Hume was an idiot

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Hume was an idiot

Postby MechanicalMonster » Tue Oct 01, 2013 11:18 pm

There is no gap between causes and effects, or between "is" and "ought"; the so-called inductive problem is not problematic at all, it merely requires a more careful touch, the touch of the philosopher.

It is not "turtles all the way down", as Zeno thought. One reaches limits in which force actualizes, sometimes these limits are called "god", other times they are called "reality", or perhaps "Plank's constant".

Existence is the only given. We start from here and move forward. Much induction, along with deduction, are required if we are to master things, if we are to gain knowledge, which means to gain perspective, and power.

For instance: what a thing IS determines what it OUGHT to be/do. Obviously. You are a particular kind of structure with such-and-such properties, laws, tendencies. The activity which emerges from this structure is "you", and you will do whatever it is that you must do, given the causes from which such action has arisen. "Ought" is a perspective of applied values and predictions, applied against observations to determine a course of action, a desirable outcome. Morality is not false, nor impossible, it is merely one perspective among many, one more utility. "Ought" always collapses into "is".

"The sun has always risen, therefore the sun will rise tomorrow" is a valid induction and obviously an invalid deduction. So? It is no less a gain of perspective and power to make this induction, even if deductively invalid; particularly when you are armed with the philosophical knowledge of the difference between the two.

There is nothing inherently incorrect about inductions, assuming one does them correctly (which means: knows the limits). The point is to encounter reality correctly, and induction is one tool toward this end. (Note: does not imply a radical scepsis)
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Re: Hume was an idiot

Postby Dan~ » Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:11 am

Are you saying Hume's work and writings were all wrong or just partially wrong?
I'm thinking some people will disagree with you here also, if they respond. Does that mean you are wrong yourself, or partially wrong at least?
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Re: Hume was an idiot

Postby MechanicalMonster » Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:17 am

I'm only referring to those of Hume's ideas which I have addressed in this topic. If you want to bring up others, feel free.
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Re: Hume was an idiot

Postby Maia » Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:18 am

It wasn't Zeno who came up with the turtles all the way down theory. Such an idea is anathema to Greek cosmology. Neither does it have a place in Hindu mythology, even though many people think it does. It seems to be Victorian in origin.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtles_all_the_way_down
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Re: Hume was an idiot

Postby MechanicalMonster » Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:20 am

It's a reference to the same ideas as Zeno's Paradox, of course.
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Re: Hume was an idiot

Postby Maia » Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:24 am

MechanicalMonster wrote:It's a reference to the same ideas as Zeno's Paradox, of course.


Are you thinking of the totoise in the race? That's a rather different idea.
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Re: Hume was an idiot

Postby Daktoria » Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:25 am

Well, yes, the OP is operating from "all things staying equal".

The problem is that in reality, all things don't stay.

You can say with confidence that induction is reliable. Unfortunately, confidence is subjective. How confident someone's willing to be that all things will stay is not how confident everyone's willing to be. There is no natural benchmark that tells us how confident to be either.

I mean you could trust your feelings, but that wouldn't get you very far, would it?
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Re: Hume was an idiot

Postby MechanicalMonster » Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:25 am

The issue is infinite regress. Zeno's Paradox references the idea of infinitely regressive distance inside distances; Turtles all the way down idea references the idea of infinitely regressive causalities within causalities.
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Re: Hume was an idiot

Postby Diekon » Thu Oct 03, 2013 9:34 am

MechanicalMonster wrote:There is no gap between causes and effects, or between "is" and "ought"; the so-called inductive problem is not problematic at all, it merely requires a more careful touch, the touch of the philosopher.

It is not "turtles all the way down", as Zeno thought. One reaches limits in which force actualizes, sometimes these limits are called "god", other times they are called "reality", or perhaps "Plank's constant".

Existence is the only given. We start from here and move forward. Much induction, along with deduction, are required if we are to master things, if we are to gain knowledge, which means to gain perspective, and power.

For instance: what a thing IS determines what it OUGHT to be/do. Obviously. You are a particular kind of structure with such-and-such properties, laws, tendencies. The activity which emerges from this structure is "you", and you will do whatever it is that you must do, given the causes from which such action has arisen. "Ought" is a perspective of applied values and predictions, applied against observations to determine a course of action, a desirable outcome. Morality is not false, nor impossible, it is merely one perspective among many, one more utility. "Ought" always collapses into "is".

"The sun has always risen, therefore the sun will rise tomorrow" is a valid induction and obviously an invalid deduction. So? It is no less a gain of perspective and power to make this induction, even if deductively invalid; particularly when you are armed with the philosophical knowledge of the difference between the two.

There is nothing inherently incorrect about inductions, assuming one does them correctly (which means: knows the limits). The point is to encounter reality correctly, and induction is one tool toward this end. (Note: does not imply a radical scepsis)


I'm not sure what you position exactly is and where you disagree with hume... it's hard to tell from your post.

"That the sun will rise tomorrow, because it has allways risen" is no 'valid' induction. Validity implies that the conclusion allways follows from the premises. In this particluar example the conclusion only necessarily follows if we assume the future will allways resemble the past... but we in fact have no justification for such assumption.

If your point is that you have no use for that kind of strict necessity, but that induction is practical and usefull enough in life without that kind of necessity, then i don't think Hume would disagree. He in fact rials against radical scepsis in one of the sections of his Enquiry.
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Re: Hume was an idiot

Postby statiktech » Thu Oct 03, 2013 1:39 pm

While I think I agree with your assessment of the is/ought problem, I don't quite understand why you roped that together with the idea that there is no gap between cause and effect.

As for induction, I think Hume might agree with what you've said. He didn't say induction was altogether bullshit, he just said it was problematic for fairly straightforward reasons. He was questioning what, or if, we can really claim to know based on induction.
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Re: Hume was an idiot

Postby Diekon » Thu Oct 03, 2013 2:12 pm

I don't know man, the is-ought problem seems to still be as unresolved as ever... but i think it's only a problem if you want to have a foundation for morality.
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Re: Hume was an idiot

Postby statiktech » Thu Oct 03, 2013 2:35 pm

Well I didn't say it was resolved, I just said I agreed with his assessment. I personally never really got the is/ought problem, so I'm not even convinced there is anything to resolve. I don't have any problem deriving an ought from an is. Maybe I'm doing it wrong, I don't know.
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Re: Hume was an idiot

Postby von Rivers » Thu Oct 03, 2013 2:45 pm

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Re: Hume was an idiot

Postby Diekon » Thu Oct 03, 2013 3:16 pm

Allright, how do you derive an ought from an is? I don't see how it's possible.

Now, I do remember being involved in a topic with you about the exact same thing a while back. If i remember correctly your stance was that you could derive morals (ought) directly from things like pain and suffering (is). But that wasn't sufficient for me, and some other posters, because you still need to inject an intentional element (an ought) into the equation, namely that pain should be avoided. I don't know exactly what your answer to that was then?

Edit: yeah Von exactly, that thread :mrgreen:
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Re: Hume was an idiot

Postby statiktech » Thu Oct 03, 2013 3:44 pm

You disagree that pain should be avoided if not for a greater benefit? I take that much as self evident.
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Re: Hume was an idiot

Postby von Rivers » Thu Oct 03, 2013 6:30 pm

Diekon wrote:Allright, how do you derive an ought from an is? I don't see how it's possible.


It's the easiest thing in the world. Take a watch, for example. A watch is something that keeps time. So what should a watch do? ---That's easy, Watson! A watch should keep time!

Why was that so easy, you ask? Well, it's just because descriptive components are blended into normative language, and normative components are blended into descriptive language. You just can't pull them apart. It's enough to tell you that a printer prints, to know that a good printer is a printer that prints---and that how a printer ought to be is to be a thing that prints.

Humans are more complicated than watches and printers. That's why philosophy and ethics is interesting... the basic questions of ethics (How ought I to live?) are really explorations of who you are, because once you find out who you are---your purposes and functions and etctera---you'll know what you ought to do. It'll just fall right out and be clear... because the descriptive and evaluative components of everything are blended together throughout.
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Re: Hume was an idiot

Postby Dan~ » Thu Oct 03, 2013 6:56 pm

Function = Purpose, according to Von. When a watch functions, it actuates its purpose. Purpose means something like a goal, and a goal is a meaning. All things in time and space have a certain eventual result, a process, and according to that idea, the eventuality is the meaning of the object.

Personally I try not to constrain meaning and purpose. I consider Von's position as mildly constraining the meaning and purpose of all watches to only tell time, and nothing less, nothing more.
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Re: Hume was an idiot

Postby von Rivers » Thu Oct 03, 2013 7:18 pm

Dan~ wrote:I consider Von's position as mildly constraining the meaning and purpose of all watches to only tell time, and nothing less, nothing more.


Well, you might think the purpose of a watch is to express your sense of style, and to tell time, and to bling, or whatever else. That's all compatible with what I've said.
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Re: Hume was an idiot

Postby Dan~ » Thu Oct 03, 2013 7:30 pm

That's all compatible with what I've said.

Oh, ok, thanks for explaining.
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Re: Hume was an idiot

Postby Dan~ » Thu Oct 03, 2013 8:30 pm

Normally meanings and shoulds are forms of restriction.
A dog must be a good dog, for example.
Restriction is filtering. The wisest people filter their own nature. That is restriction in its good form, however,
morality has been used to undermine and control people also.
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Re: Hume was an idiot

Postby Daktoria » Thu Oct 03, 2013 9:14 pm

Dan~ wrote:Function = Purpose, according to Von. When a watch functions, it actuates its purpose. Purpose means something like a goal, and a goal is a meaning. All things in time and space have a certain eventual result, a process, and according to that idea, the eventuality is the meaning of the object.

Personally I try not to constrain meaning and purpose. I consider Von's position as mildly constraining the meaning and purpose of all watches to only tell time, and nothing less, nothing more.


Yea, I agree.

Von doesn't understand how just because a watch keeps time doesn't tell us what a watch should be used to keep time for. For example, if a group of people were discussing what should a single watch keep time for among multiple options, Von wouldn't have a way to suggest which option to pick.

That sort of indecisiveness doesn't help when deciding what decision should be made.
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Re: Hume was an idiot

Postby statiktech » Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:00 pm

Daktoria wrote:Von doesn't understand how just because a watch keeps time doesn't tell us what a watch should be used to keep time for. For example, if a group of people were discussing what should a single watch keep time for among multiple options, Von wouldn't have a way to suggest which option to pick.


Yes he would, and his suggestion would be based on what is. If the people in the group were a bunch of gym rats, he might suggest that they keep time to schedule workouts. If some of them are on a diet, he could suggest that they keep time to schedule their meals. Why would everyone in the group need to choose the same option? One watch can be used for many different purposes.
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Re: Hume was an idiot

Postby Dan~ » Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:14 pm

statiktech wrote:One watch can be used for many different purposes.

Is a watch meant to keep time, or is let's say, a silver watch, meant to be melted down and made into a spoon?

Also I think goodness can stand on its own two feet, it doesn't need purpose. This is incomprehensible, but, if you can think about it, what I'm saying is that if and when or where ever things are good, those things will always be good. The events in time are permanent.

As a spoon, the melted down watch can no longer judge time. The purpose of a good spoon is to scoop food well, but, that is a purpose we assign which involes people and how they relate to objects. The person wants a good spoon, and that is why there is such a thing as a good spoon. Morality is desire, and meaning is desire. Very similar to will.
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Re: Hume was an idiot

Postby von Rivers » Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:26 pm

Daktoria wrote:Von doesn't understand how just because a watch keeps time doesn't tell us what a watch should be used to keep time for.


What time you set your watch for has nothing to do with what a watch is. If someone has a watch on the eastern seaboard, and someone else on the western, the fact that they set their times differently doesn't mean that we're not still talking about watches. A watch is something that keeps time, no matter what you keep time for----and therefore, a good watch is something that ought to keep time.
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Re: Hume was an idiot

Postby Dan~ » Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:33 pm

That is a metaphysical statement. Good watches are real things, according to you. People who crave a separation between concepts and "real things" will probably disagree, but I don't have big problems with it.
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