August 14, 2006

Timeless evolution

Edward Berge Says: August 13th, 2006 at 9:41 am Foundationalism in epistemology might be defined as the thesis that all of our knowledge rests on a foundation of indubitable truths about sensory experience. Such a philosophy can be found in the works of C. D. Broad and C. I. Lewis and was widely accepted throughout the first half of the 20th century. Sellars’s best known piece of writing, “Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind” (EPM), first published in 1956, is in part a critique of this doctrine. There Sellars refers to this doctrine as the myth of given.
Sellars’s critique can be understood as resting on a distinction between the materials of sense and the inputs to the processes of reason. The inputs to the processes of reason are conceptualizations. We may react to sensory experiences with such conceptualizations, but the sensory experiences and the conceptualizations are not the same thing. Inasmuch as there is always the possibility that our conceptualizations are mistaken in some manner, there can be no foundation of indubitable truths about sensory experience such as the foundationalist imagines.
Andy Smith Says: August 13th, 2006 at 10:31 am As I understand Sellars’s view, there is something “out there”, it’s just very different from our scientific conception of the world. And if that’s true–I’m not saying it isn’t–I think it has enormous implications for our view of evolution. I think this is one of the aspects of this view that bothers Searle.
Anand Rangarajan Says: August 13th, 2006 at 12:05 pm To Andy Smith: Does Wilber really say “everything is perspective”? If so, he may have to deal with the problem of the incoherence of strong perspectivism - generated by applying strong perspectivism to the statement “everything is perspective”. For more on this, please see “Nietzsche’s Perspectivism” by Hales and Welshon. As far as I know, Nietzsche was the first person to formulate strong perspectivism. Hales and Welshon show that a kind of weak perspectivism does not have the incoherence problem at the cost of robbing perspectivism of some of its appeal. Also, the problem of “primordial perspectives cum exteriors that evolved into us”, is that it risks absolutizing time via evolution (unless you mean a kind of timeless evolution). An opponent can deny evolution or time as basic.

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