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Comment author: Journeyman 07 June 2015 04:00:36AM *  0 points [-]

Btw, "you" was "general you", not you personally, and mine was trying to piggyback. Post edited to clarify.

Comment author: mtraven 09 July 2015 10:44:17PM 1 point [-]

No offense taken.

BTW I have written quite a bit since 2007(!) on the relationship of rationalism and politics, see here for a starting pont.

Comment author: Journeyman 10 May 2015 01:56:17AM *  0 points [-]

Note to all rationalists:

Politics has already slashed your tires.

Politics has already pwned your brain.

Politics has already smashed the Overton Window.

Politics has already kicked over your Schelling fence.

Politics has already planted weeds in your garden.

What are you going to do about it?

Comment author: mtraven 19 May 2015 04:27:43AM 1 point [-]

Probably make some snarky remark about how people who think they are free of politics are in reality in the grip of one of the more deadly forms of it.

Comment author: mtraven 01 August 2011 05:46:55PM 0 points [-]

I exaggerated a bit. The points I was trying to make: we can only weakly introspect; the term "introspection" is misleading (I think "reflection", mentioned by another commenter, is better); we are in a strong sense strangers to ourselves, and our apparent ability to introspect is misleading.

I am only a dabbler in meditation and Buddhism, but I think an actual Buddhist would NOT characterize meditation as introspection. The point of it is not to have a self more aware of itself, but to reveal the illusory nature of the self (I'm sure that is a drastic oversimplification, at best).

Comment author: mtraven 01 August 2011 05:59:44PM 0 points [-]

After posting that I felt even more unsure about my assertion about Buddhism and introspection than I had indicated, so did some Googling...here's some support from an actual Buddhist, though I'm guessing there is a wide variety of opinion on this question.

Comment author: lessdazed 01 August 2011 03:19:15AM 2 points [-]

We don't have any better access to our own brain processes than we do to a random persons

The point of the linked article is that when naively thinking that we are good at introspection, we fail at it. For example, "When presented with the idea of cognitive dissonance, they once again agreed it was an interesting idea that probably affected some of the other subjects but of course not them."

That only weakly implies "We don't have any better access to our own brain processes than we do to a random persons." We not only don't know how trained people can do, we don't even know how untrained people who would agree they are subject to biases would do!

If you define introspection as magically perfectly accurate self-knowledge gleaned without thinking, or even training, that is idiosyncratic.

Comment author: mtraven 01 August 2011 05:46:55PM 0 points [-]

I exaggerated a bit. The points I was trying to make: we can only weakly introspect; the term "introspection" is misleading (I think "reflection", mentioned by another commenter, is better); we are in a strong sense strangers to ourselves, and our apparent ability to introspect is misleading.

I am only a dabbler in meditation and Buddhism, but I think an actual Buddhist would NOT characterize meditation as introspection. The point of it is not to have a self more aware of itself, but to reveal the illusory nature of the self (I'm sure that is a drastic oversimplification, at best).

Comment author: mtraven 01 August 2011 02:54:20AM 0 points [-]

I think you miss the point of the linked article, which is not that we are "not very good" at introspection, but that introspection is literally impossible. We don't have any better access to our own brain processes than we do to a random persons. We don't have little instruments hooked up to our internal mental mechanisms telling us what's going on. I fear that people who think they do are somewhat fooling themselves.

That doesn't mean we can't have models of ourselves, or think about how the brain works, or notice patterns of mental behavior and make up better explanations for them, and get better at that. But I think calling it introspection is misleading and begs the question, as it conjures up images of a magic eye that can be turned inward. We don't have those.

Comment author: mtraven 26 April 2011 03:56:30AM 2 points [-]

Great post, a very lucid account of your experiences, thank you.

As it happens I was just contemplating writing something along the lines of "mysticism for rationalists", but I think you may have it covered.

Comment author: David_Gerard 05 April 2011 09:28:12AM *  2 points [-]

This one could do with expansion and/or contextualisation. A quick Google only turns up several pages of just the bare quote (including on a National Institue of Health .gov page!) - what was the original source? Anyone?

Comment author: mtraven 06 April 2011 02:44:57AM 2 points [-]

Well, I deliberately left out the source because I didn't think it would play well in this Peoria of thought -- it's from his book of essays Farewell to Reason. Link to gbooks with some context.

Comment author: mtraven 04 April 2011 10:26:26PM *  1 point [-]

The best education consists in immunizing people against systematic attempts at education.

-- Paul Feyerabend

Comment author: jwdink 01 April 2011 06:11:55PM 1 point [-]

That philosophy itself can't be supported by empirical evidence; it rests on something else.

Right, and I'm asking you what you think that "something else" is.

I'd also re-assert my challenge to you: if philosophy's arguments don't rest on some evidence of some kind, what distinguishes it from nonsense/fiction?

Comment author: mtraven 02 April 2011 01:19:24AM -1 points [-]

Right, and I'm asking you what you think that "something else" is.

Hell, how would I know? Let's say "thinking" for the sake of argument.

I'd also re-assert my challenge to you: if philosophy's arguments don't rest on some evidence of some kind, what distinguishes it from nonsense/fiction?

People think it makes sense.

"Definitions may be given in this way of any field where a body of definite knowledge exists. But philosophy cannot be so defined. Any definition is controversial and already embodies a philosophic attitude. The only way to find out what philosophy is, is to do philosophy." -- Bertrand Russell

Comment author: jwdink 31 March 2011 09:37:03PM 0 points [-]

I think you are making a category error. If something makes claims about phenomena that can be proved/disproved with evidence in the world, it's science, not philosophy.

Hmm.. I suspect the phrasing "evidence/phenomena in the world" might give my assertion an overly mechanistic sound to it. I don't mean verifiable/disprovable physical/atomistic facts must be cited-- that would be begging the question. I just mean any meaningful argument must make reference to evidence that can be pointed to in support of/ in criticism of the given argument. Note that "evidence" doesn't exclude "mental phenomena." If we don't ask that philosophy cite evidence, what distinguishes it from meaningless nonsense, or fiction?

I'm trying to write a more thorough response to your statement, but I'm finding it really difficult without the use of an example. Can you cite some claim of Heidegger's or Hegel's that you would assert is meaningful, but does not spring out of an argument based on empirical evidence? Maybe then I can respond more cogently.

Comment author: mtraven 01 April 2011 04:10:42AM 0 points [-]

I'm not at all a fan of Hegel, and Heidegger I don't really understand, but I linked to a paper that describes the interaction of Heideggerian philosophy and AI which might answer your question.

I still think you don't have your categories straight. Philosophy does not make "claims" that are proved or disproved by evidence (although there is a relatively new subfield called "experimental philosophy"). Think of it as providing alternate points of view.

To illustrate: your idea that the only valid utterances are those that are supported by empirical evidence is a philosophy. That philosophy itself can't be supported by empirical evidence; it rests on something else.

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