[quickphilosophy] Re: Observation Reconsidered

  • From: wittrsl@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • To: quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2010 00:31:29 -0000

--- In quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "gabuddabout" <gabuddabout@...> wrote:
> --- In quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "walto" <calhorn@> wrote:
> >
> > 
> > 
> > --- In quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "gabuddabout" <gabuddabout@> wrote:
> > >
> > > That was a good find, Walter.
> > > 
> > > Fodor makes some keen distinctions.
> > > 
> > > I skimmed some later pages only and haven't the time (or will) to take 
> > > part in long discussion of these topics.  Suffice it to say that Fodor is 
> > > at the highest level when it comes to psychology and New Look 
> > > advertisements.
> > > 
> > 
> > What's disturbing about that area of his work, from my point of view, is 
> > how Churchland (in his response) and Fodor (in his rejoinder) talk past 
> > each other.  If they would just stop arguing for minute and define such 
> > expressions as "theory" "theory-neutral" "encapsulate" and "penetrability," 
> > it might be possible to figure out where and to what extent they actually 
> > disagree.  
> > 
> > One thing is pretty clear though--Churchland's paper is easier (at least 
> > for me) to understand than Fodor's are.
> > 
> > W
> Well, Fodor is more the adept in philosophy than Churchland is.  Compare how 
> swiftly Searle makes the Churchlands look silly in his Sci. Am. article.
> Fodor, like Searle, is a nonreductive physicalist who sees that particular 
> sciences tend to proliferate over time.  See his review of Consilience by E. 
> O. Wilson.  Fodor seems to me to remain philosophically acute as to what is 
> being assumed in a proposed area such as the area reductionists like Dennett 
> and Churchland are trying to carve out or in.
> He's a splended whittler and I'm very happy to hear that you have trouble 
> reading him.  Trying to get through _Concepts:  Where Cognitive Science Went 
> Wrong_  was trying, to say the least--and I was just getting started with his 
> writings at the time.
> And I'm not that active at the moment distilling his genius.
> Suffice it for today, I wanted to learn what you might have to say on this 
> irreverent iconoclast given his support of granny and not the parrots of the 
> day, including Harvard.
> Cheers,
> Budd

Well, to be frank I think Churchland is occasionally full of shit (as, for 
example, when he suggests that shifting a Necker cube is a function of a 
theoretical shift), but, OTOH, Fodor's theory clearly has a problem dealing 
with upside-down shifting lenses and he doesn't seem to mind obfuscating when 
nothing else seems to work quite as well.  

As I said, I wish (as often I do right here on internet lists!) that it wasn't 
so important to each of them to be right and whack the other guy, so they could 
spend that time carefully specifying their agreements and differences and 
trying to iron the latter out where possible.  But--alas--that's not the way of 
the world, either philosophical or political....


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