Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

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Basic Shapes of Philosophy

Reading about dogmas - the word has gotten a highly negative connotation that is undeserved - things like "Central Dogma of Physics" and the like are seen as positive things when explicitly recognised as such. Thinking about philosophies in general, shapes, nature of arguments.... rambling... chances of the following seeming incoherent and/or arrogant is high. Few things in philosophy are worth saying if they don't contain arrogance though (not to say that said feature is a good thing in itself)..

  • Value Relativism: Most basic, foundational matter for how I perceive the world.
  • Deconstruction: primary tool to examine things, find their essence
  • Empirical Pragmatism in philosophy: Essential - reject a priori claims, reject metaphysical claims to absolute as being meaningless (this includes Math, dogmatism about science, etc). This does not require rejection of the fields, creations of those who adopt such values, or even functional metaphysics of those fields (field rules for intellectual integrity, methods such as statistics, etc)
  • Willingness to disrespect people's opinions and adopt positions that will irritate them without actually disliking them or being rude (so long as that lack of rudeness does not entail taking a friendly stance) - part of intellectual independence, and necessary for thought. Consider people who have needs of this sort to be "difficult" people with strange needs ("if you won't even have the decency to assume X, then I just don't think you're worth talking to" Response: "OK, bye")
  • Value/Truth divide: Try to distinguish ideas things that are born of values, of pragmatism, and do one's best to locate the roots of everything. There is often at least a bit of each in every mental construct. Logic is born of pragmatism - it too is guesswork and not solid - there is no absolute solidity
  • Relative solidity important, frameworks of dependent assumptions (based on pragmatism) important, going all the way from rejecting deep Solipsism to one's complete belief in the state of the nature of things.
  • Observe tensions: Mental frameworks rarely fit together neatly, accept tension between push for absolute coherency and domain-appropriate means
  • To not understand another's perspective in a disagreement is a problem
  • Dialogue/structured discussions : may clarify differences or sometimes change higher-level structure of another's thoughts/perspective, but if value differences are at stake, disagreement is irresolvable using in-philosophy methods. Issue is that areas of philosophy based on values are not convergent
  • Idea of convergence - degree to which careful thought (as defined in the traditions of the field) would presumably lead to the same or similar positions within that field. Some fields are more naturally convergent than others - much philosophy is fairly divergent. It is possible to create subfields of philosophy (like database views) which have their own notions of "careful thought" (their own central dogma) that represent a convergence within a naturally divergent field - people may decide not to operate within that subfield by not accepting its dogma. By tying their dogma to real-world results, sciences achieve a degree of natural convergence (but variants on those subfields still may exist - compare to competing scientific traditions a la Kuhn)
  • ready to converse with others who have come to other conclusions, definitions, and similar for almost anything one accepts. Deconstruction on a more linguistic level can help find larger-scale differences of this sort.
  • Intuition/urge: vigourously deconstruct/hack apart/attack positions that claim more convergence than is warranted for where they're operating. Claiming to be solid ground 'all the way down' - sign of lack of careful thought. Claiming to be abe to reach an 'island of solidity' isolated from roots - similar.
  • Words that should inspire extreme skepticism unless given careful definitions and used carefully: holy, rational, a priori, natural, right, rights, self-evident, objective
That's much of the basic structural thought on which rests the rest of my Weltanschauung.

It has become cold - the end of the all-too-short comfortable part of the year. Why am I still here? ... I actually know the answer to the surface question - it's really meant more as a challenge to change things than a question anyhow.

Recently frustrated with myself on a number of matters. Highly desirous of a time machine, more ideally a nuanced one where little parts of my being can be split off and overwrite parts of a past self (leaving rest inactive or discarded), but full-blown bodily one would do too. Many, many destination points for alteration of past... smallest possible example, from today: Prevent roll down grassy hill right after consuming pastries after not having eaten for a day or so. Nausea and other feelings are an amazing simulation of being very drunk (albeit with better motor control).


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