What philosophy offends you most?

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GE Morton
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Re: What philosophy offends you most?

Post by GE Morton »

Sy Borg wrote: June 24th, 2022, 11:56 pm
What are the interests of a houseplant that are not reducible to its cells? Same situation.
The cells in a houseplant (or a human) have only one interest (if we wish to stretch the meaning of "interest" that far): performing whatever functions the organism's DNA has designed into that cell. The plant as a whole has an "interest" in staying alive long enough to produce and disseminate seeds or pollen. That interest is not reducible to the "interests" of its cells.
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Pattern-chaser
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Re: What philosophy offends you most?

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Pattern-chaser wrote: June 25th, 2022, 10:00 am You are bending over backward better than most limbo dancers! 😋 Now, it seems, you accept the sentient-like - not "sentient" - attributes of human social groupings up to a certain size. But when the groups get to the size of 'society', your objections re-surface. It is difficult to see how the size of a group can give rise to this change in attitude...? 🤔
GE Morton wrote: June 25th, 2022, 1:01 pm A collective is defined as a group cooperatively pursuing a common interest or goal. The size of the group is irrelevant. A jazz quintet is a collective, as is the Sierra Club, which has several thousand members. The members of both groups are engaged in pursuit of common interests, making music in the first case, conserving the natural environment in the latter. But there is no common, unifying interest among all members of (modern, civilized) societies. There is no common goal they are all cooperatively pursuing. Hence they are not collectives.
And yet I see that all members of humanity, the biggest 'society' of all, are pursuing the following common interests:
  • Survival.
  • Getting enough food to avoid starvation.
  • Getting enough drink to avoid dying of thirst.
  • Shelter.
  • Reproducing.
  • Philosophy, of course.
  • Freedom from government interference ... ah, no, that's just a handful of Libertarian extremists. 'My bad', as you Americans say. 😉
  • Maybe even a little personal luxury...?
That isn't a complete list, of course. And the common interests of the whole human race are broad and basic, as we might expect of aspirations shared by all. Having said that, the aims I have listed are pretty significant (to us), and pretty much universal too. So society is a collective, as you describe it. QED.
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GE Morton
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Re: What philosophy offends you most?

Post by GE Morton »

Pattern-chaser wrote: June 25th, 2022, 1:23 pm And yet I see that all members of humanity, the biggest 'society' of all, are pursuing the following common interests:
  • Survival.
  • Getting enough food to avoid starvation.[Etc.]
Ah, you're making a common mistake --- assuming use of a general term used to denote a variety of different interests is evidence of a common interest. Alfie does not have an interest in "survival;" he has an interest in his, Alfie's, survival. He likely has no interest in Bruno's survival. Bruno has an interest, not in "getting enough food" as an abstract goal, but in HIS getting enough food. Alfie's and Bruno's interests in those things are two distinct and different interests.

The word "common" can be used in two senses, the "common1" sense, and the "common2" sense. E.g., suppose Alfie and Bruno are neighbors, and both have crabgrass in their yards, of which both would like to be rid of. But they may or may not compare notes, work together on that problem, or even be on speaking terms with one another. That is a "common2" interest. But then suppose the two of them jointly own the lot between them, and it is that lawn that has the crabgrass. Now they have a common1 problem, and must work together to solve it.

All of the common interests you cite are common2 interests, and pursuit of distinct common2 interests by members of a group does not make that group a collective.
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Re: What philosophy offends you most?

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GE Morton wrote: June 25th, 2022, 1:11 pm
Sy Borg wrote: June 24th, 2022, 11:56 pm
What are the interests of a houseplant that are not reducible to its cells? Same situation.
The cells in a houseplant (or a human) have only one interest (if we wish to stretch the meaning of "interest" that far): performing whatever functions the organism's DNA has designed into that cell. The plant as a whole has an "interest" in staying alive long enough to produce and disseminate seeds or pollen. That interest is not reducible to the "interests" of its cells.
Of course their interests are the same. The plant's and its reproductive cells share exactly the same interest. The other cells support the reproductive cells. Just like humanity. A small percentage of humans get to have significant influence on societies and other people support the edifice that elevates the elites, whose decisions are broadly representative of the society.

The situation between plants and society has numerous parallels and analogues. This is how nature works, both on large and small scales. We pretend that we are above nature, mistaking our high level abilities with ontic specialness. No, we are just a part of a larger whole, and even more subject to is influence than it is to ours.
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Pattern-chaser
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Re: What philosophy offends you most?

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GE Morton wrote: June 25th, 2022, 3:13 pm
Pattern-chaser wrote: June 25th, 2022, 1:23 pm And yet I see that all members of humanity, the biggest 'society' of all, are pursuing the following common interests:
  • Survival.
  • Getting enough food to avoid starvation.[Etc.]
Ah, you're making a common mistake --- assuming use of a general term used to denote a variety of different interests is evidence of a common interest. Alfie does not have an interest in "survival;" he has an interest in his, Alfie's, survival. He likely has no interest in Bruno's survival. Bruno has an interest, not in "getting enough food" as an abstract goal, but in HIS getting enough food. Alfie's and Bruno's interests in those things are two distinct and different interests.
Alfie is hungry. Bruno owns and runs the food shop. Chris drives the wagon that brings the food from the wholesaler. Dave and Ernest are the wholesalers, and they deal with Freddie, Georgina and Hortense, whose families farm crops and raise cattle. Ian and John supply the farm with seed and fertiliser, Kevin and Leone ride the 'range', caring for the cattle herd. Margaret, and her many friends, all the way to Zoe and beyond, supply Alfie's drinks. Without all of them, Alfie would starve.

If they all live in a less 'developed' country, they remain dependent on one another for their basic needs, but in slightly different ways.

So yes, Alfie is interested in Alfie's food and drink, while Bruno is interested only in his own. But both of them know that, without all of their fellow members of society, they would go hungry. So they co-operate willingly with that society, because they need it to eat and drink. They live socially and collectively, whether they, or you, like it or not. Either that or they starve.
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GE Morton
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Re: What philosophy offends you most?

Post by GE Morton »

Pattern-chaser wrote: June 26th, 2022, 10:22 am
Alfie is hungry. Bruno owns and runs the food shop. Chris drives the wagon that brings the food from the wholesaler. Dave and Ernest are the wholesalers, and they deal with Freddie, Georgina and Hortense, whose families farm crops and raise cattle. Ian and John supply the farm with seed and fertiliser, Kevin and Leone ride the 'range', caring for the cattle herd. Margaret, and her many friends, all the way to Zoe and beyond, supply Alfie's drinks. Without all of them, Alfie would starve.

If they all live in a less 'developed' country, they remain dependent on one another for their basic needs, but in slightly different ways.

So yes, Alfie is interested in Alfie's food and drink, while Bruno is interested only in his own. But both of them know that, without all of their fellow members of society, they would go hungry. So they co-operate willingly with that society, because they need it to eat and drink. They live socially and collectively, whether they, or you, like it or not. Either that or they starve.
Well, no, they would not go hungry. Most animals on the planet are not social, and do not go hungry. Living socially does, of course, confer many advantages on its members, especially the possibility for the division of labor you describe. With that advantage people have to work less hard to meet their needs and satisfy their desires. But the society you describe is a CAS, not a collective and not an organism. The difference is that the individuals involved have distinct (and sometimes conflicting) interests, and the dependencies they create are spontaneous and dynamic, formed to satisfy the individual interests of the participants at the moment, not prescribed in a charter or plan (as with collectives) or programmed in DNA (as with an organism).
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Pattern-chaser
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Re: What philosophy offends you most?

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GE Morton wrote: June 26th, 2022, 8:21 pm Most animals on the planet are not social, and do not go hungry.
The ones that are social species do. They rely on each other for their welfare, and much more, just as we humans do.


GE Morton wrote: June 26th, 2022, 8:21 pm The difference is that the individuals involved have distinct (and sometimes conflicting) interests...
We already considered and rejected that one. Human members of any social grouping share some interests, but not others. They are still social groupings, and they can still function as such, despite their differing interests, because they share common interests too.
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Re: What philosophy offends you most?

Post by GE Morton »

Pattern-chaser wrote: June 27th, 2022, 6:09 am
GE Morton wrote: June 26th, 2022, 8:21 pm The difference is that the individuals involved have distinct (and sometimes conflicting) interests...
We already considered and rejected that one. Human members of any social grouping share some interests, but not others. They are still social groupings, and they can still function as such, despite their differing interests, because they share common interests too.
Well, we're going in circles.

"Human members of any social grouping share some interests, but not others. "

That is false. Members of SOME social grouping (e.g., collectives) share some interests, but not members of other social groupings (e.g., societies).

"They are still social groupings, and they can still function as such, despite their differing interests, because they share common interests too."

There are no interests common to all members of (modern, civilized) societies. You tried listing some, but those all turned out to be "common2" interests, which are actually separate and distinct interests. E.g., Alfie's interest in securing food-for-Alfie is a different interest than Bruno's interest in securing food-for-Bruno.

You're trying to generalize over all "social groupings," but there are many types of human groups, with different structures, dynamics, and interpersonal relationships. Modern societies have a CAS structure, not the structure of a collective or organism.
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Re: What philosophy offends you most?

Post by Gertie »

GE

Point taken. Do you want to narrow the back and forth? I'd like to pick your brain about Kant and what I see as you conflating ontology and epistemology which confuses me, but I think we basically disagree on all of the following! Or I can answer your last post if want? Or we can take a breather? -

I do believe knowing is an act - the act of experiencing our interaction with the world, from seeing a tree to reading Kant. The content of our directly known experience is the model we each create of the world 'out there' simply by being conscious.

I believe that either a world ontologically exists independently of me experientially knowing about it or it doesn't, and assume it does to escape solipsism.

I believe the nature of that world is uncertain and all I or you can know of it relies on the experiential knowing of interacting with it.

I believe the experiential content of those interactions are flawed and limited representations of the world, the inferences we subsequently make about reason, logic, the laws of nature,etc incorporate those flaws and limitations - hence all human knowledge is in the form of flawed and limited representations (models) of the ontological world. And there is a real distinction between the created model and actual world, both of which exist.

Unlike the world itself, knowledge is subject dependent all the way down, and we inter-subjectively categorise different types of knowledge - first person private, inter-subjectively third person falsifiable (of physical observable/measurable stuff), opinion, taste. Categories are useful in different ways.

PM gets right the Subject Centred nature of knowledge ( and everything else for us), and challeges us to deal with this responsibly. Physics, Social Sciences, Art, Morality, Philosophy and so on are all affected by this shift from reason and scientific based authority of the enlightenment, which itself supplanted godly authority. The death of the author is paradigmatically akin to the death of god, we are all authors and co-authors of our own created models of reality or models of our shared reality.

When only one type of model creator is given authority to speak for us all (the most privileged groups in our history taking the authorial role), their models won't fully represent the way the rest of us experience the world. The examples of Hobbes' Mum and Shakespeare's sister should prompt us to understand this if we give it some thought. The knowledge-air-we-breathe isn't untainted by who has gotten to be treated as knowledge 'canon', to be passed down to young open minds unable to critique the legitimacy of the author.
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Re: What philosophy offends you most?

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GE Morton wrote: June 27th, 2022, 10:53 amMembers of SOME social grouping (e.g., collectives) share some interests, but not members of other social groupings (e.g., societies).
QUOTE>
Meanings of "society" (quoted from Oxford English Dictionary):

1. The state or condition of being politically confederated or allied; confederation. Obs.

2. The fact or condition of taking part with others or another in some thing or action; participation. Obs.

3. The fact or condition of being connected or related; connexion, relationship; union or alliance; affinity. Obs.

4. A political alliance, league, or compact.

5. Partnership or combination in or with respect to business or some commercial transaction.

6. Co-operation; assistance. Obs.

7. A number of persons associated together by some common interest or purpose, united by a common vow, holding the same belief or opinion, following the same trade or profession, etc.; an association.

8. A corporate body of persons having a definite place of residence.

9. A collection of individuals composing a community or living under the same organization or government.

10. Association with one's fellow men, esp. in a friendly or intimate manner; companionship or fellowship. Also rarely of animals (quot. 1774).

11. The state or condition of living in association, company, or intercourse with others of the same species; the system or mode of life adopted by a body of individuals for the purpose of harmonious co-existence or for mutual benefit, defence, etc.:
society

12. Association or intercourse with or between persons, etc. Also fig.

13. Persons with whom one has, or may have, companionship or intercourse. Also transf. of plants.

14. The aggregate of persons living together in a more or less ordered community.

15. The aggregate of leisured, cultured, or fashionable persons regarded as forming a distinct class or body in a community; esp. those persons collectively who are recognized as taking part in fashionable life, social functions, entertainments, etc. Also with a and the.

16. Zool. A group of animals of the same species organized in a co-operative manner.

17. A number of persons meeting together, esp. for the purpose of discussion or debate, conviviality or sociability.

18.  A commercial company or association.

19. A meeting or gathering. Obs.

20. Ecol. A community of plants within a mature consociation characterized by one or more subdominant species.
<QUOTE
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars
GE Morton
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Re: What philosophy offends you most?

Post by GE Morton »

Consul wrote: June 27th, 2022, 11:59 pm
GE Morton wrote: June 27th, 2022, 10:53 amMembers of SOME social grouping (e.g., collectives) share some interests, but not members of other social groupings (e.g., societies).
QUOTE>
Meanings of "society" (quoted from Oxford English Dictionary): [Etc.]
Keep in mind that by "societies" above I was referring to modern, civilized societies (specified in several previous posts). Those societies satisfy your defs. #11 and #14. They don't satisfy #7.
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Re: What philosophy offends you most?

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GE Morton wrote: June 26th, 2022, 8:21 pm The difference is that the individuals involved have distinct (and sometimes conflicting) interests...
Pattern-chaser wrote: June 27th, 2022, 6:09 am We already considered and rejected that one. Human members of any social grouping share some interests, but not others. They are still social groupings, and they can still function as such, despite their differing interests, because they share common interests too.
GE Morton wrote: June 27th, 2022, 10:53 am Well, we're going in circles.
Yes, as I said, "We already considered and rejected that one."
GE Morton wrote: June 27th, 2022, 10:53 am There are no interests common to all members of (modern, civilized) societies. You tried listing some, but those all turned out to be "common2" interests, which are actually separate and distinct interests. E.g., Alfie's interest in securing food-for-Alfie is a different interest than Bruno's interest in securing food-for-Bruno.
They all want to eat. Alfie may not care much whether Bruno eats, but that's functionally-irrelevant. All that is necessary for them to share this interest (not starving) in common is that they all accept that they cannot eat unless Charlotte, Denzil and Esmeralda (and everyone else) do their part too. A bit of fellow-feeling wouldn't go amiss, but it isn't necessary. So even Libertarians can participate in society! 👍

Your continuing resistance to admitting that society is just one more social grouping is puzzling. Do you think that your individuality will be taken away if you are also a member of society? Do you think it dehumanises you? 😮 On the contrary, it humanises you. Humans are social animals. We are completed by our fellows.

Individuals are yin to society's yang. We are not just individuals, and not just members of society; we are both, and each enhances the other. If we were not a social species, things would be different, of course. But we are a social species, as we always have been. To stifle your individuality harms society. Our human societies work because we are socially-coöperating individuals, not automatons.

We are individuals ... who don't eat unless we coöperate with our fellow members of society. We are both individual and social; there is no conflict between the two.
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Re: What philosophy offends you most?

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Pattern-chaser wrote: June 28th, 2022, 5:38 am
They all want to eat. Alfie may not care much whether Bruno eats, but that's functionally-irrelevant. All that is necessary for them to share this interest (not starving) in common is that they all accept that they cannot eat unless Charlotte, Denzil and Esmeralda (and everyone else) do their part too.
Well, that is also false. Neither Alfie nor Bruno cares what Charlotte, etc., do. Any of those actors can retire, switch careers, or die, and neither Alfie nor Bruno will care, or even become aware of it. They'll just find other suppliers of those goods and services, and in a large, free society it will not be hard. And regardless of who else is involved, their interests in not starving remain separate, distinct interests.
Your continuing resistance to admitting that society is just one more social grouping is puzzling.
Now, now. I've never denied that societies are social groupings. Indeed, I've said the opposite. What I've said is that there are many types of social groupings among humans, with different dynamics and structures --- a distinction, and the differences among them, you, for some reason, wish to ignore.
Do you think that your individuality will be taken away if you are also a member of society?
Oh, stop. Of course I'm a member of society, and have never denied it. But the society of which I'm a member is not the sort of social grouping you think it is. I.e., it is not an organism or a collective.
We are individuals ... who don't eat unless we coöperate with our fellow members of society.
That is also false. We would eat whether or not we lived in a social setting, just as do all the non-social animals on the planet. A social setting makes it easier to eat, and to satisfy other desires, but it is a convenience, not a necessity.
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Re: What philosophy offends you most?

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A hugely disingenuous response by GE.

GE talks about humans as though they are ourangutans, roaming alone (or with baby) around the arboreal world, avoiding predators and picking off fruits, leaves, shoots and insects. Yes, some hermits live alone like that, but they are a small minority, extreme outliers.

Most humans are completely dependent on society, almost as dependent as our cells are on our bodies. When we die, millions (at least) of our cells will live on as communities (like Mad Max bros after societal breakdown) but most will just die.
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Re: What philosophy offends you most?

Post by GE Morton »

Gertie wrote: June 27th, 2022, 4:50 pm
I'd like to pick your brain about Kant and what I see as you conflating ontology and epistemology which confuses me . . .
I don't conflate epistemology and ontology. But I do prioritize them --- ontology follows epistemology, i.e., what exists is what we know, or derives from what we know. Esse est percipi (Berkeley). All that can be said to exist pre-theoretically is experience, and the distinguishable contents of experience. Ontology --- any existences we postulate beyond experience --- is constructed from those experiences; they are are subsequent to them.
I do believe knowing is an act - the act of experiencing our interaction with the world, from seeing a tree to reading Kant.
Well, that begs the question --- is experiencing anything an act? I think that term implies some activity on the part of the "actor." Reading is an act; it requires picking up a book, turning the pages and scanning them, etc. But merely becoming aware that that the sun has set and it is getting dark is not an act. Acts are behaviors, especially behaviors for which the actor may be held causally and morally responsible. Your usage there is perhaps not "incorrect," but it is unconventional.
The content of our directly known experience is the model we each create of the world 'out there' simply by being conscious.
It depends upon to which model you refer --- Metzinger's "phenomenal world model," which our brains produce autonomically, or the conceptual (e.g., scientific) models we create to explain experience. The latter is an act, but not the former.
I believe that either a world ontologically exists independently of me experientially knowing about it or it doesn't, and assume it does to escape solipsism.
I agree. And once we choose the former, that external world theoretically precedes experience; it is its cause. But in fact, the experience precedes the assumed cause. Were it not for the experience there would be no necessity for that assumption. Ontology is a theoretical analysis, a description and categorization, of existents. But experience precedes that and all theory.
I believe the nature of that world is uncertain and all I or you can know of it relies on the experiential knowing of interacting with it.
But we don't interact with it. We only interact with our models of it.
I believe the experiential content of those interactions are flawed and limited representations of the world, the inferences we subsequently make about reason, logic, the laws of nature,etc incorporate those flaws and limitations - hence all human knowledge is in the form of flawed and limited representations (models) of the ontological world. And there is a real distinction between the created model and actual world, both of which exist.
Again, since we have, and can have, no knowledge of that "actual" (noumenal) world, we have no grounds for estimating how closely our models "represent" it, or whether they do so at all, in any but the token sense of "represent."
Unlike the world itself, knowledge is subject dependent all the way down, and we inter-subjectively categorise different types of knowledge - first person private, inter-subjectively third person falsifiable (of physical observable/measurable stuff), opinion, taste. Categories are useful in different ways.
The noumenal world "itself" is subject-dependent. Any independence we impute to it is theoretical, per some ontological theory we've devised.
PM gets right the Subject Centred nature of knowledge ( and everything else for us), and challeges us to deal with this responsibly. Physics, Social Sciences, Art, Morality, Philosophy and so on are all affected by this shift from reason and scientific based authority of the enlightenment, which itself supplanted godly authority. The death of the author is paradigmatically akin to the death of god . . .
That analogy with literary criticism is fatuous. There never was any "author." Reason and scientific method are not "authorities" comparable to God or James Joyce --- they are processes, methods for constructing explanatory models that are coherent, consistent, and have predictive power, and thus lead to new knowledge. We rely on them, when we do, because they work --- not because some "authority" has proffered or endorsed them.
. . . we are all authors and co-authors of our own created models of reality or models of our shared reality.
I agree! But some created models of our shared reality --- the "reality" about which we can effectively communicate --- don't work and some do. Scientific method supplies tools for distinguishing between those. PM discards that "toolbox."
When only one type of model creator is given authority to speak for us all (the most privileged groups in our history taking the authorial role) . . .
What "type" is that? Who "gave them" any such authority? There is no "type" privileged to "speak for" anyone. The contributors to the current scientific understanding of "reality" are of every imaginable "type," and the only thing that conferred any "authority" on any of them is the utility, the conceptual and practical value, of their diverse contributions to that understanding. PM is the latest bastard child of the Marxist lineage, and thus views all social phenomena through its warped "class struggle" lens.
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