Western Philosophy is bankrupt

For all things philosophical.

Moderators: AMod, iMod

Kelly
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:04 am

Re: Western Philosophy is bankrupt

Post by Kelly »

No, philosophy is not love of wisdom. It's not enough. Religion and New Age movements love wisdom, but ultimately produce only shit. Philosophy is love of systemized thinking.
Chuckle, if Philosophy loves systemized thinking there is no evidence philosophers have slept with her. If that were the case, the union would have produced useful knowledge. The most logical assumption is that philosophers are either extremely impotent or else sterile but my guess is philosophers have never met systemized thinking.

kelly
User avatar
HexHammer
Posts: 3347
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 8:19 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: Western Philosophy is bankrupt

Post by HexHammer »

Conde Lucanor wrote:Religion and New Age movements love wisdom, but ultimately produce only shit. Philosophy is love of systemized thinking.
Wisdom is refined factual knowledge, religion and other such nonsens doesn't consort with facts.

You are creating your own reality.
User avatar
Arising_uk
Posts: 12313
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 2:31 am

Re: Western Philosophy is bankrupt

Post by Arising_uk »

Kuznetzova wrote:The bankruptcy continues to play out today on modern university campuses; particularly among people on campus who refer to themselves as "phenomenologists". They can be found in philosophy depts. ...
They can and hopefully they will be following Husserl and Merleau-Ponty's lead.
They can be found in Literary Theory depts. They can be found in Critical Theory depts, and they can be found teaching Comparative Studies. ...
None of which are Philosophy.
The essential thread that ties all these people together is their adherence to the axiom that they cannot be sure that there is a real world outside of them. ...
Thereby showing that you and they know nothing about Phenomenology from the philosophical perspective.
You will know when you see one because they will say something about "Post-colonial theory" or they will mention something about "existential psychology". ...
Both of which by their very definitions have little to do with philosophy.
Now instead of taking that position as theoretical postulate at the very edges of their knowledge (which I am completely open to!) , they instead take "No Objective World Exists" as a foundational pillar of how they operate and how they think. ...
Are you confusing "external" with "objective"?
It is the adherence to NO-objective-world as a foundational , axiomatic pillar, is where the bankruptcy takes place. Now please do not sit there and tell me "I've never seen them" or "Those people are a minority that don't count" or some such other marginalizing dismissal. Let me show you two examples of them which you can immediately interact with on the internet.. today.
I think you are.
...
I don't need to support Berkeley or Descartes to reveal how untimely your manifesto on naturalism is, and how absurd it is to make your call for western philosophy bankrupcy based on cartesianism. It's like calling modern science bankrupt because Newton didn't get it all right.
No that's a terrible analogy and that does not hold at all.
Actually it holds very well.
Let me explain why it does not match this situation. See with Newton's scientific theories, those propositions about the real world were taken at the edges of our knowledge. They were taken to be hypotheses to be subject to investigation. That is, their truth is tentative and subject to scrutiny. The difference with the phenomenologists, and other adherents to the cartesian tradition, is that they take "NO Objective World Exists" as a binding axiom -- an unquestionable truth sitting at the core of their knowledge. At the outset they assume its binding truth. It is not tentative with them, they are not merely proposing it -- they are demanding that it is true right out of the opening gate. That is a crucial difference, and that is why your silly analogy does not fit here.
You make the proposition to simple. You equate 'objective' with 'external' and ignore that all the 'world' is only 'the world' through the prism of our subjectivity. Hence the argument that 'objective' in the sense of being something that can be understood outside of the subject is a nonsense. Not saying there is not an external world, just you can't talk, with reason, about what it is, hence Kants noumena.
User avatar
Conde Lucanor
Posts: 672
Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:59 am

Re: Western Philosophy is bankrupt

Post by Conde Lucanor »

Kuznetzova wrote:The bankruptcy continues to play out today on modern university campuses; particularly among people on campus who refer to themselves as "phenomenologists". They can be found in philosophy depts. They can be found in Literary Theory depts. They can be found in Critical Theory depts, and they can be found teaching Comparative Studies. The essential thread that ties all these people together is their adherence to the axiom that they cannot be sure that there is a real world outside of them. You will know when you see one because they will say something about "Post-
colonial theory" or they will mention something about "existential psychology".

Now instead of taking that position as theoretical postulate at the very edges of their knowledge (which I am completely open to!) , they instead take "No Objective World Exists" as a foundational pillar of how they operate and how they think.
I see the point that you're trying to make. It could have been the departure for an interesting discussion. After all, relativism, post-colonial theory, comparative studies, etc., are all descendents of post-structuralism (specifically Derrida's, I believe) of which there have been many attempts to link with Husserl and Heidegger, the founders of Phenomenology. And undoubtedly, Descartes is at the center of Husserl and Heidegger's meditations. So, finding the germ of today's "descentered" subject in Phenomenology and all the way back to Descartes, is a line of argument that could prove to be
intellectually profitable. It's a project that I find appealing, too, since I'm more inclined towards the old "centered" tradition that these guys supposedly have "deconstructed". Unfortunately, that's not quite your aim, because that would put you in the same battlefield of "Western Philosophy", in which different traditions and individual perspectives collide, allowing differences (either deep or subtle) even among those who are supposed to be members of the same school of thought, and also allowing similiarities among opposite forces. The differences can be found betweeen Husserl and Heidegger and between both of them and Descartes. We see that marxists are confronted with post-colonialists, but still they share some common conceptions. Renowned structuralists are labeled post-structuralists depending on which agenda is being tried to advance. Even the whole postmodernism movement itself is said to be pursuing the ethos of modernism. Phenomenology itself, in a broad sense, not always ends in Idealism, that is, in the negation of objectivity or the noumenon. So, the whole fictional tale of an epistemological unity, the "essential thread that ties all these people together", written in full conspiracy-theory fashion in your manifesto-type post that inaugurated this thread, does not hold water.

Even though I don't hang around philosophy departments, I share the impression that most that comes out of academic circles denotes a decadent state of Humanities. But I don't think it has only to do with the evolution of ideas, but also (and specially because of) how some intellectual fields are configured when they become institutionalized as "professional practices" or "careers" in the context of capitalism. The elite of Descartes-type philosophers that wrote centuries ago have little in common with the unaccountable bulk of professional philosophers thrown at the world by academia (which looking at the positive side, brings undoubtedly enormous benefits, too).
Kuznetzova wrote:It is the adherence to NO-objective-world as a foundational , axiomatic pillar, is where the bankruptcy takes place. Now please do not sit there and tell me "I've never seen them" or "Those people are a minority that don't count" or some such other marginalizing dismissal.

Let me show you two examples of them which you can immediately interact with on the internet.. today. 69721953

Mathew Segall http://www.youtube.com/user/0ThouArtThat0/videos

Cory Anton http://www.youtube.com/user/Professoranton/videos
Well...certainly these pretentious wannabe philosophers (sorry, I couldn't watch their take on any subject for long, it's all so embarrassingly stupid) represent a problem at many levels of modern culture. I'm with you in the need to denounce it. But unless you show me these guys have something more than a small level of influence in social networks, I mean, a real driving force for a particular way of thinking in academia or publishing world, I am forced to dismiss them as marginal. Let's get real with folks like Enrique Dussel or Ramón Grosfoguel, which I'm more than willing to battle against from my humble trench, but they are real thinkers (not "philosophers" per se, but their interdisciplinary approach always makes them deal with epistemology). They have interesting things to say about Descartes, too. And they advance their post-colonial theory agenda not based on the abstract, idealist, universal premise of "no objective world", but on the concrete premise of a locally experienced, material objective world.

And I completely agree with Arising_UK in that you are confusing "objective" with "external".
Kuznetzova wrote: Well this is you talking, this is not science. This is not biology. In your earlier post you just said it as a given fact, as if to attribute your opinion to established science.
I'm not sure I understand what you meant there. If you don't mind, please ellaborate a little more.
Kuznetzova wrote:You have completely dodged what I actually said to you. You attributed "Survival of the Fittest" to Darwin and you acted like it was a valid summary of the theory of evolution by Natural Selection. Number one, it is no such thing, and number two, Darwin neither wrote nor said the phrase during his entire life. I then told you that the phrase was coined in a piece of writing that was not even a scientific article or publication. It was a purely political book. (I believe the actual book that the phrase appears in is Herbert Spencer's Man Versus State. But you might want to fact-check me on that one).
I never said "survival of the fittest" was phrased by Darwin himself, although I did assume it could be equivalent of "natural selection". But let's see, this is quoted from Darwin's "On Origin of Species", chapter III, fifth edition:

"I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term natural selection, in order to mark its relation to man's power of selection. But the expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer, of the Survival of the Fittest, is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient. We have seen that man by selection can certainly produce great results, and can adapt organic beings to his own uses, through the accumulation of slight but useful variations, given to him by the hand of Nature."

Now, is it "On Origin of Species" a political book, too?
Kuznetzova wrote: I never brought up "sociobiology" ever in any part of my post. You did.
If you stir lemon juice, water and sugar, you don't need to call "lemonade" for me to know what it is.
Kuznetzova wrote: Apparently I made the mistake of assuming I am interacting with a person who already has the facts in front of him. Homo sapiens are said to be the predecessors of a hominid line that began 6 million years ago. Six. Six million. Dinosaurs were the dominant apex predator as well as the dominant herbivores for over 250 million years. There was no change in their brains. No change in their vision capacity. No measurable change in their intelligence. (They did however, grow really large and start to carry around very heavy body armor.) If you are suggesting some Telos in nature, I just ain't seeing it. The facts are not lining up with such a proposition.
I don't know where you are going with this. I made an off-topic commentary to your off-topic commentary, I wasn't trying to prove anything or suggesting some Telos in nature, which is precisely what sociobiologists do. But anyway, if my memory from high school biology classes does not deceive me, hominid lines didn't burst into existence out of nothing. They are mammals and came from ancestors that were also mammals. And mammals were around by the same time the dinosaurs were. So, if one day, boom, a cataclysmic event happens and the dinosaurs go extinct, and surviving mammals continue to evolve until the first hominids begin to appear, it would be a reasonable hypothesis to propose that if dinosaurs had not gone extinct, and the existing natural conditions prevailed for a long time, mammals might have evolved differently, and perhaps (just perhaps) hominids might have not appeared in their evolution line. I'm just speculating, I'm not laying out new facts, but just using known facts to reach a logical conclusion about possible scenarios.
Conde Lucanor wrote: You brought up the philosophy of naturalism, and that immediately calls for a debate on determinism (you should add it to the philosophical Jiu-Jitsu).
Kuznetzova wrote:I did not call for a debate at all. Where are you getting that? You might try responding to what I actually wrote.
That's exactly what I did. And yes, you brought determinism to the table the moment you flashed the philosophy of naturalism when facing the problems of the human condition.
Conde Lucanor wrote: I don't need to support Berkeley or Descartes to reveal how untimely your manifesto on naturalism is, and how absurd it is to make your call for western philosophy bankrupcy based on cartesianism. It's like calling modern science bankrupt because Newton didn't get it all right.
Kuznetzova wrote:No that's a terrible analogy and that does not hold at all. Let me explain why it does not match this situation. See with Newton's scientific theories, those propositions about the real world were taken at the edges of our knowledge. They were taken to be hypotheses to be subject to investigation. That is, their truth is tentative and subject to scrutiny. The difference with the phenomenologists, and other adherents to the cartesian tradition, is that they take "NO Objective World Exists" as a binding axiom -- an unquestionable truth sitting at the core of their knowledge. At the outset they assume its binding truth. It is not tentative with them, they are not merely proposing it -- they are demanding that it is true right out of the opening gate. That is a crucial difference, and that is why your silly analogy does not fit here.
You missed the analogy and ended up tangled with the demarcation problem, because you focused on the terms of the relationship, in its content (which you tried to match), rather than the relationship itself, which is what an analogy is supposed to reveal. It doesn´t matter that it's Newton, Darwin or Einstein, it doesn't even matter that it's modern science. What matters is that you can't dismiss an entire body of studies and all of its epistemological traditions based on the flawness of single contributors to that tradition. You can't, unless you figure out the demise of the central paradigm of that tradition. That's what creationists and Intelligent Design advocates try to do (a monumental failure, of course), for example, when they dismiss evolution theory as a whole, looking just at the holes in the structure, rather than focusing on what gives strength to the structure itself. Sure, you can choose the proposition "no objective world exists" as the binding axiom, the central tenet or paradigm of Western Philosophy and then aim your weapons at it, but as explained before, I don't buy this perfect, dogmatic, uncritical, epistemological unity. The intellectual world is far, far more complex than that.
User avatar
Kuznetzova
Posts: 583
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2012 12:01 pm

Re: Western Philosophy is bankrupt

Post by Kuznetzova »

But unless you show me these guys have something more than a small level of influence in social networks, I mean, a real driving force for a particular way of thinking in academia or publishing world, I am forced to dismiss them as marginal.
So you basically turned around said they are a minority that doesn't count, right after I told you I did not want to hear that from you. With all complete honesty, I declare to you that Matt Segall and Corey Anton are absolutely symptomatic of how philosophy actually goes on within American university campuses. They proselytize books such as Raymond Tallis' "Aping of Mankind". They even hold the book up to their webcams as if to sell it. Tallis is a man who gives lectures at events that are hosted by Catholic Seminaries. His appearances are often flanked by lectures given by priests who are in traditional garb. These people are conspicuously peddling woo-woo. Unlike some people on this forum, they are not trying to be secret about their motivations. This stuff is deep into "culture war" territory. The validity of the political and moral positions of the church are trying to be buttressed against a so-called "scientific worldview", which they all claim is dangerous in one way or another.
"I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term natural selection, in order to mark its relation to man's power of selection. But the expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer, of the Survival of the Fittest, is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient. We have seen that man by selection can certainly produce great results, and can adapt organic beings to his own uses, through the accumulation of slight but useful variations, given to him by the hand of Nature." Now, is it "On Origin of Species" a political book, too?
Origin is absolutely not a political book. I am aware of the fact that Origin had 5 "editions" that went to print. I am also aware that the only the first edition is the one that has survived as the classic. (Biologists of our time have dispensed with the succeeding four) Above you are quoting from the Fifth Edition. I will basically call this as a I see it. You are attempting to use this anecdote to pretend as if Darwinian Natural Selection is equivalent to the ruthless politico-ethnic-racist attitudes of Herbert Spencer. And you have engaged in a QUOTE MINE to shore up your claim that the two are linked.
If you stir lemon juice, water and sugar, you don't need to call "lemonade" for me to know what it is.
And now you admit you are attempting to equivocate or link evolutionary biology to the horrors of political totalitarianism in the 20th century. Your lemonade and sugar are the quote-mines above.
I don't know where you are going with this. I made an off-topic commentary to your off-topic commentary, I wasn't trying to prove anything or suggesting some Telos in nature, which is precisely what sociobiologists do. But anyway, if my memory from high school biology classes does not deceive me, hominid lines didn't burst into existence out of nothing. They are mammals and came from ances
Let me try to simplify this issue before you derail it even further. We have Herbert Spencer saying the poor people of a society should be liquidated in order to make room of the "more fit". And we have Hitler in Ch.11 declaring the "higher races" should not intermix with "the lower races". In both instances we have Spencer and Hitler buttressing this entire argument on the claim that nature operates this way naturally, and that we shoud not try to fight this "natural order of things". Hitler is even going to say that there is a geological telos in nature to produce higher forms of being. The exact quote is
If Nature does not wish that weaker individuals should mate with the stronger, she wishes even less that a superior race should intermingle with an inferior one; because in such a case all her efforts, throughout hundreds of thousands of years, to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being, may thus be rendered futile.
Hitler is proposing that nature just logically contains an "effort" to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being.


Let us look at the fossil record. There is no evidence of such. Indeed the "effort to establish" apparently got stuck for 257 million years in three geological epochs of the dinosaurs. Homo sapiens developed their intelligence and technology at lightning pace in the small space of 6 million years. The facts of our planet do not show any evidence for any over-arching telos. Many species have not changed in 300 million years, including some species of shark , and the horseshoe crabs. Change is sometimes fast, sometimes slow. Sometimes it gets stuck, and in some species there is little or no change at all. Hitler's claims were bloviating nonsense. We can connect Spencer to Hitler with more than quote-mined anecdotes. He practically quotes the guy a dozen times in Mein Kampf.


And we come full circle. "Doesn't evolution by NS mean that human societies should be at war with each other in order to see who comes out on top? To see who is the superior?" No it doesn't entail that at all. There is no guarantee that "higher stage of being" will be achieved through that means or any other we know about. It certainly did not happen on the planet before. The dinosaurs were , large violent, strong animals. Their brains did not evolve even after 257 million years.(we only needed 6). They just got bigger and grew more teeth and body armor. Eventually, hollow-boned birds with feathers prevailed. Certainly little proto-bird dinosaurs the size of chickens did not "defeat T-Rex in a clean fight". Think about it. Feathery chicken-sized dinosaurs survived for reasons totally unrelated to violent competition.
User avatar
Arising_uk
Posts: 12313
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 2:31 am

Re: Western Philosophy is bankrupt

Post by Arising_uk »

Kuznetzova wrote:... Tallis is a man who gives lectures at events that are hosted by Catholic Seminaries. His appearances are often flanked by lectures given by priests who are in traditional garb. These people are conspicuously peddling woo-woo. ...
He is also an avowed atheist and a qualified doctor so hardly 'woo-woo'.
Also,
wiki wrote:He is on the list of Distinguished Supporters of the British Humanist Association.[14] Tallis is also a Patron of Dignity in Dying. On 15 September 2010, Tallis, along with 54 other public figures, signed an open letter published in The Guardian, stating their opposition to Pope Benedict XVI's state visit to the UK.
So I wonder at why you wish to deny the atheist the company of the theist?

What on earth do you mean by "priests who are in traditional garb"? What do you think they should wear?

That he takes a philosophical position on what neuroscience can and cannot say about consciousness and attacks the kind of 'scientism' with respect to philosophy of mind that you advocate is not an unusual thing in the history of philosophy.
User avatar
Conde Lucanor
Posts: 672
Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:59 am

Re: Western Philosophy is bankrupt

Post by Conde Lucanor »

Kuznetzova wrote:
But unless you show me these guys have something more than a small level of influence in social networks, I mean, a real driving force for a particular way of thinking in academia or publishing world, I am forced to dismiss them as marginal.
So you basically turned around said they are a minority that doesn't count, right after I told you I did not want to hear that from you.
You made a claim that Western Philosophy, as a whole, is bankrupt, because it's supposed to suffer from a fundamental flaw introduced by Descartes some centuries ago. No matter what they do, your story goes, every philosopher is contaminated by this epistemological failure. You then find two guys in internet that seem to be quite convincing examples of "contaminated philosophers" and request not to label them as marginal. I don't know why you did that, when you could have just simply pointed at Deepak Chopra, who is very famous, has a lot of followers and sells millions of books. But anyway, it's OK to have a bad opinion of this highly especulative, ethereal, nonsensical type of philosophy, just the same way that it is OK to have a bad opinion of radical naturalism and empiricism in science. That does not make science as a whole bankrupt, suffering from a fundamental flaw that makes it impossible to produce any valuable knowledge. I could show some ridiculous "bad science" guys from Youtube and call them "absolutely symptomatic of how science actually goes", but that won't prove anything.
Kuznetzova wrote: With all complete honesty, I declare to you that Matt Segall and Corey Anton are absolutely symptomatic of how philosophy actually goes on within American university campuses. They proselytize books such as Raymond Tallis' "Aping of Mankind". They even hold the book up to their webcams as if to sell it. Tallis is a man who gives lectures at events that are hosted by Catholic Seminaries. His appearances are often flanked by lectures given by priests who are in traditional garb. These people are conspicuously peddling woo-woo. Unlike some people on this forum, they are not trying to be secret about their motivations. This stuff is deep into "culture war" territory. The validity of the political and moral positions of the church are trying to be buttressed against a so-called "scientific worldview", which they all claim is dangerous in one way or another.
Believe me, I'm all against the woo-woo, too. All this pseudoscience quantum shit I have denounced it myself other times. I'm aware that the old supernatural interpretations of reality that were severely discredited by the triumphs of natural and social sciences (mythical thought, gnosticism, religion), which were basically plain superstition, have come back disguised as something else (so well that a guy like Steve Jobs fell for it and died). Usually they pose as science or philosophy to gain some credibility, but other than that, they really don't care about method, knowledge, logic, objective truths. They will throw them away whenever is needed to advance their supernatural dogmas. Take this guy, William Lane Craig, for example, who is nothing but a preacher, but gets a lot of attention as a supposed "analytic philosopher". Intellectual kitsch, alright, but just a symptom of the overall kitsch that prevails in our society.

So, yeah, I also think contemporary philosophy is in pretty bad shape, as is general cultural itself, but not bankrupt because of a fundamental, hidden flaw, which would force us to discard it completely in the face of a new paradigm. Those extreme positions usually serve no good. So I wouldn't pretend to restore metaphysics to its old reputation, nor I would pretend to declare science as the new king. I advocate for interdisciplinarity, for different sciences sharing knowledge among them. That means natural and social sciences will always have a epistemological (philosophical) base and philosophy will always have to incorporate facts about nature and human society discovered by other sciences. I believe that would make a great combination to get rid of all the woo-woo. Unfortunately, sociobiologists, evolutionary psychologists, and all the advocates of radical naturalism (which is a philosophical stance) are making matters more complicated, actually eroding the philosophical base that is needed to battle against superstition and all the nonsense. They could attack only the woo-woo peddling, as you call it, but they decided to attack philosophy as a whole, at the same time they assume (unknowingly, I suppose) naive philosophical positions. Since they assume they don't have a philosophical stance, they take little care of where they are stepping on.
Kuznetzova wrote:
"I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term natural selection, in order to mark its relation to man's power of selection. But the expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer, of the Survival of the Fittest, is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient. We have seen that man by selection can certainly produce great results, and can adapt organic beings to his own uses, through the accumulation of slight but useful variations, given to him by the hand of Nature." Now, is it "On Origin of Species" a political book, too?
Origin is absolutely not a political book. I am aware of the fact that Origin had 5 "editions" that went to print. I am also aware that the only the first edition is the one that has survived as the classic. (Biologists of our time have dispensed with the succeeding four) Above you are quoting from the Fifth Edition.
Survived "as a classic"? Come on! I guess that not knowing your sources and having to face the fact that Darwin said just exactly what you claimed with extreme confidence he had never said, suddenly gives new meaning to the term "marginal dismissal". Those other 5 editions don't count, right?
Kuznetzova wrote:I will basically call this as a I see it. You are attempting to use this anecdote to pretend as if Darwinian Natural Selection is equivalent to the ruthless politico-ethnic-racist attitudes of Herbert Spencer. And you have engaged in a QUOTE MINE to shore up your claim that the two are linked.
Quote mining is quoting out of context, but that's not even close to what happened here. I will suggest that before you express publicly that someone "absolutely never said" something, be pretty sure about it, so you don't end up facing a quote that debunks your claim.

In any case, you are completely in straw man mode here. I absolutely never said (you can "quote-mine" me if you wish) or pretended that Natural Selection is the equivalent of "ruthless politico-ethnic-racist attitudes". That's a long way from my assertion that "sociobiology tends to use natural determinism to impose a final cause to human action" in response to your claim that "mental categories of humans are related to our survival values". That anyone can extract, as a logical consequence, a racist theory from this naturalistic approach to human society, seems obvious, but my point has never been other than "natural determinism imposing a final cause to human action". You then claimed that no one in biology has been deterministic and political (conveniently ignoring sociobiologist Edward Wilson), and that Herbert Spencer never wrote about biology in his book Principles of Biology, and that Darwin never said something that would support Spencer's affirmations. In every instance I proved you wrong, but I remind you, my point is about natural deteminism, not racism.
Kuznetzova wrote:
If you stir lemon juice, water and sugar, you don't need to call "lemonade" for me to know what it is.
And now you admit you are attempting to equivocate or link evolutionary biology to the horrors of political totalitarianism in the 20th century. Your lemonade and sugar are the quote-mines above.
Straw man again. I have never linked anything that you have said. You are the one who brought the link to racism to prove your argument, not me. Basically your argument was "if a link between natural selection and human action (the ingredients of our lemonade) were political and not scientific, we would have found the germ of racist theories in science. The germ of racist theories have not been found in science, therefore, the link between natural selection and human action is scientific". But I have showed both your first and second premises are wrong.
Kuznetzova wrote:
I don't know where you are going with this. I made an off-topic commentary to your off-topic commentary, I wasn't trying to prove anything or suggesting some Telos in nature, which is precisely what sociobiologists do. But anyway, if my memory from high school biology classes does not deceive me, hominid lines didn't burst into existence out of nothing. They are mammals and came from ances
Let me try to simplify this issue before you derail it even further. We have Herbert Spencer saying the poor people of a society should be liquidated in order to make room of the "more fit". And we have Hitler in Ch.11 declaring the "higher races" should not intermix with "the lower races". In both instances we have Spencer and Hitler buttressing this entire argument on the claim that nature operates this way naturally, and that we shoud not try to fight this "natural order of things". Hitler is even going to say that there is a geological telos in nature to produce higher forms of being. The exact quote is
If Nature does not wish that weaker individuals should mate with the stronger, she wishes even less that a superior race should intermingle with an inferior one; because in such a case all her efforts, throughout hundreds of thousands of years, to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being, may thus be rendered futile.
Hitler is proposing that nature just logically contains an "effort" to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being.


Let us look at the fossil record. There is no evidence of such. Indeed the "effort to establish" apparently got stuck for 257 million years in three geological epochs of the dinosaurs. Homo sapiens developed their intelligence and technology at lightning pace in the small space of 6 million years. The facts of our planet do not show any evidence for any over-arching telos. Many species have not changed in 300 million years, including some species of shark , and the horseshoe crabs. Change is sometimes fast, sometimes slow. Sometimes it gets stuck, and in some species there is little or no change at all. Hitler's claims were bloviating nonsense. We can connect Spencer to Hitler with more than quote-mined anecdotes. He practically quotes the guy a dozen times in Mein Kampf.


And we come full circle. "Doesn't evolution by NS mean that human societies should be at war with each other in order to see who comes out on top? To see who is the superior?" No it doesn't entail that at all. There is no guarantee that "higher stage of being" will be achieved through that means or any other we know about. It certainly did not happen on the planet before. The dinosaurs were , large violent, strong animals. Their brains did not evolve even after 257 million years.(we only needed 6). They just got bigger and grew more teeth and body armor. Eventually, hollow-boned birds with feathers prevailed. Certainly little proto-bird dinosaurs the size of chickens did not "defeat T-Rex in a clean fight". Think about it. Feathery chicken-sized dinosaurs survived for reasons totally unrelated to violent competition.
From dinosaurs to Hitler? You are digressing. What exactly did you put into that lemonade?
Wyman
Posts: 974
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2014 2:21 pm

Re: Western Philosophy is bankrupt

Post by Wyman »

The eyes of George Berkeley and John Locke were blind to the chief spectral component of sunlight. Mull that over.
There aren't too many Lockean or Berkeley idealists out there. Didn't you get to second semester in your undergraduate philosophy class? Hume, Kant? Anti-foundationalist philosophers are probably in the majority, actually. Recently, among big names are Wittgenstein, Sellars, Quine, Rorty.

Where is the discussion of value in any of these writers? Is the human being a robot, cleanly and logically deducing shapes and regularities from its environment? Or do human beings live in a mental world of valuation? What do you really think is the case? Those things which are conducive to our reproduction all feel pleasurable -- while those things which run contrary create pain and suffering. Why did this simple equation elude the "Greatest Minds" of Europe?
John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham went to great lengths to create a value system based on pleasure and pain as quantifiable elements. I think every philosopher who wrote on ethics has addressed this 'simple equation.'

Your criticisms are valid in places, but not original.
User avatar
Kuznetzova
Posts: 583
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2012 12:01 pm

Re: Western Philosophy is bankrupt

Post by Kuznetzova »

That's a long way from my assertion that "sociobiology tends to use natural determinism to impose a final cause to human action" in response to your claim that "mental categories of humans are related to our survival values".
I never brought up sociobiology. You did. If I have said that "mental categories of humans are related to our survival values" that was in the context of fighting against (historically-entrenched) claims that the human brain is a pure, unadulterated blank slate from birth that learns about the world through pure bayesian updates of stimuli. As if we are logical robots who coolly calculate the environment starting from platonic geometric principles. I already laid those arguments out in fine detail, and so I won't do so again. How in the world you pulled that into a discussion of sociobiology is perplexing and completely senseless. You have yet to produce any rational reason why you saw a conneciton between them.
You then claimed that no one in biology has been deterministic and political (conveniently ignoring sociobiologist Edward Wilson),
No. I didn't say that at all. I said our modern understanding of biology does not support any political ideology one way or the other. (It dissolves all of the them to cultural illusion. See below).
and that Herbert Spencer never wrote about biology in his book Principles of Biology,
First that is not what I said at all. And second, you are quote-mining again. I said that the 'survival of the fittest' as applied to human poverty and politics was from a book titled Man vs. State. I then pointed out that Man vs. State is not a work of biology or a work of science. "Principles of Biology" was not a standalone book. It was one section of a larger work that Spencer wrote. I don't consider Spencer a biologist. Him compiling things in a section of a philosophy book don't count.
90% of what Spencer wrote and published during his life was not science. You are coming back on this forum and saying "Oh Look! I found a section in Spencer's marginal writing titled: Principles of Biology! I win!" This is stupid. You are quote-mining.
and that Darwin never said something that would support Spencer's affirmations.
No that's not exactly what I meant to communicate. And only through quote-mining were you able to try to produce a response to that. It is very peculiar that that Darwin would ever affirm Spencer, or it may be the case that he was mis-quoting him himself. Darwin was aware of the production of variation by his own theory, because he himself discovered natural selection as a means to create and promote that variation. He wrote the theory to explain that variation seen in nature. This is why the title of his book is "On the Origin of the Species", meaning in modern parlance "On the origin of (those variations seen in wild organisms)".
From dinosaurs to Hitler? You are digressing. What exactly did you put into that lemonade?
You did not read nor even attempt to process what I said there. Hitler has made a claim about how "nature works to establish a higher stage of being". There is no evidence for such. Dinosaurs dominated the land as apex predators for 257 million years, and their brains did not successively become more intelligent. If this process were naturally inevitable (as Hitler claims), then then there was way more than enough time for an intelligent dinosaur to overcome the "lower dinosaurs" and establish a so-called "higher stage of being". It didn't happen.

Single-celled organisms were not "destroyed and displaced" by their superior multicellular versions. It is 2014 AD, and the biosphere is still covered with all sorts of variations of single-called bacteria. And the soil outside your window is teeming with variations of fungus. Fungus should have been displaced and destroyed by "higher stages" long ago. But there it grows. In fact, fungus plays a pivotal role in the nitrogen cycle of the topsoil. Life needs fungus. Plants exist by means of it.




That anyone can extract, as a logical consequence, a racist theory from this naturalistic approach to human society, seems obvious,
You are completely wrong. Our modern theories do not entail that at all, nor can racism be "extracted as a logical consequence". Modern theories of biology instead almost immediately lead to a conclusions that
  • + Life has no intrinsic meaning,
  • + Furthermore, human values have no meaning.
  • + From the perspective there is no greater and lesser, no lower nor higher. The neanderthals go extinct, while flies that lay maggots on dung do just fine. (How do you extract "heroism" out of that situation? I don't know. You tell me.)
  • + No telelogy to life,
  • + Humans are just another species. Another variation among other successive variations.
  • + Our deep-seated psychologies of national identity, and heroic action are marginalized as illusions in our minds related to mythologies of the self and of personal identity.
In the end of all this we gain the currently-operating textbook definition of evolution. "Evolution" is defined as changes in the frequency of traits in a population. Period. End of story. No higher races, no lower races, no telos. No destruction of the weak by the strong to establish higher stages. None of that crap. No over-arching meta-narratives. Organisms are machines that replicate genes. Genes are composed of particles. Particles moving in a void.
Do not think for a second that consulting a science textbook will lead to a verification and validation of your cultural, political, or mythological worldviews. Instead the opposite will happen. You will find that living things are containers that carry genes around in order to make copies of those genes. There are no heroes , and no villains. Parasitism and bacterial plagues and outbreaks of deadly viruses in Africa are the world we live in . Bacteria do not kill us out of evil or malice. They kill us because they are molecular machines who have been programmed by evolution to blindly make copies of themselves. Sometimes these bacteria live inside us in harmony; in symbiosis. Other times they kill us.
The only reason that any of us get viral infection is because the cells of our body are blind, dumb, chemical machines. The very cells in your tissues make copies of the virion right away, as long as the viral DNA is squirted into the right location in the "machinery". No. Seriously. There is no malice, no triumph , and no reward. Only mechanical, chemical reactions.

That which creates a copy is sustained by the biosphere. There is no rhyme or reason beyond that principle. There is no underlying telos. There is no grand exciting movie plot where the Hero wins.
Last edited by Kuznetzova on Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Conde Lucanor
Posts: 672
Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:59 am

Re: Western Philosophy is bankrupt

Post by Conde Lucanor »

Kuznetzova wrote:I never brought up sociobiology. You did. If I have said that "mental categories of humans are related to our survival values" that was in the context of fighting against (historically-entrenched) claims that the human brain is a pure, unadulterated blank slate from birth that learns about the world through pure bayesian updates of stimuli. As if we are logical robots who coolly calculate the environment starting from platonic geometric principles. I already laid those arguments out in fine detail, and so I won't do so again. How in the world you pulled that into a discussion of sociobiology is perplexing and completely senseless. You have yet to produce any rational reason why you saw a conneciton between them.
Are we back to the lemonade thing again? Let me try to clarify this again: you didn't mention the word "sociobiology", which I sense you had not heard before. Neither you have mentioned Evolutionary Psychology, which is sibling to sociobiology. Alright, that's perfectly clear. But you have directly implied them, since your statements and the statements from sociobiology and Evolutionary Psychology are basically the same. In fact, the champion of Evolutionary Psychology, Steven Pinker, starts his best selling book, named (not unconveniently for the purposes of our demonstration) The Blank State, with a take at (no wonder) Locke and Descartes, and the theory that you just explained.

So what we have here is not my inability to "produce any rational reason" why I saw a connection between your statements and sociobiology, but your obvious failure to recognize the theoretical terrain in which you are standing. You may think you are on Earth, when you really are on the Moon. It's easy to understand that you find it "perplexing and completely senseless". That explains also why you think your statements constitute "new fundamental axioms", despite the fact that they have been hanging around for quite a while. So I recommend you start getting familiar with your theoretical framework, so at least we both know what you're actually fighting for.
Kuznetzova wrote:I said our modern understanding of biology does not support any political ideology one way or the
other.
That's true for biology, given its scope, limited to life forms and their natural environment. But more than often, from the field of biology some leap up to explore other fields in which biologists are not competent, and their tools and methods become useless, as it is the case in studies of a particular life form called humans. We may say, for example, that the laws of physics apply in biology, but we don't expect any competent scientist to explain biological phenomena as the direct transposition of physical laws to the realm of living organisms, although they ultimately can be reduced to such interactions. You don't predict the movements of a shark with Newton's laws of motion. Just the same, you should not expect any competent scientist to explain human agency as the direct transposition of biological laws to the realm of human societies. But that's exactly what Evolutionary Psychology and Sociobiology, behind the flagship of biology, pretend. And by doing so, they open up the door to teleology and determinism, which then allow the emergence of political doctrines that exploit apparent parallels with biological systems.
Kuznetzova wrote:First that is not what I said at all. And second, you are quote-mining again. I said that the 'survival of the fittest' as applied to human poverty and politics was from a book titled Man vs. State. I then pointed out that Man vs. State is not a work of biology or a work of science. "Principles of Biology" was not a standalone book. It was one section of a larger work that Spencer wrote. I don't consider Spencer a biologist. Him compiling things in a section of a philosophy book don't count.
90% of what Spencer wrote and published during his life was not science. You are coming back on this forum and saying
"Oh Look! I found a section in Spencer's marginal writing titled: Principles of Biology! I win!" This is stupid. You are quote-mining.
Leaving aside that most of what you have said about biology, and what Darwin and Spencer thought and said, and where they said it, has been wrong, you are totally missing the point. First, you are taking modern divisions of science and applying them to the works of naturalists from 19th Century. It is easier now to say who belongs in a particular field of knowledge, as sciences have become specialized professions with reduced scopes and standarized sets of practices and methods. You don't get now a doctor in medicine studying birds and turtles. But back in Darwin and Spencer's time your field was that which you worked with and naturalists dealt with a lot of subjects in natural philosophy and natural history, back then the two major branches of natural sciences. Both Darwin and Spencer were called naturalists, and they wrote extensively about race, gender, man's place in nature, etc. In the preface of "Principles of Biology", Spencer gave credit to Thomas Huxley, a champion of Darwinism and a friend of Darwin himself. Huxley was also called a naturalist, but his knowledge in the field was empirical, too, and wrote also about many subjects that won't fall in your categories of what defines science or biology. As an ethnologist, he even dealt with "the aryan race problem". But these guys were not "racist nutbars" that had desecrated the purity and sanctity of biology as you have envisioned it. That's how biology was then.

Secondly, if Darwin's theories were a huge challenge to religious doctrines that dominated society in his time, it was precisely because they put forward a new conception of man and his historical context, a narrative which was being transformed from the mythical drama of god's plan for his earthly creatures, to a down-to-earth narrative of those
creatures struggling in nature. And whenever you find a concept of man, and the causes and effects of his behavior, the doors are open for all kinds of theories of social action, and along with them, come political ideologies. Karl Marx himself praised Darwin and thought that his materialistic perspective provided a basis for his own theories. Engels also wrote an influential essay, "Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man", which set the grounds for marxist anthropology, using concepts of natural evolution.

To think that the influence of Darwin is limited to biologists, is ridiculous, and that any theory that derives consequences from it, is illogical, is even more ridiculous. Whether those theories are good or bad, right or wrong, does not matter now. But you just simply cannot say that it's impossible to derive a political ideology from a scientific theory or that they should be dismissed as marginal (unlike two silly guys babbling in Youtube).

But isn't that what you are doing, anyway? Aren't you putting forward a theory about what's man's place in the world? That theory is, whether unconsciously implied or explicitly stated, your political theory, your cultural worldview, your meaning of human values, your teleology of life, your meta-narrative. Your heroic neutrality is the biggest illusion.
EagerForTruth
Posts: 62
Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2014 2:05 pm

Re: Western Philosophy is bankrupt

Post by EagerForTruth »

Ok, lets see - maybe this is a rather pop-culture way of responding, but for me when it comes to the mind-body divide, the simple of the example of the "Matrix" movie comes to mind. Now as in all angles on a question there are caveats to it, such as even in the matrix we are still corporeal beings with a body....on the other hand the reality we believe we exist in just simply isn't. In that example the main point is our perception of reality or ability to know it is inherently impossible to know with complete surety - which in it's axiomatic form, is the real kernel of wisdom in Descartes "I think therefore I am" For my own part I certainly do approach philosophy with the attitude that I cannot truly be sure of any reality other than what I myself think or believe (which by extension in this format of perception does include our physical component - whether it truly does or not does not affect our perception that is does as you say).

Of course I myself do think that the physical world we exist in really is here, all of my fellow humans, the universe, from quantum particular (which ironically much like many philosophical ideas are rather fuzzy to be sure of either :) But that is for two reasons, 1) in it's quest to dive deeply into the mysteries of reality, philosophy may sometimes err on the bizarre in probing all details. and 2) since it's real to me, it really is real (to me) if this is the reality I will be existing in, I don't need it to be real by any other definition. I suppose the point of philosophical discussion is improve my perception of what is real by exploring ideas that expand that perception. I like to incorporate all ideas in philosophical discussion that i consider valid.
Advocate
Posts: 995
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:27 am
Contact:

Re: Western Philosophy is bankrupt

Post by Advocate »

[quote=uwot post_id=150301 time=1383638805 user_id=7941]
[quote="Kuznetzova"]IN the 20th century, we probed the properties of the fundamental constituents of atoms, and we have a very fine theory of how they operate that we call the Standard Model.[/quote]
True. And while I wouldn't wish to encourage 'woo-woo peddlers', it is a fact that no one knows what fundamental particles or their associated field are 'made of'.
[/quote]

There are no fundamental particles. It's layers of metaphor all the way down. Things are only as distinct as we make them.
Advocate
Posts: 995
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:27 am
Contact:

Re: Western Philosophy is bankrupt

Post by Advocate »

[quote=HexHammer post_id=150728 time=1384031057 user_id=5841]
Most traditional philosophy are severly outdated, and only produces glaring nonsens. Only few branches actually offer any useful way of thinking.

We need to rewrite philosophy.
[/quote]

Here: tiny.cc/TheWholeStory
uwot
Posts: 5027
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:21 am

Re: Particles.

Post by uwot »

Advocate wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 4:48 am
uwot wrote: Tue Nov 05, 2013 9:06 am...it is a fact that no one knows what fundamental particles or their associated field are 'made of'.
There are no fundamental particles. It's layers of metaphor all the way down. Things are only as distinct as we make them.
Coupla quotes for ya:
We must be clear that when it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry. The poet, too, is not nearly so concerned with describing facts as with creating images.
Niels Bohr

So you're in good company when you say it's all metaphor. In a sense that's true because:

What we observe as material bodies and forces are nothing but shapes and variations in the structure of space.
Erwin Schrödinger.

However, fundamental particles are whatever make tracks in particle detectors; and they at least are pretty distinct.
Advocate
Posts: 995
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:27 am
Contact:

Re: Particles.

Post by Advocate »

[quote=uwot post_id=471133 time=1600073247 user_id=7941]
[quote=Advocate post_id=471105 time=1600055291 user_id=15238][quote=uwot post_id=150301 time=1383638805 user_id=7941]...it is a fact that no one knows what fundamental particles or their associated field are 'made of'.[/quote]There are no fundamental particles. It's layers of metaphor all the way down. Things are only as distinct as we make them.[/quote]Coupla quotes for ya:
[i]We must be clear that when it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry. The poet, too, is not nearly so concerned with describing facts as with creating images.[/i]
Niels Bohr

So you're in good company when you say it's all metaphor. In a sense that's true because:

[i]What we observe as material bodies and forces are nothing but shapes and variations in the structure of space.[/i]
Erwin Schrödinger.

However, fundamental particles are whatever make tracks in particle detectors; and they at least are pretty distinct.
[/quote]

That understanding solves all metaphysical questions by logical extension. Every "thing" is a pattern with a purpose and the resolution of the purpose determines the resolution of the pattern.
Post Reply