10
   

What could Pascal have meant?

 
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jul, 2010 02:01 pm
@Dave Allen,
Dave Allen wrote:

Zetherin wrote:
Honestly, I don't think when most people do this, they mean for it to be a cynical game.

I think you have slightly but fatally misunderstood me. I said that if you looked at this piece of (what I assume to be) sophistry with the veiw of a cynic you could well conclude it was a game ("looked at cynically, it's a game"). Therefore I'm suggesting any cynicism is in the eye of the beholder - not necessarily those playing the game. The game could be played innocently or cynically or in many other moods - that would be down to the participants themselves.

In terms of human transactions I'm pretty sure it's a game. One player (the teacher in your example) is wagering with himself that he can better impart something to another (the pupil) by making an apparent effort to "go the extra mile" by acknowledging the pupil's point of view. In fact the teacher may be hoping to save time and effort because he predicts that not indulging the point of veiw of the student will result in greater resistence to the lesson, idea, subject, whatever.

Maybe the teacher is genuinely interested in encouraging the student's critical thinking - but that's not Pascal's stated concern - he is teaching a bit of sophistry designed to assist one player better imparting an idea to another by acknowledging the other's position.


Well, if that is what he is teaching, then it is, I suppose, a sophistry that is intended for the good of its victim. Even if the victim errs, Pascal will lead him to to truth (or, I imagine that some here would want me to write Truth, or even "Truth") And that view of what is going on in the passage may (and I think is-I indicated in my OP) right. Only, it is consistent with that also to find an argument in that passage. After all, there is no incompatibility in the view that the passage is attempting both to persuade and to present an argument. The argument is that even if what someone believes is ostensibly false, that he believes it assigns some truth to it. And the persuasion is what Dave Allen indicates it is. Even if the person is in error, you can get him to believe differently by making him think that what he said was "in its own way" true.
Dave Allen
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jul, 2010 02:12 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
Well, if that is what he is teaching, then it is, I suppose, a sophistry that is intended for the good of its victim. Even if the victim errs, Pascal will lead him to to truth (or, I imagine that some here would want me to write Truth, or even "Truth")

Intent on the good of the victim if we assume a sort of Platonic ideal about truth (or Truth) and goodness being as one.

An assumption I doubt would hold up much in the face of the sort of Socratic dialogue Plato himself so admired.

To be honest I think you give Pascal too much credit by assuming that this argument amounts to much beyond an acknowledgment of "a debater will tend to greater successes if he has knowledge of his opponent's position and/or pretends respect for it".
0 Replies
 
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jul, 2010 02:13 pm
@kennethamy,
I read the Pensees and quite enjoyed them; though I do recall not agreeing with it all. In any case...

kennethamy wrote:
When we wish to correct with advantage, and to show another that he errs, we must notice from what side he views the matter, for on that side it is usually true, and admit that truth to him, but reveal to him the side on which it is false.

Well, this is poorly worded and is therefore fertile ground for confusion:

- "When we wish... to show another that he errs", asserts that this other person is incorrect - that someone IS in error and its a given that such is the case.

- ".. but reveal to him the side on which it was false", directly implies that there are sides to this issue, question or subject. That its correctness/incorrectness is contingent on factors.

So I'd ask ole Blaise, "So which is it? Is this an issue that's correct or not dependent on setting, circumstances or point of view or not?"

kennethamy wrote:
"Now, no one is offended at not seeing everything; but one does not like to be mistaken, and that perhaps arises from the fact that man naturally cannot see everything, and that naturally he cannot err in the side he looks at, since the perceptions of our senses are always true.

This is quite good and worthwhile on those 'truths' that may or may not be depending on the circumstances (ethical judgments, being a prime example). Another that comes to mind are those ideals that one may think applies to all, when in fact vary from person to person.

In these deals I try to grasp the intent of where they're headed, when taken in context with the whole work/chapter. I also try and get a sense of the mindset and time in which they live. So much of what we take for granted "that is" was viewed very differently in that culture and era. Yea, it's a stretch, but only leads me to not read in too literally. After all, this was the guy who thought that it was a good idea to "fake it" and maybe the Christian God wouldn't notice (or care) about that disingenuousness.

Thanks
Dave Allen
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jul, 2010 02:16 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:
After all, this was the guy who thought that it was a good idea to "fake it" and maybe the Christian God wouldn't notice (or care) about that disingenuousness.

Yeah, I've always thought somewhat poorly of the man thanks to the weakness of his celebrated wager. Which perhaps explains my assumption that this argument is along the same lines - a pretence in the service of a "greater good".
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jul, 2010 03:02 pm
Pascal is begging the question when he asserts that, "the perceptions of our senses are always true," and is predicating his conclusion thereupon.

He seems to be assuming that what is precived is true enough for the preciever. Regardless whether those preceptions are incomplete, or outright erroneous. If it is precieved it is true.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jul, 2010 05:29 pm
@InfraBlue,
InfraBlue wrote:

Pascal is begging the question when he asserts that, "the perceptions of our senses are always true," and is predicating his conclusion thereupon.

He seems to be assuming that what is precived is true enough for the preciever. Regardless whether those preceptions are incomplete, or outright erroneous. If it is precieved it is true.


I think all Pascal means by this is that although we might be wrong if we think that when we see something blue, that there is something blue we see. There might, in fact, be nothing blue in the world outside of our senses. But (Pascal would say) we cannot be wrong when we have a blue perception, for then, even if there is nothing blue that the blue perception corresponds with, we are still having a perception of blue. So, although it may not be true that there is anything blue there, it must be true that we have a blue perception, or that in other words, our perception of blue is true. And, isn't he right about that?
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jul, 2010 05:38 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:

I read the Pensees and quite enjoyed them; though I do recall not agreeing with it all. In any case...

kennethamy wrote:
When we wish to correct with advantage, and to show another that he errs, we must notice from what side he views the matter, for on that side it is usually true, and admit that truth to him, but reveal to him the side on which it is false.

Well, this is poorly worded and is therefore fertile ground for confusion:

- "When we wish... to show another that he errs", asserts that this other person is incorrect - that someone IS in error and its a given that such is the case.

- ".. but reveal to him the side on which it was false", directly implies that there are sides to this issue, question or subject. That its correctness/incorrectness is contingent on factors.

So I'd ask ole Blaise, "So which is it? Is this an issue that's correct or not dependent on setting, circumstances or point of view or not?"

kennethamy wrote:
"Now, no one is offended at not seeing everything; but one does not like to be mistaken, and that perhaps arises from the fact that man naturally cannot see everything, and that naturally he cannot err in the side he looks at, since the perceptions of our senses are always true.

This is quite good and worthwhile on those 'truths' that may or may not be depending on the circumstances (ethical judgments, being a prime example). Another that comes to mind are those ideals that one may think applies to all, when in fact vary from person to person.

In these deals I try to grasp the intent of where they're headed, when taken in context with the whole work/chapter. I also try and get a sense of the mindset and time in which they live. So much of what we take for granted "that is" was viewed very differently in that culture and era. Yea, it's a stretch, but only leads me to not read in too literally. After all, this was the guy who thought that it was a good idea to "fake it" and maybe the Christian God wouldn't notice (or care) about that disingenuousness.

Thanks


I agree with the Greeks who held, "nothing too much". So I agree that we should not read anything too literally. For instance poetry. But, when it comes to reading about geography, and I read, that Quito is the capital of Ecuador, I think it is proper to read that as, "Quito is the capital of Ecuador". That would not be reading it too literally. Now, as I said, if reading philosophy literally were reading it too literally, I would be on your side and opposed to that. But if, for instance, Pascal tells us that we should not worry about whether we have any reason to believe in God, and we should just do it, how should I read that? I read that as bad advice. Is that reading Pascal too literally. Is it reading someone too literally if he says something foolish or wrong, and we read what he says as foolish or wrong?
wayne
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2010 12:43 am
What makes Pascal so sure he himself is right. Perhaps he presents us with a methodology solely for the purpose of winning the argument, after all he sees from the side containing truth.
Total bumpkiss, if you ask me, we all know the art of tact to some degree. Does winning an argument that way really produce truth?
If the other is in error, they're in error. Errors of omission are errors still.
I see where you're coming from, But.
Zetherin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2010 12:50 am
Dave Allen wrote:
I think you have slightly but fatally misunderstood me. I said that if you looked at this piece of (what I assume to be) sophistry with the veiw of a cynic you could well conclude it was a game ("looked at cynically, it's a game"). Therefore I'm suggesting any cynicism is in the eye of the beholder - not necessarily those playing the game. The game could be played innocently or cynically or in many other moods - that would be down to the participants themselves.

Yes, and I just meant that I don't think it is most often "played" cynically, if we insist it is "played" at all. I didn't misunderstand you.

Quote:
In terms of human transactions I'm pretty sure it's a game. One player (the teacher in your example) is wagering with himself that he can better impart something to another (the pupil) by making an apparent effort to "go the extra mile" by acknowledging the pupil's point of view. In fact the teacher may be hoping to save time and effort because he predicts that not indulging the point of veiw of the student will result in greater resistence to the lesson, idea, subject, whatever.

I think that is exactly what the teacher would be doing: employing a sort of positive reinforcement so that there would be less resistance to the lesson. That's what I meant. However, I just wouldn't call something like this a game. For some reason I always interpret the term "game", used in the context of human interaction, tantamount to deceit or manipulation.

Quote:
Maybe the teacher is genuinely interested in encouraging the student's critical thinking - but that's not Pascal's stated concern - he is teaching a bit of sophistry designed to assist one player better imparting an idea to another by acknowledging the other's position.

I understand.
Dave Allen
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2010 06:35 am
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
However, I just wouldn't call something like this a game. For some reason I always interpret the term "game", used in the context of human interaction, tantamount to deceit or manipulation.

I doubt any game can be free of manipulation, though I think manipulation can be free from malign intent. I don't think deceit is a necessary component of games, but it is a common one.

Most psychological games are about figuring out a need the other player has, and then facilitating or denying that need for the payoff feelings that result. Psychologists call the particular needs of people their "gimmicks" (or sometimes "drivers" or even "roles"). Most debates are games - some are even open about it with rules, turns, winning conditions and the like.

Sophistry indulges in this a lot - the sophist engages in tactics to better win a debate that need not have anything to do with the actual truth of the matter. If sophists of yore had the language of today's psychologists they'd surely couch their techniques with psychological models like Transactional Analysis in mind.

I think Pascal has realised that a popular gimmick is "I must appear wise", and he outlines a method of exploiting that need.

As a futher thought, I think most logical fallacies target common gimmicks. Godwin's Law for example, panics some debaters because "I must appear in opposition to tyranny" is a common gimmick. Fallacy of etymology targets a less common gimmick - but "I must appear to have comprehensive knowledge" is a need of many a debater.

The only difference between Pascal and the cold explanation as I see it is that Pascal is claiming to hold objective truth. However, I suspect this is merely a core of sophistry within the greater sophistry.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2010 06:55 am
@Dave Allen,
Dave Allen wrote:

Zetherin wrote:
However, I just wouldn't call something like this a game. For some reason I always interpret the term "game", used in the context of human interaction, tantamount to deceit or manipulation.

I doubt any game can be free of manipulation, though I think manipulation can be free from malign intent. I don't think deceit is a necessary component of games, but it is a common one.

Most psychological games are about figuring out a need the other player has, and then facilitating or denying that need for the payoff feelings that result. Psychologists call the particular needs of people their "gimmicks" (or sometimes "drivers" or even "roles"). Most debates are games - some are even open about it with rules, turns, winning conditions and the like.

Sophistry indulges in this a lot - the sophist engages in tactics to better win a debate that need not have anything to do with the actual truth of the matter. If sophists of yore had the language of today's psychologists they'd surely couch their techniques with psychological models like Transactional Analysis in mind.

I think Pascal has realised that a popular gimmick is "I must appear wise", and he outlines a method of exploiting that need.

As a futher thought, I think most logical fallacies target common gimmicks. Godwin's Law for example, panics some debaters because "I must appear in opposition to tyranny" is a common gimmick. Fallacy of etymology targets a less common gimmick - but "I must appear to have comprehensive knowledge" is a need of many a debater.

The only difference between Pascal and the cold explanation as I see it is that Pascal is claiming to hold objective truth. However, I suspect this is merely a core of sophistry within the greater sophistry.


I agree with most of what you write here, although when you say that no game is free of manipulation, I suppose you really mean that in most games we try to win, and winning involves trying to outwit the opponent. And I really don't know what you mean when you say that the accusation of committing a fallacy targets a gimmick. Accusing someone of committing the fallacy of affirming the consequent (a formal fallacy) is not that, since committing the fallacy of affirming the consequent is not a gimmick. It is a mistake. Similarly, someone who commits the informal fallacy of begging the question is making a mistake. There is no gimmick involved.

Yes, I agree that Pascal believes he knows the truth (French Roman Catholicism) and hopes to manipulated those who are in error to accept the truth. He is not a "perspectivist" in his own case. But he does seem to believe that every error is somehow just a little bit true.
Dave Allen
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2010 07:55 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
I agree with most of what you write here, although when you say that no game is free of manipulation, I suppose you really mean that in most games we try to win, and winning involves trying to outwit the opponent.

Usually, but one might play a game to lose because of a payoff feeling associated with loss (like martyrdom, or appearing generous, or indulging in some melancholy) or because your criteria for winning are different to those of the game (you could lose as a teaching or morale-boosting tool to someone you have a vested interest in encouraging), or because you're bored and want to disengage. Loads of reasons to lose exist.

Quote:
And I really don't know what you mean when you say that the accusation of committing a fallacy targets a gimmick.

Not the accusation - just the committing of the fallacy itself. My idea is that most common logical fallacies are so common because when they are employed against people who aren't used to them they target emotional responses under the guise of making an actual point.

Reminding an advocate of the benefits of vegetariaism that Hitler was a vegetarian isn't an argument against vegetarianism, it's just a ploy to demoralise the opposition by requiring them to cite their opposition to Hitler in order to escape guilt by association before they can return to advancing or defending their actual position.

Quote:
Accusing someone of committing the fallacy of affirming the consequent (a formal fallacy) is not that, since committing the fallacy of affirming the consequent is not a gimmick.

It might just be sloppy reasoning...

However, it could be aimed at an opponent in the hope of appealing to a common gimmick of "I must appear reasonable" or "I must explain myself", and therefore they might tie themselves in knots trying to demolish your fallacy.

Fo example many creationists cite "if man evolved from apes how come there are still apes?" as an objection to evolution.

That's a fallacy of affirming the consequent - because it appeals to the following notion:

1) Archaic species are by and large extinct.
2) Evolutionists claim that apes are archaic to man.
3) Ergo - apes should be extinct, surely?

Now a scientist has to indulge in a fair bit of explanation to explain why such a notion is incorrect - and if he faces the sort of time constraints of a formal debate he might end up wasting his allocated time talking about how modern apes aren't those scientists think are ancestral, and how different organisms speciate and thrive in different niches, how humans are exceptions to that general trend, and how 'ape' is a different taxonomic class than 'human' is.

So in that sort of setting committing the fallacy is not a mistake - but a gambit that is likely to pay dividends.

This is because your opponent is either going to have to ignore you (which makes it look like you scored a point) or indulge in a tangental scientific discussion (that will eat into his time and may well go over the heads of the audience anyway by "blinding them with science").

So the fallacy could be a very good one to employ against someone with a gimmick along the lines of "I must explain myself" - a good gimmick to target if your opponent is a scientist!

Quote:
Similarly, someone who commits the informal fallacy of begging the question is making a mistake. There is no gimmick involved.


The gimmick targeted with this fallacy is one of "wishing to avoid confrontation", or maybe just getting someone to reach early disengagement as they realise that they can't get anywhere with you due to your refusal to redefine your initial gambit.

"That painting's rubbish!"
"I dunno, I think it's OK. Why don't you like it?"
"Because it's such an appalling painting!"
"Ugh, I can't be bothered with this, suit yourself."

Quote:
But he does seem to believe that every error is somehow just a little bit true.

I doubt it - he's just couching his Machiavellian observation in terms that make him seem less Machiavellian.
0 Replies
 
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2010 08:32 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
... Now, as I said, if reading philosophy literally were reading it too literally, I would be on your side and opposed to that. But if, for instance, Pascal tells us that we should not worry about whether we have any reason to believe in God, and we should just do it, how should I read that? I read that as bad advice. Is that reading Pascal too literally. Is it reading someone too literally if he says something foolish or wrong, and we read what he says as foolish or wrong?


We might be mixing up the Wager with what appears to be an argument for subjective truth. So... in total agreement with the bad-advice-nature of the Wager, and more towards this subjective-truth intonation...

I don't disagree with you, here either in intent or your specific examples. Bad advice (as soon as its deemed so) is just bad. Spinning it doesn't help but warp what may or may not have been said as long as the situation's been carefully delineated. That's not what I'm saying or suggesting.

There is an interpretational factor to the quoted passage, the instant he says, "... from what side he views the matter...", he interjects an undeniable aspect of subjective or situational interpretation. There are 'true statements' which are framed in such a general fashion as to require clarification. I think its this clarification-need that he's hinging the true-evaluation.

General Statements which may or may not be true depending on the framework of the speaker (i.e., what 'side' they're viewing the question from):

- That is green
- Killing is wrong
- My neighbor's an idiot
- That hot dog is awesome


Another attempt at an example:

Question: Is it wrong to kill my cat?
Bill's Statement: It is wrong to kill your cat
Bill's view: As in the situation that no living thing of this quality should be killed without a good reason

Sally's Statement: It is not wrong to kill your cat
Sally's Side: As in the situation where if necessary to preclude starvation in desperation.


When viewed from different sides (perspectives and views), its easily seen that something may be true or not. Therefore, part of the interpretation of our evaluation must take into account from which side, situation, circumstance or view someone else is seeing it. This, to the extent it follows, would only apply to statements or assertions that 1) Are vague -and- 2) Are of such a nature that they SCREAM for what conditions or side ones' viewing from. Perpiscuity is essential and woefully absent in most of our communications and I believe this is the intent on which Pascal is intimating; that we must realize we may not fully understand the details upon which others are basing there assertions.

I'll shut up now... but I hope I've done my point justice

Thanks
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2010 10:20 am
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:

kennethamy wrote:
... Now, as I said, if reading philosophy literally were reading it too literally, I would be on your side and opposed to that. But if, for instance, Pascal tells us that we should not worry about whether we have any reason to believe in God, and we should just do it, how should I read that? I read that as bad advice. Is that reading Pascal too literally. Is it reading someone too literally if he says something foolish or wrong, and we read what he says as foolish or wrong?


We might be mixing up the Wager with what appears to be an argument for subjective truth. So... in total agreement with the bad-advice-nature of the Wager, and more towards this subjective-truth intonation...

I don't disagree with you, here either in intent or your specific examples. Bad advice (as soon as its deemed so) is just bad. Spinning it doesn't help but warp what may or may not have been said as long as the situation's been carefully delineated. That's not what I'm saying or suggesting.

There is an interpretational factor to the quoted passage, the instant he says, "... from what side he views the matter...", he interjects an undeniable aspect of subjective or situational interpretation. There are 'true statements' which are framed in such a general fashion as to require clarification. I think its this clarification-need that he's hinging the true-evaluation.

General Statements which may or may not be true depending on the framework of the speaker (i.e., what 'side' they're viewing the question from):

- That is green
- Killing is wrong
- My neighbor's an idiot
- That hot dog is awesome


Another attempt at an example:

Question: Is it wrong to kill my cat?
Bill's Statement: It is wrong to kill your cat
Bill's view: As in the situation that no living thing of this quality should be killed without a good reason

Sally's Statement: It is not wrong to kill your cat
Sally's Side: As in the situation where if necessary to preclude starvation in desperation.


When viewed from different sides (perspectives and views), its easily seen that something may be true or not. Therefore, part of the interpretation of our evaluation must take into account from which side, situation, circumstance or view someone else is seeing it. This, to the extent it follows, would only apply to statements or assertions that 1) Are vague -and- 2) Are of such a nature that they SCREAM for what conditions or side ones' viewing from. Perpiscuity is essential and woefully absent in most of our communications and I believe this is the intent on which Pascal is intimating; that we must realize we may not fully understand the details upon which others are basing there assertions.

I'll shut up now... but I hope I've done my point justice

Thanks


I really don't see how your post connects with my post about reading something literally.

- That is green
- Killing is wrong
- My neighbor's an idiot
- That hot dog is awesome


None of the statements above is a general statement except for killing is wrong. The other statements are incomplete since they contain demonstrative pronouns for which no referent has been provided. Once the referent has been provided whether they are true or false would depend on the referent, and other considerations. It is doubtful whether the fourth sentence even expressed a statement. The speaker may just be expressing his enthusiasm as he might if he said, "Wow, what a hot dog!". In that case he would not be expressing a statement at all. Killing is wrong does express a statement. It suffers from quantifier ambiguity, since we do not know whether the speaker is saying that all killing or only some killing is wrong. Often, people confuse killing with murder. All murder is, of course, wrong. But not all killing need be murder. For example, killing in self-defense is not ordinarily considered murder.

Usually, people view conditions from their own side. But that need not mean that they are one-sided or biased. If I say that fire-engines are red, then naturally (unless I am lying) we can take it for granted that fire-engines appear red to me. But that does not mean that I am biased in anyway. Fire-engines are red. In the same way, when I say that my neighbor is an idiot (meaning, I suppose, that he is foolish) doubtless I think he is foolish. So if that is what you mean by viewing matters from one side, you are right. On the other hand, my neighbor may indeed be a foolish person, and I may have ample justification for believing he is a foolish person, for he may do many foolish things. In that case, of course, I may be right to call him a foolish person. A person who constantly does foolish things is, after all, a foolish person. So, of course, it might be that I misjudge my neighbor. And it might be that I am being biased, and judge what he does from that biased point of view. All that might well be true. But what also might be true is, as I have just said, my belief that my neighbor is foolish is amply justified. So even if I am judging that he is foolish because I believe he is foolish (and why else would I judge that he is foolish?) he might very well be a foolish person. And, in fact, even if my judgment that he is foolish is biased, I might be right anyway. It does not follow from the fact that my judgment is biased that I am wrong, nor even that my belief is not justified. What is true is that if I am biased, my belief should be judged more skeptically than if I were not biased. But I might be biased, and still justified, and right about my neighbor being a foolish person.
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2010 01:33 pm
@kennethamy,
Quote:
I think all Pascal means by this is that although we might be wrong if we think that when we see something blue, that there is something blue we see. There might, in fact, be nothing blue in the world outside of our senses. But (Pascal would say) we cannot be wrong when we have a blue perception, for then, even if there is nothing blue that the blue perception corresponds with, we are still having a perception of blue. So, although it may not be true that there is anything blue there, it must be true that we have a blue perception, or that in other words, our perception of blue is true. And, isn't he right about that?


He's right about that insofar as the perceiver is concerned. But then there is the other side of that "truth" on which it is, or might be, false. For example, one perceives blue, but another perceives yellow. The difference is that the former suffers from tritanopia.

That the former sees "blue" is true enough for him, but what he sees as "blue" may not be "blue" at all because his perception is erroneous.

Isn't the idea of: "true but erroneous" false on a certain formal level?
Zetherin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2010 01:57 pm
@Dave Allen,
Dave Allen wrote:
I doubt any game can be free of manipulation, though I think manipulation can be free from malign intent. I don't think deceit is a necessary component of games, but it is a common one.

Most psychological games are about figuring out a need the other player has, and then facilitating or denying that need for the payoff feelings that result. Psychologists call the particular needs of people their "gimmicks" (or sometimes "drivers" or even "roles"). Most debates are games - some are even open about it with rules, turns, winning conditions and the like.

I suppose I am just always weary of crossing that line of malign intent. In fact, this has always been something I have struggled with - judging the threshholds of manipulation. The moral implications aren't always so clear.

This is a bit off-topic, and I could indeed create a thread on just this matter alone. Sorry Dave and Ken.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2010 02:38 pm
@InfraBlue,
InfraBlue wrote:

Quote:
I think all Pascal means by this is that although we might be wrong if we think that when we see something blue, that there is something blue we see. There might, in fact, be nothing blue in the world outside of our senses. But (Pascal would say) we cannot be wrong when we have a blue perception, for then, even if there is nothing blue that the blue perception corresponds with, we are still having a perception of blue. So, although it may not be true that there is anything blue there, it must be true that we have a blue perception, or that in other words, our perception of blue is true. And, isn't he right about that?


He's right about that insofar as the perceiver is concerned. But then there is the other side of that "truth" on which it is, or might be, false. For example, one perceives blue, but another perceives yellow. The difference is that the former suffers from tritanopia.

That the former sees "blue" is true enough for him, but what he sees as "blue" may not be "blue" at all because his perception is erroneous.

Isn't the idea of: "true but erroneous" false on a certain formal level?


But what is erroneous? Not that he has a blue perception. Is the object blue? I don't know, nor does it matter. That, for whatever cause, the other has a yellow perception is irrelevant. So, again. what is erroneous?
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2010 03:44 pm
@kennethamy,
What is erroneous, first and foremost, is your misreading of Pascal.

Pascal says: "the perceptions of our senses are always true," especially in the context that "man naturally cannot see everything." He is not saying that it's true that we have perceptions, nor is he conflating that with the idea that our perceptions are true, which is what you are doing.

The perceptions of our senses aren't always true, as demonstrated in my example.
Pronounce
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2010 04:19 pm
@wayne,
Quote:
Does winning an argument that way really produce truth

This assumes that the winner would win by the merits of truth, and not by coercion, and that the winner perceptions of the truth was valid. Remember that scientific fact is just updated error.
Pronounce
 
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Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2010 04:26 pm
@kennethamy,
I think Pascal's words can be boiled down to this: Instead of arguing for arguing sake take the time to understand other the person's point of view so you can effectively help them see your point of view on the matter.
 

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