Total Posts:45|Showing Posts:1-30|Last Page
Jump to topic:

Standards in Philosophy

Fkkize
Posts: 2,149
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/22/2016 8:09:37 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
Why should philosophy abide to different standards than the natural sciences?

I think my point is best explained by an example.
In science we use models all the time. These models are more or less accurate.
If I wanted to describe the state of some volume of air (at room temperature, under standard conditions), I could approximately do so by using the ideal gas law.
Now everyone knows the ideal gas law is not a perfect description of gases, but we can use it with great success in predicting what's going to happen.

At some point people were able to improve on the IGL, for example with the van-der-Waals equation. This development has not made the IGl any less accurate in what it predicts.

In philosophy people sometimes reject ideas on the basis of single counterexamples. We might, for example, object to utilitarianism with wild scenarios of utility monsters and so on, in which utilitarianism may or may not suggest the incorrect course of action. But we could improve on it via rule utilitarianism, among other things.

But there are many scenarios where utilitarianism gives the right answer. So, my question is, why should we judge a philosophical thesis by different standards from a scientific one? Why should we, for example, outright reject utilitrianism instead of viewing it as a model of morality with a limited scope of application?
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Emgaol
Posts: 165
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/24/2016 6:33:07 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/22/2016 8:09:37 PM, Fkkize wrote:
Why should philosophy abide to different standards than the natural sciences?

I think my point is best explained by an example.
In science we use models all the time. These models are more or less accurate.
If I wanted to describe the state of some volume of air (at room temperature, under standard conditions), I could approximately do so by using the ideal gas law.
Now everyone knows the ideal gas law is not a perfect description of gases, but we can use it with great success in predicting what's going to happen.

At some point people were able to improve on the IGL, for example with the van-der-Waals equation. This development has not made the IGl any less accurate in what it predicts.

In philosophy people sometimes reject ideas on the basis of single counterexamples. We might, for example, object to utilitarianism with wild scenarios of utility monsters and so on, in which utilitarianism may or may not suggest the incorrect course of action. But we could improve on it via rule utilitarianism, among other things.

But there are many scenarios where utilitarianism gives the right answer. So, my question is, why should we judge a philosophical thesis by different standards from a scientific one? Why should we, for example, outright reject utilitrianism instead of viewing it as a model of morality with a limited scope of application?

I'd like to suggest a reason why some people reject ideas based on a single counterexample.
When a claim is worded as an absolute, universal, without exception, declaration, it only requires one exception to disprove that claim.
If I could use utilitarianism as an example, here's one version of a definition: "The doctrine that an action is right in so far as it promotes happiness, and that the greatest happiness of the greatest number should be the guiding principle of conduct."

I've highlighted the one word that I think makes this statement a universal declaration. If we changed it to; a guiding principle of conduct, then concepts other than just "happiness" could be accommodated. Maybe "well being" could be included. Even the word "doctrine" carries with it a certain amount of baggage.

On scientific standards, I think it is accepted that science never makes absolute universal statements. That's why modifications such as van-der-Waals equation can be used for greater understanding. Concepts such as Ohm's Law and Kirchhoff's Laws should not have the phrase "applies at every instant of time" attached to them. Ohm's Law only applies to an electrical circuit which has achieved a steady (not transitional) state.

Maybe if philosophers didn't word their ideas as declarations "without exception" then we might try to combine their ideas into a more widely acceptable concept.
Hayd
Posts: 4,022
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/24/2016 3:12:56 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/22/2016 8:09:37 PM, Fkkize wrote:
Why should philosophy abide to different standards than the natural sciences?

I think my point is best explained by an example.
In science we use models all the time. These models are more or less accurate.
If I wanted to describe the state of some volume of air (at room temperature, under standard conditions), I could approximately do so by using the ideal gas law.
Now everyone knows the ideal gas law is not a perfect description of gases, but we can use it with great success in predicting what's going to happen.

At some point people were able to improve on the IGL, for example with the van-der-Waals equation. This development has not made the IGl any less accurate in what it predicts.

In philosophy people sometimes reject ideas on the basis of single counterexamples. We might, for example, object to utilitarianism with wild scenarios of utility monsters and so on, in which utilitarianism may or may not suggest the incorrect course of action. But we could improve on it via rule utilitarianism, among other things.

But there are many scenarios where utilitarianism gives the right answer. So, my question is, why should we judge a philosophical thesis by different standards from a scientific one? Why should we, for example, outright reject utilitrianism instead of viewing it as a model of morality with a limited scope of application?

This is a good OP, thank you for posting it.

I agree with you, although a concept may be inconsistent sometimes (e.g. utilitarianism), that doesn't necessarily mean it should be rejected. But that is only true if it's the best alternative. So if I would propose utilitarianism and my opponent brings up the dictator scenario, as long as utilitarianism is the most consistent system, it is still upheld (i.e. nirvana fallacy)

But if someone shows that utilitarianism is moderately inconsistent and shows that X is more consistent, then utilitarianism would be refuted.
Fkkize
Posts: 2,149
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/24/2016 3:51:36 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 6:33:07 AM, Emgaol wrote:
At 5/22/2016 8:09:37 PM, Fkkize wrote:
Why should philosophy abide to different standards than the natural sciences?

I think my point is best explained by an example.
In science we use models all the time. These models are more or less accurate.
If I wanted to describe the state of some volume of air (at room temperature, under standard conditions), I could approximately do so by using the ideal gas law.
Now everyone knows the ideal gas law is not a perfect description of gases, but we can use it with great success in predicting what's going to happen.

At some point people were able to improve on the IGL, for example with the van-der-Waals equation. This development has not made the IGl any less accurate in what it predicts.

In philosophy people sometimes reject ideas on the basis of single counterexamples. We might, for example, object to utilitarianism with wild scenarios of utility monsters and so on, in which utilitarianism may or may not suggest the incorrect course of action. But we could improve on it via rule utilitarianism, among other things.

But there are many scenarios where utilitarianism gives the right answer. So, my question is, why should we judge a philosophical thesis by different standards from a scientific one? Why should we, for example, outright reject utilitrianism instead of viewing it as a model of morality with a limited scope of application?

I'd like to suggest a reason why some people reject ideas based on a single counterexample.
When a claim is worded as an absolute, universal, without exception, declaration, it only requires one exception to disprove that claim.

Sure.

If I could use utilitarianism as an example, here's one version of a definition: "The doctrine that an action is right in so far as it promotes happiness, and that the greatest happiness of the greatest number should be the guiding principle of conduct."

I've highlighted the one word that I think makes this statement a universal declaration. If we changed it to; a guiding principle of conduct, then concepts other than just "happiness" could be accommodated. Maybe "well being" could be included.

On scientific standards, I think it is accepted that science never makes absolute universal statements. That's why modifications such as van-der-Waals equation can be used for greater understanding. Concepts such as Ohm's Law and Kirchhoff's Laws should not have the phrase "applies at every instant of time" attached to them. Ohm's Law only applies to an electrical circuit which has achieved a steady (not transitional) state.

Maybe if philosophers didn't word their ideas as declarations "without exception" then we might try to combine their ideas into a more widely acceptable concept.

For the most part, scientific statements are declared without exceptions. For example, we know it's not true, yet we still call it Newton's universal law of gravity and neither it nor your own example of Ohm's law states explicit limitations. In the latter case you'd have to divide by zero when describing the current in super conductors.
But it is, as you say, generally accepted that science never makes absolute universal statements, my suggestion is merely that philosophy shouldn't attempt to do so either.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Welfare-Worker
Posts: 1,200
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/24/2016 4:23:01 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 3:51:36 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/24/2016 6:33:07 AM, Emgaol wrote:
At 5/22/2016 8:09:37 PM, Fkkize wrote:
Why should philosophy abide to different standards than the natural sciences?

I think my point is best explained by an example.
In science we use models all the time. These models are more or less accurate.
If I wanted to describe the state of some volume of air (at room temperature, under standard conditions), I could approximately do so by using the ideal gas law.
Now everyone knows the ideal gas law is not a perfect description of gases, but we can use it with great success in predicting what's going to happen.

At some point people were able to improve on the IGL, for example with the van-der-Waals equation. This development has not made the IGl any less accurate in what it predicts.

In philosophy people sometimes reject ideas on the basis of single counterexamples. We might, for example, object to utilitarianism with wild scenarios of utility monsters and so on, in which utilitarianism may or may not suggest the incorrect course of action. But we could improve on it via rule utilitarianism, among other things.

But there are many scenarios where utilitarianism gives the right answer. So, my question is, why should we judge a philosophical thesis by different standards from a scientific one? Why should we, for example, outright reject utilitrianism instead of viewing it as a model of morality with a limited scope of application?

I'd like to suggest a reason why some people reject ideas based on a single counterexample.
When a claim is worded as an absolute, universal, without exception, declaration, it only requires one exception to disprove that claim.

Sure.

If I could use utilitarianism as an example, here's one version of a definition: "The doctrine that an action is right in so far as it promotes happiness, and that the greatest happiness of the greatest number should be the guiding principle of conduct."

I've highlighted the one word that I think makes this statement a universal declaration. If we changed it to; a guiding principle of conduct, then concepts other than just "happiness" could be accommodated. Maybe "well being" could be included.

On scientific standards, I think it is accepted that science never makes absolute universal statements. That's why modifications such as van-der-Waals equation can be used for greater understanding. Concepts such as Ohm's Law and Kirchhoff's Laws should not have the phrase "applies at every instant of time" attached to them. Ohm's Law only applies to an electrical circuit which has achieved a steady (not transitional) state.

Maybe if philosophers didn't word their ideas as declarations "without exception" then we might try to combine their ideas into a more widely acceptable concept.

For the most part, scientific statements are declared without exceptions. For example, we know it's not true, yet we still call it Newton's universal law of gravity and neither it nor your own example of Ohm's law states explicit limitations. In the latter case you'd have to divide by zero when describing the current in super conductors.
But it is, as you say, generally accepted that science never makes absolute universal statements, my suggestion is merely that philosophy shouldn't attempt to do so either.

Except that, Philosophy doesn't, any more that Science does.
It so happens, that some individuals claim they use Science to arrive at a universal statement.
I have seen the words of individuals that say (paraphrased), 'Scientific evidence tells me there is no God.'
That is quite a universal statement. Science makes no such claim, but individuals give credit to Science for their belief, that they believe is Truth.

There is no tenement of Philosophy that says belief systems, or pieces of belief systems, are universally true.
Individuals may adopt a philosophy that says a statement is universally true, and live their life accordingly.
I know some individuals who say Science is the only path to truth - universally - and live their life accordingly.

When they do, they are not following any tenent of Philosophy or Science, just their own Philosophy.
Would you agree?
Fkkize
Posts: 2,149
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/24/2016 4:35:48 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 4:23:01 PM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
At 5/24/2016 3:51:36 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/24/2016 6:33:07 AM, Emgaol wrote:
At 5/22/2016 8:09:37 PM, Fkkize wrote:
Why should philosophy abide to different standards than the natural sciences?

I think my point is best explained by an example.
In science we use models all the time. These models are more or less accurate.
If I wanted to describe the state of some volume of air (at room temperature, under standard conditions), I could approximately do so by using the ideal gas law.
Now everyone knows the ideal gas law is not a perfect description of gases, but we can use it with great success in predicting what's going to happen.

At some point people were able to improve on the IGL, for example with the van-der-Waals equation. This development has not made the IGl any less accurate in what it predicts.

In philosophy people sometimes reject ideas on the basis of single counterexamples. We might, for example, object to utilitarianism with wild scenarios of utility monsters and so on, in which utilitarianism may or may not suggest the incorrect course of action. But we could improve on it via rule utilitarianism, among other things.

But there are many scenarios where utilitarianism gives the right answer. So, my question is, why should we judge a philosophical thesis by different standards from a scientific one? Why should we, for example, outright reject utilitrianism instead of viewing it as a model of morality with a limited scope of application?

I'd like to suggest a reason why some people reject ideas based on a single counterexample.
When a claim is worded as an absolute, universal, without exception, declaration, it only requires one exception to disprove that claim.

Sure.

If I could use utilitarianism as an example, here's one version of a definition: "The doctrine that an action is right in so far as it promotes happiness, and that the greatest happiness of the greatest number should be the guiding principle of conduct."

I've highlighted the one word that I think makes this statement a universal declaration. If we changed it to; a guiding principle of conduct, then concepts other than just "happiness" could be accommodated. Maybe "well being" could be included.

On scientific standards, I think it is accepted that science never makes absolute universal statements. That's why modifications such as van-der-Waals equation can be used for greater understanding. Concepts such as Ohm's Law and Kirchhoff's Laws should not have the phrase "applies at every instant of time" attached to them. Ohm's Law only applies to an electrical circuit which has achieved a steady (not transitional) state.

Maybe if philosophers didn't word their ideas as declarations "without exception" then we might try to combine their ideas into a more widely acceptable concept.

For the most part, scientific statements are declared without exceptions. For example, we know it's not true, yet we still call it Newton's universal law of gravity and neither it nor your own example of Ohm's law states explicit limitations. In the latter case you'd have to divide by zero when describing the current in super conductors.
But it is, as you say, generally accepted that science never makes absolute universal statements, my suggestion is merely that philosophy shouldn't attempt to do so either.

Except that, Philosophy doesn't, any more that Science does.
It so happens, that some individuals claim they use Science to arrive at a universal statement.
I have seen the words of individuals that say (paraphrased), 'Scientific evidence tells me there is no God.'
That is quite a universal statement.
Well, no. "All X are Y" is a universal statement, "X exists" is an existential statement.
But that's just being picky and not my point.

Science makes no such claim, but individuals give credit to Science for their belief, that they believe is Truth.
There is no tenement of Philosophy that says belief systems, or pieces of belief systems, are universally true.

Of course, but people treat philosophy as if, not approximate truth, but truth simpliciter is the ultimate standard for ideas, which are more often than not dismissed entirely should they fail to meet this bar.

Individuals may adopt a philosophy that says a statement is universally true, and live their life accordingly.
I know some individuals who say Science is the only path to truth - universally - and live their life accordingly.

When they do, they are not following any tenent of Philosophy or Science, just their own Philosophy.
Would you agree?

Sure, everyone acts according to what he believes to be true. But I am interested in what we should believe, not what we believe anyway.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/24/2016 4:45:02 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/22/2016 8:09:37 PM, Fkkize wrote:
Why should philosophy abide to different standards than the natural sciences?

I think my point is best explained by an example.
In science we use models all the time. These models are more or less accurate.
If I wanted to describe the state of some volume of air (at room temperature, under standard conditions), I could approximately do so by using the ideal gas law.
Now everyone knows the ideal gas law is not a perfect description of gases, but we can use it with great success in predicting what's going to happen.

At some point people were able to improve on the IGL, for example with the van-der-Waals equation. This development has not made the IGl any less accurate in what it predicts.

In philosophy people sometimes reject ideas on the basis of single counterexamples. We might, for example, object to utilitarianism with wild scenarios of utility monsters and so on, in which utilitarianism may or may not suggest the incorrect course of action. But we could improve on it via rule utilitarianism, among other things.

But there are many scenarios where utilitarianism gives the right answer. So, my question is, why should we judge a philosophical thesis by different standards from a scientific one? Why should we, for example, outright reject utilitrianism instead of viewing it as a model of morality with a limited scope of application?

But doesn't that one counterexample simply refute that particular brand of act utilitarianism (instead of all of utilitarianism)? Then we can improve upon the theory and get rule utilitarianism or some other brand of utilitarianism. (That actually somewhat resembles 'normal science' in Kuhn's framework, doesn't it?)

Also, could it be that fields focusing on normative statements, like ethics, aesthetics and political philosophy might need to be treated differently from 'positive' fields like science, metaphysics and philosophy of mind?
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
Welfare-Worker
Posts: 1,200
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/24/2016 5:52:49 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 4:35:48 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/24/2016 4:23:01 PM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
At 5/24/2016 3:51:36 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/24/2016 6:33:07 AM, Emgaol wrote:
At 5/22/2016 8:09:37 PM, Fkkize wrote:
Why should philosophy abide to different standards than the natural sciences?

I think my point is best explained by an example.
In science we use models all the time. These models are more or less accurate.
If I wanted to describe the state of some volume of air (at room temperature, under standard conditions), I could approximately do so by using the ideal gas law.
Now everyone knows the ideal gas law is not a perfect description of gases, but we can use it with great success in predicting what's going to happen.

At some point people were able to improve on the IGL, for example with the van-der-Waals equation. This development has not made the IGl any less accurate in what it predicts.

In philosophy people sometimes reject ideas on the basis of single counterexamples. We might, for example, object to utilitarianism with wild scenarios of utility monsters and so on, in which utilitarianism may or may not suggest the incorrect course of action. But we could improve on it via rule utilitarianism, among other things.

But there are many scenarios where utilitarianism gives the right answer. So, my question is, why should we judge a philosophical thesis by different standards from a scientific one? Why should we, for example, outright reject utilitrianism instead of viewing it as a model of morality with a limited scope of application?

I'd like to suggest a reason why some people reject ideas based on a single counterexample.
When a claim is worded as an absolute, universal, without exception, declaration, it only requires one exception to disprove that claim.

Sure.

If I could use utilitarianism as an example, here's one version of a definition: "The doctrine that an action is right in so far as it promotes happiness, and that the greatest happiness of the greatest number should be the guiding principle of conduct."

I've highlighted the one word that I think makes this statement a universal declaration. If we changed it to; a guiding principle of conduct, then concepts other than just "happiness" could be accommodated. Maybe "well being" could be included.

On scientific standards, I think it is accepted that science never makes absolute universal statements. That's why modifications such as van-der-Waals equation can be used for greater understanding. Concepts such as Ohm's Law and Kirchhoff's Laws should not have the phrase "applies at every instant of time" attached to them. Ohm's Law only applies to an electrical circuit which has achieved a steady (not transitional) state.

Maybe if philosophers didn't word their ideas as declarations "without exception" then we might try to combine their ideas into a more widely acceptable concept.

For the most part, scientific statements are declared without exceptions. For example, we know it's not true, yet we still call it Newton's universal law of gravity and neither it nor your own example of Ohm's law states explicit limitations. In the latter case you'd have to divide by zero when describing the current in super conductors.
But it is, as you say, generally accepted that science never makes absolute universal statements, my suggestion is merely that philosophy shouldn't attempt to do so either.

Except that, Philosophy doesn't, any more that Science does.
It so happens, that some individuals claim they use Science to arrive at a universal statement.
I have seen the words of individuals that say (paraphrased), 'Scientific evidence tells me there is no God.'
That is quite a universal statement.
Well, no. "All X are Y" is a universal statement, "X exists" is an existential statement.
But that's just being picky and not my point.

Science makes no such claim, but individuals give credit to Science for their belief, that they believe is Truth.
There is no tenement of Philosophy that says belief systems, or pieces of belief systems, are universally true.

Of course, but people treat philosophy as if, not approximate truth, but truth simpliciter is the ultimate standard for ideas, which are more often than not dismissed entirely should they fail to meet this bar.

Individuals may adopt a philosophy that says a statement is universally true, and live their life accordingly.
I know some individuals who say Science is the only path to truth - universally - and live their life accordingly.

When they do, they are not following any tenent of Philosophy or Science, just their own Philosophy.
Would you agree?

Sure, everyone acts according to what he believes to be true. But I am interested in what we should believe, not what we believe anyway.

Well, epistemology is a branch of philosophy, not Science.
How we arrive at justified true beliefs, concerns all of us, and to answer this question we may be able to use Science.
You seen to imply that Science is the only path to justified true beliefs.
Is this your epistemological position?
Fkkize
Posts: 2,149
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/24/2016 5:56:27 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 5:52:49 PM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
Well, epistemology is a branch of philosophy, not Science.
Of course, I never claimed anything to the contrary.

How we arrive at justified true beliefs, concerns all of us, and to answer this question we may be able to use Science.
How we attain knowledge is epistemology though.

You seen to imply that Science is the only path to justified true beliefs.
Is this your epistemological position?
No, that would be ridiculous.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Fkkize
Posts: 2,149
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/24/2016 6:06:01 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 4:45:02 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 5/22/2016 8:09:37 PM, Fkkize wrote:
Why should philosophy abide to different standards than the natural sciences?

I think my point is best explained by an example.
In science we use models all the time. These models are more or less accurate.
If I wanted to describe the state of some volume of air (at room temperature, under standard conditions), I could approximately do so by using the ideal gas law.
Now everyone knows the ideal gas law is not a perfect description of gases, but we can use it with great success in predicting what's going to happen.

At some point people were able to improve on the IGL, for example with the van-der-Waals equation. This development has not made the IGl any less accurate in what it predicts.

In philosophy people sometimes reject ideas on the basis of single counterexamples. We might, for example, object to utilitarianism with wild scenarios of utility monsters and so on, in which utilitarianism may or may not suggest the incorrect course of action. But we could improve on it via rule utilitarianism, among other things.

But there are many scenarios where utilitarianism gives the right answer. So, my question is, why should we judge a philosophical thesis by different standards from a scientific one? Why should we, for example, outright reject utilitrianism instead of viewing it as a model of morality with a limited scope of application?

But doesn't that one counterexample simply refute that particular brand of act utilitarianism (instead of all of utilitarianism)?
I'd say it depends on what you want to emphasize with "refuted". Sure, we established it is not true simpliciter, but that does not mean it isn't appraximately true or that it cannot be adequate to use for a limited array of scenarios.

Then we can improve upon the theory and get rule utilitarianism or some other brand of utilitarianism. (That actually somewhat resembles 'normal science' in Kuhn's framework, doesn't it?)
I don't think so. For Kuhn, normal science is when you have an establsihed paradigm and try to solve puzzles under that paradigm. If the arguments against U were to pile up with no solution in sight, then dissmissing it in favor of something different would be a paradigm shift.
So in our case looking for responses to objections against U would be normal science, but replacing U with rule U would not really be a paradigm shift in the Khunin sense because these two are not radically different and basically all concepts from one are commensurable with the concepts of the other moral theory ("pleasure" is still "positive mental states").

Also, could it be that fields focusing on normative statements, like ethics, aesthetics and political philosophy might need to be treated differently from 'positive' fields like science, metaphysics and philosophy of mind?

I am not sure what you mean with positive here. Descriptive maybe?
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Welfare-Worker
Posts: 1,200
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/24/2016 6:07:25 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 5:56:27 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/24/2016 5:52:49 PM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
Well, epistemology is a branch of philosophy, not Science.
Of course, I never claimed anything to the contrary.

How we arrive at justified true beliefs, concerns all of us, and to answer this question we may be able to use Science.
How we attain knowledge is epistemology though.

You seen to imply that Science is the only path to justified true beliefs.
Is this your epistemological position?
No, that would be ridiculous.
So, what other methods should we use?
Fkkize
Posts: 2,149
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/24/2016 6:10:34 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 6:07:25 PM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
At 5/24/2016 5:56:27 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/24/2016 5:52:49 PM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
Well, epistemology is a branch of philosophy, not Science.
Of course, I never claimed anything to the contrary.

How we arrive at justified true beliefs, concerns all of us, and to answer this question we may be able to use Science.
How we attain knowledge is epistemology though.

You seen to imply that Science is the only path to justified true beliefs.
Is this your epistemological position?
No, that would be ridiculous.
So, what other methods should we use?

Well the senses and science. Everything else I am not sure about.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,254
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/24/2016 6:12:23 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
If I'm understanding your point correctly, you seem to be saying that philosophy could/should be pursued by the same methods as science, so that one starts with a philosophical thesis and then "tests it" by trying to come up with ways to refute it, and if the theory stands up to scrutiny it can be accepted as tentatively valid. For one thing, counterexamples do not speak for themselves. Knowing whether a counterexample *is in fact* a counterexample is where philosophical insight is required where all the controversy lies. What's obvious to someone might not be obvious to someone else, particularly when they do not have the benefit of material reality to spell it out for them. Second, there's no guarantee that a given philosophical idea is falsifiable in anything like the way required.
Welfare-Worker
Posts: 1,200
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/24/2016 6:25:52 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 6:10:34 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/24/2016 6:07:25 PM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
At 5/24/2016 5:56:27 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/24/2016 5:52:49 PM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
Well, epistemology is a branch of philosophy, not Science.
Of course, I never claimed anything to the contrary.

How we arrive at justified true beliefs, concerns all of us, and to answer this question we may be able to use Science.
How we attain knowledge is epistemology though.

You seen to imply that Science is the only path to justified true beliefs.
Is this your epistemological position?
No, that would be ridiculous.
So, what other methods should we use?

Well the senses and science. Everything else I am not sure about.
You have said it would be ridiculous to use science alone, so by senses I take you to mean , hearing, sight, touch, smell, and taste.
Is that it? Nothing else?
Fkkize
Posts: 2,149
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/24/2016 6:30:24 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 6:25:52 PM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
At 5/24/2016 6:10:34 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/24/2016 6:07:25 PM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
At 5/24/2016 5:56:27 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/24/2016 5:52:49 PM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
Well, epistemology is a branch of philosophy, not Science.
Of course, I never claimed anything to the contrary.

How we arrive at justified true beliefs, concerns all of us, and to answer this question we may be able to use Science.
How we attain knowledge is epistemology though.

You seen to imply that Science is the only path to justified true beliefs.
Is this your epistemological position?
No, that would be ridiculous.
So, what other methods should we use?

Well the senses and science. Everything else I am not sure about.
You have said it would be ridiculous to use science alone, so by senses I take you to mean , hearing, sight, touch, smell, and taste.
Is that it? Nothing else?

As I said, I am not sure there is anything else that reliably produces justified and true beliefs.
Well we can add rational thought if that's distinct from what was already listed.
What else would you suggest?
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/24/2016 6:42:09 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 6:06:01 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/24/2016 4:45:02 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 5/22/2016 8:09:37 PM, Fkkize wrote:
Why should philosophy abide to different standards than the natural sciences?

I think my point is best explained by an example.
In science we use models all the time. These models are more or less accurate.
If I wanted to describe the state of some volume of air (at room temperature, under standard conditions), I could approximately do so by using the ideal gas law.
Now everyone knows the ideal gas law is not a perfect description of gases, but we can use it with great success in predicting what's going to happen.

At some point people were able to improve on the IGL, for example with the van-der-Waals equation. This development has not made the IGl any less accurate in what it predicts.

In philosophy people sometimes reject ideas on the basis of single counterexamples. We might, for example, object to utilitarianism with wild scenarios of utility monsters and so on, in which utilitarianism may or may not suggest the incorrect course of action. But we could improve on it via rule utilitarianism, among other things.

But there are many scenarios where utilitarianism gives the right answer. So, my question is, why should we judge a philosophical thesis by different standards from a scientific one? Why should we, for example, outright reject utilitrianism instead of viewing it as a model of morality with a limited scope of application?

But doesn't that one counterexample simply refute that particular brand of act utilitarianism (instead of all of utilitarianism)?
I'd say it depends on what you want to emphasize with "refuted". Sure, we established it is not true simpliciter, but that does not mean it isn't appraximately true or that it cannot be adequate to use for a limited array of scenarios.
I think I need to better understand what you meant by 'approximately true' or 'a limited array of scenarios' first. Could you supply more examples?

The one example I can think of is classical mechanics. We still accept f = ma as 'approximately true': It's true as long as we're not near the speed of light, and we don't really get anywhere near the speed of light IRL, so it's fine. But sacrificing an innocent to save the majority may not be as rare as getting near the speed of light, so that particular form of act utilitarianism may be less useful than f = ma - and thus we reject the former, rather than the latter.
Then we can improve upon the theory and get rule utilitarianism or some other brand of utilitarianism. (That actually somewhat resembles 'normal science' in Kuhn's framework, doesn't it?)
I don't think so. For Kuhn, normal science is when you have an establsihed paradigm and try to solve puzzles under that paradigm. If the arguments against U were to pile up with no solution in sight, then dissmissing it in favor of something different would be a paradigm shift.
So in our case looking for responses to objections against U would be normal science, but replacing U with rule U would not really be a paradigm shift in the Khunin sense because these two are not radically different and basically all concepts from one are commensurable with the concepts of the other moral theory ("pleasure" is still "positive mental states").
Yeah, that was what I meant. Improving upon act utilitarianism to get rule utilitarianism is sort-of normal science, in which we tinker the theory around to get around objections. Going from utilitarianism to, say, deontology would be a sort-of paradigm shift. (Of course, it's still not the same as paradigm shifts in science. Everyone accepted geocentrism before, everyone accepted classical mechanics after Newton, everyone accepts relativity now - whereas utilitarianism and deontology are still in constant competition.)

So, in this sense, do you think we could say that philosophy and science are - at least in our example - held to similar standards?
Also, could it be that fields focusing on normative statements, like ethics, aesthetics and political philosophy might need to be treated differently from 'positive' fields like science, metaphysics and philosophy of mind?

I am not sure what you mean with positive here. Descriptive maybe?
Positive as in positive statements was was I meant. I'm not too sure about descriptive, because these fields can be explanatory in some sense...
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
Fkkize
Posts: 2,149
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/24/2016 6:43:05 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 6:12:23 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
If I'm understanding your point correctly, you seem to be saying that philosophy could/should be pursued by the same methods as science,
Let's say analogue methods, because you obviously can't put utilitarianism in a test tube.

so that one starts with a philosophical thesis and then "tests it" by trying to come up with ways to refute it, and if the theory stands up to scrutiny it can be accepted as tentatively valid.
Roughly like that. Although I reject underlying Popperian picture, my point is not altered by that.

For one thing, counterexamples do not speak for themselves. Knowing whether a counterexample *is in fact* a counterexample is where philosophical insight is required where all the controversy lies. What's obvious to someone might not be obvious to someone else, particularly when they do not have the benefit of material reality to spell it out for them.
I guess so. But I am not sure how this relates to my point. After all I do not assume everyone would have to be perfectly rational and come to the same conclusion given the same starting point.
The basic suggestion is merely that not only what is ultimately true and resistant to any imaginable criticism should be regarded as a tennable position.
Just as you don't have to believe air is an ideal gas to believe the IGL is a good approximation, one should not have to believe utilitarianism to be the final moral theory to judge every day situations.

Second, there's no guarantee that a given philosophical idea is falsifiable in anything like the way required.
The "way required" is some kind of counter argument and it's safe to say there is no philosophical view against which there are no counter arguments.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Fkkize
Posts: 2,149
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/24/2016 10:50:53 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 6:42:09 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
I'd say it depends on what you want to emphasize with "refuted". Sure, we established it is not true simpliciter, but that does not mean it isn't appraximately true or that it cannot be adequate to use for a limited array of scenarios.
I think I need to better understand what you meant by 'approximately true' or 'a limited array of scenarios' first. Could you supply more examples?

The one example I can think of is classical mechanics. We still accept f = ma as 'approximately true': It's true as long as we're not near the speed of light, and we don't really get anywhere near the speed of light IRL, so it's fine. But sacrificing an innocent to save the majority may not be as rare as getting near the speed of light, so that particular form of act utilitarianism may be less useful than f = ma - and thus we reject the former, rather than the latter.

This is pretty much the example that motivated me to make this thread.
In the natural sciences, a theory is considered more approximately true than another if it if the preceding theory is a limiting case of the new theory.
So for physics that means relativity is more approximately true than Newtonian physics, because for velocities << c relativity relativity becomes Newtonian physics. However it is not limited in the way Newtonian physics is: it makes all the true predictions of its predecessor, but adds genuine, true predictions.
My idea now, at least for subjects like ethics, is that we should similarly treat for example utilitarianism as a limiting case of rule U, because the correct "predictions" it makes are also made by rule U, yet the latter adds further true predictions, making it more approximately true.
What exactly the analogue to v << c would be, I am not sure yet. Perhaps something like small number of people / small difference in gained & lost happiness.

Then we can improve upon the theory and get rule utilitarianism or some other brand of utilitarianism. (That actually somewhat resembles 'normal science' in Kuhn's framework, doesn't it?)
I don't think so. For Kuhn, normal science is when you have an establsihed paradigm and try to solve puzzles under that paradigm. If the arguments against U were to pile up with no solution in sight, then dissmissing it in favor of something different would be a paradigm shift.
So in our case looking for responses to objections against U would be normal science, but replacing U with rule U would not really be a paradigm shift in the Khunin sense because these two are not radically different and basically all concepts from one are commensurable with the concepts of the other moral theory ("pleasure" is still "positive mental states").
Yeah, that was what I meant. Improving upon act utilitarianism to get rule utilitarianism is sort-of normal science, in which we tinker the theory around to get around objections. Going from utilitarianism to, say, deontology would be a sort-of paradigm shift.
I suppose I misunderstood you at first. Agreed.

(Of course, it's still not the same as paradigm shifts in science. Everyone accepted geocentrism before, everyone accepted classical mechanics after Newton, everyone accepts relativity now - whereas utilitarianism and deontology are still in constant competition.)

So, in this sense, do you think we could say that philosophy and science are - at least in our example - held to similar standards?
Also, could it be that fields focusing on normative statements, like ethics, aesthetics and political philosophy might need to be treated differently from 'positive' fields like science, metaphysics and philosophy of mind?

I am not sure what you mean with positive here. Descriptive maybe?
Positive as in positive statements was was I meant. I'm not too sure about descriptive, because these fields can be explanatory in some sense...

Some differences are unavoidable because you can neither put utilitarianism in a test tube, nor reason quantum electrodynamics from your armchair alone.
All I plead for is analogue standards. But to answer your question: if we are naturalists about ethics, then I don't think there is any fundamental difference in our way.
Ethics can be explanatory, too. To borrow one of Sturgeon's example:

The fact that Hitler was morally deprived explains why he started WW2 etc.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Fkkize
Posts: 2,149
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/24/2016 10:56:07 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 3:12:56 PM, Hayd wrote:
At 5/22/2016 8:09:37 PM, Fkkize wrote:
Why should philosophy abide to different standards than the natural sciences?

I think my point is best explained by an example.
In science we use models all the time. These models are more or less accurate.
If I wanted to describe the state of some volume of air (at room temperature, under standard conditions), I could approximately do so by using the ideal gas law.
Now everyone knows the ideal gas law is not a perfect description of gases, but we can use it with great success in predicting what's going to happen.

At some point people were able to improve on the IGL, for example with the van-der-Waals equation. This development has not made the IGl any less accurate in what it predicts.

In philosophy people sometimes reject ideas on the basis of single counterexamples. We might, for example, object to utilitarianism with wild scenarios of utility monsters and so on, in which utilitarianism may or may not suggest the incorrect course of action. But we could improve on it via rule utilitarianism, among other things.

But there are many scenarios where utilitarianism gives the right answer. So, my question is, why should we judge a philosophical thesis by different standards from a scientific one? Why should we, for example, outright reject utilitrianism instead of viewing it as a model of morality with a limited scope of application?

This is a good OP, thank you for posting it.

I agree with you, although a concept may be inconsistent sometimes (e.g. utilitarianism), that doesn't necessarily mean it should be rejected. But that is only true if it's the best alternative. So if I would propose utilitarianism and my opponent brings up the dictator scenario, as long as utilitarianism is the most consistent system, it is still upheld (i.e. nirvana fallacy)

But if someone shows that utilitarianism is moderately inconsistent and shows that X is more consistent, then utilitarianism would be refuted.

Thanks. The underlined parts capture my message very well.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
keithprosser
Posts: 2,058
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/25/2016 9:12:19 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
I am in generael terms a 'utilitarian', but some people seem to think such a label means that I am blind to its weaknesses. It is absurd to adopt any 'ism' and apply it uncritically thereafter. Of course that can lead to accusations of inconsistency, but its better to be inconsistent that do or say something stupid for the sake of being consistent with a pre-declared 'ism'!

So I don't see utilitarianism as refuted by a counter-example. It is still a good guideline or 'rule of thumb'. Counter examples only show it - like any other ism - doesn't replace the need to think.

Of course 'theoretical philosophers' can go away and try to produce some variation on utilitarianism that accommodates the exception, but in the meantime 'applied philosophers' who want to debate and inform policy need to know not only the good points of the pet 'ism' but also its weaknesses.
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/25/2016 4:06:44 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 10:50:53 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/24/2016 6:42:09 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
I'd say it depends on what you want to emphasize with "refuted". Sure, we established it is not true simpliciter, but that does not mean it isn't appraximately true or that it cannot be adequate to use for a limited array of scenarios.
I think I need to better understand what you meant by 'approximately true' or 'a limited array of scenarios' first. Could you supply more examples?

The one example I can think of is classical mechanics. We still accept f = ma as 'approximately true': It's true as long as we're not near the speed of light, and we don't really get anywhere near the speed of light IRL, so it's fine. But sacrificing an innocent to save the majority may not be as rare as getting near the speed of light, so that particular form of act utilitarianism may be less useful than f = ma - and thus we reject the former, rather than the latter.

This is pretty much the example that motivated me to make this thread.
In the natural sciences, a theory is considered more approximately true than another if it if the preceding theory is a limiting case of the new theory.
So for physics that means relativity is more approximately true than Newtonian physics, because for velocities << c relativity relativity becomes Newtonian physics. However it is not limited in the way Newtonian physics is: it makes all the true predictions of its predecessor, but adds genuine, true predictions.
My idea now, at least for subjects like ethics, is that we should similarly treat for example utilitarianism as a limiting case of rule U, because the correct "predictions" it makes are also made by rule U, yet the latter adds further true predictions, making it more approximately true.
There's a positive-normative difference to take care of though, I think. There are some people, though a minority, who believe that we should, say, kill one to save five if necessary. But with physics, it seems kinda different - we can just test our formulae empirically.

Secondly, it seems that rule utilitarianism adds so much to act utilitarianism that even fundamentals would change. When you decide that you should not eat sentient animals because it's unethical, you do it because you know that if you followed this as a rule, the final net happiness will be greater than if you followed any other rule (e.g. one that permits eating those animals, but not in excess). In act utilitarianism, however, you don't care about rules. You don't eat that chicken just because this will increase happiness in this particular scenario. It's like we're no longer allowed to use f = ma, but are forced to start from Einstein's formula every time (which isn't what happens in practice).
What exactly the analogue to v << c would be, I am not sure yet. Perhaps something like small number of people / small difference in gained & lost happiness.

Also, could it be that fields focusing on normative statements, like ethics, aesthetics and political philosophy might need to be treated differently from 'positive' fields like science, metaphysics and philosophy of mind?

I am not sure what you mean with positive here. Descriptive maybe?
Positive as in positive statements was was I meant. I'm not too sure about descriptive, because these fields can be explanatory in some sense...

Some differences are unavoidable because you can neither put utilitarianism in a test tube, nor reason quantum electrodynamics from your armchair alone.
All I plead for is analogue standards. But to answer your question: if we are naturalists about ethics, then I don't think there is any fundamental difference in our way.
But not all people are naturalists about ethics, so as a field, the general standards might still need to be different...
Ethics can be explanatory, too. To borrow one of Sturgeon's example:

The fact that Hitler was morally deprived explains why he started WW2 etc.
True. Though it seems that even though it's explanatory, it's an explanation based on 'oughts' and not on 'ises'... which is still different from explanations in physics or chemistry.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,254
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/25/2016 8:15:57 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 6:43:05 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/24/2016 6:12:23 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
If I'm understanding your point correctly, you seem to be saying that philosophy could/should be pursued by the same methods as science,
Let's say analogue methods, because you obviously can't put utilitarianism in a test tube.

so that one starts with a philosophical thesis and then "tests it" by trying to come up with ways to refute it, and if the theory stands up to scrutiny it can be accepted as tentatively valid.
Roughly like that. Although I reject underlying Popperian picture, my point is not altered by that.

For one thing, counterexamples do not speak for themselves. Knowing whether a counterexample *is in fact* a counterexample is where philosophical insight is required where all the controversy lies. What's obvious to someone might not be obvious to someone else, particularly when they do not have the benefit of material reality to spell it out for them.
I guess so. But I am not sure how this relates to my point. After all I do not assume everyone would have to be perfectly rational and come to the same conclusion given the same starting point.
The basic suggestion is merely that not only what is ultimately true and resistant to any imaginable criticism should be regarded as a tennable position.
Just as you don't have to believe air is an ideal gas to believe the IGL is a good approximation, one should not have to believe utilitarianism to be the final moral theory to judge every day situations.

The point is that falsificationism isn't going to get us very far in philosophy unless we already have background philosophical knowledge, for how can we safely "falsify" a philosophical thesis from a point of zero philosophical knowledge? How are we supposed to know how to approach things, how do we know what counts as knowledge -- in a sentence, where do we even begin?
Fkkize
Posts: 2,149
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/26/2016 10:55:02 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/25/2016 8:15:57 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 5/24/2016 6:43:05 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/24/2016 6:12:23 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
If I'm understanding your point correctly, you seem to be saying that philosophy could/should be pursued by the same methods as science,
Let's say analogue methods, because you obviously can't put utilitarianism in a test tube.

so that one starts with a philosophical thesis and then "tests it" by trying to come up with ways to refute it, and if the theory stands up to scrutiny it can be accepted as tentatively valid.
Roughly like that. Although I reject underlying Popperian picture, my point is not altered by that.

For one thing, counterexamples do not speak for themselves. Knowing whether a counterexample *is in fact* a counterexample is where philosophical insight is required where all the controversy lies. What's obvious to someone might not be obvious to someone else, particularly when they do not have the benefit of material reality to spell it out for them.
I guess so. But I am not sure how this relates to my point. After all I do not assume everyone would have to be perfectly rational and come to the same conclusion given the same starting point.
The basic suggestion is merely that not only what is ultimately true and resistant to any imaginable criticism should be regarded as a tennable position.
Just as you don't have to believe air is an ideal gas to believe the IGL is a good approximation, one should not have to believe utilitarianism to be the final moral theory to judge every day situations.

The point is that falsificationism isn't going to get us very far in philosophy unless we already have background philosophical knowledge, for how can we safely "falsify" a philosophical thesis from a point of zero philosophical knowledge? How are we supposed to know how to approach things, how do we know what counts as knowledge -- in a sentence, where do we even begin?

I am not sure I understand your critique of falsificationism, but, as I stated earlier, I reject the underlying Poperian picture (falsificationism) your last response seemed to presuppose.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Fkkize
Posts: 2,149
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/26/2016 12:21:57 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/25/2016 4:06:44 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:50:53 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/24/2016 6:42:09 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
I'd say it depends on what you want to emphasize with "refuted". Sure, we established it is not true simpliciter, but that does not mean it isn't appraximately true or that it cannot be adequate to use for a limited array of scenarios.
I think I need to better understand what you meant by 'approximately true' or 'a limited array of scenarios' first. Could you supply more examples?

The one example I can think of is classical mechanics. We still accept f = ma as 'approximately true': It's true as long as we're not near the speed of light, and we don't really get anywhere near the speed of light IRL, so it's fine. But sacrificing an innocent to save the majority may not be as rare as getting near the speed of light, so that particular form of act utilitarianism may be less useful than f = ma - and thus we reject the former, rather than the latter.

This is pretty much the example that motivated me to make this thread.
In the natural sciences, a theory is considered more approximately true than another if it if the preceding theory is a limiting case of the new theory.
So for physics that means relativity is more approximately true than Newtonian physics, because for velocities << c relativity relativity becomes Newtonian physics. However it is not limited in the way Newtonian physics is: it makes all the true predictions of its predecessor, but adds genuine, true predictions.
My idea now, at least for subjects like ethics, is that we should similarly treat for example utilitarianism as a limiting case of rule U, because the correct "predictions" it makes are also made by rule U, yet the latter adds further true predictions, making it more approximately true.
There's a positive-normative difference to take care of though, I think. There are some people, though a minority, who believe that we should, say, kill one to save five if necessary. But with physics, it seems kinda different - we can just test our formulae empirically.

I mean, it's obviously a bit more complicated than that, but why do thought experiments not qualify as testing a philosophical hypothesis?

Secondly, it seems that rule utilitarianism adds so much to act utilitarianism that even fundamentals would change. When you decide that you should not eat sentient animals because it's unethical, you do it because you know that if you followed this as a rule, the final net happiness will be greater than if you followed any other rule (e.g. one that permits eating those animals, but not in excess). In act utilitarianism, however, you don't care about rules. You don't eat that chicken just because this will increase happiness in this particular scenario.
It's like we're no longer allowed to use f = ma, but are forced to start from Einstein's formula every time (which isn't what happens in practice).

Didn't you just argue that changing from U to RU would be like normal science?
Anyway, the fundamental value is the same. It did not turn out that happiness is unreal or not fundamentally desirable as one should suspect if this was analogue to Newton's law of gravity and Einstein's field equations.

Positive as in positive statements was was I meant. I'm not too sure about descriptive, because these fields can be explanatory in some sense...

Some differences are unavoidable because you can neither put utilitarianism in a test tube, nor reason quantum electrodynamics from your armchair alone.
All I plead for is analogue standards. But to answer your question: if we are naturalists about ethics, then I don't think there is any fundamental difference in our way.
But not all people are naturalists about ethics, so as a field, the general standards might still need to be different...

Then I suppose this is a further reason to be a naturalist.

The fact that Hitler was morally deprived explains why he started WW2 etc.
True. Though it seems that even though it's explanatory, it's an explanation based on 'oughts' and not on 'ises'... which is still different from explanations in physics or chemistry.

How so? Stating Hitler IS (or rather was) morally deprived seems like purely descriptive statement to me.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
sdavio
Posts: 1,801
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/26/2016 7:16:45 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/22/2016 8:09:37 PM, Fkkize wrote:
In philosophy people sometimes reject ideas on the basis of single counterexamples. We might, for example, object to utilitarianism with wild scenarios of utility monsters and so on, in which utilitarianism may or may not suggest the incorrect course of action. But we could improve on it via rule utilitarianism, among other things.

But there are many scenarios where utilitarianism gives the right answer. So, my question is, why should we judge a philosophical thesis by different standards from a scientific one? Why should we, for example, outright reject utilitrianism instead of viewing it as a model of morality with a limited scope of application?

The difference would seem to be that empirical science is answerable to the data which it tries to predict. So different scientific theories could have different capacities for prediction, always with reference to the standard provided by the data.

But ethical philosophy usually claims to be delineating the standard itself, so it doesn't seem to make sense to make provisional exceptions. If we define the standard, and then later find the need to make an exception because of some incompatible information, then that implies the existence of another, more fundamental standard. If ethical philosophy is just providing descriptive frameworks, laid over the top of that more fundamental standard (or set of standards) then in order to be intellectually honest, it would have to rigorously eject any claim to normativity. And if that more fundamental standard is some set of human motivations, then ethics would simply be reducible to a subset of descriptive psychology.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
sdavio
Posts: 1,801
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/26/2016 7:35:11 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
One question which seems relevant here is why moral theories don't seem to be able to give surprising results. Why don't we read moral theories and, purely by way of a moral proof, find ourselves seeing something as virtuous which we would otherwise have seen as a vice?

I think this has something to do with the fact that moral theories are in general attempting to define the standard by which the moral values of individual acts are measured, and not allocate the individual value of each act. If we went from individual evaluations upward to the standard, then ethics would be castrated from the beginning, since it could never resolve disputes or provide unexpected results. Since ethics is not inductive (it's not attempting to predict anything) a concatenation of instances in one direction does not make that side more appealing than another. It would just be reduced to a list of evaluations with no application.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/27/2016 7:23:07 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/26/2016 12:21:57 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/25/2016 4:06:44 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:50:53 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/24/2016 6:42:09 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
I'd say it depends on what you want to emphasize with "refuted". Sure, we established it is not true simpliciter, but that does not mean it isn't appraximately true or that it cannot be adequate to use for a limited array of scenarios.
I think I need to better understand what you meant by 'approximately true' or 'a limited array of scenarios' first. Could you supply more examples?

The one example I can think of is classical mechanics. We still accept f = ma as 'approximately true': It's true as long as we're not near the speed of light, and we don't really get anywhere near the speed of light IRL, so it's fine. But sacrificing an innocent to save the majority may not be as rare as getting near the speed of light, so that particular form of act utilitarianism may be less useful than f = ma - and thus we reject the former, rather than the latter.

This is pretty much the example that motivated me to make this thread.
In the natural sciences, a theory is considered more approximately true than another if it if the preceding theory is a limiting case of the new theory.
So for physics that means relativity is more approximately true than Newtonian physics, because for velocities << c relativity relativity becomes Newtonian physics. However it is not limited in the way Newtonian physics is: it makes all the true predictions of its predecessor, but adds genuine, true predictions.
My idea now, at least for subjects like ethics, is that we should similarly treat for example utilitarianism as a limiting case of rule U, because the correct "predictions" it makes are also made by rule U, yet the latter adds further true predictions, making it more approximately true.
There's a positive-normative difference to take care of though, I think. There are some people, though a minority, who believe that we should, say, kill one to save five if necessary. But with physics, it seems kinda different - we can just test our formulae empirically.

I mean, it's obviously a bit more complicated than that, but why do thought experiments not qualify as testing a philosophical hypothesis?
I mean, the kind of assertions you can make in physics can be tested empirically - even though they can also be tested theoretically using thought experiments. There is clearly objective truth in physics, whereas in ethics this is less clear and would depend on where you stand in metaethics. The kind of assertions you can make in ethics (but not necessarily all branches of philosophy - much of philosophy of language can be tested) are thus a bit different, IMO.
Secondly, it seems that rule utilitarianism adds so much to act utilitarianism that even fundamentals would change. When you decide that you should not eat sentient animals because it's unethical, you do it because you know that if you followed this as a rule, the final net happiness will be greater than if you followed any other rule (e.g. one that permits eating those animals, but not in excess). In act utilitarianism, however, you don't care about rules. You don't eat that chicken just because this will increase happiness in this particular scenario.
It's like we're no longer allowed to use f = ma, but are forced to start from Einstein's formula every time (which isn't what happens in practice).

Didn't you just argue that changing from U to RU would be like normal science?
You're right, I shouldn't have said 'fundamentals would change' - that is too radical - I was mainly trying to point out a potential problem with comparing U -> RU to Newtonian -> Einsteinian physics.
Anyway, the fundamental value is the same. It did not turn out that happiness is unreal or not fundamentally desirable as one should suspect if this was analogue to Newton's law of gravity and Einstein's field equations.
I think it would better if I put my objection this way: when you go from U to RU, it's not just the counterexamples that are 'fixed'; other decisions are changed as well. For example, suppose you had a rule in your RU that says 'never eat animals'. If you come across an animal that is extremely tasty in your view and has lost its ability to feel pain/fear/etc., under the older act utilitarianism, you would be justified in eating it, but not in RU. So it's not just cases like euthanising someone to harvest his organs or changing the direction of a trolley that get changed...
Positive as in positive statements was was I meant. I'm not too sure about descriptive, because these fields can be explanatory in some sense...

Some differences are unavoidable because you can neither put utilitarianism in a test tube, nor reason quantum electrodynamics from your armchair alone.
All I plead for is analogue standards. But to answer your question: if we are naturalists about ethics, then I don't think there is any fundamental difference in our way.
But not all people are naturalists about ethics, so as a field, the general standards might still need to be different...

Then I suppose this is a further reason to be a naturalist.
Yeah lol...
The fact that Hitler was morally deprived explains why he started WW2 etc.
True. Though it seems that even though it's explanatory, it's an explanation based on 'oughts' and not on 'ises'... which is still different from explanations in physics or chemistry.

How so? Stating Hitler IS (or rather was) morally deprived seems like purely descriptive statement to me.
But I'm sure there are some moral nihilists who would say this isn't objective...
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
Fkkize
Posts: 2,149
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/29/2016 9:53:52 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/26/2016 7:16:45 PM, sdavio wrote:
The difference would seem to be that empirical science is answerable to the data which it tries to predict. So different scientific theories could have different capacities for prediction, always with reference to the standard provided by the data.

But ethical philosophy usually claims to be delineating the standard itself, so it doesn't seem to make sense to make provisional exceptions.
That's an equivocation of "standard". Yes, ethical theories claiim to be the normative standard, but they do not claim to be the standard by which they should be judged themselves.

If we define the standard, and then later find the need to make an exception because of some incompatible information, then that implies the existence of another, more fundamental standard.
Just as it happens in science.

If ethical philosophy is just providing descriptive frameworks, laid over the top of that more fundamental standard (or set of standards) then in order to be intellectually honest, it would have to rigorously eject any claim to normativity. And if that more fundamental standard is some set of human motivations, then ethics would simply be reducible to a subset of descriptive psychology.
Not sure how you got to this part.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
sdavio
Posts: 1,801
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/29/2016 10:29:37 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/29/2016 9:53:52 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/26/2016 7:16:45 PM, sdavio wrote:
The difference would seem to be that empirical science is answerable to the data which it tries to predict. So different scientific theories could have different capacities for prediction, always with reference to the standard provided by the data.

But ethical philosophy usually claims to be delineating the standard itself, so it doesn't seem to make sense to make provisional exceptions.
That's an equivocation of "standard". Yes, ethical theories claiim to be the normative standard, but they do not claim to be the standard by which they should be judged themselves.

Then what is the standard which chooses between the various normative theories? This is my point: the individual evaluations would follow directly from whatever standard we choose.

If we define the standard, and then later find the need to make an exception because of some incompatible information, then that implies the existence of another, more fundamental standard.
Just as it happens in science.

Yeah, but science doesn't claim any normative priority. A new theory could come along which explains the same data but completely contradicts a previous one. If we allow for the same possibility for a Kuhnian paradigm shift in ethics then it would completely undermine its normative reach; I could just murder someone and say I'm just observing a new, different evaluation.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
Fkkize
Posts: 2,149
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
5/29/2016 6:02:54 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/27/2016 7:23:07 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 5/26/2016 12:21:57 PM, Fkkize wrote:
There's a positive-normative difference to take care of though, I think. There are some people, though a minority, who believe that we should, say, kill one to save five if necessary. But with physics, it seems kinda different - we can just test our formulae empirically.

I mean, it's obviously a bit more complicated than that, but why do thought experiments not qualify as testing a philosophical hypothesis?
I mean, the kind of assertions you can make in physics can be tested empirically - even though they can also be tested theoretically using thought experiments. There is clearly objective truth in physics, whereas in ethics this is less clear and would depend on where you stand in metaethics.
: : How so? Stating Hitler IS (or rather was) morally deprived seems like purely descriptive statement to me.
But I'm sure there are some moral nihilists who would say this isn't objective...
You are right, there are relativists and nihilists and all sorts of people who would disagree with the presupposed premises of this thread. But there are of course also people who don't believe we can know anything at all, yet neither of us centers a conversation about ethics OR science around that.
The bottom line is, that if one is not one of these people, it is not at all unclear whether some moral statements are objectively true.

The kind of assertions you can make in ethics (but not necessarily all branches of philosophy - much of philosophy of language can be tested) are thus a bit different, IMO.
Perhaps my example of utilitarianism has overstayed its welcome. How my point relates to other non-normative branches of philosophy is, I believe, pretty clear.

It's like we're no longer allowed to use f = ma, but are forced to start from Einstein's formula every time (which isn't what happens in practice).

Didn't you just argue that changing from U to RU would be like normal science?
You're right, I shouldn't have said 'fundamentals would change' - that is too radical - I was mainly trying to point out a potential problem with comparing U -> RU to Newtonian -> Einsteinian physics.
I am not exactly sure how this could be a problem. Indeed, we are more than just "allowed" to use the 2. axiom in everyday life, even though it is not correct, strictly speaking. Just like it would still be adequate to use some moral theory in everyday life, we would have to use a more fundamental ethics for extreme or outlandish situations.

Anyway, the fundamental value is the same. It did not turn out that happiness is unreal or not fundamentally desirable as one should suspect if this was analogue to Newton's law of gravity and Einstein's field equations.
I think it would better if I put my objection this way: when you go from U to RU, it's not just the counterexamples that are 'fixed'; other decisions are changed as well. For example, suppose you had a rule in your RU that says 'never eat animals'. If you come across an animal that is extremely tasty in your view and has lost its ability to feel pain/fear/etc., under the older act utilitarianism, you would be justified in eating it, but not in RU.
Well, that may be if we in fact had such a rule. Something like "never eat an animal, unless its death happened/ was brought about without prudential reasons" might be actual rule. Even if we were to accept your suggested rule, it is not like relativity wasn't applicable to everyday objects to give a more correct answer than NM either. The difference might be a bit greater in that case, but again, I think we should move away from the example of utilitarianism.

So it's not just cases like euthanising someone to harvest his organs or changing the direction of a trolley that get changed...
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic