Plato’s reading suggestions, episode 77

readingsHere it is, our regular Friday diet of suggested readings for the weekend:

Why the phrase “late Capitalism” is suddenly everywhere.

Mathematician talks about the known unknown and the unknown unknown, seriously.

There’s a green card holder at the heart of Greek philosophy.

Did someone solve Hume’s problem of induction, and nobody noticed?

The true expert does not perform in a state of effortless “flow.”

BONUS: My new book, How to Be a Stoic: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Living has been published in the UK!

Advertisements


Categories: Plato's Suggestions

216 replies

  1. Robin,
    having questioned the value of the discussion I went on to state that I believed the real value was in the process and not the subject. In other words, we seek out underlying assumptions, clarify them and subject them to critical analysis.

    I went on to claim that the real value of philosophy, where it can make its biggest contribution, is by revealing the underlying, hidden assumptions that bedevil society, subjecting them to clarification and revealing how they shape our thought. This is where it can make progress and contribute in a practical way to society, thus winning back respect.

    As a small example of this, I showed how we could analyse the metaphysical stances of Massimo, Coel and myself, revealing how our thinking was shaped by our assumptions. It was intended to be merely an outline example of how the process(examining hidden assumptions) can improve understanding.

    Unfortunately my example inflamed the sensibilities of Massimo and Gadfly to such an extent that they no longer read it as a mere example to illustrate my point, that the examination of assumptions is a valuable process.

    The relevance is that I thought the entire discussion of induction was a waste of time, in that the subject had been done to death, but that I thought it illustrated an important process, and wanted to use a good example to make my point.

    There is something to be learnt here, and that is the examination of foundational assumptions can inflame sensibilities. This is not the effect we want to achieve since we rather want to improve understanding. Sigh, this is the law of unexpected consequences.

    Like

  2. Robin,
    Off the cuff I can think of at least one scientist for whom a little epistemic humility couldn’t hurt.

    I could think of several but that hardly matters. It is the overall process of science, as a whole, that exhibits epistemic humility and inculcates this spirit in its practitioners.

    Some are more resistant to this spirit. Success can shrivel epistemic humility. This is human nature but the great thing about science is that it succeeds despite human nature. This is something wonderful and to be celebrated.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I enjoyed the ‘flow’ article. Couldn’t quite put together what I wanted to say about it.

    I remember when Dame Joan Sutherland retired she spoke of the enormous sense of relief she felt that she would never have to sing again and it suprised me.

    It is a reminder of the sheer hard work involved in singing at that level.

    Like

  4. labnut,

    “We are probability driven intuition machines with a cognitive layer bolted on top of it.”

    You are a theist. How about; “We cognitively process probabilities, aka, intuition.”

    As in thinking arises from cognition, not the other way around. To cogitate is induction. To think is deduction.

    We have to increase our circle of perception, before reflecting on the information acquired.

    “The relevance is that I thought the entire discussion of induction was a waste of time, in that the subject had been done to death, but that I thought it illustrated an important process, and wanted to use a good example to make my point.

    There is something to be learnt here, and that is the examination of foundational assumptions can inflame sensibilities. This is not the effect we want to achieve since we rather want to improve understanding. Sigh, this is the law of unexpected consequences.”

    The discussion does seem very useful, as you immediately point out. The extent to which foundational assumptions need to be examined. Given physics is currently off in multiworlds and multiverses, there would seem to be some foundational physics assumptions due for further examination. Just because science abstracts from reality, doesn’t mean it doesn’t take wrong turns. Safe to say, when I question foundational assumptions, such as the ‘fabric of spacetime,’ it does inflame sensibilities, but I suspect science will eventually have to examine that one.

    Like

  5. I may have abused the meaning of cognition. To the extent we are sentient, the talent we put it to is cognition.

    Like

  6. Labnut,

    It isn’t a question of inflaming my sensibilities. It’s that you went off in a direction that had nothing to do with the topic at hand. If you don’t find the conversation interesting, or my answer to your question sufficient, then you can sit it out and wait for a better topic. As I keep reminding people, there is no requirement to post comments…

    Liked by 1 person

%d bloggers like this: