[lit-ideas] Re: When you're hot you're hot, when you're not ...

  • From: "Walter C. Okshevsky" <wokshevs@xxxxxx>
  • To: "Walter C. Okshevsky" <wokshevs@xxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 8 Sep 2009 13:52:23 -0230

Donal upbraids me for the typos in my post below, proffering no charity in
of my vacationing status. So be it. I now wish to carry her sentiment forward
and upbraid Robery for including way too many question marks in his post of
yesterday, most of which are neither stylistically appropriate nor
grammatically cogent nor both. Should Robert also be on vacation, I retract my

I forgot to mention yesterday that I believe Eric labours under the incorrect
assumption - notice nobody ever "labours" under a correct assumption; they
rather WORK with that assumption (recognizing the contributions of Karl Marx to
the Englisch language)- that over-analysis, over-evaluating remains a
rational activity. I don't believe it is. Consider the example Witters offers of
a fellow who opens a drawer to look for a bottle of scotch. He doesn't see it in
his drawer and so closes the drawer. But to make sure, he opens and looks into
the drawer again. Still no Oban. He does this 6 more times but still to no
avail. The fellow is hardly being rational in his "inquiry." He may well be
under the delusion that humans possess a capacity for intellectual intuition
rather than only one for sensible intuition and thus he hopes that the effort
of seeking will result in an act of finding. But in the case of task-terms and
achievement-terms, indeed never the twain shall meet.

Part of what rationality in judgement, inquiry and action requires is knowing
when enough is enough. I'll end there.

Walter O
East deck
St. John's home

Quoting "Walter C. Okshevsky" <wokshevs@xxxxxx>:

> I am roused from my vacationing slumbers by Donal's call. This better be good
> as
> I am recuperating from a gruelling Summer term of teaching. 
> We seem to have a number of posts relevant to the issue at hand here.
> Commentary
> follows:
> 1. On the idea that "emotions decide everything."
> If that is the case, there is no need to attempt to provide a rational reply
> to
> that proposition. So discourse (i.e., argument under universally required
> conditions of symmetry and reciprocity) comes to an end - or, more
> precisely,
> it doesn't even get off the ground. So there is nothing more to be said.
> 2. I believe that Eric is labouring under a conflation between "emotion" and
> the
> "feeling" that a trained athlete or jet pilot possesses in the execution of
> performance. The latter, if I may, is more accurately referred to as a
> "sense"
> of impending events, ascertained (in virtue of systematic and extensive
> training) within a consideration of factors deemed
> significant to the choice of alternatives present within the problem
> situation.
> (Yes, "problem solving" has become a technical specialization.) 
> It has as much to do with "emotion" as Kantian "imagination" has to do
> with empathy. Recall that experts are not reliable indicators of the
> conditions
> of their expertise. This, ironically, may itself be a condition of their
> expertise.
> Attempts to identify the constituents of expertise by MIT psychologists,
> amongst others, have not been particularly successful precisely because
> occurent experts within a filed or practice are not experts in articulating
> the
> origins and grounds of their expertise. Thus it comes to pass that expertise
> in
> a field or practice does not entail expertise in the teaching of the field
> (Ever
> listen to a hockey playe "explain" how he scored that incredible goal?) 
> Re Phil's calculus of desire: Desire is not the sole motivationally ert
> factor
> (as The Master says). I may act strictly in virtue of an obligation that has
> nothing to do with my desires and may well be opposed to my desires.
> Eric suggests that decisions made on purely rational grounds are
> "paralyzing." I
> fail to draw that inference from his premises.
> Is it that Eric's own decision to proffer that proposition ....?
> On the Enns-Geary Letters: Enns is correct. Geary is engaged in maintaining
> a
> kind of self-fulfilling posture of proving Moral Emotivism correct. But one
> can't keep up the charade for long ...
> Cheers, Walter O.
> Quoting Phil Enns <phil.enns@xxxxxxxxx>:
> > Mike Geary wrote:
> > 
> > "I read this book recently too.  It supported all my prejudices.
> > We're all just wads of wanting and the wanting is tied to our DNA and
> > our histories. ... At 20 years of age I left the seminary and shook
> > the dust of all belief from my feet.  In the intervening 46 years no
> > one has given me any reason to believe that we're not just ourselves,
> > prisoners of our emotional needs."
> > 
> > Sure, there is lots of wanting in our lives, but perhaps it is
> > significant that when it comes to believing stuff, Mike still wants
> > reasons?
> > 
> > It seems to me that beyond being a performative contradiction, the
> > claim of "the empirical refutation of so-called 'rational decisions'"
> > is confused.  Very few philosophers would claim that rationality has
> > nothing to do with our desires.  Rather, it seems to me, that
> > rationality comes into play when we realize that our desires rarely
> > line up with each other and that often they produce consequences we
> > don't desire.  The trick, then, is to figure out which desires we
> > desire the most and how to manage our other desires so that we get
> > what we want most.
> > 
> > People may enjoy having a few beers at the local pub and also want to
> > drive home, but most people also realize that preserving one's own
> > life as well as that of others is more important than the desire to
> > drive.  So, we arrive at the rational decision that it is better to
> > not satisfy the desire to drive after drinking because another desire
> > overrides it.
> > 
> > I can't imagine a rational decision that does not involve desires so I
> > fail to see how the 'discovery' that emotions are at work in rational
> > decision-making is a refutation.
> > 
> > This strikes me as being in the same vein of research as the
> > 'discovery' that people having a religious experience also have
> > distinctive brain activity.  As my daughter would say, 'Well, d'uh!'
> > 
> > 
> > Sincerely,
> > 
> > Phil Enns
> > Yogyakarta, Indonesia
> > ------------------------------------------------------------------
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