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Posted by Luis Hamburgh on June 18, 2002 17:30:13 UTC

Harv,

This is all pretty frustrating, because I feel as if I'm wasting my breath. Not that I hope to change your mind; it just seems that I can't clearly inform you of the gist of my argument:

>>>"Confusing epistemology for ontology is ignorant... epistemological knowledge in providing indications of what is ontologically correct ..."

The whole point of my argument is the questioning of the assumptions of ontology! I was getting into much the same sort of questioning in our last discussion, but you lost interest and so it's taken this far for us to get back to it.

Perhaps, if I were a philosophy buff, I'd have identified this more clearly in the beginning, and we'd not be experiencing this type of communication breakdown.

..:..:..:..:..:..:..SCENE 1..:..:..:..:..:..:..

Me: We don't think alike, because you make a certain assumption about things that I do not.

You: But how do you rectify (a list of problems rooted in the very assumption only you make)?

Arrggh!

..:..:..:..:..:..:..SCENE 2..:..:..:..:..:..:..

You: Once we begin to doubt an oversimplified material perspective, then we doubt the premises by which many accept materialism.

Me: Only if you consider materialism's known explanations, and not materialism itself.

You: Then what is your support for materialism if you don't have an effective explanation to support it?

Arrggh!

..:..:..:..:..:..:..SCENE 3..:..:..:..:..:..:..

Nurse Ratchet: SIT DOWN, Mr. Cheswick.

Cheswick, after forcing himself to sit down and regain some sense of composure: Miss Ratchet, may I PLEASE have my cigarettes now?

Nurse Ratchet: No you may not, Mr. Cheswick. You and the other gentlemen were using them to gamble, and you know gambling is not allowed here. I took all your cigarettes away because you all were violating that policy.

Cheswick pitches a fit.

(DeVito character, to other patients): So, how're we gonna win back our cigarettes?

Arrggh!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Okay, before I get into it, let me hit upon the SAP/WAP thing -- I think you're much stronger in your anthropic bias; mine is a much weaker anthropic bias than yours. To me there is no clean-cut division between a SAP and a WAP; no one can fully escape the anthropic bias. But I feel that I'm certainly a WAP guy next to you. And although I don't think it's possible to entirely free oneself of this bias, I feel we must do our best. This is a tough proposition for me, because there is a point where we can't fully abandon our bias and still hold any sort of useful view of the world.

My roulette parallel was my way of saying, "given the breadth of the universe, we should not be surprised at some of these coincidences -- coincidences without which we'd not be here to even consider them." Maybe I should've made the example about Russian Roulette w/a trillion-chamber revolver!

I can't see how you took this example as an indication that my anthropomorphic tendencies are somehow stronger than yours.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As far as the body of our disagreement --

Here is my view: ontology and theism are circularly co-dependent; I find that you argue for meaning beyond the material level from the presumption of sentience beyond the material level (since 'meaning' is only 'meaning' if in the presence of sentience), or you argue for the existence of sentience beyond the material level from the presumption of meaning beyond the material level. This, I feel, is the fundamental problem with your stance.

Getting this across to you has been frustrating -- again, not because I want to convince you to change your mind, but rather because I want us to approach these considerations from a common ground. For instance, although I lend empiricism more weight than you at least we both agree that it is not entirely invalid.

I feel like we're not communicating because you continue to speak as if both our positions are mired within the hyper-material reality you impute into what we both witness as material reality. You've rejected my entire argument before spelling out your considerations of it.

Some examples of my frustration:

>>>"In terms of a random meaningless world..." (meaning requires sentience)

>>>"The discussion of what exists and what doesn't exist is open and fully questionable... (presumes existence lies beyond the material level in order to question opposite presumption)

>>>"a more satisfactory explanation (is more) difficult to explain... from a WAP account" (satisfaction is irrelevant without sentience)

>>>"you need inferences to make statements substantiate your materialism." (in other words, materialism as a foundation needs to conform to a premise which presumes itself to be the foundation of materialism)

>>>"materialism cannot even define a 'material level' that is fully acceptable within physics..." (materialism defines itself; you're confusing the acceptance of an idea by people with an objective validity ['acceptability'] of science)

>>>"All of science is based on philosophical premises, so it cannot be the case that philosophical positions are false..." (begging the question [of the validity of ontology] & historical/causal fallacy: "All of Madonna's records have been platinum sellers, so it cannot be that she has no talent...)

>>>"you want to prevent others (from holding a philosophical position of materialism)..." (I do? Have I threatened you? I thought we were engaged in a friendly debate) ... "you are holding a materialist philosophy based on antirealism of mathematics, and yet when questioned about this dubious position you cry foul." (I've cried foul? How? Where?) ... "Really, Luis, why the objections?" (what objections???)

>>>"If you believe meaning actually exists, then you are saying that a map from the phenomenal to the mental actually exists and that it cannot be reduced to material stuff. " (begging the question -- nothing material prevents the contemplation of 'meaning' as a purely material phenomenon!) ... "This is like saying that there really is a Bugs Bunny and that there really is a Daffy Duck. These cartoon beings of course do not exist, rather they can be reduced to the efforts of artists... " (false dilemma -- assumes that a mental process, specifically the consideration of a fictional character, cannot be materialistically real unless it is precisely the same as the character portrayed).

Arrggh!

-LH

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