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Commitments in a plural world

The theme of tonight's meetup is the difficulty of specifying which commitments we should endorse if the world in which we act is really, robustly plural. A plural world is a world consisting of many things, of multiplicity; our engaging with each other seems to presuppose such a field of engagement, instead of either a (solipsistic) world without plurality or (the casual relativist's) disconnected worlds in the plural.

Accepting both the sharedness and the diversity of the space in which we act can point us toward strange and unsettling implications for who we are and what we ought to think. We normally take it that things are a certain way - itself already a denial of plurality, a kind of monism about truth. So long as we remain unchallenged, we proceed on the assumption that things are as we take them to be; when challenged, we may worry that they are not, and that we had better change our way of taking them. So long as we assume that our views had better match reality, we overlook the possibility that, insofar as reality is already plural, there are many ways of matching it.

The challenges we face, which force us to put our views in question, all depend on and express the brute fact of plurality: other people, other versions of ourselves, other situations and concerns, are what stop us in our epistemic tracks. But when a challenge stimulates us to abandon one conclusion and to adopt another in its place, have we not taken an irruption of plurality into our attention-space as reason for switching our loyalty from one kind of monism to another? If so, then it seems the only way to recognize that irruption of plurality for what it is would be to grant foundational respect to plurality itself, thereby no longer seeking to form any set conclusions on the matter.

And that is just the very top of this slippery slope...

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  • Maeta

    I wish I could have been able make it today, just got out! Is there going to be any streaming/recording?

    April 10, 2014

    • Adam

      We never record the meetings, but you can feel free to show up late. We'll be going until around 9

      April 10, 2014

  • Brian

    Hi Carol, if you're wondering why you didn't move up the rsvp list's bc you are +1...meetup waits for two open slots in that case :/

    April 10, 2014

  • Ivan

    I can understand a plurality of possibilities, but not of actualities. We cannot tolerate a reality where X and ~X are true in the same way at the same time. What am I missing?

    1 · April 3, 2014

    • eric

      One more to get the feel of it.

      An object is here right now (an electrons position)
      An object is not here right now (an electrons position when moved)
      An object is both here and not here right now (superposition)
      An object is neither here nor not here right now (when seen to be a wave)

      So "Indian logic" seems more amenable to the plurality... Aristotelian not so much...the basis for another tetralemma.

      logic supports the plurality ("Indian logic)
      logic does not support the plurality (Aristotelian Logic)

      1 · April 10, 2014

    • Ivan

      There's no plurality because we're never dealing with X and ~X at the same time and in the same way. We have conventions that define the terms rise, East, and West. The fact that we can take a perspective in which the Sun does not move doesn't contradict the claim that the "Sun rises in the East." This is because "rise" was never actually defined to say that there is an absolute spatial position for human observers. That's why it makes complete sense to say the Sun rises in the East, even if we're the entity that's moving.

      In other words, "the Sun rises" does not contradict "The Earth does not move and has a fixed position in all physics and in all coordinate systems."

      April 10, 2014

  • Ann

    Greatttttt topic!

    April 4, 2014

  • Brian

    We stop looking for set conclusions when we realize philosophy as an activity, implying use, or energaia, a being at work.

    1 · April 4, 2014

  • mariann

    This sounds great, I'm super excited.

    April 4, 2014

  • Anneliese

    Out of town, or I would totally be here...

    1 · April 3, 2014

  • Brian

    I think Simone de Beauvoir gets out of this maze with the idea of "positively knowing ourselves as a negativity".

    April 2, 2014

  • Ivan

    Certainty is overrated. Probably.

    5 · April 2, 2014

  • Carol

    Wow, I love this!

    April 2, 2014

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