But in this very conversation what were are talking about is our experiences of the world (internal and external) and our concepts about what knowledge and science are. Psychology is a science. Some things aren't explicitly studied by science (at this time) because there is not an easy way to do so. But that doesn't make them a "different kind of thinking".
We've been here before, you and I. See posts #23--#29 on page 3 of this thread (3 March):
My post #29 appears to suggest that the whole of Buddhist philosophy might come under your heading of "Psychology", which makes it a rather elastic category! At any rate, I have to ask you again about my syllogism in post #24.
---------- Post added 05-05-2010 at 06:44 PM ----------
Many of your questions I did not understand, and that is why I did not respond to them directly. First, like I mentioned before, I am unsure what you mean by "personal knowledge". Maybe you mean knowledge about something personal? Like that I only put on deodorant every other day? I don't know what else you would mean, since I thought all my knowledge was personal in the sense that it was in fact my knowledge.
I meant the kind of knowledge you have of yourself and other persons, on which you depend every day of your life, to decide whom to trust, whom to spend time with, whom to argue with, whom to walk carefully away from without making eye contact, etc.
I am betting you have much reliable knowledge of this kind, which, however, it seems to me - my questions are partly designed to see if I'm mistaken on this point - your own philosophy will not admit to be trustworthy, even though neither science nor anything else provides any substitute for it, and it is vital to your existence.
Also, I was not only referring to a posteriori knowledge (empirical observation), and I don't know why you would think that.
If anything, a literal interpretation of some of your words would make you appear to be a rationalist, so, no, I certainly wasn't accusing you of ignoring a priori
I don't think the discussion is yet precise enough for such distinctions even to matter. I'm trying to get the broad brush strokes right first. That's hard enough! I hope we don't get bogged down in details, not prematurely, anyway. (Eventually, no doubt, we will get so bogged down, if only because of my ignorance of philosophy.)
Lastly, if you could please clarify "detached logical reasoning", that would help.
That's a hard one (but fair, of course, since I used the phrase, and I did not intend the adjective "detached" to be otiose).
It may take me some time to give an adequate answer (or to discover that I did not really have anything clear in mind at all). To begin with, I think I meant "detached" in two ways, but these two forms of detachment are connected:
(1) Reason understood as if it could be completely detached from emotion.
There are many possible confusions here, some of them no doubt my own. One possible confusion, I think, comes from the fact that the specific content of one's emotions is irrelevant to the validity or invalidity of an argument in science or mathematics: from this, however, it does not follow that one can
, let alone should
, reason in the absence of any emotion. The attempt to divorce reason from emotion probably has a conscious or unconscious emotional cast of its own, and probably a very angry and/or despairing one. I think one can learn something from the mythology of the Vulcan race in Star Trek
(2) Reasoning about objects, entities, and even other persons, even ourselves, as if they existed in a universe from which we are detached, viewing it dispassionately (hence the connection with (1)) from the outside (wherever that could possibly be! - the mind of God, or else some scientistic, narcissistic, Bizarro-Superman, Frankenstein-monster, irreparable Humpty-Dumpty substitute for it?).
It's a deep subject, and one which I obviously don't yet know how to write about coherently.
I think I have to suggest (however unconvincingly) that emotion is a faculty of the mind which has something to to with the mind's essential and inescapable embodied
the world (even when it appears, to itself and others, to be operating from somewhere outside the world).
On a much more practical note, I think we can gain some sort of "experimental" (but of course not scientific, public, systematic, or logically verifiable or falsifiable) understanding of reason in its natural habitat by observing ourselves and other people in interaction, especially when our emotions are deeply involved. Does rationality in communication coincide with an unemotional application of the laws of logic (whether Aristotle's or Frege's or those of Buddhist logicians)?
I have no idea how to make this question clearer, at the moment; I can only say that questions of rationality and realism in the world of the mind keep coming up, not as concepts familiar and already well-understood, but as mysteries, outside the purview of science (or rather, not wholly within it, therefore overlapping it).
My daughter, who thinks very differently from me, nevertheless seems to know what I mean about this, and has thoughts of her own on the topic, but I don't know if I can manage to get into conversation with anyone else about it! So please bear with me if I am not clear - but don't let me off the hook, of course, because I would not be rational if I did not acknowledge that I am obliged to explain myself.
Sorry, it seems as though we're not on the same wavelength here.
I'm used to that! I always feel as if I've been placed on the wrong planet by mistake. ****-up on the incarnation front. (Reggie Perrin reference! Wrong wavelength again?) (Oh come on, forum software! I was not being obscene!)
---------- Post added 05-05-2010 at 07:15 PM ----------
The next step was that of analytic philosophy (or at least some analytic philosophy since there were important exceptions). The step was to distinguish between science as a first-order discipline, and philosophy as a second-order discipline. Science was about the world, and it tried to discover empirical truths about the world. Philosophy, on the other hand, was not about the world (or not, at leas, directly). Rather is concerned the concepts we used to think and talk about the world, including, of course, the concepts science uses to talk and think about the world. For example, the concept of causation. So here was a division of labor, and the reduction, if not the complete elimination, of the original competition between science and philosophy. Science is talk about the world, and philosophy is, as Gilbert Ryle (one of the most prominent of the analytic philosophers) talk about talk. Philosophy was not an empirical discipline about the the world, but it was a conceptual discipline about our concepts about the world.
That may not be quite right. Important philosophers like Bertrand Russell, and W.V. Quine refused (for different reasons) to distinguish so sharply between science and philosophy. But even it it is not quite right, it seems clearly on the right track. Or so it seems to me, anyway.
I think I can go some way with you on this. (I'm not sure. I'm not sure of anything! But this is a dialogue, and I hope to learn something, and maybe convey a thing or two I already know - but mainly I hope not to lose track of my own questions.)
I can't completely agree with the "talk about talk" characterisation of philosophy. On that understanding, Robinson Crusoe would not be able to lie on his back on the sand of his desert island and look up at the gently swaying palm fronds and the stars in the sky and muse upon his predicament. At least, not until Man Friday came along. And then when Man Friday did come along, even the pair's most trivial attempt to reach a common understanding of the word for "coconut" would have to be counted as philosophy, which does not seem right, either.
But that is just a quibble (one which occurred to me before, but which I did not think worth posting on its own).
I might be able to agree about philosophy being a second-order discipline, and it being about the concepts we use in first-order disciplines (including the case of disciplines which have not yet come into being, i.e. are not yet very disciplined at all); but only after registering a disagreement with you about what constitutes "the world", i.e. the subject matter of first-order disciplines.
As I have laboured clumsily to explain in another post [perhaps attached to this one, if everyone is having tea or coffee while I'm typing this], for me (and I think really for everybody, whether they admit it or not), the world is something in which we are all immersed, along with one another.
(We are not all in the same boat, but we are all in the same ocean; and sometimes it is even calm enough to get out of the boat and swim, although you have to keep an eye open for sharks.)
In view of our immersion in the world, perhaps it is necessary to have some conception of God, or at any rate some kind of transpersonal psychology, in order to recover the tidy separation you (and indeed I) so desire, between "first-order" and "second-order" thinking.
If you try to maintain such a separation on a wholly individualistic view of psychology, I think you run the risk either of being swamped, or else distorting all your thinking, except (to some extent) your thinking about objects, entities, and processes from which you can
realistically maintain a personal distance.
(I don't know what Heidegger's terminology for this would be. Something to do with objects or things being "at hand", perhaps? I still haven't even really got started on H.)
And even then there are the baffling conceptual problems of quantum mechanics to contend with (and even the cleverest people admit that no-one understands quantum mechanics).
I'm jumping the gun dreadfully here, I know! It is still no more than a suspicion in my mind that, far from 'God' being an incoherent and irrational notion, it is the individualist conception of psychology, current among most atheists, that is truly intellectually incoherent, in the last analysis. Needless to say, I am very far from being able to make this jibe even faintly plausible to anyone but myself (and perhaps also jeeprs, if I'm lucky).
I feel I'm on rather firmer ground if I merely insist that, in one way or another (the way is probably yet to be found, although there are surely already those who point towards it), we have to reconstruct philosophy along lines similar to what you describe, but with a revised conception of "the world", not as something observed from the outside (wherever that could be! - as I remarked before), but as something (or rather, some Being) participated in.
There is still room, I think, for rigorous conceptual thinking about "the world", along these lines; but let no-one underestimate what a radical, almost literally earth-shaking, transformation of philosophy (Western philosophy, at least) is required.
(Bold words for a beginner, I know. But I'm an old beginner, and I probably don't have much time!)