What is naive about naive realism?

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kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 11:20 am
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;135399 wrote:
The orange produces an experience of sweetness in those with similar tastes to ourselves. Of course, some people may not have the same tastes so it might taste terrible to them.


Is that what we believe? Or is that what you believe? I think that people generally just think that the orange is sweet just as it is colored orange. That some people may not like sweet things is unusual, but, of course, possible.
 
Night Ripper
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 11:26 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;135401 wrote:
I think that people generally just think that the orange is sweet just as it is colored orange.


I didn't know this was a survey of popular opinion. I thought we were having a philosophical discussion. If that's the case then what Joe Sixpack thinks about some obscure philosophical issue doesn't seem very relevant. It sounds more like argumentum ad populam.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 11:39 am
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;135403 wrote:
I didn't know this was a survey of popular opinion. I thought we were having a philosophical discussion. If that's the case then what Joe Sixpack thinks about some obscure philosophical issue doesn't seem very relevant. It sounds more like argumentum ad populam.


But didn't you write:

If we say that an orange tastes sweet we do not believe that 'sweetness' exists in the orange.

And I said that was exactly what "we" do believe. Now, you seem not to be talking about what "we" do believe, but what you think we should believe.
 
Pythagorean
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 12:00 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;135415 wrote:
But didn't you write:

If we say that an orange tastes sweet we do not believe that 'sweetness' exists in the orange.

And I said that was exactly what "we" do believe. Now, you seem not to be talking about what "we" do believe, but what you think we should believe.


It is not what 'we' believe it is what the prescientific man that Locke was attempting to enlighten believed. And the prescientific man could not distinguish between the thought in his mind that is unrelated to objective reality on the one hand, and the objective realities that the scientists are concerned with on the other hand.

Empiricism attempts to furnish us with the real and so must distinguish what is real and what is not real in the mind of prescientific or naive persons.
 
Night Ripper
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 12:28 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;135415 wrote:
And I said that was exactly what "we" do believe. Now, you seem not to be talking about what "we" do believe, but what you think we should believe.


Well then the problem is that "we" don't believe anything. You believe one thing and I believe something else. You also seem to believe that wasting time with silly word games is entertaining or constructive. I don't.
 
Pythagorean
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 01:02 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;135333 wrote:


It may be that science does not have the philosophical implications that you think it has. That is often (if not invariably) the case.


I'm simply making Locke's case for the need to seperate thoughts and ideas from the more primary qualities that the physical scientists must confront.


In order for science to exist there must be a seperation between the procedures of scientists and those of non-scientists. Science is different from religion, for example, Religious persons may be inclined to believe that the sweetness is inseperable from the orange as in holistic religions. So, in order for them to practise real science they must shed their naive beliefs and attempt to discover the objective facts. If there is no distinction between what is science and what is non-science then naive realism is true.
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 02:01 pm
@Twirlip,
Twirlip;134867 wrote:
Surely a person should not be banned from a forum merely for being hard to understand?


No one suggested that. Merely being hard to understand was not the accusation:

Emil;134863 wrote:
R. seems to think that it is a good idea to derail virtually all threads on this board with his nonsensical crap. It is depressive that he has not been banned as of yet. Apparently, the admins of this board think that he is really doing philosophy.


Twirlip, there is a difference between writing nonsense and writing that is merely hard to understand. Of course, nonsensical writing may be regarded as "hard to understand", but the two concepts are far from being identical. A complex proof in mathematics may be hard to understand without being nonsensical.
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 02:12 pm
@Pythagorean,
Pythagorean;135428 wrote:
It is not what 'we' believe it is what the prescientific man that Locke was attempting to enlighten believed. And the prescientific man could not distinguish between the thought in his mind that is unrelated to objective reality on the one hand, and the objective realities that the scientists are concerned with on the other hand.

Empiricism attempts to furnish us with the real and so must distinguish what is real and what is not real in the mind of prescientific or naive persons.


Explanation and representation are about what is real but are not the Real aldo they are real...
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 03:24 pm
@Pyrrho,
Pyrrho;135519 wrote:
No one suggested that. Merely being hard to understand was not the accusation:
Twirlip, there is a difference between writing nonsense and writing that is merely hard to understand. Of course, nonsensical writing may be regarded as "hard to understand", but the two concepts are far from being identical. A complex proof in mathematics may be hard to understand without being nonsensical.


In any case, I don't write nonsense. Period. I'm interested in the foundations of logic and math, and the structure of thinking itself. It's not going to be Dr. Seuss. Though my desire for clarity would have it that well determined.

Anyone who finds me nonsensical can put me on ignore. I think I'll survive it.

---------- Post added 03-03-2010 at 04:29 PM ----------

Fil. Albuquerque;135522 wrote:
Explanation and representation are about what is real but are not the Real aldo they are real...


Another theory is that the Real is revealed by Discourse, and that this Discourse is perhaps the Realest of the Real.
 
Pythagorean
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 12:51 pm
@Reconstructo,
The non-physical scientist is naive because he does not have ontological access to objective reality in the Lockean sense.

A girl who has a doll sees the doll in a naive manner. She does not ask 'of what material is my doll composed?' She does not posess the ontological criteria upon which an objective account of empirical reality could be asserted.

The task is to distinguish between what is objective and primary and what is secondary.

--Pyth
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 01:04 pm
@Pythagorean,
Pythagorean;135428 wrote:
It is not what 'we' believe it is what the prescientific man that Locke was attempting to enlighten believed. And the prescientific man could not distinguish between the thought in his mind that is unrelated to objective reality on the one hand, and the objective realities that the scientists are concerned with on the other hand.

Empiricism attempts to furnish us with the real and so must distinguish what is real and what is not real in the mind of prescientific or naive persons.


Why do you think that when the "pre-scientific man" (whoever he is) thinks that oranges are sweet, he isn't just saying that under normal conditions (when ripe, when not rotten, etc.) oranges taste sweet? Tasting sweet under normal conditions is just being sweet. You seem to be imputing some peculiar views to pre-scientific man about the metaphysics of sweetness. And very sophisticated views at that. What makes you think he holds those views?
 
Pythagorean
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 01:50 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;136013 wrote:
Why do you think that when the "pre-scientific man" (whoever he is) thinks that oranges are sweet, he isn't just saying that under normal conditions (when ripe, when not rotten, etc.) oranges taste sweet? Tasting sweet under normal conditions is just being sweet. You seem to be imputing some peculiar views to pre-scientific man about the metaphysics of sweetness. And very sophisticated views at that. What makes you think he holds those views?



We are discussing the nature of human perception in the process of determining the objective properties of empirical objects. Do you believe that Locke should not have attempted to determine what is objective or veridical and what is not? What do you think were his motivations for his enquiry? The answer to this question is important. I believe that both Locke and Descartes had similar motives.

They were both involved in philosophical exersices which sought to establish a foundation for empirical reality and the physical sciences.

One question I have for you is: Why do you believe they engaged in their enquiries? In any event the nature of human perception concerning the external world is an active subject of philosophy. In order for one to construct arguments in favour of direct realism one should at least be aquainted with Locke's version of Representative Realism. I would not consider myself to be a Representational Realist, but I know something about the nature of the arguments that surround the subject.

I had been reading such an illuminating article on the Stanford Enclyclopedia of Philosophy called Epistemological Problems of Perception. However, I did skip the part of the article where he discusses Phenomenology.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 02:05 pm
@Pythagorean,
Pythagorean;136029 wrote:
We are discussing the nature of human perception in the process of determining the objective properties of empirical objects. Do you believe that Locke should not have attempted to determine what is objective or veridical and what is not? What do you think were his motivations for his enquiry? The answer to this question is important. I believe that both Locke and Descartes had similar motives.

They were both involved in philosophical exersices which sought to establish a foundation for empirical reality and the physical sciences.

One question I have for you is: Why do you believe they engaged in their enquiries? In any event the nature of human perception concerning the external world is an active subject of philosophy. In order for one to construct arguments in favour of direct realism one should at least be aquainted with Locke's version of Representative Realism. I would not consider myself to be a Representational Realist, but I know something about the nature of the arguments that surround the subject.

I had been reading such an illuminating article on the Stanford Enclyclopedia of Philosophy called Epistemological Problems of Perception. However, I did skip the part of the article where he discusses Phenomenology.


I really do not know why they engaged in their enquiries, but I would suppose that Locke and Descartes were trying to apply the latest scientific discoveries to what we know about the world. But that does not mean that they did not misinterpret what the plain man believes about the world. (An excellent account of the motives of Locke and Descartes is to be found in A.N. Whitehead's little book, Science and the Modern World (The relevant chapter is, "The Century of Genius"))

The basic question is about the arguments for RR, that what we perceive are representations, and not the thing, so that our knowledge of the external world is inferential and not direct. I suppose that many of the representational realists would hold that we do have direct knowledge, not of the external world, but of our own minds, and that it is with our knowledge of our own minds that they are comparing our knowledge of the external world.
 
Ahab
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 07:36 pm
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;134759 wrote:
So, the "real" colors are the ones in the daylight and the supermarket store and the "fake" colors are the ones in fluorescent light and under your dingy house lights?

That sounds delightfully absurd.


Why? That is the way we use the word "real" in those sort of contexts. We expect to see the real color of someone's hair when we are in good lighting conditions. If we knew or suspected they had dyed their hair a different color then we could say that the color we see is not their real hair color despite excellent lighting conditions. But typically we question a judgement of color when we know the lighting conditions are not ideal.
 
Pythagorean
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 08:55 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;136038 wrote:
I really do not know why they engaged in their enquiries, but I would suppose that Locke and Descartes were trying to apply the latest scientific discoveries to what we know about the world. But that does not mean that they did not misinterpret what the plain man believes about the world. (An excellent account of the motives of Locke and Descartes is to be found in A.N. Whitehead's little book, Science and the Modern World (The relevant chapter is, "The Century of Genius"))

The basic question is about the arguments for RR, that what we perceive are representations, and not the thing, so that our knowledge of the external world is inferential and not direct. I suppose that many of the representational realists would hold that we do have direct knowledge, not of the external world, but of our own minds, and that it is with our knowledge of our own minds that they are comparing our knowledge of the external world.


Yes, but they had thereby established the actual existence of an objective world.

Could you make a similarly lucid case for direct realism?

--
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 08:58 pm
@Pythagorean,
Pythagorean;136008 wrote:

The task is to distinguish between what is objective and primary and what is secondary.

--Pyth


This is a perfect description of hard core Reason. I salute you! (I think that W & H have determined what you mention.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2010 10:44 pm
@kennethamy,
Here is my take. First I don't think naive realism is a pejorative term although I do understand why it would be taken as such. I think naive realism is the basic outlook of most people. So I don't see it as an unreasonable or stupid attitude but I guess 'naive' does carry negative connotations.

Now what does 'naive realism' contrast with? Scientific realism would be one. A 'scientific realist' might say that the universe is not anything like what humans perceive, it is 'really' completely alien to anything we can imagine and full of invisible entities like neutrinos, the zero-point field, dark matter, and so on. But s/he would still feel that these phenomena would be real phenomena and the subject of scientific investigation - so a realist, but not a naive realist.

But I think the whole 'realist' perspective - whether naive or sophisticated - has been called into question by developments in science itself.

First is the interpretation of quantum mechanics, where many of these debates about realism have originated. As is generally known, the so-called Copenhagen Interpretation of QM raises the question of the extent to which matter at the most basic level can be understood as existing separately from an observing intelligence.

Second is in 'cognitive constructionism', which demonstrates that our sense of 'what is real' is very much an artifact of our frontal lobes and central nervous system and our 'embodied cognition'.

I don't want to re-open these debates here as they are perennial topics in other threads, but it might help to recall the context within which the question often arises.

I think, then, that question of realism comes up in the discussion of objectivism, or the sense of 'mind-independent reality'. Many seem to take it for granted that this is 'what is really there'.

But surely this is the basic outlook of the natural sciences? I mean, the whole move away from metaphysics in Western thought, was an attempt to ditch the endless metaphysical debates and scholasticism and study 'what was really there'. This was very much the underlying motivation of Hobbes, Bacon, Galileo, Descartes, and many of the founding fathers of our modern worldview, whether scientists or philosopher. Whether their specific outlook amounted to naive realism, representational realism, or scientific realism, I am sure that all of these thinkers could be broadly characterised as realists and their chief concern was with 'natural philosophy' rather than what they called (with good reason) speculative metaphysics.

So where I am going with this is that I think science itself has started to undermine the realist outlook. I think this is why working physicists generally avoid philosophical debate, because it is has been clear since QM was discovered that generally speaking the realist or naturalist account of matter has been seriously undermined. Hence the interest in Eastern philosophy - scientists are 'fishing for a metaphysic' to make sense of the anomalies and absurdities thrown up by QM. This is why Einstein was so troubled by QM - it threatened what he saw as the basic scientific outlook of naturalism. Which I am sure it does.

That is my take on the debate.

---------- Post added 03-12-2010 at 04:00 PM ----------

I think this leads to some kind of platonist or transcendental realism, where 'what is really there' is an intelligible structure rather than an object, per se. I think, although I haven't read much about him, Roger Penrose supports this kind of outlook.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Mon 15 Mar, 2010 11:28 pm
@kennethamy,
Well that sure was a conversation stopper. I was thinking about adding the idea that naive realism does not actually qualify as philosophy at all, would anyone have any objections......
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 15 Mar, 2010 11:49 pm
@Pythagorean,
Pythagorean;136302 wrote:
Yes, but they had thereby established the actual existence of an objective world.

Could you make a similarly lucid case for direct realism?

--


I don't think that the case for RR is as lucid as you appear to believe, or perhaps I should say as good as you seem to think it is. The view that we never see anything directly, but only representations of things, from which we infer the things themselves needs to be argued for, and when the standard arguments for RR are examined closely, they do not seem to be nearly as compelling as they appear to be to you. See, for instance, J.L. Austin's Sense and Sensibilia, and Michael Huemer's, Skepticism and the Veil of Perception where those arguments are closely examined, and found wanting. Indeed, for a set of powerful objections to RR, you need only go back to George Berkeley, and his critique of Locke and Descartes.
 
 

 
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