Metaphysics as a Bowl of Chili…

Lately I have been reading some analytic epistemology of the twentieth century. For one, I have been reading some Rudolf Carnap (Elimination of Metaphysics through the logical analysis of language), writings from the Vienna Circle, as well as some other things.

I am a person interested in philosophy but mainly epistemology and ethics of both the analytic and continental traditions. Metaphysics is something frowned upon by analytic epistemology which shows some bias against it which makes me think there is “theory-laden” thought here which discounts the philosophical field of metaphysics.

Carnap does this relatively well in the article mentioned above as well as in other papers. In the article mentioned above he talks about meaning and analyzes what it takes for a word or combined sentence to have meaning. He accuses metaphysics of creating pseudo-statements which claim to say something but merely express emotion. He makes good points….

The Vienna circle centered around Ernst Mach, Wittgenstein, and led by Moritz Schlick. The writing Scientific Conception of the World by the Vienna circle aims for what the thing is called: a scientific conception of the world ran by experiential evidence (protocol/observation sentences) and logical analysis. It specifically states that this is an anti-metaphysical aim.j

Metaphysics has a lot of pseudo-statements in it which means that epistemological and logical analysis as well as protocol sentences need to be used to sort through it and discard lots and lots of things which do nothing for the field of science or philosophy.

This made me think of metaphysics using the analogy of the branch being a big huge bowl of chili. Its filled mostly with tomatoes, and…you hate tomatoes and you want to pick them out and keep just the meet and beans which in this case are scarce.

Metaphysical pseudo statements are the tomatoes…. discard them…

 

theres some incoherent thought for you….

Descartes’ Classic “I think, therefore I am”

In the second meditation, Descartes introduces his famous I think therefore I am argument. In the previous parts of the meditations he has been discussing what there is to doubt which is basically everything.

He thinks about how he doubts and contemplates on things. Thought, thus, has been occurring in him, so the argument goes. Thought is something, according to Descartes, that cannot exist without belong to a certain thing or being an attribute of a certain identity. Thought cannot exist unless someone has the thought. Therefore, because there is thought, and I have the thought, I exist…this is the bare bones of the argument.

Everybody in philosophy thinks about things metaphysically and epistemologically and whether they have knowledge of, justification of things or whether certain universals/particulars exist. It comes down to whether or not the person exists. Problems come from trying to think about the possibility of thought occurring but nothing that it belongs to.

It is not possible for there to be thought without something to have the thought. The fact that there is doubt in something means there is thought, which means something exists.

A comment I got on a youtube video I made had to do with somebody refuting the cogito argument. This person stated that the state of affairs where person X errs in many statements is a certain state of affairs where this person can err about any possible thing; even the cogito argument. In this state of affairs if X can err about anything else, he can also be incorrect concerning the fact that he is thinking and that he exists.

I find this to be a wrong argument because how is it possible that X has contemplation on anything if he does not exist???

This is an indubitable fact that one exists. If you think, it follows that you must exist. There is little way of getting out of that argument or refuting it….

 

Kant, Space, Non-Euclidean Geometry, and A Priori Intuitions

going to do some legitimate thinking aloud here. Im not really sure if this is going to come towards a coherent point, or if its just going to be some babbling.

I have  a Youtube channel where I talk about philosophy and I end up in discussions with a variety of people about philosophical debates and issues I discuss on the video. Last fall I put up a video about Immanuel Kant’s Transcendental Aesthetic in his Critique of Pure Reason which talks about how arithmetic is the science of time and how geometry is the science of space as well as the facts that intuitions of time and space are a priori and synthetic.

A user who has since deleted his account Omnicron777 asked something that I find interesting. Kant states that intuitions of space are synthetic a priori. More importantly and simply for the current purposes, intuitions of space are a priori. Furthermore, Kant states that the pure intuition of space is a prerequisite for a posteriori experience. The pure intuition of space allows one even before experience to understand that this is close to that or that Im here and thats there.

Euclid had 5 postulates of geometry. Four of those postulates are what are understood as analytic or what Russell would call logically and psychologically primitive, i.e. hard data. The fifth one is something epistemologists and geometers have picked on for a long time and this postulate has led to different thought in analytic philosophy as well as new streams in geometry.

Riemann and Lobachevsky are geometers who gave birth to non-Euclidean geometry. Given the idea of a geometry different from Euclid’s, what we know and understand about space might be different.

What Omnicron777 suggested was that the fact that space is an a priori intuition might not be true given non-Euclidean geometry.  I can show how this might be so…

The Fifth Postulate or the Parallel Postulate is illustrated like this:

The two lines that go from being solid into dashes are important. The sold/dashed line that makes the α angle we will call  line A, and the solid/dashed line that makes the β angle we will call line B. The other line which is laid across A and B we can call C. Lines A and B come together as dashed lines at a point. Line C is viewed with respect to this proposed point made by A and B. The fifth postulate states that there will be only one line that goes through the point made by A and B which will be parallel to line C.

The other postulates of Euclid are thought of as easily understood without psychological or logical processes but this postulate is not so. One cannot understand it without logical and psychological processes.

Riemannian and Lobachevskian geometries are non-Euclidean geometries which use the notion in philosophy of language of implicit definitions to make the conclusion that there are either no parallel lines going through that point to C or infinite parallel lines going through the point to line C.

Riemannian geometry is used given a sphere:

Riemannian geometry uses implicit definitions. What is meant by implicit definitions is a predicate being defined based upon other predicates and other parts of a sentence. For example, implicitly defining a point would be “that sort of thing that lines go through.” Defining a line: “that sort of thing that is made up by points”. Whats parallel: “That sort of thing that can happen when lines don’t create points with each other.,… and the chain goes on. In this kind of language no concrete definitions are given allowing the fifth postulate to be twisted and manipulated to either give a no parallel or infinite parallel conclusion.

Riemannian geometry uses a sphere where the same kind of geometrical situation is done but, the point made by A and B is made at one of the poles of the sphere. The idea of a line in this case is a great circle or the line that is the largest possible line that goes all the way around the sphere and covers the most distance. On a sphere there are only two. Line C here is a great circle and A and B are line segments that end when they come to points with C. Given the sphere no line can be created through the point at the pole that would be parallel with C. Riemannian geometry changes the fifth Euclidean postulate to being the No Parallel Postulate.

Lobachevskain geometry is done with a 2d disk:

Above is not a disk but Lobachevskian geometry concludes with the Many Parallel or Infinite Parallel Postulate. Shown in the figure there can be made an infinite amount of lines that go through point C that given the implicit definitions of points, lines etc… are parallel to line AB. All that Lobachevskian geometry needs to give a parallel line through C to AB is that there is a segmented part of the line that is parallel and the whole line need not be given the manipulative implicit definitions.

Given these two non-Euclidean geometries it has been shown that the fifth postulate can be used to give conclusions other than the one parallel postulate.

The reason these geometries would possibly contradict Kant’s statement that space is a pure a priori intuition is that the fifth postulate being shown not necessarily true at all times given non-Euclidean geometries shows that space may not be much different from facts of a posteriori experience.

Using terms of Russell, if space is a pure a priori intuition, it is hard data or logically primitive and psychologically primitive things. It cannot upon the “solvent influence of critical reflection” (Hard and Soft Data by Bertrand Russell) be doubted. Space and the nature of it cannot become doubtful upon reflection and contemplation. Also, you do not need to experience things to understand the nature of space.

These relatively recent non-Euclidean geometry might lead to the suggestion that intuitions of space are a posteriori and not a priori.

Thinking of an a priori intuition is difficult to conceive of anyway. I guess the best way to think about such a thing is to think about whether or not you would have to had some prior experience to understand and comprehend the perception. Time seems to me to be, according to arithmetic, an a priori intuition. I don’t think you need to have any prior experience to understand that a couple seconds of time passed by even if you do not know of the predicate “second.”  And I don’t think you need to have prior experience to understand that if I have one shoe and another shoe, I have two shoes even if you do not know of the term “2”.

Space on the other hand seems to me to be a bit more complicated and that you just might have to have experience before you really really understand why “Im here and that over there is over there and not over here.”

Language is an integral part of any discipline whether it be science, mathematics, epistemology or whatever. The only reason non-Euclidean geometries were able to be made is due to changes in semantics and definition. Thus, language pointing out that something might be more complicated than previously thought would give probable cause to investigate that further and not write the complex thing off as a priori intuition.

In summary, I don’t think space is an a priori intuition. Applied geometry shows that as well as just thinking about basic understandings of space and what it might take to have such understandings.

…yes this was a bit of a lot of incoherent thought….

 

Descartes, Doubt, and what Phenomenology would have to say

having a few scattered misplaced thoughts on doubt with reference to Descartes in his first meditation of Meditations on First Philosophy.

In the first meditation, he talks about how he is calling into question all that he always held true and how he must call into question the foundation of all these things he knows and thus demolish everything he holds true.

He states that things like astronomy, physics and other natural sciences are to be doubted while mathematics, arithmetic and geometry are not.

Furthermore, what made me think a bit, he stated that in dream state we have immediate certainty of everything thats happening and in a dream we are deceived. Also, he holds the possibility that an evil genius deceives him of everything. This devil can even deceive him of truths of arithmetic and geometry. This thought spills over into the famous second meditation where he discusses in the beginning that hes starting from the beginning until he finds something he is objectively certain about.

This makes me think because during a dream state we do not even question whats going on or the reality of these things unless you hacked your brain into being able to lucidly dream. Many people however cannot lucid dream or will not put in the effort, so dreams still seem real without question as to whether its real or not.

This makes me think, how are we sure of our foundations of knowledge and everything we build upon it??? I was reading an article on Cracked.com about how to lucid dream which tells you to make a habit out of reality testing where you either make an ink dot on your palm and look at it, look away and look at it again. or look at a digital clock, look away and look at it again (heres the link: http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1gngpP/www.cracked.com/funny-5213-lucid-dreaming/ )

Descartes states that the evil genius could be deceiving us of supposedly certain things like this. I am not saying that a demon is deceiving us, but how are we sure that what we see is not to be doubted or pure falsity??

Phenomenology would say simply that you cannot be sure but it does not matter anyway. Phenomenology according to Husserl would just tell you to not make any presuppositions about your perceptions and just accept the things for what they are (things not meaning objective material object but the thing you actually see). I was thinking about this, because due to phenomenology, I see no reason why we should doubt or worry about certainty….

Philosophical Life Rule #2: They Think They Can

this rule is simple.

Philosopher Vergil once said “They can because they think they can”.

In todays world lots of people second guess and judge themselves without giving themselves any credit. Lots of people have lack of confidence low self esteem, and contradictory thought which prevents the person from being confident enough to make things better.

For example, if it appears that attractive thin men can get attractive thin women, there are many many cases where thin attractive people end up with people who view themselves and might not be as much so.

Vergil’s quote “they can because they think they can” presents the possibility of having a better attitude and self respect/esteem which will change the mindset.

This leads to the overall rule proven in psychology and neuroscience that if one purposely tries to view things positively there is a better chance of that person being happier, and vice versa where a person with a negative attitude will end up an antinatalist. “They can because they think they can” suggests that if you purposely change your mindset to the point that you view yourself with the ultimate possibility of getting that person you want or money you want, actually means you have a better chance of really making that happen.

 

Mitch Daniels’ GOP response to Obama’s State of the Union Address (concerning wealth gaps)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/24/republican-response-mitch-daniels_n_1225954.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/24/obama-state-of-the-union_n_1229720.html

Above is a couple of links that if you are interested in politics or care about the world to any extent you should peruse.  The bottom link is a link to a HuffPost article about Barack Obama’s State of the Union address that happened this week. He said a few key things in it. The things he said sparked some conflict in the GOP as can be expected… The top link is a link to another Huffpost article which is about Mitch Daniels governor of Indiana I think who shows how ignorant he is.

What Barack Obama discussed in his address was that 1) it does not make sense that people who make millions of dollars pay equal or less taxes than those who make way way less, 2) we should bridge wealth gaps basically and 3) economic fairness. These notions kind of intertwine with each other.

Mitch Daniels states in response as a response from the GOP that Obama’s agenda of economic fairness is “pro-poverty.” I cannot fathom his logic…

It seems to me that GOP logic and understanding of wealth is like this: people who are rich are job creators and do a lot to give other people jobs… its kind of a trickle down mindset where its thought that if a bunch of rich people are created then everybody is good because more people are rich. What is overlooked here is that this does not work. If we attempt at securing the ways of the rich the rich will get a few more people in it, but as this occurs the lower classes will suffer more and more because these people are thus not given equal chance to sustain themselves to live a good regular life. The rich are secured in their ways so they can live richly while an incredibly larger amount of people are not given their chance to sustain their life.

Obama’s agenda pretty much redistributes the wealth. If Obama raises taxes on the rich all that will be taken from the rich are what they rich would call “chump change”. This “chump change” would be spread around to allow for more jobs to be created because it stimulates the economy and this “chump change” which would mean nothing to the rich who have millions or billions of dollars anyway would allow each person in the lower to middle classes to have a chance at sustaining their life and NOT living in poverty.

Mitch Daniels and the GOP people who agree with him have it wrong. I don’t understand the logic these people have.

 

Romney Cannot Understand

Romney’s tax returns for the last couple years were released today. The results were that he had a large amount of income (like forty something million within a time span of two years) and had only six million taken out for taxes. This is primarily due to the fact that a lot of his income was not taxable; this is because the law currently is in favor of income like Romney’s).

Romney’s response was that he can still empathize and sympathize with people of the lower and middle classes who have trouble making ends meet. I find this impossible to understand how he can understand.

Lets say, for whatever reason, Romney’s current state is the perilous one and that the majority’s state is the favored one, and that someone in the majority is trying to run to make things better for people like Romney. The person representing the majority cannot possibly understand the perils he has not and does not deal with.

Think about if you had millions of dollars. Everything was set for you; no more financial worries for the rest of your life. You were raised this way and you never experienced it. How can you empathize or sympathize while pooled in your millions of dollars? Husserl would say that this is possible regardless of the situation (Cartesian Meditations in the fifth meditation), but someone like Romney will not because the challenge has not been presented to him…

If he cannot and will not understand what the middle and lower class go through, how can he help those classes? His lack of understanding will cause him to have different interests if in presidential office and he would not help the lower and middle classes.

You can’t spell Romney without the letters that make up “money”.

Rules of Life from Philosophy: Rule #1

this category/series is going to be a bunch of rules to live by that I have either found successful and seen many others agree with. These come from philosophy and self help and inspirational thought. I did not make these up. This is just my collaborating them together.

Everything will be great by the time things are over. If things suck right now, its not over.

I have read this numerous places. Think about it. If shit sucks, its not over. No matter what religion you have, if things suck, life is not over. You can get out of anything. Let no debacle take you down. You will always be stronger than that.

Feuerbach and Christian Alienation

Man’s internal contemplation is something that should of course be cherished and understood to be that which allows us to figure out who we are etc. L.A. Feuerbach is important with respect to this because of what he stated in Essence of Christianity concerning how Christianity alienates the self from himself. This is also important to think about due to the fact that Karl Marx used the same method to discuss how the capitalist worker is alienated from the outcoming products from their labor. Marx used this along with many other things to refute capitalism and give a better solution.

Something should be said about Christianity and Feuerbach’s thesis.

The thesis has to do with how a man thinks when he is a Christian. Feuerbach states that if a man is a Christian he is devoted to God and that anything he thinks and does is always devoted to God regardless of the circumstances. The alienation can be seen here and you can see how Feuerbach thought this. However, this is an outsider/atheists opinion. What he stated is that through contemplation, man finds himself but when a man is a Christian and thoughts and actions are thus devoted to God, man is alienated from his true self. Furthermore, God is not really God because if a God exists then he will be beneficient, benevolent, all knowing and fair (probably using the prefix omni- with those).  Given all the hardship in the world, it is seen that God is not any of those things. God is then a different perception of the man’s self but enough of an alterior persona that man is alienated because its all devoted.

An insider to the church’s perspective would state differently concerning the thoughts that God is not benevolent, beneficient, A Christian’s faith would say differently, but I guess some things come down to differences in faith.

My thoughts are probably not well articulated here, but faith and differences in them makes disputes. Some rely on reason and some on faith…but in truth things that are thought to rely on reason end up relying equally on faith…

This thought on Feuerbach is mainly important due to what Marx did with respect to Feuerbach.

So what did I say here? …not a whole lot… I apologize

Remember who JoePa was…

Pennsylvania State college football and Joe Paterno the former coach have been in the news constantly for the last few months. It has been since december that stories in the news have faded.

In November, Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested for molesting about fifteen boys one campus property. An assistant reported having seen the act, and having told Paterno. Paterno took it to the board and little happened after that… until November last year.  Finally, Sandusky was arrested.

Paterno was fired from Penn State from not having taken the information to the police and for not having done more about the crimes committed by Sandusky.

Early last sunday, Paterno passed away losing his battle to lung cancer.

It seems good to me to say that football was his life and that he went downhill following his termination of employment at Penn State. the same thing happened to Bear Bryant after he retired from Alabama…he died  6 months after.

What shall the people of Penn state as well as everyone else remember him for? hopefully for the good things and not the scandal. He was of sound moral character and a man loved by the university.

He should be remembered for the good things. His impression will last forever on Penn State as Penn State is Paterno and Paterno is Penn State.