:41 PM
Wittgenstein's comment as I recall correctly was a statement that all we can do now is look at the way language effects our perceptions. Was he right? I doubt that and I see that Eponymous has already mentioned Dennett.

erislover
01-15-2004, 03:56 AM
I have read that Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) pronounced that henceforth there can be no more philosophy, only philosophizing, but I have not read his books and do not understand what he meant.He felt, very roughly, that philosophical problems arose from mistakes in understanding the way language actually operates, and that the job of the philosopher was not to solve a philosophical problem but to dissolve it by demonstrating why the problem didn't really exist. A metaphor he used was that philosophizing should show the fly the way out of the bottle (rather than, say, through it).

BlackKnight
01-15-2004, 04:12 AM
I also recommend looking into Dennet's work.

This is my thought on the subject ...

What Darwinism and Computer Science share with regards to influence on philosophy is the primacy of an algorithmic process. Darwinism dissolves the question of the creation of organisms into a relatively simple series of steps. Similarly, books like Dennet's "Consciousness Explained" attempt to dissolve the question of where consciousness comes from by showing how an algorithmic process could create such a thing.

Tusculan
01-15-2004, 07:33 AM
Are you asking about the current state of philosophy, or do you only want to generate some general philosophical discussion about some ideas of your own?

There's lots of philosophy going on at the moment, but it looks as if you are only interested in a rather specialized area, to wit philosophy of mind/language (which is not my specialization). Sartre, however, is not primarily seen as doing philosophy of mind/language.

With respect to influence of evolution: there are philosophers who are to some extent taking this into account. However, for most research interest evolution is only of mild importance. Ethically speaking, for example, the way moral rules may contribute to development of civilized society does not decide which rules we should live by at the moment. For philosophy of mind it could offer some insights, but even then the important part is how people think at present: this is the terrain of psychology.

I'm not sure what to make of your comment about the 'if-then' structure of programming. You are aware that logic theories that recognized such structures have been around for many centuries? I can't remember anyone challenging the validity of such a reasoning structure (syllogism, if you will) in an interesting way. Furthermore I do not immediately see what interesting results you can derive from such a structure. But then, if it is a break-through thought it isn't very likely it would be self-evident...

RickJay
01-15-2004, 08:46 AM
In their book An Incomplete Education (New York: Ballantine Books, 1987), Judy Jones and William Wilson try to give a thumbnail sketch of all the knowledge you need to be a sophisticated New York intellectual. In the chapter on "Philosophy," they give brief bios and content-summaries of every major philosopher from Plato to . . . John Dewey, who died in 1952. They don't mention Bertrand Russell, or Jean-Paul Sartre, let alone any later thinker. (Not in that section, anyway, although there is, later in the chapter, a blurb on poststructuralism.) I always wondered why.

It would be interesting to examine contemporary popular discussion and education on philosophy in the time of Kant, Mill, Descartes et al. to see if they were regarded in their time as major players in philosophy. Perhaps it is simply the case that the great philosophers are not so recognized until after the fact. I don't know that that is true (in fact I'm skeptical of it) but it's one possible explanation.

Another is that philosophy might just be a cyclical thing. I may be betraying my ignorance here, but it seems to be the great thinkers of Western civilization have been bunched up in time, place and influence; you had your Greek thinkers, for instance, and you had your Industrial Revolution thinkers in another group, and you had a batch of Renaissance thinkers. I don't remember a huge number of high-octane philosophical giants from the ninth century.

Still another factor is that the notion of philosophy being a completely separate discipline is, I believe, a modern one. I could be wrong, but my understanding is that "philosophy" as a separate discipline is largely a 19th century invention and a 20th century industry, which naturally tends to academicize it and seaprate it from common popular discourse.

Descartes, to use that example, was a mathematician, like many other philosophers. To him, the examination of philosophy was just what a scientist does. Today, however, our scientists are too specialized to do both. Perhaps philosophy doesn't do well for specialization - maybe it needs to be more closely connected to the sciences and the humanities than it commonly is today.

Tusculan
01-15-2004, 02:41 PM
(Going by recollection, so details may be wrong)

J.S. Mill was very well known and respected in his day. His father was already famous and prepared him to be a child prodigy. After an adolescent crisis he managed to keep up his intellectual and political work.

Kant was an relatively little-known but well-liked provincial professor until he published the Critique of Pure Reason, which made him famous overnight.

Descartes I'm not too sure about, I've read an introduction that says he used to be considered to be a bit of an oddball in his day, and only became famous as kind of a strawman in the 19th century. On the other hand you see already lots of philosophers earlier than that reacting to him. And he was hired by that Swedish princess, so he must have had some kind of fame.

Currently there are famous philosophers, though most don't capture the public imagination in the way that Sartre did. People like Habermas, Foucault, Derrida, Lyotard, Rorty, Habermas, Dworkin, Rawls, Kymlicka, Searle are (were) AFAIK generally considered great names in their respective fields.

The 'problem', if you think it is a problem, is not so much that philosophy has specialized as well that academia has broadened. There are so many people busy with science and humanities that it is completely impossible to be familiar with everyone. AFAIK at the time of Erasmus and Descartes all the European intellectuals knew each other and conversed with each other. So a proper comparison would be difficult.

FWIW there were also lots of philosphers in the centuries after Plato and Aristotle, some of whom were quite famous in their day but whose fame has not lived on. Part of the reason is that next to nothing of their writings has been kept. If you are interested you can read Long & Sedley, The Hellenistic Philosphers, a collection of text fragments of and about these philosophers.

Milum
01-15-2004, 07:12 PM
Brainglutton: I have read that Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) pronounced that henceforth there can be no more philosophy, only philosophizing.
What Wittgenstein would say today if he could rise from his cold grave and re-say what he said, was that...

All investigations into fundamental philosophies that use the traditional method of formulating logical relationships between strings of words, was, and is, a bull-shitting tip.

Words have no absolute referents, and so any manipulation of them will always be inexact and therefore any such study using them as an instrument of discovery will be inherently flawed.

Mathematical mumbo-jumbo manipulation is even more stupid. Then we have a symbol representing a symbol representing an indefinite referent. :smack:

BrainGlutton
01-16-2004, 01:36 PM
What Wittgenstein would say today if he could rise from his cold grave and re-say what he said, was that...

All investigations into fundamental philosophies that use the traditional method of formulating logical relationships between strings of words, was, and is, a bull-shitting tip.

Words have no absolute referents, and so any manipulation of them will always be inexact and therefore any such study using them as an instrument of discovery will be inherently flawed.

Mathematical mumbo-jumbo manipulation is even more stupid. Then we have a symbol representing a symbol representing an indefinite referent. :smack:

But . . . what OTHER way is there to do philosophy? How can we philosophize without words or symbols? How can we even think, beyond the most primitive emotional-response level, without using words or symbols? To humans, thinking means symbol manipulation. Especially thinking about abstract concepts. Without language, we would all be as mindless as Victor, the Wild Boy of Aveyron. Wouldn't we?

Milum
01-16-2004, 09:42 PM
BrainGlutton: But . . . what OTHER way is there to do philosophy? How can we philosophize without words or symbols? How can we even think, beyond the most primitive emotional-response level, without using words or symbols? To humans, thinking means symbol manipulation. Especially thinking about abstract concepts. Without language, we would all be as mindless as Victor, the Wild Boy of Aveyron. Wouldn't we?
Please allow me to answer your question in this personal way, BrainGlutton...

When I was five or maybe six or maybe seven, I fell in love with a tree; a bare leafless black tree in winter. Something about the shape, the reach of the limbs, the strength, the muteness, the persitence through time, the realization of life through irrepressible yet effortless growth from acorn to giant.
I loved that tree back then but I didn't know why. And although I wrote the words of explanation above, they are lies. I still don't know why I so much loved that tree.

Now think of a computer that responds to words and combinations of words that are typed in by you. It has a large database of pertinent responces. The computer has a word combination bank of ten million reactive responces to whatever word combination that you might type in.
Try as you might you can't tell the diference between the responces of the machine and a real live human being.

So, not knowing what else to do, you set up your computer with the very same program and database. Then the two machines have a most pleasant and coherent conversation that lasts fo forty years. Neither computer knows that they are not talkin to a man.

erislover
01-16-2004, 11:52 PM
I would like to see some textual support for your interpretation of Wittgenstein, Milum. It goes against my reading of him, and those I've read that discussed him.

Milum
01-17-2004, 07:29 AM
erislover : I would like to see some textual support for your interpretation of Wittgenstein, Milum. It goes against my reading of him, and those I've read that discussed him.

Sure thing, erislover, but first, two things. Let us discuss the ideas of Whittingstein and not his words. And "two", remember that "my" Whittingstein had not been simply lying dead in his grave for the past fifty years, as he lay there, "my" Whittingstein had been thinking.

Milum
01-18-2004, 03:20 PM
Now. At long last. My first two replies were cut off. Ok, erislover, will you now say in simple english what Wittgenstein said so clumsily in the tagline remark that you thought (admittly out of context) so prophetic?

( If you like I'll tell you what he meant.) :)

BrainGlutton
01-19-2004, 01:45 PM
Please allow me to answer your question in this personal way, BrainGlutton...

When I was five or maybe six or maybe seven, I fell in love with a tree; a bare leafless black tree in winter. Something about the shape, the reach of the limbs, the strength, the muteness, the persitence through time, the realization of life through irrepressible yet effortless growth from acorn to giant.
I loved that tree back then but I didn't know why. And although I wrote the words of explanation above, they are lies. I still don't know why I so much loved that tree.

But, Milum, what you are describing is what I called a reaction at the "emotional-response level." You fell in love with that tree for purely esthetic reasons; words are neither necessary nor adequate to express your feelings. It is conceivable that an ape could fall in love with a tree in exactly the same way. But that kind of emotional response is not a form of thinking and certainly will never give rise to any structured system of thought which might deserve to be characterized as "philosophy." I repeat: I do not see how philosophy is at all possible, without words or other symbol-referents.

Now think of a computer that responds to words and combinations of words that are typed in by you. It has a large database of pertinent responces. The computer has a word combination bank of ten million reactive responces to whatever word combination that you might type in.
Try as you might you can't tell the diference between the responces of the machine and a real live human being.

So, not knowing what else to do, you set up your computer with the very same program and database. Then the two machines have a most pleasant and coherent conversation that lasts fo forty years. Neither computer knows that they are not talkin to a man.

Perfectly plausible, but what does it have to do with the question I raised? These computers are using symbols to communicate and, arguably, to think. But how could computers, or humans, communicate or think without symbols?

erislover
01-19-2004, 02:51 PM
Now. At long last. My first two replies were cut off. Ok, erislover, will you now say in simple english what Wittgenstein said so clumsily in the tagline remark that you thought (admittly out of context) so prophetic?I really don't think that's completely necessary.

Certainly his work is itself a kind of philosophy in that he offers (in his later works) a method for attempting to deal with common problems in philosophy, and through this method, he showed (if you believed him) that the problems weren't really problems. No one can claim this method is complete. One of his students, Anscombe (unfortunately now deceased), carried his methodology into the study of intention.

The focus of LW's work has always been getting at meaning. In his early work, the Tractutus Logico-Philosophicus, he was working on constructing a language that could only let one say things that could be said in order to avoid the problems of philosophy. His mistake in this work was twofold, in my estimation. First, that the problems of philosophy can be handled syntactically. Second, that should he even succeed, the language he'd produce wouldn't be what we think of as language.

As he returned to these themes later in life, he came to tackle the problem differently. Instead of viewing language as a formal construct, he tried to approach words, sentences, and language-games as parts of human life. There was almost an isomorphism between the situation and its language-game. It was in this that words obtained their meaning. But it went farther than that, in that the situations that spawned language-games were situations of living.

For example, a favorite passage of mine is from his later work, On Certainty, and I paraphrase: " 'A is a physical object' is a piece of instruction we use when someone doesn't know what A is, or what a physical object is." He used this in a long train of thought about idealism and realism, to show how the statements "There are no physical objects" or "There are physical objects" don't make sense because philosophy is co-opting the words. That is, philosophers are trying to take the words out of their language-games and away from the situations they have importance in, and yet retain the weight of their meaning.

For this reason, Wittgenstein was critical of philosophy in the sense most people understand it. Early Wittgenstein felt that people had not properly assigned meaning to various signs in their propositions; later Wittgenstein felt that people were misusing words when they philosophized, and if they only took the time to discover the situations in which it is used (in order to live as a human being in a world) they would see that its use does not apply in this cirucumstance.

I do not believe he felt philosophy was bullshit. He found philosophical questions interesting and sought to resolve them. His analysis of metaphysics, epistemology, phenomenology, and logic were not done just to show people what idiots they are.

PS -- my sig wasn't meant to be used again. I almost never use it because it is long and I don't want to get in trouble for it, but the new board seems to have sigs on by default.

Milum
01-19-2004, 03:25 PM
BrainGlutton:"... It is conceivable that an ape could fall in love with a tree in exactly the same way. But that kind of emotional response is not a form of thinking and certainly will never give rise to any structured system of thought which might deserve to be characterized as "philosophy." I repeat: I do not see how philosophy is at all possible, without words or other symbol-referents.

But BrainGlutton ! That is exactly the point. A ape, a whale, a seven year old Milum, can extract information from the external world and establish neuron connections that gestalt. Beyond words, beyond communication, without any symbol-referent transfer of information to any other biological form. This is the soul, the essence, of being alive.

My example of the two comunicating computers was to point out just that fact. Structured systems of comunication such as language have a great function, indeed they can contribute greatly with innovations beneficial to us all, indeed they might guide us towards philosophical thoughts that approximate Truth and Reality, but ultimately only our biology can ever know the truth and be "set free", "united with the Universe", or whatever may be our fate as sapient matter.

The problem with words is that they must be inexact because they,by their very nature,group unlike objects, things, and thoughts. This might be close enough for horseshoes or chatting about the weather but not suitable for philosphical systems beyond the complexity of Tarot cards.

pravnik
01-19-2004, 03:58 PM
Very true. Words are sufficient for mere idle chatter, but true philosophic inquiry requires the use of a more exacting medium, like telepathy.

Milum
01-19-2004, 07:38 PM
Naw, pravnik, you deserve your very own signature line...
_______________________________________________

Alas poor pravnik, forsooth, he forsakes truth for the cuthe.
Alas poor parvnik. :)
_______________________________________________

Milum
01-19-2004, 08:32 PM
erislover, "The focus of LW's work has always been getting at meaning. In his early work, the Tractutus Logico-Philosophicus, he was working on constructing a language that could only let one say things that could be said in order to avoid the problems of philosophy. His mistake in this work was twofold, in my estimation. First, that the problems of philosophy can be handled syntactically. Second, that should he even succeed, the language he'd produce wouldn't be what we think of as language."
I agree erislover, Wittgenstein writtings give insight as to what happens when a single brilliant mind attemps to provide an answer to a universal question before the rest of the world has evolved the necessary concepts to enable a comprehensive answer. Sorta like inventing spokes before the invention of the wheel.

(Uh, sorry I baited you a tad, erislover, I, uh, had Wittgenstein slightly mixed up with Sanders Pierce. Good grief man its been 35 years! ) :smack:

erislover
01-21-2004, 06:37 PM
What concepts, Milum?

Milum
01-21-2004, 08:15 PM
"What concepts, Milum?" - erislover

This, or these concepts, erislover; determinate behavior or dertiminate events are very necessary axioms of human thought. That is, the progressive sequence of cause and effect is hard wired into our human minds. And with the event of our realization that the prime driving mechanism of biological evolution is simply mechanical chemistry, it becomes first apparent and then obvious to most thinkers who thought a lot during the 20th Century that social evolution was nothing more than an extention of the self-same process.

Sorry. But this new understanding of reality must transcend our knee-jerk admiration for the gargantuan efforts of the sincere and well intended philosophers of our un-enlightened past.

erislover
01-21-2004, 08:30 PM
I wasn't aware the matter had been settled.

Milum
01-21-2004, 08:36 PM
Consider yourself awared.

- milum.

erislover
01-21-2004, 11:14 PM
I have read a snippet or two from some philosophers about the subject at hand, mostly those that combat the idea that there is a direct link between evolution and evolutionary analogies and, at least, morality. The idea conflicts fairly directly with objective morality.

Milum
01-22-2004, 02:25 PM
erislover: " I have read a snippet or two from some philosophers about the subject at hand, mostly those that combat the idea that there is a direct link between evolution and evolutionary analogies and, at least, morality. The idea conflicts fairly directly with objective morality."


Shift gears, mister erislover, the 21st Century is now. Biological cells have formed into groups of biological cells which provide them a better chance of collective survival. And like the cells themselves the systems that they have evolved to enhance their chance of survival, have evolved as well. In the scheme of things, it could not be otherwise.

We humans, acting as representatives of many cell systems, have evolved systems of our own to help insure our continued existence through time. These systems are Culture, governments, mores, traditions, religions, moralities, customs, etc. Composed of words, thoughts, and concepts these systems activate or suppress our biological nature for the common good.

"Good" meaning the groups continuation through time. These "systems", while not directly visible, are as concrete in reality as is our biology, more so in fact, they are the only building bricks that we have available to build our immediate , maybe, future.

"Objective Morality" is yet too transcendental for discussion. We haven't evolved the words and concepts needed to integrate the idea of "objective morality" into a meaning of universal worth.

erislover
01-22-2004, 04:15 PM
I don't get what you're even trying to advance here, Milum. Most of us have a rudimentary grasp of evolutionary principles. Certainly some thinkers have attempted, with varying degrees of success, to export evolution from biology to other arenas, like circuit design (with startling results), psychology (with results I'm not aware of), sociology, and Eris knows what else. While I'm sure this is really quite fascinating, it does not answer some core questions, and probably secondary questions, and maybe even farther than that.

Evolution is simply an explantion of change in some shifting context or other over time. Evolution cannot answer questions about morality, for example, unless we make the assumption that "good" means "survives" and I think you'll have a hard time getting that one across to a captive audience, unless a la the Nazis you actually hold them captive. Evolution cannot answer questions about "best", for another example. It provides a mechanism whereby some population survives due to fortunate mutations... maybe. There is no requirement that it always enable a species to survive. There is no requirement that what is a beneficial mutation now always be beneficial, and similarly, what is detrimental now might not always be detrimental.

Evolution is a fascinating subject, but its application to philosophy is small. Its impact on social sciences, as I understand it, is growing. Its impact on other fields are interesting, inasmuch as we can create "evolutionary" pressures to fit our needs (intelligent design has a place, you see). But philosophy? I'm sorry, I don't see it. I'll need more from you than the assertion that we don't have the concepts yet (a claim I find rather... difficult to support, but I'm patient enough to wait for you to come up with something if you can).

Milum
01-23-2004, 08:58 PM
Ah Ha!
Now I get it! You, erislover, have a hang-up! And your hang-up is your misunderstanding of the nature of general semantics. You think that words like "evolution" "good" "bad", and "book" have definite meanings, which they don't.
Mmm...? This might be a challenge worthy of a lengthy book. But what the heck, call me the fool, but I'll do my best to win over your nice pedantic heart in a single post.

Tomorrow.

erislover
01-23-2004, 09:24 PM
You think that words like "evolution" "good" "bad", and "book" have definite meanings, which they don't.Of course, if words have no definite meaning, including "definite", then maybe they do have definite meanings... :p

No, I do not think words have definite meanings. We should not, however, make the mistake of suggesting that they have no meaning by virtue of this pseudo-gap. Words might not have infinitely precise meanings, but we normally notice no lack of precision in their use and for good reason.

I am not afraid of using any word, so long as I am reasonably sure I am using it correctly.

dal_timgar
01-24-2004, 03:53 PM
The computers are all "von Neumann machines" and John von Neumann introduced game theory to economics in 1944. We can combine multiple lines of thought.

Tranactional Analysis from the book


I'm no expert on the history of philosophy by any means, but from my amateur readings it's apparent that the theory of evolution had some degree or other of influence on subsequent philosophical thought (ie. creating less of a need for deism and thus freeing things up a bit for existentialism). Nonetheless, most books, websites, etc. that offer info a la "Philosophy 101" for beginners don't tend to offer much post-Sartre. I'm interested in the possibility that the Computer Age may have a reductive influence on the course of philosophy in the next century, insofar that the "if-then" structure of PC programming and hence the way we interact with them may spill over into the way we think (a la the "osmosis" effect Darwinism seemed to have 100 years ago). If anyone has any cites or ideas along these lines I'd like to hear them.

dal_timgar
01-24-2004, 04:02 PM
Since all computers are "von Neumann machines" and John von Neumann introduced game theory to economics in 1944 we can have a game philosophy that includes multiple influences.

Transactional Analysis from the book THE GAMES PEOPLE PLAY
Ideas from Sun Tzu's THE ART OF WAR
Socrates was killed as a result of political power games.
Malcolm X was killed as a result of religious power games.
And of course Machiavelli can't be left out.

There is lots of pseudointellectual word gaming used to confuse people so that is just another strategy in the game. The Whorfian hypothesis, language affects thought. That can screw up ones logic.

von Neumanism anyone

Dal Timgar

P.S. If you research von Neumann's life he was obviously a Vulcan.

I'm no expert on the history of philosophy by any means, but from my amateur readings it's apparent that the theory of evolution had some degree or other of influence on subsequent philosophical thought (ie. creating less of a need for deism and thus freeing things up a bit for existentialism). Nonetheless, most books, websites, etc. that offer info a la "Philosophy 101" for beginners don't tend to offer much post-Sartre. I'm interested in the possibility that the Computer Age may have a reductive influence on the course of philosophy in the next century, insofar that the "if-then" structure of PC programming and hence the way we interact with them may spill over into the way we think (a la the "osmosis" effect Darwinism seemed to have 100 years ago). If anyone has any cites or ideas along these lines I'd like to hear them.

the creosote kid
01-24-2004, 05:06 PM
don`t know if this helps anybody,but i liked it.
"religion without philosophy is simply sentimentality,or fanatacism,
and philosophy without religion, is only speculation"
a.c. bhaktivedanta swami prabhupada.

Milum
01-24-2004, 07:39 PM
"Of course, if words have no definite meaning, including "definite", then maybe they do have definite meanings." ~ erislover
Touche', erislover. Now let us use some of these more-or-less indefinite words to see if the use of them can lead us to a logical conclusion. A conclusion, although indefinite, that will direct us towards a workable philosophy that will help keep us from descending into anarchy in this 21st Century.

But first; do you agree to the following parameters of discussion? If so we can keep our information exchange pertinent and succinct.

(1) "With Firstman's sowing Lastman did reap." - Omar Khayyam
For the purposes of our discussion the Universe is Deterministic.

(2) "All I know is what I have words for." - L. Wittgenstein
Religion and outre meta-physics are to be left to a later discussion.

(3) "I am in a sorry state, for I do not even know what I do not know."
- Saint Augustine
By delimiting what we don't know we can get closer to that which is true.

(4) That unseeing eye, reminds me of a midnight's dream
it reminds me of somebody that I have never seen
- Sonny Boy Williamson
Nothing. I just happen to like Sonny Boy Williamson.
Let's keep it lively and light. :)

erislover
01-25-2004, 10:32 AM
I outright disagree with 3 in a practical sense, and maybe even in a more abstract sense. 2 contradicts 1.

Milum
01-25-2004, 09:21 PM
Ok, irislover, for being so obstinate you get your 21st Century philosophy cold turkey. No frills, no introduction. You get the short version. Here goes...

Cause and effect, in an ever progressive sequence, is the perceived quality of the Universe that we animals who call ourselves human are obliged to conduct our everyday affairs in. We have no choice, that is the way our sensors work, as well as the way sensory information is sorted out in our brains.In other words, pragmatically we live in a Universe that is deterministic.

Inanimate matter, that is the dust from which we evolved and to which one day we as biology, might trump death and so transcend our dusty origins. But not today, maybe in a couple of billion years.
Ok, irislover, for being so obstinate you get your 21st Century philosophy cold turkey. No frills, no introduction. You get the short version. Here goes...

Cause and effect, in an ever progressive sequence, is the perceived quality of the Universe that we animals who call ourselves human are obliged to conduct our everyday affairs in. We have no choice, that is the way our sensors work, as well as the way sensory information is sorted out in our brains.In other words, pragmatically we live in a Universe that is deterministic.

Inanimate matter, that is the dust from which we evolved and to which one day we as biology, might trump death and so transcend our dusty origins. But not today, maybe in a couple of billion years.

until then, we had best examine the direction that life is taking us so that we might consciously aid in assuring that we complete the momentous trip. This requires that we examine ourselves, now and in the past. This much is known...

We are social animals, animals who hunt in packs, who for 99.9999% of their development existed only as an appendage of the pack. To live outside the social structure of the clan meant certain death. But in fact the clan itself was the animal. The clan or tribe or nation or culture was that which continued through time, not the lone individual.

Make that 100%. All of our development has been shaped by our lives as a bound servant to the customs of the pack. And as we speak they are getting even more so. We have no choice; it is the only game in town. One day soon, maybe this Century, all the myriad cultures of Earth will fuse into single Earth Culture and that single Earth Creature will be known throughout the civilized Universe as the MIlum. :)

until then, we had best examine the direction that life is taking us so that we might consciously aid in assuring that we complete the momentous trip. This requires that we examine ourselves, now and in the past. This much is known...

We are social animals, animals who hunt in packs, who for 99.9999% of our development we existed only as an appendage of the pack. To live outside the social structure of the clan meant certain death. But in fact the clan itself was the animal. The clan or tribe or nation or culture was that which continued through time, not the lone individual.

Make that 100%. All of our development has been shaped by our lives as a bound servant to the customs of the pack. And as we speak they are getting even more so. We have no choice; it is the only game in town. One day soon, maybe this Century, all the myriad cultures of Earth will fuse into single Earth Culture and that single Earth Creature will be known throughout the civilized Universe as the MIlum. :)

Milum
01-25-2004, 09:41 PM
Opps...sorry. See? That's what happen when you try to be a smart ass.!
Ok, this version is much better...(er, I hope I didn't leave anything out)
___________________________________________________________

Ok, irislover, for being so obstinate you get your 21st Century philosophy cold turkey. No frills, no introduction. You get the short version. Here goes...

Cause and effect, in an ever progressive sequence, is the perceived quality of the Universe that we animals who call ourselves human are obliged to conduct our everyday affairs in. We have no choice, that is the way our sensors work, as well as the way sensory information is sorted out in our brains.In other words, pragmatically we live in a Universe that is deterministic.

Inanimate matter, that is the dust from which we evolved and to which one day we as biology, might trump death and so we might transcend our dusty origins. But not today, maybe in a couple of billion years.

Until then, we had best examine the direction that life is taking us so that we might consciously aid in assuring that we complete the momentous trip. This requires that we examine ourselves, now and in the past. This much is known...

We are social animals, animals who hunt in packs, who for 99.9999% of their development existed only as an appendage of the pack. To live outside the social structure of the clan meant certain death. But in fact the clan itself was the animal. The clan or tribe or nation or culture was that which continued through time, not the lone individual.

Make that 100%. All of our development has been shaped by our lives as a bound servant to the customs of the pack. And as we speak they are getting even more so. We have no choice; it is the only game in town. One day soon, maybe this Century, all the myriad cultures of Earth will fuse into single Earth Culture and that single Earth Creature will be known throughout the civilized Universe as the MIlum. :)

erislover
01-26-2004, 03:24 PM
We have no choice, that is the way our sensors work, as well as the way sensory information is sorted out in our brains. In other words, pragmatically we live in a Universe that is deterministic.Then I'm sure you understand why I have no choice but to disagree.
Make that 100%. All of our development has been shaped by our lives as a bound servant to the customs of the pack. And as we speak they are getting even more so. We have no choice; it is the only game in town. I have to say I am not a cultural relativist, nor do I take such a rosy view to progression as you seem to. In order to, as you say, "consciously aid" what I suppose you are suggesting is some sort of teleological view of evolution, we must understand it. 1) How do we consciously direct ourselves inside of a deterministic framework? Does evolution answer this question?

A more interesting question is that of an epistemological hierarchy. 2) If our culture (be that my local subculture or humanity in general, take your pick) is all that we have and sets the limits on what we conceive, then how do we ever get to talk of anything at a level higher (more abstract, or more encompassing, or whatever) and have it be meaningful?

3) Does this teleological view of evolution have any limits beyond which there is still meaningful dialogue, questions we may ask and answers we may seek? How are we to actually answer this question? 3a) Does evolution provide the answer?
One day soon, maybe this Century, all the myriad cultures of Earth will fuse into single Earth Culture and that single Earth Creature will be known throughout the civilized Universe as the MIlum.What drives this conclusion?

Milum
01-27-2004, 10:00 PM
erislover :Who is the smart ass now?

Milum: We have no choice, that is the way our sensors work, as well as the way sensory information is sorted out in our brains. In other words, pragmatically we live in a Universe that is deterministic.

erislover: "Then I'm sure you understand why I have no choice but to disagree."

Milum: Of course you have no choice but to disagree, erislover, but as these words slowly pull switches and levers within your antiquated belief system you will soon have no choice but to agree.

Milum: All of our development has been shaped by our lives as a bound servant to the customs of the pack. And as we speak they are getting even more so. We have no choice; it is the only game in town.

erislover: I have to say I am not a cultural relativist, nor do I take such a rosy view to progression as you.
1) How do we consciously direct ourselves inside of a deterministic framework? Does evolution answer this question?

Milum: Don't worry about it, we will continue to believe in our deterministic minds that we are consciously directing ourselves towards the purpose of our existence whether we are or not.

Evolution, on the other hand, doesn't answer anything. Evolution is mindless. Like it or not, we are the only instruments of answering universal questions.

erislover: A more interesting question is that of an epistemological hierarchy.
2) If our culture (be that my local subculture or humanity in general, take your pick) is all that we have and sets the limits on what we conceive, then how do we ever get to talk of anything at a level higher (more abstract, or more encompassing, or whatever) and have it be meaningful?

Milum: How did you ever abstract that idea from my admittedly somewhat chopped statement about the cultural regulation of human actions and thoughts?

Limits on the human imagination and the breath of thought set by cultural constraints would be self-inhibiting and antithetical to the effectiveness of the ongoing process, in name --> evolution.

erislover: 3) Does this teleological view of evolution have any limits beyond which there is still meaningful dialog, questions we may ask and answers we may seek? How are we to actually answer this question?

Milum: No. The inching recognition of what is not the path to the realization of the purpose of the existence of "something; rather than nothing" is the most that we can realistically expect to realize in the times just ahead. Later, maybe, further on down the road, we might be able to began to answer the question you so desperately seek and need answered.

erislover: 3a) Does evolution provide the answer?

Milum: Your own compelling need to find an answer to the ultimate question of why we, or anything else, exists goes far in explaining why you asked this question twice.

Milum: One day soon, maybe in this Century, all the myriad cultures of Earth will fuse into a single Earth Culture and that single Earth Creature will be known throughout the civilized Universe as the Milum.

erislover: What drives this conclusion?

Milum : Humor, erislover, ...maybe. :)

erislover
01-28-2004, 12:15 PM
Antiquated belief system? Funny, I was just going to suggest your post is an unsuccessful attempt to transfer the intellectual integrity of scientific inquiry to metaphysics and normative philosophical issues.

Perhaps we should back up to the point where I can research this topic independently. What post-Sartre philosophers and thinkers are we referencing here?

Milum
01-29-2004, 09:08 PM
erislover Antiquated belief system? Funny, I was just going to suggest your post is an unsuccessful attempt to transfer the intellectual integrity of scientific inquiry to metaphysics and normative philosophical issues.

Perhaps we should back up to the point where I can research this topic independently. What post-Sartre philosophers and thinkers are we referencing here?

"Intellectual integrity"? What gobbledygook! You can research your post-Sartre philosophers and thinkers until the sun melts, erislover, and you still won't find what you seek. For the last hundred years the inexact science of philosophy has been practiced for reasons of academic politics and not for effect. Here is a test to prove the point...

State the prime philosophical idea developed in the 20th Century that influences our world today.
Go --> _______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________ .

See? There ain't none. But no, science, technology, and quantum physics didn't kill Philosophy, the dogmas of academia did.
But I digress, what I think is that that you misunderstood my special application of the concept "Determinism".

First off, I think that Determinism as an absolute Philosophy is inherently flawed by it's own definition. Obviously an absolutely deterministic Universe would not allow something to be born out of nothing. I use of the concept sorta like William James ...pragmatically .

Secondly, the use of the word "philosophy" as meaning, "a separate rational investigation into the nature of existence, knowledge, and ethics." is no longer a viable tool of society today. Semantical constructions of belief systems, no matter how well constructed, without accompanying empirical data are simply clever word games, while religion and mathematics and tarot cards serve society well in their place.

Thirdly, I am beginning to think that the internet is a poor vehicle for me to use when I try to convey my notions of philosophy. No matter how elaborate and intricate are my understandings, I end up giving up, and so express my thoughts in printed sound bites.
:smack: Damn internet. :)

erislover
01-30-2004, 10:56 AM
"Intellectual integrity"? What gobbledygook! You can research your post-Sartre philosophers and thinkers until the sun melts, erislover, and you still won't find what you seek.Dude, I'm just trying to understand what the hell your're saying, and why the hell you're saying it. I'm not seeking anything; I'm rather comfortable with my worldview.
State the prime philosophical idea developed in the 20th Century that influences our world today.
Go --> _______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________ .

See? There ain't none.Well no shit. I don't have a "most favorite" movie, either, but that doesn't mean there were no good movies released in the 20th century.
But no, science, technology, and quantum physics didn't kill Philosophy, the dogmas of academia did.What dogmas? There aren't still philosophers writing? Or are you just not paying attention to them?
But I digress, what I think is that that you misunderstood my special application of the concept "Determinism".Likely so, I tend to understand words as I was raised or otherwise introduced to their use.
First off, I think that Determinism as an absolute Philosophy is inherently flawed by it's own definition. Obviously an absolutely deterministic Universe would not allow something to be born out of nothing.Well, then I suggest you investigate science a little more. This is not only obvious, but false.
I use of the concept sorta like William James ...pragmatically.This explains nothing to me, really. Sorry.
Secondly, the use of the word "philosophy" as meaning, "a separate rational investigation into the nature of existence, knowledge, and ethics." is no longer a viable tool of society today. Semantical constructions of belief systems, no matter how well constructed, without accompanying empirical data are simply clever word games, while religion and mathematics and tarot cards serve society well in their place.Your mistake, then, is understanding the scope of philosophy. It answers the question, "What are mathematics?" It also discusses the question, "Why may we use mathematics to understand the world around us?" Let us not forget the debates among mathematicians about which axioms are acceptable for use. Religion, of course, has philosophical elements. I find this so obvious that it is almost beyond my ability to conceive of anyone thinking differently. Religion was where a great amount of philosophical work has been done for centuries.
Thirdly, I am beginning to think that the internet is a poor vehicle for me to use when I try to convey my notions of philosophy. No matter how elaborate and intricate are my understandings, I end up giving up, and so express my thoughts in printed sound bites.Maybe you should just invent new words instead of changing the meaning of existing ones to suit your needs. People might understand you better.

Milum
01-30-2004, 02:46 PM
erisloverDude, I'm just trying to understand what the hell your're saying, and why the hell you're saying it. I'm not seeking anything; I'm rather comfortable with my worldview.

Sorry Dude, I misunderstood your interest in philosophy. Forgive me. But thank you anyway for the comments. It was rather refreshing to meet (so to speak) someone who is rather comfortable with his worldview. Later, Dude.