TJ Crow

Dump the Ding An Sich!

As you know, I'm anti-objective. Instead of talking about and searching for and trying to understand what's objective, just forget about it. You'll save time and energy and you won't even miss it. Observe, for example, in all the ways the word "objective" is used in this conversation, it could easily be replaced by "open minded" in some places, and by "rules based' in other places. To use the word "objective" instead though, tempts one to imagine there's a way to judge matters by, as Rorty says, grabbing hold of a sky hook that lets you rise above the contingencies of human history.


Pan-Relationalism from Anti-Essentialism

Such pan-relationalism seems to me to be the natural result of Rorty's anti-essentialism.

Rorty says that he's never met a relativist. See this video at 58:20, http://youtu.be/EjhVk-0Vhmk?t=58m20s

Right on, Steven. Then starting on page 52 is one of my Rorty favorites: The Number 17 As An Example of Something Without An Essence. He shows that there is no "intrinsic seventeenness of 17". The number 17 is only what it is by virtue of all its relationships with all numbers. Hence, from anti-essentialism we get pan-relationalism.


Being Human Not As Bad As Its Sounds

Chris Hill June 28 at 9:33pm We perceive and conceive of reality as only we can experience it and think about it as individual human beings, and then, we venture even further attempting to use language (as we happen to understand and utilize it) to demonstrate that we are obviously right (or more right) over those in our midst who are obviously wrong (or more wrong) than we are, lol. Anything just a little disturbing here?

Disturbing perhaps -- if you think that your inability to have an unmediated experience of reality undercuts your ability to be right. Just the kind of epistemological trap Rorty warns us against falling into. Down With The Reality-Appearance Distinction !!

Chris Hill June 29 at 11:32am There is the way things are. The is also people's experience (interpreted both within oneself and to others) and perspectives on the way things are. Often times (as there are many subjects we delve into which appear to range from being absolute to quite relative in nature), marrying the two (objectivity and subjective perspective) seems rather unavoidable, while those who believe they are truly "in the know" find no warrant (nor can they, it appears, at least for a time) in their disagreeable interlocutor's claims to their own particular points of view. It seems that this is simply the way things are, and I don't know that it will ever become unavoidable.

Again here, Rorty recommends dropping the Objectivity-Subjectivity distinction, which has the agreeable result of solving your problem. Dropping these Platonic distinctions, like Reality-Appearance and Objectivity-Subjectivity, seems to be a result of adopting the now widely accepted Non-Correspondence Theory of Truth, which, according to Rorty, has killed traditional epistemology.

Chris Hill Isn't that merely one perspective attempting to kill another by its own rules?

Yes, Chris, as human animals we're kinda stuck doing just that. But it's not as bad as you're making it sound. Rorty would give a more charitable description of the situation along these lines: Since most of us agree that none of us has access to Realty As It Is By Itself Apart From Human Interests, the concept of Objectivity, and hence its opposite Subjectivity, no longer makes sense. Instead, we see ourselves as using language to cooperate with each other by giving acceptable evidence for our own Reasons For Things, which reasons may be based on fantasy let alone your own rules. Your reasons will either be accepted or rejected by the community for a multitude of causes too complicated to trace.  No sense of Objectivity is necessary to see things like this. 

This type of human activity would be called Being Reasonable, trading reasons instead of physical blows. However, as you point out, this is not to say that some people won't try to "kill" another's perspective by Being Reasonable.  The strategic racism practiced by the Republican Party since Goldwater is a good example of just such a "killing" -- a subjugation of one race by another through reasonable persuasion.


The Metaphysics of Objectivity

Wayne Nirenberg As I understand it.........Post modernism is reacting to Hegel. I'm talking about the metaphysical aspect of the subjective/objective distinction, not the psychological, social, or historical sense. In a sense it'd be close to Hegel.....but objectivity is where we are when we're considering more than one side of an issue, whereas the other parties are only considering their side. So the objective exists as an expression of relations between subjects. Take that idea to the extreme, so that we're considering ALL subjects, or the universe, and what is objective is what's fundamental or absolute, as it's the expression that connects all subjects. So from there my idea is to figure out what EXACTLY IS objective, where it's expressed in the same way no matter the specifics (like place, time, size, anything....) of the circumstance. The post modernism I know about doesn't address these ideas. June 29 at 3:45pm · Unlike · 1

Wayne, beautiful metaphysical imagery. But the spell breaks for me when I realize that you are using the word "objectivity" to mean what I'm calling "reasonableness". Here, at the beginning of your build up, when you say "...objectivity is where we are when we're considering more than one side of an issue, whereas the other parties are only considering their side...", I, along with Rorty, would say instead "When we're considering more than one side of an issue, we are being more reasonable than those who don't." Again, no sense of objectivity needed to see the world in this post modern way. Could you proceed with a metaphysics of reasonableness instead? June 29 at 5:06pm

Wayne, I've been attempting to use the words Objectivity and Subjectivity in what I consider their most common sense -- Objectivity is dealing with facts whereas Subjectivity is merely opinion. But maybe that's not the way you're using the words. What do you think? As far as "reasonableness" goes, I am using the word is an intentionally stripped down sense. Being reasonable simply means you're using reasons to get things done, as opposed to physical force for example. With this understanding, all I'm saying is that when we're considering more than one side of an issue, we are using more reasons, so we're being more reasonable. I think our views are compatible. I agree with you that "What matters is where our values are." Being reasonable alone doesn't get you where you want to go. You have to first have a commitment to be reasonable about. Rorty says that being reasonable is more of a social virtue than it is a of way of finding out what's important.

A Dilemma Involving The Reality-Appearance Distinction

Imagine, if you will, that Chris says the following. "I abhor the torturing and killing of children. I'm considering joining a group that works against such practices. However, since I have no direct access to reality but only its appearance, I can never be sure if the the torturing and killing of children is objectively morally wrong. Hmm, since I can't really be sure if the practice is wrong, perhaps I shouldn't take a stand against it after all."

Linc Cholke, here's another excellent example of the Reality-Appearance Distinction. In this post, Chris Hill gets into trouble right away when he makes a distinction between "... the way things are" (Reality) and "... perspectives on the way things are" (Appearances). After that, IMHO (sorry Chris), it just goes downhill into unnecessary angst -- unnecessary because we can just drop the outdated, Platonic, Cartesian Reality-Appearance Distinction that's causing this old fashioned epistemological skepticism to begin with.


Have You Ever Been Experienced?

Okay you guys, this is awesome fun, but I gotta go get some work done... Chris, I guess that's just the part where you're having the experience before you get a chance to think about it. ?? Could you say more what you mean? Some people, like Daniel Dennett, think that there is no experience per se, but just a memory jumbled together after the occurrence of about a gajillion neurochemical events that are the "having" of the experience. Wayne, isn't that kinda what you're saying?


The Mysterious

Hey guys, hard to keep up with all here... As a strict Pragmatist, I say that "The Mysterious" certainly has its uses. You could use it, for example, to lure a young student into studying cosmology ... or use it to enrich your feeling of happiness with life. However, I also feel strongly that "The Mysterious" and its partner "The Mystical" is open for a lot of abuse. The bulk of the danger comes from those in authority who don't give a good account of themselves except to say "It's a mystery". And like Wayne is saying too, "It's mysterious" can sometimes be a conversation stopper.


Wittgenstein's Investigations

Oh jeez, how to describe the Investigations? It's written as a series of numbered paragraphs, several hundred of them. At first it seems like a jumble of slightly crazed thought experiments. Once you get the hang of it though, you get the intellectually thrilling sensation of an impending paradigm shift. Wittgenstein effects people differently. For me, he stands for being careful with language. “A picture held us captive. And we could not get outside it, for it lay in our language and language seemed to repeat it to us inexorably.” -- paragraph 115 of Philosophical Investigations. „Ein Bild hielt uns gefangen. Und heraus konnten wir nicht, denn es lag in unserer Sprache, und sie schien es uns nur unerbittlich zu wiederholen." -- same thing in german

Just put Thinking Fast and Slow and Blue and Brown on my booklist. This is the second time I've heard Kahneman's book mentioned in the past week, never heard of it before. I'm with you Will, I love the way my study of philosophy helps me to be a better day-to-day person. So, gentlemen, what does Blue and Brown have that the Investigations doesn't? I feel like the Investigations, to paraphrase Anthony, "flipped a switch inside of me". Would Blue and Brown flip it even better?


Not Reading Rorty

Alrighty then. Susan Haack. Fiery rhetoric including dropping Benito Mussolini's name like a bomb. Yikes. Anyway, I wrote this response to her paper. See what you think. With Mark Blobfish, Adam Rayford, Anthony Garcia, Will Weathersby, Chris Hill, Wayne Nirenberg. Not Reading Rorty - TJ Crow 2014 - A response to Vulgar Rortyism. http://www.tjcrow.com/Philo/Not%20Reading%20Rorty%2003.pdf

Wayne, still LOLing about "The Slut of Isms". Response soon. Must go swimming. Adam, response to you sooner - already worked on it some.

Excellent! Thanks, Greg. That actually explains a lot. In my paper Not Reading Rorty (posted above) I attempted to answer Haack on the philosophical merits so to speak. But if Haack's a Peirce worshiper as Mark Blobfish also points out elsewhere on this page, then she'll be anti-Rorty on both of the accounts you mentioned.

Thanks again, Greg. You've made my week with your compliment. Here's the long awaited (by me anyway) response to Adam's response to my paper. with Mark Blobfish and Wayne Nirenberg. Response to Adam in 15 Pieces - TJ Crow 2014 http://www.tjcrow.com/Philo/Response%20to%20NRR%2002.pdf


Responding To Wayne

Wayne, I finally have a response to your posting from two weeks ago on July 6. It's another pdf (The Legacy Continues). Sorry for the delay in response -- if only I could sit around and philosophize all day long... :) With @Adam Rayford and Greg Enge. Response to Wayne - TJ Crow 2014 http://www.tjcrow.com/Philo/Response%20to%20Wayne.pdf

Wayne, here's a couple of thoughts to tuck away. Reading from your second July 6 response, I agree that Pragmatism and Relativism are distinct. But then you say this: ""Rorty's notion that we can't grasp the objective because knowledge itself is a subjective phenomena and because of that we should just not try, is inaccurate and misguided."" There you go again with the "just not try" stuff. You make it sound like Rorty is giving up on truth altogether when all he's saying is that we give up trying to find objective truth. We're perfectly capable of "making progress toward our goals" without it -- in fact, that's what we've always done. May I suggest a challenge? I dare you to make sense of this phrase, "The objective is in the order of logic". As I understand Quine, you shouldn't be able to.


Philosophy at the Jam Session

John Ashley Murphy June 6 - Grateful for Your Thoughts. Many teachers of contemporary mindfulness and mindfulness meditation emphasize cultivation of awareness unfettered with judgment or the impulse to "fix". I have heard it said, for instance, that one's determination to "change" is akin to non-acceptance . . . a form of resistance that blocks our potential to flow into fresh states. But many of us are driven to mindfulness practice by suffering, and we DESIRE growth. We want to invite more joy or fullness into our lives, or at least learn to shed habits that compound suffering. I unabashedly seek to APPLY mindfulness and every other practice toward a healthier and more compassionate life, and a life unencumbered by excess pain. (By excess, I mean pain that is either self-inflicted or inappropriately adopted (think "second arrow)). And I'll aver I'm not alone in this--most of us seek growth or some other worldly reward for our spiritual practice. This edge between non-judgmental awareness and wise action is a point of curiosity for me; maybe even confusion. How do you navigate this edge?

John, You navigate that edge every time you play in a jam session. One moment you're in acceptance of the flow, the next moment you're an agent for change and you slightly direct the flow. These moments tumble by -- kaleidoscopically inseparable. Both modes enter our experience because they are dialectically intertwined -- they both appear in the language we use to describe this way of being human where we both go with the flow and direct the flow at the same time.

A cautionary note. Eastern religions take on a cultish yukkiness when they value one side of this dialectic over the other. To make one doubtful about wanting a "worldly reward" is to have one by the short and curlies.

John Ashley Murphy. That's a good touchstone for me, TJ. . . . the music jam, that is. It's a great example of operating in two (or more) modes simultaneously, and of a totality that transcends dualistic framing. I'll remember this! Thank you! ..... Of course there are no magic manuals. Principles, teachers, our own experience, and maybe a dash of luck can help bring us into clear and attentive presence. Then, moment by moment and day by day, we choose our manner of engagement, creating our path with each step. And it's easier said than done! Thank goodness for friends. Thank you one and all for the supportive discussion.


Ayn Rand

Ya see. No wonder I was enamored with Ayn Rand as a young man. She did get some stuff right -- I am also against the "mystics of spirit". -- Couldn't believe it early this morning when I heard it on the radio in the kitchen -- Eric Cantor actually lost. Who the hell is Brat? An Ayn Rand fan apparently.