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Is Dishonesty One Of Those "ontological Commitments"?

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Posted by Luis Hamburgh on September 4, 2002 19:19:31 UTC


>>>"I find it almost humorous how you provide almost no defense to your arguments. . . I assume that the reason you don't defend your views is because. . ." *

WHAT???!!! You've got to be kidding me. Are you an amnesiac? In case you need to be reminded of my defense, I've placed a few excerpts under my sign off below.

What you might be objecting to is my inability to meet your standards of a proper "defense." But it's not like I haven't tried. In fact, I recognize that either (a) I haven't explained my position well enough, and thus after so much time it appears I'm probably not able to explain my position well enough, or (b) you haven't gotten my position, and thus after so much time it appears you are probably not able to get my position (indeed, I brought the Putnam papers to the discussion to verify which is more likely to be the case).

On the other hand, it seems to me that your own explanation of this protracted disagreement is (a) Luis cannot see the depth of his errors, or (b) . . . it doesn't seem to me that you'll consider an alternative to (a).


>>>"So what gives you the assurance that you are even partially correct?"

Listen to how you phrase your thoughts: one must be "assured" before one makes an assertion. You can't even formulate a simple portrayal of self-confidence without referring to an "assurance." Why not 'self-assurance'? Whence this assurance, if it is not a personal initiative?


>>>"I want to show everyone else that you cannot construct a non-metaphysical argument that supports your position
(he he)."

Another instance of you betraying your singular, unaccommodating viewpoint. It seems clear to me that you're saying, "there is no such thing as a non-metaphysical argument". Indeed, unless by this sentence you mean to criticize me personally, and nothing else, then the burden of proof lies in your court, as "metaphysical arguments" are the point of contention in this particular debate.

You seem to be demanding that I prove your definition of 'argument' wrong by means of an argument. If you tell yourself certain concepts are givens, and one example of such a given is your personal understanding of 'argument' as intrinsically 'metaphysical', then how in the world can you expect to strive for impartiality when scrutinizing an argument that refutes your version of 'argument' as intrinsically 'metaphysical', without detaching, at least for a moment either your sense of 'metaphysics' or 'argument'? I think, as I've seen these past couple of months, that you will find the argument against your unswayable account of 'argument' to be either logically inconsistent, or not an argument at all.

(This is much like the mental loop I identified in

If, on the other hand, you are criticizing my personal skills, and nothing else, then at least I feel justified in presenting an outside argument to the table (Putnam's).


* Ten instances where I've recently defended my stance that metaphysics is an illusion:

(1) From - " 'does an external reality exist independent of our consciousness of it?' That is, ontology is a consideration based on an affirmative answer to this question. . . Obviously, if an ontologist doesn't step back and examine this assumption, he will consider statements like "ontology is simply a discussion of 'what is'" to be a fair starting point. . .This is much like the stopping point we'd come to in our discussions of agnosticism. You demanding I state my creed; I explaining agnosticism is NOT a creed (since a creed rejecting all creeds would be a paradox)."


(2) - From "In my view, we learn to break things down a long time after we start experiencing the world. As such, this tenet of metaphysics seems so certain and unquestionable because we've basically been holists for our entire lives once we finally begin to sit back and bounce our observations off one another."


(3) - From - "Act. React. Successful instincts propagate. If we may some day be able to enumerate what works for us on an instinctive level, does that mean there is some 'knowledge' out there for us to unravel? Not in my view. . . The conclusion that 'all theories are dependent on metaphysical concepts' is based on the premises 'theory equals knowledge, and knowledge equals reality.' I do not think that knowledge is an objective thing; I do not characterize 'knowledge' as an outside 'something' we may or may not find. . . What you seek is 'true knowledge,' a full account of reality, which therefore cannot exist unless there is some omnipotent 'knower.' This is your entire argument; it assumes its own conclusion before it even begins. "


(4) - From - "Harv: >>>'Metaphysics must come before physics so that you can understand and explain a process going on in nature.' . . . Luis: 'Not true. Metaphysics "must" come before physics if you need to believe there is an objective explanation already in place before you make sense of the world.'"


(5) From - '("Harv," according to me): "But at some point you're basing this view from your own particular footing within metaphysics! Without metaphysics you'd have no basis from which to move yourself towards this position of yours!"
(Me, according to me): "I think you're running into a mental obstacle. Your predisposition to the whole psychological effect of 'self' -- i.e., your succumbing to appeal of 'metaphysics' -- is much stronger than your capacity to step back and distinguish the constituents of the particular psychological effect itself.
We wish to sense something beyond a material reality because we don't want to face the fact that maybe we're just material stuff. Hence, we impose a 'foundation' for reality "metaphysics" which I think is just a tautological spiral of self-preserving psychology."

("Harv," according to me): "But you're basing this view from your own particular footing within metaphysics! Without metaphysics you'd have no basis from which to move yourself towards this position of yours!"

Where do we go from here?" '


(6) - From - "I can function fine without tying 'meaning' into everything (or anything) around me. And it's a fair bet I'm not the only one who thinks this way. . . Indeed, I think the reason many of us require 'meaning' is because (1) we get to know the world around us in a very holistic way before we are taught to break things down into reductionist concepts, and (2) we have only very recently (in evolutionary terms) begun to quantify things around us. It's natural to be uncomfortable not knowing 'the whole picture.' "


(7) - From - "the 'order in nature' you describe only takes on a meaning deeper than that we can logically account for if you choose to believe that there is something beyond that which we can identify through reason"


(8) - From "it doesn't meet your definition of 'existence,' because you've presumed there to be 'something deeper' than anything materialism itself can ever account for. No matter how robust the materialist argument, your premise is built to regard it as somehow less momentous than yours. How in the world could someone even hope to argue with that? . . . 'Why' is your way of imputing human motivations into a higher sentience, when all I assert is that our ability to recognize reality is just another part of reality.)"


(9) - From "Presuming there's 'meaning' beyond the ways we describe (and approximate for each other) reality is presuming an outside force to contemplate reality. . . Why are we here? Because we're here. To you, the answer is useless. To me, the question is useless."


(10) - From 'Harv: >>>"Confusing epistemology for ontology is ignorant... epistemological knowledge in providing indications of what is ontologically correct ..." Luis: 'The whole point of my argument is the questioning of the assumptions of ontology! 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)?'


The assertion "you don't defend your views" is a damned LIE. Shame on you, Harvey.

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