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    Oct 2008
    Imaginative Rationality

    All of our laws of natural science are human constructs that depended upon imaginative rationality in their construction.

    Human understanding is about a process of developing imaginative models of reality and then testing those imaginative structures against what is perceived as reality. We comprehend our model of reality, i.e. our hypothesis, as being true when that model fits our comprehension of the situation closely enough for our purposes.

    In our vanity we have tried to hide the true nature of imagination because imagination has been closely associated with the body, how ghastly the vulgar body when compared to the nature of gods. Can one be a god when one is required to drag along the body, especially when that body includes an anus?

    Imagine how imagination works.

    Imagination has a two part job: Imagination is part of the creation of image schemas and of the creation of elaborate models of reality. Imagination fits into the beginning of thought and into the resulting meaning of thought.

    SGCS (Second Generation Cognitive Science) and Antonio Damasio inform me that before there is a concept of an object or an experience there exists already preconceptual structures that makes such things possible.

    An object is an entity: such as a person, rock, tree, tooth ache, song, melody, etc. An image is a “mental pattern in any of the sensory modalities, e.g. a sound image, a tactile image, the image of a state of well-being. Such images convey aspects of the physical characteristics of the object and they may also convey the reaction of like or dislike one may have for an object, the plans one may formulate for it, or the web of relationships of this object among other objects.” Pge 9 damasio

    How are such resulting images from the inputs from our five sensory portals formed into what might loosely be called the MITB (“movie-in-the-brain”)? Damasio says “I believe these qualities will be eventually explained neurobiological although at the moment the neurobiological account is incomplete and there is an explanatory gap.”

    Consciousness is a matter of connecting this MITB with the self. Damasio cannot explain at this time the biological formation of the object but sets himself the task of theorizing about the second problem of consciousness; that is the parallel problem of comprehending the sense of self in the act of knowing.

    Consciousness is the coming together of an object and the self.

    Quotes from “The Feeling of what Happens” Antonio Damasio

    The Structure of Science?

    The main philosophical problems of modern society are intimately associated with Tom and Jane’s enchantment with Science. Normal science is, for too many, an enchanted idol that is perceived as the savior of humanity. No matter what dastardly things humans may do, Science will save us.

    Science—normal science—as Thomas Kuhn labels it in “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” moves forward in a “successive transition from one paradigm to another”. A paradigm defines the theory, rules and standards of practice. “In the absence of a paradigm or some candidate for paradigm, all of the facts that could possible pertain to the development of a given science are likely to seem equally relevant.”

    The Newtonian scientific paradigm was a mathematical, quantified, pattern capable of reducing reality to an atomic level. It’s ideal, if there was one, was man as a machine or more likely a cog in a machine. In such a science we lose the individual man and woman. Rousseau was offering something entirely different. It was holistic and non-reducible. It was a gestalt that included man as neutral manipulator of scientific experiments but also as a subject with values who was a totally thinking, feeling, free agent.

    “Rousseau showed that morality had to be instrumented, by man according to an ideal formulated by him; the science of man could only have meaning as an active ideal-type of science.” Newtonian paradigms left no room for such and ideal. It had no room for a holistic woman or man. The solution proposed by Rousseau was to make humanity first and science second; science was to be the servant of wo/man rather than wo/man as the servant of science.

    The paradigm of Newtonianism turned out to be a tougher nut than the Enlightenment could crack. Such individuals as Darwin and Spencer appeared on the scene and quickly humanity was sequestered again into the background by Science. Dewey’s long life time proved insufficient to the challenge and the reason why: “pragmatism contained no moral criteria by means of which a man-based value science could be instrumented.”

    Marx recognized the problem inherent in scientism and shifted ground from Rousseau’s ideal-type to the possible-type. Marx said that we should do what is possible and possible in our time. Marx advocated the victory of the laboring class.

    “What are the main problems of modern society; how can man’s situation in the world be improved?” Marx determined that the Newtonian paradigm was morally unedifying; the social problem was the alienation of man. But with Marx the ideal vision of the Enlightenment was swallowed up in the Revolution. The ideal of a full and free liberation of the human potential was destroyed in the Revolution.

    And therein lay the rub. What is a paradigm of normal science as Kuhn so succinctly wrote about and which, as a concept, was unrecognized in Kuhntonion form a century ago, but was nevertheless, even then, the heart of normal science.

    Kuhn says that practitioners of normal science have: a paradigm that makes a science normal when most if not all members agree upon a theory as being true. When this agreement breaks down then a new paradigm is agreed upon. The paradigm defines a map for action. The thing that separates a paradigm from some kind of, green light and red light group agreement about crossing the street is that there is more careful control, calculation, instrumentation, and a greater willingness to place before the world a conjecture to be evaluated as to its truth. A paradigm defines the theory, rules, and standards of practice.

    It seems that almost all domains of knowledge wish to emulate Science. Science for most people is technology and if questioned we would probably find that science means physics. We have placed Science on a very high pedestal because technology has been so successful. Every domain of knowledge wishes to be as good as Science.

    I suspect that the way to judge how well a domain of knowledge is like science is to discover if it does or does not have a paradigm. Like Kuhn notes in his book that without a paradigm any knowledge is as good as any other. Paradigm converts chaos into system.

    Many of the ideas and quotes in this OP are derived from Ernest Becker’s book “Beyond Alienation”. Me and Ernest agree that the “main philosophical problem for modern society” is that we need a paradigm for the “science of wo/man”. Have you a paradigm for this new science? Me and Ernest do but we disagree on some aspects.

    Art, Common Sense, and Objectivity

    To study art is to study human nature.

    The prevailing view throughout the world seems to have been, and still is, that light is an inherent quality of the sky, earth, and all objects; their brightness is occasionally hidden or extinguished by darkness.

    One child said “Sometimes when the sun gets up in the morning, he sees that the weather is bad, so he goes where it’s good.”

    We might think that modernity would have eradicated such a view except we seem to be unable to reject what our eyes tell us is true. “Our image of the world, however, is all but unchanged, because it is dictated by compelling perceptual conditions that prevail everywhere and always.” One might argue that ‘I know better, I know that objects are illuminated by some source’. This may be true but there are many other visual variables wherein our comprehension is not nearly so enlightened.

    Brightness depends upon a complex interaction of the distribution of light, on optical and physiological processes of the observer’s eyes and nervous system, and upon the objects ability to absorb and reflect light.

    Luminance depends upon the percentage of light an object “throws back”. The eye determines only the light thrown back, which is determined not only upon the luminance of the object but also upon the amount of illumination upon the scene. Brightness will appear to the eye as being the sole property of the object itself.

    Three dimensionality is determined by the eye to be shades of brightness, i.e. contour shading, likewise with depth perception.

    “Illumination” is not self explanatory. To the physicist illumination means one thing but to the psychologist and the artist it means something entirely different. They “can speak of illumination only if and when the word serves to name a phenomenon that is directly discerned by the eyes”.

    From the darkened audience the evenly lighted stage appears as an object with an inherent luminosity; the same effect is obtained from a uniformly lighted room. In this instance both the stage and room appear to be large independent luminaries. Illumination is something else.

    Should we examine a small wooden barrel setting on the shelf our vision would inform us that the cylinder changes color and brightness as we scan from one side to the other side. Such a perception would happen only if we scanned slowly and carefully, micrometer by micrometer, as if we scan it through a small hole made in a sheet of paper.

    When I see the barrel more naturally the whole object appears uniformly brown. “Over most of its surface the barrel shows a double value of brightness and color, one belonging to the object itself and another, as it were, draped over it—a transparency effect. Perceptually, the unity is split up into layers. The bottom layer will be called the object brightness and the object color of the barrel. The top layer is the illumination.”

    Are qualities in my apperception (the process of understanding something perceived in terms of previous experience) inherent (essential character) of an object?

    We have all been raised within an objectivist philosophical view wherein the object is ‘out there’ and it possesses certain qualities such as color, roughness, and stands in certain relationship with other objects.

    “Most people tend to adopt this objectivist metaphysics…They thus come to think that objects have their properties “in themselves”, independent of sentient organisms, since as infants they learn object permanence and eventually come to experience properties as adhering in objects.” We have through social osmosis mistakenly learned that objects are mind-independent.

    The most egregious and the most difficult to clarify error that objectivist make is the common sense assumption that objects are mind-independent.

    “The world does not come to us prepackaged with determinate objects with their determinate properties. Instead we have to learn the meaning of physical objects, which we do by watching , handling them, subjecting them to forces, and seeing how they can be used—in short, by forms of interactive inquiry that are at once bodily and reflective.” This process of handling them, subjecting them to forces, and seeing how they can be used—in short, by forms of interactive inquiry that are at once bodily and reflective is what cognitive scientist call the ‘embodied mind’ or ‘embodied realism’.

    Objectivity, i.e. our comprehension of truth, is our shared subjectivity.

    Our senses, which are common to all human creatures, help us to form what we call common sense. However this ‘common sense’ often leads us to a serious mistaken identity of the meaning of objectivity.

    Quotations from “The Meaning of the Body” by Mark Johnson.

    Last edited by Soapboxmom; 04-05-2009 at 12:38 PM.

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