[lit-ideas] Re: A thought for the coming year

  • From: Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 29 Dec 2013 21:45:30 +0000 (GMT)

If this gets through the chains, it may answer O.K.'s last question.

Clearly eminent
figures like Popper do not think Einstein’s physics or Newton’s physics a mere
“tempest within a teapot” and do not think we can properly grasp Einsteinian
versus Newtonian physics and yet rightly conclude that, philosophically
speaking, this dispute between two intellectual giants is a mere “tempest within
a teapot”. My hunch is that (whether wittingly or unwittingly) both Richard and
Walter appear to take a stance that is dismissive of Einstein’s physics as a
mere “tempest within a teapot” (though if unwittingly, they may not consider
their stance this way): for we still await explanation of how “Donal’s
concerns” can here be a mere “tempest within a teapot” without the significance
of Einstein’s physics (which Donal is concerned to stress) also being a mere
“tempest within a teapot”? 
But first there
is a more straightforward issue to clarify given that Walter states what he
takes to be Donal’s position as follows:
admission that no counter-example is available to rebut JTB theory
concurs with my view. I am happy to receive that admission. His subsequent
lament that unfortunately this admission "leads to a dead end in terms of
substantive discussion" betrays an odd adherence to a pragmatist ideal
does not sit well with Donal's insistence, directed to Richard, that we need to
distinguish between the usefulness of a theory and its truth."
But Donal did
not admit there is no counter-example to rebut JTB theory:- and so it is not
accurate or fair to report this. Donal admitted there is no counter-example to
rebut JTB theory where JTB theory is defended by stipulation. That
crucial proviso was spelt out in Donal's post though it is omitted in Walter’s:
and Donal also made clear that this inability to rebut is not because there is
any great merit in JTB theory but because nothing
defended by stipulation can be rebutted by counter-example. It is immunising
one's views to counter-example by way of stipulation that "leads to a dead
end in terms of substantive discussion": and so Walter is neither accurate
nor fair in suggesting that what "leads to a dead end in terms of
substantive discussion" has something to do with Donal’s "odd adherence
to a pragmatist ideal". 
Moreover, Donal’s
position on stipulative arguments has been set out before and even rehashed 
(e.g. in the context of whether machines
can or cannot think): not only should that position have been clear to someone
like Walter who participated in those previous threads but it should be obvious
that Donal’s position is that the fact there is no counter-example to a
stipulative version of JTB theory is merely because there is no counter-example
to any ‘theory’ defended by stipulation and not because there is no
counter-example to JTB theory otherwise.

version of Donal’s position leads Donal to repeat what she or he had thought
had been made clear several times before as to his or her position.
Also for the
record:- Donal has in recent posts been offering the falsity of Newton's
physics (yet its merits as "knowledge") as a counter-example to the
idea that there cannot be "false knowledge" - and thus as a
counter-example to JTB theory insofar as JTB theory denies there can be
"false knowledge". Far from admitting “that no counter-example is
available to rebut JTB theory”, those posts have attempted to illustrate a
counter-example. (Somehow, again, all this seems to have passed Walter by.)

Given what
Donal has actually posted, Donal hopes it not impolite to suggest that it
cannot be accurate or fair to report "Donal's admission that no
counter-example is available to rebut JTB theory.” And might it not be thought
entirely lacking in manners to whisperingly suggest that this kind of 
in substantive terms is perhaps more serious a concern in discussion than mere 
lack of academic manners?
Crossing his or her fingers and legs

On Sunday, 29 December 2013, 20:47, Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Btw, has Prometheus McE. been released from the chains ? :)  O.K.

On Sunday, December 29, 2013 8:51 PM, Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx> 
Granted that our measurement of time is conventional, this doesn't mean that 
time itself is just an invention. Our measurement of length is also 
conventional (some use meters and others feet, eg) does that mean that length 
is also an invention ?

In fact, our measurement of time is not wholly arbitrary, eg a day is based on 
the time it takes the Earth to revolve around its orbit, a year is based on the 
time it takes the Earth to travel around the Sun etc. Granted, an intelligent 
species living on a different planet in a different solar system would very 
likely use different measurement. Would they no conception of time at all ? I 
am guessing that they would probably have some.


On Sunday, December 29, 2013 8:38 PM, Walter C. Okshevsky <wokshevs@xxxxxx> 
I guess I failed to make myself clear. There is no relativization involved in a
Constructivist conception of time (or justice or moral rightness, or pizza). On
standard, public forms of its measurement, you *are* the chronological age you
are as determined by that measurement. There's no avoiding it. And there's
nothing essentially contestable about it. 

On this, I agree with Rorty (may the saints preserve me): if
 there is no
external, independent reality an sich to which we are epistemically required to
conform, adequayte,
 correspond, prostate ourselves before, then the claim that
one is a relativist for failing to do so is at best false, and at worst,
unintelligible. In between we have begging the question. 

(Sorry, OK, but sometimes the truth is the best therapy. Just remember, you're
as young as you feel.) 

26 yrs old, and having the courage to accept the fact,

Walter O

Quoting Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>:

> I suppose that most of us are all old enough to wish to relativize the
> passing time as far as possible, if not to do away with it
 altogether. :)
> O.K.
> On Sunday, December 29, 2013 7:57 PM, Walter C. Okshevsky <wokshevs@xxxxxx>
> wrote:
> Well, when I asked RP to articulate for us his conception of a thought, I was
> not thinking he would simply compile a number of examples of "thought" or
> "thinking. From these examples proffered, we see that the terms, as
> understood
> by RP can refer to:
> 1. an argument
> 2. a belief
> 3. a thought dreamt (this one sort of begs the question, I would think)
> 4. a
 decision made or report on a decision made
> 5. a phenomenon or word to which "weird" could be attributed
> 6. an activity
> and probably much more that escapes my perusal of RP's list.
> But RP must still be firmly ensconced in the lap of family and friends since
> he
> resists the labour of the concept called for by  the philosophical question
> I
> posed. 
> In order to adequately answer that question, he is required to provide us not
> with a laundry-list, a bag, of examples of "thought"/"thinking" but rather
> with
> the criteria he deploys in identifying all these examples as examples *of*
> "thought"/"thinking." RP surely must be in
 possession of such criteria, else
> he
> would not be able to differentiate "thought"/"thinking" from anything else in
> the world (i.e., pizza, doggy-bags, birdfeeders, a 40 yr old Highland Park)
> and
> thus would be unable to identify some things and events as "examples." 
> Awaiting, glass in hand, RP's arousal from domestic slumbers and the
> provision
> of his set of necessary and sufficient conditions ... and for Christmas,
> (Hristos Voskresye!)
> Walter O
> P.S.  Socrates 5, Wittgenstein 0.
> Quoting Robert Paul <rpaul@xxxxxxxx>:
> > Gualterus dicit,
> > 
> > Now that RP has seen fit to return to his philosophical saddle, after an
> > inexcusably extended period of silence indulging relations with
> > immediate family and friends, perhaps he could explain to us his
> > conception of a "thought"? (If it's a mere stipulative definition,
> > allowing for no counter-examples, then of course we want no truck with
> > it.)
> > 
> > *I once thought Descartes spoke Chinese because there were Chinese
> > ideograms on his dressing gown. I’ve since learned that this thought
> > was mistaken; that is,
 that I was mistaken in thinking that.
> > 
> > ‘Have you seen Huygenson, this afternoon?’
> > 
> > ‘I think I saw him going into his office just a few minutes ago (Newton
> > time).’
> > 
> > ‘I had this strange dream: I thought I was to read a paper at the
> > annual Toot Baldon philosophy gathering, but when I reached the place
> > shown on the invitation, nobody had heard of Toot Baldon.
> > 
> > ‘Methinks I will.’
> > 
> > ‘Believe me, that guy has some really weird thoughts.’
> > 
> > ‘People used to think that whales were fish.’
> > 
> > ‘I am
 doing something. I’m thinking. And it’s hard.’ [Reply by one
> of
> > my former professors when his wife accused him of sitting around all
> > day doing nothing.]
> > 
> >
> > 
> > I ask because I would have thought that a sentence with all them
> > commas and semi-colons harbours more than a single thought.
> > 
> > And would there be a couple of claims to "k-that" in all of that? If so, do
> > they
 satisfy the necessary conditions?
> > 
> >
> > 
> > *I think there are e.g. that
> > 
> > ‘Absolute, true, and mathematical time, from its own nature, passes
> > equably without relation to anything external, and thus without
> > reference to any change or way of measuring of time (e.g., the hour,
> > day, month, or year).'
> > 
> > ...but whether they satisfy condition DM, I'm not certain.
> > Robert Paul
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