Stardust indeed! •Wosret PF Addict Usergroup: Sponsors Joined: Mar 29, 2007 Location: New Brunswick Total Topics: 69 Total Posts: 7887 #31 - Quote - Permalink Posted Nov 26, 2008 - 10:57 AM: Theo, saying that something is more "philosophically interesting" is clearly different than saying more "philosophically relevant". "Relevant" and "interesting" do not mean nearly the same thing. •ying Daoist sceptic Usergroup: Missing Mods Joined: Feb 20, 2004 Location: Lichtenvoorde, Netherlands Total Topics: 23 Total Posts: 785 #32 - Quote - Permalink Posted Nov 26, 2008 - 2:18 PM: Theo wrote:First of all, I wouldn't say that whether something is philosophically interesting is a matter of personal preference. After all, it is rather easy to notice what topics are relevant to modern and past philosophical disputes (and the biological facts about humanity clearly are) and which are not (and for all that I know nucleogenesis falls into this category).That's a rather conservative way of looking at philosophy. That way, as a tradition stretching out 26-30 centuries, we really wouldn't get any work done. Philosophy isn't just about calling oneself an aristotelian or a kantian, it's also about forging ahead, into the terra incognita of the mental realm. Not as raving lunatics, naturally, but we have tools. In the I Ching, it's written that "to find ones way in the infinite, one has to learn how to connect and divide." Well, with reasoning, the possibilities are endless, and we do have tools to find our way in there; reason.I'm sorry if it seemed that I was going to argue dishonestly....Wait 'till you read my reply to your next paragraph. I'm not even going to argue myself. I added the examples of road building and structure of T-lymphocytes because it seemed obvious, at least to me, that they have no relevance to philosophy. In any case, we were originally arguing about whether nucleogenesis has any relevance to philosophy, and yet I still haven't seen a single example of this supposed relevance (if we exclude Epilogas's claim that it supports some sort of monism, which was quite frankly not established). Since you didn't get one of my previous posts about big history, I'll just quote some stuff more directly:Big history surveys the past at all possible scales, from conventional history, to the much larger scales of biology and geology, to the universal scales of cosmology. It weaves a single story, stretching from the origins of the Universe to the present day and beyond, using accounts of the past developed within scholarly disciplines that are usually studied quite separately. Human history is seen as part of the history of our Earth and biosphere, and the Earthâ€™s history, in turn, is seen as part of the history of the Universe. In this way, the different disciplines that make up this large story can be used to illuminate each other. The unified account of the past assembled in this way can help us understand our own place within the Universe. Like traditional creation stories, big history provides a map of our place in space and time; but it does so using the insights and knowledge of modern science.David Christian, Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity, (Virginia: the Teaching Company, 2008), p. 1V. Though such courses are unusual today, they belong to a long and ancient tradition.A. Though it uses modern, scientific information, big history has many similarities with traditional creation stories. These also used the best available information to construct credible and powerful stories that gave people a sense of their bearings in space and time.B. Similar attempts to map space and time have been made within all the great religious and cultural traditions. This was the aim of Christian writers such as Augustine (354â€“430 C.E.), who constructed a universal history that began about 6,000 years ago and would shape Christian historiography for more than 1,000 years. H. G. Wellsâ€™s Outline of History, published just after WWI, is perhaps the most famous 20th-century attempt at a universal account of the past.C. Despite this long tradition of â€œuniversal histories,â€ modern education focuses on specialized knowledge, which inevitably leads to a fragmented vision of reality. Erwin SchrÃ¶dinger (1887â€“1961), one of the pioneers of quantum physics, wrote a famous book on the nature of life in which he argued that it was vital for scholars to cross discipline boundaries, despite the risks this involved, if we are to move toward a more unified understanding of reality. That is the spirit in which I have approached this course.D. What follows counts as just one attempt to tell the story of big history. There are other courses in big history taught by geologists and astronomers, and their emphases differ. However, historians may be in a particularly good position to tell such stories because historians are used to dealing with phenomena of extraordinary complexity, and they are also used to weaving stories from complex information.VI. This course is organized around the central idea of eight thresholds of increasing complexity. These eight thresholds provide the scaffolding for this course.A. Threshold 1 is the creation of our Universe about 13 billion years ago.B. Threshold 2 is the creation of the first complex objects, stars, more than 12 billion years ago.C. Threshold 3 is the creation inside dying stars of the chemical elements that allowed the formation of chemically complex entities, including planets and living organisms.D. Threshold 4 is the creation of planets, such as our Earth, bodies that are more chemically complex than the Sun. This group of lectures also surveys the history of our home planet.E. Threshold 5 is the creation and evolution of life on Earth from about 3.8 billion years ago. This group of lectures also surveys the evolution of our own ancestors, the hominines, from about 6 million years ago.F. Threshold 6 is the creation of our own species, Homo sapiens, about 250,000 years ago. This section of the course discusses what makes us so distinctive and describes the Paleolithic era of human history.G. Threshold 7 is the appearance of agriculture (about 11,000 years ago). Agriculture accelerated the pace of change, leading to the emergence of larger and more complex societies and introducing the Agrarian era of human history.H. Threshold 8 is the â€œModern Revolution,â€ the vast social, economic, and cultural transformations of recent centuries that introduced the Modern era of human history and created todayâ€™s world.Ibid. P. 4I had a nagging suspicion that it would turn out somewhat like this. Some scientific facts usually provoke an emotional or aesthetic response (thinking about the scale of the known universe usually does that for me), this response is not philosophy. Indeed, it's physics. But you can philosophise about it, and philosophising is a constitutive part of philosophy. But, no, indeed, it's not a clearcut piece of philosophical canon. One is supposed to think about it and do some actual philosophising. It's not prepackaged in this instance.The term "natural philosophy" isn't much in vogue these days, but I think it fits the more speculative side of physics quitte well; Theories set forth by Penrose in his book The Emperors New Mind can also be classified in such a way, in my opinion.It might lead someone to philosophy, but then so could a lot of things.Yeah, and the universe is a big place with lots of stuff in it. Nice, vague statement indeed. Statements, if you want to include that other statement about how "some scientific facts usually provoke an emotional or aesthetic response". Doesn't need to be a fact either, since the stuff advanced by the yearly Ig Nobel prize winners usually gives me an emotional response, too.Thinking is a rather complex process, but then so are geological processes, the climate and the dynamics of societies, so I see no reason for singling out thought (except a residual anthropocentrism).Yeah. Red herring. Nice try. I'm not going to be lured into a discussion about the value of consciousness on an ontological level.besides, I don't think the notion of complexity can be made completely rigorous.Ah. Well, the burden of proof is on you, you made a controversial statement. I don't need to prove that complexity can be made rigorous (yet), but you have to prove why we should doubt it: Go ahead, if you want to continue this discussion. Edited by ying on Nov 26, 2008 - 2:55 PM •Theo Initiate Usergroup: Members Joined: Sep 30, 2008 Total Topics: 2 Total Posts: 44 #33 - Quote - Permalink Posted Nov 27, 2008 - 7:40 AM: ying wrote:That's a rather conservative way of looking at philosophy. That way, as a tradition stretching out 26-30 centuries, we really wouldn't get any work done. Philosophy isn't just about calling oneself an aristotelian or a kantian, it's also about forging ahead, into the terra incognita of the mental realm. Not as raving lunatics, naturally, but we have tools. In the I Ching, it's written that "to find ones way in the infinite, one has to learn how to connect and divide." Well, with reasoning, the possibilities are endless, and we do have tools to find our way in there; reason.I wasn't exactly talking about philosophy as a tradition; while a knowledge of the history of philosophy is necessary for understanding philosophy as it is today (which is more or less why I mentioned past philosophical disputes, though looking back now I'm not entirely sure I should have) philosophy has changed significantly from the time of Aristotle and Kant. That we are made of the same kind of material as the stars, for example, would have shocked Anaxagoras, but this is irrelevant since nobody actually believes in Anaxagoras's doctrines today (and for a good reason).My point was rather that the various disciplines that make up (modern) philosophy each deal with a more or less defined set of problems and questions, and that as far as I know no one has successfully argued for the relevance of nucleogenesis to these problems and questions.ying wrote:Wait 'till you read my reply to your next paragraph. I'm not even going to argue myself. Since you didn't get one of my previous posts about big history, I'll just quote some stuff more directly:[...]I think it's an interesting concept, but this doesn't mean it's philosophy. In fact, unless you hold that some sort of philosophy of history (i. e. something similar to what Hegel envisioned) is possible, I don't see what branch of philosophy it would have relevance to.ying wrote:Indeed, it's physics. But you can philosophise about it, and philosophising is a constitutive part of philosophy. But, no, indeed, it's not a clearcut piece of philosophical canon. One is supposed to think about it and do some actual philosophising. It's not prepackaged in this instance.One mention of Hegel and we're already going around in circles. Thinking about something, no matter how grandiose or lofty, doesn't count as philosophising unless it is relevant to some part of philosophy. Which brings me back to my previous point.ying wrote:The term "natural philosophy" isn't much in vogue these days, but I think it fits the more speculative side of physics quitte well; Theories set forth by Penrose in his book The Emperors New Mind can also be classified in such a way, in my opinion.I don't think there's much to his hypotheses, but I don't see why they shouldn't be simply taken as scientific conjectures. After all, I think he has proposed a way to test his OR-hypothesis (it's in the Road to Reality, I believe).ying wrote:Yeah, and the universe is a big place with lots of stuff in it. Nice, vague statement indeed. Statements, if you want to include that other statement about how "some scientific facts usually provoke an emotional or aesthetic response". Doesn't need to be a fact either, since the stuff advanced by the yearly Ig Nobel prize winners usually gives me an emotional response, too.It was obvious from the context (and from my example) what kind of scientific facts and what kind of emotional responses I was talking about. And as for the statement that a lot of things could lead one into philosophy, I don't see it as especially controversial. After all, while a sense of wonder has led many into philosophy so have scientific (in Weiszaecker's case, for example), logical (Leibniz), theological (Hegel) and even political (Heraclitus) problems, or any combination of them.ying wrote:Yeah. Red herring. Nice try. I'm not going to be lured into a discussion about the value of consciousness on an ontological level.Why did you insist on thinking being something special, then? It seems to me that this is a strong indicator that you assign at least some extraordinary ontological status to thinking (not necessarily consciousness).ying wrote:Ah. Well, the burden of proof is on you, you made a controversial statement. I don't need to prove that complexity can be made rigorous (yet), but you have to prove why we should doubt it: Go ahead, if you want to continue this discussion.'I don't think' is hardly an ex cathedra pronouncement, but sure, I have my reasons for not thinking the notion of complexity can be made rigorous. It would be natural to define complexity in terms of the number of elements and connections between them in a given system, correct? But this would force us to consider a sufficiently large heap of sand to be more complex than Theo, so this definition clearly doesn't capture the way we usually use the word. And I don't see how it could be improved; for example we could also consider the number of kinds of entities the system is composed of, but then we have to decide which entities we will count as being of a single kind (grains of sand? grains of sand of a specific colour? shape?) and in any case it stills leaves the problem of a garbage dump being more complex than Theo. •ying Daoist sceptic Usergroup: Missing Mods Joined: Feb 20, 2004 Location: Lichtenvoorde, Netherlands Total Topics: 23 Total Posts: 785 #34 - Quote - Permalink Posted Nov 27, 2008 - 9:29 AM: Theo wrote:I wasn't exactly talking about philosophy as a tradition; while a knowledge of the history of philosophy is necessary for understanding philosophy as it is today (which is more or less why I mentioned past philosophical disputes, though looking back now I'm not entirely sure I should have) philosophy has changed significantly from the time of Aristotle and Kant....My point was rather that the various disciplines that make up (modern) philosophy each deal with a more or less defined set of problems and questions, and that as far as I know no one has successfully argued for the relevance of nucleogenesis to these problems and questions.Yes. Unproven, so is still hanging in the air. As far as I know, progressive thought has been a hallmark of the big names in philosophy. When Pyrrho of Elis decided to doubt everything, he didn't have any philosophical precursors. When Husserl developed phenomenology, he didn't have any precursors. Derrida also founded something or the other. Anyway, stating that philosophy consist of dealing with only a set of defined questions is nonsense. Nowadays, with all the metaphilosophies flying around, this position has become quitte untennable.Look, I don't get what your problem is. Using scientifical knowledge to advance philosophy has been done throughout the history of our discipline. Nothing special about that.I think it's an interesting concept, but this doesn't mean it's philosophy. In fact, unless you hold that some sort of philosophy of history (i. e. something similar to what Hegel envisioned) is possible, I don't see what branch of philosophy it would have relevance to.Yeah, I immagine you wouldn't.I don't think there's much to his hypotheses, but I don't see why they shouldn't be simply taken as scientific conjectures. After all, I think he has proposed a way to test his OR-hypothesis (it's in the Road to Reality, I believe).Penrose presents the argument that human consciousness is non-algorithmic, and thus is not capable of being modeled by a conventional Turing machine-type of digital computer. Penrose hypothesizes that quantum mechanics plays an essential role in the understanding of human consciousness. The collapse of the quantum wavefunction is seen as playing an important role in brain function.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Emperor%27s_New_MindAs he himself states, it's a rather hypothetical in nature.It was obvious from the context (and from my example) what kind of scientific facts and what kind of emotional responses I was talking about. And as for the statement that a lot of things could lead one into philosophy, I don't see it as especially controversial. After all, while a sense of wonder has led many into philosophy so have scientific (in Weiszaecker's case, for example), logical (Leibniz), theological (Hegel) and even political (Heraclitus) problems, or any combination of them....Oh! You where talking about wonder, when you called it an "emotional or aesthetic response"! Yeah, in retrospect, that's obvious. Why did you insist on thinking being something special, then? It seems to me that this is a strong indicator that you assign at least some extraordinary ontological status to thinking (not necessarily consciousness).'I don't think' is hardly an ex cathedra pronouncement, but sure, I have my reasons for not thinking the notion of complexity can be made rigorous. It would be natural to define complexity in terms of the number of elements and connections between them in a given system, correct? But this would force us to consider a sufficiently large heap of sand to be more complex than Theo, so this definition clearly doesn't capture the way we usually use the word. And I don't see how it could be improved; for example we could also consider the number of kinds of entities the system is composed of, but then we have to decide which entities we will count as being of a single kind (grains of sand? grains of sand of a specific colour? shape?) and in any case it stills leaves the problem of a garbage dump being more complex than Theo.Ah. But I have a quitte different definition of complexity. There are three quarks in a nucleus, correct? And electrons swarm these nuclei right? And we call those atoms, right? So isn't an atom more complex than a quark? I'll jump upwards. Proteins are made of aminoacids by rna, which takes its code from dna. These proteins form organs. But aminoacids are molecules, and molecules are more comlex then atoms and quarks. The key term here is "emergence." Because consciousness arrises out of the processes in our brain, it's also part of this whole "ladder", and actually takes up quitte a high-level position, relative to the other stuff out there.Besides, I don't see why it should matter to you if a garbage dump or a large heap of sand is more complex or not since according to you, we're all lumps of matter anyway. So, according to your own position, your objection is superfluous. And finally, in the real world, a garbage dump actually is more complex then a human being since it's a kind of artificial ecosystem and as such contains a lot of organisms. Edited by ying on Nov 27, 2008 - 9:42 AM •Theo Initiate Usergroup: Members Joined: Sep 30, 2008 Total Topics: 2 Total Posts: 44 #35 - Quote - Permalink Posted Nov 27, 2008 - 10:22 AM: ying wrote:Yes. Unproven, so is still hanging in the air. As far as I know, progressive thought has been a hallmark of the big names in philosophy. When Pyrrho of Elis decided to doubt everything, he didn't have any philosophical precursors. When Husserl developed phenomenology, he didn't have any precursors. Derrida also founded something or the other. Anyway, stating that philosophy consist of dealing with only a set of defined questions is nonsense. Nowadays, with all the metaphilosophies flying around, this position has become quitte untennable.Look, I don't get what your problem is. Using scientifical knowledge to advance philosophy has been done throughout the history of our discipline. Nothing special about that.Again, my point was not that new ideas aren't philosophical (that would be an extremely stupid point), but rather that if we are to call an idea philosophical it should have some relevance to the questions usually discussed in philosophy. So Pyrrho's position clearly had relevance to the question of the possibility of knowledge of reality, which had been around since at least Cratylus; Husserl's phenomenology deals with epistemic and ontological problems (otherwise we would classify it as an odd sort of speculative psychology) and so on.And claiming that I'm opposed to the use of science in advancing philosophy is a grotesque misrepresentation of my position. All I ever questioned was whether one particular instance of scientific fact, i. e. nucleogenesis, was relevant to philosophy.ying wrote:Yeah, I immagine you wouldn't.Well, enlighten me then: what branch of philosophy is big history relevant to and how?ying wrote:Penrose presents the argument that human consciousness is non-algorithmic, and thus is not capable of being modeled by a conventional Turing machine-type of digital computer. Penrose hypothesizes that quantum mechanics plays an essential role in the understanding of human consciousness. The collapse of the quantum wavefunction is seen as playing an important role in brain function.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Emperor%27s_New_MindAs he himself states, it's a rather hypothetical in nature.Yes, but so was (for example) Planck's hypothesis. The point is that while Penrose's hypothesis are a bit unconventional (and his argument sometimes muddled) this doesn't mean they aren't scientific; like I've said he actually advocates testing the OR hypothesis experimentally, and something like that is probably true of the Orch-OR (I will have to check).ying wrote:Oh! You where talking about wonder, when you called it an "emotional or aesthetic response"! Yeah, in retrospect, that's obvious. I wanted to capture a bit more than simply wonder; after all, one could feel a range of emotions while contemplating a scientific fact (e. g. Darwin's response to the fact that the universe would end; I couldn't find the exact quote but he more or less says that the thought is unbearable to him since in the future humanity will be more perfect).ying wrote:Ah. But I have a quitte different definition of complexity. There are three quarks in a nucleus, correct? And electrons swarm these nuclei right? And we call those atoms, right? So isn't an atom more complex than a quark? I'll jump upwards. Proteins are made of aminoacids by rna, which takes its code from dna. These proteins form organs. But aminoacids are molecules, and molecules are more comlex then atoms and quarks. The key term here is "emergence." Because consciousness arrises out of the processes in our brain, it's also part of this whole "ladder", and actually takes up quitte a high-level position, relative to the other stuff out there.Well, first of all your definition comes with a lot of metaphysical baggage (i. e. emergence) I personally consider indefensible. But never mind; how do you decide which entities on the same level of emergence are more complex? It seems natural enough to want to do this, and I don't see how one could do so by your definition.Also, how do you decide which entities are worthy of being called emergent? If a DNA molecule, for example, is (I know biochemists who would murder you for the suggestion), why isn't the system 'DNA molecule + a photon' (there are probably a lot of photons in the vicinity of the molecule)?ying wrote:Besides, I don't see why it should matter to you if a garbage dump or a large heap of sand is more complex or not since according to you, we're all lumps of matter anyway. So, according to your own position, your objection is superfluous. And finally, in the real world, a garbage dump actually is more complex then a human being since it's a kind of artificial ecosystem and as such contains a lot of organisms.Hmmm, we were talking about a sterile garbage dump I suppose... which is rather odd. In any case, I was talking about the common use of the concept. I never said I agree with it or think it's useful. •ying Daoist sceptic Usergroup: Missing Mods Joined: Feb 20, 2004 Location: Lichtenvoorde, Netherlands Total Topics: 23 Total Posts: 785 #36 - Quote - Permalink Posted Nov 27, 2008 - 1:07 PM: Theo wrote:Again, my point was not that new ideas aren't philosophical (that would be an extremely stupid point), but rather that if we are to call an idea philosophical it should have some relevance to the questions usually discussed in philosophy.Yeah. Whatever.So Pyrrho's position clearly had relevance to the question of the possibility of knowledge of reality, which had been around since at least Cratylus; Husserl's phenomenology deals with epistemic and ontological problems (otherwise we would classify it as an odd sort of speculative psychology) and so on.And claiming that I'm opposed to the use of science in advancing philosophy is a grotesque misrepresentation of my position. All I ever questioned was whether one particular instance of scientific fact, i. e. nucleogenesis, was relevant to philosophy.Well, enlighten me then: what branch of philosophy is big history relevant to and how?It provides at least an underpinning for ethics, advances speculations in ontology (the ontology of the body to be precise), provides new ammo for idealism (though I wouldn't argue for that position using those arguments, it is possible) etc etc etc. Be creative.Yes, but so was (for example) Planck's hypothesis. The point is that while Penrose's hypothesis are a bit unconventional (and his argument sometimes muddled) this doesn't mean they aren't scientific; like I've said he actually advocates testing the OR hypothesis experimentally, and something like that is probably true of the Orch-OR (I will have to check).Yeah. The point is, you never read The Emperors New Mind.I wanted to capture a bit more than simply wonder; after all, one could feel a range of emotions while contemplating a scientific fact (e. g. Darwin's response to the fact that the universe would end; I couldn't find the exact quote but he more or less says that the thought is unbearable to him since in the future humanity will be more perfect).Yes. Indeed. Vagueness all over. The universe is a big place with lots of stuff in it. I just wanted to capture the vastness of space and the multiplicity of objects in the universe in one statement.Well, first of all your definition comes with a lot of metaphysical baggage (i. e. emergence) I personally consider indefensible.Lucky for me that it's clearly established in biology, physics and psychology (gestalt). Emergence simply states that a system can have properties which do not exist in the collection of individual parts; only when they come together, do they exhibit properties which arrise out of them as a whole.Besides, I don't think you've read my posts clearly enough. Including the signature at the bottom. It doesn't say "I determined nothing" for naught. I'm basically a sceptic, so I don't hypostasize. What I do is called hypothesizing using heuristics. But never mind; how do you decide which entities on the same level of emergence are more complex? It seems natural enough to want to do this, and I don't see how one could do so by your definition.Also, how do you decide which entities are worthy of being called emergent? If a DNA molecule, for example, is (I know biochemists who would murder you for the suggestion), why isn't the system 'DNA molecule + a photon' (there are probably a lot of photons in the vicinity of the molecule)?Red herrings? Why? Want to sell fish that badly? Besides, ever heard of the ad hoc fallacy? If we are trying to establish A, then A because B would be a valid argument. Where we trying to establish B however, then A because B isn't an argument, but an explanation. And you know biochemists, do you? Wow. Are you trying to appeal to authority here? I'm not talking about informal logic here, more about rhetorics. Are you trying to manipulate the audience into believing that you are in some way more authoritative then your interlocutor? Oh and by the way, I've listened to lectures by Steve Nowicky. They are available online. Now, are we done with this pissing contest?Hmmm, we were talking about a sterile garbage dump I suppose... which is rather odd. In any case, I was talking about the common use of the concept. I never said I agree with it or think it's useful.Well, why are we argueing then? •Theo Initiate Usergroup: Members Joined: Sep 30, 2008 Total Topics: 2 Total Posts: 44 #37 - Quote - Permalink Posted Nov 29, 2008 - 5:12 AM: ying wrote:It provides at least an underpinning for ethics, advances speculations in ontology (the ontology of the body to be precise), provides new ammo for idealism (though I wouldn't argue for that position using those arguments, it is possible) etc etc etc. Be creative.[/ying]And it cures cancer as well, I'm sure. The history of human societies is of course relevant to ethics, but I can't see how the history of e. g. the solar system would be (and you have done nothing to back up your claim). And ontology? What new kind of entity, what category has Big History uncovered? And quite frankly I'm not sure what you meant by 'the ontology of the body'; the only such ontology I can think of is Merleau-Ponty's later philosophy, which is not only a mess of unargued statements but makes no mention of anything like Big History (I'm not sure the idea was around when he was alive). And again, you never show exactly how one could argue for idealism using Big History. Hell, it looks like you more or less want me to complete your arguments for you.[quote=ying]Yeah. The point is, you never read The Emperors New Mind.I've read it, as well as his The Road to Reality, and quite frankly I don't know where you got the impression I didn't.ying wrote:Lucky for me that it's clearly established in biology, physics and psychology (gestalt). Emergence simply states that a system can have properties which do not exist in the collection of individual parts; only when they come together, do they exhibit properties which arrise out of them as a whole.I can say with some certainty that physics doesn't require that absurd concept. Unless you're talking about phenomena like temperature, which only make sense in a macroscopic, statistical treatment. But these are only convenient and approximate ways of describing extremely complex microscopic phenomena, not emergent entities in the metaphysical sense.And most of modern progress in biology has come from linking biological processes to their chemical and physical causes. In fact, I can't think of a single biological theory that would support any sort of emergence, if we exclude the rather discredited varieties of vitalism.Psychology I'd rather not comment on, since my knowledge of modern phychology is quite poor, but I don't see the concept of a perceptual Gestalt as suggesting anything more than the fact that the brain tends to group sensations into semi-permanent objects, and this doesn't conflict with reductionism.ying wrote:Red herrings? Why? Want to sell fish that badly? Besides, ever heard of the ad hoc fallacy? If we are trying to establish A, then A because B would be a valid argument. Where we trying to establish B however, then A because B isn't an argument, but an explanation. Pointing out the flaws in your definition is hardly a red herring. And my argument can't be an ad hoc fallacy because I'm not trying to explain anything; I'm just pointing out problems a rigorous definition of complexity should be able to solve (and you never objected to these problems), and which the definition you proposed clearly can't.ying wrote:And you know biochemists, do you? Wow. Are you trying to appeal to authority here? I'm not talking about informal logic here, more about rhetorics. Are you trying to manipulate the audience into believing that you are in some way more authoritative then your interlocutor? Oh and by the way, I've listened to lectures by Steve Nowicky. They are available online. Now, are we done with this pissing contest?You're the only one with your fly open. The sentence wasn't serious, as one could see from the use of the word 'murder', just as the sentence about sterile garbage dumps.ying wrote:Well, why are we argueing then?Since you seem to agree with the common use, and indeed think it can be made rigorous. •ying Daoist sceptic Usergroup: Missing Mods Joined: Feb 20, 2004 Location: Lichtenvoorde, Netherlands Total Topics: 23 Total Posts: 785 #38 - Quote - Permalink Posted Nov 29, 2008 - 11:18 AM: Theo wrote:I can say with some certainty that physics doesn't require that absurd concept. Unless you're talking about phenomena like temperature, which only make sense in a macroscopic, statistical treatment. But these are only convenient and approximate ways of describing extremely complex microscopic phenomena, not emergent entities in the metaphysical sense.And most of modern progress in biology has come from linking biological processes to their chemical and physical causes. In fact, I can't think of a single biological theory that would support any sort of emergence, if we exclude the rather discredited varieties of vitalism.Check lecture 8 of The Origins of Life by Robert Hazen. An entire 30 minutes, devoted to just that term. He even provides an unfinished mathematical equation, since, he notes, we don't have a way of expressing complexity numerically. I'll concede here that the term isn't made fully rigorous yet within the sciences, but this fact doesn't seem to stop anyone from using it, so I shouldn't be too worried either. It is a useful heuristical tool, afterall.And on this point, there is only one thing left to say: I can only give you arguments, not insight. Let's agree to disagree then. I don't particularly care to convince you of my point of view, and don't see how you can add to my understanding of it.Pointing out the flaws in your definition is hardly a red herring. And my argument can't be an ad hoc fallacy because I'm not trying to explain anything; I'm just pointing out problems a rigorous definition of complexity should be able to solve (and you never objected to these problems), and which the definition you proposed clearly can't.No. You where trying to discredit the term "emergence" by asking for implications of it if it where true. We aren't looking for implications but to establish te term as valid, so your questions are ad hoc. You seem to be under the mistaken impression that a fallacy can only be commited in a statement instead of a question. The question "you don't know anything, do you?" wouldn't be an ad hominem then.The sentence wasn't serious, as one could see from the use of the word 'murder', just as the sentence about sterile garbage dumps.And maybe I wasn't attacking those positions out of disagreement but as a strategy? Rhetorics, remember?Since you seem to agree with the common use, and indeed think it can be made rigorous.Common use of... what, exactly? The term complexity? OK, let's do a little bit of linguistics, then. There are high languages and low languages, as spoken by specialist groups (high languages) and the normal, every day usage (low language). If, by "common", you mean that I use the generally accepted, high language version of that term, then, yes, I agree. If you meant that I use the low language form of the terms "complexity" and "emergence", then I would like to know in what kinds of pubdiscussions you think those terms are flying around. •Theo Initiate Usergroup: Members Joined: Sep 30, 2008 Total Topics: 2 Total Posts: 44 #39 - Quote - Permalink Posted Nov 29, 2008 - 12:00 PM: ying wrote:Check lecture 8 of The Origins of Life by Robert Hazen. An entire 30 minutes, devoted to just that term. He even provides an unfinished mathematical equation, since, he notes, we don't have a way of expressing complexity numerically. I'll concede here that the term isn't made fully rigorous yet within the sciences, but this fact doesn't seem to stop anyone from using it, so I shouldn't be too worried either. It is a useful heuristical tool, afterall.I actually have no intention of spending ~100$for a course about something I can study at my university library for a paltry yearly membership fee. And it isn't really clear if you're speaking of complexity or emergence in the above quote. If you're talking about complexity I can agree that it's sometimes useful, though arguments from it are usually weak. If you're talking about emergence however, I have yet to see that particular bit of metaphysical malarkey used in serious science since perhaps Driesch and Koffka, and it certainly seems that you're not going to provide an example.ying wrote:And on this point, there is only one thing left to say: I can only give you arguments, not insight. Let's agree to disagree then. I don't particularly care to convince you of my point of view, and don't see how you can add to my understanding of it.The problem here is that, as I've pointed out in my reply to the first part of your previous post (which was assimilated into a quote due to my poor editing, so you may have missed it), you haven't provided an argument for most of your assertions, about the supposed philosophical value of Big History or scientific value of emergence.ying wrote:No. You where trying to discredit the term "emergence" by asking for implications of it if it where true. We aren't looking for implications but to establish te term as valid, so your questions are ad hoc. You seem to be under the mistaken impression that a fallacy can only be commited in a statement instead of a question. The question "you don't know anything, do you?" wouldn't be an ad hominem then.You were trying to establish that emergence (1) is a useful concept in science; and (2) can be used to rigorously define complexity so that the definition would capture the way in which the tern is commonly used (otherwise the definition would be of no use). My point was that, besides the fact that you have never argued for (1), your attempt at establishing (2) runs into difficulties. It's completely analogous, to use an example from an actual discussion, to objecting to someone's attempt to define any statement about the nature of reality as 'religious' by pointing out that it conflicts with the way in which the term 'religion' is commonly used. Hell, that definition, as bad as it was, was better than your definition of complexity using emergence, since you provide no criteria which entities are emergent and which are not.ying wrote:Common use of... what, exactly? The term complexity? OK, let's do a little bit of linguistics, then. There are high languages and low languages, as spoken by specialist groups (high languages) and the normal, every day usage (low language). If, by "common", you mean that I use the generally accepted, high language version of that term, then, yes, I agree. If you meant that I use the low language form of the terms "complexity" and "emergence", then I would like to know in what kinds of pubdiscussions you think those terms are flying around.Well, the words 'pissing contest' were recently uttered (well, written), and there was talk of open flys and garbage dumps. Seriously, though, I was referring to what you would call the 'high language' use of 'emergence' in philosophy and 'complexity' in science. •ying Daoist sceptic Usergroup: Missing Mods Joined: Feb 20, 2004 Location: Lichtenvoorde, Netherlands Total Topics: 23 Total Posts: 785 #40 - Quote - Permalink Posted Nov 29, 2008 - 4:49 PM: Theo wrote:I actually have no intention of spending ~100$ for a course about something I can study at my university library for a paltry yearly membership fee. And it isn't really clear if you're speaking of complexity or emergence in the above quote. If you're talking about complexity I can agree that it's sometimes useful, though arguments from it are usually weak. If you're talking about emergence however, I have yet to see that particular bit of metaphysical malarkey used in serious science since perhaps Driesch and Koffka, and it certainly seems that you're not going to provide an example.Hazen, Genesis: The Scientific Quest for Lifeâ€™s Origin, chap. 1.Morowitz, The Emergence of Everything.Bak, How Nature Works: The Science of Self-Organized Criticality.Chaisson, Cosmic Evolution: The Rise of Complexity in Nature.Gell-Mann, The Quark and the Jaguar.Holland, Emergence: From Chaos to Order.Kauffman, At Home in the Universe: The Search for Laws of Self-Order and Complexity.Prigogene, Order out of Chaos: Manâ€™s New Dialogue with Nature.Wolfram, A New Kind of Science.The problem here is that, as I've pointed out in my reply to the first part of your previous post (which was assimilated into a quote due to my poor editing, so you may have missed it), you haven't provided an argument for most of your assertions, about the supposed philosophical value of Big History or scientific value of emergence.No, you initially said: "my point was that it is significantly less relevant to a discussion of the origin of a human individual or perhaps the entire species" to which I responded that big history actually does take nucleogenesis into account when discussing the origin of the individual. Its interdisciplinary nature also tackles history before the rise of men. Or dna. Or planet earth.And you claim that I asserted... what? I never said that big history is relevant to philosophy, just that it does try to give an account of modern man through rather large timescopes. I also never said anything about the value of emergence for science, just that the term, not a metaphysical postulate or physical event or law, is used by scientists to explain stuff; and that's exactly the way I value such concepts: As concepts. Like I said, I don't hypostasize, I hypothesize, and value concepts and theories heuristically. Basically, I'm an instrumentalist. Nice set of strawmen by the way, since I never actually took up a position. I merely argued and questioned. But, whatever floats your boat, dude.