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Moral Relativism & Epistemic Relativism

 
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
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Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 12:16 pm
@fresco,
...the outcome is not closed yet, you should pay more attention to informatics fresco...
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
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Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 12:22 pm
...what the damned anarchists want is to replace philosophy with story telling soap operas and third class literature...I know it well, I can smell it a mile away...
(...its amazing that I am forced to sound right winged extremist when in fact I am moderate "left" centre wing---what we call social democracy here in Europe...there is a limit to nonsensical relativism...)
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JLNobody
 
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Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 01:52 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
As I've said many times before, truth consists of propositions (expressed linguistically or mathematically) about the structure of reality. And, of course, this means it's mainly a matter of correspondence. I see you conflating truth and reality. For me there IS reality but we only approximate it in our propositions. We do so successfully when they WORK, when our bridges do not collapse and the like. In THAT sense I am a pragmatist. I can't imagine any truth proposition having value unless it works for SOME end: unless it makes some kind of difference. That difference may be practical or even psycho-spiritual. In addition, truth propositions are not about inherently outer OR inner worlds; they talk about THE world--the adjectives outer and inner qualify a single reality. Ultimate reality--that sense of existential resonance with the actual (in contrast to linguistic/formulaic correspondence with the hypothetical)--is ineffable. Perhaps it can be mediated with art. I do agree that the idea of "you" (and "me) is fundamentally a fiction of linguisitc cognition. The sense of Being, referred to by our A2K existentialists refers more to Reality than to "truth." It is extra-linguistic which is probably why we have so much difficulty following Heidegger.
JLNobody
 
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Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 01:59 pm
@fresco,
Yes, as I recall Evans-Pritchard study was ultimately pragmatic, i.e., different cultures pursuing different practical ends by means of different ideologies (containing distinct "metaphysical" presuppositions). But philosophy should not need the anthropologist's demonstration of cultural relativism to realize the fallacy of epistemic absolutism.
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Fil Albuquerque
 
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Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 02:41 pm
@JLNobody,
...listen given your friend Rorty you don´t have reality, you think about "reality"...you don´t even have "you" to whatever is that possesses the experience of "reality"...you cannot conflate that which you do not know with language...you are left only with language...

...of course the inner and the outer are important once language is itself a world of experience...in order to make the claim that cognition try´s to linguistically correspond to reality you are assuming two worlds not one...I am the one precisely fore jumping that step which you and fresco refuse to give...yes I see one world not two...and its made of information !
wandeljw
 
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Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 04:29 pm
Does epistemic relativism provide legitimacy to pseudoscience?
bigstew
 
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Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 04:29 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Quote:
denying Truth is denying Reality


I couldn't agree more. Reality is prior to thought.
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JLNobody
 
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Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 04:32 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Ah, hence your attraction to "informatics", a new discipline not possible til the advent of computers.
I do believe in Reality, but, it is phenomenologically extra-linguistic, ineffable, not something I would attempt to describe. I can only advocate and repudiate "truth propositions" for which language is essential. Unlike the immediate realization of Reality, truth and falsehoods both require language.
You say that from Rorty's perspective there is no Reality, only the linguistic thoughts of "reality" and even the "you" who supposedly experiences it. Given this perspective you are stuck with only language. This may be true of linguistically oriented philosophers like Wittgenstein and Rorty. But are they not right when they talk about how we think?
Your reference to "two worlds" and language as THE world of experience (giving rise to inner and outer realities) smacks so much of Descartes's Dualism. It puzzling to me that you accuse Fresco and me--A2K's most notorious anti-dualists--of assuming two worlds not one.
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bigstew
 
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Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 04:44 pm
@JLNobody,
Quote:
I can't imagine any truth proposition having value unless it works for SOME end


But this just begs the question: does "working" or correspondence to truth necessarily require or best explained by pragmatism?

Put it this way, the methodology of science pre supposes a realist framework because without it, why modify and extend measurement at all? If the point of measurement is to obtain aproximate knowledge, then the only way that could be possible is if and only if science attempts to measure phenomena indpendent of our theorizing.

The anti realist can offer no account of this. It is inexpicable for them. Why? Because according to the anti realist, measurement is theory dependent, but it makes no sense on an anti realist framework to modify measurement if what is being measured is in fact not real at all.

This does not account for the fact that we do aquire knowledge, and quite reliable knowledge from empirical science.
bigstew
 
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Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 04:54 pm
@wandeljw,
Quote:
Does epistemic relativism provide legitimacy to pseudoscience?


That's a good question. If truth is realtive to an epistemic framework, there seems like no clear over riding reason to reject frameworks like astrology out of hand.
JLNobody
 
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Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 05:15 pm
@bigstew,
The point of Science is either to predict and control our physical world OR for other ENDS (but ends nevertheless) like knowledge for the joy it gives us--even if it has no other value, as in the most extreme cases of the most basic science. I'm not equating science with engineering but Philosophy too seeks to make distinctions that make SOME kind of difference. This is a principle of Pragmatism.
I dislike the term "antirealism" for its suggestion that unrealism is an alternative. What I dislike more is the innocence of "naive realism."
You reject the notion that facts (including units of measurement) are little theories or at least rest on theoretical suppositions.
The notion that mathematics, numbers, measurement and in facts in general are theory dependent no ways diminishes their value for empirical research. Indeed, it is the foundation of its (theoretical) value.
bigstew
 
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Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 09:00 pm
@JLNobody,
Quote:
You reject the notion that facts (including units of measurement) are little theories or at least rest on theoretical suppositions.


You couldn't be more wrong. Science is theory dependent in that modifying and extending measurement is theoretical, but it is only so because such theoretical modification aims to aproximate truth which must be independent of theorizing. Tweaking experimental design doesn't make any sense unless the goal is to discover true facts about reality.

So when you say facts rest on theoretical suppositions you are only stating half the picture. The theoretical suppositions only make sense when applied to phenomena independent of such theorizing. Why else would science modify and extend measurement unless the goal was closer aproximations to truth?

Science's goal isn't to just predict and control natural phenomena, it is to understand such phonomena, and hence aquire knowledge of it.
fresco
 
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Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 11:45 pm
@bigstew,
You are resisting the evidence that your argument is circular.

You think "understanding" is independent of "prediction and control"...but just look at the current argument about "not understanding physics" if the speed of neutrinos has exceeded what as predicted as an upper limit.

You talk of "theory" as though it reflected some sort of "underlying reality"....but just look at (say) Clark-Maxwell's wave equations which are still extensively used in predicting the behaviour of electromagnetism despite the fact that they require a "non-existent luminiferous ether" as an elastic medium for their "understanding". (Maxwell derived his equations from the assumption of "the ether" later to be abondoned)

You talk of a "phenomenon" as though it were independent of the particular action of observers despite Heisenberg's adage
"We never observe observe the world, only the results of our action" (paraphrased).

Lastly you talk of "refining measurement" as though it were also observer independent, when any elementary statistics textbook points out that the first level of measurement is "nominal" (linguistic naming), which underpins all other levels (ordinal, interval, ratio).

What we call "science" proceeds pragmatically not dogmatically. Such pragmatism is often based on mathematical elegance and economy of prediction rather than "understanding". Einstein's genius lay in his selection of economic mathematical axioms which encompassed and extended previous models and predicted "new data" (i.e directing nominal activity)...not in his "understanding of reality"...for as he said himself:
"reality is an illusion, albeit a persistent one".
JLNobody
 
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Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 11:47 pm
@bigstew,
Scientific methodology consists not of mere tricks. It is laden with Scientific theory. Even if we were not to "modify and extend[ ] measurement", but simply to use it as the sacred means to Truth, methodology (and we might note that it's not always quantitative in nature) rests on a long history of theory development (i.e., scientific revolutions). In addition, prediction and control are vital, if not the only, functions of scientific investigation. Your assumptions serve science no better than does positivism serve philosophy.
It's past my bedtime. Let's see what I think tomorrow.
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wandeljw
 
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Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 05:31 am
I was also wondering about Kuhn's description of science operating within paradigms. He provides specific historical incidents where science did operate that way. But, did Kuhn actually imply that science always operates within paradigms?
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wandeljw
 
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Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 08:21 am
I have seen the paradigm concept used as an argument against teaching evolution. It has been alleged that evolutionary theory is correct only because of a paradigm. A different paradigm would supposedly make intelligent design correct.
fresco
 
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Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 09:12 am
@wandeljw,
You need to replace the word "correctness" with "goodness of fit". To say science "works" is to imply it is operating within an agreed paradigm such that it produces successful predictions(and retrodictions) of "data". That situation is what we call "goodness of fit". The problem with creationism/intelligent design is that the data relative to it does not fit well. e.g spontaneous creation data, or "unintelligent" wastage data. In that sense creationism/intelligent design maybe called "a paradigm" but NOT a "scientific" one.

Certainly.as Kuhn pointed out there are tensions in "goodness of fit" such as the apparent irreconcilability of relativity and QM. But each paradigm gives a range of successful predictions in its own right, and the hope is that both will be encompassed with a unified single paradigm which will at least delimit the domain of utility of the sub-contenders, in the same way that relativity delimited the utility of Newtonian mechanics which is still extensively used.
wandeljw
 
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Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 09:24 am
@fresco,
The paradigm that would supposedly benefit intelligent design is that science should venture into the supernatural if that is where the evidence points. Smile
JLNobody
 
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Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 10:40 am
@wandeljw,
Is there ANY historical scientific paradigm that contain/validates the notion of supernaturalism? It seems to me that "science" began in part with the rejection of "creation." The so-called Scientific Revolution has a long history resulting in a general body of assumptions (i.e., "paradigms") excluding all reference to the usual concerns of theology. The Church's role has been, if anything, an obstructive one. Copernicus, Galieo, and all those operating during the decline of religion (what Nietzsche might have referred to as the Death of God) did not--if I'm not missing something--take theology into account in formulating their secular/NATURALISTIC principles of the character of Nature.
wandeljw
 
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Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 11:38 am
@JLNobody,
Steve Fuller has been a professor of sociology and the philosophy of science at the University of Warwick since 1999. He was an expert witness on behalf of intelligent design at the 2005 Dover trial.

Fuller explained Intelligent Design Theory for readers of The Guardian in December 2005:
Quote:
For the past two decades, intelligent design theory (IDT) has been wrestling for space alongside neo-Darwinism in the US high-school biology curriculum. IDT would have students approach science by trying to get inside "the mind of God". That IDT is more than an American quirk is suggested by the resurgence of Christian and Muslim fundamentalism worldwide. Secular societies insist on a segregation of science and religion that many thoughtful monotheists find arbitrary and even oppressive.

To its opponents, IDT is a thinly veiled attempt to reverse scientific progress by reintroducing biblically inspired teachings. The shock value of the allegation assumes that the Bible has been mainly a deterrent to science. But that assumption is false. The Bible has provided a powerful spur to the scientific imagination.

A staple in the psychology of scientific creativity is the word "heuristics". It refers to mindsets that facilitate problem-solving. The person who coined "heuristics" also coined "scientist" to name a specialised profession: William Whewell, master of Trinity College, Cambridge, who was the leading natural theologian of the mid-19th century.

For Whewell, one biblical teaching stood out as a heuristic for science: that humans are created in the image and likeness of God.

This claim can be taken in two ways. One stresses the similarities, the other the differences between humans and God. Are we junior creators or senior creatures? Junior creators reason from hypothetical causes to sensible effects, while senior creatures try to infer causes from effects.

The former promises an argument from design, the latter to design. The former fuels ambition, while the latter encourages a humility verging on mystery.
 

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