Why I don't seek the Truth

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kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 09:09 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;70501 wrote:
You're misusing the term "probability" here. Probability is a neutral concept. The probability can be vanishingly small.

All I'm saying here is that so long as the probability is not zero, then it must be considered possible. And for something like vaccines, where deaths are rare but DO indeed happen, however improbable on a case-by-case basis.

Sure. Life doesn't usually come down to yes-no questions.

Probably true. We're just getting our terms consistent.


I don't think I am misusing the word, "probability" at all. I think that we would ordinarily say that it is possible that elephant can fly, but that it is highly improbable that they would, In fact, I think that we would ordinarily say that although it is logically possible for elephant to fly (in that it is not self-contradictory to suppose it) there is no real possibility (because it would be inconsistent with laws of nature as we know them) That is how we ordinarily speak, so how could that be a misuse?
 
Aedes
 
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 09:15 pm
@richrf,
Probable and improbable imply the degree of probability.

Probability by itself does not.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 09:35 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;70507 wrote:
Probable and improbable imply the degree of probability.

Probability by itself does not.



I don't think I understand your post. I don't know to what degree of probability it is, nor do I think there is one, but I do know it is more probable that elephants walk than that elephants fly. Don't you?
 
Aedes
 
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 09:39 pm
@richrf,
Yes, you qualified the probability by calling it "more probable".
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 09:43 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;70516 wrote:
Yes, you qualified the probability by calling it "more probable".


So? I must confess that I don't see your point. It is just probable that there are extra-terrestrial somewhere in the universe. Don't you agree? More probable than not.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 09:52 pm
@richrf,
It is a possibility, yes, and I think it highly probable.

But I can say with more confidence that a given patient might or may die from a vaccine than I can say that there is life out there. It's simply experience -- there is no data or experience of any kind that there is life outside of earth, but there is plenty of data that on very rare occasions people die after a vaccination.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 20 Jun, 2009 04:51 am
@Aedes,
Aedes;70523 wrote:
It is a possibility, yes, and I think it highly probable.

But I can say with more confidence that a given patient might or may die from a vaccine than I can say that there is life out there. It's simply experience -- there is no data or experience of any kind that there is life outside of earth, but there is plenty of data that on very rare occasions people die after a vaccination.



Well, I don't really know which is more probable, but you may be right. But now, what is the disagreement between you and me?
 
Aedes
 
Reply Sat 20 Jun, 2009 06:42 am
@kennethamy,
None. Let's shake on it. http://www.sparkimg.com/emoticons/handshake.gif
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 20 Jun, 2009 06:56 am
@Aedes,
Aedes;70579 wrote:
None. Let's shake on it. http://www.sparkimg.com/emoticons/handshake.gif


Yes. Whenever people disagree with me, it is always because they don't understand me.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Sat 20 Jun, 2009 07:05 am
@richrf,
Honestly 99% of the arguments here would be solved if people would get their terms straight with one another, though sometimes it takes a long time before realizing that that was the problem all along.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 20 Jun, 2009 07:14 am
@Aedes,
Aedes;70586 wrote:
Honestly 99% of the arguments here would be solved if people would get their terms straight with one another, though sometimes it takes a long time before realizing that that was the problem all along.


I think that is something like an exaggeration, but clarification would certainly help. But many philosophical conflicts have deeper roots than just ambiguity. Although, in a deeper sense than perhaps you mean, language is the culprit. Wittgenstein wrote that, "philosophy is a constant battle against the bewitchment of the intellect by language". I think that is very near the truth. But he did not mean just disagreement about what words mean.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Sat 20 Jun, 2009 07:24 am
@richrf,
Who knows, I mean there are conceptual and truly philosophical disagreements. But if the philosophy world has gone so far as to create a new language for itself (i.e. symbolic logic), then it's clearly a big concern that philosophical statements should not have any ambiguity. I mean look at Russell's exposition of the different sub-meanings of the verb "to be".

On this forum, because I am relatively unschooled in philosophy as are many of the users, we are perhaps more susceptible to this than in the real world of academic philosophy. Here I see a lot of debates in which people don't get their terms straight right up front, and that leads to a lot of talking past one another. 99%? Maybe not, but it's a lot.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 20 Jun, 2009 09:25 am
@Aedes,
Aedes;70589 wrote:
Who knows, I mean there are conceptual and truly philosophical disagreements. But if the philosophy world has gone so far as to create a new language for itself (i.e. symbolic logic), then it's clearly a big concern that philosophical statements should not have any ambiguity. I mean look at Russell's exposition of the different sub-meanings of the verb "to be".

On this forum, because I am relatively unschooled in philosophy as are many of the users, we are perhaps more susceptible to this than in the real world of academic philosophy. Here I see a lot of debates in which people don't get their terms straight right up front, and that leads to a lot of talking past one another. 99%? Maybe not, but it's a lot.


It is difficult to talk about this (or other matters) in the abstract. Here is an example of what I had in mind. When I say of something that it does not exist, what am I talking about? Does the it, that does not exist refer to anything. (Lest you think this is a made up puzzle, it refers back to a problem that Plato posed which was, "How is it possible to (truly)* say of anything that it does not exist"? It is traditionally called, the problem of non-being.

*Since, if you say about something that it does not exist, must it not exist for you to be able to say something about it (namely that it does not exist)?
 
Aedes
 
Reply Sat 20 Jun, 2009 11:15 am
@richrf,
I don't find it especially problematic. The it refers to the subject of your conversation, and it happens that our pronouns like "it" and our verb "to be" don't intrinsically stipulate whether the object of conversation exists outside the minds of the interlocutors.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 20 Jun, 2009 12:17 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;70639 wrote:
I don't find it especially problematic. The it refers to the subject of your conversation, and it happens that our pronouns like "it" and our verb "to be" don't intrinsically stipulate whether the object of conversation exists outside the minds of the interlocutors.


I don't see how what you say helps with, "mermaids don't exist", because if mermaids did exist, they would not be mental, but material. After all, I did not say that the idea, or the concept, of mermaid did not exist. Those are mental things, and they do exist in minds. I said that mermaids do not exist.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Sat 20 Jun, 2009 02:16 pm
@richrf,
1) Mermaids don't exist.

2) We have a shared concept of mermaids.

3) We have a shared notion of existence.

4) There is no entity that exists that corresponds to our shared concept of mermaids.

what's the big deal?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 20 Jun, 2009 03:50 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;70688 wrote:
1) Mermaids don't exist.

2) We have a shared concept of mermaids.

3) We have a shared notion of existence.

4) There is no entity that exists that corresponds to our shared concept of mermaids.

what's the big deal?


If mermaids do not exist, then how can we say of them that they don't exist? What is it we are saying don't exist? But I think that what you say is right. When we say that mermaids do not exist, we are not talking about mermaids at all; although it looks as if we are. In fact, we are talking about the concept of mermaids, and we are not, of course saying about the concept that it does not exist, but we are saying about the concept that it has no referent, as you indicate. Now, the question to you is how this solution (I agree with) would be a matter of "getting our terms straight"? Except in a very extended sense. It is deeper than that. It has to so with recognizing that when we say of X that it exists (or does not exist) that we are really not talking about X at all, but talking about the concept of X. Although when we say that elephants are not reptiles, we are talking about elephants, and not the concept of elephants. So, what comes out of this, is that to say of something that it exists (or does not exist) is not to say of it that it has a property (as it appears on the surface)but rather to say something about its concept, and to say about its concept that it does not have an object to which it corresponds. That is why Wittgenstein describe philosophy as an investigation into the "workings of language". When we say that when we say of something that it exists or does not exist, it may look as if we are saying of it that it has a certain property or not, but, in fact, that is deceptive. In fact, we are saying of the concept, that it has a referent (object) or not. We are not talking about things, but about words or concepts. But this does not have to do with agreement about the meanings of words.
 
 

 
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