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The Non-Imperative for a historical Book of Mormon

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58 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Then they are not "objective". :)

I mean objective, simply in the sense of being independent of subjective perceptions (which is really all perceptions). I don't believe we can prove these moral principles exist, especially not by any supposedly "objective" criteria (which are really just a set of principles or methods of discerning truth that a certain group collectively, and subjectively, all agree are reliable). But I have faith that moral principles exist, independent of subjective perceptions. 

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51 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

A lot of Mormons like things that sometimes get put under the postmodern rubric - although I'd also note that few like the term postmodernism because of its appropriation particularly in literary fields by people doing shoddy thinking. Not to mention the Sokal Affair. There are ways to get something like objectivity. The end of Derrida's Limited Inc (full pdf of text) which was considered one of the great postmodern works has him offering something like objectivity even if it's not objectivity proper. The text is somewhat complex and involves an engagement with the philosophers Austin and Searle. However at the end there's an interview with Derrida and he actually speaks fairly clear and straightforward. (Which is rare in his texts) Right around page 146 things get going pretty well. (Emphasis mine in the text)

  • In other words, how can he discuss, and discuss the reading of what he writes? The answer is simple enough: this defini­tion of the deconstructionist is false (that's right: false, not true) and feeble; it supposes a bad (that's right: bad, not good) and feeble reading of numerous texts, first of all mine, which therefore must finally be read or reread. Then per­haps it will be understood that the value of truth (and all those values associated with it) is never contested or destroyed in my writings, but only reinscribed in more powerful, larger, more stratified contexts. And that within interpretive con­ texts (that is, within relations of force that are always differential-for example, socio-political-institutional - but even beyond these determinations) that are rel­atively stable, sometimes apparently almost unshakeable, it should be possible to invoke rules of competence, criteria of discussion and of consensus, good faith, lucidity, rigor, criticism, and pedagogy. I should thus be able to claim and to demonstrate, without the slightest "pragmatic contradiction," that Searle, for example, as I have already demonstrated, was not on the "right track" toward understanding what I wanted to say, etc. (146)

Earlier he says some interesting things.

  • What is called "objectivity," scientific for instance (in which I firmly believe, in a given situation), imposes itself only within a context which is extremely vast, old, powerfully established, stabilized or rooted in a network of conventions (for instance, those of language) and yet which still remains a context. And the emer­ gence of the value of objectivity (and hence of so many others) also belongs to a context. We can call "context" the entire "real-history-of-the-world," if you like, in which this value of objectivity and, even more broadly, that of truth (etc.) have taken on meaning and imposed themselves. That does not in the slightest dis­credit them. In the name of what, of which other "truth," moreover, would it? One of the definitions ofwhat is called deconstruction would be the effort to take this limitless context into account, to pay the sharpest and broadest attention possible to context, and thus to an incessant movement of recontextualization. The phrase which for some has become a sort of slogan, in general so badly understood, of deconstruction ("there is nothing outside the text" [il n'y a pas de hors-texte]), means nothing else: there is nothing outside context.

Part of the problem is that of course postmodernism is such a broad category filled with so many different views (much like feminism) that it's almost meaningless in terms of specifying a position. This 1980 interview with Derrida in the Literary Review of Edinburgh is worthwhile here as well.

 

 

Exactly. What we call eternal law is just moral claims that apply in all contexts. But certainly some claims depend upon only certain contexts - say the divine command to build an ark. It's quite possible to create a moral code in this notion. (As Derrida does above)

To believe in Kuhn is to believe in an object fact - a kind of reality and to make a claim that Kuhn applies to all contexts. So isn't the appeal to Kuhn in this way self-refuting? The idea that Kuhn entails "no reality" requires that Kuhn's claims are real.

 

No it doesn't. :)

 

But I am not sure I understand what it would mean for a " claim"to be "real" either. I agree completely with the Derrida quote. I think you are forgetting the full Nietzsche quote "There are no facts only interpretations and this itself is in interpretation." That is a paraphrase. Nietzsche would never say that that proposition was itself true

As it says in the Rorty video I keep quoting "We know how to use the word truth we know what it means we use a correctly. We just cannot define it.'

I think that's what Derrida is saying in what you quoted

Kuhn knew full well that his paradigm was just that - another paradigm that would someday be overthrown.

And as I myself have said many times on this board relativists know that relativism is only relatively true.

Your argument echoes the criticisms of Paul Booghasian's arguments in "Fear of Knowledge", which have been roundly criticized in Post modern circles

"If there's no truth then relativism can't be true"

The relativist and simply smiles and says "You're right! That's exactly the point" 

 

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9 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

But I am not sure I understand what it would mean for a " claim"to be "real" either. I agree completely with the Derrida quote. I think you are forgetting the full Nietzsche quote "There are no facts only interpretations and this itself is in interpretation." That is a paraphrase. Nietzsche would never say that that proposition was itself true

But Derrida's point (following Peirce for the most part) is that some interpretations are stable through contexts. That's as close to objectivity as we need. So it's selection by greater powers, following Nietzsche, that leads to stability, following Peirce.

9 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

But I am not sure I understand what it would mean for a " claim"to be "real" either.

Stable.

9 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Kuhn knew full well that his paradigm was just that - another paradigm that would someday be overthrown.

I think you're missing the nature of the critique. If Kuhn's paradigm is doomed to be overthrown we shouldn't trust it. If we should trust it then it's not doomed to be overthrown. That's completely separate from the "it's all interpretations." Rather it gets at the question of stability. Effectively one is saying there is no truth then acting like there is.

Edited by clarkgoble
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33 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

But Derrida's point (following Peirce for the most part) is that some interpretations are stable through contexts. That's as close to objectivity as we need. So it's selection by greater powers, following Nietzsche, that leads to stability, following Peirce.

Stable.

In other words, when we use words like "truth" or "reality" or "objectivity" we should only be using them in a provisional sense--a sense that says this our best guess of what the truth is, based on the consistency (i.e. stability) of certain phenomena. In my view, this goes back to induction, like I said before. 

BTW, Clark, you mentioned earlier that not all logic is based on induction (except, possibly, in a very broad sense of the term). My typical use of the term involves making generalizations (reaching general principles or conclusions) based on the consistency of specific experiences. As far as I can tell, all logic and modes of reasoning fall back on induction for their logical value or worth. You mentioned possible exceptions to this. Do you have any examples, now that I have clarified my use of the term inducition?  

Edited by Ryan Dahle

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3 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

In other words, when we use words like "truth" or "reality" or "objectivity" we should only be using them in a provisional sense--a sense that says this our best guess of what the truth is, based on the consistency (i.e. stability) of certain phenomena. In my view, this goes back to induction, like I said before. 

The better way (IMO) is to just say we're fallibilists and we may be wrong and thus our views may change. Yet simultaneously acknowledge some things we can't as a practical matter doubt even if intellectually we may acknowledge they're wrong.

3 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

BTW, Clark, you mentioned earlier that not all logic is based on induction (except, possibly, in a very broad sense of the term). My typical use of the term involves making generalizations (reaching general principles or conclusions) based on the consistency of specific experiences. As far as I can tell, all logic and modes of reasoning fall back on induction for their logical value or worth. You mentioned possible exceptions to this. Do you have any examples, now that I have clarified my use of the term inducition?  

Like I said earlier it depends upon how one uses induction. If induction is any generalization then as you note all reasoning hinges on it if only because the rules of reasoning are themselves generalizations. The usual counter-example is, as I mentioned, abduction which is the ability to guess at answers. It's not a generalization as such but is an inference to the best explanation. But if you define induction broadly enough then that'd include abduction as well.

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43 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:
3 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

BTW, Clark, you mentioned earlier that not all logic is based on induction (except, possibly, in a very broad sense of the term). My typical use of the term involves making generalizations (reaching general principles or conclusions) based on the consistency of specific experiences. As far as I can tell, all logic and modes of reasoning fall back on induction for their logical value or worth. You mentioned possible exceptions to this. Do you have any examples, now that I have clarified my use of the term inducition?  

Like I said earlier it depends upon how one uses induction. If induction is any generalization then as you note all reasoning hinges on it if only because the rules of reasoning are themselves generalizations. The usual counter-example is, as I mentioned, abduction which is the ability to guess at answers. It's not a generalization as such but is an inference to the best explanation. But if you define induction broadly enough then that'd include abduction as well.

I think we are on the same page. Abduction isn't formally equivalent with induction, but, as far as I can tell, it is directly dependent upon various inductive inferences. In some cases abduction could be dependent upon deductive conclusions, but deductive premises are themselves dependent on inductive generalizations (except for completely contrived premises), so abduction always fundamentally relies upon induction when it attempts to explain real-world causes. In effect, when one uses abductive reasoning, one evaluates variously related, inductively-derived generalizations to reach a best explanation. Is that right?

 

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13 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

But Derrida's point (following Peirce for the most part) is that some interpretations are stable through contexts. That's as close to objectivity as we need. So it's selection by greater powers, following Nietzsche, that leads to stability, following Peirce.

Stable.

I think you're missing the nature of the critique. If Kuhn's paradigm is doomed to be overthrown we shouldn't trust it. If we should trust it then it's not doomed to be overthrown. That's completely separate from the "it's all interpretations." Rather it gets at the question of stability. Effectively one is saying there is no truth then acting like there is.

"Selection by greater powers?" That follows Nietzsche? You lost me.

It's total reliance on anything as "unchanging" that is the problem, unless the proposition is essentially a tautology, a question begging definition.

It isn't saying there is no truth and then acting as if there is at all.

Truth is essentially a word which we use to agree with someone else's proposition

As Rorty says in the video I continuously quote and that's why I continuously quote it, Truth is a word we use all the time we just can't define it largely because of its ambiguity.  Its meaning is ineffable there's not much that one can say about it.

But we use it all the time to agree with others and to state our beliefs

And are you really saying that because paradigms change we should not trust them? You could not possibly be saying that could you?

Let's just say I would disagree.

Yet again, there are no facts only interpretations and that statement itself is only an interpretation. That is Nietzsche.  To me that becomes the true basis of Pragmatism and eventually, Kuhn. Intellectual tools work for a while for their purpose and then other tools that work better are developed. There are no final tools that always work perfectly for everything. in the quest for stability all one can hope for is a provisional stability until something else works better.

So why even worry about it at all?

You just keep using what you have until something better comes along.  

Why is that frightening that nothing is solid and fixed in the universe.?

Had the philosophy of Heraclitus won over Plato, we would value becoming and change instead of stability.

And why would church members who believe in eternal progression be stuck on stability and something unchanging? 

What is stable is change and flux itself. And now we get back to Heraclitus. Experience is a river, a stream of consciousness, with its regularities, it's pools and eddies, eternally the same in process and yet ever-changing. In many ways Heraclitus was one of the first Pragmatists.

I see swimming in that River as a lot of fun and not at all scary. 

Edited by mfbukowski

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12 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

So why even worry about it at all?

You just keep using what you have until something better comes along. 

We could go down side detours on the other points but the above is my ultimate concern. The issue is how hard we should be looking to see if there is something better.

12 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

"Selection by greater powers?" That follows Nietzsche? You lost me.

There are different ways to read Nietzsche. How he tends to get read by postmodernists (including here not just English departments but figures like Derrida or Foucault) is quite different from say how Brian Leiter or analytic philosophers read him. I'll stay out of the debate of whose reading is better or more attentive to his texts. One way both sides often see Nietzsche is as offering two layers of analysis of truth. A foundational or primal one and then a derived or secondary sense which is closer to everyday use. This secondary sense is the one in which it's an illusion or metaphor we've forgotten is an illusion or metaphor. The more primal one  is wrapped up in power - which Nietzsche limits just to biological creatures but which in postmodernism is often expanded beyond that. That's what Derrida is doing, largely following Peirce. Some, like Brian Leiter, reduce Nietzsche to only talking about human psychology and the desire to maximize power. The more common postmodern appropriation of Nietzsche is sociological, or how emergent social phenomena maximize power, leading to truths socially constructed for people. Derrida's concern and the concern of a minority of figures sometimes put in postmodernism is that this issue of power is the universe acting on our systems inherently due to the logic of language/signs. So selection by greater powers is more broad than either Nietzsche's psychological conception or Foucault's sociological conception. As one person put it to me, it's kind of Nietzsche extended out in a kind of cosmic Hegelian or Spinozist fashion.

My sense of Rorty (and feel free to correct me if you feel I'm getting him wrong) is that while he acknowledges the social he's ultimately very skeptical of seeing the social as independent from individual psychology. Thus he's more akin to Brian Leiter's Nietzsche than Foucault's let alone Derrida, however much he may admire elements of Foucault and Derrida. So what Rorty appropriates from say Derrida is deconstruction as a kind of requirement of nihilism towards truth. What he doesn't appropriate from Derrida is this concern of "what is outside the text" as a kind of power. For Derrida this is the idea that we are continually grafted into new contexts that undermine the stability of texts. However some things persist through this move to new contexts. That's because power (the effects of this shift of contexts) is selecting interpretations. So where Rorty or Niezsche are still seeing power as ultimately of the individual Derrida is seeing it as what escapes the individual. 

12 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

And are you really saying that because paradigms change we should not trust them? You could not possibly be saying that could you?

I'm saying that if you think Kuhn's argument will fail you shouldn't trust it. Kuhn of course equivocates over several senses of paradigm (as he himself readily admits in his later papers). So to talk about "trust" depends upon what sense of paradigm you are referring to. If you mean that we should trust an exemplar to represent the whole, then yes, we shouldn't trust it. It's a useful model at best.

It's interesting since of course one of Kuhn's frequent metaphors is natural selection in evolution. He raises evolution to emphasize it's lack of a goal. This gets at your focus on "truth." However of course evolution is directed in the sense that the environment means there are stability points entailed such that evolution will converge on solutions to them. They are not goals from within the organism but are external to it in the environment that lead to particular adaptations even if there's a randomness underneath natural selection. More or less Derrida is adopting this same idea of Kuhn's but emphasizing environment and then asking as the environment changes what this tells us. The selection by greater powers is really just this idea of environment (for Derrida contexts necessary for any text) and the fact context changes.

Getting back to Kuhn, the issue is whether paradigms in the sense of exemplars may end up with stable exemplars. Kuhn doesn't appear to think they will.

My ultimate point in all this is that to appeal to Kuhn as a stable answer is denied by Kuhn. One can use paradigms and Kuhn and the like of course, but one can't consider them stable which affects how they function as exemplars. There is one use which is a conservative one where we simply say it's the best we have. However there's a more radical use which is to deny the very possibility of alternatives when alternatives are raised. That is to attempt to use Kuhn as a trump to any alternative explanation. Ultimately the point simply is that to use Kuhn to stamp down skepticism of Kuhn is very unKuhnian and is to deny Kuhn's arguments even when one appeals to them.

Rather than play the Kuhn card when someone raises an alternative then (which is as I said self-refuting) one has to explain within the alternative context why it fails. If one is taking Kuhn seriously, after all, then the competing paradigms (in the sense of exemplar) are incommensurate. One can't simply attack Ptolemic astronomy from Copernican or vice versa. So if someone is raising an alternative to Kuhn, how one approaches it is not helpful to simply say it's not Kuhn. It's the same as a Ptolemic critic of Copernican astronomy as saying it's wrong because it has the sun in the center. Worse even because to play Kuhn as an eternal exemplar is to repress what Kuhn says of exemplars.

Edited by clarkgoble

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12 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

We could go down side detours on the other points but the above is my ultimate concern. The issue is how hard we should be looking to see if there is something better.

There are different ways to read Nietzsche. How he tends to get read by postmodernists (including here not just English departments but figures like Derrida or Foucault) is quite different from say how Brian Leiter or analytic philosophers read him. I'll stay out of the debate of whose reading is better or more attentive to his texts. One way both sides often see Nietzsche is as offering two layers of analysis of truth. A foundational or primal one and then a derived or secondary sense which is closer to everyday use. This secondary sense is the one in which it's an illusion or metaphor we've forgotten is an illusion or metaphor. The more primal one  is wrapped up in power - which Nietzsche limits just to biological creatures but which in postmodernism is often expanded beyond that. That's what Derrida is doing, largely following Peirce. Some, like Brian Leiter, reduce Nietzsche to only talking about human psychology and the desire to maximize power. The more common postmodern appropriation of Nietzsche is sociological, or how emergent social phenomena maximize power, leading to truths socially constructed for people. Derrida's concern and the concern of a minority of figures sometimes put in postmodernism is that this issue of power is the universe acting on our systems inherently due to the logic of language/signs. So selection by greater powers is more broad than either Nietzsche's psychological conception or Foucault's sociological conception. As one person put it to me, it's kind of Nietzsche extended out in a kind of cosmic Hegelian or Spinozist fashion.

My sense of Rorty (and feel free to correct me if you feel I'm getting him wrong) is that while he acknowledges the social he's ultimately very skeptical of seeing the social as independent from individual psychology. Thus he's more akin to Brian Leiter's Nietzsche than Foucault's let alone Derrida, however much he may admire elements of Foucault and Derrida. So what Rorty appropriates from say Derrida is deconstruction as a kind of requirement of nihilism towards truth. What he doesn't appropriate from Derrida is this concern of "what is outside the text" as a kind of power. For Derrida this is the idea that we are continually grafted into new contexts that undermine the stability of texts. However some things persist through this move to new contexts. That's because power (the effects of this shift of contexts) is selecting interpretations. So where Rorty or Niezsche are still seeing power as ultimately of the individual Derrida is seeing it as what escapes the individual. 

I'm saying that if you think Kuhn's argument will fail you shouldn't trust it. Kuhn of course equivocates over several senses of paradigm (as he himself readily admits in his later papers). So to talk about "trust" depends upon what sense of paradigm you are referring to. If you mean that we should trust an exemplar to represent the whole, then yes, we shouldn't trust it. It's a useful model at best.

It's interesting since of course one of Kuhn's frequent metaphors is natural selection in evolution. He raises evolution to emphasize it's lack of a goal. This gets at your focus on "truth." However of course evolution is directed in the sense that the environment means there are stability points entailed such that evolution will converge on solutions to them. They are not goals from within the organism but are external to it in the environment that lead to particular adaptations even if there's a randomness underneath natural selection. More or less Derrida is adopting this same idea of Kuhn's but emphasizing environment and then asking as the environment changes what this tells us. The selection by greater powers is really just this idea of environment (for Derrida contexts necessary for any text) and the fact context changes.

Getting back to Kuhn, the issue is whether paradigms in the sense of exemplars may end up with stable exemplars. Kuhn doesn't appear to think they will.

My ultimate point in all this is that to appeal to Kuhn as a stable answer is denied by Kuhn. One can use paradigms and Kuhn and the like of course, but one can't consider them stable which affects how they function as exemplars. There is one use which is a conservative one where we simply say it's the best we have. However there's a more radical use which is to deny the very possibility of alternatives when alternatives are raised. That is to attempt to use Kuhn as a trump to any alternative explanation. Ultimately the point simply is that to use Kuhn to stamp down skepticism of Kuhn is very unKuhnian and is to deny Kuhn's arguments even when one appeals to them.

Rather than play the Kuhn card when someone raises an alternative then (which is as I said self-refuting) one has to explain within the alternative context why it fails. If one is taking Kuhn seriously, after all, then the competing paradigms (in the sense of exemplar) are incommensurate. One can't simply attack Ptolemic astronomy from Copernican or vice versa. So if someone is raising an alternative to Kuhn, how one approaches it is not helpful to simply say it's not Kuhn. It's the same as a Ptolemic critic of Copernican astronomy as saying it's wrong because it has the sun in the center. Worse even because to play Kuhn as an eternal exemplar is to repress what Kuhn says of exemplars.

I don't know where to start, so I won't. I see a lot of very debatable taxonomy.

Good thing we didn't go down any of the side detours. :)

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On 3/14/2019 at 10:20 AM, clarkgoble said:

The better way (IMO) is to just say we're fallibilists and we may be wrong and thus our views may change. Yet simultaneously acknowledge some things we can't as a practical matter doubt even if intellectually we may acknowledge they're wrong.

Like I said earlier it depends upon how one uses induction. If induction is any generalization then as you note all reasoning hinges on it if only because the rules of reasoning are themselves generalizations. The usual counter-example is, as I mentioned, abduction which is the ability to guess at answers. It's not a generalization as such but is an inference to the best explanation. But if you define induction broadly enough then that'd include abduction as well.

Which again shows that it is all just narratives and meta-narratives and fine definitions become rather arbitrary.

This is why I favor actually expressing one's own viewpoints instead of simply quoting philosophers and comparing secondary source interpretations of philosopher's opinions.  

Each layer of abstraction beyond one's own direct experience simply makes the process more complicated and abstract.

Edited by mfbukowski

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51 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Each layer of abstraction beyond one's own direct experience simply makes the process more complicated and abstract.

The issue usually is the nuances and trying to deal with people using the same words to mean different things. Getting what one means by words clear is the tricky part. Made even trickier since often we use terms not in the sense of our understanding but their full meaning in some other context. A context we may not understand. Take mathematics. When I use terms I use them in the sense the mathematical community uses them and not just in terms of my own understanding. There's thus a certain vagueness to my uses which is fixed not by my understanding but this other understanding.

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3 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

The issue usually is the nuances and trying to deal with people using the same words to mean different things. Getting what one means by words clear is the tricky part. Made even trickier since often we use terms not in the sense of our understanding but their full meaning in some other context. A context we may not understand. Take mathematics. When I use terms I use them in the sense the mathematical community uses them and not just in terms of my own understanding. There's thus a certain vagueness to my uses which is fixed not by my understanding but this other understanding.

True.

That's why truth is often not at all true. ;)

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On 3/6/2019 at 5:11 PM, clarkgoble said:

I don't think you read what I wrote. Nothing I said remotely implies God is "an incomprehensible mystery." However clearly most of what we know about God comes through the portrayal of Christ. Further there are pretty big questions we have no clue about relative to God. Now if you think that implies mystery, I can easily ask you questions about the Holy Ghost, the Father, and Heavenly Mother and see if you can answer them.

To say God is comprehensible is not to say he has revealed himself fully publicly. Ultimately, beyond what has publicly been revealed (which again isn't much), the only way to comprehend God is to come to have a relationship with him. I'd say what you are missing is explain in Alma 12:9 "It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him."

Except for their respective positions of authority within the hierarchy of the eternal patriarchal order, the Son is everything the Father is and the Father is everything the Son is. The scriptures amply testify that Christ is the perfect revelation of the nature, character and attributes of God the Father to man. This being the case, there is so very much in the scriptures to learn about God the Father by observing the person and ministry of the Son that it seems rather silly to be concerned about a few obscure mysteries that are not even expedient to know until all that has already been revealed about the Father and the Son has been learned, internalized and made manifest in the conduct of one’s day-to-day life.

As far as the supposed great mystery pertaining to the origin of Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother is concerned, the King Follett Discourse unveils the easy to understand truth of the matter for all to see: Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother once lived on a fallen world, much like this one, and by proving themselves worthy through faithfully keeping their covenants they were exalted to rule and reign in celestial glory as eternal husband and wife, to carry forward the divine labor of bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

As far as the Holy Ghost is concerned, the only spirits who will not eventually obtain bodies are the sons of perdition who rebelled against the Father and the Son in the war in heaven. Since the Holy Ghost obviously isn’t one of these sons of perdition, it seems overwhelmingly likely that he will eventually obtain the reward of a body,  just as Christ left the spirit world and obtained a body. Simple common sense.

Edited by teddyaware

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On 3/13/2019 at 9:23 PM, Ryan Dahle said:

I mean objective, simply in the sense of being independent of subjective perceptions (which is really all perceptions). I don't believe we can prove these moral principles exist, especially not by any supposedly "objective" criteria (which are really just a set of principles or methods of discerning truth that a certain group collectively, and subjectively, all agree are reliable). But I have faith that moral principles exist, independent of subjective perceptions. 

Ryan, please read this through and notice how self-contradictory it appears.

It says:

Objective criteria are really just a set of principles or methods of discerning truth that a certain group collectively and subjectively all agree are reliable

But then it also says that

"I mean objective, simply in the sense of being independent of subjective perceptions (which is really all perceptions)."

--Which appears to say that all perceptions are subjective.  OR it could mean that there ARE objective perceptions which are independent of subjective perceptions- and if that is the case- I challenge you to give an example of an "objective perception" which is not filtered through a human brain, thereby making it "subjective"

 

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3 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Ryan, please read this through and notice how self-contradictory it appears.

It says:

Objective criteria are really just a set of principles or methods of discerning truth that a certain group collectively and subjectively all agree are reliable

But then it also says that

"I mean objective, simply in the sense of being independent of subjective perceptions (which is really all perceptions)."

--Which appears to say that all perceptions are subjective.  OR it could mean that there ARE objective perceptions which are independent of subjective perceptions- and if that is the case- I challenge you to give an example of an "objective perception" which is not filtered through a human brain, thereby making it "subjective"

I believe in objective reality--meaning a reality that is independent of our subjective perceptions, a reality that we can only approximate and guess at. All perceptions of this reality are inherently subjective. 

However, I also recognize that the term "objective" isn't always used in an ontological context. In some contexts, it is simply used to describe the the methods that a group agrees are most likely to give those who use them a provisionally accurate view of reality. I'm fine with this use, as long as those involved recognize that it is a socially constructed term and that "objective" methods can never actually prove that the conclusions reached from them will perfectly correspond with the reality of the universe. 

 

 

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On 3/14/2019 at 7:15 AM, Ryan Dahle said:

In other words, when we use words like "truth" or "reality" or "objectivity" we should only be using them in a provisional sense--a sense that says this our best guess of what the truth is, based on the consistency (i.e. stability) of certain phenomena. In my view, this goes back to induction, like I said before. 

Or if one believes in the Deflationary Theory of Truth as many, many philosophers do today, one should avoid the word "truth" altogether except to use it in common parlance as a synonym for "I agree" or some other similar phrase that does not presume that there IS a way to verify any statement about the way the "world really is" as opposed to useful consistent observations of phenomena which are more "stories" about the world which are useful until another better story comes along."

And so I would argue that reading the Bible and Book of Mormon, form the nucleus for the best story about the nature of God which is more relevant to humanity than any other, especially as verified in one's own heart by the "still small voice" which is the ONLY criteria we have for making such judgements about religion and morality.

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truth-deflationary/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deflationary_theory_of_truth

https://www.iep.utm.edu/truth/#H7

That last link has many ways to handle the semantics of what you want to say, and I would suggest a quick read on that one for sure

It also contains one comment which is relevant to the Kuhn discussion with Clark, above

Quote

Other philosophers believe it's a mistake to say the researchers' goal is to achieve truth. These "scientific anti-realists" recommend saying that research in, for example, physics, economics, and meteorology, aims only for usefulness. When they aren't overtly identifying truth with usefulness, the instrumentalists Peirce, James and Schlick take this anti-realist route, as does Kuhn. They would say atomic theory isn't true or false but rather is useful for predicting outcomes of experiments and for explaining current data. Giere recommends saying science aims for the best available "representation", in the same sense that maps are representations of the landscape. Maps aren't true; rather, they fit to a better or worse degree. Similarly, scientific theories are designed to fit the world. Scientists should not aim to create true theories; they should aim to construct theories whose models are representations of the world.

But it seems to me that the best science can do is make "maps" with great precision- yet a map will never "represent" the world by not including a representation of the world as we know it- which is impossible.  You can't fit smells and sounds of a river or wetness into a map, or the song of a bird or put the danger into a bad part of town.

Yes I live in LA and you get off the map in the wrong area and you will soon see how poorly a map "represents" reality!!  ;);)

Without that, it is a pretty bad "representation" in my book- obviously simply representing ASPECTS of what causes our perceptions but no "representation' of our perceptions !!

To argue against these articles is to take on the entire establishment who agree with the view- and a challenge to prove your point that "objective truth" can actually make sense.

Best wishes in that endevor!!  ;)

 

 

Edited by mfbukowski

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16 minutes ago, Ryan Dahle said:

I believe in objective reality--meaning a reality that is independent of our subjective perceptions, a reality that we can only approximate and guess at. All perceptions of this reality are inherently subjective. 

However, I also recognize that the term "objective" isn't always used in an ontological context. In some contexts, it is simply used to describe the the methods that a group agrees are most likely to give those who use them a provisionally accurate view of reality. I'm fine with this use, as long as those involved recognize that it is a socially constructed term and that "objective" methods can never actually prove that the conclusions reached from them will perfectly correspond with the reality of the universe. 

 

 

Fine- then you appear to agree with Richard Rorty, whom I quote on every post!

Quote

 

 " To say that the world is out there, that it is not our creation, is to say, with common sense, that most things in space and time are the effects of causes which do not include human mental states.  To say that truth is not out there is simply to say that where there are no sentences, there is no truth, that sentences are elements of human languages, and that human languages are human creations.

     Truth cannot be out there- cannot exist independently of the human mind- because sentences cannot so exist, or be out there.  The world is out there, but descriptions of the world are not.  Only descriptions of the world can be true or false.  The world on its own- unaided by the describing activities of human beings- cannot."   Richard Rorty- Contingency Irony and Solidarity, P 5.

 

So you are saying that most things in space and time are the effects of CAUSES which do not include mental states.

Of course- that is common sense, as Rorty says!

The word "truth" is word created by humans and it does not "represent" what CAUSES our perceptions- because what is beyond perception is - strictly speaking- unknowable.  So yes we SAY we stub our toes on what we call "rocks"- but what are the ultimate constituents of rocks and toes is not being discussed in saying that, nor what damage to either is caused by the collision- only our PERCEPTIONS of the "things" and our "toes" in common language.   Yet it is a useful utterance to say when we wake our wives stubbing our toes on say a child's toy, and she takes that utterance to be "true".

So the word "true" is itself a useful one as long as we know that it is undefinable in a strict sense.

Yet people still persist in believing in an objective world which can be described with absolute certainty- and that is what I oppose.

When one takes that discussion into religious circles, one ends up with the Thirty Years War over semantics, and "truths" which cannot be clearly defined without an entire ontology which is ultimately.... just words as well!

But that does not obviate the importance of what we feel in our hearts- just its description.

But perhaps it would be advantageous for you to adopt more "Pragmatic" language if indeed that is the way you feel about it.  It would help those confused about where you stand, like me!

For me objective and subjective are terms I have pretty much given up on, and now I speak a lot more about perceptions and feelings and their causes- insofar as we can speak of their "causes" coherently.

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On 3/15/2019 at 8:36 AM, clarkgoble said:

Getting back to Kuhn, the issue is whether paradigms in the sense of exemplars may end up with stable exemplars. Kuhn doesn't appear to think they will.

My ultimate point in all this is that to appeal to Kuhn as a stable answer is denied by Kuhn. One can use paradigms and Kuhn and the like of course, but one can't consider them stable which affects how they function as exemplars. There is one use which is a conservative one where we simply say it's the best we have. However there's a more radical use which is to deny the very possibility of alternatives when alternatives are raised. That is to attempt to use Kuhn as a trump to any alternative explanation. Ultimately the point simply is that to use Kuhn to stamp down skepticism of Kuhn is very unKuhnian and is to deny Kuhn's arguments even when one appeals to them.

 

On 3/14/2019 at 6:52 AM, clarkgoble said:

I think you're missing the nature of the critique. If Kuhn's paradigm is doomed to be overthrown we shouldn't trust it. If we should trust it then it's not doomed to be overthrown. That's completely separate from the "it's all interpretations." Rather it gets at the question of stability. Effectively one is saying there is no truth then acting like there is.

So which Kuhn did you have in mind here- the stable one or the unstable one?

How is Kuhn not "Acting like there is"....truth, when there is "no truth" only stability?

 

Edited by mfbukowski

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59 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Or if one believes in the Deflationary Theory of Truth as many, many philosophers do today, one should avoid the word "truth" altogether except to use it in common parlance as a synonym for "I agree" or some other similar phrase that does not presume that there IS a way to verify any statement about the way the "world really is" as opposed to useful consistent observations of phenomena which are more "stories" about the world which are useful until another better story comes along."

And so I would argue that reading the Bible and Book of Mormon, form the nucleus for the best story about the nature of God which is more relevant to humanity than any other, especially as verified in one's own heart by the "still small voice" which is the ONLY criteria we have for making such judgements about religion and morality.

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truth-deflationary/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deflationary_theory_of_truth

https://www.iep.utm.edu/truth/#H7

To argue against these articles is to take on the entire establishment who agree with the view- and a challenge to prove your point that "objective truth" can actually make sense.

Best wishes in that endevor!!  ;)

I don't really find it necessary to avoid the term truth in any context. 

When people tell me that something is true, I understand that they mean they strongly believe it corresponds to reality. Such statements usually express a high degree of confidence in a correspondence proposition. There are things which seem possibly true, plausibly true, most likely true, certainly true, and varying degrees in between. The spectrum can go in the other direction as well--things that don't seem true. Thus, in my view, the term has practical utility outside of its ability to form generalizations.

Perhaps this falls in under your "some other similar phrase that does not presume that there IS a way to verify any statement about the way the 'world really is'" category. If so, then it seems that the prohibition for using this term should be strictly confined to philosophical jargon. However, even there, it seems to be a useful concept. I'm not sure what context it could be placed in where it isn't useful. Moreover, I actually find that most people understand that the term has qualifications anyway. Most folks know that just because someone says something is true, it doesn't make it so. They may not have thought deeply about epistemological uncertainty, but they at least recognize that that the term truth itself can't, simply by invoking it, establish reality. So I'm not sure what all the fuss is about over the term. Seems pretty useful to me.

Truth is something we have faith in, despite possible reasons for uncertainty. I suspect that is why faith is the first principle of the gospel. 

Late Edit: I would just add that I think that if we want to take the word truth out of our vocabulary, we might as well take out all being verbs. After all, they basically express the same thing that the word truth expresses. The problem is deeper than the word truth. It is that our verbal system itself presupposes that humans can accurately describe reality. Rather than getting everyone to stop using being verbs, it seems more practical for everyone to start seeing being verbs in a different light. I would say the same applies to the concept of truth

Edited by Ryan Dahle

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1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

So which Kuhn did you have in mind here- the stable one or the unstable one?

How is Kuhn not "Acting like there is"....truth, when there is "no truth" only stability?

Stability is for the assertions not the person. I certainly assume Kuhn believed what he asserted although clearly he changed his views from the publication of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and The Essential Tension. So even he didn't think some things were true.

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1 hour ago, Ryan Dahle said:

I don't really find it necessary to avoid the term truth in any context. 

When people tell me that something is true, I understand that they mean they strongly believe it corresponds to reality. Such statements usually express a high degree of confidence in a correspondence proposition. There are things which seem possibly true, plausibly true, most likely true, certainly true, and varying degrees in between. The spectrum can go in the other direction as well--things that don't seem true. Thus, in my view, the term has practical utility outside of its ability to form generalizations.

Perhaps this falls in under your "some other similar phrase that does not presume that there IS a way to verify any statement about the way the 'world really is'" category. If so, then it seems that the prohibition for using this term should be strictly confined to philosophical jargon. However, even there, it seems to be a useful concept. I'm not sure what context it could be placed in where it isn't useful. Moreover, I actually find that most people understand that the term has qualifications anyway. Most folks know that just because someone says something is true, it doesn't make it so. They may not have thought deeply about epistemological uncertainty, but they at least recognize that that the term truth itself can't, simply by invoking it, establish reality. So I'm not sure what all the fuss is about over the term. Seems pretty useful to me.

Truth is something we have faith in, despite possible reasons for uncertainty. I suspect that is why faith is the first principle of the gospel. 

Late Edit: I would just add that I think that if we want to take the word truth out of our vocabulary, we might as well take out all being verbs. After all, they basically express the same thing that the word truth expresses. The problem is deeper than the word truth. It is that our verbal system itself presupposes that humans can accurately describe reality. Rather than getting everyone to stop using being verbs, it seems more practical for everyone to start seeing being verbs in a different light. I would say the same applies to the concept of truth

I understand your point, but the trade off becomes that Joseph did not write a "true" translation of the BOA, and is therefore a "liar", prophets are infallible, the Sun actually stood still when Joshua raised his arms, donkeys talk and deliver messages from God and evolution is a filthy lie based on Satan.

This whole thread in fact is about whether or not the BOM "corresponds to history" whatever those words mean- and that ambiguity is in fact the problem.  And if it so doesn't "correspond" it is a fraud, a lie, and Joseph was a liar.  That is exactly what you see right here in this thread.

My solution - and that of others who see it as I do- I am not taking credit for the view which often comes from BYU's Heideggerians -makes that disappear  (Jim is James Faulconer )

https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/16/why-i-love-mormonism/

I see folks hereabouts still trying to reconcile, figuratively, Copernicus with Ptolemy. We are post-Postmodern and the Church needs a way of explaining "truth" in a way it has not adoopted when it would help immeasurably in the prevailing postmodern culture.

Perpetuating that perpetuates error and instead of seeing secularism as freedom of religion we see it as the enemy- when it could be a VERY useful ally.

And all of this is caused by the belief in what cannot be known or experienced- "objective truth".  By definition "objective truth" is beyond description - because we can only know how it "appears to us".   And so we have the great Cartesian gulf between our silly perceptions and "objective truth"

On the other hand we have something very much observable to many people- and that is the feeling that they are actually speaking to a BEING when they pray.  Billions believe that- they just have a different paradigm about who this Being is- and my vote is that WE- little old us guys who used to be called "Mormons" have the best answer in an immanent God who is one of our Species but exalted far beyond what we are now.

And none of this can possibly BE "objective truth" because it is based on faith and subjective feelings!

So by insisting on "objective truth" you make our Church impossible to be "true" or to believe, because our church is based on  "subjective" feelings which others discount as "useless emotions".   Burning in the bosom?  It's heartburn!  It's all in your head!

Dang right it is and so is everything else we see and feel and know!!  

Is it "caused" but something else out there?  Of course!  Will we ever know "ultimate objective reality"?  No because it is a contradiction in itself.

We can never know what is "objective" even using machines and gizmo-meters etc because it will still always be filtered through a human brain full of prejudices and motivations, politics and human foibles. 

We are humans we see as humans.  We see through a glass darkly.

Good luck in eliminating that "glass" which in fact simply mirrors our own misunderstanding, and taking it for "objective reality"

I think the distinction is crucial to the survival of the church.  We can stay with the fundies or become the rock cut without hands which will fill the earth if we can join with our ultimate ally- humanism.  We ARE the ultimate humanists- our God is even a Human who gave us the recipe for Human Perfection and it is found right here.

And yes we have to change the verbal system we got from Aristotle and Aquinas and Descartes.  Postmoderns already have.

Secularists already have.  Where do you here secularists speaking of "Being"?

I used the word above here just for the communication value.

What i actually experience is a PERSON, not a "being".  There is a PERSON out there with whom I communicate.  I havent seen him yet but I hope to.

Edited by mfbukowski

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50 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

Stability is for the assertions not the person. I certainly assume Kuhn believed what he asserted although clearly he changed his views from the publication of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and The Essential Tension. So even he didn't think some things were true.

And so your point was that he didn't think that his own theory of "paradigms" would ever be refined and put aside by a new way of seeing?

You said:

Quote

 

 If Kuhn's paradigm is doomed to be overthrown we shouldn't trust it.


 

 

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On 3/13/2019 at 9:45 PM, mfbukowski said:

The relativist and simply smiles and says "You're right! That's exactly the point" 

Would the relativist be telling the truth?

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14 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

And so your point was that he didn't think that his own theory of "paradigms" would ever be refined and put aside by a new way of seeing?

You said:

 

I think my point was within his lifetime he changed what he meant by paradigms and so appealing to Kuhn as authority is problematic because it's self refuting. It wasn't stable. 

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8 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

Would the relativist be telling the truth?

Of course!  But even while uttering it he would be aware that there are other ways of seeing it.

Think of a jury of "peers".

Do they know the "truth"?  And yet their job is to be those who decide what "really happened"?

Do they always get it "right"?  Yet are their judgements creating "facts"?  (their job is to be the "trier of facts")

Quote

 

Legal Definition of trier of fact

: the judge in a bench trial or jury in a jury trial that carries the responsibility of determining the issues of fact in a case

— called also factfinder, finder of fact, trier

 

 So what ARE "facts"?

Why do they keep changing if they are "true"?   Is Pluto still a planet?  Are eggs good for you or not?  ;)

 

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