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Plato's Cave - The Orlando Philosophy Meetup Group Message Board › First principles for shared understandings

First principles for shared understandings

Rami K.
Rammy
Orlando, FL
Post #: 549
Andrzej Wodzianicki has for the past 18 years been hosting a site cmncore.org in the hope of demonstrating that what is subjective is really universal.

To test this hope, this thread has been started to compare our local groups' summations of everything to see if Andrzej is working in vain

Here is my subjective list which I am going to leave unedited:

  • All human understandings are limited
  • Rationalization is a bubble
  • Bias a given
  • Universality is possible
  • Every person, place, and thing starts and ends


You are invited to leave your own.
Ben Forbes G.
Epicurean306
Orlando, FL
Post #: 304
Interesting list... cool I have a few thoughts:
  • “All human understandings are limited” “All human understandings are equally ‘plausible’ and relatively high degrees of objectivity are ‘impossible’” — this latter position (subjectivist ontological relativism) is dangerously mistaken, and rigorous standards of evidence combined with sound Bayesian reasoning should be applied and followed wherever they lead regarding important questions of ontology, epistemology, and even ethics which supersede relatively inconsequential or idiosyncratic Kantian-style “preferences” (e.g. which flavor of ice-cream is one's favorite)...
  • I'm not sure what is meant by “rationalization is a ‘bubble’”confused — that said, some “bubbles” of rationalization­ can (and, I think: should) be “burst” by reasonable (logically valid and sound) Socratic critical-thinking, exposing fallacies, and the careful application of skeptical, evidence-based analyses.
  • (Some degree of) “bias is a given” “all opinions are subjective and inherently equally biased, ergo there are no reliable methods to minimize bias” — this latter position (epistemic relativism) is absurd and pragmatically untenable; furthermore, there actually are impressively reliable methods of screening out (and in some cases pretty much eliminating) bias... chiefly: rigorous scientific methods, prudent degrees of skepticism, identifying and avoiding formal and informal logical fallacies, applying the “outsider test of faith” to extraordinary claims, etc.
  • “Universality is possible” — I'm frankly not sure what is meant by this vague statement... and, depending on what is meant, I'm not sure that we can know whether “universality” is possible (but that fortunately does not mean we cannot adduce sound evidence that some possibilities are significantly more or less likely than others).
  • “Every person, place, and thing starts and ‘ends’” — there is a sense in which this may be true (and even true of the observable universe, which certainly “started” with the Big Bang, as best we can reliably know); that said, this fifth statement seems to me to flirt with “confusing the map for the territory” — we know of many levels of reality, and we naturally operate in what Richard Dawkins has described as a “Middle World” — moreover, there is a very real sense in which the concepts of people, places, and things are merely constructed perceptual illusions of demarcation (and their distinction from other collections of matter is merely a usefully adapted habit of thought for brains operating on the scale that human organisms operate). For example, there are more bacteria than human cells in our bodies, and the nucleus of an atom is roughly analogous to a fly in a sports stadium (in terms of relative scale)... so where do the holistic “agents” we think of as people actually begin and end? Matter and energy are also recycled in complex (and cataclysmic) mechanisms (we are essentially “made of star stuff”).
Naturally, there is much more that can be said about each of these topics, and I've merely summarized a few important aspects of each point raised... For those interested in learning more (from far more cogent and erudite sources than my own brief musings), I highly recommend this excellent popular science book by Bill Bryson to accessibly explain some of these issues in captivatingly eloquent detail; it's one of the best works I've ever read on these sorts of subjects in particular, and it offers a truly fascinating intellectual history (specifically: the history of rigorously scientific ontology and the ongoing advancement of its awesome explanatory power through a very humanistic and dramatically biographical lens). The audiobook also makes a great listen and is well narrated (for those who want the convenience and don't mind paying to give the author some royalties).biggrin

Anyway, I'll have to think a bit more about how I would concisely summarize some of the “most important” primary philosophical first-principles that are (or should be) universally understood and shared... Then perhaps I'll post those in a separate comment at some point if and when I get the chance.biggrin

One thing I can say for sure that I hold should be fundamental, however, is the crucial Socratic principle of skeptically critical inquiry and intellectual curiosity: ὁ δὲ ἀνεξέταστος βίος οὐ βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ — I aver that a philosophy of discovery is the only philosophy worth having or respecting... Like Neil deGrasse Tyson, I want to “know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others” (and, as wisely as I can, I try to advocate for humankind to support policies that I have good reason to believe would tend to accomplish both of those goals — since I'm much too selfish and lazy to dedicate very large amounts of my time or money to purely altruistic vocations beyond occasional charity or volunteerism and I don't personally work on the frontier of scientific discovery, even though I greatly admire those who do). Concurrently, I would also wholeheartedly agree with Neil deGrasse Tyson that “evidence” of the supernatural “is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance that is getting smaller and smaller and smaller...” so it bothers me when people have such a poor understanding of the progress of intellectual history that they remain so myopically content in their demonstrably culturally biased “answers” that they no longer have curiosity to learn as much as possible about objective evidence-based ontology: “The day you stop looking because you are content that God did it, I don’t need you in the lab. You are useless…” Fortunately for humankind, science is not culturally relative; admittedly, it is far from infallible or perfect — but rigorous scientific methods have made awesome epistemic progress in maximizing objectivity, reliably screening out biases, and minimizing subjectivity. If “universality is possible” then science is demonstrably the best means so far conceived to accurately discover and understand the nature of universal realities!smile
Rami K.
Rammy
Orlando, FL
Post #: 662
What make you of this?

We're all connected.
We just don't see it.
There isn't an "out there"
and an "in here."
Everything in the Universe
is connected. It is just
one energy field.

John Assaraf

Ben Forbes G.
Epicurean306
Orlando, FL
Post #: 506
What make you of this?
We're all connected.
We just don't see it.
There isn't an "out there"
and an "in here."
Everything in the Universe
is connected. It is just
one energy field.
— John Assaraf
coolIt is a deepity... but there is a sense in which it gets at some interesting points, albeit probably not any of the points you're speciously trying to make...wink


Rami K.
Rammy
Orlando, FL
Post #: 749
Bruce Koerber is writing about something he's terming Devine Economic Theory
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