Science vs. Humanities

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Science vs. Humanities

I have been having an interesting discussion with some nice forum members. I enjoyed it. Thank you. A stance I held in that discussion is that there are aspects of the human experience that are ineffable to science.

 

Three years ago, I studied a year-long module on the humanities at university. I was taught that the humanities study and convey truths, meanings, and knowledge, that are not accessible through the sciences. In other words, academics who specialize in the humanities, from what I have learned, maintain that the humanities study and convey aspects of the human experience that cannot be and/or are not studied or conveyed by the sciences.

 

By the sciences I mean mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, sociology etc.

 

By the humanities I mean music, poetry and other creative writing, drama, painting, sculpture, law, history, linguistics etc.

 

I have some questions about this.

 

Is it irrational to conclude that the humanities study and express truths, meanings, and knowledge, which cannot be and/or are not studied or expressed by the sciences?

 

A related question is, do the humanities encompass aspects of the human experience (truths, meanings and knowledge) that are ineffable to the sciences, but not ineffable to the humanities? In other words, are there aspects of the human experience that can be known through the humanities, but not known through the sciences?

 

Do the humanities encompass aspects of the human experience that are not reducible to scientific naturalism?

 

Since specialists in the humanities maintain that the humanities encompass aspects of the human experience that are not or cannot be encompassed by the sciences, does that mean that the humanities are in opposition to scientific naturalism?

 

If a person concludes that the humanities do indeed encompass truths, meanings, and knowledge, that cannot be or are not encompassed by the sciences, does that mean that person is not a scientific naturalist?

 

There seem to be many scientific naturalists in this forum, and I would be most interested in your thoughts on this. I am not going to debate you. I just want to know, from your perspective, whether it is irrational to conclude that the humanities study and convey truths, meanings and knowledge that cannot be and/or are not studied and/or conveyed by the sciences.

 

Although I am an atheist, happy Easter! Smiling

 

 


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Natural Science vs. Humanities

 

Whatthedeuce wrote:
“No that is not Plato's theory of forms. Plato's theory of forms is that abstract concepts are more fundamental to reality than physical entities.”

 

The meaning of Plato’s theory of forms is highly controversial. I don’t know what it ultimately means, and neither do you:

 

“Platonic idealism usually refers to Plato's theory of forms or doctrine of ideas, the exact philosophical meaning of which is perhaps one of the most disputed questions in higher academic philosophy.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platonic_idealism

 

Whatthedeuce wrote:
“Mathematics and Platonism are not synonyms.

 

Physics and Aristotelianism are also not synonyms.”

 

I haven’t said they are synonyms. I have only said that from the perspective of Platonism, mathematics (reason) reveals reality, and physics does not. And Platonism is closely entwined with Mathematics.

 

“Platonism is considered to be, in mathematics departments the world over, the predominant philosophy of mathematics, especially regarding the foundations of mathematics.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platonic_idealism

 

I am also not saying that Aristotelianism and physics are synonymous. I’m saying that Aristotle held the opposite view of reality to Plato. Aristotle maintained that reality is that which is observed, rather than that which is known/experienced by and through reason.

 

By the way, this is the conflict that also exists in the humanities, or between the humanities and natural science.

 

Whatthedeuce wrote:
Epistemologist wrote:
The existence of numerical patterns in nature didn’t require the invention of mathematics and physics. Those patterns must have existed in nature before the invention of our sciences.

 

If reality existed before mathematics existed, then mathematics is certainly not reality.

 

(I am assuming that you consider nature to be real)

 

Your first point there is not true. Mathematical patterns in nature could very well be mathematics. It is obvious that mathematics is natural. We did not create mathematics. We discovered it.

 

I definitely consider nature to be real. My position is that of Platonic idealism i.e. Mathematics IS nature.


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Natural Science vs. Humanities

 

Whatthedeuce wrote:
I don't think anyone ever denied that Platonism and Aristotelianism differ and are in conflict. What we denied is that their conflict is relevant to the relationship between physics and mathematics.

 

That is because you and other forum users are ignorant. The conflict between Platonism and Aristotelianism is absolutely fundamental to the relationship between physics and mathematics.

 

Whatthedeuce wrote:
“The opinions of various biologists, neuroscientists, naturalists, and educators is completely irrelevant to our discussion.”

 

Sorry Whatthedeuce, but you’re wrong. It is the very essence of our discussion. Biologists, particularly neuroscientists, are the leaders of the naturalist and physicalist view that reason is brain activity. If biologists are wrong, then idealism is true, and physicalism/naturalism is false.

 

Whatthedeuce wrote:
You have an incredibly strange definition of the word "religious belief"

 

My definition of religion is very simple: belief that something is real or exists without evidence, or with almost no evidence to justify that belief. If you think my definition is wrong, please correct it.

 

Whatthedeuce wrote:
“I also do not think that anyone has made an argument that relies on proof that naturalism and physicalism are true.”

 

Well then, if there is no proof that naturalism and physicalism are true, then idealism could be equally true.

 

Whatthedeuce wrote:
“edit:There is no reason why the test subjects need to be mathematicians and physicists. Neurosicence and biology address topics which are broader than just what occurs inside the brains of mathematiciancs and physicists. It seems that any human would be equally as valid a test subject. There is no reason why the knowledge of the researchers need to be restricted. Biology and neuroscience apply aspects of mathematics and physics all the time. There is no reason why a complete, empirically verified model need to exist before any evidence can be discovered. Science actually works in the reverse direction. First evidence is acquired and then theories are created. You have just demonstrated a fundamental misunderstanding of how biology and neuroscience work. You have also just demonstrated a fundamental misunderstanding of what constitutes evidence.”

 

Mathematics and physics are regarded by academics to be the ultimate arbiters of reality. For naturalism and physicalism to be true, reason must be brain activity or occur in the brain. Therefore, for naturalism and physicalism to be true, the burden of proof is on biology to demonstrate mathematics and physics ideas in a biological form in the brain.

 

Whatthedeuce wrote:
Epistemologist wrote:
This also answers Whatthedeuce.

 

I never claimed that Platonism is not in conflict with Aristotelianism. I never made any claims that are dependent on the opinions held by various neuroscientists, biologists, naturalists and educators. I never made any claim which would require that naturalism or physicalism be proven to be true. In my opinion this does not answer anything I said. Could you perhaps explain how it does?

 

I was explaining the relationship between mathematics, natural science and reality, which is what we’ve been talking about.


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Natural Science vs. Humanities

This is a reply to my first post to summarize what we’ve covered so far, and to show that we have reached our goal.

 

Epistemologist wrote:
Is it irrational to conclude that the humanities study and express truths, meanings, and knowledge, which cannot be and/or are not studied or expressed by the sciences?

 

A related question is, do the humanities encompass aspects of the human experience (truths, meanings and knowledge) that are ineffable to the sciences, but not ineffable to the humanities? In other words, are there aspects of the human experience that can be known through the humanities, but not known through the sciences?

 

Do the humanities encompass aspects of the human experience that are not reducible to scientific naturalism?

 

Since specialists in the humanities maintain that the humanities encompass aspects of the human experience that are not or cannot be encompassed by the sciences, does that mean that the humanities are in opposition to scientific naturalism?

 

I know that BobSpence1 likes Bertrand Russell. However, I don’t, and this is why. Just because Bertrand Russell was a professor at Oxford University did not mean he understood the relationship between mathematics, natural science, and metaphysics. He did not. People hide behind pathetic status symbols like ‘Oxford Professor’ or ‘Harvard Professor’. All those positions mean is that those people were spoilt brats with rich families. In terms of understanding the relationship between metaphysics, natural science and mathematics, Bertrand Russell was a blithering idiot. He didn’t realize for example, that if mathematics is reality, and physics is not, it means that time and space do not exist. Time and space do not exist in mathematics; they only exist in physics. So if mathematics is reality, and physics is not, it means that human beings are immortal and not mortal i.e. it means that we cannot die. Bertrand Russell FAILED to work that out. That is a pretty significant failing. In his ‘History of Western Philosophy’, he classifies philosophy as a type of knowledge half way between religion/theology and science. He only wrote and published that piece of trash to get richer, by feeding off people’s desire for ‘knowledge’. Philosophy is not that. Bertrand Russell understood philosophy. But he clearly DID NOT UNDERSTAND the philosophy of philosophy. The best philosophers that ever lived were Plato, Aristotle and Socrates. No other philosopher has ever beaten or matched them.

 

Metaphysics is a humanities subject, but it is also a science. So in answer to the question: Can the humanities give us access to truth and knowledge that science (natural science and mathematics) cannot?

 

Yes it can. Metaphysics can tell us whether we are mortal or immortal. That is the most important thing a human being can ever know. Metaphysics can tell you that. But neither natural science nor mathematics can tell you that.

 


v4ultingbassist
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Whattheduece wrote:

Mathematics does not require observation. 1+1=2 follows from the peano axioms.

 

I don't see how one can learn the axioms in the first place without observation of some kind.  You have to be taught them to know them.  You learn through the senses.

 

Edick wrote:

They claim to know everything about it, but in fact they know absolutely nothing about it.

 

They couldn't possibly be more arrogant than you.  " naturalists and physicalists have absolutely no evidence whatsoever that reasoning occurs in the brain."  Then where does it occur?  Magical princess pony land?  MY thoughts are behind my eyeballs, conveniently located where the most complex organ in my body is.  Of course, this is just a coincidence to you, right?

 

Quote:

I don’t mean to be offensive, but anyone who believes that reasoning occurs in the brain is an absolute nut case.

Quote:

 

Oh wise one, please, does thou know where thy reasoning DOES occur?  My feeble mind is incapable of understanding thy proposition that reasoning does not occur in the brain.  It appears to be a bald assertion without any evidence... Again, my legion, inform us lower, despicable peoples of our erroneous ways, and show us the truth, the way and life.

 

Quote:

There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that physicalism and naturalism are true. Physicalism and naturalism are the most laughable of all religious beliefs or irrational precepts (apologies to Aristotle Smiling).

 

Not as laughable as someone who believes that the natural sciences are a joke and tells other through a technological device, developed using natural science.

 

Quote:

To prove that physicalism and naturalism are true you have to prove that reasoning occurs in the brain. If you cannot prove that, then physicalism and naturalism are absolutely laughable.

 

Where else would it occur?  It doesn't really make sense that it'd occur somewhere else.

 

Quote:

Metaphysics is a humanities subject, but it is also a science. So in answer to the question: Can the humanities give us access to truth and knowledge that science (natural science and mathematics) cannot?

 

Yes it can. Metaphysics can tell us whether we are mortal or immortal. That is the most important thing a human being can ever know. Metaphysics can tell you that. But neither natural science nor mathematics can tell you that.

 

And of course, you don't provide an actual example, just a broad assertion of truth.  What is a specific truth of humanities that is ineffable to science?  (This will be around the fifth time I've asked)

 

P.S.  Good luck figuring out the mind/body problem.


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Hmm. I just skimmed over the

Hmm. I just skimmed over the 60 posts I've missed in the last couple of days. This is interesting and all, but I must say, I've not seen any serious answers to some very serious questions.

First, how is group solipsism any different from regular ol' solipsism? How does it avoid the epistemic problems of regular ol' solipsism?

Second, if there is no objective reality, how can there be distinct entities that participate in the aggregate reality?

If these questions have been adequately addressed, I apologize. I have only skimmed over the discussion in an attempt to catch up. I haven't spent any time attempting to parse out the different arguments, both pro and con.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Epistemologist wrote:A

Epistemologist wrote:

A seriously distorted myth peddled by the modern education system is this: Reasoning is brain activity, or something that happens in the brain. If you believe that, then you are more religious than young earth creationist Christians who believe that the earth is only six thousand years old. At least young earth Creationist Christians have the Bible to support their belief. In contrast, naturalists and physicalists have absolutely no evidence whatsoever that reasoning occurs in the brain.

 

I don’t mean to be offensive, but anyone who believes that reasoning occurs in the brain is an absolute nut case. If you believe that reasoning occurs in the brain, then you may as well believe in God, fairies, sea monsters, magic and all the other irrational precepts. Actually, the belief that reasoning occurs in the brain is THE MOST IRRATIONAL of all irrational precepts.

Anyone who starts with, "I don't mean to be offensive," most certainly does.

This is an interesting assertion. Do you have any supporting argument?

There is ample evidence the mind is a process of the brain. The fact that chemicals can alter consciousness is one set of evidence. The link between physical modification of the brain and alteration of consciousness and behavior is another. The correlation between mental activity and brain activity is another piece of evidence. The success of brain-computer interfaces is yet another.

I'm not claiming this adds up to conclusive proof. It is merely evidence that supports the hypothesis that the mind is merely a process of the brain. This evidence might not eliminate all competing hypotheses, but it is still evidence that supports the mind as a process of the brain.

So far, there is no evidence of which I'm aware that suggests the mind isn't a process of the brain. Perhaps you have a reference to some evidence that supports your assertion?

Quote:

If the neuroscientists and other biologists cannot do this, then there is absolute no evidence that reasoning occurs in the brain, and naturalism and physicalism are therefore just irrational religious beliefs.

Oh. I see. You propose something that is currently technologically impossible, and use that as your argument. You realize this is nothing more than an argument from ignorance, right? This is no better than saying that if we can't explain how life got started, God must've done it. You are essentially claiming that until we know everything, we know nothing.

In any case, your little thought experiment does nothing to rebut the evidence I listed.

 

EDIT ADDENDUM:

Just out of curiosity, what is your hypothesis for the origin of the mind? And what evidence do you have that supports your hypothesis?

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Epistemologist

Epistemologist wrote:

Metaphysics is a humanities subject, but it is also a science. So in answer to the question: Can the humanities give us access to truth and knowledge that science (natural science and mathematics) cannot?

 

Yes it can. Metaphysics can tell us whether we are mortal or immortal. That is the most important thing a human being can ever know. Metaphysics can tell you that. But neither natural science nor mathematics can tell you that.

 

 

Unless it can verify claims through observation I'm not sure how you can A) Call metaphysics a science or B) claim it can tell us anything.  Metaphysics, like logic and philosophy in general, is speculation that is only useful insofar as it opens up new ideas to verification with some other model.  I am unaware of any verification that has proven humans are immortal, or that conciousness is external.  Quite the opposite.

 

Of course, I'm totally ignorant of philosophy and metaphysics, and I don't have the personal deity of metaphysics whispering in my ear that I'm right and everyone else is wrong, stupid, arrogent and clueless.

 

And people still don't think  Epist sounds like Paisley?  He might be more sophisticated, but I don't see a difference in overall method.  Now he's even getting into some philosophical woo.  Bleh.  This thread will never end.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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Epistemologist wrote:By the

Epistemologist wrote:
By the way, in terms of the relationship between the mind and the brain, neuroscientists and other biologists are the most ignorant people on the earth. They claim to know everything about it, but in fact they know absolutely nothing about it.
I think we'll find that you're claiming to know more than you have a right to ...

 

Epistemologist wrote:
A seriously distorted myth peddled by the modern education system is this: Reasoning is brain activity, or something that happens in the brain. If you believe that, then you are more religious than young earth creationist Christians who believe that the earth is only six thousand years old. At least young earth Creationist Christians have the Bible to support their belief. In contrast, naturalists and physicalists have absolutely no evidence whatsoever that reasoning occurs in the brain.
Really?  Where do you propose that reasoning does occur?  Certainly, you don't believe that it's magical do you?  That it happens in the soul?

Epistemologist wrote:
I don’t mean to be offensive, but anyone who believes that reasoning occurs in the brain is an absolute nut case. If you believe that reasoning occurs in the brain, then you may as well believe in God, fairies, sea monsters, magic and all the other irrational precepts.
If it does not occur in the brain and it is not magic, then where does reasoning occur?  This argument of yours is an argument from ignorance.  It is a logical fallacy and it does nothing to propose a solution to the most obvious fact that reasoning does occur in the brain and can be shown to occur in the brain (despite your ignorant assertion otherwise).

Epistemologist wrote:
Actually, the belief that reasoning occurs in the brain is THE MOST IRRATIONAL of all irrational precepts.
Indeed.  Where do you think that reasoning occurs if not in the brain that somehow isn't somewhere paranormal, magical or otherwise impossible?

Epistemologist wrote:
Gather together the most intelligent neuroscientists and biologists on Earth. Give them the best laboratory or laboratories and tools that exist for studying biology, particularly the brain. Give them as experimental participants the mathematicians and physicists who know and understand the most advanced and sophisticated ideas in mathematics and physics today. Tell nothing of those mathematics and physics ideas to the neuroscientists and other biologists, and make sure that the neuroscientists and other biologists conducting the experiment know as little as possible about the mathematics and physics ideas that the experimental participants understand and know. Don’t allow the mathematicians and physicists to speak about mathematical and physics ideas to the neuroscientists and other biologists. But they can speak about other things if they wish, like football or toast. The job of the neuroscientists and other biologists is to explain in perfect detail what the most advanced ideas are in mathematics and physics today. The neuroscientists and other biologists have to do this only by and through observing the brains of the mathematicians and physicists. If the neuroscientists and other biologists cannot do this, then there is absolute no evidence that reasoning occurs in the brain, and naturalism and physicalism are therefore just irrational religious beliefs.
This is false test.  There're other ways to prove that reasoning occurs in the brain.  What you propose be done here is that biologists and neurologists read the thoughts of someone else in the most detailed way imaginable.  That technology doesn't exist, nor should it necessarily ever.  You are, apparently, fundamentally ignorant of any of the science related to the brain.  Further, this test would do nothing to prove either physicalism or naturalism.  There are other ways to prove (or falsify) physicalism and naturalism.  You understand the fallacy you've committing, right? 

You've let this conversation of yours degrade into a discussion about nothing important and certainly nothing relevant to your original topic.  I wonder if you have some ultimate point to make here or if you're going to continue in this vein and further convince other people that you're obtuse and, frankly, a loony.

 

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


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Epistemologist wrote:

Epistemologist wrote:

Gather together the most intelligent neuroscientists and biologists on Earth. Give them the best laboratory or laboratories and tools that exist for studying biology, particularly the brain. Give them as experimental participants the mathematicians and physicists who know and understand the most advanced and sophisticated ideas in mathematics and physics today. Tell nothing of those mathematics and physics ideas to the neuroscientists and other biologists, and make sure that the neuroscientists and other biologists conducting the experiment know as little as possible about the mathematics and physics ideas that the experimental participants understand and know. Don’t allow the mathematicians and physicists to speak about mathematical and physics ideas to the neuroscientists and other biologists. But they can speak about other things if they wish, like football or toast. The job of the neuroscientists and other biologists is to explain in perfect detail what the most advanced ideas are in mathematics and physics today. The neuroscientists and other biologists have to do this only by and through observing the brains of the mathematicians and physicists. If the neuroscientists and other biologists cannot do this, then there is absolute no evidence that reasoning occurs in the brain, and naturalism and physicalism are therefore just irrational religious beliefs.

 

This also answers Whatthedeuce.

 

 

Not a problem.  Hook up MRI - the neurons will light up in various areas of the brain as you think of different subjects or remember certain incidents or read or more your arms........

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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Whatthedeuce wrote:cj

Whatthedeuce wrote:

cj wrote:

Now, imaginary numbers are imaginary.  The square root of -1 (usually notated with a lower case cursive i ) is not a real number and it never will be - by definition.  It is useful in certain mathematical concepts for particular systems.  But that doesn't make it any more real.  We can observe that using imaginary numbers in these specific contexts really does adequately model the systems well enough to create systems that function in the real world.

I'm not sure why you included information on imaginary numbers. It appears irrelevant to your argument. However, I think that you are making a fallacy of equivocation here. Mathematics does not define the word "real" in the same way that metaphysics define the word "real". In the context of metaphysics, the square root of -1 is a real entity even though in the context of mathematics the square root of -1 is not in the set of real numbers.

 

The point is mathematics does NOT define reality. 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

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Actually, scientists are

Actually, scientists are just beginning to be able to deduce what people are thinking by studying the brain:

http://www.livescience.com/health/mind-reading-brain-scans-100311.html

It would of course be very dishonest to say it proves his case if they can't read minds in almost perfect detail right now. It is not a trivial task.

It does not completely prove totally beyond question that reasoning occurs in the brain, but it does mean that to claim that the idea is inherently absurd and irrational is, well, absurd and irrational.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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Epistemologist

Epistemologist wrote:

 

Whatthedeuce wrote:
“No that is not Plato's theory of forms. Plato's theory of forms is that abstract concepts are more fundamental to reality than physical entities.”

 

The meaning of Plato’s theory of forms is highly controversial. I don’t know what it ultimately means, and neither do you:

 

“Platonic idealism usually refers to Plato's theory of forms or doctrine of ideas, the exact philosophical meaning of which is perhaps one of the most disputed questions in higher academic philosophy.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platonic_idealism

 

If you do not know what Plato's theory of form's means, then how could you possibly have made the following statement in post #183?

Epistemologist wrote:

Plato’s theory of forms is that mathematics is reality

If you do not understand what Plato's theory of forms means, then referring to its meaning is a complete waste of time.

 

Epistemologist wrote:

Whatthedeuce wrote:
“Mathematics and Platonism are not synonyms.

 

Physics and Aristotelianism are also not synonyms.”

 

I haven’t said they are synonyms. I have only said that from the perspective of Platonism, mathematics (reason) reveals reality, and physics does not. And Platonism is closely entwined with Mathematics.

 

“Platonism is considered to be, in mathematics departments the world over, the predominant philosophy of mathematics, especially regarding the foundations of mathematics.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platonic_idealism

 

The fact that many mathematics departments use Platonism as the predominant philosophy does not mean it is the only possible one. That also does not mean that Platonism is fundamental to mathematics. All that this means is that in the opinion of the faculties of most mathematics departments, Platonism is the most useful perspective.

The foundation of mathematics only refers to the motivation for creating the various axiomatic systems. It is not necessary for the existence of mathematics and is certainly not fundamental to the discipline.

 

Epistemologist wrote:

I am also not saying that Aristotelianism and physics are synonymous. I’m saying that Aristotle held the opposite view of reality to Plato. Aristotle maintained that reality is that which is observed, rather than that which is known/experienced by and through reason.

By the way, this is the conflict that also exists in the humanities, or between the humanities and natural science.

You still have not shown that the conflict between Platonism and Aristotelianism is relevant to mathematics and physics. All you have done is show that many people consider them to be useful perspectives when addressing mathematics and physics.

 

Epistemologist wrote:

Whatthedeuce wrote:
Epistemologist wrote:
The existence of numerical patterns in nature didn’t require the invention of mathematics and physics. Those patterns must have existed in nature before the invention of our sciences.

 

If reality existed before mathematics existed, then mathematics is certainly not reality.

 

(I am assuming that you consider nature to be real)

Your first point there is not true. Mathematical patterns in nature could very well be mathematics. It is obvious that mathematics is natural. We did not create mathematics. We discovered it.

 

First of all, my first point there was a direct quote taken from you. So, if it is not true, then why would you say it?

Second of all, we certainly did create mathematics. Mathematics is by definition an invention of humans. (Physics btw, is also by definition an invention of humans)

 

Epistemologist wrote:

I definitely consider nature to be real. My position is that of Platonic idealism i.e. Mathematics IS nature.

And you have not established that Platonic idealism is fundamental to mathematics

I don't understand why the Christians I meet find it so confusing that I care about the fact that they are wasting huge amounts of time and resources playing with their imaginary friend. Even non-confrontational religion hurts atheists because we live in a society which is constantly wasting resources and rejecting rational thinking.


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Epistemologist

Epistemologist wrote:

Whatthedeuce wrote:
“The opinions of various biologists, neuroscientists, naturalists, and educators is completely irrelevant to our discussion.”

 

Sorry Whatthedeuce, but you’re wrong. It is the very essence of our discussion. Biologists, particularly neuroscientists, are the leaders of the naturalist and physicalist view that reason is brain activity. If biologists are wrong, then idealism is true, and physicalism/naturalism is false.

 

The opinions of Biologists are independent of the validity of biology. If I found a philosopher or group of philosophers who thought that the Earth is flat, then I proved that Earth was round, this would not in any way affect philosophy because the opinions of any individual or group of individuals are independent of the validity of any academic discipline.

Epistemologist wrote:

Whatthedeuce wrote:
You have an incredibly strange definition of the word "religious belief"

 

My definition of religion is very simple: belief that something is real or exists without evidence, or with almost no evidence to justify that belief. If you think my definition is wrong, please correct it.

 

Religious belief refers to a mental state in which faith is placed in a creed related to the supernatural, sacred, or divine.

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_belief

 

In other words, religious beliefs only pertain to things that are supernatural sacred or divine.

 

Epistemologist wrote:

Whatthedeuce wrote:
“I also do not think that anyone has made an argument that relies on proof that naturalism and physicalism are true.”

Well then, if there is no proof that naturalism and physicalism are true, then idealism could be equally true.

 

I never denied that idealism could be true. In fact, I have stated several times that many perspectives could be true.

Epistemologist wrote:

Mathematics and physics are regarded by academics to be the ultimate arbiters of reality. For naturalism and physicalism to be true, reason must be brain activity or occur in the brain. Therefore, for naturalism and physicalism to be true, the burden of proof is on biology to demonstrate mathematics and physics ideas in a biological form in the brain.

 

The fact that many of the people who study science believe that naturalsm and physicalism are true does not mean that the sciences themselves believe that naturalism and physicalism are true. While many biologists may believe that reason occurs in the brain, Biology as an academic discipline has never asserted it to be true. The burden of proof would rely on Biologists, not Biology.

Epistemologist wrote:

I was explaining the relationship between mathematics, natural science and reality, which is what we’ve been talking about.

 

No, you werent, you explained the relationship between Platonism and Aristoteliansim. Then you explained the opinions held by various people who practice the natural sciences and mathematics.

 

 

I don't understand why the Christians I meet find it so confusing that I care about the fact that they are wasting huge amounts of time and resources playing with their imaginary friend. Even non-confrontational religion hurts atheists because we live in a society which is constantly wasting resources and rejecting rational thinking.


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Epistemologist wrote: Yes

Epistemologist wrote:

Yes it can. Metaphysics can tell us whether we are mortal or immortal. That is the most important thing a human being can ever know. Metaphysics can tell you that. But neither natural science nor mathematics can tell you that. 

 

Ummm are you serious? Natural sciences have already told us that we are capable of dying. I have never come across a single person in my entire life who questioned that fact. We observe it all the time.

I don't understand why the Christians I meet find it so confusing that I care about the fact that they are wasting huge amounts of time and resources playing with their imaginary friend. Even non-confrontational religion hurts atheists because we live in a society which is constantly wasting resources and rejecting rational thinking.


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v4ultingbassist

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Whattheduece wrote:

Mathematics does not require observation. 1+1=2 follows from the peano axioms.

 

I don't see how one can learn the axioms in the first place without observation of some kind.  You have to be taught them to know them.  You learn through the senses.

 

This is a false assumption that the axioms need to be "learned". They are not learned, they are assumed.

It is true, that our motivation for the peano axioms comes from our observations; however, even without our observations we would still be capable of conceiving of them. The difference would be that they would seem completely unmotivated and random.

 

I don't understand why the Christians I meet find it so confusing that I care about the fact that they are wasting huge amounts of time and resources playing with their imaginary friend. Even non-confrontational religion hurts atheists because we live in a society which is constantly wasting resources and rejecting rational thinking.


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Whatthedeuce wrote:This is a

Whatthedeuce wrote:

This is a false assumption that the axioms need to be "learned". They are not learned, they are assumed.

It is true, that our motivation for the peano axioms comes from our observations; however, even without our observations we would still be capable of conceiving of them. The difference would be that they would seem completely unmotivated and random.

 

I suppose that makes sense... I just can't imagine what thought would be like without the senses.

 

 


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mellestad wrote:And people

mellestad wrote:

And people still don't think  Epist sounds like Paisley?  He might be more sophisticated, but I don't see a difference in overall method.  Now he's even getting into some philosophical woo.  Bleh.  This thread will never end.

 

I do now after he revealed he was being deceptive by trying to compare idealism to physicalism honestly when he didn't know what the latter of the two was and then baldly asserted the former as true.

 

He's a little different in that he overgeneralizes and equivocates, and instead of misrepresenting specific posts, he misrepresents the general concepts.  He also appears to not understand what 'specific example' even means.


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v4ultingbassist

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Whatthedeuce wrote:

This is a false assumption that the axioms need to be "learned". They are not learned, they are assumed.

It is true, that our motivation for the peano axioms comes from our observations; however, even without our observations we would still be capable of conceiving of them. The difference would be that they would seem completely unmotivated and random.

I suppose that makes sense... I just can't imagine what thought would be like without the senses.

In principle, perhaps you could simply assume and define an entire consistent system of mathematics. But, is there is any understanding? You would know that 1+1=2, but I don't think you would even know what that meant.  

In general, I don't give much credit to conceiving of anything or making any claims without referring to reality.  

Btw, Epistemologist, Plato sucks. His theory of forms sucks too, and his attempts at establishing his theory suck even more. I've read them. Aristotle sucks too. Of course, they were smart men for their time, but they lived more than two thousand years. Pretty much any precise claims they made about the natural world are horribly outdated and essentially useless. 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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butterbattle wrote:In

butterbattle wrote:

In principle, perhaps you could simply assume and define an entire consistent system of mathematics. But, is there is any understanding? You would know that 1+1=2, but I don't think you would even know what that meant.  

In general, I don't give much credit to conceiving of anything or making any claims without referring to reality.  

 

Yeah, I know what you mean. 

 

I also really want to try out a sensory deprivation chamber, just to see what it is like to lose the senses for a bit.


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butterbattle

butterbattle wrote:

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Whatthedeuce wrote:

This is a false assumption that the axioms need to be "learned". They are not learned, they are assumed.

It is true, that our motivation for the peano axioms comes from our observations; however, even without our observations we would still be capable of conceiving of them. The difference would be that they would seem completely unmotivated and random.

I suppose that makes sense... I just can't imagine what thought would be like without the senses.

In principle, perhaps you could simply assume and define an entire consistent system of mathematics. But, is there is any understanding? You would know that 1+1=2, but I don't think you would even know what that meant.  

In general, I don't give much credit to conceiving of anything or making any claims without referring to reality.  

 

This is exactly what I am saying. It is entirely possible to define a consistent system of mathematics in which 1+1is not 2. Observation is how we determine which axiomatic system is useful. Even though people may have used observation to help them come up with the peano axioms, observation is not strictly necessary for them to be imagined.

 

I don't understand why the Christians I meet find it so confusing that I care about the fact that they are wasting huge amounts of time and resources playing with their imaginary friend. Even non-confrontational religion hurts atheists because we live in a society which is constantly wasting resources and rejecting rational thinking.


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Interesting questions, but I

Interesting questions, but I think it is a false dichotomy.

The Humanities is not everything left over from the sciences. There's lots of overlap. For my Humanities major, I studied literature, sociology, history, linguistics, philosophy, critical thinking, "the arts" (ever so broad), etc. There's empiricism throughout. For example, learning about the Parthenon requires scientific study of the structure... the Humanities is not entirely focused on aesthetics!

In the end, science means knowledge. What we know about the world (and the universe... and the multiverse? Whatever... the cosmos). Can that really be different from the Humanities? I'm pretty sure the Humanities seeks to instill knowledge; what we know about humanity.

However, I will say that Humanities studies can offer context and encourage one to analyze things not from a strictly empirical viewpoint. I can read Orlando Furioso or Ovid by counting how many lines it has, but I'd probably miss a lot of meaning. I'd also probably get more meaning from it if I knew the historical background of the author and the surrounding culture, had some basic understanding of literature, etc. This relating the micro into the big picture with an intelligent perspective is where, in my opinion, the Humanities shine.

I think it is an attempt to try to grasp the entire range of human achievement. Many will make fun of it, dismiss it as remedial, aimless, "common knowledge," etc. But we all have different priorities and motivations in academia. I could be content with being an expert on Latin. Most people would consider my life a waste. I will put it artfully: **** those people.  


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Newprince wrote:In the end,

Newprince wrote:

In the end, science means knowledge.

I thought that science was a particular method of gathering knowledge.  If a mystic claimed to have had a vision showing him something, that isn't science. It is a claim of knowledge though.

 

 

Newprince wrote:

Can that really be different from the Humanities? I'm pretty sure the Humanities seeks to instill knowledge; what we know about humanity.

From my experience, it really is different. Some people in the humanities are rational empiricists and I have no problem with them. Others seem to be following fact-free dogma and get hostile if you point out that they don't seem to have evidence supporting their claims.  Whenever someone talks about how great the humanities are, I can't help but think about a gender studies class and a physical anthropology class that I took. The gender studies class was dogma and nothing more. The physical anthropology class belittled the theory of evolution as just being yet another creation myth. There was a great hostility to science in both of those classes.

 

 

Newprince wrote:

However, I will say that Humanities studies can offer context and encourage one to analyze things not from a strictly empirical viewpoint

Then you aren't really analyzing things. What is a non-empirical viewpoint? It would have to be evidence-free.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
British General Charles Napier while in India


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Damn. The funny side has

Damn. The funny side has been so thoroughly refuted that there's nothing to comment on. Sad

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Jormungander wrote:I thought

Jormungander wrote:
I thought that science was a particular method of gathering knowledge.  If a mystic claimed to have had a vision showing him something, that isn't science. It is a claim of knowledge though.

Your definition seems more like the scientific method, not science, but this sort of seems like semantics. I believe science to be a certain body of knowledge, as that what its name actually translates to. What the mystic claims is indeed fact--his senses, chemically altered although they were--did in fact give him a sort of sense perception of his vision that he actually 'saw'. But we also know and have a clear body of knowledge (science) that has proven that drugs can alter our brain chemistry, whereby our perceptions can be radically different than actual events. Our senses can deceive us. This is knowledge. Saying X is science and Y is not science is a rather confrontational view of the world, in my humble opinion. Why bother telling someone their vision isn't science? It's a non sequitur.

 

Jorumgander wrote:
From my experience, it really is different. Some people in the humanities are rational empiricists and I have no problem with them. Others seem to be following fact-free dogma and get hostile if you point out that they don't seem to have evidence supporting their claims.  Whenever someone talks about how great the humanities are, I can't help but think about a gender studies class and a physical anthropology class that I took. The gender studies class was dogma and nothing more. The physical anthropology class belittled the theory of evolution as just being yet another creation myth. There was a great hostility to science in both of those classes.

Well, I'm sorry your experience was so terrible. I took Women's Studies courses (not part of my Humanities degree, but G.E requirements) that were pure dogma, as well, and it was exceedingly hard to get any rationality in there. I have a hard time believing your anthropology class regarded evolution as myth! But that may be the sad state of education these days. Needless to say, Humanities was one of my courses of studies (Economics, English and Classics/Language being the others), and in all I had some crazy professors, some brilliant. They didn't all offer 100% truth, and I disagreed with many, but complete agreement with academics and colleagues is not what I'm expecting or hoping for, and might not let a person grow intellectually. Some people can't handle that, and need facts that everyone on this Earth with competent sensory abilities could all observe. Sorry, my mind would die a slow death in that world, and I have a strange feeling all the world's poets/authors/artists would too. I am highly rational, I have a love (a -philia even) for all sciences (although I am only able to comprehend some of it conceptually, as I am terrible at physics), and I do not assume some "higher" place in academia for the Humanities. Rather, I am trying to be an advocate for them in any way I can, and promote their study alongside science, as I don't think the two 'disagree' with each other, and happen to overlap in a lot of places. I want to do away with a current attitude in America that science is the only pure pursuit one can take in academia; the Humanities are for the theists or weak-minded.

 

Jorumgander wrote:

 What is a non-empirical viewpoint? It would have to be evidence-free.

Maybe I expressed myself poorly. I need 'evidence' to back up my analyses, true, but this many times comes down to arguments... not in themselves empirical. Non-empirical analysis isn't meant by me to mean fact-less analysis, if that's what you were trying to imply. Merely that some things in the academic and actual world cannot by analyzed on purely an empirical basis. If that doesn't suit you, so be it. It's not like I'm trying to say we should interpret astrophysics non-empirically, or from a Marxist interpretation, or some shit... just that some things (some elements of art, music, social theory) can't be argued from experience or through a testable hypothesis. That turns a lot of people off, and I can understand that.


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Newprince wrote:This is

Newprince wrote:
This is knowledge. Saying X is science and Y is not science is a rather confrontational view of the world, in my humble opinion. Why bother telling someone their vision isn't science? It's a non sequitur.

 

 

If something was not determined by the scientific method, then it is not science. I would bother telling someone that because if a person thinks that mystical experiences are science, then that person does not know what science is and would benefit from hearing the definition.

look at the following quote from the wikipedia page on science:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science

Wikipedia wrote:

to be considered a science, a body of knowledge must stand up to repeated testing by independent observers.

 

edit: I'm not sure why you say it's a non sequitur. It isn't even an argument. It's just correctly classifying things by their definition.

 

 

I don't understand why the Christians I meet find it so confusing that I care about the fact that they are wasting huge amounts of time and resources playing with their imaginary friend. Even non-confrontational religion hurts atheists because we live in a society which is constantly wasting resources and rejecting rational thinking.


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whatthedeuce wrote:I would

whatthedeuce wrote:
I would bother telling someone that because if a person thinks that mystical experiences are science

NO ONE said that. Read what I wrote please. I said that if someone related they had a vision, it's irrelevant to say whether that's science or not! By either party. He had a sense perception that was true for him (his brain affected by chemicals gave him the sense perception that does not relate to the actual world). His vision is not science just like my cat is not science. It's a bloody nonsense statement. Now, if he had said, "The shaman claimed that science had proved his visions were real and observable," we could now say, this is not science. This does not comport with a body of knowledge we have obtained through testable hyoptheses.

 

Wikipedia wrote:
a body of knowledge must stand up to repeated testing by independent observers

'A body of knowledge'   - pertains to my definition. I said a certain body of knowledge. A certain body of knowledge that uses the scientific method to 'add' to it. The process is not the result. The process produces the result.

 

 


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Newprince wrote: NO ONE

Newprince wrote:

 

NO ONE said that. Read what I wrote please.

 

I did read what you wrote in its entirety. You asked why someone would bother to say that a vision is not science. I answered the question and told you why I would bother to say such a thing.

 

 here is the question you asked in post #224:

 

Newprince wrote:
Why bother telling someone their vision isn't science?

 

 

 

 

I don't understand why the Christians I meet find it so confusing that I care about the fact that they are wasting huge amounts of time and resources playing with their imaginary friend. Even non-confrontational religion hurts atheists because we live in a society which is constantly wasting resources and rejecting rational thinking.


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Whatthedeuce wrote: I

Whatthedeuce wrote:
I answered the question and told you why I would bother to say such a thing.

No. You wrote that "if someone was thinking their visions are science" which is NOT what I or Jorumgander said. Jorumgander said, if someone said they had a vision, then he would say that's not science. Either he's got some grammatical issues, he left out information, or he created a non sequitur. Take your pick. In the meantime, don't make up quotes to save his statements. I can only speculate what he meant to say, but what he said didn't make sense. In fact, science could be used to prove he had his vision (hallucinogenics affecting the brain), and that it does not correspond to actual objects/events. Which still makes the statement absurd. I hope this isn't hard to grasp.

 

Whatthedeuce wrote:

 here is the question you asked in post #224:

 

Newprince wrote:
Why bother telling someone their vision isn't science?

 

 Yup. That is the question I posed, and it still holds up. If someone told me they tasted red, or that the letter "Y" is red to them, telling them that's not science is ridiculous. His sensory experience is very real, and an actual phenomenon we know from... gasp... science! Synaesthesia. Telling him him his experience is not science makes no sense.

Either case would only make sense to be called "not science" if the subjects had claimed that their experiences could be observed by a third party, or that science proves his visions are made of actual objects. Which is not what Jorumgander said.


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KSMB wrote:Epistemologist

KSMB wrote:

Epistemologist wrote:

I was taught that the humanities study and convey truths, meanings, and knowledge, that are not accessible through the sciences. In other words, academics who specialize in the humanities, from what I have learned, maintain that the humanities study and convey aspects of the human experience that cannot be and/or are not studied or conveyed by the sciences.

You know who else says stuff like this? Apologists who insist their claims are beyond the realm of scientific investigation.

^

And anyone else who could be considered to be working in the hoo doo department.

Faith is the word but next to that snugged up closely "lie's" the want.
"By simple common sense I don't believe in god, in none."-Charlie Chaplin


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Newprince wrote:Jorumgander

Newprince wrote:
Jorumgander said, if someone said they had a vision, then he would say that's not science. Either he's got some grammatical issues, he left out information, or he created a non sequitur.

I didn't realize that 'mysticism is not science' was such a controversial statement. Let me try and explain what I meant. The way it was explained to me is that epistemologies can be roughly split up into three categories: empiricism, rationality and mysticism. Science is rational empiricism. Philosophy is rationality. There are knowledge claims that claim a mystical origin ('the holy spirit spoke through me!'). Those knowledge claims are based on an epistemology that is distinct from empirical or rational empistemologies. Mystical claims of knowledge are based on having answers just come to someone from a divine source. They don't find evidence in support of those answers and they don't reason their way to those answers. This attempt to get knowledge directly from a divine source was used by many cultures throughout history. It is its own class of epistemologies. Mystical knowledge claims are prevalent throughout history. They aren't science in the sense that they don't use the scientific method and they are not a body of knowledge built off of said method.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
British General Charles Napier while in India