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Everything posted by DocWatts

  1. Since Ken Wilber was brought up, Stage Theories just like any other dialectical model are best thought of as 'orienting generalizations'. In that they can be quite helpful for understanding the broad strokes of a particular domain, but run into trouble when they get Absolutized into an iron law of Reality. This is of course also true of postmodernism (where critiques of Stage Theory come from), in that it's true in some important ways but is also a very partial understanding of Reality. For my own part, my experience has been that Stage Theories are useful for thier ability to contextualize some of the dynamics of a given domain, but become problematic when used as the primary lens one uses to understand Reality, in that Stage Models are especially susceptible to being used as a form of epistemic bypassing. When not used with care they can tempt us into thinking that we understand far more about Reality than we actually do; which is why it's important to cultivate epistemic humility, especially when one is using dialectical models.
  2. Might as well ask why a single perspective isn't enough to encompass every aspect of Reality.
  3. The idea that you'd even have to explain to someone with a PhD. that facts are paradigm dependent and have to be interpreted to be meaningful is so absurd that's it's amusing.
  4. @trenton @Ajax Thanks for the kind words, and for the constructive feedback.
  5. So I thought I might share a snippet or two from the philosophy book I'm working on, which I'm describing as a 'guided tour' to how minds acquire valid knowledge about Reality. The basic aim of this book is to develop a phenomenological approach to epistemology, and to introduce both topics in a way that's accessible to non-specialists who don't speak philosophical jargon as a second language. The book is entitled '7 Provisional Truths'. The work is grounded by a somatic, or embodied theory of mind, which explores how our lived experience of Reality is a consequence of the organizational structure provided by having living bodies with survival needs (whether you believe those bodies to be composed of matter-stuff or mind-stuff is irrelevant for our present purposes). My overall approach for the book is to use an orienting metaphor for each of the seven themes of the book, which are tied to an easily relatable everyday context. The section below is a snippet from the a chapter on the first of the 7 Provisional Truths, which is all about how minds turn Reality into a home for us through a process that I'm calling world disclosure. If there's any interest, I might post more snippets in future. I'd also welcome any feedback, since I'm also partly trying to gauge and adjust whether my writing style to be accessible as possible for the subject matter I'm exploring. _______________________________________________________ THE 7 PROVISIONAL TRUTHS 1.) MINDS DISCLOSE WORLDS 2.) KNOWLEDGE IS MOSTLY SITUATED COPING 3.) CATEGORIES ARE ALWAYS CONTEXTUAL 4.) ALL PERSPECTIVES ARE PARTIAL 5.) INTELLECT SERVES INTUITION 6.) MOTIVATED REASONING IS THE NORM 7.) BELIEFS SERVE US BEST WHEN HELD LIGHTLY _______________________________________________________ PROVISIONAL TRUTH #1: MINDS DISCLOSE WORLDS (Orienting Metaphor: World disclosure is the mind’s way of constructing a home for us within Reality) The orienting metaphor that we’ll be returning to throughout this section is that of a home, and our main premise is that a central part of what minds do is create homes for us within Reality. And just like a house is constructed to be compatible with the lifestyle of human beings (houses aren’t built underwater, nor are their doorways accessed from the ceiling), minds construct a version of Reality for us to live within that comes prearranged in terms of our needs and capacities. The process by which minds turn Reality into a home for us to reside within is called world disclosure. What a world refers to is a cumulative whole of meaningful boundaries, patterns, and relationships for a living Being. We can think of a world as what Reality is on an experiential level for an individual. To disclose is to reveal or uncover something. So world disclosure is the process of revealing a meaningful world within the whole of Reality. And the meaningful aspect of world disclosure is the really important part. As conscious beings that experience and understand things, we do not and could not reside within a bare Reality; what we reside within is a meaningful world. Another way of referring to this meaningful world is as our lived Reality. In our metaphor of home construction, houses of course don't build themselves, but are constructed with building materials that are actively put together through the labor of people. Likewise, minds disclose worlds in accordance with the opportunities and demands of a particular environment, through the structural organization that’s provided by a living body with survival needs. So it is only through a living body that a mind has access to a world of people, places, and things; which is to say that minds are inherently embodied. So when we speak of a mind we’re also necessarily speaking of a living body as well, because the question of how a mind functions can’t be meaningfully answered without also considering the particulars of how that mind is embodied. The term somatic is used to describe ideas and practices that deal with our direct experience of the living body. The theory of mind which grounds the themes we’ll be exploring throughout this book is a somatic theory of mind. Later on we’ll be considering some of the reasons why the importance of the living body to the mind is an area that has largely been neglected throughout Western philosophy (though with a handful of exceptions, which we’ll also be exploring). As we do so, we’ll also be articulating the challenge that this somatic view poses to disembodied conceptions of mind which stretch back to the European Enlightenment and are still influential to this day, despite how archaic these conceptions have become in the light of scientifically informed knowledge. For our present purposes, when we mention that minds are inherently embodied, what we are emphasizing is the importance of the structural organization that’s provided by a living body to what a mind is. Importantly, minds do not ‘invent’ worlds independently from the living body, nor does world disclosure take place in isolation from the totality of the shared Reality that you, I, and everyone else participates in. (In contrast, the idea that minds independently ‘create’ the whole of Reality and that nothing outside of one’s own mind exists is a philosophical hypothesis known as solipsism, which this book unambiguously rejects). And just in case the distinction between an environment and a world is still a bit unclear, when we mention an environment, what we are referring to are the physical and social spaces which exert evolutionary selection pressures on a life form. And when we refer to a world, what we're referring to are the meaningful boundaries, patterns, and relationships that a mind experiences over the course of its life. Worlds can also be thought of as what environments become through minds which are hardwired to experience meaningful things and situations. Or to return to our guiding metaphor for this chapter, the difference between an environment and a world can be likened to the difference between a house and a home. As all of us know, a home isn’t just a physical space, but a significant place which has been suffused with a rich tapestry of familiarity and meaning. The upshot of all this is that minds aren’t passive spectators that are parachuted into a preexisting world with fixed features. Rather, minds play an active role in constructing the features of the worlds they come to inhabit. However, this is not to say that minds are free to inhabit just any type of world, nor are the specifics of world disclosure a ‘choice’ that an individual makes (consciously or otherwise). Instead, the specifics of world disclosure are in large part a consequence of the organizational structure that’s provided through a body which is subject to the evolutionary selection pressures of an environment. Which is to say that both body and environment predispose minds to different forms of world disclosure, and thus to different types of lived Realities. Among the more significant aspects of human physiology for the types of world disclosure experienced by human beings are highly expressive and communicative faces, a bipedal posture that’s oriented along a front-back axis, highly dexterous hands that are used to manipulate our surroundings, and forward facing eyesight that serves as our primary navigational sense. A WORLD OF AFFORDANCES Crucially, these structurally significant aspects of our physiology (our bipedalism, our hands, and our eyesight, to name just a few) play a role in determining the types of affordances that our worlds contain. An affordance can be thought of as an invitation to interact with something in some particular way. For example, a chair offers affordances for sitting, while a hammer offers affordances for hammering. Importantly, affordances aren’t something that we’re consciously aware of most of the time; rather, they play a role in how objects show up for us in our lived experience. It’s simply obvious to us that chairs are for sitting and hammers are for hammering. Of course, that’s not to imply that objects invite us to interact with them in only one way. A hammer can be used to drive nails into wood, but it can also be used to cave in someone’s skull. The particulars of what any given affordance will be aimed at will largely depend on the demands of the situation that one is absorbed in. While this situational aspect of affordances will be covered in depth in our next chapter which is all about situated coping, for the time being what’s worth noting about affordances is that they’re first and foremost flexible. More specifically, affordances assist minds in navigating the complexity of Reality by offering a flexible means for focusing in on what’s relevant for our needs and purposes within the situation we’re involved in. It’s precisely because affordances are so flexible that an experiential world structured in terms of affordances is a world that’s ripe for improvisation. And it’s largely this disclosive improvisational framework which allows minds to adapt to the wide variety of situations that a living being encounters throughout the course of its life.
  6. Thanks! Really looking forward to writing that section in particular, since intuition's relationship with reason via heuristics is a very interesting topic to explore.
  7. I've found Wilber's holonic approach to be quite helpful for contextualizing this. In that the sociosphere is contingent on the biosphere, but the reverse is not true. By this measure we could say that biological facts are more fundamental than sociological facts, while sociology is more significant because it includes a greater depth of holons than the biosphere. Likewise gender is contingent upon biological sex, but the reverse is not true. At the same time, gender can said to be more significant for the lived experience of human beings than biological sex.
  8. Good on her. My impression is that Cenk Uyghur seems like a decent guy who's putting in a good faith effort to combat political corruption (I've been supporting his efforts to get a constitutional Amendment passed to get corporate money out of politics for years). That said, TYT doesn't get an automatic pass just because I support Cenk's other efforts, or because they're a Leftist political outlet. Since unfortunately their channel is filled with the same kind of sensationalist nonsense and ideological rigidity that I criticize other forms of profit driven media for.
  9. It's worth noting that the observation that something is a mental construct (such as gender) does not mean that it's imaginary (ie not 'real'). I see people make this mistake all of the time. If we think about what a mental construct, such as gender, actually is, it's a category or boundary that's created and sustained by our minds, which is coupled to some observation about ourselves or the world. As such, the nature of all constructs is that they are necessarily partial (since they arise from the limitations inherent to a particular perspective), and are a consequence of our interactions with Reality; which makes them 'real' (though not necessarily healthy or functional).
  10. Race based affirmative action always seemed to me like a really clumsy way of trying to address gross inequality of opportunity here in the States. I've long thought that income and location based affirmative action would make a lot more sense, if the goal of affirmative action has been to provide opportunities for social mobility to those who got dealt a shit hand in the birth lottery. Obviously it doesn't address the root causes of education inequality, but that's outside the scope of what a university admissions board can hope to remedy. My concern is that rather than reforming race based affirmative action into a system that makes more sense for the world we happen to be living in now, in many cases it will be replaced with nothing. Making a system that's already rife with inequality of opportunity even worse. And the fact that the Supreme Court decision bans race based affirmative action and leaves nepostic legacy admissions in place is the cherry on top of the shit rulings the SCOTUS has been making.
  11. The problem hasn't been Affirmative Action per se, so much as basing it on race alone rather than a person's overall socio-economic status. Race is just one dimension of how advantaged or disadvantaged a person is, a smart Yellow policy would target it towards communities that lack access to support systems for social mobility (which in the US would of course include poor inner cities that are predominantly non-white, but also rural areas that have been underserved and neglected). 'Merit' based systems are only fair when people have access to reasonably equitable opportunities to self actualize, which the US has sadly been failing at. Unfortunately in the US affirmative action for privileged people still exists, in the form of legacy admissions (ie 'your daddy went to Harvard so you get to go to Harvard', which is just a gross form of nepotism). And of course the decision that was reached by this reactionary Supreme Court doesn't touch nepotistic affirmative action for the affluent. It just hurts people from disadvantaged communities without doing anything to actually address the problems that gave rise to the well meaning but flawed Green knee-jerk reaction that is races based affirmative action.
  12. Okay, I'll bite. Good things about Trump: 1) His gross incompetence combined with his utter inability to even pretend to be a halfway decent human being cost an increasingly dangerous Republican Party big in 2020 and 2022. 2) The MAGA movement unmasked the Republican Party as a fascistic political party in a way that's plain for the rest of the country to see. 3) Trump's presidency exposed how vulnerable the institutions of American democracy are to authoritarianism. 4) The American Legal system is holding what was formerly the most powerful person in the country accountable for high crimes and treason, which shows that we're still a country that upholds the Rule of Law. 5) Authorities like the FBI, CIA, and the military are finally starting to take the threat of political violence from the far right more seriously thanks to Trump's unhinged and dangerous supporters.
  13. Might as well ask what the top 5 things about having diarrhea are while you're at it
  14. I believe that the dems at least could be bullied into it if the idea catches on enough that there's a real public push for it. Ranked choice voting does exist already in some areas of the country (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina after a quick google search). Thing is, even if ranked choice was adopted everywhere tomorrow, it's not like the Green Party or some independent is going to be a serious threat to the dems and the repubs being the two primary political parties in America. But realistically, it could allow for some independents and third parties to make baby steps, like perhaps grabbing some seats in the house of representatives, or becoming the mayor of some city.
  15. When used with the understanding that it's a broad generalization (and not an actual substitute for political/ sociological literacy), it's perfectly adequate. Not as useful as something as spiral dynamics of course, but as a quick way of getting a rough sense of someone's worldview it serves well enough. The problem, as you point out, is people using the Left / Right political axis in an uninformed and uneducated way. But that's going to be a problem for just about any model that's made it way into the public sphere, it isn't unique to the Left-Right axis.
  16. The Left/Right political axis should really just be seen as an orienting generalization. And for most ordinary people who don't pay attention to politics, thier own worldview is likely an inconsistent mishmash of the two (ie people thinking that the government spends too much on welfare while also thinking that it should do more to help poor people). That said, the differences between the two aren't just armchair theorizing, they actually do matter in the real world. If you're an LGBTQ person for instance you can be damned sure that the difference matters, since one end of that spectrum is pioneering a hate campaign against you, and the other end isn't. Both the Left and the Right end of that spectrum have their own problems, but it does no one any good to draw a false equivalency between the two. In the current political environment the far right end of that spectrum is an existential threat to democracy.
  17. For third parties to be viable in America, at a minimum we would need either a federal law or constitutional amendment that requires Ranked Choice Voting everywhere in the country. Without that, our first past the post voting system ensures that third parties running in national elections have effectively zero chance at winning. To list a historical example, if a prolific former president like Teddy Roosevelt wasn't able to win an election running for reelection as a third Party, what chance do any of these tiny third parties have? If you want more political choices, push for electoral reforms before throwing your vote away on a third party.
  18. This ^ Letting an increasingly fascistic Republican party dismantle what remains of American democracy is literally the worst case outcome of the dynamics that are at play right now. The current Republican Party is actively supporting political violence, both from paramilitary groups and lone wolf actors, while trying to destabilize the country to achieve thier political aims. Trump himself is a national security risk who put the United States in danger. The Democratic Party basically wants business as usual, but can at least be bullied into supporting policies that benefit the American people. The Republicans know that thier extremism is unpopular, and instead of moderating their platform have chosen to dismantle democracy.
  19. Yeah that's interesting. It seems that for my book, so far it's shaping out so that %80 of the book is a synthesis and making accessible of ideas and systems I've been researching, and perhaps %20 my own thoughts. Part of my own motivation is take make a case as to why learning phenomenology and epistemology can actually be relevant in a person's life, and to do so I'm writing the book in a somewhat informal style. Since I really want the book to be engaging rather than dry. As someone who reads lots and lots of philosophy, I kind of hate how most philosophy books are written (in that they're primarily written for other academics).
  20. Over the past few months, I've been diving into the early stages of writing a book on philosophy (which is partly why I haven't been of the forums much as of late). If anyone here has either written or published a book, I'd be highly curious to hear what your experiences of that were like. What sort of challenges did you run into along the way? How did you go about getting feedback on your ideas? How long did you spend writing the book, what portion of that was spent on research vs editing vs actual writing? If your book was published, what that experience like? If you could go back and give your earlier self tips when you were first starting off, what would those be?
  21. Right on! If you do end up writing a book I'd also be interested.
  22. Specifically, the book I'm writing is a sort of 'Field Guide' to Construct Awareness. In particularly, the book aims to make epistemology and ontology accessible for non-specialists. To that end, I'm going out of my way to avoid relying on philosophical jargon, and making use of orienting metaphors to tie the themes of the book to easily relatable scenarios that one encounters in their everyday life. The book is grounded in a phenomenological approach rather than diving into abstract metaphysical theory. My working thesis is that self awareness to how the mind constructs its lived Reality can help us cultivate a healthier relationship with the beliefs and pet theories that we use to make sense of Reality. And that the core of doing so ultimately involves interrogating the emotional attachments we form to our beliefs. I've been researching the the idea for this book over the past 2-3 years, and have the basic outline of the book worked out. Right now I'm in the early stages of actually writing it, a process that I'm estimating will probably be a 2 to 4 year endeavor.
  23. While Trump himself as a political candidate is likely doomed, Trumpism (ie crypto-fascism) is likely here with us to stay, since none of the underlying issues which have given rise to Trump's authoritarian cult of personality have been addressed. What will be far more dangerous is when someone smarter than Trump takes the reigns of the violent nationalism he gave voice to, without being an unstable baffoon that alienates everyone who hasn't drunk the cool aid.
  24. If he were serious about actually making a tangible impact in the political landscape, he'd have gone the Bernie Sanders route of running in the Democratic primary. Bernie's smart enough to realize that how you actually influence political discourse is through Game Change (ie moving the Overton Window by mainstreaming Leftist policy positions). And like it or not that involves working through the political system that actually exists. A doomed third party presidential run is a good way to ensure that you have basically zero impact on the broader culture. It's basic Game Denial 101, and why I can't take him seriously.