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Re: [ontolog-forum] {Disarmed} Reality and Truth

 To: Waclaw Kusnierczyk Ontolog Forum Ingvar Johansson Mon, 07 May 2007 10:08:47 +0200 <463EDE8F.4070900@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
 ```Waclaw Kusnierczyk schrieb: > Ingvar Johansson wrote: >> Waclaw Kusnierczyk schrieb: >>> My point is that logic is a theory, and thus it is, in principle, as >>> good as any other theory, in that it may well be incorrect. >> >> I have once in this forum, in relation to statements like these, >> urged people to read Thomas Nagel's "The Last Word". Unhappily, >> Waclaw has not made it. So I guess I have to try to give a very >> condensed presentation of Nagel's central argument against complete >> skepticism. > > Unhappily (or not) I have joined this forum quite recently, and regret > I haven't picked up your argument from the archives. > >> Compare the two propositions (a) <1+1=2> and (b) > <1+1=2> is true>, and assume that some of your actions (e.g., as a >> teacher in a primary school) depends on whether you act on (a) or >> (b). Which one should you choose? I would choose (a), since as Nagel >> says: "The thought itself dominates all thoughts about itself." When >> considered seriously, the thought <1+1=2> *dominates* the thought > doubt that <1+1=2> is true>. Or, with another formulation: >> Action-relevant skepticism cannot be produced entirely *from the >> outside*. But this is the way Waclaw and many others produce it. >> >> Here is the structure of the argument a second time; now applied to >> an example that I think figured in this forum not too long ago. >> >> Compare the two propositions (a) > will die> and (b) > die> is true>, and assume that one of your actions depends on whether >> you act on (a) or (b). Which one should you choose? I would choose >> (a), since as Nagel says: "The thought itself dominates all thoughts >> about itself." When considered seriously, the thought > the 60th floor I will die> *dominates* the thought > I jump from the 60th floor I will die> is true>. > > Fancy that: I compare my feet and drink some beer> and 60th floor I will land on my feet and drink some beer> is true>, and, > following Nagel (according to you), I choose to jump (so I may never > post here again, good for you, we'll see). > > I do not know what Nagel really meant;    (01) He is *not* saying that it is *always* the case that a thought dominates thoughts about itself; as you seem to interpret my presentation of him. Sometimes it does and sometimes, it doesn't. Everything depends on what the thought happen to be *about*. In your example (but not in mine), the thought in question does not dominate the thought that is about it.    (02) > for now, I have no other choice than to trust you. But perhaps what > 'the thought itself dominates all thoughts about itself' means only > that a thought about a thought can only follow that thought it is > about *in time*, No; see comment above. > which in itself does not seem to propose or impose any serious > criterion for choosing which thought to follow. Or maybe it means > that our minds are made so that in critical situations when we need to > make a quick decision, we follow simpler ('dominating') thoughts > because they are easier to process without invoking complicated > machinery of logical reflexive thinking. No; see comment above. > > In the example you give, I could see your choice of (1) rather than > (2) as analogous to a simple reflex vs a reaction mediated by higher > levels of the central nervous system. And with this analogy, I could > read Nagel's words as Perhaps you could, but you shouldn't. > a statement about how we are: we process (and react according to) > thoughts before higher-order thoughts about the former. > (Which is quite arguable.) > > In any case, I remain ignorant as to how your argument relates to my > (possibly naive) earlier statements.    (03) Statements are *about* something. Some statments are about other statements. Let me call them 'second order statements'. A second order statement can (but need not necessarily) have an interesting relation to what its first-order statement is about. Your view that "logic is a theory, and thus it is, in principle, as good as any other theory, in that it may well be incorrect" expresses in isolation only fallibilism with respect to logic - and that's fine for me. But you seem to use it to say that it is a mere convention whether or not a contradiction is true or false. In my opinion, the thought < 'p and not-p' is false > dominates (in Nagel's sense) the thought < I cannot firmly believe that 'p and not-p' is false > .    (04) Ingvar J    (05) > vQ > > >> >> best wishes, >> Ingvar >> >> >    (06) -- Ingvar Johansson IFOMIS, Saarland University home site: http://ifomis.org/ personal home site: http://hem.passagen.se/ijohansson/index.html    (07) _________________________________________________________________ Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/ Subscribe/Config: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/ Unsubscribe: mailto:ontolog-forum-leave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/ Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/ To Post: mailto:ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    (08) ```
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