If a tree fell and no one was around, would it make a sound?

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kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 25 May, 2009 06:10 pm
@LWSleeth,
LWSleeth wrote:
From: David Hume - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


"The cornerstone of Hume's epistemology is the so-called Problem of Induction . . . Hume notices that we tend to believe that things behave in a regular manner; i.e., that patterns in the behaviour of objects will persist into the future, and throughout the unobserved present (this persistence of regularities is sometimes called the Principle of the Uniformity of Nature).

Hume's argument is that we cannot rationally justify the claim that nature will continue to be uniform, as justification comes in only two varieties, and both of these are inadequate. The two sorts are: (1) demonstrative reasoning, and (2) probable reasoning. With regard to (1), Hume argues that the uniformity principle cannot be demonstrated, as it is "consistent and conceivable" that nature might stop being regular. Turning to (2), Hume argues that we cannot hold that nature will continue to be uniform because it has been in the past, as this is using the very sort of reasoning (induction) that is under question: it would be circular reasoning. Thus no form of justification will rationally warrant our inductive inferences."


Yes. As I said, the inference from the past to the future is merely a special case of inference from the observed to the unobserved, and the unobservable. So, the question really is, why should be accept the observed as evidence for the unobserved and the unobservable, whether the latter is about the past, the present, or the future? To suppose the issue is about inference to the future from the present distorts the problem, because it presents a special case of the problem as the problem itself.

But what is really important is to ask why does inference from the observed to the unobserved require justification? What is wrong with that inference? After all, deductive inference does not seem to require justification; at least Hume does not ask about it. Indeed, he seems to accept it as a standard of justification in terms of which he seems to think that inductive inference does need justification. So, in effect, he seems to be arguing that inductive inference needs justification because inductive inference is not deductive inference. But why should inductive inference be deductive inference? And, how could it be, anyway?
 
LWSleeth
 
Reply Mon 25 May, 2009 07:14 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;65031 wrote:
Yes. As I said, the inference from the past to the future is merely a special case of inference from the observed to the unobserved, and the unobservable. So, the question really is, why should be accept the observed as evidence for the unobserved and the unobservable, whether the latter is about the past, the present, or the future? To suppose the issue is about inference to the future from the present distorts the problem, because it presents a special case of the problem as the problem itself.

But what is really important is to ask why does inference from the observed to the unobserved require justification? What is wrong with that inference? After all, deductive inference does not seem to require justification; at least Hume does not ask about it. Indeed, he seems to accept it as a standard of justification in terms of which he seems to think that inductive inference does need justification. So, in effect, he seems to be arguing that inductive inference needs justification because inductive inference is not deductive inference. But why should inductive inference be deductive inference? And, how could it be, anyway?


[SIZE="3"]I have no idea why you are trying to draw a distinction between past-present and observed-unobserved. Both are part of the problem as Hume expressed it. He said, "Opinions about unobserved matters of fact are somehow derived from [past] experience. All beliefs about unobserved matters of fact are derived from experience by induction." Yet you seem intent on creating a false dilemma where there is none.

We can eliminate neither the phenomenon of experience nor our experiential history with a subject and make sense of Hume's problem of induction. In my discussion of it in this thread, I've made no attempt to separate observation and the history of experience that would serve as an inductive reasoning base because I don't see how one can possibly describe the "problem" without both aspects. So, once again, I don't know why you are attempting it . . . it makes no sense to me.[/SIZE]
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 25 May, 2009 10:11 pm
@LWSleeth,
LWSleeth wrote:
I have no idea why you are trying to draw a distinction between past-present and observed-unobserved. Both are part of the problem as Hume expressed it. He said, "Opinions about unobserved matters of fact are somehow derived from [past] experience. All beliefs about unobserved matters of fact are derived from experience by induction." Yet you seem intent on creating a false dilemma where there is none.

We can eliminate neither the phenomenon of experience nor our experiential history with a subject and make sense of Hume's problem of induction. In my discussion of it in this thread, I've made no attempt to separate observation and the history of experience that would serve as an inductive reasoning base because I don't see how one can possibly describe the "problem" without both aspects. So, once again, I don't know why you are attempting it . . . it makes no sense to me.


But the unobserved matters of fact need not be about the future. They may also be about the past, or about the immediate present. Isn't that so? Therefore, the problem of induction is not about inference from the past to the future, but from what we have already observed (in the past) to what we have not observed about the past, or about the present, or, of course, also about the future. Isn't that right? But, I agree, that point, although well worth noting is not Hume's difficulty. His difficulty is the inference from the observed to the unobserved. And, the question is, exactly what is the difficulty supposed to be? Why is there a problem with drawing conclusions about the unobserved from the observed? We do it every day of our lives. Is it that we cannot do it with absolute certainty, so that our inference might be mistaken. That is so. But that is not a problem unless we should expect that it would be impossible for an inference which we are justified in making, to be mistaken. Why should we expect an inference to be beyond the possibility of error? Of course, deductive inferences are beyond the possibility of error, for in a valid deductive inference, if the premises are true, then so must the conclusion be true. And, there is no such guarantee in the case of inductive inference. But, is this really the problem? That inductive inference is not deductive inference?
 
Paggos
 
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 06:40 pm
@gaia,
Sound is a animal/human perspective, if nobody is there the sound isn't present.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 07:41 pm
@Paggos,
Paggos;73167 wrote:
Sound is a animal/human perspective, if nobody is there the sound isn't present.



Hmm. So if you placed a sound recorder there, and listened to it later, you would hear nothing?
 
Aedes
 
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 08:40 pm
@Paggos,
Paggos;73167 wrote:
Sound is a animal/human perspective, if nobody is there the sound isn't present.
Hearing is an animal/human perception. Sound is a physical phenomenon. People who are completely and totally stone deaf can detect loud sounds, because they also produce vibrations in the air that can be felt. Think about the guy in the car next to you at the light with the blasting sub-woofers.
 
Kielicious
 
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 11:00 pm
@Aedes,
Does anyone else find it increasingly annoying when such elementary, and clearly redundant questions, like this are put forth as some sort of never-before-heard question and, in turn, want a full explanation of inquiry? While in retrospect this may have qualified as intellectually stimulating (Im guessing 6,000+ years ago) now this mind-numbing aspect of philosophy is just embarrassing.

Thats just my 2-cents though...
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 07:41 am
@Kielicious,
Kielicious;73274 wrote:
Does anyone else find it increasingly annoying when such elementary, and clearly redundant questions, like this are put forth as some sort of never-before-heard question and, in turn, want a full explanation of inquiry? While in retrospect this may have qualified as intellectually stimulating (Im guessing 6,000+ years ago) now this mind-numbing aspect of philosophy is just embarrassing.

Thats just my 2-cents though...


As elementary and redundant (redundant?) as it is, what do you think is the answer? I have not yet heard an answer I found convincing.
 
Alan McDougall
 
Reply Sun 5 Jul, 2009 01:45 am
@gaia,
We could extrapolate this question, If the universe had no observer would it exist? Many believe a universe needs observers to exist
 
parker pyne
 
Reply Sun 5 Jul, 2009 02:04 am
@William,
William;63716 wrote:
Are we not capable of philosophical thought, or are we only able to study the thoughts of dead philosophers.

William

I sometimes find that my philosophical thoughts have already been proposed by dead philosophers. And then I feel as if my ideas are watered-down regurgitations of established thought.

I've never been punctual.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 5 Jul, 2009 06:10 am
@William,
William;63716 wrote:
Are we not capable of philosophical thought, or are we only able to study the thoughts of dead philosophers.

William


As Newton famously said about his scientific predecessors like Galileo, and Copernicus, "If I have seen as far as I have, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants". Knowledge is cumulative, and even if we could reinvent the wheel, what is the point of doing so, if the wheel has already been invented? Philosophers also, "stand on the shoulders of giants". Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, and so on. (Besides, we also study the thought of living philosophers who are, as we speak, producing philosophy).
 
Caroline
 
Reply Sun 5 Jul, 2009 06:14 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;75028 wrote:
As Newton famously said about his scientific predecessors like Galileo, and Copernicus, "If I have seen as far as I have, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants". Knowledge is cumulative, and even if we could reinvent the wheel, what is the point of doing so, if the wheel has already been invented? Philosophers also, "stand on the shoulders of giants". Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, and so on. (Besides, we also study the thought of living philosophers who are, as we speak, producing philosophy).

I agree but I think they would say that use the knowledge that is handed down to us but also have our own independent thoughts.
The very first philosopher was on his own.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 5 Jul, 2009 06:19 am
@Caroline,
Caroline;75029 wrote:
I agree but I think they would say that use the knowledge that is handed down to us but also have our own independent thoughts.
The very first philosopher was on his own.


I don't think there was a "very first" philosopher, anymore than I think there was a very first scientist. And, of course, many of us may have independent thoughts. Whether the thoughts are worth-having is, of course, a different question.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Sun 5 Jul, 2009 06:23 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;75032 wrote:
I don't think there was a "very first" philosopher, anymore than I think there was a very first scientist. And, of course, many of us may have independent thoughts. Whether the thoughts are worth-having is, of course, a different question.

Lol yes some thoughts are not worth thinking. What I meant was you think about things that the ancients did your own way. If your talking about standing on the shoulders of Plato, Aristotle etc, then it goes right back to one, and he didnt have anyone's shoulders to stand on, is what I meant. Smile
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 5 Jul, 2009 06:29 am
@Caroline,
Caroline;75034 wrote:
Lol yes some thoughts are not worth thinking. What I meant was you think about things that the ancients did your own way. If your talking about standing on the shoulders of Plato, Aristotle etc, then it goes right back to one, and he didnt have anyone's shoulders to stand on, is what I meant. Smile


In your own way, or in the way others think, which you believe is a good way, and better than any you might come up with. Standing on shoulders need not go back to just one? There was not a first philosopher; and there was not a first scientist.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Sun 5 Jul, 2009 06:34 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;75037 wrote:
There was not a first philosopher; and there was not a first scientist.

What do you mean?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 5 Jul, 2009 06:44 am
@Caroline,
Caroline;75040 wrote:
What do you mean?


What I said. It is like saying that there was a first English speaker. Why would you think there was a first philosopher, or scientist? Philosophy didn't pop up (I was going to say, "like a mousetrap" but I bet there wasn't even a first mousetrap).Maybe like the atom bomb. Philosophy is not a unique invention. One person did not, suddenly one day, begin to do something entirely new called, "philosophy", no more than did someone wake up one day, and start doing something completely new called, "speaking English".
 
Caroline
 
Reply Sun 5 Jul, 2009 07:17 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;75045 wrote:
What I said. It is like saying that there was a first English speaker. Why would you think there was a first philosopher, or scientist? Philosophy didn't pop up (I was going to say, "like a mousetrap" but I bet there wasn't even a first mousetrap).Maybe like the atom bomb. Philosophy is not a unique invention. One person did not, suddenly one day, begin to do something entirely new called, "philosophy", no more than did someone wake up one day, and start doing something completely new called, "speaking English".

Yes I get your point, but if your going to talk about standing on the shoulders of the ancient greek philosophers than as far as I can see it goes back to Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 5 Jul, 2009 07:27 am
@Caroline,
Caroline;75052 wrote:
Yes I get your point, but if your going to talk about standing on the shoulders of the ancient greek philosophers than as far as I can see it goes back to Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes.


The origins of Greek philosophy go back before the pre-Socratics. But, it is a convention to start with Thales who fell into a well, and emerged with the revelation that everything is water. That is called, "hasty generalization". Generalizing from a very small sample.

Contemporary philosophers stand more on the shoulders of Descartes and Hume, and other contemporary philosophers, than they do on the shoulders of the pre-Socratics, whose shoulders are probably slumping by now from all that weight.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Sun 5 Jul, 2009 07:34 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;75057 wrote:
The origins of Greek philosophy go back before the pre-Socratics. But, it is a convention to start with Thales who fell into a well, and emerged with the revelation that everything is water. That is called, "hasty generalization". Generalizing from a very small sample.

Contemporary philosophers stand more on the shoulders of Descartes and Hume, and other contemporary philosophers, than they do on the shoulders of the pre-Socratics, whose shoulders are probably slumping by now from all that weight.

Smile
So where would you start when you say, "the origins of Greek philosphy go back before the pre-Socratics."
 
 

 
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