Seattle Analytic Philosophy Club Message Board › Future debates

Future debates

Jason
user 3213556
Seattle, WA
Post #: 85
I am NOT making a case for any philosophical arguments I do not believe are sound. That is just wrong, For many if not most philosophical controversies, both sides are sound, that is why they are still are still around. There are good arguments on both sides and they are still open questions - including for me.
There certainly are cases where both 'sides' of some issue have had sound arguments - e.g. nature/nurture issue. However, that is not the case in the majority of philosophical issues. Just so we're all on the same page, a sound argument is on in which the argument is valid (i.e. the conclusion logically follows from the structure of the argument such that it can not be false if all the premises are true) and all of the premises are in fact true. When two arguments have conclusions that are mutually exclusive, both arguments can not be sound.
Gene L
user 19640341
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 601
Most philosophy isn't formal logic. There is reasonable disagreement on which premises are true or even apply to the issue, and what follows from them. If it were so obvious that one side is unsound, the other side would just be stupid or dishonest- which it seems you must be accusing me of because you suggest that I would debate in favor of an unsound argument,.

Funny though, if the EAAN is an unsound argument, it seems that you should quickly be able to demolish me in debate. I will be a gentleman and not follow up here.

Both sides could also be wrong, or the whole issue could be a psuedo-question.

Jason
user 3213556
Seattle, WA
Post #: 86
Most philosophy isn't formal logic. There is reasonable disagreement on which premises are true or even apply to the issue, and what follows from them. If it were so obvious that one side is unsound, the other side would just be stupid or dishonest- which it seems you must be accusing me of because you suggest that I would debate in favor of an unsound argument,.

Funny though, if the EAAN is an unsound argument, it seems that you should quickly be able to demolish me in debate. I will be a gentleman and not follow up here.

Both sides could also be wrong, or the whole issue could be a psuedo-question.
I did not in any way mean to imply that you were stupid or dishonest. One might believe it is not clear that are unsound, but even if one debated from an argument they believed was unsound, this wouldn't be dishonest unless they claimed otherwise or were debating in a forum where honestly advocating one's views are expected. Taking an opposing position is not uncommon in competitive debate and forums for teaching rhetorical skills; this may hone certain skills, provide a deeper understanding of another perspective, require a lot of intelligence and forethought, and increase the enjoyment of the activity.
I see it as similar to magicians; they portray something which they themselves don't believe, it can be incredibly skillful and compelling, very enjoyable to participate in or watch, and there is nothing dishonest about it unless the person is really claiming that they have supernatural powers.

That being said, I do think there is an important difference between thinking it's not clear if something is unsound and thinking it is sound. I also do agree with your points about reasonable disagreement about the truth of premises, that both sides could have unsound arguments, that the issue could be a pseudo-question, etc.
Gene L
user 19640341
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 602
In a philosophy class or textbook, a teacher or author should try to teach all positions as fairly as possible; the teacher or author may favor one position, be agnostic, favor none of the positions, or think they are all roughly equal - this is irrelevant. "Belief" doesn't enter into the picture - philosophers do not speak of "believing" philosophy arguments. Debate is just another way of presenting a topic, which may be more enjoyable for the participants, and almost certainly the audience.

In the Plantinga meetup thread, Michael and Pat indicate they are enthusiatic about the debate, Mark indicates here he is interested in debating himself. So we are going to stop beating the dead horse.

Thanks again to Mark Munro for considering debating. It doesn't have to me involved, if anyone wants to be involved in a debate with Mark please let us know.
Jason
user 3213556
Seattle, WA
Post #: 87
In a philosophy class or textbook, a teacher or author should try to teach all positions as fairly as possible; the teacher or author may favor one position, be agnostic, favor none of the positions, or think they are all roughly equal - this is irrelevant.
This is correct for the most part, but I agree, irrelevant.

"Belief" doesn't enter into the picture - philosophers do not speak of "believing" philosophy arguments.
The issue you are presumably responding to was whether it one should make character or trait inferences about someone who debates in favor of an argument they believe is not clearly unsound or do not believe was sound. It is not the case that philosophers do not have beliefs that some arguments are or or not valid, or that premises are or are not true.

Debate is just another way of presenting a topic, which may be more enjoyable for the participants, and almost certainly the audience.
It's also more than just presenting a topic, and it was those aspects of the activity that I was suggesting where a different kind of activity than analytic philosophy.


I don't expect that clarifying these points are likely to change your mind about debates, though I do think it's important to be clear about what the discussion was actually about. Whether or not giving my assessment of the issue will have any influence on future events, I think this topic is worth consideration from a metaphilosophical perspective.

Gene L
user 19640341
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 604
Here is a list of possible debate topics:

Alvin Plantinga's Evolutionary Argument against Naturalism - this one has the participants lined up and will take place probably early next year

Moral realism - possible, if I can work out what exactly we are debating about :)

Philosophy of mind topics - Mark expressed some interest in this

Practical ethics/poltical phillosophy - I think these would be particularly interesting - the issues of the day, with a philosophy perspective

I do not have to be me involved in any of the debates (except the first which I already committed to)

I'd like to emphasize that these are friendly debates, the purpose of which is present topics in a more dynamic manner - not to win or lose. I for one find it a lot more fun to have someone else challengiing me than to present both sides, and very likely, the audience will find it more interesting.. If both debate participants do not enjoy the experience, then there is no point.

We will of course still have one person presentations and anyone who is interested in doing one can contact Victor or I.
A former member
Post #: 15
“Funny though, if the EAAN is an unsound argument, it seems that you should quickly be able to demolish me in debate.”

http://freethoughtblo...­

But if one must still insist on their emotional preference:

http://stephenlaw.blo...­

All theist are the same in this general sense, they want to go from the known to the assertion of the unknown on the basis of the known and then attribute the same amount of authority to the unknown as that of the known. In fact, we cannot even rightly call this the unknown, it is better to call it what it is: frivolous innovations of the mind. When children play with toys they create characters, when men discourse on god they do the exact same thing. Aside from the act of imagining, those characters do not really exist... it is no different with the idea of god, aside from the act of imagining, he does not really exist! The theist is engaged in a battle with his imagination. Stop affirming (G) and you will at no point be confronted with it in reality [aside from those who feel the need to assert it, but their assertion is not (G) even as they are not (G), and no matter how much they insist they cannot bring God to life with their assertions!]

The only thing Plantinga has inspired people to do is waste their life (which is to say, his influence is entirely negative)! The so called Evolutionary Argument... will be forgotten and left in the dust. It is nothing more than a "theistic fad." [Which is to say it appeals to those who already assume the existence of god long before any argument.] Preoccupation with it proves that one has been drinking the Kool-aid.

Confidently yours,
Jersey Flight
Gene L
user 19640341
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 608
Jersey,

Self-criticism is one of the best traits. Thank you for demonstrating self-criticism in a remarkable way. You state that Plantinga and the Evolutionary Argument cause people to waste their life, yet you have posted 4 long posts about it, criticizing yourself severely for wasting your iife. Your last post is a bravura effort of self-criticism, criticizing yourself in real-time for wasting your life, while simultaneously wasting your life. So thank you for demonstrating complete mastery of self-criticism - I cannot imagine what abilities you must have to be able to criticize yourself immediately while doing the action you criticize yourself for.

I'm not sure why you care how other people spend their time, since one man's waste may be another's treasure, unless you are their boss and are paying them to work. How you spend your time certainly isn't my business; I'm just admiring the superb self-criticism.

This thread has nothing to do with Plantinga or the Evolutionary Argument, and I will not discuss this at all online outside of the in person debate itself. I might also address the issue with an interested church group separately. If anyone wanted to engage with me they could have chosen to debate.

Now, this thread is about future debates, so I invite you to suggest future topics you would like to debate - and I know that you do engage in verbal debates. As I mentioned above, these are friendly debates, and if both participants and the audience don't enjoy it there is no point.
Mark M.
user 36541252
Seattle, WA
Post #: 15
I'd like to emphasize that these are friendly debates, the purpose of which is present topics in a more dynamic manner - not to win or lose. I for one find it a lot more fun to have someone else challengiing me than to present both sides, and very likely, the audience will find it more interesting.. If both debate participants do not enjoy the experience, then there is no point.




Hello Gene - I agree with you on the above point. A debate means that there is in effect two moderators keeping the discussion on topic, and post-debate it is much easier for others to participate while also being on topic.

Excuse me for taking so long to reply to your offer to debate the Chinese Room argument. I had to go over it so see where I stand. What follows is what I think of the topic. What follows could be a preamble to a debate, or a case to alter the topic altogether.

The core of the issue is, the Turing Test. It was the prior cause of dispute, and Searle's intent was to draw a line that a Turing Machine would not be able to cross - ie a Turing Machine may pass the Turing Test (TT) but not actually emulate human cognition (HC). Searle was trying to fail the TT. Turing's response would have that a full emulation of HC was just a matter of making a more complex TM, since Turing believed that we were just machines anyway ( That is my inference. ). Just because it is possible for a TM to pass a TT by fooling a participant does not mean that a full and true replication of HC cannot be achieved by a TM. So the argument returns to whether a TM can fully emulate HC.
( In philosophical terms the issue is the question whether 1. Human Life or/and the Universe can be reduced to a complete, unified analytic and closed whole. If Human Life can be reduced to Turing's 0's and 1's, then there is no such thing as subjectivity. The revocation of subjectivity by Turing’s position is part of the core issues that Searle was defending. If the Universe can be reduced in this manner is a related but separate question. )

I think time has moved on and both sides of Turing and Searle’s positions are less sound.
For a Turing advocate’s position it should be noted that a TM is not quite the device that Turing proposed. The possibility of making a ( serial ) machine that can emulate HC is more out of reach because: 1. We have learned that we don’t know the depth of complexity of HC. 2. We do not know it there is an empirical discontinuity between HC and an external objective world. 3. We do not know if the complexity that might be required of a AI machine can be achieved on a TM that can be built within the Universe within which we exist; that is a real life serial TM might require more tape or whatever format is used than can be supplied from material in our Universe, and we do not know if an advanced parallel TM can be created out of any other substrate than that which is supplied by biology ie the only TM capable of HC is a real life natural person. In other words, I do not see how an advanced AI machine can overcome the physical constraints of accomplishing all the computation that is required in HC in such a small space and in real time. Turing’s machine is imaginable, but there may be no proof that it is realizable.
For the Searle advocate it should be noted that in 1980 the human mind was the benchmark of intelligence that measured everything else. Now, AI is fabricating different standards and benchmarks for intelligence and performance and does not need to measure itself against HC. The human mind no longer holds all the high ground in the struggle to create AI. AI has different objectives and will go in directions we cannot predict. Since 1980 human ‘Understanding’ has not been explained, defined nor better understood, so it is hard to call AI to account for a test that is not fully defined. Further it is hard to hold AI to account on a criteria which it may not be as interested in meeting anymore. AI will carry on, along the way tapping into much richer sources of funding, by advancing along paths that do not involve HC.

If we try to return to the roots of the problem highlighted by Turing and Searle, we could try to reset the parameters of the test. We can update the technological concepts of the AI machine, and we can update the test by requiring a deeper, true to life scrutiny of the machine’s capability. We could than repose Turing’s proposition and Searle’s challenge.

And then we get to return us to the core philosophical issue; is the universe reducible in some manner?
Gene L
user 19640341
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 613
Mark,

Thank you for your thoughtful post.

I agree with you that the Turing - Searle issue is less relevant as time has moved on. I have no expertise at all in AI, but as I understand it strong AI, or even weak AI, is nowhere near to being realized. Also, Searle is arguing against a particular type of functionalism (see the slide show below) which is no longer widely advocated today (other forms of functionalism are more popular).

However, for the purposes of the debate, I suspect it may be easier to stick to the original Turing - Searle issue and the classic arguments for and against the Chinese room problem. and use this as a springboard for further discussion. For one thing, the Chinese room argument is very well known to the general public. It will also be easier for us because the arguments for and against are well-defined.

I agree with your last statement. These issues often come down to whether one thinks the universe is ultimately completely reducible, or there are some elements of the universe that are not reducible. Which position one favors seems to me to come down to an intuition - as the empirical evidence runs out, and the philosophical controversies are still with us.

I find the slideshow below a good overview of the Turing - Searle issue.

https://www.ict.tuwie...­
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