The problem is abstraction

This is the main board for discussing philosophy - formal, informal and in between.

Moderator: Only_Humean

Forum rules
Forum Philosophy

The problem is abstraction

Postby Faust » Fri Apr 19, 2019 5:28 pm

Every philosophical problem is a problem of abstraction. Do it wrong, and you wind up a rationalist. Or at least a metaphysician. The danger is reification, which becomes easier to ignore the more errors in abstraction you make.

What's missed by bad philosophers is that abstraction is a process, the point of which is to go beyond the empricial world, to be able to talk about that which is not empirically real, to this beyond observable reality. As soon as that goal is forgotten, the philosopher errs. The art of philosophy is the art of skillful abstraction. The philosopher's task is not to provide informtaion, but to leave information aside in order to produce more useful ideas. Abstraction is to knowledge as automation is to manufacturing.

That's not my best analogy but I like it anyway.
User avatar
Faust
Unrequited Lover of Wisdom
 
Posts: 16846
Joined: Sat May 21, 2005 6:47 pm

Re: The problem is abstraction

Postby iambiguous » Fri Apr 19, 2019 8:26 pm

Note to others:

I don't pretend to have a sophisticated technical understanding of abstraction as "good philosophers" approach it.

Here for example: https://simplyphilosophy.org/study/abst ... efinition/

Instead, my own interest revolves more around the extent to which these "good philosophers" are both willing and able to take their own significantly more sophisticated technical understanding of it out into the world of human interactions --- when different individuals come into conflict in answering the question "how ought one to live?" In other words, so as to be deemed by these "good philosophers" as reasonable and virtuous human beings.

What does "[t]he philosopher's task is not to provide inform[ation], but to leave information aside in order to produce more useful ideas" actually mean [for all practical purposes] if someone construes "useful" to be part and parcel of human interactions that do come into conflict?

Or is this just not something that "good philosophers" in grappling with the process of abstraction concern themselves with?

We can take that part to another thread if you'd like.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 30189
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: The problem is abstraction

Postby Faust » Fri Apr 19, 2019 9:57 pm

Everyone, or virtually everyone, makes abstractions every day. The act itself is not the sole province of philosophers. Everyday people find abstractions useful every day. This is not difficult. I'm not certain what your question is or why you even have a question.

I'm just talking about "dogness" as an abstraction of individual dogs you may see at a dog park, or sitting on your bed at home. Dogness is a useful idea, a view with which no one, with the possible exception of you, disagrees.

As I said, and as you skipped over in your response, the danger is in reification of an abstraction. Either you make that mistake or you don't. This has nothing directly to do with morality. You're skipping way ahead.

Now, a philosopher can make this mistake in moral thinking just as he can in any other kind of thinking. So, when you look at causes and effects, you can generalize your induction by claiming that causation is a thing. And if you forget that this discovery is a second-order abstraction, you might think it to be a real thing, part of the empirical world. You might also think that you're committed to a first cause, which, if real, becomes a First Cause. Which might affect your moral thinking.

That would be getting it off the skyhooks, but this just shows that getting our ideas off the skyhooks is the mistake, in some cases.
User avatar
Faust
Unrequited Lover of Wisdom
 
Posts: 16846
Joined: Sat May 21, 2005 6:47 pm

Re: The problem is abstraction

Postby iambiguous » Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:56 pm

Faust wrote: Everyone, or virtually everyone, makes abstractions every day. The act itself is not the sole province of philosophers. Everyday people find abstractions useful every day. This is not difficult. I'm not certain what your question is or why you even have a question.


As soon as any particular human community invents a language, they invent abstractions.

But language would seem to have been invented first and foremost not to tackle any particular epistemological concerns that might crop up among philosophers as a result of inventing langauge, but as a means to communicate the things that people actually do from day to day. Starting of course with sustaining the existence of the community itself. Words that revolve around acquiring food and water and shelter. Words that revolve around reproduction and defense.

But sooner or latter these abstractions are going to get around to the question, "how ought we to live?" Abstractions embedded in conflicting wants. Abstractions embedded in conflicting assessments regarding how to procure basic needs. Abstractions embedded in conflicting assesments regarding the right and the wrong thing to do.

Thus when we speak of "reification", we still need to focus in on a specific context in which specific behaviors come into conflict over specific conflicted goods. What of abstraction and reification "here and now" pertaining to "this or that"?

That's the part that I want to "skip ahead" to. But any number of "serious philosophers" in my view seem to insist that, no, only when we have finally pinned down "technically" what these words mean can we bring them down to earth.

Thus, when you note things like...

Faust wrote: Now, a philosopher can make this mistake in moral thinking just as he can in any other kind of thinking. So, when you look at causes and effects, you can generalize your induction by claiming that causation is a thing. And if you forget that this discovery is a second-order abstraction, you might think it to be a real thing, part of the empirical world. You might also think that you're committed to a first cause, which, if real, becomes a First Cause. Which might affect your moral thinking.


...I'm left shaking my head. What on earth are you trying to convey here with regard to an actual accusation that a mistake has been made in thinking morally?

How might this point be relevant to conflicting reactions regarding abortion or Trump's wall or the role of government.

Or, rather, is the point instead to distance the point itself from existential interactions of this sort. To pin down "technically" when mistakes are made in moral thinking?

At times I even imagine that posts of this sort are exercises in irony. Attempts to expose just how far philosophers can take language from the lives that we actually live.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 30189
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: The problem is abstraction

Postby bahman » Sun Apr 21, 2019 9:12 pm

Faust wrote:Every philosophical problem is a problem of abstraction. Do it wrong, and you wind up a rationalist. Or at least a metaphysician. The danger is reification, which becomes easier to ignore the more errors in abstraction you make.

What's missed by bad philosophers is that abstraction is a process, the point of which is to go beyond the empricial world, to be able to talk about that which is not empirically real, to this beyond observable reality. As soon as that goal is forgotten, the philosopher errs. The art of philosophy is the art of skillful abstraction. The philosopher's task is not to provide informtaion, but to leave information aside in order to produce more useful ideas. Abstraction is to knowledge as automation is to manufacturing.

That's not my best analogy but I like it anyway.

ٌWhat is abstractly possible is feasible to exists. Our reality is a case among many feasible worlds.
The sincerity in mind is the door to divine knowledge.
User avatar
bahman
 
Posts: 240
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2019 3:23 pm

Re: The problem is abstraction

Postby Faust » Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:31 pm

.I'm left shaking my head. What on earth are you trying to convey here with regard to an actual accusation that a mistake has been made in thinking morally?


The mistake is in the misunderstanding of the abstraction. This mistake can be made when we are thinking morally or when we are not. It is often made when we are thinking morally becasue the stakes are higher than, for instance, the taxonomy of canines. Unless your life depends on whether that's a lost pet dog in front of you or a wolf. But philosophers don't think too much about wolves standing in front of them.

I'm not sure how to say this more simply.

It matters in a variety of ways, or it could matter in a variety of ways. As I have already stated, you might introduce a god or two through reification. Your morality might be heavily influenced by whatever god you have come up with.

I'm also not sure why you have this unnatural loathing for "technical" meanings. In philosophy, they are usually regular words, more closely defined. Now of course you can squeeze any and all meaning form a word by defining it too closely. This can also happen with abstraction run amok. The proces of defining and using technical terms is not of itself bad - it just has to be done well.

Science uses technical terms of course. So do many occupations. Why this animosity?

All mistakes in moral thinking are made with language. This is not contriversial. So, just as a mistake of grammar is a "technical" mistake, so are mistakes of logic, or of pre-logic (e.g. abstraction).

You don't seem to allow for skill. You can do anything better or worse. Better is better.
User avatar
Faust
Unrequited Lover of Wisdom
 
Posts: 16846
Joined: Sat May 21, 2005 6:47 pm

Re: The problem is abstraction

Postby barbarianhorde » Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:43 pm

Abstraction is to knowledge as automation is to manufacturing.

That's not my best analogy but I like it anyway.

Its good.

Faust wrote:Every philosophical problem is a problem of abstraction. Do it wrong, and you wind up a rationalist. Or at least a metaphysician. The danger is reification, which becomes easier to ignore the more errors in abstraction you make.

What are some of the dangerously made errors in the history of reifying?

What's missed by bad philosophers is that abstraction is a process, the point of which is to go beyond the empricial world, to be able to talk about that which is not empirically real, to this beyond observable reality. As soon as that goal is forgotten, the philosopher errs.

Which philosophers err in this way, where?
Interesting, is all.

The art of philosophy is the art of skillful abstraction. The philosopher's task is not to provide information, but to leave information aside in order to produce more useful ideas.

I like this, too.
Philosophy is engine-building rather than driving.
It is true that liberty is precious; so precious that it must be carefully rationed.
~ Владимир Ильич Ульянов Ленин

THE HORNED ONE
User avatar
barbarianhorde
Philosopher
 
Posts: 1997
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:26 pm

Re: The problem is abstraction

Postby Meno_ » Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:52 pm

In fact, arguing about abstraction is tautological because the bweey first abstraction , started with primitive representation, then that was carried to the next possible interpretation, and so on, until meanings changed the way reality is interpreted, without cha going reality, whatever that is.
Meno_
Philosopher
 
Posts: 4631
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:39 am
Location: Mysterium Tremendum

Re: The problem is abstraction

Postby Faust » Sun Apr 21, 2019 11:12 pm

To barbarian:

So, the classic case is found in that old chestnut, the Allegory of the Cave. Plato's got a reality that is of a higher order than the reality that non-philosophers know. Platonic Forms are the first case for idealism that we usually learn, some of us in high school.

Well, that's not quite true, for many of us learn about God first. God is not a famous philosopher, but many famous philosophers have hung their hat on his peg. Descartes couldn't start his day, or his thinking, without God.

The "highest" abstraction possible is not, as it happens, the highest form of reality. Abstractions extract meaning by leaving out certian details in particulars. The only way to reach anything absolute is to extract all meaning, which leaves us with ideas tht are, by definition, incoherent. Abstraction is used in a higher order of thinking about reality, but that is not the same as saying that this thinking is about a higher reality. Many great thinkers have made this mistake.

What's confusing is that abstractions allow us to think better and more clearly about the empirical world by thinking "beyond" the empirical world. That doesn't mean that there actually is anything beyond the empirical world. Dreams, fantasies, myths, religion - it's difficult to deny the usefulness of these, even while maintaining that they are in no way literally "true".

Keeping in mind that onloy statements can be true, of course.
User avatar
Faust
Unrequited Lover of Wisdom
 
Posts: 16846
Joined: Sat May 21, 2005 6:47 pm

Re: The problem is abstraction

Postby barbarianhorde » Sun Apr 21, 2019 11:36 pm

Abstractions extract meaning by leaving out certian details in particulars.

Very strong. I will use this.
It is true that liberty is precious; so precious that it must be carefully rationed.
~ Владимир Ильич Ульянов Ленин

THE HORNED ONE
User avatar
barbarianhorde
Philosopher
 
Posts: 1997
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:26 pm

Re: The problem is abstraction

Postby barbarianhorde » Sun Apr 21, 2019 11:37 pm

You're the only one I could see write an actual "philosophy for Dummies" that wouldn't be an insult or a bore.
It is true that liberty is precious; so precious that it must be carefully rationed.
~ Владимир Ильич Ульянов Ленин

THE HORNED ONE
User avatar
barbarianhorde
Philosopher
 
Posts: 1997
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:26 pm

Re: The problem is abstraction

Postby barbarianhorde » Sun Apr 21, 2019 11:40 pm

Fuck Zizek. He is one of them Nietzsche identified as making things too vague and opaque to understand in order to sound sophisticated. He has a whole set of physiological theatrics to go along with it.

But in Platos terms, he started out with some real forms like the Platonic solids. These aren't so much mental attractions as empirical reductions.
He then made the utterly bizarre error of equating the universal status of that kind of minimal form to that of basically all nouns in the Greek language, thereby creating what I think still works for us as metaphysics.
It is true that liberty is precious; so precious that it must be carefully rationed.
~ Владимир Ильич Ульянов Ленин

THE HORNED ONE
User avatar
barbarianhorde
Philosopher
 
Posts: 1997
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:26 pm

Re: The problem is abstraction

Postby barbarianhorde » Sun Apr 21, 2019 11:50 pm

My nauseating upbeat remarks aside,

But what happened in Plato. I think what happened is what later concluded in Kant.

Plato went off the rails and then headed for some kind of ravine or mountain to crash into. That ravine or mountain was Kant but it turned out to be a kind of medieval lock of most ingenious making. You can't easily get out of Kant but he isn't quite a black hole or a death trap. He simply shows you the limit of Platonism. This limit must be read in the purpose Kant proposes, which is the good, a universally valid moral position. This very void in which Plato fell - the wish that there should be such a thing as a universally valid position with respect to earthly situations - is resolved in the disciplined mr Kant, who simply works out some prerogatives which can be defeated and some categories which hold as some of the most solid descriptions of metaphysical terms. In his qualification of the noumenon and the phenomenon he defined Platonism in terms of itself. So hence that lock, locked inside of itself. Germany.
It is true that liberty is precious; so precious that it must be carefully rationed.
~ Владимир Ильич Ульянов Ленин

THE HORNED ONE
User avatar
barbarianhorde
Philosopher
 
Posts: 1997
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:26 pm

Re: The problem is abstraction

Postby barbarianhorde » Sun Apr 21, 2019 11:55 pm

When we stick to continental Idealism, beyond Kant we have Schopenhauer who reduces metaphysics to the machinery of the projection of metaphysics, he thus terminates the distinction between phenomenon and noumenon, he simply sees the plasma in which both appear, namely the will, which is palpable only as before-placing - "imagination" as it is translated.

Then Nietzsche takes this and makes it as active as the Earth appears to us (places it in its own context?) and posits will to power as the proper abstraction of things, the Thing in general. So the idea rises that in any earthly situation you can leave out every detail except the will to power and you'll understand what it is and the way it will unfold, what it becomes.

But is this true?
Has Nietzsche put us in the final metaphysical trap? The atomic vault, by comparison to which Kants locksmithing is a crumbling relic?
It is true that liberty is precious; so precious that it must be carefully rationed.
~ Владимир Ильич Ульянов Ленин

THE HORNED ONE
User avatar
barbarianhorde
Philosopher
 
Posts: 1997
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:26 pm

Re: The problem is abstraction

Postby barbarianhorde » Mon Apr 22, 2019 12:31 am

What is certain that abstraction has, with Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, gone beyond the human, the individual in the Greek sense.
Kant still took the individual as axiomatic without even stopping to take note of it, and started positing the quintessential problem in hermetically secured terms of the human individual. The personal mind, the consciousness. This is lost in Nietzsche. Ironically, because the individual is reduced to his moving parts, the absent given of hermetic individuality removes the absent surplus of energy that rests on such a naive assumption. With the abstraction of the World as will to power and you, also nothing besides, man collapsed into his atomic mass, no longer greater than the sum of his parts.
This was nihilism, the silent dragon who appears in no myths but at the end of each story calls for another one.
Qualcosalism is next
It is true that liberty is precious; so precious that it must be carefully rationed.
~ Владимир Ильич Ульянов Ленин

THE HORNED ONE
User avatar
barbarianhorde
Philosopher
 
Posts: 1997
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:26 pm

Re: The problem is abstraction

Postby barbarianhorde » Mon Apr 22, 2019 12:40 am

Hey try this -
just keep thinking "thing" and look around the room.
Try to think of each ...um, thing... as a "thing".
For me it got unfathomably stuffy immediately.

It made me want to invent the precise other sort of... thing, not the non-thing - well lets try that

thats fascinating.

The tea pot is remarkably vivid as a non-thing.
Oooohhh .... the chair...
yes, these beings are not things.

There are only beings. And they definitely will to power.
The magnanimous triumph of furniture and a good teapot. Knowing that it will always exist wherever there is wealth. That is self-valuing.


Tea is a context. It is the board on which the English empire was arranged. Japanese know the context of tea, as well.
The leaf.

Weed or drugs is not a single context. It is a madness, a mania, a state that rages through different contexts. It doesn't will to power in contexts, but over them. In this, it is simply nameless,, shapeless, the will to power itself. Drugs is will to power over the human. This is the rush for the human, who tries to overcome this, and becomes resourceful and feverishly inventive and at ease with losing context after context - and hopefully finds one to settle in as someone who now knows that the more fluid things are the better they stay in place. Thats simply the lesson. You have to learn it somehow. Weed is one way. Another way is looking at the line-movements of a Roman legion.
It is true that liberty is precious; so precious that it must be carefully rationed.
~ Владимир Ильич Ульянов Ленин

THE HORNED ONE
User avatar
barbarianhorde
Philosopher
 
Posts: 1997
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:26 pm

Re: The problem is abstraction

Postby iambiguous » Tue Apr 23, 2019 6:45 pm

Faust wrote:
I'm left shaking my head. What on earth are you trying to convey here with regard to an actual accusation that a mistake has been made in thinking morally?


The mistake is in the misunderstanding of the abstraction. This mistake can be made when we are thinking morally or when we are not. It is often made when we are thinking morally becasue the stakes are higher than, for instance, the taxonomy of canines. Unless your life depends on whether that's a lost pet dog in front of you or a wolf. But philosophers don't think too much about wolves standing in front of them.


But I repeat myself: What on earth are you trying to convey here? Philosophers and dogs and wolves? Okay, philosophers are surely permitted to go there.

But what of the misunderstandings and mistakes made regarding abstraction when the discussion shifts to the moral quandaries embedded in issues like the rights of animals in relationship to interactions with human beings? When we go beyond thinking about this morally and are confronted existentially with conflicting goods intertwined in actual human behaviors that clash. How "simply" this is all noted is not really the part that interest me the most.

Faust wrote: I'm also not sure why you have this unnatural loathing for "technical" meanings. In philosophy, they are usually regular words, more closely defined.


Over and again on various threads, I make it clear that my reaction to technical language is not one of fear and loathing [of "animosity"] but of bringing it out into the world that revolves around my own philosophical proclivity: How ought one to live?

I'm curious how this technical language is relevant with regard to the chief components of my own moral philosophy: identity, value judgments and political power. Pertaining to a particular context.

Thus a "general description" of this sort...

Faust wrote: Now of course you can squeeze any and all meaning form a word by defining it too closely. This can also happen with abstraction run amok. The proces of defining and using technical terms is not of itself bad - it just has to be done well.


...is just that: a very general description of meaning and abstraction.

Or this:

Faust wrote: All mistakes in moral thinking are made with language. This is not contriversial. So, just as a mistake of grammar is a "technical" mistake, so are mistakes of logic, or of pre-logic (e.g. abstraction).

You don't seem to allow for skill. You can do anything better or worse. Better is better.


What on earth does it mean for skillful philosophers to be better at employing abstraction when the language that they use makes contact with a particular set of conflicting goods like abortion or animal rights or gender roles?

How might that exchange unfold?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 30189
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: The problem is abstraction

Postby iambiguous » Tue Apr 23, 2019 6:49 pm

barbarianhorde wrote:
Abstractions extract meaning by leaving out certian details in particulars.

Very strong. I will use this.


Okay, note examples of abstractions able to "extract meaning by leaving out certain details in particulars" with respect to a context in which human interactions come into conflict over value judgments.

A context most here are likely to be familiar with.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 30189
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: The problem is abstraction

Postby Faust » Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:42 pm

barbarianhorde wrote:
But in Platos terms, he started out with some real forms like the Platonic solids. These aren't so much mental attractions as empirical reductions.
He then made the utterly bizarre error of equating the universal status of that kind of minimal form to that of basically all nouns in the Greek language, thereby creating what I think still works for us as metaphysics.


Pretty much.
User avatar
Faust
Unrequited Lover of Wisdom
 
Posts: 16846
Joined: Sat May 21, 2005 6:47 pm

Re: The problem is abstraction

Postby Faust » Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:57 pm

But I repeat myself: What on earth are you trying to convey here? Philosophers and dogs and wolves? Okay, philosophers are surely permitted to go there.


Taxonomy requires abstraction. There are debates among taxonomists about whether or not a fox is a dog, or if a coyote is. In fact, taxonomy varies around the world, because it is decided upon by different bodies. But it doesn't matter much if it's taxonomy. It matters if it's about causation or god, for instance. At least it matters to some. I know you have no idea what i am talking about, but that's not my fault.

But what of the misunderstandings and mistakes made regarding abstraction when the discussion shifts to the moral quandaries embedded in issues like the rights of animals in relationship to interactions with human beings?


Like what? Which mistakes?

When we go beyond thinking about this morally and are confronted existentially with conflicting goods intertwined in actual human behaviors that clash. How "simply" this is all noted is not really the part that interest me the most.


Thinking about conflicting goods is not beyond thinking about morality. Moral thinking must consider conflicting goods. "Goods" in this context belongs to morality. What on earth can you be talking about except moral goods?

I'm curious how this technical language is relevant with regard to the chief components of my own moral philosophy: identity, value judgments and political power. Pertaining to a particular context.


You are the only person who can figure this out. It would require that you learn.

...is just that: a very general description of meaning and abstraction.


What's your point? It's "my" thread and I'll post what I wish.

What on earth does it mean for skillful philosophers to be better at employing abstraction when the language that they use makes contact with a particular set of conflicting goods like abortion or animal rights or gender roles?


They can avoid reif.... oh wait. I've already explained all that. I don't think I can make it much simpler.
User avatar
Faust
Unrequited Lover of Wisdom
 
Posts: 16846
Joined: Sat May 21, 2005 6:47 pm

Re: The problem is abstraction

Postby iambiguous » Thu Apr 25, 2019 5:51 pm

Faust wrote:
But I repeat myself: What on earth are you trying to convey here? Philosophers and dogs and wolves? Okay, philosophers are surely permitted to go there.


Taxonomy requires abstraction. There are debates among taxonomists about whether or not a fox is a dog, or if a coyote is. In fact, taxonomy varies around the world, because it is decided upon by different bodies. But it doesn't matter much if it's taxonomy. It matters if it's about causation or god, for instance. At least it matters to some. I know you have no idea what i am talking about, but that's not my fault.


Okay, granted. But then I'm back to this:

But language would seem to have been invented first and foremost not to tackle any particular epistemological concerns that might crop up among philosophers as a result of inventing langauge, but as a means to communicate the things that people actually do from day to day. Starting of course with sustaining the existence of the community itself. Words that revolve around acquiring food and water and shelter. Words that revolve around reproduction and defense.

But sooner or latter these abstractions are going to get around to the question, "how ought we to live?" Abstractions embedded in conflicting wants. Abstractions embedded in conflicting assessments regarding how to procure basic needs. Abstractions embedded in conflicting assesments regarding the right and the wrong thing to do.


It's not for nothing that most scientists don't concern themselves with classification once those things that they are able to classify [with great precision] make contact with the is/ought world.

Here they tend to boot things of this nature over to the ethicists in the field of philosophy.

And that's where I come in here by and large.

But what of the misunderstandings and mistakes made regarding abstraction when the discussion shifts to the moral quandaries embedded in issues like the rights of animals in relationship to interactions with human beings?


Faust wrote: Like what? Which mistakes?


Exactly my point. Abstraction and reification can come into play when the discussion shifts to particular mistakes that are said to be made by those who embrace opposing sets of assumptions regarding any particular set of conflicting goods in any particular context.

That's where I wish to take the exchange.

This part:

When we go beyond thinking about this morally and are confronted existentially with conflicting goods intertwined in actual human behaviors that clash. How "simply" this is all noted is not really the part that interest me the most.


Faust wrote: Thinking about conflicting goods is not beyond thinking about morality. Moral thinking must consider conflicting goods. "Goods" in this context belongs to morality. What on earth can you be talking about except moral goods?


Another "general description". An "assessment" entirely up in the clouds that encompass any number of "intellectual contraptions" we encounter here.

Whereas I am more inclined to "illustrate the text":

I'm curious how this technical language is relevant with regard to the chief components of my own moral philosophy: identity, value judgments and political power. Pertaining to a particular context.


Faust wrote: You are the only person who can figure this out. It would require that you learn.


Come on, this point can be made to anyone who embraces one or another rendition of the "good". And any number of them will insist that those who oppose their own value judgments can "figure it out" if only they will "learn" to think as they do.

Then I'm back to shifting the discussion into a more substantive exchange: figuring what out regarding what conflicting behaviors in what particular context?

...is just that: a very general description of meaning and abstraction.


Faust wrote: What's your point? It's "my" thread and I'll post what I wish.


Sure, if that is actually where you want to take this.

What on earth does it mean for skillful philosophers to be better at employing abstraction when the language that they use makes contact with a particular set of conflicting goods like abortion or animal rights or gender roles?


Faust wrote: They can avoid reif.... oh wait. I've already explained all that. I don't think I can make it much simpler.


Then I'm back to this part:

How "simply" this is all noted is not really the part that interest me the most.


Though, by all means, we can just leave it at that and move on to others who are more inclined to think about all of this as we do.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 30189
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: The problem is abstraction

Postby Faust » Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:45 pm

Scientists do nothing but classify. If an event can't be placed into a class, scientists have no idea what to do with it. You can try to boot science "back" to philosophy, but that's not what actually happens.

Abstractions can come into play at any time. Language was indeed invented to be able to make abstractions. That's why names are a particular interest of philosophers. Because within language they are anomalous. A special case. So special that even Russell kicked his own ass over them. But my questions about mistakes is not your point at all. I want to know some of these mistakes. particular examples. It was not a rhetorical question.

Another "general description". An "assessment" entirely up in the clouds that encompass any number of "intellectual contraptions" we encounter here.


Now i'm calling bullshit. Ban me, motherfuckers, but that's just bullshit. You make it general when you talk about "conflicting goods". It's nonsense to respond to a general claim that you made in anything but a claim that is just as general - or is at least about that original general thing. "Morality" is a general term. Your response is just crap.

Come on, this point can be made to anyone who embraces one or another rendition of the "good".


You are equivocating between "the good" and "goods". I'd explain the difference, but you would only huff and puff about technical terms. Automobile mechanics use technical terms - are you offended by that?

The fact is that knowledge does not exist without abstraction. It doesn't drop from the sky and it's not rooted in a fractured ego. Existentialism is a personality disorder (a general opinion, not directed at you in particular). The insane clown Heidegger and his posse was so fucked up by Being that he never went anywhere, philosophically. Kierkegaard got it right - but he was a psychologist. You are not and never have been discussing philosophy, but have been discussing a personality disorder.

But again, you cannot know anything without abstraction. Only particulars exist in the empirical world and abstractions exist only in human thought. You can argue all you want, but you will never even comprehend my thesis until you realize these simple facts. Abstractions, explicit or implied, are required to talk about particulars in any meaningful way. This is not even philosophy - it's linguistics.

Your thesis is like bad science - it is not refutable, not because it is true, but because it is not testable. As long as you don't even recognize your own abstractions, your own generalizations, you will not even know what you know. You are making any knowledge, under any conception of knowledge, impossible.

Thinking about conflicting goods is not beyond thinking about morality. Moral thinking must consider conflicting goods. "Goods" in this context belongs to morality. What on earth can you be talking about except moral goods?


Yes, this is a general description. These are all abstractions. This is why language was invented, why it is useful, and how knowledge comes to be. Or anything remotely resembling knowledge. But if you don't know that morality, by any definition, must consider conflicting goods, you know nothing about morality. It's axiomatic and definitional.
User avatar
Faust
Unrequited Lover of Wisdom
 
Posts: 16846
Joined: Sat May 21, 2005 6:47 pm

Re: The problem is abstraction

Postby iambiguous » Sun Apr 28, 2019 7:22 pm

Faust wrote: Scientists do nothing but classify.


And that's because they wrangle with the either/or world. And, there, classifying something as either this or that comes...natural?

Faust wrote: Abstractions can come into play at any time. Language was indeed invented to be able to make abstractions. That's why names are a particular interest of philosophers. Because within language they are anomalous. A special case. So special that even Russell kicked his own ass over them. But my questions about mistakes is not your point at all. I want to know some of these mistakes. particular examples. It was not a rhetorical question.


Again, that is basically my point. Science uses language/abstraction to connect the dots between words and worlds. The words either correspond to the world or they don't. Mistakes are made or they are not. The words used to build a rocket either take the astronauts to the Moon and back or they don't. But what about words exchanged back and forth regarding whether the government ought be spending billions of dollars for that instead of for solving problems right here on Earth. Where is the exact fit between words and worlds there?

In fact, only when science goes after the really Big Questions do their words/abstractions become increasingly nore speculative and problematic.

Whereas when philosophers/ethicists who probe the question "how ought one to live?" exchange words/language/abstractions, who is really to say when mistakes are being made? With regard to particular conflicting behaviors in a particular context?

Here we can only take our words/language/abstractions out into the world and test them against the meaning of others.

Another "general description". An "assessment" entirely up in the clouds that encompass any number of "intellectual contraptions" we encounter here.


Faust wrote: Now i'm calling bullshit. Ban me, motherfuckers, but that's just bullshit. You make it general when you talk about "conflicting goods". It's nonsense to respond to a general claim that you made in anything but a claim that is just as general - or is at least about that original general thing. "Morality" is a general term. Your response is just crap.


Wow. Where is this "reaction" coming from? And, yes, it is but one more "general description"!

Morality is a general term. But the term can be yanked down out of the intellectual clouds we often encounter here and probed in regards to behaviors and contexts in which the word might be applied. Testing its use value and exchange value. Along with other such general terms as freedom and justice.

But then [in my view] it's straight back up into the clouds:

Faust wrote: You are equivocating between "the good" and "goods". I'd explain the difference, but you would only huff and puff about technical terms. Automobile mechanics use technical terms - are you offended by that?

The fact is that knowledge does not exist without abstraction. It doesn't drop from the sky and it's not rooted in a fractured ego. Existentialism is a personality disorder (a general opinion, not directed at you in particular). The insane clown Heidegger and his posse was so fucked up by Being that he never went anywhere, philosophically. Kierkegaard got it right - but he was a psychologist. You are not and never have been discussing philosophy, but have been discussing a personality disorder.


And you accuse me of huffing and puffing.

Clearly, I have struck a nerve. And, in my view, it revolves by and large around the fact that you still refuse to take even outbursts like this "down to earth".

Let's focus the beam on a specific set of circumstances in which behaviors come into conflict over value judgments. Intertwine the meaning of abstraction and personality disorders and fractured egos and existentialism into that discussion. You choose the context.

Just let it be about an instance in which the possibility of "the agony of choice in the face of uncertainty" rears its troubling head regarding what the existentialist William Barrett described as "rival goods".

In other words, not just more of this...

Faust wrote: But again, you cannot know anything without abstraction. Only particulars exist in the empirical world and abstractions exist only in human thought. You can argue all you want, but you will never even comprehend my thesis until you realize these simple facts. Abstractions, explicit or implied, are required to talk about particulars in any meaningful way. This is not even philosophy - it's linguistics.

Your thesis is like bad science - it is not refutable, not because it is true, but because it is not testable. As long as you don't even recognize your own abstractions, your own generalizations, you will not even know what you know. You are making any knowledge, under any conception of knowledge, impossible.


Note to others:

You tell me: What on earth is this supposed to mean? How is it applicable to your own interactions with others when values come into conflict?

Let's take this part...

Faust wrote: Yes, this is a general description. These are all abstractions. This is why language was invented, why it is useful, and how knowledge comes to be. Or anything remotely resembling knowledge. But if you don't know that morality, by any definition, must consider conflicting goods, you know nothing about morality. It's axiomatic and definitional.


...out for a spin and zero in on situations in which an axiomatic and definitional understanding of morality comes up against the manner in which I construe human interactions here as revolving more around my own understanding of dasein, conflicting goods and political economy.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 30189
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland


Return to Philosophy



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users