Hawking - philosophy is dead

How does science work? And what's all this about quantum mechanics?

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thalarch
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Re: Hawking - philosophy is dead

Post by thalarch »

It's one thing to copy and paste, another to understand.
Another useless and uninteresting remark in the spirit of issuing "Because I-say-so-isms" about historical figures and their works unfollowed by evidence. (Yes, I probably should use smilies more often, as on this occasion, but there's just something cheesy about the equivalent of banging on a gong to indicate a degree of facetiousness).
"Schelling claimed that the ideas or mental images in the mind are identical to the extended objects which are external to the mind. Schelling's 'absolute identity' or 'indifferentism' asserted that there is no difference between the subjective and the objective, that is, the ideal and the real." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_idealism
Not really the same as objective idealism is it?
What, you're suggesting an outside source to decide this rather than advising that we just fall into deep reflective meditiation here until a "fact" or an accepted classification about/of Schelling oozes inferentially from our theorizing arses? :)

In contrast to Berkeley's subjective idealism was objective idealism. Objective idealism is the view that the world out there is Mind communicating with our human minds. It is formulated by the three German successors of Kant. These were F.W.J. Schelling (aesthetic idealism), J.G. Fichte (moral idealism), and G.W.F. Hegel (dialectical idealism). Differences between subjective and objective idealism were not always clear-cut, however. For instance, Fichte's idealism was later called subjective in contrast to Schelling's objective variety, while Hegel's became known as absolute idealism. The term Objective Idealism was only sometimes used by Schelling, while the term Subjective Idealism was used by both, Schelling and Hegel, to put their own ideas in contrast to Fichte's position. http://www.philosophos.com/knowledge_ba ... ns_12.html

That, despite OI being used an umbrella term for all three varieities. On Fichte specifically:

The [Fichte's] doctrine is objective idealism. The Wissenschaftslehre, taken in connection with Fichte’s letter to Jacobi (1795) and his review of Schultz’s Aenesidemus in the Literatur-Zeitung for 1794, clearly teaches that the absolute Ego, or God, is objective, i.e., has existence beyond the finite Egos of which he is the underlying principle. Some of the historians of philosophy, notably Pfleiderer, have represented Fichte’s view at this period as subjective idealism. This is due, I think, to a misapprehension of Fichte’s method. --From The Philosophical Review, vol. 4 (1895), pp. 143-153. http://www.philosophyarchive.com/index. ... ion_of_God

Now someone might ask, Why the devil isn't Berkeley classified as being an Objective Idealist, since he also had a God outside mortal minds "perceiving" reality when they weren't? In regard to this, from the archive at http://www.philosophos.com again:

While Schelling's Objective idealism remained insignificant, the objective idealist with most influence is probably G. W. F. Hegel. Hegel agreed with Berkeley, that there is no such thing as matter in the materialist's sense, and that spirit is the essence and whole of reality. But he objected to the idea that God is separated from the world. Therefore reality is not God and the minds that God creates, but a single, absolute, all-inclusive mind, which Hegel referred to as "The Absolute Spirit" or simply "The Absolute". The Absolute Spirit is all of reality, no time, space, relation or event ever exists or occurs outside of the Absolute. As the Absolute also contains all possibilities in itself, it is not static, but constantly changing and progressing.

So you've done your homework.

What is panpsychist?
Too bad you didn't highlight that with neon-lights as an error on my part, because it was a grammatical one. I intended "panpsychic", not a person classification ("panpsychist"). Etymologically it is obviously "all" (pan-) and "mind" (psyche), with no global dualism or double-aspect conjoinings of mental and matter to be derived from such simplicity. Panpsychic is as fitting an adjective as any for designating a doctrine as concerning a "world-mind" or whatever related OI speculations. That "panpsychism" can feature the condition of a material universe with all its entities having mental attributes is an accidental add-on from individual philosophies; that is, panpsychic the adjective as used here does not refer to such panpsychism doctrines.
chaz wyman
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Re: Hawking - philosophy is dead

Post by chaz wyman »

thalarch wrote:
It's one thing to copy and paste, another to understand.
Another useless and uninteresting remark in the spirit of issuing "Because I-say-so-isms" about historical figures and their works unfollowed by evidence. (Yes, I probably should use smilies more often, as on this occasion, but there's just something cheesy about the equivalent of banging on a gong to indicate a degree of facetiousness).
"Schelling claimed that the ideas or mental images in the mind are identical to the extended objects which are external to the mind. Schelling's 'absolute identity' or 'indifferentism' asserted that there is no difference between the subjective and the objective, that is, the ideal and the real." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_idealism
Not really the same as objective idealism is it?
What, you're suggesting an outside source to decide this rather than advising that we just fall into deep reflective meditiation here until a "fact" or an accepted classification about/of Schelling oozes inferentially from our theorizing arses? :)

In contrast to Berkeley's subjective idealism was objective idealism. Objective idealism is the view that the world out there is Mind communicating with our human minds. It is formulated by the three German successors of Kant. These were F.W.J. Schelling (aesthetic idealism), J.G. Fichte (moral idealism), and G.W.F. Hegel (dialectical idealism). Differences between subjective and objective idealism were not always clear-cut, however. For instance, Fichte's idealism was later called subjective in contrast to Schelling's objective variety, while Hegel's became known as absolute idealism. The term Objective Idealism was only sometimes used by Schelling, while the term Subjective Idealism was used by both, Schelling and Hegel, to put their own ideas in contrast to Fichte's position. http://www.philosophos.com/knowledge_ba ... ns_12.html

That, despite OI being used an umbrella term for all three varieities. On Fichte specifically:

The [Fichte's] doctrine is objective idealism. The Wissenschaftslehre, taken in connection with Fichte’s letter to Jacobi (1795) and his review of Schultz’s Aenesidemus in the Literatur-Zeitung for 1794, clearly teaches that the absolute Ego, or God, is objective, i.e., has existence beyond the finite Egos of which he is the underlying principle. Some of the historians of philosophy, notably Pfleiderer, have represented Fichte’s view at this period as subjective idealism. This is due, I think, to a misapprehension of Fichte’s method. --From The Philosophical Review, vol. 4 (1895), pp. 143-153. http://www.philosophyarchive.com/index. ... ion_of_God

Now someone might ask, Why the devil isn't Berkeley classified as being an Objective Idealist, since he also had a God outside mortal minds "perceiving" reality when they weren't? In regard to this, from the archive at http://www.philosophos.com again:

While Schelling's Objective idealism remained insignificant, the objective idealist with most influence is probably G. W. F. Hegel. Hegel agreed with Berkeley, that there is no such thing as matter in the materialist's sense, and that spirit is the essence and whole of reality. But he objected to the idea that God is separated from the world. Therefore reality is not God and the minds that God creates, but a single, absolute, all-inclusive mind, which Hegel referred to as "The Absolute Spirit" or simply "The Absolute". The Absolute Spirit is all of reality, no time, space, relation or event ever exists or occurs outside of the Absolute. As the Absolute also contains all possibilities in itself, it is not static, but constantly changing and progressing.

So you've done your homework.

What is panpsychist?
Too bad you didn't highlight that with neon-lights as an error on my part, because it was a grammatical one. I intended "panpsychic", not a person classification ("panpsychist"). Etymologically it is obviously "all" (pan-) and "mind" (psyche), with no global dualism or double-aspect conjoinings of mental and matter to be derived from such simplicity. Panpsychic is as fitting an adjective as any for designating a doctrine as concerning a "world-mind" or whatever related OI speculations. That "panpsychism" can feature the condition of a material universe with all its entities having mental attributes is an accidental add-on from individual philosophies; that is, panpsychic the adjective as used here does not refer to such panpsychism doctrines.
With some knowledge of ancient Greek I can manage the etymology of most words, but the bland definition tells us little about what you consider this bit of discourse to be about, and is probably unlikely to reflect any 'doctrines' in philosophical discourse. The meaning of things tend to reflect more about the writer than any purist definition which, in my experience, rarely parallel its appearance in the history of philosophy.
Mike Strand
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Re: Hawking - philosophy is dead

Post by Mike Strand »

At the bottom of page 1, chaz wyman writes, "Atheists are Skeptics par excellence." Certainly, atheists are skeptics concerning the claims of theists.

A more extreme skeptic is illustrated below:

Theist: God exists.
Atheist: God does not exist.
Skeptic: Who or what are you saying is God? Do your ideas agree? Either of your claims can be refuted.

Or is this a portrayal of a cynic?
chaz wyman
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Re: Hawking - philosophy is dead

Post by chaz wyman »

Mike Strand wrote:At the bottom of page 1, chaz wyman writes, "Atheists are Skeptics par excellence." Certainly, atheists are skeptics concerning the claims of theists.

A more extreme skeptic is illustrated below:

Theist: God exists.
Atheist: God does not exist.
Skeptic: Who or what are you saying is God? Do your ideas agree? Either of your claims can be refuted.

There is no necessary distinction between atheist and skeptic, and there is no distinction between theist and skeptic.
Each affirmation involves a negation. Atheists are not Theists because they are skeptics.

Or is this a portrayal of a cynic?
Last edited by chaz wyman on Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mike Strand
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Re: Hawking - philosophy is dead

Post by Mike Strand »

Chaz, in the interests of fairness, please be more careful about quoting me. You put an extra paragraph in your quote of me, below the dialogue and above my comment about cynics, when I think you really meant to put it below your quote of me. By mistake (I hope), you've put words into my "mouth"!
chaz wyman
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Re: Hawking - philosophy is dead

Post by chaz wyman »

Mike Strand wrote:Chaz, in the interests of fairness, please be more careful about quoting me. You put an extra paragraph in your quote of me, below the dialogue and above my comment about cynics, when I think you really meant to put it below your quote of me. By mistake (I hope), you've put words into my "mouth"!
Sorted!
converge
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Re: Hawking - philosophy is dead

Post by converge »

Mike Strand wrote:At the bottom of page 1, chaz wyman writes, "Atheists are Skeptics par excellence." Certainly, atheists are skeptics concerning the claims of theists.

A more extreme skeptic is illustrated below:

Theist: God exists.
Atheist: God does not exist.
Skeptic: Who or what are you saying is God? Do your ideas agree? Either of your claims can be refuted.

Or is this a portrayal of a cynic?
I disagree, and agree with chaz. An atheist is a skeptic. A theist says "I believe in a god", the atheist says "Who or what are you saying is God? And is there any evidence that it exists?" The theist says "I don't know what the word means, and there is no evidence, but I still believe in it." The atheist, being a skeptic, says "That's kind of stupid." If he were to instead say "Hmm, a mostly meaningless word representing a thing that has no evidence? I guess that's likely, but I'm not sure", you're not being particularly skeptical. Skepticism is defined by not believing something unless there is a good reason to believe. It doesn't mean treating every statement as a 50/50 chance of being true or false.
Mike Strand
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Re: Hawking - philosophy is dead

Post by Mike Strand »

Thanks, chaz, for sorting it out. Using the computer tools of this forum can be tricky.

I appreciate your comments, Converge. I was thinking of "skepticism" more as doubting the efficacy of debate or pronouncements that aren't based on well-defined terms. My illustration of skepticism may be more an example of cynicism or plain ornerynous than skepticism -- that people in debate don't know what they're talking about.

A cynic or skeptic may have the mathematician's penchant for defining terms. Trouble is, mathematical objects are easier to define precisely than terms such as "love", "justice", or "God". Mathematics succeeds very well in coming up with provable statements about "dry" mathematical concepts and objects. This is more difficult in the realm of philosophy or religion. The skeptic may therefore suggest that much more attention be paid to defining the terms of debate than is typically the case.

As illustrated here, where there seems to be disagreement, even about how to define "skeptic"!
chaz wyman
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Re: Hawking - philosophy is dead

Post by chaz wyman »

Mike Strand wrote:Thanks, chaz, for sorting it out. Using the computer tools of this forum can be tricky.

I appreciate your comments, Converge. I was thinking of "skepticism" more as doubting the efficacy of debate or pronouncements that aren't based on well-defined terms. My illustration of skepticism may be more an example of cynicism or plain ornerynous than skepticism -- that people in debate don't know what they're talking about.

A cynic or skeptic may have the mathematician's penchant for defining terms. Trouble is, mathematical objects are easier to define precisely than terms such as "love", "justice", or "God". Mathematics succeeds very well in coming up with provable statements about "dry" mathematical concepts and objects. This is more difficult in the realm of philosophy or religion. The skeptic may therefore suggest that much more attention be paid to defining the terms of debate than is typically the case.

As illustrated here, where there seems to be disagreement, even about how to define "skeptic"!
There is always a big problem when defined labels are used to characterise people. I am writing a diss at the moment that demonstrates how stupid it is to apply the term "rationalist" or "Cartesian" to Spinoza, and that the dividing of the British Empiricists against the Continental Rationalists obscures more than it reveals. Spinoza might have said; omnis determinato est negatio, or as Adorno might have put it all affirmations involve negations.
Skeptic's real meaning is a case in point. Everyone has to be a skeptic. It is a vital first step that is necessary to challenge the credibility of any story you might hear. There are plenty of fakers and bullshitters on this forum and you simply have to pass all that you read through your personal skeptical lens.
For me, Scepticism is a state of mind that all must apply if not to be stupid credulous fools.
Mike Strand
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Re: Hawking - philosophy is dead

Post by Mike Strand »

I like your idea, chaz, that skepticism is a state of mind, an attitude of thinking about things and investigating before believing them.

About Hawking's claim that philosophy is dead: My understanding of philosophy makes me disagree with Hawking. If philosophy is "inquiry", or the love of wisdom, we can inquire about how effective the scientific method is for acquiring knowledge. That's epistemology. We can inquire about what science says "exists" or what "is" -- I think that's ontology. Many scientists, I believe, would say we've barely scratched the surface of what there is to know, and that some of what there is to know could be beyond our capacity to know, at least in our present state of evolution and with our present tools. So in a way, science and the scientific method are still subjects for philosophers to study.

Also, if science is a form of inquiry, then science is a branch of philosophy, and there are interesting and lively books and college courses on the Philosophy of Science.

So we have still another example of the issue of defining terms -- to Hawking, apparently, "philosophy" and "science" have meanings that differ from my own.
Mike Strand
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Re: Hawking - philosophy is dead

Post by Mike Strand »

Not to mention the title of the forum, "Philosophy of Science" we're on right now! Is there someone who could persuade Hawking to join us in this thread?
Mike Strand
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Re: Hawking - philosophy is dead

Post by Mike Strand »

More on Hawking: His books sell, and maybe his statement that philosophy is dead is more a publicity stunt than a serious position, to help sales of his current book.

It's also interesting that some of the discussions in this thread are tied up with definitions -- particularly the meaning of "philosophy", and even, in places, "dead". We can argue that Hawking is wrong using our definitions, and we guess at how Hawking might define these terms, to see if we can understand how he might justify his statement. But words are slippery things, and I think disagreement in debate is largely the result of disagreement on how the objects and concepts being debated are defined.

Too bad definitions can be boring, and paying attention to them can take the wind out of the sails of a lively discussion. I think part of the reason for the success of mathematics and science is the close attention to definitions and meanings.

OK, I've stated the obvious. Apologies to those of you with enough insight to know how to have fun on this forum.
Izzywizzy
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Re: Hawking - philosophy is dead

Post by Izzywizzy »

Hawking has now got to big for his boots, he isn`t a god ..philosophy will never die, whenever you ask "Why?" you are using philosophy. Philosophy tries to answer why and on many occasions can answer why, with the passage of time..but science has theories that change every 5yrs or so..science once believed the earth was flat..after a few years in the scheme of things science changed its postition and still now drugs are put on the market and taken off it the next year..science is the experiment, knowledge and learning is philosophy. to my knowledge evergreens don`t change but other plants do evolve, rocks don`t change or evolve but enviroments do, some things never change like the word love..like humans, physically we take 9 months to be created and be born this hasn`t changed.
chaz wyman
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Re: Hawking - philosophy is dead

Post by chaz wyman »

Izzywizzy wrote:Hawking has now got to big for his boots, he isn`t a god ..philosophy will never die, whenever you ask "Why?" you are using philosophy. Philosophy tries to answer why and on many occasions can answer why, with the passage of time..but science has theories that change every 5yrs or so..science once believed the earth was flat..after a few years in the scheme of things science changed its postition and still now drugs are put on the market and taken off it the next year..science is the experiment, knowledge and learning is philosophy. to my knowledge evergreens don`t change but other plants do evolve, rocks don`t change or evolve but enviroments do, some things never change like the word love..like humans, physically we take 9 months to be created and be born this hasn`t changed.
Science never believed that the earth was flat. Neither did philosophy.

Science has theory that grow and develop every five year - that improve every five years. you can hardly criticise science for improving.
There is not hard and fact distinction between science and philosophy as if they were competing disciplines with the same questions and different methods.
Science and Philosophy, since the 17thC have been batting for the same team.
Mike Strand
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Re: Hawking - philosophy is dead

Post by Mike Strand »

Thanks, chaz, for reminding us that scientific knowledge evolves as new facts become known, which is grounds for cautious optimism at most, not hubris. Hawking might know this, but showing such an attitude to potential readers is boring - poor publicity.
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