Why do YOU have principles?

A question of self identity and comprehension

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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#81  Postby Fenrir » Nov 08, 2016 4:34 am

ughaibu wrote:
zoon wrote:The nearest thing to an overarching principle available at the moment does seem to be the likelihood that the material world, including human brains, can be entirely described in terms of the mathematical laws of physics and chemistry.
But this "principle" is false, so what would be the point of holding it?


How is this "principal" false?

Please be specific.

I hope it's not the old "no equation can expwain wuv" tripe.
Religion: it only fails when you test it.-Thunderf00t.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#82  Postby Cito di Pense » Nov 08, 2016 5:28 am

Fenrir wrote:
ughaibu wrote:
zoon wrote:The nearest thing to an overarching principle available at the moment does seem to be the likelihood that the material world, including human brains, can be entirely described in terms of the mathematical laws of physics and chemistry.
But this "principle" is false, so what would be the point of holding it?


How is this "principal" false?

Please be specific.

I hope it's not the old "no equation can expwain wuv" tripe.


I think what ughaibu is trying to say is that we cannot be certain this 'principal' is true. We have no reason to believe that it isn't, and that is enough for most level-headed persons. Perhaps ughaibu would like to cite some evidence that more than the material and physical is necessary to explain, for example, ethical sensibilities. Some people are still spooked by Cartesianism, and get themselves all confused when they start thinking that they're thinking, even (and maybe especially) when that thinking is woefully ineffective at anything more strenuous than thinking that it's thinking.

What I continue to try to figure out upon receiving the sort of perspective that ughaibu (and so many others) have tried to offer regarding 'certain knowledge' is the point of recognizing that we don't have certain knowledge, as opposed to waiting patiently to be shown that something is not true. The warning sign in zoon's eager (and so persistent) generalization is only the echo of religious certainty. When zoon tries to answer the question about why we have 'principles', there is an additional rush to note that our ethical sensibiities are a result of living as social animals. There's no reason to believe that this isn't true, either, but again, simply reciting it is an echo of reaching for an overarching 'principal' to match up against the eternal verities of religion.

How could a person not working a little too hard to escape a former state of religious certainty actually worry very much about the risks of seeking certain knowledge and making categorical statements? It's not an issue for someone who never dealt in received certainties, unless some we think people under stress seek these comforting certainties in any event. The sort of data we can obtain from the social 'sciences' is never enough to prove anything, but it is generally enough to say that we have no reason to believe it isn't true, until someone with an opposing view comes up with her own 'data' set.
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Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#83  Postby Fenrir » Nov 08, 2016 6:14 am

Meh.

Certainty is so limiting.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#84  Postby Cito di Pense » Nov 08, 2016 6:24 am

Fenrir wrote:Meh.

Certainty is so limiting.


Do you mean 'principles' are limiting? Yes, that's something I can agree with. On the other hand, discovering empirical generalities about the world is a great labor saving device. I don't think that's what the OP was on about.
Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#85  Postby ughaibu » Nov 11, 2016 4:17 am

Fenrir wrote:
ughaibu wrote:
zoon wrote:The nearest thing to an overarching principle available at the moment does seem to be the likelihood that the material world, including human brains, can be entirely described in terms of the mathematical laws of physics and chemistry.
But this "principle" is false, so what would be the point of holding it?
How is this "principal" false?
First let's be clear; when I write "this "principle" is false", I certainly do not mean
Cito di Pense wrote:we cannot be certain this 'principal' is true.
Mathematical laws of physics and chemistry are relevant to phenomena that can form the subject matter of an experiment in one of those sciences. As this excludes a great deal of human behaviour, it appears that the contention that "the material world, including human brains, can be entirely described in terms of the mathematical laws of physics and chemistry" is a category mistake. So it is also false that
Cito di Pense wrote:We have no reason to believe that it isn't, and that is enough for most level-headed persons.
On the contrary, we have no reason to believe that it is and clear reasons to believe that it isn't.
For example, chemists and physicists will themselves tell you that their laws disagree with the contention, because they cannot, even in principle, give a definite state of the world. Instead they offer probabilistic or coarsely grained deterministic predictions. But in both cases, what is offered allows human beings to perform some action and effectively achieve a desired result. In short, these laws allow us to control some limited aspects of the world, so it's a real mystery as to how anyone could conclude that a) these laws apply to everything, and b) these laws control things.
This isn't just a category mistake, it's arse about face nonsense. So, the only way to make this fly would be to posit some fantasy "laws" of physics and chemistry that will one day be formulated and that are at odds with the actual laws, and that kind of faith-in-a-fantasy is well outside what I expect from any "level-headed persons".

To get an idea of how ridiculous the contention that "the material world, including human brains, can be entirely described in terms of the mathematical laws of physics and chemistry" is, consider the fact that not only do the relevant scientists deny this, but assuming it to be true, we can make exact and complicated predictions of the entailments of these laws by rolling dice. For example, take six volunteers and offer them an interesting incentive to successfully complete the experiment. Choose six days next week, six times of day, six locations and six activities. Now roll dice to decide which one volunteer will be doing what, in which place, at which time on which day next week. And if the volunteer cannot successfully complete the experiment, then empirical science, which of course includes physics and chemistry, is impossible, because completing the experiment is equivalent to recording the result of observing the ordered sequence of dice rolls, and empirical science is impossible if we cannot reliably record our observations.

The reason that the contention that "the material world, including human brains, can be entirely described in terms of the mathematical laws of physics and chemistry" is obviously false, is that it implies that the behaviour of the physicists and chemists themselves, is entailed by these laws. Even given fantasy future "laws" of physics, chemistry or any other empirical science, as a researcher must be able to reliably record their observations and as we can easily define a recording procedure that will conflict with a given prediction, no empirical science can have laws that entirely describe the world.

Fenrir wrote:I hope it's not the old "no equation can expwain wuv" tripe.
I have no idea what "wuv" is, nor what "the old "no equation can expwain wuv" tripe" is. Perhaps you'd care to explain what they are and why I should care about your hopes concerning them.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#86  Postby Fenrir » Nov 11, 2016 4:29 am

ughaibu wrote:

Fenrir wrote:I hope it's not the old "no equation can expwain wuv" tripe.
I have no idea what "wuv" is, nor what "the old "no equation can expwain wuv" tripe" is. Perhaps you'd care to explain what they are and why I should care about your hopes concerning them.


No need really. Your post above demonstrates that that is exactly what you are contending so there really isn't much point in discussing further.
Religion: it only fails when you test it.-Thunderf00t.
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