Everything in philosophy is belief or opinion?

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Re: Everything in philosophy is belief or opinion?

Postby charon on February 27th, 2019, 8:10 pm 

110011 -

Thanks for your posts. A breath of air!

Forgive me in answering if I repeat some of what you've already said. I'm not trying to usurp you, I just need to complete the sentences :-)

to believe, that is to be compelled to hold something as true in the mind, it would science and philosophy and basically anything that someone holds true and, importantly, universal.


Also: hold something without evidence. Most religious beliefs fall into that category, if not all.

Also: not necessarily compelled by any means. Most belief is wholly voluntary. Don't assume that young children are necessarily compelled either. If they imitate it usually wears off fairly quickly as they mature. The believing mind is usually a personal trait and can last a whole lifetime. If one belief fails another quickly replaces it, as in those people who are Christians one minute, Buddhists the next, and then go to India to find salvation under a guru, or take up atheism. Atheism is an ideological stance; it's an 'ism' like any other.

science is its own belief system


I'm glad you said that because it's true. One forgets that a mind can be equally as conditioned by 'science' as it can by religion or anything else; a conditioned mind is a conditioned mind. As everything is seen, explained and justified because the Bible, for example, says so, so everything can equally be so justified because science has said it. It's very evident in the replies to questions, like the demanding of evidence in those areas where science, when challenged, has no answer.

This is not to say that science isn't more reliable than religious belief but only in matters of material testability. There it should be listened to but in other matters, particularly those of the fundamental questions of existence, the fact is they don't know.

philosophy have the best grasp of the problem


I wouldn't say even that, I'm afraid. ALL our endeavours are limited, all of them. Whether it's philosophy, religion, science, logic, mathematics, anthropology, psychology, anything you like, such separate branches of knowledge only provide partial knowledge. It's also true that trying to fit all the partial answers together to make a whole doesn't work.

To approach something whole and unknown requires a whole mind in a state of unknowing. Don't say I'm going back to mysticism, I'm not, but this is very, very simple and logical. A limited mind, a mind filled with, and conditioned by, various sorts of specialised knowledge, can't do it. The mind cannot see the unknown unless it is free of knowing. Nor can it perceive a totality as long as it is a partial mind. This is factual.

The question then is whether it's possible for the mind to be whole and in a state of unknowing. I say that it can, and probably quite easily. Much easier than spending years and years in the pursuit of particular knowledge.

Strangely, the open religious mind would probably agree with that but the science mind would automatically scream for evidence and dismiss out of hand anything like that because it couldn't be proven.

See, I don't believe for an instant that a human being's understanding of life needs to depend on scientists, priests, lab tests, or ancient books. I think it needs something quite different but I won't explore that here.
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Re: Everything in philosophy is belief or opinion?

Postby A_Seagull on February 28th, 2019, 5:41 pm 

What happened to 110011 's posts?? Did s/he remove them or did they fail to meet the forum's criteria for posts??

I was about to reply to his/her assertion that ' it is logic'... as the difference between opinion and philosophy.

I would agree that logic is at the crux of the difference and at the crux of the OP.

But what is this logic? So far as I can tell it is typically a far from rigorous logic. and pays more lip service to being logical than actually being logical.

And that was my point of the OP, philosophy is not rigorously logical and hence indistinguishable from opinion.
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Re: Everything in philosophy is belief or opinion?

Postby charon on February 28th, 2019, 5:48 pm 

What happened to 110011 's posts?


Good question. Vat?
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Re: Everything in philosophy is belief or opinion?

Postby PaulN on March 1st, 2019, 2:03 pm 

Isn't there a poster called "1" ? I would guess this was a duplicate account, which they don't allow here? Seemed kind of obvious when the first guy vanished, and then a week or two later, a newbie with a similar style and a series of "1"s appeared. Maybe not, but that's my best guess.

Answer to title question seems apparent if you look up belief in the SEP.

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/belief/
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Re: Everything in philosophy is belief or opinion?

Postby Reg_Prescott on March 2nd, 2019, 5:02 am 

charon » February 17th, 2019, 8:48 pm wrote:I wish someone really clever would explain it [Kripke's puzzle] to me. As far as I can see it's only about believing one place is nice and another one isn't. Then you discover they're the same place so you're now apparently holding two opposite views about the same thing.

Which is nonsense in real terms, of course, so I don 't get it. Sorry to be stupid!



With no pretensions at being "really clever", I think a little background is necessary to grasp the significance of the Pierre puzzle and similar puzzles, so a few (no doubt confused) thoughts...

Once upon a time there was supposedly a "Millian" (John Stuart Mill) theory of reference under which the semantic contribution that a name makes to a sentence is nothing more than the referent of that name. In slogan form: denotation without connotation. Users may or may not associate particular descriptions (connotations) with names, but these descriptions are not relevant to the meaning of the name.

Enter Frege, with a few puzzles of his own: If it were the case that the semantic content of a name is merely its referent, then substitution of co-referring names should not alter the semantic content of a sentence in which they appear. E.g. "Hesperus is Hesperus" should mean the same as "Hesperus is Phosphorus" inasmuch as the two names co-refer (to the object we call "Venus"). But, it was argued, the two sentences do not mean the same: the former is trivially true; the latter is (potentially) informative.

Out goes the Millian theory of name reference; in comes the "descriptivist theory" (Frege, Russell, Searle, etc.). Every name is synonymous with a description, or cluster of descriptions, which uniquely identifies the bearer of that name, thereby allowing successful reference to be achieved. For example, the name "Albert Einstein" is synonymous with a description such as "the German scientist who proposed the special and general theories of relativity". Naming, then, consists of both denotation and connotation.

Let's pause for a moment here and suggest a principle that I assume will be endorsed by all. P1: a person who understands a proposition yet, at once, sincerely assents to, and dissents from, that proposition is guilty of irrationality.

Now, under the descriptivist theory of name reference, Pierre would seem immune to any charge of irrationality. The descriptions he holds synonymous with the names "London" and "Londres" are different, therefore the sentences "London is pretty" and "Londres est joli" express different propositions. P1 is not violated.

Moving on...

Kripke offers up what appears to be a devastating critique of the descriptivist theory. Successful reference can be achieved when a user possesses no uniquely identifying description (most laypeople can offer no description that uniquely identifies Richard Feynman, say, yet surely they can still refer to him), or even when the description is flat out false (Kripke provides a fanciful example about Gödel).

Looks like we're back to naming as denotation without connotation, folks. The semantic contribution a name makes to a sentence is simply its bearer. Now if this is right, then the sentences "London is pretty" and "Londres est joli" express the same proposition; they mean the same; they have exactly the same semantic content.

The way things stand now, we're compelled to say that Pierre violates P1, thus is guilty of irrationality. Yet, intuitively, it doesn't seem to us that Pierre has perpetrated any heinous irrational act or inference. His thought processes seem perfectly sound.

charon » February 16th, 2019, 1:36 am wrote:It's a bit like that Indian story of the three blind men who each touch a different part of an elephant. When asked to describe an elephant naturally they all have a completely idea of what an elephant feels like and therefore is. So the word 'elephant' means different things to different people depending on their experience.


What a marvellous analogy! In Fregean jargon, and stretching the analogy a little, each blind man grasps a different sense (Frege), or mode of presentation, or aspectual shape (Searle), that all lead to the same pachydermal referent (cf. three different descriptions that all uniquely identify Einstein, or three telescopes trained on a tiger from different directions during a safari).

But remember, Kripke supposedly overthrew Fregean senses and descriptivism in general. Names, on the Kripkean account, have no sense or description. The meaning of a name is nothing more than its bearer. Hence the puzzle...

Finally, just let it be noted that I'm laboring under no illusions about having grasped the full significance of Kripke's "Pierre" puzzle either. That's why interaction in places such as this can be so helpful.
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Re: Everything in philosophy is belief or opinion?

Postby charon on March 2nd, 2019, 6:36 am 

I just think Pierre's an idiot :-)
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Re: Everything in philosophy is belief or opinion?

Postby Reg_Prescott on March 2nd, 2019, 7:05 am 

charon » March 2nd, 2019, 7:36 pm wrote:I just think Pierre's an idiot :-)


Always a possibility, though it seems to me the problem is ours, not Pierre's. That is to say, the puzzle pertains to what beliefs we ascribe to Pierre.

If we ascribe to Pierre both a belief B and ~B, and granting P1 (from my post above), then we're forced to conclude that Pierre is irrational, at least with respect to this belief subset. Yet it doesn't seem a charge that he deserves.

On the other hand, if we ascribe to him two different, non-contradictory beliefs, then there is no violation of P1, and Pierre's rationality remains unblemished. But to do so we would have to embrace a theory of meaning and reference that Kripke is supposed to have thoroughly debunked.

Er, I think. Haha!
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Re: Everything in philosophy is belief or opinion?

Postby A_Seagull on March 2nd, 2019, 12:47 pm 

It is just playing with words without proper logic.

From Wikipedia : "Kripke's main propositions about proper names in Naming and Necessity are that the meaning of a name simply is the object it refers to"....

Without a logical definition of what 'the object it refers to' is , .. it is just playing with words like a child playing with building blocks.
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Re: Everything in philosophy is belief or opinion?

Postby Reg_Prescott on March 2nd, 2019, 2:27 pm 

A_Seagull » March 3rd, 2019, 1:47 am wrote:It is just playing with words without proper logic.
.


Er, what's proper logic again?
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Re: Everything in philosophy is belief or opinion?

Postby TheVat on March 2nd, 2019, 2:28 pm 

Missed you, Reg. As usual, after you post, much to mull over. Connotation does seem key to it. Many beliefs are "folk beliefs," where we don't rigorously look at all possible synonymous designations and are casually lacking in a comprehensive knowledge of all the features of something, be it an elephant or a big city. If a poet says, "London is lovely, London is ugly and sooty, it shines in the dawn, it reeks of sweaty desperation," we understand that she speaks to a larger multifaceted empirical perspective on what is a city and is not a true paradox. If all beliefs were carefully subjected to dialectic, then paradox might always prove to be simply a result of temporally separated epistemic snapshots. Londres was lovely, until the day I dwelled in Lambeth, and knew the London of filth and decay and poxy whores showing their greasy garters with sagging smiles.
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Re: Everything in philosophy is belief or opinion?

Postby A_Seagull on March 2nd, 2019, 4:16 pm 

TheVat » March 3rd, 2019, 6:28 am wrote:Missed you, Reg. As usual, after you post, much to mull over. Connotation does seem key to it. Many beliefs are "folk beliefs," where we don't rigorously look at all possible synonymous designations and are casually lacking in a comprehensive knowledge of all the features of something, be it an elephant or a big city. If a poet says, "London is lovely, London is ugly and sooty, it shines in the dawn, it reeks of sweaty desperation," we understand that she speaks to a larger multifaceted empirical perspective on what is a city and is not a true paradox. If all beliefs were carefully subjected to dialectic, then paradox might always prove to be simply a result of temporally separated epistemic snapshots. Londres was lovely, until the day I dwelled in Lambeth, and knew the London of filth and decay and poxy whores showing their greasy garters with sagging smiles.



Lambeth is lovely, it is where you can do the Lambeth walk :)
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Re: Everything in philosophy is belief or opinion?

Postby A_Seagull on March 2nd, 2019, 4:21 pm 

Reg_Prescott » March 3rd, 2019, 6:27 am wrote:
A_Seagull » March 3rd, 2019, 1:47 am wrote:It is just playing with words without proper logic.
.


Er, what's proper logic again?


Proper logic is where you have axioms and symbols and precise rules of inference and where theorems can be proven by the logical application of those rules.

Or it is where sense data can be processed following precise rules of inference.
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Re: Everything in philosophy is belief or opinion?

Postby charon on March 2nd, 2019, 7:19 pm 

I'd love to know what improper logic is :-)
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Re: Everything in philosophy is belief or opinion?

Postby Reg_Prescott on March 2nd, 2019, 8:20 pm 

charon » March 3rd, 2019, 8:19 am wrote:I'd love to know what improper logic is :-)


Take my wife

Please!
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Re: Everything in philosophy is belief or opinion?

Postby Reg_Prescott on March 2nd, 2019, 8:29 pm 

A_Seagull » March 3rd, 2019, 5:21 am wrote:
Proper logic is where you have axioms and symbols and precise rules of inference and where theorems can be proven by the logical application of those rules.

Or it is where sense data can be processed following precise rules of inference.



Well, philosophers get this a lot: "It's just semantics!!!"

And the accusation seems to imply nothing of any significance is being said (always a possibility too).

But a couple of questions to ponder:

1. Does language hook up with an external reality or are we just making meaningless noises?

(if the latter we can all go for a beer and make grunting noises; if the former there's a problem to be addressed)

2. If it doesn't, go to the pub. If it does... er, how? For example, if you utter a name... likesay Einstein, which particular individual does it latch onto? After all, there are (presumably) a lot of Einsteins out there, right?
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Re: Everything in philosophy is belief or opinion?

Postby Reg_Prescott on March 2nd, 2019, 8:34 pm 

A_Seagull » March 3rd, 2019, 5:21 am wrote:
Or it [logic] is where sense data can be processed following precise rules of inference.


I can make no sense of this. I was under the impression logic, in its various forms, is the study of what statements can be inferred from what other statements.

Sense data, if there is such a thing, is non-linguistic. Logic is something we apply to linguistic entities (e.g. statements). Isn't it?
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Re: Everything in philosophy is belief or opinion?

Postby Reg_Prescott on March 2nd, 2019, 8:41 pm 

A_Seagull » March 3rd, 2019, 1:47 am wrote:
Without a logical definition of what 'the object it refers to' is , .. it is just playing with words like a child playing with building blocks.


A logical definition (whatever that means) would presumably be the end of the inquiry; not the beginning.

If we knew in virtue of what fact or facts names refer (if indeed they do), then Mill, Frege, Russell, Searle, and Kripke could have spent more time spotting lemurs in Madagascar.

Do you believe names can (sometimes) latch onto people, places, mountains, cities, etc, in the real world?

How does that happen?

In no more than 500 words, please. LOL
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Re: Everything in philosophy is belief or opinion?

Postby Reg_Prescott on March 2nd, 2019, 9:11 pm 

TheVat » March 3rd, 2019, 3:28 am wrote:Missed you, Reg. As usual, after you post, much to mull over. Connotation does seem key to it. Many beliefs are "folk beliefs," where we don't rigorously look at all possible synonymous designations and are casually lacking in a comprehensive knowledge of all the features of something, be it an elephant or a big city. If a poet says, "London is lovely, London is ugly and sooty, it shines in the dawn, it reeks of sweaty desperation," we understand that she speaks to a larger multifaceted empirical perspective on what is a city and is not a true paradox. If all beliefs were carefully subjected to dialectic, then paradox might always prove to be simply a result of temporally separated epistemic snapshots. Londres was lovely, until the day I dwelled in Lambeth, and knew the London of filth and decay and poxy whores showing their greasy garters with sagging smiles.



Missed you too, Mr Vat (and your music-loving doggie).

Well, your poet says this and that about London. Er, which one?

You guys have a few in the States, don't you? There might be one in Mongolia, too, for all I know.

This is the problem of reference. In virtue of what fact or facts does your poet successfully (we presume) refer to that foggy town in southern England?
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Re: Everything in philosophy is belief or opinion?

Postby A_Seagull on March 2nd, 2019, 9:28 pm 

Reg_Prescott » March 3rd, 2019, 12:29 pm wrote:
A_Seagull » March 3rd, 2019, 5:21 am wrote:
Proper logic is where you have axioms and symbols and precise rules of inference and where theorems can be proven by the logical application of those rules.

Or it is where sense data can be processed following precise rules of inference.



Well, philosophers get this a lot: "It's just semantics!!!"



Are you implying that you are a philosopher?

And please note that I did not use the word 'semantics'.
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Re: Everything in philosophy is belief or opinion?

Postby Reg_Prescott on March 2nd, 2019, 9:30 pm 

A_Seagull » March 3rd, 2019, 10:28 am wrote:
Are you implying that you are a philosopher?



It's my decade off.

Are you implying that you're a seagull?
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Re: Everything in philosophy is belief or opinion?

Postby TheVat on March 2nd, 2019, 9:47 pm 

This is the problem of reference. In virtue of what fact or facts does your poet successfully (we presume) refer to that foggy town in southern England?
-RP

Maybe it's to say that the problem of reference is the problem of sufficient reference. Stack up a pile of statements about London and, as the pile reaches your earlobes, facts start to connect to where there is a decisive corrrespondence between "London" and that smoggy settlement along the Thames.

Perhaps reference is like gravity - you need a big enough lump of matter to really have any. "London is a big city in England" is a statement whose truth can only be inferred if we have a sizeable pile of collateral statements about what cities are, what counts as big, what England is, and principles like, say, "Cities don't necessarily have unique names, so when you use a city name, you must pair it with some other geographical name."

This sufficiency idea I'm waving around like a freshly caught mouse is applicable to the Einstein question above. "Einstein refers to the Albert Einstein born in Ulm, Germany, who later worked in a Swiss patent office and came up with the theory of relativity." Naming is successful when it is emergent, like gravity, from an accretion of "matter," i.e. relevant statements.
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Re: Everything in philosophy is belief or opinion?

Postby Reg_Prescott on March 2nd, 2019, 10:01 pm 

TheVat » March 3rd, 2019, 10:47 am wrote:
This is the problem of reference. In virtue of what fact or facts does your poet successfully (we presume) refer to that foggy town in southern England?
-RP

Maybe it's to say that the problem of reference is the problem of sufficient reference. Stack up a pile of statements about London and, as the pile reaches your earlobes, facts start to connect to where there is a decisive corrrespondence between "London" and that smoggy settlement along the Thames.

Perhaps reference is like gravity - you need a big enough lump of matter to really have any. "London is a big city in England" is a statement whose truth can only be inferred if we have a sizeable pile of collateral statements about what cities are, what counts as big, what England is, and principles like, say, "Cities don't necessarily have unique names, so when you use a city name, you must pair it with some other geographical name."

This sufficiency idea I'm waving around like a freshly caught mouse is applicable to the Einstein question above. "Einstein refers to the Albert Einstein born in Ulm, Germany, who later worked in a Swiss patent office and came up with the theory of relativity." Naming is successful when it is emergent, like gravity, from an accretion of "matter," i.e. relevant statements.



But but.... this sounds an awful lot like the descriptivist theory of reference.

And Saul Kripke is supposed to have put the quietus to it.

How is it that I can refer to Richard Feynman (him again) -- supposing I can -- even without a description that uniquely identifies him?

The best I could offer would be something like... "er, that scientist dude who, er... talks funny".
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Re: Everything in philosophy is belief or opinion?

Postby A_Seagull on March 3rd, 2019, 12:45 am 

Reg_Prescott » March 3rd, 2019, 1:30 pm wrote:
A_Seagull » March 3rd, 2019, 10:28 am wrote:
Are you implying that you are a philosopher?



It's my decade off.

Are you implying that you're a seagull?


No, Seagull is just an arbitrary label, a moniker if you like.

Perhaps in your 'decade off' you might like to try to solve your problem of semantics.
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