Persuasion as Proof

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Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 03:20 pm
@Scottydamion,
Scottydamion;131143 wrote:
Do you not think your beliefs are pinned to what your teachers have taught you is reasonable and to your natural ability to be reasonable? Try looking at a subtler example:

(Think back to the Columbus period)
It is not reasonable to believe in The New World.

It is obvious to us that it is reasonable to believe there is such a thing as The New World, but to them it was obvious that is was not reasonable to believe in The New World.

The subtle point being our ability to have hindsight concerning their beliefs but not our own. So it may seem reasonable that our beliefs are more reasonable since we have hindsight, but we rely on our sense of reason nonetheless. It is easy to get tripped up on the example I gave, but try to think of the example as a metaphor for metareasoning.


Yes, it may have been reasonable for people to believe that the Americas did not exist, bearing the knowledge of the world at that time. We often see this sort of thing in science - we turn out to be wrong about something, but we did make a reasonable assumption. A website gives a good example: At one time scientists concluded that DNA would not crystallize because after extensive testing, there was no proof that it would. This conclusion is not fallacious even though now it is known that DNA will crystallize. These scientists were being reasonable, even though they were wrong.

But the key is, during any period of time, during any point in our learning about the world, there are beliefs which are reasonable and those which are not.
 
Scottydamion
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 03:21 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;131149 wrote:
Nope, because what someone thinks is reasonable, and what is reasonable need not be the same thing. And open minds and empty heads are different too.


While we agree I have little doubt you would turn around and say "it is unreasonable to believe in ghosts". I think it important to practice the use of IMO frequently for the same reason that smiling actually makes you feel happier, to help avoid dogmatic viewpoints.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 03:24 pm
@Scottydamion,
Scottydamion;131152 wrote:
While we agree I have little doubt you would turn around and say "it is unreasonable to believe in ghosts". I think it important to practice the use of IMO frequently for the same reason that smiling actually makes you feel happier, to help avoid dogmatic viewpoints.


Not every belief is dogma. That's a mistake that recovering religious people often make. They are so scarred from having beliefs forced on them, they now think that every belief that someone proclaims is true is dogma. But this is not true.

You, like Reconstructo, must begin to distinguish faith from justified belief. They are very different.
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 03:24 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;131149 wrote:
Nope, because what someone thinks is reasonable, and what is reasonable need not be the same thing. And open minds and empty heads are different too.


...So how can you know of empty heads unless your is empty also ?
he he he...:poke-eye:
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 03:27 pm
@Scottydamion,
Scottydamion;131152 wrote:
While we agree I have little doubt you would turn around and say "it is unreasonable to believe in ghosts". I think it important to practice the use of IMO frequently for the same reason that smiling actually makes you feel happier, to help avoid dogmatic viewpoints.


O.K. In my IMO water is wet. How's that? (But, to save time and trouble, can I just announce that from now on, when I make any assertion, it should be assumed that I am prefacing it with "IMO". So I don't actually have to say it?)
 
Scottydamion
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 03:27 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;131150 wrote:
Yes, it may have been reasonable for people to believe that the Americas did not exist, bearing the knowledge of the world at that time. We often see this sort of thing in science - we turn out to be wrong about something, but we did make a reasonable assumption. A website gives a good example: At one time scientists concluded that DNA would not crystallize because after extensive testing, there was no proof that it would. This conclusion is not fallacious even though now it is known that DNA will crystallize. These scientists were being reasonable, even though they were wrong.

But the key is, during any period of time, during any point in our learning about the world, there are beliefs which are reasonable and those which are not.


I think it points out the importance of suspension of judgment. It is more reasonable, IMO, to figure out where the boundaries of research currently are and suspend judgment on views beyond that boundary. It is not to advocate an "empty head", by all means hold opinions, but don't hold them with any weight until they're provable.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 03:29 pm
@Scottydamion,
Scottydamion;131156 wrote:
I think it points out the importance of suspension of judgment. It is more reasonable, IMO, to figure out where the boundaries of research currently are and suspend judgment on views beyond that boundary. It is not to advocate an "empty head", by all means hold opinions, but don't hold them with any weight until they're provable.


No, that is silly. We would be suspending judgment indefinitely then, since we're always progressing. Think about what you're saying. It's inevitable that we may be wrong at some point, but that's no reason to stop hypothesizing.

And of course we should hold some opinions with more weight than others. Again, think about what you're saying.
 
Scottydamion
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 03:33 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;131153 wrote:
Not every belief is dogma. That's a mistake that recovering religious people often make. They are so scarred from having beliefs forced on them, they now think that every belief that someone proclaims is true is dogma. But this is not true.

You, like Reconstructo, must begin to distinguish faith from justified belief. They are very different.


That's no doubt very true... I am probably preaching to the choir concerning dogma, when I mean to be preaching to myself.

However, I'm also trying to talk about suspension of judgment, but it is very possible I'm still preaching to the choir.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 03:33 pm
@Scottydamion,
Scottydamion;131156 wrote:
I think it points out the importance of suspension of judgment. It is more reasonable, IMO, to figure out where the boundaries of research currently are and suspend judgment on views beyond that boundary. It is not to advocate an "empty head", by all means hold opinions, but don't hold them with any weight until they're provable.



Some 200 years ago, pious people used to automatically say, "Deus veulent" (God willing) after every promise or prediction. Then they shortened it to "D.V.". But then, they dropped it altogether, as becoming too tedious. I believe that pious Arabs still continue to intone, "Inshallah" which means the same thing. IMO, of course.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 03:35 pm
@Scottydamion,
Scottydamion;131159 wrote:
That's no doubt very true... I am probably preaching to the choir concerning dogma, when I mean to be preaching to myself.

However, I'm also trying to talk about suspension of judgment, but it is very possible I'm still preaching to the choir.


We shouldn't suspend judgment simply because we could be wrong. We should still come to conclusions, but we can temper those conclusions with the understanding that we are fallible. That is reasonable, isn't it?
 
Scottydamion
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 03:35 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;131157 wrote:
No, that is silly. We would be suspending judgment indefinitely then, since we're always progressing. Think about what you're saying. It's inevitable that we may be wrong at some point, but that's no reason to stop hypothesizing.

And of course we should hold some opinions with more weight than others. Again, think about what you're saying.


Not indefinitely. I moved the emphasis on when a belief is reasonable to when one should hold weight to a belief concerning X.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 03:41 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;131162 wrote:
We shouldn't suspend judgment simply because we could be wrong. We should still come to conclusions, but we can temper those conclusions with the understanding that we are fallible. That is reasonable, isn't it?


As the American philosopher Peirce pointed out, all of us know that some of our beliefs are false, because we know we are not infallible. But, on the other hand, none of us know which of our beliefs is false for the very good reason that if we did know which they were, we would not hold them in the first place.
 
Scottydamion
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 03:49 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;131165 wrote:
As the American philosopher Peirce pointed out, all of us know that some of our beliefs are false, because we know we are not infallible. But, on the other hand, none of us know which of our beliefs is false for the very good reason that if we did know which they were, we would not hold them in the first place.


Sure, but if it was impossible to improve on knowing which beliefs were false we would not have the advancements of science. I'm trying to improve on stemming the tide of false beliefs by figuring out where to draw the line in holding weight to beliefs so that they don't become harder to rid oneself of if and when they are later discovered to be false. Just as we are able to decide what is more reasonable compared to the people of Columbus's age, we should also be able to decide which pathways to belief are more reasonable using the same historical evidence.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 05:17 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;131090 wrote:
Oh, it doesn't seem nit picky at all. And it actually has a lot to do with my post.

Why do you think they aren't unreasonable? People that immediately assume that something unexplanable is a ghost, are reasonable to you? I'm not saying it's their fault. Becoming reasonable takes time, and often education. And some cultures do not have this benefit. Some are too poor to get any sort of education. And though this is sad, it does not mean they aren't being unreasonable when they assume at first glance that things are ghosts.

We can extend courtesy to certain stupid peoples, but that doesn't make them not stupid just because we do. Would you agree?


This is the transcendental pretense in all its glory. Your view is the God's Eye View, the actually really reasonable view. Lucky you that it happens also to be yours.

---------- Post added 02-22-2010 at 06:23 PM ----------

GoshisDead;131095 wrote:
Zeth you are positing that there is only one basic type of reason. If that is where you are coming from then in all reality the only truely reasonable people already agree with you on just about everything. Reasoning is a process using X criteria to come to Y conclusion. Obviosuly anyone who doesn't use one person's X criteria are not going to come up with that person's Y conclusion. The process of reason using another person's X criteria will naturally result in that person's Y conclusion and is only unreasonable if you dissallow that person's X criteria.


Exactly! And how does is a person's X criteria proven in the first place? At some point a method is based on axioms, faith, assumptions. We sneer at Santa Clause and whip out our Universal Truth Calculator. Despite that obvious fact that reality is experienced first-person.

"Universal Reason" appears to have been the invention of the pre-revolutionary middle class in France, who had more money than social-prestige. Universal Reason is supposedly exoteric. But "Universal Reason" is no more proven than the Holy Ghost. I agree that natural science has earned its prestige from its application, but Newton's method is not (in my opinion) an ideal method for the humanities. Text requires exegesis.

---------- Post added 02-22-2010 at 06:27 PM ----------

Zetherin;131083 wrote:
But, stop right there, because I already know what you're thinking - you think I'm saying ghosts don't exist. But I'm not. Note that I said "for not believing ghosts exist", not "for believing ghosts do not exist".


I don't believe that ghosts exist either, but that's because I've never had a conversation with one. But if Jane sees a ghost, this is first-person evidence as far as she has concerned that ghosts exist. But majority opinion may urge her to redescribe/reconceptualize this experience as imaginary.

---------- Post added 02-22-2010 at 06:32 PM ----------

Zetherin;131132 wrote:
There is no evidence that ghosts exist, so if I see a shadowy figure, I'm not going to assume it is a ghost.


I wouldn't assume it was a ghost either, but I'm self-consciousness enough to see this as an ethnocentric prejudice/tool. You are speaking as if for humanity. As if what constituted evidence is universally agreed upon. You have been persuaded that ghosts do not exist, perhaps. So have I.

But I'm aware that this attitude of mine is contingent upon all sorts of idiosyncratic factors. I'm aware that my position is based on my limited personal experience, including the influence of culture.

---------- Post added 02-22-2010 at 06:34 PM ----------

Reconstructo;130919 wrote:
If we say that the world is not made of qualia, but something else, what are we saying? We theorize a something, that causes qualia. And it's perhaps a necessary theory, persuasive in its necessity. Of course we don't absorb it as a theory but as common sense.
I'm not in the least interested in denying the something that causes qualia. I'm just pointing out that this unconsidered embrace of reality as singular and definite tends to bleed into our understanding of more abstract forms of truth.
Just as the ethical-self-concept only gets interesting when a complex mind is being considered, so does persuasion-as-proof only become interesting when we look at more complicated assertions than A = A.

Much of our experience of reality is conceptual, as "reality" itself is a concept. If a person experiences an idea as reality, who can speak from a neutral dominant standpoint and exclude this from reality? This is where the relationship between truth and power should be considered. Whether a man is locked up as mad or not depends on how reality is socially conceived, especially perhaps by those in power.
As one of my many conceptions of philosophy is the "consciousness" of freedom, I find it pleasurable to reject the daily teaspoon, when that teaspoon's medicine seems like poison. It's also just a laugh.


No one has responded to this. Where do qualia fit in?
 
Scottydamion
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 05:35 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;131165 wrote:
As the American philosopher Peirce pointed out, all of us know that some of our beliefs are false, because we know we are not infallible. But, on the other hand, none of us know which of our beliefs is false for the very good reason that if we did know which they were, we would not hold them in the first place.


This seems like the "glass is half full" side of the coin...

---------- Post added 02-22-2010 at 05:38 PM ----------

Reconstructo;131191 wrote:
No one has responded to this. Where do qualia fit in?


Everywhere O.o

The idea of qualia is the ultimate humbling factor to me. I don't have anything to add however... except perhaps in asking if you follow the Youtube channel "QualiaSoup"?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 05:39 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;131009 wrote:

There is no evidence for ghosts existing, and this is why the other nine girls shouldn't believe Jane. And Jane shouldn't believe there is no ghost there simply because the other nine don't believe in ghosts. Who ever said that she should?

And, finally, the other nine girls were right - it wasn't a ghost. Jane was wrong. It was an alien who stole the predator's cloaking device.


I didn't put words in anyone's mouth. I told a story. Both Jane and the other girls were wrong. And perhaps all of us humans are wrong. But wrong from what standpoint? The narrator's? We don't have the luxury of that narrator. Let's change the story on this one point. Jane did see a ghost, not an alien. But the ghost only made itself visible to Jane. So other girls now represent majority prejudice. For Jane, the evidence was there. For the other girls it wasn't. Evidence isn't universal. Reality is revealed by discourse. Our notion of reality can be liken to a network of beliefs. We resist beliefs that threaten the smooth functioning of our network. We embrace beliefs that promise to improve its functioning. Sometimes it's a difficult call. Also, depth psychology suggests that the ego is only a fraction of the total psyche. We don't even know our selves completely.

---------- Post added 02-22-2010 at 06:41 PM ----------

Scottydamion;131198 wrote:

Everywhere O.o

The idea of qualia is the ultimate humbling factor to me. I don't have anything to add however... except perhaps in asking if you follow the Youtube channel "QualiaSoup"?

Haven't seen it. I'll check it out some time. Thanks.

Yes, qualia are mysterious. I'm all for natural science. It has proven its utility. But I'm not going to pretend that we have attained some method of truth beyond the pragmatic or mystical. I sympathize with Hegel, who failed his impossible but noble ideal, which was to do with work with reason. But this requires reason's investigation of itself.

---------- Post added 02-22-2010 at 06:47 PM ----------

Scottydamion;131168 wrote:
Sure, but if it was impossible to improve on knowing which beliefs were false we would not have the advancements of science.


I agree with you here. I bet you would like the pragmatists. We find some reasons more reasonable because they work for us. We are persuaded by the scientific method because it browns our toast. Unfortunately, some of us think that debate is as simple as the mathematical description of gravity. It's just not like that. Sentences are not equations. They just aren't. Only a holistic view of language with includes social practice can even begin to recognize the complexity of language use.

---------- Post added 02-22-2010 at 06:49 PM ----------

Zetherin;131150 wrote:

But the key is, during any period of time, during any point in our learning about the world, there are beliefs which are reasonable and those which are not.


You are still treating your notion or method of reason as a sort of universal reason. It's not that I think this is wrong, or even completely avoidable. It's just that I favor a self-consciousness that is aware of this projection.

---------- Post added 02-22-2010 at 06:52 PM ----------

Zetherin;131090 wrote:

We can extend courtesy to certain stupid peoples, but that doesn't make them not stupid just because we do. Would you agree?


I'm a condescending elitist at times. Granted. I think we all are. But I find it easier to process this self-description precisely because it is a self-description. I find it more unreasonable to be condescending without realizing it. I'm not saying that you are doing this, but only that the above sentence brought the issue to mind.

---------- Post added 02-22-2010 at 07:43 PM ----------

Henry got a wonderful toy for X-mass. It was called a Universal Truth Calculator. All he had to do was put in data, and the U.T.C. would spit out whatever conclusions or probabilities were relevant. This was Universal Truth, brought to you by Universal Reason. This was not just one human's way of looking at things or even an entire culture's way of looking at things. This was the UNIVERSAL TRUTH. This was the Way Things Really Were, apart from all the silly little humans who saw it differently for some silly little tiny reasons. This Calculator was like God, except that this Calculator assured him that there was no God. Or at least no other God. (It also assured him that Santa Clause was something to make kids feel good. Not a real and true thing like the Calculator, which just incidentally made Henry feel so very happy in his tummy.)

Henry was overjoyed. He made fun of all the kids at school. They admired him anyway, because he talked as one with authority. Except there was a girl name Jane there who had the Absolute Abacus. Somehow the Abacus and the Calculator could not agree. Henry and Jane began to hate one another.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 04:08 am
@Reconstructo,
Don't take my word. Take Wittgenstein.
Quote:

6.363 The procedure of induction consists in accepting as true the
simplest law that can be reconciled with our experiences.


6.3631 This procedure, however, has no logical justification but only a
psychological one. It is clear that there are no grounds for believing
that the simplest eventuality will in fact be realized.


6.36311 It is an hypothesis that the sun will rise tomorrow: and this
means that we do not know whether it will rise.


6.37 There is no compulsion making one thing happen because another has
happened. The only necessity that exists is logical necessity.


6.371 The whole modern conception of the world is founded on the
illusion that the so-called laws of nature are the explanations of
natural phenomena.


6.372 Thus people today stop at the laws of nature, treating them as
something inviolable, just as God and Fate were treated in past ages.
And in fact both are right and both wrong: though the view of the
ancients is clearer in so far as they have a clear and acknowledged
terminus, while the modern system tries to make it look as if everything
were explained.


6.373 The world is independent of my will.


6.374 Even if all that we wish for were to happen, still this would
only be a favour granted by fate, so to speak: for there is no logical
connexion between the will and the world, which would guarantee it, and
the supposed physical connexion itself is surely not something that we
could will.


6.375 Just as the only necessity that exists is logical necessity, so
too the only impossibility that exists is logical impossibility.

 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 06:32 am
@Scottydamion,
Scottydamion;131168 wrote:
Sure, but if it was impossible to improve on knowing which beliefs were false we would not have the advancements of science. I'm trying to improve on stemming the tide of false beliefs by figuring out where to draw the line in holding weight to beliefs so that they don't become harder to rid oneself of if and when they are later discovered to be false. Just as we are able to decide what is more reasonable compared to the people of Columbus's age, we should also be able to decide which pathways to belief are more reasonable using the same historical evidence.


But who said it was impossible to prove that beliefs are false? Haven't we decided for some time how to tell whether one belief is more reasonable than another? By the use of logic and perception. That is, science.
 
Scottydamion
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 02:05 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;135863 wrote:
But who said it was impossible to prove that beliefs are false? Haven't we decided for some time how to tell whether one belief is more reasonable than another? By the use of logic and perception. That is, science.


I have little doubt we share a fairly common view of what pathways to belief are more reasonable than others, but I do not think most people think this stuff through. That is part of the problem, in this information age people can google "proof that I am right" and find lousy justification for all sorts of beliefs. How does one confront this since science and philosophy are a small percentage of careers?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 02:11 pm
@Scottydamion,
Scottydamion;136037 wrote:
I have little doubt we share a fairly common view of what pathways to belief are more reasonable than others, but I do not think most people think this stuff through. That is part of the problem, in this information age people can google "proof that I am right" and find lousy justification for all sorts of beliefs. How does one confront this since science and philosophy are a small percentage of careers?


But, as you should know from being on this forum, there are people who claim to have thought this stuff through, and who do not share our beliefs on how to acquire reasonable beliefs. In fact, some of them seem not to be particularly fond of reasonable beliefs. These people also find lousy justification for all sorts of lousy beliefs. I needn't name those people for you, need I?
 
 

 
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