Skepticism is a Problem for the Pragmatist
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10-02-2017, 08:14 AM (This post was last modified: 10-02-2017 08:18 AM by Robvalue.)
RE: Skepticism is a Problem for the Pragmatist
I have already addressed all the questions you ask in return.

(10-02-2017 07:13 AM)Naielis Wrote:  
(10-02-2017 12:02 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  I would say that pragmatism is about "doing what works". I don't need to claim or assume anything is true with certainty; just that experience and logic seem to suggest that a certain action will probably produce a certain outcome. Personally, I make no claims of certainty about anything at all. I make pragmatic assumptions, such as, "Things seem to pretty much work the same way as they previously have." It doesn't matter if this is really true or not, as long as it works. It doesn't matter what this reality really is; my assumptions seem to work within the context of this reality. Ultimately, it doesn't matter what it is. It's all the same to me.

Pragmatism can use scepticism to develop useful beliefs and to avoid seemingly bad ones, to make the decisions which appear to have the most usefulness. Again, certainty is not a useful concept here. In the above example, the pragmatic assumption is based on evidence. All the experience of my life is positive evidence for this. Gravity seems to have worked the same for every day I've been alive, and so on. As soon as the evidence suggests something else might be going on and the approach no longer works, it will be time to reconsider.

Pragmatism has a wobbly foundation. There's no problem with being uncertain of certain things. But when every level of an epistemology is based on assumption, you have a weakened it. Pragmatism can use a skeptical attitude, but true skepticism is only achieved by skeptics. Pyrrho was an example of an ancient skeptic. Descartes is an Enlightenment skeptic. The question in skepticism is how you know anything you know. Also you mention gravity has worked every day you've been alive. How do you know this? You trust your memory. Is it reliable? And even if you can trust your memory, what about gravity existing today means it won't stop tomorrow? What about it existing on earth means it exists everywhere else? We have to solve the problem of induction. We have to form an argument that concludes uniformity exists.

As I said already, absolutely certainty is a useless concept. I've never heard a modern sceptic claim that they have it. You don't know that what you know is correct; that is the whole point of pragmatism. You don't know gravity won't stop working; as I already said, if that happens, you stop and rethink. Pragmatism makes the best of things. You do it it too, of course. Everyone does. Otherwise you'd be unable to act because you'd have "no idea" how to operate your muscles.

I don't know why you think there's a problem here. Are you claiming to have absolute truth?

(10-02-2017 07:27 AM)Naielis Wrote:  
(10-02-2017 12:57 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  They are abstract concepts. They exist conceptually. They are not "made of" anything. They are just ideas we come up with that help us understand things. Ultimately, they are only represented in reality by the configurations of our brains.

There is no evidence to suggest that abstract concepts can have any effect on reality. So if they do exist independently somewhere, it is irrelevant that they do.

What do you mean they are "objects"?

Concepts aren't made of anything? Then how do they exist? Are the laws of logic (referring to the truth they describe) abstract concepts having an effect on reality? They have no physical mass. And yet they are true of everything. They're true of existence itself. They're necessary truths. For existence to be coherent, they must be valid.

You are the one implying abstract concepts "exist", so it's up to you to explain what you mean. I've already stated that they don't literally exist, they are just represented by configurations in brain states.

You are, as I said in my video, confusing describing reality with precribing it. The "laws of logic" are of our invention, as ways of modelling reality. We don't know if they are true of everything, as you yourself said above. We don't know if they're necessary. You're just telling reality how to behave now, and you don't get to do that. Did you watch my video?

No, the concepts don't directly do something. "The concept of truth" doesn't act upon something. There may be underlying rules which govern how the universe works, but all we can ever do is model them. The rules don't "exist" in the same way as the things that the rules act upon. Insisting that they do is just asking malformed questions.

(10-02-2017 07:30 AM)Naielis Wrote:  
(10-02-2017 02:11 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  I have a video about this. We prescribe abstract concepts. We "create" them; they can be said to be objects within an abstract system.

We describe reality. We use abstract concepts to help us do that. It doesn't guarantee that any concept, however seemingly useful, actually corresponds to anything "real".




I think forming an abstract system could be helpful here. But I don't think it necessarily means they don't correspond to reality.

I didn't say they don't correspond; I said that we don't know for sure that they do. This is again your own objection.

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10-02-2017, 08:14 AM
RE: Skepticism is a Problem for the Pragmatist
(10-02-2017 07:27 AM)Naielis Wrote:  Are the laws of logic (referring to the truth they describe) abstract concepts having an effect on reality? They have no physical mass. And yet they are true of everything. They're true of existence itself. They're necessary truths. For existence to be coherent, they must be valid.

OK, so you seem to understand that the laws of logic are just descriptions of how reality works but then you seem to be envisioning them as actual things that force reality to behave in a certain way. That's strange. Why would you assume that reality couldn't operate differently? It might appear incoherent to us because we evolved in this reality but why assume that all possible realities must be coherent in our frame of reference?

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10-02-2017, 08:16 AM
RE: Skepticism is a Problem for the Pragmatist
(10-02-2017 08:10 AM)Unbeliever Wrote:  
(10-02-2017 08:08 AM)Naielis Wrote:  Also, could you linke some of the neuroscience you're referring to?

You do not understand.

Literally all neuroscience supports this.

If all neuroscience supports this, then there should be no problem with giving only some neuroscience links to justify the claim.

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10-02-2017, 08:19 AM
RE: Skepticism is a Problem for the Pragmatist
I’m not sure if this analogy works but it seems that Naielis is arguing for dualism from a similar perspective as how it was thought that vision worked and that is that light rays emanated from your eyes to “see” (Emission theory or Extramission theory). Consider That the incorporeal “rays” were from our bodies but not of our bodies.

Winer et al. (2002) have found evidence that as many as 50% of adults believe in emission theory. Winer, G. A., Cottrell, J. E., Gregg, V., Fournier, J. S., & Bica, L. A. (2002). Fundamentally misunderstanding visual perception: Adults' beliefs in visual emissions. American Psychologist, 57, 417-424.

Then again maybe not, only an observation (pun intended).

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10-02-2017, 08:29 AM
RE: Skepticism is a Problem for the Pragmatist
(10-02-2017 08:14 AM)unfogged Wrote:  
(10-02-2017 07:27 AM)Naielis Wrote:  Are the laws of logic (referring to the truth they describe) abstract concepts having an effect on reality? They have no physical mass. And yet they are true of everything. They're true of existence itself. They're necessary truths. For existence to be coherent, they must be valid.

OK, so you seem to understand that the laws of logic are just descriptions of how reality works but then you seem to be envisioning them as actual things that force reality to behave in a certain way. That's strange. Why would you assume that reality couldn't operate differently? It might appear incoherent to us because we evolved in this reality but why assume that all possible realities must be coherent in our frame of reference?

I understand that there are descriptive laws we use. But there is also laws of logic that are purely ontological. If the laws of logic are descriptions, what do they describe? There must be actual ontological restrictions on existence that these human laws describe. If there are no ontological restrictions, then things could contradict themselves at any time. If the laws of logic are merely based on observation of reality, what necessity is there for them to be true always and everywhere? They aren't observed externally. They're how the mind reasons at it's most basic level. They're assumed before you make any statement or think anything. These are basic laws, which cannot be subject to the scientific method.

"I think part of the appeal of mathematical logic is that the formulas look mysterious - you write backward Es!" - Hilary Putnam
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10-02-2017, 08:38 AM (This post was last modified: 10-02-2017 08:41 AM by Robvalue.)
RE: Skepticism is a Problem for the Pragmatist
You're telling reality how to behave again.

Why can't it contradict itself? Because you say so?

It may appear to contradict itself to us, but our understanding is bound to be woefully incomplete.

All we can do is model. Some people might find that unsatisfactory, but that's how it is.

"Reality" might be nothing like we perceive it, and there's not a damn thing anyone can do about it. We can't insist that anything corresponds as we think it does. We can just be pragmatic.

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10-02-2017, 08:39 AM
RE: Skepticism is a Problem for the Pragmatist
(10-02-2017 08:29 AM)Naielis Wrote:  I understand that there are descriptive laws we use. But there is also laws of logic that are purely ontological. If the laws of logic are descriptions, what do they describe? There must be actual ontological restrictions on existence that these human laws describe. If there are no ontological restrictions, then things could contradict themselves at any time. If the laws of logic are merely based on observation of reality, what necessity is there for them to be true always and everywhere? They aren't observed externally. They're how the mind reasons at it's most basic level. They're assumed before you make any statement or think anything. These are basic laws, which cannot be subject to the scientific method.

I agree they are axiomatic for us and that they are descriptive of how our reality works. What I disagree with is your claim that they could not be different because if they were then existence would not be coherent. You are merely saying that reality could not be different because if it were then it would be different and I don't see that you can justify the claim that reality must be as it is.

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10-02-2017, 08:42 AM
RE: Skepticism is a Problem for the Pragmatist
It's an argument from incredulity, really. He can't imagine things being any other way. We have no data.

Also... what is the point of any of this, anyway? What does trying to poke holes in the sceptic viewpoint achieve?

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10-02-2017, 08:43 AM
RE: Skepticism is a Problem for the Pragmatist
(10-02-2017 08:38 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  You're telling reality how to behave again.

Why can't it contradict itself? Because you say so? It may appear to contradict itself to us, but our understanding is bound to be woefully incomplete.

All we can do is model. Some people might find that unsatisfactory, but that's how it is.

No reality cannot contradict itself. It's not a model. It's self-evident knowledge aprehended by every mind. It isn't a model. It's your foundation. It's what you know inherently. It's how your mind operates. If it weren't, we couldn't have this conversation. I would say 2+2=4 and you would say yes, but it can also not equal 4. This is incomprehensible to any intellect, including your own.

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10-02-2017, 08:44 AM
RE: Skepticism is a Problem for the Pragmatist
(10-02-2017 08:42 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  It's an argument from incredulity, really. He can't imagine things being any other way. We have no data.

Also... what is the point of any of this, anyway? What does trying to poke holes in the sceptic viewpoint achieve?

Well there's no need to poke holes in skepticism. It pokes holes in itself. I'm trying to show that the questions skeptics ask pose a problem for pragmatists.

"I think part of the appeal of mathematical logic is that the formulas look mysterious - you write backward Es!" - Hilary Putnam
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