Sunday, May 10, 2009

77b The Second Lecture on Bertrand Russell

In the former lecture I gave you a sample of how Bertrand Russell used his analytical method in philosophy. I think it is interesting to begin at the beginning and listen to how Russell saw modern philosophical method.

In the Herbert Spencer lecture at Oxford in 1914, titled 'On Scientific Method in Philosophy' Russell gives an outline.

A philosophy that wants to be called scientific, should not be guided by religious or ethical motivations and refrain from value judgements in terms of good and bad.

In the past it turned out again and again, that concern regarding religious and moral interests were an obstacle for the development of philosophy.

Neither can it be the intention, that the philosopher would wish to formulate universal laws that apply to all what is, at least in the way traditional metaphysics had tried.

At the most we may expect from the philosopher, that he tries to integrate the results of the sciences into an as general as possible picture of mankind and the world.

As long as the philosopher is aware of the fact that the scientific findings are provisional and thence his generalisations have no absolute meaning, a lot of us will be pleased with this inductive synopsis.

But the real criterium of scientific philosophy is not just that. It is the methodes of the formal sciences and in particular the methodes of logic that give philosophy its scientific status.

What Russell had in mind was coming to statements that were so general that they would apply to all possible worlds. He was thinking of logical truths like "If x belongs to a class A and every member of class A is a member of class B, then x is member of class B", whatever x or A or B might mean.

The most important feature of this statement is that it is a priori: it isnt derived from experience, but can be applied to all possible worlds.

Philosophy as logical analysis that is the program that emerged at the beginning of the 20th century in Oxford, focusing on ordinary language.

One final remark on paradoxes. Sensational. Breath taking. Just try to understand the article in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy ...I cant (^_^)....seach Wikipedia on paradox.....really great stuff.

But what does it mean philosophically? To me it shows, that how sophisticated our brain may be, even taking refuge to logic, Russell's program, doesnt offer us a waterproof solution to our questions.

The Discussion

[13:23] Herman bergson: The next lecture will be on how Russell applied his ideas in logical atomism
[13:24] Herman bergson: If you have questions or remakrs..feel free..
[13:24] arabella Ella: Herman could you elaborate on 'Russell's program does not offer a waterproof solution' please?
[13:24] Herman bergson: is the problem of the paradoxes
[13:25] Herman bergson: Frege stopped working on his program when Russel sent him a letter in July2 1902
[13:25] Herman bergson: telling him there is a contradiction in his logic...
[13:25] arabella Ella: really?
[13:26] Herman bergson: and paradoxes have the same effect...
[13:26] arabella Ella: ok thanks
[13:26] Herman bergson: it shows that our mind cant come up with a 100% consistent system of rules
[13:27] arabella Ella: and do you see any usefulness in the generalised statements like the one you mentioned which can be applied to all possible worlds?
[13:27] Herman bergson: That was Russells dream, I think
[13:28] itsme Frederix: I think it is well shown that if you ask a question (place yourself one step aside to the stuff) you might not expect an answer (from the quetioned system) that also aplies to the questioner outside the system. - well formulation is not waterproof but might give a clue
[13:28] Herman bergson: To some extend logic works
[13:28] Herman bergson: sorry a bit too much for me..:-)
[13:29] arabella Ella: logic generally provides a sound basis for good arguments but i suppose it may also be 'abused' via play on words
[13:29] itsme Frederix: Maybe also for me if it is not clear at once ;)
[13:29] AristotleVon Doobie: If one adheres to the adage that 'things are in constant flux' then you will never have a definitive set of rules
[13:29] Herman bergson: I dont think so Arabella..
[13:30] arabella Ella: i think itsme means that answers to questions from within a system make it sometimes impossible to get a perspective from outside the system which is sometimes called a God's eye view
[13:30] itsme Frederix: arabella whow I got the eye
[13:30] arabella Ella: which part dont you agree with herman about logic and argument?
[13:30] Herman bergson: Ah...well then study tarski on paradoxes..that helps..:-)
[13:31] Herman bergson: but that is a detail
[13:31] arabella Ella: ok ... but i always found tarski too dense and impossible to comprehend
[13:31] Herman bergson: what is important here is that in the early 10s of the last century there what a tremendous development in mathematics and logic
[13:32] Herman bergson: and then the believe begins to grow that logic might finally show the definite answer....
[13:33] itsme Frederix: Well Herman in a way it did - a little unexpected but it did
[13:33] Herman bergson: I think that was Russell's dream...then he soon ran into paraoxes himself in his set theory
[13:33] Herman bergson: I think you have to see it from different levels
[13:34] Herman bergson: I mean..propositional logic covers a lot but not all
[13:34] Herman bergson: but a lot...
[13:34] Herman bergson: and yet you have to face the fact that the foundations arent 100% waterproof...
[13:34] arabella Ella: could you elaborate herman please?
[13:34] Herman bergson: and this fascinates me..
[13:35] Osrum Sands: that brings us bask to the statement that all knowledge is built on shifting Sand
[13:35] Herman bergson: Yes Osrum
[13:35] Osrum Sands: as is all philosophy based upon untestable proporsitions
[13:35] itsme Frederix: Well Herman the good news was Godel proved with logic for 100% it was not the 100% you meant
[13:36] Herman bergson: not philosophy Osrum, ...human knowledge
[13:36] Osrum Sands: disagree Herman, you said that your self once
[13:36] Herman bergson: I'll look into that Itsme..:-)
[13:37] Herman bergson: sorry Osrum....I am an epistemologist to me philosophy is the question after human knowledge..sorry for unclear use of words
[13:37] Osrum Sands: ok
[13:37] Osrum Sands: ta
[13:38] Herman bergson: I spend a lot of time today on the phenomenon of paradoxes..
[13:38] Herman bergson: really crazy stuff
[13:38] arabella Ella: that raises the question, herman - when do we know that we REALLY know
[13:38] Cailleach Shan: mmmm... so does that mean Herman the only thing we know for sure is that we breathe in and then breathe out!!!
[13:39] arabella Ella: we cant even be sure of that cail
[13:39] Herman bergson: be honest..that is a good start
[13:39] Herman bergson: on the other hand I am also pragmatic...if it works, it is true..
[13:40] Rodney Handrick: That's all I know for sure...Cal
[13:40] itsme Frederix: Cail wasn't it first breath out?
[13:40] Osrum Sands: and that breath thing is bounded by the dash from birth to the grave
[13:40] Cailleach Shan: lol... prove it!!!
[13:40] Tiara Calvert: We breathe therefore we know? Perhaps not, but then again... perhaps? :)
[13:40] Rodney Handrick: We have known to teach the other side of conciousness
[13:41] Rodney Handrick: one
[13:41] Herman bergson: Let's get back to Arabella's remark
[13:41] Herman bergson: when do we know that we REALLY know
[13:41] Herman bergson: This is in fact a Platonic approach to knowledge
[13:41] itsme Frederix: simple answer - if we know
[13:42] Herman bergson: the need for the absolute reference
[13:42] arabella Ella: your statement, herman, that if something works it must be true can only apply relatively, subject to time and context
[13:43] itsme Frederix: well yourself is an absolute reference: absolute on that time that place and with that specific knowledge/environment
[13:43] Cailleach Shan: I AM!
[13:43] Herman bergson: yes aarabella...true..
[13:43] arabella Ella: Cail ... this may all be a dream or the work of an evil demon u never know ;)
[13:43] Herman bergson: But observe what your statement implies...
[13:43] Herman bergson: we know.....and we really know...
[13:43] arabella Ella: relativism?
[13:44] Osrum Sands: Im really a butterfly dreaming that Im a human being
[13:44] arabella Ella: or the relativism of pragmatism perhaps?
[13:44] Herman bergson: so there is a knowing....and a special kind of knowing...the really refers to what?
[13:44] itsme Frederix: Herman aren't you confusing HOW and WHAT - if it works out (how) you might reacht the what you want (what) - reminds me to a tvery technical view!
[13:44] Cailleach Shan: "If you cut me.... do I not bleed"
[13:45] AristotleVon Doobie: Os, sounds very Matrix.
[13:45] Osrum Sands: good concepts in that movi Aris
[13:45] arabella Ella: Matrix actually raises a number of interesting philo questions on epistemology, what do we really know
[13:45] itsme Frederix: Ossum yes it worked out
[13:46] AristotleVon Doobie: I agree Os
[13:46] Herman bergson: What do you mean with your remark Itsme?
[13:46] Mickorod Renard: we could be the memory of something else
[13:46] AristotleVon Doobie: and yes Arabella, the first movie ws stunning to comtemplate
[[13:47] itsme Frederix: Herman I meant, if it works it is true - is only "proving" you used the right technical approach (technee)
[13:48] itsme Frederix: It does not state anything about the premisse
[13:48] Osrum Sands: Real knowledge ... we say that the universe is big, really big. However in fact is might be really small. Its just our point of reference
[13:48] Herman bergson: no..the predictions of my theory came the theory works (so far)
[13:48] Samuel Okelly: i see nothing in Russel that resolves the big questions of epistemology and i think they remain unanswered
[13:48] itsme Frederix: except that it is reachable - very pragmatic indeed
[13:48] Osrum Sands: sorry folks ... red herrings
[13:49] Herman bergson: Samuel....if they were answered I would be unemplyed now...(^_^)
[13:49] Samuel Okelly: :)
[13:49] Samuel Okelly: could there be an overlap with evoltionary psychology here i wonder?
[13:49] itsme Frederix: I think that if arrabella talks about ... real truth .. it is not that you can escape from prison but that it is worth to escape from prison - more ethical
[13:49] Osrum Sands: Hangon Herman... you are unemployed arnt you
[13:50] Herman bergson: Got me
[13:51] Cailleach Shan: You still have sl employment here Herman....
[13:51] arabella Ella: sorry Itsme but i did not understand ur comment ... and i talked about knowledge not truth
[13:51] Osrum Sands: but wait being unemployed is not the same as being umemployable
[13:51] arabella Ella: it scares me to talk about truth
[13:51] AristotleVon Doobie: ahhhhh, to be omnisicient would make me truly a god
[13:51] arabella Ella: truth in the philosophical sense i mean
[13:51] Osrum Sands: Trust, worms here we go again
[13:51] Herman bergson: Well Arabella...that is the special thing about paradoxes
[13:51] arabella Ella: yes?
[13:52] Osrum Sands: truth not trust
[13:52] itsme Frederix: arabella oke, but that is real real knowledge (let the subject drawn yet)
[13:52] Herman bergson: we have a kind of concept of truth...but in a paradox t show that is doesnt work
[13:52] arabella Ella: ok i see
[13:52] Cailleach Shan: Have to go folks. Excellent stuff Herman. Thanks everyone.
[13:53] Rodney Handrick: Bye Cal
[13:53] itsme Frederix: Now I am lost - but I liked the relativsme remark from Ossum
[13:53] AristotleVon Doobie: bye Caillleach
[13:53] Samuel Okelly: bye caill
[13:53] Osrum Sands: Cheers enjoy the cold
[13:53] Herman bergson: the concept of truth is a big chapter..:-)
[13:53] Ze Novikov: bb
[13:53] arabella Ella: but for me a paradox is just playing around with words in such a way so as to avoid logic as most people know it
[13:53] arabella Ella: bye cail
[13:53] Mickorod Renard: bye cail
[13:53] Herman bergson: To me it is not that trivial Arabella
[13:53] arabella Ella: i did not say it is trivial
[13:54] Herman bergson: I take it serious
[13:54] itsme Frederix: mmm a paradox is much more ... remember the turtle and the Greek runner - at last there was another view that solved it (llimit - analysis)
[13:54] Herman bergson: it is playing with the idea of true and false
[13:54] arabella Ella: yes herman it is serious but if as you say you are a pragmatist what is it's real use?
[13:55] arabella Ella: what can we do with paradoxes on a practical level really?
[13:55] Herman bergson: Yes ..there you are right...
[13:55] arabella Ella: they are interesting, they are serious ... period
[13:55] Herman bergson: but it is about fundamentals....getting to the roots of things
[13:55] itsme Frederix: paradoxes tell you there is another way needed to view the subject
[13:55] Mickorod Renard: I see what u are getting at Ara,,even though i like em
[13:56] Samuel Okelly: might the paradox be a result of the limitions of languages not being sufficient to express ideas sufficiently?
[13:56] Osrum Sands: surely paradoxes cause us to question our set beliefs !
[13:56] itsme Frederix: Sam even worse ideas not being sufficient ???
[13:56] Osrum Sands: good point Sam
[13:56] AristotleVon Doobie: parodoxes appear to be provocative, stimulating thought and questioning the status quo
[13:56] Herman bergson: No Samuel..that is not the matter I think
[13:56] arabella Ella: yes Sam I agree and would give an interpretation which would be related to Wittgenstein's views in the philosophical investigations
[13:57] AristotleVon Doobie: lol. OS
[13:57] arabella Ella: language games perhaps?
[13:57] itsme Frederix: so we got Herman NO arabella YES thats 1:1
[13:57] Mickorod Renard: although u dont need language to think about them
[13:57] Herman bergson: Logicians have developed all kinds of formal languages...and couldnt solve them
[13:58] Herman bergson: or solve them but then there was someone else who showed that it wasnt solved
[13:58] arabella Ella: if they were solvable then they would no longer be paradoxes
[13:58] Herman bergson: indeed..:-)
[13:58] itsme Frederix: arabella not everyone night be able to see the solution
[13:58] arabella Ella: and if i remember correctly there are mathematical paradoxes too but i cant remember them specifically now
[13:59] Herman bergson: there are all kinds of paradoxes...look it up in Wikipedia...real fun...
[13:59] itsme Frederix: arabella think about a sample theory
[13:59] arabella Ella: will do herman but not now or i will crash
[13:59] arabella Ella: ok itsme ... then?
[14:00] Samuel Okelly: isn’t quantum physics reduced to such a paradox?
[14:00] Herman bergson: what fascinates me is that our mind produces a lot of clever things, but nothing is waterproof
[14:00] itsme Frederix: arabella that kind of a paradox, looking for knowledge makes you crash ?
[14:00] arabella Ella: LOL
[14:00] Ze Novikov: lol
[14:00] arabella Ella: opening new windows or programs while on SL makes me crash
[14:00] arabella Ella: paradoxes can perhaps crash minds ... who knows
[14:00] itsme Frederix: sure
[14:01] Herman bergson: they can drive you crazy...
[14:01] arabella Ella: yes
[14:01] Mickorod Renard: If (1) is true, then (1) is false. But we can also establish the converse, as follows. Assume (1) is false. Because the Liar Sentence is saying precisely that (namely that it is false), the Liar Sentence is true, so (1) is true. We've now shown that (1) is true if and only if it is false. Since (1) is one or the other, it is both.
[14:01] itsme Frederix: arabella here it is, set theory is the right word to use
[14:02] Herman bergson: conclude this session...
[14:02] Herman bergson: What I say is NOT true...:-)
[14:02] arabella Ella: thanks itsme i will look that up later
[14:02] Herman bergson: yes that is the link
[14:02] Ze Novikov: Thank you Herman very stimulating.... lol
[14:03] AristotleVon Doobie: Yes, Herman, thank you
[14:03] Herman bergson: The only thing I want to say is how fascinating the human mind is...
[14:03] itsme Frederix: Well Herman and still we visit your class - so there must be more than truth
[14:03] AristotleVon Doobie: Indeed
[14:03] arabella Ella: it certainly is fascinating the human mind and complex too
[14:03] Herman bergson: oh yes...
[14:03] arabella Ella: thanks for another interesting lecture herman
[14:04] Herman bergson: we can land a man on the moon, but the foundations of our knowledge are in question all the time
[14:04] itsme Frederix: arabella may it looks only complex because we have to use it (are in it, in the system, on that level)
[14:04] arabella Ella: bye herman bye all must go now
[14:04] AristotleVon Doobie: What else is there but the human mind?
[14:04] Ze Novikov: bb
[14:04] AristotleVon Doobie: bye Arabella
[14:04] Herman bergson: Bye Arabella
[14:04] Herman bergson: thnx for your participation
[14:04] Mickorod Renard: bye Ara
[14:04] Samuel Okelly: bye arabella
[14:05] Herman bergson: Well..thank you all...this really was a refreshing philosophical discussion
[14:05] AristotleVon Doobie: It was
[14:05] itsme Frederix: yep maybe it is not that tuff as you might think
[14:05] Mickorod Renard: thankyou Herman
[14:06] Ze Novikov: bb everyone
[14:06] Samuel Okelly: i should leave now too ... thanks again herman! tc every1 :)
[14:06] Herman bergson: Bye Ze :-)
[14:06] Mickorod Renard: bye ze
[14:06] Tiara Calvert: Thank you. Have a wonderful rest of your days everyone:)
[14:06] Mickorod Renard: bye sam
[14:06] Mickorod Renard: bye tiara
[14:06] Mickorod Renard: I am goin too,,bye Herman,,bye all
[14:06] AristotleVon Doobie: bye Mick
[14:06] Herman bergson: Bye Mickorod
[14:07] itsme Frederix: oke all see you and thanks for sharing your ideas, thx Herman for refreshing them
[14:07] Herman bergson: Thank you Itsme..:-)
[14:07] AristotleVon Doobie: bye Itsme
[14:07] Osrum Sands: Herman how long have we been going now
[14:08] Osrum Sands: must be almost a year ?
[14:08] Herman bergson: I was wondering ..what are those white shadings...
[14:08] Herman bergson: but they are your wings jara
[14:08] Herman bergson: I started in September 2007 almost an academic year..:-)
[14:09] oola Neruda: baieee all
[14:09] Herman bergson: Bye oola
[14:09] AristotleVon Doobie: bye lovely oola
[14:09] Osrum Sands: more then an academic year as we have not had the breaks
[14:09] Herman bergson: you will have your winter break now..:-)
[14:10] Osrum Sands: to be truthfull I am looking forward to a few sleep ins
[14:10] herman Bergson smiles
[14:10] Osrum Sands: also glad that you are taking a break
[14:10] AristotleVon Doobie: I bet you are Os :))
[14:10] Osrum Sands: you have put a lot of work into this
[14:10] Osrum Sands: each of us students can miss a class
[14:10] Herman bergson: I can imagine Osrum..philosophy for breakfast ...well..somtimes tough to digest, I guess
[14:11] Osrum Sands: but you as the lecturer can to
[14:11] Osrum Sands: unless you have rats in the wireing
[14:11] Osrum Sands: haha
[14:11] AristotleVon Doobie: Herman will come back invigorated for the dash to the finish :)
[14:11] Osrum Sands: as will we all , i trust
[14:12] AristotleVon Doobie: I know I will miss it
[14:12] Herman bergson: Yes Aristotle...we still havent completed the 100
Posted by herman_bergson on 2008-06-21 15:47:53

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