An Appeal to Ignorance?

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An Appeal to Ignorance?

Postby mtbturtle on April 23rd, 2014, 4:34 pm 

owleye » Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:22 pm wrote:Actually, RJG does not respond to criticism. And that's all there is to him. He has spoken and there's really nothing more to say. I personally find no reason for him to be here. We've all heard what he has to say and have made up our mind long ago. I don't think he is in the least interested in convincing us. So, my guess, is that he likes to be the burr in our saddle, not in a good sense in which someone finds examples that might provoke further thought, but in the worst possible way, by merely telling the rest of us he deserves to be placed in the pantheon of great thinkers, having discovered a truth that we should be breathlessly listening to.


I was wondering earlier if his method of introspection and his inability to find an answer is an appeal to ignorance of some kind.
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Re: Is it possible to pre-select our own thoughts?

Postby owleye on April 24th, 2014, 8:56 am 

mtbturtle » Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:34 pm wrote:
owleye » Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:22 pm wrote:Actually, RJG does not respond to criticism. And that's all there is to him. He has spoken and there's really nothing more to say. I personally find no reason for him to be here. We've all heard what he has to say and have made up our mind long ago. I don't think he is in the least interested in convincing us. So, my guess, is that he likes to be the burr in our saddle, not in a good sense in which someone finds examples that might provoke further thought, but in the worst possible way, by merely telling the rest of us he deserves to be placed in the pantheon of great thinkers, having discovered a truth that we should be breathlessly listening to.


I was wondering earlier if his method of introspection and his inability to find an answer is an appeal to ignorance of some kind.


I can't actually say I understand how he reached the conclusion he did. Were it some sort of Cartesian meditation, I no doubt would have been more interested. Are you asking whether he is justifying his assertions based on an appeal to the ignorance of others, who don't have the insights he's had during introspection? Could be, I suppose. My counter would be that he has a deficit of imagination, since my "looking within" bars me from gaining the clarity I'm seeking. Instead, by noticing how the term is actually used, I find it easier to explore the topic. I think about it and read about it, making arguments, testing them, but mostly by having some imaginative leeway in whatever tentative conclusion I reach.
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Re: Is it possible to pre-select our own thoughts?

Postby mtbturtle on April 24th, 2014, 9:43 am 

owleye » Thu Apr 24, 2014 7:56 am wrote:
mtbturtle » Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:34 pm wrote:
owleye » Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:22 pm wrote:Actually, RJG does not respond to criticism. And that's all there is to him. He has spoken and there's really nothing more to say. I personally find no reason for him to be here. We've all heard what he has to say and have made up our mind long ago. I don't think he is in the least interested in convincing us. So, my guess, is that he likes to be the burr in our saddle, not in a good sense in which someone finds examples that might provoke further thought, but in the worst possible way, by merely telling the rest of us he deserves to be placed in the pantheon of great thinkers, having discovered a truth that we should be breathlessly listening to.


I was wondering earlier if his method of introspection and his inability to find an answer is an appeal to ignorance of some kind.


I can't actually say I understand how he reached the conclusion he did. Were it some sort of Cartesian meditation, I no doubt would have been more interested. Are you asking whether he is justifying his assertions based on an appeal to the ignorance of others, who don't have the insights he's had during introspection? Could be, I suppose. My counter would be that he has a deficit of imagination, since my "looking within" bars me from gaining the clarity I'm seeking. Instead, by noticing how the term is actually used, I find it easier to explore the topic. I think about it and read about it, making arguments, testing them, but mostly by having some imaginative leeway in whatever tentative conclusion I reach.


I was thinking in the sense that his process of introspection has failed to yield any evidence in support of free will, therefore he concludes there is no free will.

Fallacy Files - Appeal to Ignorance gives the form: There is no evidence for p. Therefore, not-p.

"An appeal to ignorance is an argument for or against a proposition on the basis of a lack of evidence against or for it. If there is positive evidence for the conclusion, then of course we have other reasons for accepting it, but a lack of evidence by itself is no evidence. "
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Re: An Appeal to Ignorance?

Postby neuro on April 24th, 2014, 1:51 pm 

You may well be right, mtb,
however my impression is that he thinks he gave a positive demonstration.

As yourself and I happened to note previously, he seems to be caught in a dualistic perspective he cannot escape: he kind of equates consciousness and will with some sort of spirit / soul, then he observes that determinism appears to rule material reality, and he concludes that, since he wants to believe in science and neurology, his soul (which he calls "conscious thought" or "will") is helplessly impotent.

This is a conclusion that strikes him, and he believes that anyone who has a scientific approach should also feel this helplessness of their own soul as a mere logical consequence of determinism. And he is disturbed that not many scientifically oriented people appear to share this emotionally devastating realization.

In his view, as long as there is a reason for a choice, then it is not the soul that arbitrarily chooses, there always is some unconscious, more or less hidden, material interference, so that the soul is not as free as somebody told us it to be.
Which, in his words, means there's no free will.
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Re: An Appeal to Ignorance?

Postby neuro on April 24th, 2014, 3:26 pm 

In the end I think you are probably right, MTB.

Even in his distorted perspective - free will = uncaused choice - he could even find a plausible cause for each and every choice that he knows of, and nobody might be able to point out an exception, but still this would not prove that an uncaused choice is impossible. It would only say that nothing proves that an uncaused choice can occur...
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