Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris on Truth

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Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris on Truth

Postby fuse » Wed Jan 25, 2017 4:13 am



A friend sent me the link to this video and said, "I have no idea what they're saying but I feel like it's important." So what's going on here between Harris and Peterson as they struggle to establish a common conception of truth?

I'll put my thoughts in the tab below so that you have a chance to watch the video (although it is rather long) before seeing my take.

Basically, it sounds like Peterson is purposely complicating the definition of truth to emphasize the idea that truth doesn't matter unless it's sufficiently full, i.e. in line with moral truth. To Peterson the penalty of being trivially true can be such that that "truth" doesn't merit the status of truth/fact. It is effectively false, and should be called as much.

Despite the fact that they circled a single point for 2 hours, it does make you think about truth and science a bit differently, if only briefly in trying to understand the import of Peterson's more radical, less clear take on the concept. Having said that, I think his emphasis that our concept of truth must reflect our hierarchy of concern, the nesting of science within morality, marks something important.
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Re: Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris on Truth

Postby fuse » Wed Jan 25, 2017 5:29 am

Von Rivers, me, Faust, and Fixed Cross actually touched on a similar discussion in interpreting Nietzsche's conception of truth: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=184485&p=2438245#p2438245

The way Peterson (who explicitly mentions Nietzsche as one of his influences) describes truth is in the way that Von Rivers (Monooq) interprets Nietzsche; the way Sam talks about truth is in the way that Faust and I interpret Nietzsche.
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Re: Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris on Truth

Postby MagsJ » Wed Jan 25, 2017 10:08 pm

Is there a common conception of truth? I will watch, and decide ;)
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Re: Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris on Truth

Postby James S Saint » Wed Jan 25, 2017 10:44 pm

The Truth is merely the story that describes Reality. The rest is just half-witted conflations and obfuscations.
Clarify, Verify, Instill, and Reinforce the Perception of Hopes and Threats unto Anentropic Harmony :)
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Re: Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris on Truth

Postby Ecmandu » Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:23 am

Peterson stated that if something kills us it's not true, and Harris stated that if something killed us, it still killed us, and there's a truth to be had.

Harris is smarter than Peterson.

Harris is not smarter than I am though…. many of Harris's other points were inane.

An example: Harris stated in response to Peterson that the potential for the energy of that atom has always been there even if people couldn't understand or use it, and the atomic bomb is proof of this.

People who've seen entire realities change on a whim know better. My best example is all the different rule sets we experience in the dream world.

Harris is partly "mystical" but he hasn't thought through the implications of it well.
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Re: Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris on Truth

Postby Pandora » Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:47 am

Where do you start looking for truth? As soon as you begin, you already taint it, so basically, we can only know "our truth".

I'm with Jordan on this. He looks at a bigger picture. And I liked that he used real life examples (like Irish elk), instead of perfectly designed hypothetical examples.
And he's right in that in real life examples, things are more complex and may have multiple causes and views (his comeback to cheating wife example). I do wish they used more realistic examples in the discussion, or at least more of them. (I was recently watching a 6 part documentary series on PBS (RX For Survival) and one of them was about the rise of superbugs. The hypothetical smallpox example that was presented reminded me of it. In the PBS doc., the same bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus) for which penicillin was developed is now back and is resistant (MRSA) to most antibiotics. I wish they used an example like that, something that is happening right now)

On fluid gender pronoun campaign, I can only say in its defense that legal rights are man-made and do not have to follow biology. Legally, corporations are persons, too, and historically, kings have been given titles of gods. I would compare it to a social identity or role (like wife, mechanic, etc.), which is not directly connected to biology; i.e, manmade identity.
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Re: Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris on Truth

Postby Pandora » Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:54 am

Ecmandu wrote:
Harris is smarter than Peterson.


He's just more eloquent.

But he loves his 'toy examples' very much. :lol:
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Re: Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris on Truth

Postby Along The Way » Fri Jan 27, 2017 6:59 am

I kind of agree with Harris that Peterson was basically confusing the true with the good, but at the same time I don't think it's because Peterson is naive or an idiot or anything like that. I think Peterson knows exactly what he's doing, and I believe in his motivations.

Peterson is trying to loosen the screws on scientific materialism and in this instance he tried to do it by employing the word truth in a way that symbolizes the good, and "the good" was here being used in the sense both of the Darwinian good (that which adapts) and in the Christian sense (that which serves life). I don't know that he did a convincing job of using the word truth in that manner, but I understand why he's so passionate about this.

If I were Peterson I would just give up trying to use truth in the way he is using it, and instead simply argue that the true is nested within the good. He can then go on to explain why that is using the same models he used to explain what truth is.
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Re: Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris on Truth

Postby Orpod » Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:36 am

James S Saint wrote:The Truth is merely the story that describes Reality. The rest is just half-witted conflations and obfuscations.


But what is reality other that perception?
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Re: Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris on Truth

Postby fuse » Sat Jan 28, 2017 8:09 pm

Pandora wrote:On fluid gender pronoun campaign, I can only say in its defense that legal rights are man-made and do not have to follow biology. Legally, corporations are persons, too, and historically, kings have been given titles of gods. I would compare it to a social identity or role (like wife, mechanic, etc.), which is not directly connected to biology; i.e, manmade identity.

Human beings have worked to nullify the more destructive aspects of nature since forever. That is to say, what's natural is not always good. Yet, to deny biology as a contributing factor to gender is not a great starting point for a law that would limit the free speech of others (freedom of speech being what Sam and Peterson agree to be the most fundamental human right) and force people to call transgender folks by whatever many made-up pronouns they fancy. Why are we forcing people to speak a certain way under threat of criminal punishment? It's really gone too far.
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Re: Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris on Truth

Postby UrGod » Mon Jan 30, 2017 5:59 pm

Dr. Jordan Peterson is a hero.




Whereas Sam Harris is a fucking moron of epic proportions.
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Re: Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris on Truth

Postby Magnus Anderson » Mon Jan 30, 2017 11:29 pm

Orpod wrote:
James S Saint wrote:The Truth is merely the story that describes Reality. The rest is just half-witted conflations and obfuscations.


But what is reality other that perception?


Let's just say that herd animals have trouble accepting the fact that perception is relative and personal. If perception is relative and personal, this means everyone will have their own viewpoint. Herd animals need a viewpoint that is absolute and universal so that they can all submit to it in peace, without disagreement.
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Re: Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris on Truth

Postby Magnus Anderson » Mon Jan 30, 2017 11:41 pm

And because there is no such a thing as absolute and universal viewpoint, but only a deception, a deception that sooner or later breaks apart, and because they do not want to give up on their belief in absolutes and universals, they have no choice but to constantly seek a new delusion after the previous one has been exposed. And so they constantly ask "what is true?" seeking for the true absolute, tired of the fake ones.
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Re: Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris on Truth

Postby Only_Humean » Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:02 pm

fuse wrote:That is to say, what's natural is not always good. Yet, to deny biology as a contributing factor to gender is not a great starting point for a law that would limit the free speech of others


To assume grammar is a meaningfully-true description of physiological markers is frankly baffling to almost any of the billions who speak a gendered-noun language (non-English European languages). Most spoken languages use different pronouns as social markers (tu/vous, tu/usted, du/Sie), and look at this:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_ ... l_pronouns

Why are we forcing people to speak a certain way under threat of criminal punishment? It's really gone too far.


We already do so, of course; we have libel and slander laws that shape our expression of certain thoughts, laws that force us to suggest rather than incite, and so forth. I disagree with the assumption that regulating expression will regulate opinion, which is at the core of the drive to do so, but that's pragmatic rather than ideological. Free speech is an institutional ground rule for playing the game in a diverse society, rather than a discovered natural law or an inherent good.

(Of course, being a moderator, I would say that, wouldn't I?) ;)
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Re: Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris on Truth

Postby fuse » Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:47 pm

Only_Humean wrote:
fuse wrote:That is to say, what's natural is not always good. Yet, to deny biology as a contributing factor to gender is not a great starting point for a law that would limit the free speech of others


To assume grammar is a meaningfully-true description of physiological markers is frankly baffling to almost any of the billions who speak a gendered-noun language (non-English European languages). Most spoken languages use different pronouns as social markers (tu/vous, tu/usted, du/Sie), and look at this:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_ ... l_pronouns

That isn't my assumption. My view isn't that there can't/shouldn't be more complex or different paradigms of pronoun use, it's that the state shouldn't be policing it.

Only_Humean wrote:
Why are we forcing people to speak a certain way under threat of criminal punishment? It's really gone too far.


We already do so, of course; we have libel and slander laws that shape our expression of certain thoughts, laws that force us to suggest rather than incite, and so forth. I disagree with the assumption that regulating expression will regulate opinion, which is at the core of the drive to do so, but that's pragmatic rather than ideological.

The difference is that libel and slander laws basically impose a measure of restraint but don't force any specific speech, whereas the pronoun additions force you to publicly agree with and adopt whatever anyone wants to be their pronoun, at any time they desire.

For instance, some people feel that their gender identity is animal in spirit. My understanding of the new law in Toronto is that you would be obliged address them as an animal if they wish it. You would be obliged to address them differently from day to day if they wish it.

Only_Humean wrote:Free speech is an institutional ground rule for playing the game in a diverse society, rather than a discovered natural law or an inherent good.

(Of course, being a moderator, I would say that, wouldn't I?) ;)

Ha, you would say that, you authoritarian mods [-(

Regulating expression may not immediately impact individual opinion, but overzealous regulation and control of speech will impoverish discourse and necessarily impact the development of opinion over time.
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Re: Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris on Truth

Postby Only_Humean » Thu Feb 02, 2017 12:16 pm

fuse wrote:We already do so, of course; we have libel and slander laws that shape our expression of certain thoughts, laws that force us to suggest rather than incite, and so forth. I disagree with the assumption that regulating expression will regulate opinion, which is at the core of the drive to do so, but that's pragmatic rather than ideological.

The difference is that libel and slander laws basically impose a measure of restraint but don't force any specific speech, whereas the pronoun additions force you to publicly agree with and adopt whatever anyone wants to be their pronoun, at any time they desire.

For instance, some people feel that their gender identity is animal in spirit. My understanding of the new law in Toronto is that you would be obliged address them as an animal if they wish it. You would be obliged to address them differently from day to day if they wish it.[/quote]

This sounds extreme, and usually things that sound that wrong aren't what they're portrayed as, so I had a look into the law. It just adds trans/non-binary genders to the list of protected categories, so that federal employees can't discriminate against them as part of their role, and they're covered by hate speech laws as a threatened group in terms of incitement/genocide calls.

http://sds.utoronto.ca/blog/bill-c-16-n ... un-misuse/
https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/no-t ... ree-speech

Now, "hate crime" law is controversial in itself (I'm not a fan of hate speech laws myself, and wary of the weaponisation of protective legislation). But given that it's a Thing, extending it to trans people is not such a weird move when things like religion and colour are already covered. It's pretty weird to me to complain that "I can't even call my Vietnamese colleague a gook any more without him taking it to a tribunal" on free speech grounds, or worry that maybe someone's being oppressed because they can't call for the euthanisation of transsexuals.

Regulating expression may not immediately impact individual opinion, but overzealous regulation and control of speech will impoverish discourse and necessarily impact the development of opinion over time.


Given that criminalisation only applies to extreme incitement, it's fair to say that much of the discourse that's regulated by it is the sort of discourse that is already pretty impoverished, though, isn't it?
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Re: Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris on Truth

Postby fuse » Thu Feb 02, 2017 4:29 pm

Only_Humean wrote:Given that criminalisation only applies to extreme incitement [...]

I don't think that's given, and I don't think Peterson's argument boils down to the desire to call Vietnamese colleagues gooks.

From your first link, this is what Peterson is afraid of:
U of Toronto wrote:Non-discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression may very well be interpreted by the courts in the future to include the right to be identified by a person’s self identified pronoun. The Ontario Human Rights Commission, for example, in their Policy on Preventing Discrimination Because of Gender Identity and Expression states that gender harassment should include “ Refusing to refer to a person by their self-identified name and proper personal pronoun”. In other words, pronoun misuse may become actionable, though the Human Rights Tribunals and courts.

U of Toronto wrote:Similarly, it’s hard to see the refusal to use the appropriate pronoun –without something else – rising to the threshold of hate speech.

And yet Peterson has been threatened in writing by the University twice for his disagreement over the above law and might not have kept his professorship if it weren't for the attention he's received by the media, who he says have very much supported his cause for free speech.

Only_Humean wrote:Given that criminalisation only applies to extreme incitement, it's fair to say that much of the discourse that's regulated by it is the sort of discourse that is already pretty impoverished, though, isn't it?

I've followed Peterson for some time now, and nothing I've seen him say can be construed as extreme incitement. Yet, he has come close to losing his job, still may yet, and, by the University's own account, he could be tried through the courts and Human Rights Tribunals. Shutting down a voice like Peterson's is exactly the sort of impoverishment of public discourse I'm talking about.
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Re: Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris on Truth

Postby fuse » Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:59 pm

Along The Way wrote:I kind of agree with Harris that Peterson was basically confusing the true with the good, but at the same time I don't think it's because Peterson is naive or an idiot or anything like that. I think Peterson knows exactly what he's doing, and I believe in his motivations.

Peterson is trying to loosen the screws on scientific materialism and in this instance he tried to do it by employing the word truth in a way that symbolizes the good, and "the good" was here being used in the sense both of the Darwinian good (that which adapts) and in the Christian sense (that which serves life). I don't know that he did a convincing job of using the word truth in that manner, but I understand why he's so passionate about this.

If I were Peterson I would just give up trying to use truth in the way he is using it, and instead simply argue that the true is nested within the good. He can then go on to explain why that is using the same models he used to explain what truth is.

I pretty much agree on all counts. Harris opened a poll about whether they should attempt a second discussion where they focus on some of the subjects they didn't get to, like religion and morality. A lot of Harris's audience are actually eager to hear Peterson's perspective on those things.
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Re: Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris on Truth

Postby fuse » Thu Feb 02, 2017 6:24 pm

O_H,

Check out 4:18 - 17:00 in the video above if you haven't because Peterson lays out his understanding of the law, his opinion of it, and how his situation has played out at the University of Toronto and in the media. Perhaps there are details I skipped that could be important to our conversation.
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Re: Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris on Truth

Postby UrGod » Fri Feb 03, 2017 2:30 pm

So someone decides to cut off their genitals and pump themselves full of hormones because they actually can't accept what their gender and sex are, and even more so they tell me there is no such thing as biological gender or sex, and I'm supposed to pretend that's normal? I can't even point out how pathological and fucked up that is?
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Re: Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris on Truth

Postby UrGod » Fri Feb 03, 2017 2:41 pm

We have the mindrape that is transsexual ideology, enforced by fascist political correctness, and it is affecting children now. Kids are now becoming confused about their own gender and sex because of this normalization of mentally ill people who want to cut off their dick and balls and walk around calling themselves Nancy or whatever, and no one seems to care... sure let's just form a society that fucks with the minds of our children from day one, so they don't even form a coherent identity, and then we can make even more transgender retards. I suppose that is probably what these mentally ill people want, to expand their ranks.

Normalizing mental illness makes more mental illness.
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Re: Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris on Truth

Postby UrGod » Fri Feb 03, 2017 2:48 pm

I've never had someone explain to me why I have to accept that transgender is normal. I've asked people to explain it, but they can't. Maybe someone here can do it.

Because so far all they have is trying to use the force of law and political correctness to force everyone else to accept that it's normal. That's what Peterson is fighting back against: if you can't convince me that it's normal, or that it's ok, then don't try to force me to act as if you have convinced me. You haven't, and apparently you can't. So the fault is on you.

I'm happy to accept transgenders and use their made-up pronouns so long as someone actually convinces me it is a good idea to do that. Where are the arguments, the sound reasoning, the impassioned and truthful appeals to fight for what is right? WHY THE FUCK CAN'T YOU ARGUE FOR YOUR OWN SIDE?? Hint: if you can't coherently and rationally defend your own position then you may want to reconsider it, rather than grab a gun and try to force everyone else to your side.
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Re: Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris on Truth

Postby Only_Humean » Mon Feb 06, 2017 9:56 am

fuse wrote:
Only_Humean wrote:Given that criminalisation only applies to extreme incitement, it's fair to say that much of the discourse that's regulated by it is the sort of discourse that is already pretty impoverished, though, isn't it?

I've followed Peterson for some time now, and nothing I've seen him say can be construed as extreme incitement. Yet, he has come close to losing his job, still may yet, and, by the University's own account, he could be tried through the courts and Human Rights Tribunals. Shutting down a voice like Peterson's is exactly the sort of impoverishment of public discourse I'm talking about.


I'm talking about criminalisation; you can of course lose your job or face a tribunal over all sorts of non-criminal activity. If your colleague Tom decides he'd rather be called Tina and addressed as a female, why do you feel that as a burdensome legal obligation rather than a matter of courtesy?

And I'm very much against the weaponisation of protective legislation, as I said, but that's an artifact of the current institutions, especially in the US. When the executive is uninterested in engaging with the population, the voters become separated from the political process. The judiciary can still step in, though, so people go through supreme courts rather than working at a local level. The US civil rights movement was an early example of this, and since then it's grown on both sides of the political divide.

Wyld - you seem very emotional about what other people do with their genitalia. Why does it bother you so much? Given that we live in diverse societies these days I'm not sure why accepting people and behaviour is something you need to be argued into to doing, rather than argued out of.
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Re: Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris on Truth

Postby UrGod » Thu Feb 09, 2017 11:04 pm

Sure go ahead and chop off your dick and call yourself a woman, I'm not going to stop you. In your case I might even encourage it. But don't try to tell me I have to accept that is somehow normal, ok, healthy, or good, because it isn't. It's fucking insane.
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Re: Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris on Truth

Postby UrGod » Thu Feb 09, 2017 11:06 pm

How about this:

You have a right to do what you want to your genitals, and I have a right to call you a fucking retard and psychotic weirdo for doing it.

I think we can all live with that.
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