Pragmatism Morphed into a Reasoning System

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  • #76
Les Sleeth
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Originally posted by heusdens
Well then go ahead and ask the question.
I did ask. If I were to put it in the framework of the pragmatic reasoning standard, then the question becomes: Demonstrate dialactical materialism "works" as a system to the degree that its enthusiasts preach it.
 
  • #77
drag
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Originally posted by LW Sleeth
In my opinion, it leads to a much stronger
debate when you have actual examples of a
theory working. It is also a good negating
test for a theory.
The concept of "proof" is not as absolute
and "pure" as you might think. It is the
result of concepts like time and causality
that we appear to observe. And these concepts
in turn appear to have no explanation.

Question everything... :wink:
 
  • #78
Les Sleeth
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Originally posted by Lifegazer
Incorrect. I have said that the sensations are real. Therefore, we do sense what appears to be an external-reality. But that appearance is completely generated by looking within ones own awareness. Hence, the question of whether this 'appearance' is in reflection of a true external-reality - which resides beyond these sensations - is completely legitimate. For if we are only looking within ourselves, then how can we know that what resides within ourselves, also resides without?
We see; taste; touch; smell; and hear the universe. And then we apply reason to these sensations. And reason notices the order inherent within these sensations. And then, because our sensations are ordered, reason is able to define different aspects ('things') within our singular-awareness - thus fragmenting awareness. Awareness is stretched and fragmented so that it can perceive of "the universe". Then reason formulates 'knowledge', via recognition of order. So 'knowledge' is actually a reflection of sensation - not an external reality.
Everything you experience, is within your own awareness. And everything you know, is a reflection of reason, upon sensation.
I can only know of my own awareness, and the knowledge which I have gleaned from It. And that's all you can do, too.
It's all self-knowledge. Since the knowledge is a reflection of an inner-existence.
Okay, I don't have a problem with most of that. Personally I don't have to reflect with reason to know some things. I can simply look, feel, smell etc. and know things without having to think about them. You yourself admit that sensation precedes reason, so I say it is the experience of life that teaches us the most, and interpretations that give us ways to think about it.

To put your idea in the pragmatic framework, I wonder what purpose is served by questioning if your sensations actually reflect what's out there. Even if they don't, so what? Whatever sensation is of, the system of human existence works through it just fine. It appears there is an external reality, and it u]appears[/u] we can manipulate it to our benefit. It also u]appears[/u] that it can smash us like bugs. So how would your theory "work" in the sense of producing anything useful to my life or understanding?

Originally posted by Lifegazer
The order of the universe is not a reflection of total reason. Reason extends way beyond the universe. From nothing to infinity. From time to eternity. From God to matter. From fragmentation to singularity. From order to chaos. Reason knows more than the sensed-order we perceive of. It conceives of things which clearly cannot exist in a 4-dimensional reality comprised of tangible-things. [/B]
This is where we really disagree. What you seem to say is because we can reason it, that makes it real! It is true you can think about a great variety of things, but in the end all you have is another idea. Say you reason your way to the perfect conception of God. Do you now know God? Of do you know your conception of God? Reason only yields mental images, mental representations of reality; they are not reality except in the sense they are "real" thoughts.

As I've said before, the most perfect understanding of love is not the experience of love. In fact, one doesn't have to understand love at all to experience it. The most perfect understanding of what deep appreciation of a sunset means, does not come close to the richness of that experience. If you believe reality is mentality, then no wonder you also believe all is Mind.
 
  • #79
Tom Mattson
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Originally posted by LW Sleeth
I did ask. If I were to put it in the framework of the pragmatic reasoning standard, then the question becomes: Demonstrate dialactical materialism "works" as a system to the degree that its enthusiasts preach it.
Here is something I don't quite understand. In what sense is it possible for a philosophy to 'work'? I know what it means with science: success in predicting the results of experiments.

What does it mean for philosophy? With what is the philosophy to be compared?
 
  • #80
Les Sleeth
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Originally posted by drag
The concept of "proof" is not as absolute
and "pure" as you might think. It is the
result of concepts like time and causality
that we appear to observe. And these concepts
in turn appear to have no explanation.

Question everything... :wink:
I agree with that, completely, but I wasn't referring to "proof." What I suggested was that in terms of philosophizing, if one can link it to the best evidence (and allow one's reason to be restricted where there is little evidence), that should help bring all the grand ideas and theories down to Earth.
 
  • #81
drag
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Originally posted by LW Sleeth
I agree with that, completely, but I wasn't
referring to "proof." What I suggested was
that in terms of philosophizing, if one can
link it to the best evidence (and allow one's
reason to be restricted where there is little
evidence), that should help bring all the
grand ideas and theories down to Earth.
Indeed, but what I said is that even the
system of reasoning through evidence does
not necessarily include all reasoning
possibilities and this is an example of the
limmit I was talking about that you
appear to me to impose when you ask
for some/any characteristic to be present
in one's philosophical arguments.

Of course, without evidence it would appear
to many of us there is no other way to
reason and construct an argument, but
can we prove it ? Probably not.
Hence, we probably DO need to hear opinions
without evidence too, if not for the above
reason of "openness" then due to the
reality of the situation - many people
do hold opinions with no evidence.

That of course does not mean that we shouldn't
strive to include evidence as for the moment
this is the likely state of things in the
Universe for us.

Live long and prosper.
 
  • #82
Les Sleeth
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Originally posted by Tom
Here is something I don't quite understand. In what sense is it possible for a philosophy to 'work'? I know what it means with science: success in predicting the results of experiments.

What does it mean for philosophy? With what is the philosophy to be compared?
I mean, demostrate its applicability, or why we should expect it to be effective when the philosophy is applied. If as a whole it has never been applied, then look for components of it that have been applied with positive results (even looking for applicability in itself is a pragamtic principle).

I remember when I got out of college, a bunch of us who'd been in philosophy classes together met to have a philosophical discussion. A few guys were sitting around smoking pipes having deep thoughts. I kept listening for how I could use any of it in my life, but it never led anywhere except to more deep thoughts. [zz)]

I started thinking how it seemed every improvement for humanity that has stemmed from reason, has been when people thought towards achieving something useful, whether it is externally useful or internally useful. Later when I read the pragmatists, I realized that reality reveals itself when something works, and that should mean reason oriented in that direction will be more fruitful.

So when I suggest that philosophy might benefit from reasoning with an eye towards applicability, it is because I suspect one stays closer to the truth that way.
 
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  • #83
drag
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But, LW Sleeth isn't the above example about
psychology ? :wink:
 
  • #84
Les Sleeth
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Originally posted by drag
But, LW Sleeth isn't the above example about
psychology ? :wink:
Well, it may not be the purest example, but all I am trying to say is that if you are committed to building a philosophy by staying as close as possible to applying it or working with it somehow, or by relying on evidence or processes which are known to work, that tends to cut out dead-end speculation faster than when the philosophizing rule is, "anything goes."

I mean, it might be that your effort is to create a TOE, which is bound to be plenty speculative. But as an inferential exercise or model, then it would strive to account for as many facts as possible. If you have seen how I philosophize about God, I try to point to instances of reported experience, and not to religious speculation (i.e., because I assume experience is where the best evidence is). If a person wants to philosophize about human fullfillment, they could start by discussing examples of it and looking for what they have in common.

I think this sort of philosophizing is so much stronger than reasoning from a priori assumptions, and so much more possible today than it ever was in the old days of philosophizing when they had much less information at their disposal.
 
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  • #85
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Originally posted by Tom
Here is something I don't quite understand. In what sense is it possible for a philosophy to 'work'? I know what it means with science: success in predicting the results of experiments.

What does it mean for philosophy? With what is the philosophy to be compared?
A philosophy is not directly 'testable' at least not in the same way as a scientific theory.
It can be argued however that the Philosophical point of view is not entirely arbitrary, but rather is determined by the usefullness for the actual world.
Like materialistic philosophy has been proven usefull in most departments of science, and which is the reason science itself is built up from materialist assumptions. Maybe not all of science, but most of it. It has proved to be a valuable point of view.
 

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