Is There Progress in Philosophy?

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Obvious Leo
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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by Obvious Leo »

The Voice of Time wrote: If you intended an insult,
I didn't. I was making a generic observation targeted at nobody in particular. Neither was I suggesting that a philosopher needs a particularly comprehensive grasp of physics in order to be able to understand what physics can and cannot tell us about the nature of physical reality. Physics is a method for mathematically codifying observations and that's exactly ALL it is. However an observation is an act of cognition and unscrambling the nature of human cognition is not a task for a mathematician.
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The Voice of Time
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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by The Voice of Time »

Obvious Leo wrote:
The Voice of Time wrote:Why are people so obsessed with physics?
Which people are you referring to?
You, one more person in this thread, and Hollywood.
cladking
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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by cladking »

The Voice of Time wrote:
Sarcasm = hostility. Take your sarcasm elsewhere.
Perhaps sarcasm wasn't justified but one off responses to just say "I disagree" are vacuous and will never lead to progress in anything at all. If philosophy isn't to better understand man and nature then why do it at all? Is it some sort of semantical game like joke telling, poetry, or Egyptology? Why bend words if they lead nowhere?
cladking wrote:I should have been more specific. I meant there is no vocabulary where each individual is in complete agreement as to the definitions of words.
That's also wrong, but just because you used the word "definition" instead of meaning. We can agree on the definition, but the word, and all the words used to define it, can be attributed different meaning, with different implications.
You again seem to be coming out in favor of semantics. We can't make progress with semantics and we can't express complex philosophical ideas that are at their whim.
The philosophy of physics has never interested me very much. But considering science fiction writes about it all the freaking time, I'd point you to basically any major science fiction movie or film dealing with relativity, which is a lot of them.
The only thing philosophers should be manipulating with words is knowledge. If we don't incorporate scientific knowledge and there's no progress then what is left?
cladking wrote:How are gravity and the weak charge related?
Strawman. You said science. You didn't say any particular question hadn't been answered since 1920. Also, ask a theoretical physicist, he'd probably be able to tell you the most recent theories and science on the subject.
There is no theory. No relevant experiments have been performed that might lead to a model. There are several hypotheses but these tend to be absurd, even laughable. Even science is bogging down in semantics because math at its current level can't reflect reality now and it can't divide by "0".
cladking wrote:It doesn't matter how thinly you spread BS it still stinks.
So you deny the existence of postmodernity? What does this mean?
I'm simply suggesting there is no progress so the era from which some idea comes is irrelevant. Aristotle had just as good of ideas as anyone today. There's plenty of genius and insight in philosophy and everyone should pay attention but there's no progress. There's no ability to stand on the shoulders of past greats and build on their work. I'm trying to tell you in as simple of language as I know that the reason we can't build on past greats is language. Language IS the foundation of human progress and it is inadequate to the task of expressing complex philosophical ideas. Science has its own language but philosophy does not. Each person takes each word differently. We each have a unique interpretation of every philosophical idea. We are playing generational chinese telephone with a confused language. It might be amusing someday but we need something much better NOW.
PoeticUniverse
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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by PoeticUniverse »

Obvious Leo wrote:
cladking wrote:Frankly I have to believe that everything originates in time which is somehow the basic building block of reality.
The truth of time is the only truth needed for the unification of physics because time and gravity are simply two different ways of expressing the same thing. Time is a metric for specifying the rate of change in a physical process and gravity is simply an alternative metric for the same thing. The rate of change in the physical world is thus defined as the speed at which reality is continuously re-making itself, otherwise known as the speed of light. This is quantum gravity.
Lee Smolin is making a return to natural philosophy in his book on the singular universe and has it that everything is emergent except time/change, which makes for time to always have been, which doesn't bode well for relativity's spatialization of time to the point of it going away, which it does in math too, which they will eventually address. I'm still reading his latest book, although so far they are stuck in repeating the same over and over again about time, just one universe, and that physical laws don't come first.
Obvious Leo
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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by Obvious Leo »

PoeticUniverse wrote:
Obvious Leo wrote:
cladking wrote:Frankly I have to believe that everything originates in time which is somehow the basic building block of reality.
The truth of time is the only truth needed for the unification of physics because time and gravity are simply two different ways of expressing the same thing. Time is a metric for specifying the rate of change in a physical process and gravity is simply an alternative metric for the same thing. The rate of change in the physical world is thus defined as the speed at which reality is continuously re-making itself, otherwise known as the speed of light. This is quantum gravity.
Lee Smolin is making a return to natural philosophy in his book on the singular universe and has it that everything is emergent except time/change, which makes for time to always have been, which doesn't bode well for relativity's spatialization of time to the point of it going away, which it does in math too, which they will eventually address. I'm still reading his latest book, although so far they are stuck in repeating the same over and over again about time, just one universe, and that physical laws don't come first.
Is this not what I've been saying all along, PU? Reality is not made according to the laws of physics but the "laws of physics" are merely the way in which we codify reality. In fact reality just makes itself.

I'm not certain that this perspective would constitute "progress" in philosophy, because as far as I can judge it this has been the stance of the philosophers since forever, but this perspective would most certainly constitute progress in physics. The bloody obvious is hidden in plain sight behind a veil of mathematical obfuscation and dodgy logic because the geeks don't understand that an observation is an act of cognition.

It's good to see you back, my friend. The poets can see what the mathematicians cannot. The immortal Persian gave us Truth.

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

From “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam”
cladking
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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by cladking »

PoeticUniverse wrote:
Obvious Leo wrote:
cladking wrote:Frankly I have to believe that everything originates in time which is somehow the basic building block of reality.
The truth of time is the only truth needed for the unification of physics because time and gravity are simply two different ways of expressing the same thing. Time is a metric for specifying the rate of change in a physical process and gravity is simply an alternative metric for the same thing. The rate of change in the physical world is thus defined as the speed at which reality is continuously re-making itself, otherwise known as the speed of light. This is quantum gravity.
Lee Smolin is making a return to natural philosophy in his book on the singular universe and has it that everything is emergent except time/change, which makes for time to always have been, which doesn't bode well for relativity's spatialization of time to the point of it going away, which it does in math too, which they will eventually address. I'm still reading his latest book, although so far they are stuck in repeating the same over and over again about time, just one universe, and that physical laws don't come first.
This is very much the axioms of ancient science. I believe this is also the exact same science used by all creatures. It is a three dimensional perception of the human brain and it is how ancient people modeled reality.

The universe is poetic in two dimensions and dances in three. :wink:
Skip
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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by Skip »

How would you recognize and evaluate "progress" in philosophy?

Where is its end-point? Toward what goal is it proceeding?
What are the benchmarks and milestones that must be met/passed in order to declare that progress has been made?
PoeticUniverse
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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by PoeticUniverse »

cladking wrote:The universe is poetic in two dimensions and dances in three. :wink:
Omar's poetic dance

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZ0tcK8V6gE

And mine

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-fjsLlJufM
Risto
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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by Risto »

Skip wrote:How would you recognize and evaluate "progress" in philosophy?

Where is its end-point? Toward what goal is it proceeding?
What are the benchmarks and milestones that must be met/passed in order to declare that progress has been made?
Very good questions! Some philosophers have offered that its goal is truth, understanding, and enlightenment. Since philosophy deals with premises and logic, it could make progress by building more logical frameworks/theories.

Massimo Pigliucci:

"Philosophy makes progress because dialectical analysis generates compelling objections to a given position, which lead to either an improvement or the abandonment of said position, which is followed by more critical analysis of either the revised position or of the new one, and so on. This process may never reach an end result, but neither does science. Scientific theories are always tentative, and they are always either improved upon or abandoned in favor of new ones."

I think its main aims are these:

* Examine and investigate fundamental beliefs.
* Clarify meaning of concepts.
* Define terms.
* Analyze logical arguments.
* Question given answers.
* Critically reason about facts.
* Analyze beliefs through dialectic.
* Use speculation/intuition as a source of material to explore further.
Skip
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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by Skip »

Risto wrote:
Some philosophers have offered that its goal is truth, understanding, and enlightenment. Since philosophy deals with premises and logic, it could make progress by building more logical frameworks/theories.
This presupposes that mankind started out in some dim past, with a headful of falsehood, confusion and ignorance, and that these conditions have been partially alleviated. Therefore, if you compared the mental acuity and clarity of an average citizen of Athens, Greece in 500BC to an average citizen of Athens, Georgia in 2016AD, the latter would show a considerable improvement.
Is this the case?
I think its main aims are these:

* Examine and investigate fundamental beliefs.
* Clarify meaning of concepts.
* Define terms.
* Analyze logical arguments.
* Question given answers.
* Critically reason about facts.
* Analyze beliefs through dialectic.
* Use speculation/intuition as a source of material to explore further.
Those are methods, not aims. You examine, clarify, analyze, question, reason, analyze some more and speculate... fine.
Have these methods improved since Aristotle used them?
How far has this process moved the whole edifice of philosophy along the road to truth, understanding and enlightenment,
- and from where to where?

I still don't see a standard of measurement.
uwot
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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by uwot »

Skip wrote:You examine, clarify, analyze, question, reason, analyze some more and speculate... fine.
Have these methods improved since Aristotle used them?
How far has this process moved the whole edifice of philosophy along the road to truth, understanding and enlightenment,
- and from where to where?

I still don't see a standard of measurement.
Philosophy isn't about progress. The point is to construct a coherent narrative that is consistent with your experience. Since that changes with time, so should philosophies. Those which don't are called dogmas. Having said that, the tools of analysis, primarily logic, are more sophisticated than Aristotelian syllogisms.
PoeticUniverse
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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by PoeticUniverse »

Finally, something useful:

Smolin:

…intermediate-scale physics must be statistical, because similarity arises from neglect of information. It is interesting to wonder whether this might be the origin of quantum uncertainty. That is, the hidden variables needed to complete quantum theory, if we are to explain why individual events take place, must be relational. They must arise in adding the information needed to distinguish each event uniquely from all the others. Note that because the question of distinguishing individual events from others requires a comparison with others, such relational hidden variables must be non-local.
Risto
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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by Risto »

Skip wrote: This presupposes that mankind started out in some dim past, with a headful of falsehood, confusion and ignorance, and that these conditions have been partially alleviated. Therefore, if you compared the mental acuity and clarity of an average citizen of Athens, Greece in 500BC to an average citizen of Athens, Georgia in 2016AD, the latter would show a considerable improvement.
Is this the case?
Not sure if that'd be a fair comparison. A better one would be to compare past philosophers and contemporary ones. The progress in philosophy doesn't come from citizens but from philosophers just like progress in science doesn't come from citizens.
Skip wrote: Those are methods, not aims. You examine, clarify, analyze, question, reason, analyze some more and speculate... fine.
Have these methods improved since Aristotle used them?
How far has this process moved the whole edifice of philosophy along the road to truth, understanding and enlightenment,
- and from where to where?

I still don't see a standard of measurement.
I think an analogy fits here nicely. I do Brazilian Jiu-JItsu. The end-point of this sport could be to submit your opponent using the least amount of force/energy. Is it quantifiable? No. I have no idea how far I can progress, and black belts presumably still search for progress. Can I notice progress? Yes. The first times I did it I was completely tired in the first few minutes, now I can do very active 10-minute rounds without breathing heavily.

I doubt Aristotle had a toolkit such as this: http://www.amazon.com/The-Philosophers- ... 1405190183
Risto
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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by Risto »

uwot wrote: Philosophy isn't about progress. The point is to construct a coherent narrative that is consistent with your experience. Since that changes with time, so should philosophies. Those which don't are called dogmas. Having said that, the tools of analysis, primarily logic, are more sophisticated than Aristotelian syllogisms.
Isn't that progress? Understanding of experience progresses and so does the coherence of narrative.
Obvious Leo
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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by Obvious Leo »

PoeticUniverse wrote:Finally, something useful:

Smolin:

…intermediate-scale physics must be statistical, because similarity arises from neglect of information. It is interesting to wonder whether this might be the origin of quantum uncertainty. That is, the hidden variables needed to complete quantum theory, if we are to explain why individual events take place, must be relational. They must arise in adding the information needed to distinguish each event uniquely from all the others. Note that because the question of distinguishing individual events from others requires a comparison with others, such relational hidden variables must be non-local.
Very useful indeed, PU. All of the "quantum weirdness" questions can be focused exclusively on the notions of locality and non-locality at the subatomic scale. However if we think the atom as a process, rather than as an object, then the veil begins to lift. Processes are purely temporal phenomena and we merely project a spatial extension onto such phenomena when we make an observation of them. We are spatialising time and in physics this is called "collapsing a wave function", although in the common parlance "collapsing a wave function" and "having a look" are precisely synonymous terms. When we have a look at something our consciousness projects this incoming data into our minds in the form of events occurring in a 3 dimensional space. This is how we make sense of the world around us, and it's got us a long way up the evolutionary tree, but this space is not physically real. Our 3 -dimensional representation of the world is a hologram being projected from the boundary of the universe, the very moment NOW. We cannot see this moment NOW, because the speed of light is simply too bloody fast, but the speed of light is finite and this is the speed at which our universe is continuously coming into existence.

In a process model of the universe we think profoundly differently about the subatomic world. Instead of modelling particles as objects moving in space we instead model them as events occurring in time. This allows us to use a different form of language which can slowly lift the veil from QM. An electron is now defined as an EMERGENT entity which has been encoded for by yet more fundamental processes which are occurring on the Planck scale at the speed of light but the electron itself also has only a temporal extension. In QM an attempt is made to spatialise this temporal extension and then all metaphysical hell breaks loose. Random events, particles that can be in many places at the same time, wave/particle duality, even reverse causation. QM is a philosopher's nightmare but in the fractal world of the process philosopher these apparent absurdities can all be explained away. The electrons and all the other subatomic particles are not objects moving in space. They are events being encoded for at the Planck scale and they represent a higher order of informational complexity because they each have different physical properties. This defines them as emergent and ALL emergent entities are observer-defined constructs with one thing in common. They all have properties more complex than those of the physical entities which encode for them.

We can think of the subatomic particles as reality MAKERS at the second level up from the fundamental scale. Just as these particles were themselves encoded for they can now go on to encode for the far more informationally complex atoms. We have another complexity hierarchy. Atoms in turn encode for molecules, which encode for chemistry and physics and biology. Since the big bang the universe has been evolving from the simple to the complex and this is exactly how it does it. It generates new and more complex information for itself in emergent hierarchies of informational complexity. This inexorable drive from the simple to the complex is driven by only the basic metaphysical law of causality. As long as events are always preceded by causes in an orderly and self-generative fashion then such an evolutionary trajectory is inevitable.

Exactly the same principle of causality must apply when we think the atom in terms of a self-generating computation, as are all the emergent hierarchies above and below it. This allows us to model the subatomic particles as information carriers and distributors hurtling around inside the atom at close to the speed of light, bearing in mind that the term "inside" is purely a metaphorical one. In fact these particles are moving through time alone and they are doing it in exactly the same way as everything else in the universe, they are doing it relativistically.

This is where the true genius of Einstein is revealed. He knew SR was wrong because it ignored gravity, as does QM, which is entirely predicated on SR. Einstein missed the elephant in the room but it was him that discovered it. Time and gravity are simply two different ways of expressing the same thing, namely the speed at which our physical reality CHANGES. We know that on the Planck scale this speed is the speed of light so this allows us to say that the speed of light is simply the processing speed of the cosmic computation and we as observers are observing the emergent effects of this continuous process. This perspective allows us to make a very important further unification for physics. Not only do time and gravity bear a precise mathematical relationship to each other but we finally nail down exactly what we mean by the speed of light. The speed of light is the speed at which the universe is physically coming into existence so it could just as easily be defined as the speed at which time passes. However the speed at which time passes is the most inconstant speed in the universe because of its inversely logarithmic relationship with gravity.

Therefore the speed of light is the most inconstant speed in the universe, being variable all the way down to the Planck scale and the quanta of energy which are encoding for the emergent hierarchy above. I reckon Einstein would have a good belly laugh about this because it was the constant speed of light which started him on his journey in the first place and then in GR he proves that the speed of light cannot possibly be a constant. He didn't mind a joke at his own expense and I'm sure he would see the irony of it. We seem to quickly forget that a constant speed of light in a Cartesian space is a logical impossibility so the fact that physics makes no sense is hardly to be wondered at.

This is quantum gravity in the briefest of imaginable summaries. Subatomic particles are in a continuous dynamic relationship with each other and they are doing this at breathtaking speed. This behaviour is being determined chaotically, which is the very antithesis of "randomly" but looks very much like it when we look backwards down the arrow of time. This is precisely the same sort of causality which applies to the relativistic motions of cosmological bodies so I regard this as a significant unification of physics. According to GR the clock on the electron ticks faster than the clock on the nucleus it orbits. And yet the inversely logarithmic relationship between time and gravity must obtain even at the informational scale below this.
Max Planck succeeded in showing us that reality cannot be infinitely divisible, which would not have been breaking news to a half-competent philosopher. This means that time and gravity can be quantised equivalently with quanta of fundamental information, which we know to be changing at the speed of light. This gives reality a mechanism. Every single quantum of energy/information exists solely in its own temporal referential frame. Every Planck instant it changes as it exchanges information with other informational quanta, but it does this at an inconstant speed. It is this fundamental asymmetry between time and gravity which makes our universe self-causal and defines our future as unknowable.

PU. You know my thoughts on this subject well enough but consider these two statements.

1. The speed of light is a constant.

2. The speed of light is proportional to the clock-speed of the clock being used to measure it, which means it is always observed to be a constant in the referential frame of the observer of it.
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