[ExI] Bad Epistemology?

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Tue Jul 17 23:31:03 UTC 2007

Jef writes

>> > Lee, you began this thread by asking "Is my epistemology really
>> > screwed up at a fundamental level?", but you then proceeded to pose
>> > problems that appear to be entirely ontological[1], rather than
>> > epistemological[2]. It's as if you and I are speaking different
>> > languages; might you be conflating or juxtaposing the two?
>> Oh, yes, and thanks for bringing it up.
> Meaning "Yes, I was mindful or pre-accepting of this, and glad you
> appreciate the issue"?

:-)   Not quite.  I meant "yes" I know the difference
between epistemology and ontology, and so while
"no" (I do not conflate or mix-up the two of them)
in general, yes in this case I was unmindful that these
were properly speaking ontological issues, and
finally yes, I am was (and am) glad you appreciate
the issue, and am (and was) thanking you for spotting
and bringing it up.   Okay?

>> Besides, epistemology
>> is these days still controversial, but scientifically educated
>> people seem all to be in agreement over ontology.
> So it seems that you believe the distinction is not only vague, but
> unproductive.  I think your belief supports your chronic blind-spot.

Now please look at these two sentences, yours and mine.
I'm making claims entirely in keeping with the *issues*
here in this thread, while you characteristically and almost
(it seems) involuntarily have to keep delving into some
property of my general thinking about some range of issues,
They seem to me to be more speculations---that are very
liable to give offense, by the way---about someone's
chronic and personal tendencies, and these speculations
shift the discussion away from substance and towards
personal attributes, as though you were analysing someone's
character rather than discussing issues.

Can you say why you do this, and, it seems to me, do it rather often?

>> > Your response (Q1-3) highlights my point.  Yours are ontological
>> > questions, about incidentally epistemological observers.  You're
>> > asking what exists, without consideration of the more fundamental
>> > question of what can be known.
>> :-)   Well, some of us think that the inquiry must begin at the
>> ontological level:  we (realists?) believe ourselves to begin with
>> "the given", but *not* in an axiomatic way, but rather in a way
>> more reminiscent of PCR.  You should love it:  it's "what
>> works".
> I do appreciate pan-critical rationalism, it's essentially the
> scientific method applied to beliefs.  I suspect, however, that Max's
> exposition of it would be somewhat different done now, in contrast
> with what he wrote 13 years ago.
>> We *know* what we're talking about when we
>> talk about carburetors (well, at least some of us!), and
>> when we're talking about mountains, streams, trees, and
>> animals.
> This appears to be another of your straw-men. I have no confusion
> about carburetors, mountains, streams, trees and animals, and have

Hmm.  I think I see what happened.  Blame the low-bandwidth media?
When I wrote above

>> :-)   Well, some of us think that the inquiry must begin at the

you properly and correctly understood that to be a category to which
you possibly (so far as I knew) did not belong, and then you retained
this *same* understanding of the word "us" (but in the form "we")
when you got to

>> We *know* what we're talking about when we
>> talk about carburetors (well, at least some of us!), and

I did *not* mean "We" in the sense of we who adhere to the realist 
position.  I meant "we" as human beings.  Surely it would be absurd
for me to suppose that nominalists, or empiricists, or rationalists, or
what-have-you would not all be equally familiar with carburetors,
mountains, streams, etc.   Jef, it baffles me that  you could have
assumed that I was making aspersions on your understanding of
carburetors, mountains, streams, trees and animals.

But is it not the case that this is exactly what you thought?

Your words above certainly seem to indicate it!  

And my parenthetical remark "(well, at least some of us!)" actually
was meant to exclude the unmechanical among us, e.g., me.
(I can see how that could have begun to confirm your suspicion
that I was attacking your understanding, but when I got to
mountains, streams, trees, and animals in the very same phrase????)

More later, if time today,


P.S.  Though this is not a complete reply to your post (our
discussion is getting rather lengthy) could you please reply
to the above first?  Thanks.

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