Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Quiz Apr14 (Part Two)

Doubling up - don't overlook Part One

Peirce & James, LISTEN: Robert Talisse on Pragmatism (PB)... Podcast... Also see "On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings" and "Sentiment of Rationality/Dilemma of Determinism"

1. Charles Sanders Peirce said truth is what we would end up with if we could what?
The essence of belief is the establishment of a habit; and different beliefs are distinguished by the different modes of action to which they give rise.
Charles Sanders Peirce's quote #1 
2. William James gave an example of the pragmatic approach to philosophical questions by discussing what scenario (or what dispute)?

3. Who made fun of James's theory of truth by saying it meant he had to believe in Santa Claus?
Image result for william james quotes

4. What 20th century pragmatist said words are for coping with the world, not copying it?

5. What does "cash value" mean for a pragmatist?

6. Who was William James's famous brother?


 BONUS:Rob Talisse says religious belief for James has nothing to do with what? 195

DQ
1. Will there ever be an end of science, or a complete catalog of truths?

2. Do you agree that a "distinction without a (practical) difference" is irrelevant, and that truth and falsehood are practically the same if you can't specify the difference? 

3. When James said truth is what works, did he mean what works for me, now? Or for us, on the whole and in the long run? Does this matter, practically? Does it bear on Bertrand Russell's criticism?

4. Do you think of words as tools for expressing your ideas and feelings, communicating with yourself and others, and generally "coping"... or as mental photographs that copy the world? Could they be both? What would it be like to have no words? (Could you even think about that, or about anything?) Do words ever get in the way of thought, or distort it?

5. What makes an idea valuable to you?

6. What's the difference between a fiction and a lie? Can fiction convey truth?
==
William James would agree:



Marco Rubio said in last night's (11.10/15) GOP debate: "Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers." William James would disagree. We need more philosophical welders, business-people, people generally... so we need more philosophers.

An old post-
April 21, 2015
It's Peirce and James (and Vandy's Robert Talisse on the pragmatists and truth)...

Through the years I've written repeatedly and delightedly on Peirce, James, and Nietzsche @dawn, especially WJ.


I’m not especially pleased with Nigel Warburton’s take on James, true enough to the letter but not at all to the spirit of his pragmatic conception of truth. More on that later. At least he gets the squirrel right.



              
Here's what James actually said, about the squirrel and about pragmatism's conception of truth:
...Mindful of the scholastic adage that whenever you meet a contradiction you must make a distinction, I immediately sought and found one, as follows: "Which party is right," I said, "depends on what you PRACTICALLY MEAN by 'going round' the squirrel. If you mean passing from the north of him to the east, then to the south, then to the west, and then to the north of him again, obviously the man does go round him, for he occupies these successive positions. But if on the contrary you mean being first in front of him, then on the right of him, then behind him, then on his left, and finally in front again, it is quite as obvious that the man fails to go round him, for by the compensating movements the squirrel makes, he keeps his belly turned towards the man all the time, and his back turned away. Make the distinction, and there is no occasion for any farther dispute. You are both right and both wrong according as you conceive the verb 'to go round' in one practical fashion or the other."
Altho one or two of the hotter disputants called my speech a shuffling evasion, saying they wanted no quibbling or scholastic hair-splitting, but meant just plain honest English 'round,' the majority seemed to think that the distinction had assuaged the dispute.



I tell this trivial anecdote because it is a peculiarly simple example of what I wish now to speak of as THE PRAGMATIC METHOD. The pragmatic method is primarily a method of settling metaphysical disputes that otherwise might be interminable. Is the world one or many?—fated or free?—material or spiritual?—here are notions either of which may or may not hold good of the world; and disputes over such notions are unending. The pragmatic method in such cases is to try to interpret each notion by tracing its respective practical consequences. What difference would it practically make to anyone if this notion rather than that notion were true? If no practical difference whatever can be traced, then the alternatives mean practically the same thing, and all dispute is idle. Whenever a dispute is serious, we ought to be able to show some practical difference that must follow from one side or the other's being right... Pragmatism, Lecture II
==
Truth, as any dictionary will tell you, is a property of certain of our ideas. It means their 'agreement,' as falsity means their disagreement, with 'reality.' Pragmatists and intellectualists both accept this definition as a matter of course. They begin to quarrel only after the question is raised as to what may precisely be meant by the term 'agreement,' and what by the term 'reality,' when reality is taken as something for our ideas to agree with...
Pragmatism asks its usual question. "Grant an idea or belief to be true," it says, "what concrete difference will its being true make in anyone's actual life? How will the truth be realized? What experiences will be different from those which would obtain if the belief were false? What, in short, is the truth's cash-value in experiential terms?"
The moment pragmatism asks this question, it sees the answer: TRUE IDEAS ARE THOSE THAT WE CAN ASSIMILATE, VALIDATE, CORROBORATE AND VERIFY. FALSE IDEAS ARE THOSE THAT WE CANNOT. That is the practical difference it makes to us to have true ideas; that, therefore, is the meaning of truth, for it is all that truth is known-as...
...truth is ONE SPECIES OF GOOD, and not, as is usually supposed, a category distinct from good, and co-ordinate with it. THE TRUE IS THE NAME OF WHATEVER PROVES ITSELF TO BE GOOD IN THE WAY OF BELIEF, AND GOOD, TOO, FOR DEFINITE, ASSIGNABLE REASONS...
Certain ideas are not only agreeable to think about, or agreeable as supporting other ideas that we are fond of, but they are also helpful in life's practical struggles. If there be any life that it is really better we should lead, and if there be any idea which, if believed in, would help us to lead that life, then it would be really BETTER FOR US to believe in that idea, UNLESS, INDEED, BELIEF IN IT INCIDENTALLY CLASHED WITH OTHER GREATER VITAL BENEFITS.
'What would be better for us to believe'! This sounds very like a definition of truth. It comes very near to saying 'what we OUGHT to believe': and in THAT definition none of you would find any oddity. Ought we ever not to believe what it is BETTER FOR US to believe? And can we then keep the notion of what is better for us, and what is true for us, permanently apart?
Pragmatism says no... Pragmatism, Lec. VI

This is a contentious and contestable view, admittedly, but it is not the caricatured reduction to whatever is "expedient" in a situation James's critics (like Bertrand Russell) made it out to be. It's more like Richard Rorty's invitation to an open and ongoing conversation between all comers with something to contribute. It is decidedly not a "Santa Claus" philosophy of truth.

James may have been wrong about truth, but (to paraphrase A.C. Grayling's comment on Descartes) if he was, he was interestingly, constructively, engagingly, entertainingly, provocatively wrong.

Besides, he's the best writer in the James family (sorry, Henry) and possibly the best writer in the entire stable of American philosophers. I call him my favorite because he's the one I'd most like to invite to the Boulevard for a beer. Unfortunately he didn't drink. (Too bad they don't serve nitrous oxide.) Also, unfortunately, he died in 1910. Read his letters and correspondence, they humanize his philosophy and place his "radical" views in the context of their genesis: the context of experience, and of life.

They also counter my friend Talisse's hasty semi-assent to Nigel's outrageous misreading of the pragmatists as missing "a sense of awe and wonder." James had it in spades, and so did Dewey and Peirce in their own ways. Likewise Rorty, who did not like being called a "relativist" and who would not agree that "Nazism and western liberal democracy are the same." Not at all.

But, I do think Talisse does a good job of summarizing James's rejection of "truth-as-correspondence" as an unhelpful formula, once you move past trivial matters like catching the bus. He's also correct in pointing out James's interest in religion as rooted in the lives and experience of individuals, not particularly in God, heaven, the afterlife and so on. He psychologizes and naturalizes religion. It's mostly about life on earth, for Jamesians, not (again) about Santa.

25 comments:

  1. Sierra Cox #11
    DQ: what makes an idea valuable to you?
    In my opinion all ideas hold a value to an extent, and whether or not you agree with that certain idea is your choice. However what makes an idea valuable to me is when it betters life such as medical advances, or ideas that help the environment in a more natural way. I believe ideas that create a better world and impact lives are truly the most valuable and can be very obtainable.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Karol saleh section 8
    What's the difference between a fiction and a lie? The intent of the act of telling. A lie is intended to be confused for reality, to replace the truth. Fiction is simply an untruth. All lies are fiction, but not all fiction is a lie. Generically speaking, fiction is not intended to be taken as truth. It is only in intending it to be taken as truth that makes a fiction become a lie.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Mariem Farag #12
    Will there ever be an end of science, or a complete catalog of truths?
    I don't think we will ever reach a point in which we will achieve "a complete catalog of truths". I mean come on, humans have existed for a very long time now; we still don't know many things. We will never know everything; seems impossible to me. It's a lot more entertaining to not know every truth there is; it would be too boring if we knew everything.

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  4. Section 12
    Is truth relative or is there only one version of truth? I think we first need to define what truth is and to do so means that we must draw upon individual experiences, which will alter our answer. This leads me to believe that truth is relative since it must be defined on an individual level.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Section 12
    Is truth relative or is there only one version of truth? I think we first need to define what truth is and to do so means that we must draw upon individual experiences, which will alter our answer. This leads me to believe that truth is relative since it must be defined on an individual level.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Section 12
    Bonus Quiz Question: What were the two rational explanations James made as to whether or not the hunter was circling the squirrel?

    An idea becomes valuable to me when it is clear that the person is either seeking rationalization or input to solve or improve upon their idea, or they have done some of that work already. An idea that is closed off to new input is not as valuable. Certain fixed ideas may contribute to larger ideas that demand debate or reconstruction, but are less productive to interaction and empathy.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Janet Peoples (8)

    Will there ever be an end of science, or a complete catalog of truths?

    I don't think science will ever end because someone will always discover something and someone will always want an answer to something in life.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Janet Peoples (8)

    Do you think of words as tools for expressing your ideas and feelings, communicating with yourself and others, and generally "coping"... or as mental photographs that copy the world? Could they be both? What would it be like to have no words? (Could you even think about that, or about anything?) Do words ever get in the way of thought, or distort it?

    I think words are of your thoughts and feelings because you are either stating something or asking something. You also use words to cope with certain things in your life so, yes it could be both. If we didn't have words then this world would be a very quiet place and it would be an everyday struggle to get anything done. Words can get in the way because you can end up saying to much and making a situation even worse.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Justin, Trent and Kali (#12)
    You must first define values and ideas before you can apply one to another. We discussed personal and interpersonal value.Thoughts can be conveyed in different mediums.

    ReplyDelete
  10. (#8) What do I think makes an idea valuable? I think that for an idea to be considered of personal value it must be able to influence/impact a certain part of an individual's lifestyle (I.E: Religion, Culture, Friends etc...). As far as being of value to society is concerned, the idea must be either significant enough so that it can be supported by a large following whether it be fictionalized or factual based; and, the idea must be able to pave the way for further invention along its scope of life. To sum it all up, ideas can be considered valuable if they entail personal or societal "wealth," so to speak.

    ReplyDelete
  11. (#8) Q6:
    Robby, Ethan, & Alex
    The difference between fiction and a lie is that fiction involves your imagination. When you read something fictional then your mind is able to see many possibilities and outcomes that allow you to choose what you want the results to be for something. When you are told a lie then your imagination is limited to a specific topic and idea. Fictional works allow you to grow in your thoughts and assess what the possibilities are for a certain outcome, but if a lie is told then you are limited to a specific results that doesn't allow your mind to wonder.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Love quote this one. I have compiled this one. Thanks for sharing!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Lucas Futrell (6)
    Quiz Questions:

    1) At what university were James and Peirce both lecturers?
    2) What did Richard Rorty say about truth?
    3) In what book did James examine the wide range of effects that religion can have?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stephen Martin (4)
      1. Harvard University
      2. 'Truth is what your contempories let you get away with' and that no period in history gets reality more nearly right than any other.
      3. The Varieties of Religious Experience

      Delete
  14. Danielle Bonner section 4
    Quiz questions
    1) Who's philosophy did Nigel say James' writings on religion was somewhat similar to?
    2) Why is believing in Santa Claus only beneficial to children?
    3) What is the idea that other humans may not have minds called?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1. Pascal
      2.believing it works seems to make it true.It doesn't work for adults because we don't make the truth subjective.
      3.Problem of other minds

      Delete
  15. Danielle Bonner section 4
    Quiz questions
    1) Who's philosophy did Nigel say James' writings on religion was somewhat similar to?
    2) Why is believing in Santa Claus only beneficial to children?
    3) What is the idea that other humans may not have minds called?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Amy Young (4)
    1. Will there ever be an end of science, or a complete catalog of truths?

    There will never be an end of science. I don't believe we as human beings will ever learn the truth of every single thing.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Sterling Smith (#6)10:09 AM CDT

    DQ: What do you see as the main differences between Pierce and James?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Amy Young (4)
    QQ: Who was James's famous father?
    QQ: what would be an example of a practical consequence?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Sterling Smith (#6)10:11 AM CDT

    DQ: Do you agree with Rubio's comments on needing more welders instead of philosophers?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Sterling Smith (#6)10:12 AM CDT

    Quiz Question: (T/F) William James was also trained as a physician

    ReplyDelete
  21. Anonymous10:53 AM CDT

    Devin Mahoney (6)

    "Action may not bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action" - William James

    Quiz Question:

    What was the name of James's book (published in 1902) examining a wide range of effects that religious belief can have?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "The Varieties of religious experience"

      Delete
  22. Section 6

    DQ #3
    I think he means both. Some things like the belief in god are good for religious people, but not for everybody as a whole as it does not meet their personal beliefs, so it is only practical on a personal level. But there are truths that can apply to all and apply in the long run. It really is all about what is practical to the situation.

    ReplyDelete