[FRIAM] talking to bots is fun for everyone

glen gepropella at gmail.com
Tue Dec 27 19:25:31 EST 2022

Ooof. I want to make it clear that I would not survive one of your direct hits. 8^D Thanks for tolerating my trespasses.

What I hear when you say "a foundation for more reliably selecting premises about what is the case" two documents come to mind:

• Shapiro's "Foundations without Foundationalism" ⛧, and
• Dennett's "Brian Cantwell Smith on Evolution, Objectivity, and Intentionality" ⛤

When Edmundson accuses Rorty (and others) of smashing one convenient fiction for another that's more useful, I can't help but think it's a strawman. I liken the process of a pragmatic approach to truth to simulated annealing. Sure, any one state can be shattered and replaced with another state. But somewhere in the "flex and slop" (from Dennett) we have just enough non-truth to help us anneal towards a more stable "truth". I.e. not all convenient fictions are equally fictitious. Similarly, Shapiro (a bit like Barwise in proposing the anti-foundation axiom, I guess) seems to endorse an opportunistic grasping for stable foundations without some kind of Value-Driven presumption of what that might end up looking like.

In that way, Edmundson's adoption of values like justice, compassion, humanity, or whatever, is susceptible to (BC) Smith's "pre-emtive registration" -- the fixation onto fantasies such that alternative configurations are excluded. But the sin isn't in *predicting* those hypothetical, high-order, end states will be the well-founded Truth. The sin is the hubris in assuming they are that. Maybe they are. Maybe they're not. What we need is just a little bit of heat, applied iteratively, and we'll see if we can form such a crystalline structure. If so, that gives us 1 data point, one crystal. And we can begin to re-run the experiment to see how many different types of crystals we can form.

This is where I part ways with Nick's conception of such end-game crystals, monism. There may well be more than one well-founded crystal. (And maybe there won't.) Edmundson's complaint that pragmatism is simply the annealing feels right in that. But it's equally (or worse) wrong to be convinced you know that the crystal you're annealing toward is The Crystal.

Sorry for relying too much on the metaphor. I'm clearly out of my depth, here. And thanks for that article. It was a nice distraction from the logic nonsense.

[⛧] https://global.oup.com/academic/product/foundations-without-foundationalism-9780198250296
[⛤] https://global.oup.com/academic/product/philosophy-of-mental-representation-9780198250524

On 12/27/22 14:56, David Eric Smith wrote:
> Glen, I think today you are fated to suffer death by a thousand tangents.
>> On Dec 27, 2022, at 2:41 PM, glen <gepropella at gmail.com <mailto:gepropella at gmail.com>> wrote:
> First, though, thank you for saving me on the other point.  I was laughing at the structure of the whole conversation by then.  (And thinking about Turing tests for people.)  I was seeking a confirmation that there was an error in a piece of text.  Frank was committed to making true statements.
> But now, the tangent:
>> Brevity is your enemy. Previously, I asked gpt to contrast Richard Rorty and CS Peirce. It gave me this super simplified answer that woefully misrepresented both. 
> By God-knows-what route, I happened to notice this, and read it last week (or maybe a day ago…?):
> https://harpers.org/archive/2023/01/trumpism-and-the-american-philosophical-tradition/ <https://harpers.org/archive/2023/01/trumpism-and-the-american-philosophical-tradition/>
> A colleague pushed Rorty on me, and as I have mentioned, I could not understand why I consider him so awful, and the colleague, with whom I get along very well, considers him a mentor, nearly a guru of some kind.  I got a partial answer this past summer, which was a testimonial to Rorty’s personal goodness of actions.
> Anyway, I was pleased with about the first half of Edmundson’s analysis, because he takes Rorty to task for what I consider the right thing, which is killing truth for the sake of expediency in his own social-justice aims.  Some saying like “Those who would kill truth for the sake of social justice won’t have either”.
> But then Edmundson makes hamburger of the second half, articulating his own position as an “idealist”, where he substitutes the word “Truth” as the provider of a whole basket of services, not one of which I would take to be the purview of truth, and all of which I would say are the purview of either Justice or Humanity.  How can a philosopher, so blithely, commit what seems to me such an elementary and blunderous category error?
> So I spent some time wondering whether there was any notion of Truth that got very far from what I think it to be: a foundation for more reliably selecting premises about what is the case; and would veer it more toward notions like Justice or Humanity, to me very different things though all of the above can serve as referees that stand above various contestants.  In any case, I didn’t forward to the list, to avoid self-incrimination.
> But, since you bring up Rorty and Peirce, why not?  Edmundson did mention that Peirce had already tried to get distance by the time of James; Rorty I am sure has him rolling in his grave still.  But Edmundson didn’t mention _why_ James distracted from Peirce, Dewey essentially reversed him, and Rorty put the all the nail that would fit in that coffin.  Seemed to me like rather a large omission, but in the second half of the essay, maybe I see why.
> Eric
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