jeudi, avril 08, 2010

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vendredi, janvier 22, 2010

Aakash Nihalani

Very nice.. I think what I like the most is how he could talk about those general trivial matters of living in a big city in such a personal way so everything really makes sense.

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jeudi, janvier 14, 2010

Waiheke Trip

I am not ashamed to admit it, I had not been to a gallery probably for months .. A wee visit to the Waiheke Community Art Gallery was however pleasant -- to say the least. I was surprised at the density of population on the island and just how visible the art is, and the gallery just made me feel quite comfortable.. though nothing outstandingly memorable, at least it doesn't leave you with disgust like most of the others.

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jeudi, septembre 10, 2009

Stephen De Pledge

this is not going to be a long post, i just thought it'd be good update.. first piece of news, i'm again 'taking a break' from art - LOL - and just came back from this cmnz concert, was really good.
i thought of the death of a family member over Ros Harris' landscape piece.
and the effects of repetition that works the same in music and in visual arts.
but still unpredictable.

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mardi, février 17, 2009


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lundi, septembre 29, 2008

speaking of mirroring image

was a good find.
took me time to realise its source.

samedi, septembre 27, 2008

{Notes} Munévar, Gonzalo. Evolution and the Naked Truth

Evolution and the Naked Truth

Munévar, Gonzalo. Evolution and the Naked Truth: A Darwinian approach to philosophy. Vermont, USA: Ashgate Publishing Company, 1998.

Chapter 1. Evolution and the Naked Truth. 3-22.
1.why evolutionary considerations lead to a complete relativism (perceptual, intellectual, scientific).
2.Defend this evolutionary relativism from standard and new objections advanced b realists.
3.An evolutionary theory of relative truth

3>> ... an entrenched realism would lead us to assume that either the truth of the matter has not yet been discovered in those areas in question, or else that there is no truth of the matter.
Realist would think that those areas where he makes relativist concessions are somehow not as worthy, epistemologically speaking, as those areas where knowledge is really possible.

Kuhn (1970) and Feyerabend (1975)
→ Science itself is subject to the vagueness of social relativism.
... there is no truth of the matter in any empirical investigation, but I [Munévar] suspect that most realists who can recognise the social relativisation of natural science would simply fall back on the position that the truth of the matter has not been found yet.
All the realist needs is the belief that the truth of the matter indeed exists.
→ 'metaphysical realism' A truth in principle impossible

4>> ... to come to know the naked truth, or rather, to come to know the way things really are (in epistemology: to come to know the structure of the world). It is supposed that humans will fall short because their senses are prone to distortion and their intellects to prejudices [...] there is no such thing as knowing the ways things really are. Absolute knowledge is a mistake even as an ideal.

Popper and others have thought that evolutionary theory would in some way provide a warrant fr realism (an evolutionary variation of 'science is successful because it approximates the truth'). But as we will see, careful attention to the implications of evolution will turn the realist diction on its head.

5>> Natural History and Knowledge
the capacity to know and to organise socially in order to know, may have some biological basis.
→ the sort of empirical knowledge possessed by organisms is largely the result of the interaction between the biology of the organisms and their environment.
{see example of a bird p.5} → perhaps bowerbirds too, etc. yea yea?
interaction (social/environmental) → knowledge

1.perception has a biological basis;
2.intelligence arises out of perception and other biological structures; is a social product of intelligence.
→ perception, intelligence and science

6>> no matter how successful an interaction with the environment is, e.g. a perception, that there could be an alternative interaction which is as successful...

7>> if two interactions are equally successful, i.e., 'good,' it is difficult to say that one is superior to the other. It would be arbitrary to say that one should be preferred to all others.

++ Munévar, G. Radical Knowledge: A Philosophical Inquiry into the Nature and Limits of Science. Indianapolis: Hackett. 1981. Chap.3 for frame of reference
Frame of reference/perceptual mechanisms
It would be arbitrary to say of any one frame of reference that the perceptions or views of the world that originate within it correspond to reality, or tell us the way things really are. For t is clear that the others would be just as deserving the honour.

One perception, or point of view, can be said to 'correspond' to the way things really are, i.e.., to be the true representations.
Special theory of relativity: when a property, e.g., mass or length, can be measured only relative to a frame of reference, and when there is no preferred frame of reference, there is no 'naked' instance of that property – this in case, there is no absolute mass or length.
→ there's no absolute reality,
→ no such thing as 'the way things really are,'
→ 'no structure of the universe,' no naked truth.

Dictionary of Philosophy, Penguin. 276.
1.adj. pertaining to an experimental, trial-and-error kind of procedure.
2.n. the art of discovery.

8>> Intelligence and Scientific Relativism
close connection between intelligence and the complexity of the central nervous system
its (intelligence's) flexibility and its capacity for indirect action.
→ Munévar, 1981: 40-44. Radical Knowledge...
→ Piaget: thanks to intelligence an organism is scope of interaction with the world goes beyond immediate and momentary contacts. (1950: The Psychology of Intelligence. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.)
{example of vision of a bird p.8}
Understanding intelligence + social cooperation = invent science

9>> when we discussed intelligence, we realised that the increase in the complexity of the central nervous system offered an increase in the variety of certain kinds of response, while the actual development of that system was clearly the result of a series of evolutionary compromises.
In the case of science, social structure may bring about an even greater variety and flexibility of response. In science, thus, the many possible superpositions of social upon natural histories have a multiplicity of pats available to them.
→ no matter how good a 'conceptual frame of reference (i.e., the conceptual potentialities of a genotype) is, there could be others just as good. And as in the case of perception, it would be arbitrary to prefer one to those others.

9>> Scientific Convergence?
Even if we grant that natural history may have produced different brains, and thus different modes of thought, intellectual convergence should still be expected with the growth of science.
→ science (tries to) deals with all-pervasive features of the universe.
The more a science advances, the more similar to other advanced sciences it should become.
{examples of convergence: camera eyes of humans and squids, etc.}
See: Lorenz, K. Studies in Animal Behaviour. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1971.
→ p.10 & p.21 notes 4. refer to arguments, etc.

Can we not be?
Surly we can, but it can't establish any common grounds.

11>> Objections to Relativism
1.Relativism is contradictory.
Simple-minded relativism: truth is relative to each observer. → this would permit one observer to hold that A is true while another holds that not A is true.
In evolutionary relativism we do not hold that A and not A are true together, for A is held in one frame of reference and not A in another.
2.Plato's first argument (in the Theœtetus):
Progagoras held that all points of view were equally valid. → the absolutist point of view would be valid as well. But the absolutist point of view claims that relativism is wrong. → Plato concludes, relativism is incoherent. → it does not apply to evolutionary relativism, since I [Munévar] do not claim that all frames of reference are equally valid, but only that some may be.
3.Relativism entails that the universe would not exist without observers...
The universe must be independent of any frames of reference. If it were not, then it would not come into existence until it could be described within the point of view of some observer or other.
12>> The frames of reference in question need not be actual frames. Relativism requires only potential frames of reference → the objection does not apply.
4.Evolutionary relativism itself is expressed within a frame of reference, is it not? But why should that frame of reference be preferred to all others? Is the thesis of evolutionary relativism absolutely true or not? If it is, my position turns out to be absolutist at the meta-level. If not, it will then be either false or else 'true' only in some subjective or relativistic way. ... hmmm.... An alternative to a standard is dismissed because it does not conform to that standard.

12>> Sophisticated Realism
'there are real particulars (objects, events, processes, etc.) which are mind-independent,' and 'there is no ontologically given, categorically ready-made world.'

15>> Relative truth
++ In the hypothetical comparisons between frames of reference, when two frames led to similar performance, it was found arbitrary to make of either one a preferred or absolute frame. This indicates that the notion of performance can be fruitfully tied to the notion of understanding, particularly to that of scientific understanding (Manévar, 1981, Chp.4)

Theory by means of an illustration
perception → true representations
see example p.15: Apple

16>> other thory of truth
A view-point was successful either because it was true or because it approached truth.

17>> The relative truth (or seeming absolute truth) of a viewpoint depends on its success, not the other way around. The naturalist's task is to explain why a 'picture'- making activity appears satisfactory.
Evolutionary thinking is the best I can do within the bounds of my conceptual equipment, and I suspect that it has the highest potential for performance with respect to a great number of areas of experience, particularly those that have to do with living things and their history.

20>> Conclusion:
Plato's second objection to Protagoras: if truth were relative to a culture, or to a point of view, then there would be neither reason nor motive for changing (for every point of view would already be satisfactory). This removes one presumed advantages and disadvantages has now tilted in relativism's favour.

Casual realism (Hooker, Lewis, etc.): The would is that 'something' that in casual interaction with frames of reference brings about certain points of view. It is the same world, but forever indescribable: 'mysterious substratum,' a 'Kingdom of Being,' 'noumena.'
relativist: Truth is relative ANYWAY

except for the emotional connotations of the little, evolutionary relativism is the view that best fits their philosophical outlook.
Understanding the nature of knowledge rather than fantasizing about the naked truth.
→ to see the process!!!!!!!

Chapter 6. The Connection Between Evolution and the Nature of Scientific Knowledge. 65-74

65>> whether scientific knowledge is somehow a result of evolutionary pressures (that it has adaptive value, say- or that evolution presents the key in understanding the nature of scientific knowledge.

Ernst Mach, Konrad Lorenz, Karl Popper, etc.
Evolutionary Epistemology (19th century) Mach, etc. has the function of reproducing facts in thought in order to save, or replace, experiences. (According to Mach, one of the main functions of science is the economy of thought. Mach's biological or evolutionary theory of knowledge can be found in his Popular Science Lectures, Open Court, 1943. 184-235, and in section IV of Chapter IV of his Science of Mechanics, Open Court, 1942. & p.222.
2.Through evolution the mind adapts itself to the world.
{quote p.65}

Spencer: 'What is a priori for the individual is a posteriori for the species.'
by adapting to the world the mind comes to reflect it ('the structure of the world forces itself upon the structure of the mind.')
Poincare: we choose our theories not because they are true but because they are more convenient.

The Foundation of Science, The Science Press, 1946. p.91.
{quote p.66-1} .. geometry is not true, it is advantageous.
{quote p.66-2} p.428. Truth & error.
We see that if geometry is not an experimental science, it is science born apropos of experience; that we have created the space it studies, but adapting it to the world herein we live. We have selected that most convenient space, but experience has guided our choice; as this choice has been unconscious we think it has been imposed on us; some say experience imposes it; others that we are born with our space ready made; we see from these preceding condiserations what in these two opinions is the part of truth, what of error.

66>> Mach, Popular Scientific Lectures, p.235.
We are prepared, thus, to regard ourselves and every one of our ideas as a product and a subject of universal evolution; and in this way we shall advance sturdily and unimpeded along the paths which the future will throw open to us.

Our scientific ideas have changed quickly and considerably for the past few hundred years. Thus, if they were biologically embedded, as Mach suggests, our biology must have changed in a similar fashion. But that is clearly not so.

67>> Karl Popper 'Is there an Epistemological Problem of Science,' Problems in the Philosophy of Science. Eds. North-Lakatos, A. Musgrave. North Holland Publishing Company, 1968. 163.
theories are like organs that we develop outside our skins → exosomatic evolutionary
Popper. Objective Knowledge. Oxford University Press, 1972. 264.
human knowledge can only be understood as an instrument in our struggle for survival.

Theoretical adaptation he has in mind is adaptation to an 'objective realm' separate from the world of things (i.e.., from the universe), that is, adaptation to what he calls the 'Third World.' (p.106)

++ Popper argues that a theory should be preferred if it adapts best to the intellectual environment it faces. This environment is provided by the ideas, techniques, and problems that the scientific community of the time finds pressing and important.

67>> Toulmin requires mechanisms for variation and selective perpetuation (generation of alternative views, and what Feyerabend calls the 'principle of tenacity, ' although applied only to successful candidates). For these mechanisms to operate, there must be a forum or a court in which the new alternatives may be 'heard,' and a tribunal that will preserve the accepted view until one of the alternatives can show that it is better adapted (or perhaps adaptable) to the discipline's intellectual 'environment.'

both Toulmin's and Popper's approach can be called 'biological' or 'evolutionary' only in an analogical sense. This approach fails to draw as sharp a distinction as required between scientific and non-scientific intellectual activities.

Piaget: intelligence is 'the form of equilibrium towards which all the structures arising out of perception habit and elementary sensori-motor mechanisms tend.' Psychology of Intelligence. Littlefield, Adams & Co. 1966. p.6

→ the intelligent mind interacts with the universe by forming views of it and then trying them out. This accord very well with the contemporary philosophy of science developed by such thinkers as Kuhn, Feyerabend, and Lakatos, all of whom would claim in some form or another that out scientific views structure the very manner in which we experience nature.

69>> if intelligence has adaptive value, in part precisely because of the way it interacts with the world, and if science constitutes the means to that interaction, then science has adaptive value as well. A science as such helps:
1.dealing with greater ease with our environment (our 'niche')
2.increasing the number and diversity of environments that we can deal with (enlarging the 'niche')
3.coping with a continuously changing environment (which puts a premium on flexibility or response).

70>> survival value is more or less connected with foreseeable application. It is often said, for example, that whereas animals can only take care of immediate and pressing problems, ie., react to them, we can behave in ways that do not constitute a reaction to an compelling demands of the environment, we are endowed with curiosity (a higher form of which provides much of our scientific motivation), and curiosity liberates us from the drudgery of 'plain' animalhood.
→ see J. Bronowski in his television series (& book), 'The Ascent of Man.'
There is a long standing prejudice that what distinguishes science from other activities is that science tries to force upon itself the verdict of experience (through predictions, testing, and so on).

71>> of course we can expect great differences between the curiosity behaviour of animals such as ravens and that of man. The difference lies in the fact that man's investigative behaviour is pursued until the onset of senility, a formate characteristic made possible by the neotenous nature of our species. In other animals such investigations are restricted to an early phase in individual development. Curiosity ends when play behaviour ends.

++ if science is an attempt to satisfy intellectual curiosity, it seems that its origin is not to be found in problem solving but in play! Its preservation, furthermore, seems dependent on the very happy accident that we are able to keep our childlike sense of wonder.

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