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Why No Responses Coming From You?

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Posted by Harvey on September 4, 2002 04:46:28 UTC


I find it almost humorous how you provide almost no defense to your arguments, but rather engage in only offensive strategies. This is usually a sign that your argument is without merit and even you know it. I assume that the reason you don't defend your views is because you cannot:

(1) It wouldn't make much sense [for Putnam] to reject ontology as a theist, would it?

(2) So what gives you the assurance that you are even partially correct? What are your premises that give you this confidence?

*You promised to provide solid logic that displays your premises, logic, and conclusions, but all I got from you was that premises lead to contradiction (which is true for your logic so far), but I want to show everyone else that you cannot construct a non-metaphysical argument that supports your position (he he).

(3) Let me ask you, if you reject ontological knowledge as something that we accept based on agreeable epistemological means, then how do you reject post-modernist arguments against science? How do you prevent post-modernism from taking over our scientific and educational establishment?


Now, to be courteous...

***H:since when does studying [hypothetical] invalid arguments that you know is invalid when you typing them have any profitable use? L: Well, I’m not exactly a great philosopher, but this seems to be a common ploy of the greatest philosophers [e.g., Putnam]... H: (...) Putnam is clear that he is presenting Quine's argument. L: Really? Putnam: "Quine defined a 'tautology' (i.e., a logical truth in propositional calculus) to be an instance of a schema all of whose substitution instances are true. (As an example, think of the schema 'p . p.q'). But this Quinian definition is unsatisfactory for several reasons..." Putnam: "Moreover, Quine’s definition of truth-functional validity as “truth of all substitution instances” – that is, truth-in-L of all substitution instances – is not extensionally correct in all cases."***

Exactly. Putnam is clear that he is presenting Quine's argument while he replies to that argument(e.g., "Quine defined...", "But this Quinian definition...", "Moreover, Quine's definition of truth-functional..."). What could be more clear that Putnam is talking in reference to Quine whom he provides proper credit (and not plagiarizing an individual whom he does not mention - not like what you did)?

***H: "I didn't see any clear argument against ontological commitments per se." L: Again... really? Putnam: "Quine rejected (equivalent optional languages), not as an impossible formalization of mathematics, but as one makes ontological commitments unclear. In other words, unless you formalize mathematics in precisely the kind of logic to which his criterion of ontological commitment applies, then, you are somehow cheating! The very idea that the modalities have (or may have) hidden 'ontological commitments' shows just how deep the Platonist bug had bitten Quine by this time..."***

I have my books right behind me, so now I can quote Putnam's latest published book (H. Putnam, "The Threefold Cord: Mind, Body and World", Columbia University Press, 2001, paperback, p. 7):

"Another problem with this traditional sort of realism is the comfortable assumption that there is one definite totality of objects that can be classified and one definite totality of all properties. These two problems are related. It is true that a knowledge claim is responsible to reality, and, in most cases, that means a reality independent of the speaker. But reflection on human experience suggests that neither the form of all knowledge claims nor the ways in which they are responsible to reality is fixed once and for all in advance, contrary to the assumptions of the traditional realist. Traditional forms of realism are committed to the claim that it makes sense to speak of a fixed totality of all "objects" that our propositions can be about. We can speak about wars, but is the Second World War an object? According to Donald Davidson, events are objects, and the answer is "yes", but few traditional metphysicians would have included events as objects. And the criteria for identity of these objects are obscure indeed. We can speak about the color of the sky, but is the sky an object? We can speak about mirror images, but are mirror images objects? We can speak of "objects of desire," such as the novel I wish I had written; are such "intentional objects" really objects? And the list goes on and on... Indeed, what these examples suggest is that the widely held view (among analytic philosophers) that whenever I use the words all, some, there are, there aren't any (the so-called quantifiers) in such phrases as "all numbers", "there are some mirror images", "all of the characters in Moby Dick," and I am not prepared to provide a "translation" of teh offending phrases into the preferred vocabulary of spatiotemporal objects and sets, I have "committed myself" to the existence of some objects (possibly "abstract" ones) is radically misguided".

Notice that Putnam's problem is with object ontology. In fact, he is more clear in note 12 for this chapter (p.179):

"My objection to "Quine's criterion of ontological commitment," as this view is called, is that ontological commitment - "commitment to the existence of a kind of object" - only seems to be a determinate sort of "commitment" because it is assumed that exist is univocal", and later: "But the assumption that the meaning of words, in any conventional sense of the phrase, determines exactly what is said on each occasion of the use of the words reflects a picture of how language functions that I would argue is deeply misguided (Quine would of course agree with this last remark - which makes it all the more puzzling that he is gripped by the picture of exists as univocal)! I think it is helpful to distinguish, in this context, between the "sense" of a word and its "meaning"."

So, what you have here is a specific account as to what Putnam is referring. He is specifically talking about ontological commitments as they bare to objects. He is not suggesting that we lack commitments to anything external. In fact, he says (p.20) "The alternative to the early picture that I have begun to lay out today does not involve "feigning anesthesia". It does not involve denying, as Daniel Dennett sometimes seems to do, that phenomenal consciousness, subjective experience with all its sensuous richness, exists. It involves, instead, insisting that "external" things, cabbages and kings, can be experienced (And not just in the Pickwickian sense of causing "experiences", conceived as affections of our subjectivity, which is what qualia are conceived to be)."

Hence, Putnam is ontologically committed to external things, but he is not committed to objects per se.

***You need a little (perhaps a lot) more time to digest Putnam. You might even more time to review our own posts:***

Testy are we? I guess A1-A6 isn't going very well, huh?

***H: Luis, it was you who said 'just doing our best to prevent cognitive phenomena from becoming fixed mental paradigms'." L: Really? Harv: "Just doing our best to prevent cognitive phenomena from becoming fixed mental paradigms is impossible since everything we know we are committed to. For example, are you committed to biological evolution having occurred? .>>" ( )***

Oh my gosh. Read the post, okay? It went like this:

>>>L: So, how do we deal with these "givens"? My suggestion is that we do our best to prevent cognitive phenomena from becoming fixed mental paradigms. H: I don't agree. (...) Just doing our best to prevent cognitive phenomena from becoming fixed mental paradigms is impossible since everything we know we are committed to.>>>

You think I need to read my own words? I think it's obvious that I was referring to your psychologist philosophy when I paraphrased you here. Shsssshhhh.

***In other words, "Ontology" is faith. Your mind is fooling itself, because it needs the vehicle Putnam describes in his fourth lecture. Ontology is way you escape from the overwhelming feeling that I cannot really know anything. And though I refrain from telling myself "I know this," I am overwhelmingly confident there is no underlying "Ontology" behind everyone's assertions.***

The faith is not blind faith. It is based on the only avenue to make our world meaningful. You are also committed to external things having an existence (i.e., ontology), it is just that you don't want to admit it. That's why we haven't seen your premises.

Warm regards, Harv

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