kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 07:57 pm
@Arjuna,
Arjuna wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

It is? Do mean we never had to look to see whether all mammals had livers? How did we know it, then.
Yea, how do we know they all do? I know of a mammal you haven't seen. Very Happy


We don't, of course, know it for certain. But we do know it on inductive grounds, for how could a mammal live unless it had a liver, since we know how the liver functions in the economy of the body.

"The liver has many functions. Some of the functions are: to produce substances that break down fats, convert glucose to glycogen, produce urea (the main substance of urine), make certain amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), filter harmful substances from the blood (such as alcohol), storage of vitamins and minerals (vitamins A, D, K and B12) and maintain a proper level or glucose in the blood. The liver is also responsible for producing cholesterol. It produces about 80% of the cholesterol in your body".

Now unless a mammal had such an organ, it could not live. And that is excellent reason for thinking that all mammals have liver (and lungs, and a heart, etc.) So we do know that all mammals have livers.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 07:59 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs wrote:

actually I have a directly relevant comment that I actually recall from my first year of philosophy, in my first lecture, by Alan Chalmers, on Empiricism. (Yay!) It was the anecdote (probably well known) whereby a group of medieval monks were debating how many teeth a horse had. They all scurried off to consult Aristotle. No luck, nothing to be found there, and dejected, they decided they couldn't find the answer. One bright monk said 'I know! Let's go and look in a horses mouth!'

He was roundly condemned for his audacity and no such investigation was carried out, of course.

Of course this seems ridiculous to us moderns. But in medieval times, people were like that. It makes you realize how far we've come. BUT I think we have lost something, also. I personally think empiricism, starting with the likes of Hume, has gone much too far, and now scientists will deny many truths which were understood as apodictic in the traditional view, and mainly truths of an a priori, metaphysical sort.


Could you list some truths we have lost through empiricism? Of course, I hope they will be truths which you have good reason to believe are truths.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 08:08 pm
@kennethamy,
Not 'truths' but Truth, with a capital T, which I have mentioned before, and you reject, as you no doubt will again on this occasion. For example, that we are part of, and an expression of, Nature, not simply a large set of isolated persons living in an artificial environment. The kind of feeling with which I anticipate you will have little sympathy.

Speaking of W Somerset Maugham, he wrote another splendid title on the theme of freedom called The Razor's Edge concerning exactly the search for Truth, with a capital T, which the west doesn't believe in any more, but which India still regards as of paramount importance.

It is one of the things we have lost in the transition to modernity.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 08:16 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs wrote:

Not 'truths' but Truth, with a capital T, which I have mentioned before, and you reject, as you no doubt will again on this occasion. For example, that we are part of, and an expression of, Nature, not simply a large set of isolated persons living in an artificial environment. The kind of feeling with which I anticipate you will have little sympathy.

Speaking of W Somerset Maugham, he wrote another splendid title on the theme of freedom called The Razor's Edge concerning exactly the search for Truth, with a capital T, which the west doesn't believe in any more, but which India still regards as of paramount importance.

It is one of the things we have lost in the transition to modernity.


Yes, I am afraid that this notion of truth with a capital T bewilders me, since no one is willing to explain to me what it is supposed to mean. And, until someone does, I fear that I will remain benighted. Perhaps you would like to take up the task.



Yes, I have read "The Razor's Edge" too. For a long time, Maugham was dismissed as (at best) a story-teller, and was, for a long time held in a kind of contempt by the elite. But a new study of him (the name I have forgot) a review of which I have recently read, is helping to revive his reputation. I have (myself) always admired him. He used to call himself, "an old party". I rather liked that.

It is one of the things we have lost in the transition to modernity.

I think you are one of those who was born too late. You would have been happier before "the death of God" which occurred in the Victorian age. Have you ever read a study of that in a rather nice book called, God's Funeral. The title, by the way, is a title of a long poem by the Victorian novelist and poet, Thomas Hardy.
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 08:22 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:

Arjuna wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

It is? Do mean we never had to look to see whether all mammals had livers? How did we know it, then.
Yea, how do we know they all do? I know of a mammal you haven't seen. Very Happy


We don't, of course, know it for certain. But we do know it on inductive grounds, for how could a mammal live unless it had a liver, since we know how the liver functions in the economy of the body.

"The liver has many functions. Some of the functions are: to produce substances that break down fats, convert glucose to glycogen, produce urea (the main substance of urine), make certain amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), filter harmful substances from the blood (such as alcohol), storage of vitamins and minerals (vitamins A, D, K and B12) and maintain a proper level or glucose in the blood. The liver is also responsible for producing cholesterol. It produces about 80% of the cholesterol in your body".

Now unless a mammal had such an organ, it could not live. And that is excellent reason for thinking that all mammals have liver (and lungs, and a heart, etc.) So we do know that all mammals have livers.
Couldn't have said it better myself. Liver failure stinks.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 08:43 pm
@Arjuna,
Arjuna wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

Arjuna wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

It is? Do mean we never had to look to see whether all mammals had livers? How did we know it, then.
Yea, how do we know they all do? I know of a mammal you haven't seen. Very Happy


We don't, of course, know it for certain. But we do know it on inductive grounds, for how could a mammal live unless it had a liver, since we know how the liver functions in the economy of the body.

"The liver has many functions. Some of the functions are: to produce substances that break down fats, convert glucose to glycogen, produce urea (the main substance of urine), make certain amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), filter harmful substances from the blood (such as alcohol), storage of vitamins and minerals (vitamins A, D, K and B12) and maintain a proper level or glucose in the blood. The liver is also responsible for producing cholesterol. It produces about 80% of the cholesterol in your body".

Now unless a mammal had such an organ, it could not live. And that is excellent reason for thinking that all mammals have liver (and lungs, and a heart, etc.) So we do know that all mammals have livers.
Couldn't have said it better myself. Liver failure stinks.


Does that mean that you now see that you have been mistaken, and the we do know that all mammals have a liver, and that we do not know this a priori? (But that you don't want to admit it, so you try to divert from your error by making a feeble joke?)
ughaibu
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 09:38 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
ughaibu wrote:
You have stated earlier that causes are not descriptions, so, what are causes?
Why causes are connection between kinds of events. . . . what kind of connections these are, is a question for philosophers.
Recently you have been claiming that causes are explanations in the deductive nomological model. There are two problems with this claim:
1) it doesn't encompass two of your favourite examples
2) it fails to the same objection raised by Huxley.
As the latter is admitted by you, it can not be consistently maintained, by you, that causes are Hempelian explanations. So, do you know what causes are or do you not? Your above answer is as uninformative as telling me that rain is a type of meteorological phenomenon.
north
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 09:48 pm
@Huxley,
Huxley wrote:

The existence of change characterizes a number of the pre-Socratic dialogs. As far as I can tell, Aristotle's Physics was his general response to these questions of change, as well as his specific response to several thinkers in his day. It is from here that we (the Western Tradition) derive a notion of cause.

What Aristotle meant by cause was not what we generally mean by cause -- he had four, the material, the efficient, the formal, and the final. Cause, in our modern world, is the cause of cause-and-effect, or to use Aristotle's terms, the efficient cause. It is from this notion of causation that we obtain the Cosmological argument, the denial of free will, and scientific certainty.

But is this notion of causation defensible, or is it too metaphysical for science?

Do we need to think of cause in the efficient cause way in order to make a solid scientific contribution?

Do we need to think of cause in any way at all to generate scientific knowledge?


Quote:
Lastly, what is cause? If you don't have a good definition that you're willing to defend, that's fine. In that case, what is your concept of cause?


there is cause , effect , affect

cause in and of its its self is not enough to explain completely any dynamics

there are at least three aspects to movement or cause
0 Replies
 
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 09:51 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:

Does that mean that you now see that you have been mistaken, and the we do know that all mammals have a liver, and that we do not know this a priori? (But that you don't want to admit it, so you try to divert from your error by making a feeble joke?)
You're funny. All mammals do have livers... they always did... and they always will. Vaya con dios.
north
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 10:11 pm
@Arjuna,
Arjuna wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

Does that mean that you now see that you have been mistaken, and the we do know that all mammals have a liver, and that we do not know this a priori? (But that you don't want to admit it, so you try to divert from your error by making a feeble joke?)
You're funny. All mammals do have livers... they always did... and they always will. Vaya con dios.


where are both of you going with this liver thing ? as far as an argument towards or against , cause ?

I don't get it
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Jul, 2010 01:38 am
@kennethamy,
Quote:
I think you are one of those who was born too late. You would have been happier before "the death of God" which occurred in the Victorian age.


Thank you Ken you are correct. That is a very nice compliment. I am making an effort to read and contribute from within the oevre of Western philosophy, but as I have said before, it is rather too materialist for my liking. You may recall the dreadful bollocking I got from 'extrain' over that. Oh well, at least you and I have developed a kind of rapport.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Jul, 2010 04:30 am
@north,
north wrote:

Arjuna wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

Does that mean that you now see that you have been mistaken, and the we do know that all mammals have a liver, and that we do not know this a priori? (But that you don't want to admit it, so you try to divert from your error by making a feeble joke?)
You're funny. All mammals do have livers... they always did... and they always will. Vaya con dios.


where are both of you going with this liver thing ? as far as an argument towards or against , cause ?

I don't get it


To recap. The issue was that of causal connection. This morphed into the related question of induction, for our knowledge of causal connections is based on inductive reasoning. There was then a discussion of inductive reasoning, and one example I gave of knowledge based on inductive reasoning was, "All mammals have livers". All empirical knowledge (and our knowledge that all mammals have livers is empirical knowledge) is based on inductive reasoning.

I don't understand what it means to talk about arguments against cause. Is it to be seriously supposed that there are no causes? It is important to note that the question of whether there are causes is to be contrasted with a very different question which is, what are causes? Thw latter question assumes, of course, that there are causes, but that we do not know what they are. It is important to distinguish between the two questions. It has sometimes been thought that Hume denied that there were causes. But that is false. What Hume denied was not that there are causes, but that a certain understanding or analysis of cause was wrong, and then he offered his own understanding of what causes were. Now, because the understanding of cause that Hume gave was so different from the (in his time) accepted understanding of cause, it was carelessly concluded that Hume had denied there were causes. But that is false, as I have just explained. Hume just denied that a particular understanding of cause (one that had been accepted) was true. He never denied that there was such a thing as causes. Now, this is not to say that Hume's own analysis of causation was correct. I believe that although Hume was correct in his negative view, namely that the analysis of cause he attacked was wrong, that Hume gave a mistaken positive view of his own, and that his own analysis of causation is not correct either.
0 Replies
 
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Jul, 2010 08:21 am
@north,
north wrote:

where are both of you going with this liver thing ? as far as an argument towards or against , cause ?

I don't get it
I had interpreted Hume as observing that our confidence in contiguity past to future is not based on rational thought. He struggled to explain it in some other way.

Ken affirms that this confidence is based on reasoning and gave the example of being able to predict that humans in the future will have livers.

This is similar to a person declaring that combustion engines in the future will have spark plugs. All this person is doing is demonstrating that they know the definition of combustion engine.

We did learn at one point that mammals have to have livers. What we were learning was the definition of mammal. You weren't born knowing what a bachelor is. Once you've learned it, you can get your a priori on in regard to it by making statements that are implicit in the definition.

A lot of our confidence in our ability to predict the future is based on empirical observation and reasoning. It's the assumptions at the base of our predictions that don't have logical justifications. Hume lived at a time when it was important to people to establish some basis for knowledge. They were revolting against the heavy hand of the Church, which had previously obstructed any such investigations. And they were right to do that.

There's nothing wrong with looking for empirical and logical foundations to thought. Hume was just reporting on his own journey in regard to it.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Jul, 2010 10:10 am
@Arjuna,
Arjuna wrote:

north wrote:

where are both of you going with this liver thing ? as far as an argument towards or against , cause ?

I don't get it
I had interpreted Hume as observing that our confidence in contiguity past to future is not based on rational thought. He struggled to explain it in some other way.

Ken affirms that this confidence is based on reasoning and gave the example of being able to predict that humans in the future will have livers.

This is similar to a person declaring that combustion engines in the future will have spark plugs. All this person is doing is demonstrating that they know the definition of combustion engine.

We did learn at one point that mammals have to have livers. What we were learning was the definition of mammal. You weren't born knowing what a bachelor is. Once you've learned it, you can get your a priori on in regard to it by making statements that are implicit in the definition.

A lot of our confidence in our ability to predict the future is based on empirical observation and reasoning. It's the assumptions at the base of our predictions that don't have logical justifications. Hume lived at a time when it was important to people to establish some basis for knowledge. They were revolting against the heavy hand of the Church, which had previously obstructed any such investigations. And they were right to do that.

There's nothing wrong with looking for empirical and logical foundations to thought. Hume was just reporting on his own journey in regard to it.


It is not part of the definition of "mammal" that mammals have livers, since the proposition, some mammals have no livers, is not self-contradictory.

It is true that I was not born knowing the meaning of the term, "bachelor". But once I know that someone is a bachelor, I know it is logically impossible for him to be married. Neither was I born knowing what the meaning of "mammal" is. But it is not true that once I know that something is a mammal, I know it is logically impossible for it to be liverless. And that is because, as I have already explained, although it is part of the definition of "bachelor" that all bachelors are unmarried, it is not part of the definition of "mammal" that all mammals have livers. Another way to make the same point is this: Necessarily, all bachelors are unmarried. But although all mammals have livers, it is not true that necessarily all mammals have livers.

By the way, what I just said is completely in accord with Hume's views.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Jul, 2010 10:20 am
@ughaibu,
ughaibu wrote:

kennethamy wrote:
ughaibu wrote:
You have stated earlier that causes are not descriptions, so, what are causes?
Why causes are connection between kinds of events. . . . what kind of connections these are, is a question for philosophers.
Recently you have been claiming that causes are explanations in the deductive nomological model. There are two problems with this claim:
1) it doesn't encompass two of your favourite examples
2) it fails to the same objection raised by Huxley.
As the latter is admitted by you, it can not be consistently maintained, by you, that causes are Hempelian explanations. So, do you know what causes are or do you not? Your above answer is as uninformative as telling me that rain is a type of meteorological phenomenon.


I don't pretend to have an adequate analysis of causation. But that does not mean I do not know what causes are. Neither do I pretend to have an adequate analysis of the nature of elephants. But I claim that I know what elephants are.

Elephants are large mammals, indigenous to Africa and Asia, characterized by having large ears, a trunk, and think skin.

Causes are connections between events, which explain why events occur. If you want more information than this meagre account, I am sure there are places where you can look it up.
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Jul, 2010 10:21 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:

it is not part of the definition of "mammal" that all mammals have livers.
Not all combustion engines have a source of spark. I've got one in my backyard. I'm pretty sure you can think your way out of this paper bag, Ken.
0 Replies
 
ughaibu
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Jul, 2010 10:33 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
Causes are connections between events, which explain why events occur.
For the third time, there is often more than one equally adequate explanation. On top of this, you have already declared that such explanations are not causes but descriptions.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Jul, 2010 11:02 am
@ughaibu,
ughaibu wrote:

kennethamy wrote:
Causes are connections between events, which explain why events occur.
For the third time, there is often more than one equally adequate explanation. On top of this, you have already declared that such explanations are not causes but descriptions.


They are descriptions of something, namely, causes. That there may be more than one explanation is true. It is true because, as Quine writes, all hypotheses are underdetermined by the available data. If there is more than one explanation of the available data, and if the explanations are not equivalent notational variants of each other, then why do you think that the explanations are equally adequate? I should think that is false on the face of it. Of course, it might not be possible to tell which of the rival explanations is the best explanation. But that is no reason to think that among rival explanations, one is not better than another.
ughaibu
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Jul, 2010 11:35 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
They are descriptions of something, namely, causes.
Then they are not the causes, are they? We've already been through this and you have agreed with Huxley that they aren't the causes, so why are you still saying that they are the causes?
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Jul, 2010 11:54 am
@kennethamy,
Quote:
Causes are connections between events, which explain why events occur

What is your definition of "event"?

 

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