Sunday, June 24, 2018

727: Let's be Pragmatic....

In the period 1900 - 1915 the philosophical landscape took shape. There was the old difference between rationalism and empiricism on the Continent.
On the rationalist bench are sitting philosophers like Edmund Husserl and Henri Bergson and on the empiricist bench we see 
Bertrand Russel and Ludwig Wittgenstein and later the Vienna Circle (Wiener Kreis).
In the United States appears a third party in the philosophical discourse: Pragmatism. Understandable in a land where so many had left behind or even fled Continental traditions.
In 1907 William James (1842 - 1910) delivered a series of lectures with the title: Pragmatism. A new way for some old ways of thinking.
James wanted to get rid of all those Continental idealist philosophical dogmas and theories 
and submit philosophy to the same empirical demands as the natural sciences.
He related the dichotomy in philosophy to personal temperaments. On the one hand you have the "softy"
Such a person is a rationalist,  reasons from principles, is optimistic, religious and dogmatic.
On the other hand you have the "realist". He is empirical, reasons from sensory experience, is non-religious, materialistic and skeptical.
On the one hand you have philosophers who start the debate with absolute assumptions, for instance absolute freedom of the will,
and from such assumptions they then deduce what one should think or do.
On the other hand you have philosophers who take the world as it is, with all its chaos,  inequality and injustice.
Empirical science is for us a rather common thing. Everything is subjected to scientific research these days. 

Many people refuse to accept  big theories about our world without scientific proof. A rather general attitude, at least among educated people.
James emphasized this dichotomy in philosophy, because he wanted to show that the world was changing, as he said:
"Never before there have been so many people with an empiricist attitude as in these days. You almost could say that our children are born as little scientists."
A pragmatist is not interested in the traditional metaphysical theories with their verbal solutions and big words like "The Absolute" or "The Truth".
You can occupy yourself with such issues, but James then asks the question: What does it bring you?"
Everything that has a real effect  or influence on the way we life, should be qualified as "Truth", according to James.
Truth isn't absolute. Things are true as long as they work in a positive sense in our life. How things work out in real life, proofs whether it is true or not.
The  pragmatist way of thinking of William James illustrates in a nice way, how people felt at the beginning of the 20th century.
So many new things were developing in natural sciences, in the industry. Most exciting in those days, for instance, was mass production of cars,
the most common thing in our days. Einstein published his first articles in those years and today we not even blink, when we discuss quantum mechanics, but it all started only a hundred years ago.

Thank you for your attention again....:-)

The Discussion

[13:18] CB Axel: I still blink at quantum mechanics. °͜°
[13:18] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ha
[13:18] herman Bergson: Feel free to drop a question of remark :-)
[13:18] Ciska Riverstone: me too cb hehehe
[13:18] Ciska Riverstone: thanx herman
[13:19] herman Bergson: A mystery to me too CB :-))
[13:19] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): norton has a question i think
[13:19] herman Bergson: But it is interesting to see how excited people were in those days about all new discoveries
[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but you can build working computers with it
[13:20] herman Bergson: He said so, yes
[13:20] Norton Lykin: oh, yes, had the answer during the lecture
[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): eve if its way new stuff it actually works
[13:20] herman Bergson: Around 1900 a whole new world enfolded for scientists
[13:21] herman Bergson: They discovered the atom....
[13:21] Ciska Riverstone: well they have been excited with the internet too for a while ;)
[13:21] Ciska Riverstone: they still are
[13:21] Ciska Riverstone: but the "news" wore off
[13:21] herman Bergson: Yes you could compare it with how we experience the Internet Ciska....
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and now we just take it for granted
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like electricity and running water
[13:22] herman Bergson: Well...the access to so much knowledge still is amazing
[13:22] Ciska Riverstone: yes  and we use it negatively too - just as science
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): sadly yes
[13:22] Norton Lykin: Philosophy is kind of a model or viewpoint to understand the world we are in ?
[13:23] herman Bergson: You could say that Norton, yes
[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:24] herman Bergson: For William James philosophy was a part of life...
[13:24] herman Bergson: Everybody has some theory about the world he lives in
[13:24] Norton Lykin: Like for a Buddhist ?
[13:24] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): lots of pragmatism around these days
[13:24] herman Bergson: I agree Gemma....
[13:25] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): thinks we could not live without it in usa
[13:25] herman Bergson: The times for big metaphysical theories seem to be over
[13:25] Ciska Riverstone: well buddhism is a very empiric philosophy too
[13:25] Norton Lykin: how do you mean, empiric ?
[13:26] herman Bergson: Yes indeed...but the starting point, that life is suffering ....not too attractive :-)
[13:26] Ciska Riverstone: well u are asked to experience things rather then believe it - thats empiric
[13:27] herman Bergson: But the interesting point in that is, Ciska, that we all yet start with beliefs
[13:27] Ciska Riverstone: its the basis of empiric so to speak
[13:27] herman Bergson: Or a better word might be ...'assumptions'
[13:27] Ciska Riverstone: well to put it simple - what you do not know (yet) you have to believe
[13:27] herman Bergson: One classic assumption is the existence of a reality independent of our consciousness
[13:27] Ciska Riverstone: either by believing in some sort of outer source or belief in a scientist until you understand it yourself
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:28] herman Bergson: Welll indeed...we have to believe for instance Einstein :-))
[13:29] Norton Lykin: So in essence it is a question whether it works out in the present time or not ?
[13:29] Ciska Riverstone: yes or we learn and try to understand
[13:29] Ciska Riverstone: heheh
[13:29] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): even tho he made error
[13:29] Ciska Riverstone: then we know
[13:29] herman Bergson: Good luck Ciska :-))
[13:29] Ciska Riverstone: thanx
[13:29] herman Bergson: He did indeed Gemma....
[13:29] herman Bergson: So, that is science...always questioning your beliefs
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): always try to find the most logical and observable explanation
[13:30] Ciska Riverstone: well in science we believe a theory until its replaced with an even better one...
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): to get proof that this is reality the case
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): that science
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): finding out how things really are
[13:30] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): true
[13:31] herman Bergson: In a sense we are pretty pragmatic these days.....
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes
[13:31] herman Bergson: If it works it is true...:-)
[13:31] Ciska Riverstone: totally.
[13:31] Norton Lykin: or it is true if it works ?
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ha
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): chickens and eggs
[13:31] Norton Lykin: ^^
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:32] herman Bergson: No....
[13:32] herman Bergson: because that would imply that something already has the property of being true before we have tried it
[13:32] herman Bergson: James defined true as 'it works'
[13:33] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): is that always the case?
[13:34] herman Bergson: it is true IF it works makes Truth some metaphysical attribute of something
[13:34] herman Bergson: ti is a very pragmatic approach Beertje....
[13:35] herman Bergson: that something works doesn't mean it will work truth is not an absolute property
[13:35] herman Bergson: for instance in 1907 or so someone invented Bakelite...
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): :-)
[13:35] herman Bergson: Bakelite...
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): bakelite you mean?
[13:36] herman Bergson: Perfekt for isolation of electric equipment....
[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ah ok
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): worlds first plastic
[13:36] herman Bergson: we don't use it anymore....
[13:36] herman Bergson: it is all plastics now....
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cause there are better alternatives but i think it is in use still for some applications
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): bakelite can for ex only be  made in dark colors
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but very durable
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): still used in high voltage insulators
[13:37] herman Bergson: maybe it is still applied indeed Bejiita...I dint know
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and the knobs for litter bins we make at work
[13:38] herman Bergson: ahh
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): they are black so that works
[13:38] herman Bergson: so it still 'works' for some situations
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): however its a setting pastic, so cant be remelted
[13:39] herman Bergson: Must have been exciting years ..around 1905
[13:39] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): must have been
[13:39] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and each year after
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess
[13:40] herman Bergson: in 1907 we got the mass production of the T-Ford...!
[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): amazing stuff
[13:40] herman Bergson: They built 15 million of those cars...
[13:40] herman Bergson: til 1927
[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): first line building
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the first production line
[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes
[13:41] herman Bergson: If you never have seen something like that it must have been sensational
[13:41] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): a carriage without a horse!
[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and that affecting  many other building
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: poor horses lost their jobs and no one cared
[13:41] herman Bergson: it changed the world....
[13:41] Norton Lykin: ^^
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako) whispers: terrified most people though, a noisy fire spitting self moving beast!
[13:42] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i bet they were happy
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: well I guess most of them were eaten :/
[13:42] Norton Lykin: yep
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: not sure if that made them very happy
[13:42] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): oh gosh
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but people got used to these machines and then it really took off
[13:42] herman Bergson: ti caused the world we now live in with all its roads and so on
[13:42] CB Axel: Not only did the horses lose their jobs, but people got stuck in boring, repetitive jobs.
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but now robots make all the cars
[13:43] herman Bergson: Ahh yes indeed Bejiita....
[13:43] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): huge changes in that century
[13:43] CB Axel: But Ford was able to sell many, many more cars at the expense of those boring jobs.
[13:43] CB Axel: At the expense of the people in those boring jobs.
[13:43] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): thank goodness for unions then
[13:43] herman Bergson: True CB....
[13:44] herman Bergson: serious changes du e to all these innovations...
[13:44] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): there is nothing changed today CB
[13:44] Norton Lykin: how do you mean Beertje ?
[13:44] CB Axel: Except, as Bejiita mentioned, many of those boring, repetitive jobs are now being done by robots.
[13:45] herman Bergson: People lots their jobs due to all these robots in car manufacturing
[13:45] CB Axel: And people have lost those boring, repetitive jobs for even worse ones. °͜°
[13:45] herman Bergson: Like horses lost their jobs :-)
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hopefully they get better less boring ones,
[13:45] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): there are still boring jobs today
[13:45] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and this will happen again due to robots in every field
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): or they all ended up at mcdonalds
[13:45] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): no room bej
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hopefully not
[13:46] CB Axel: A lawyer friend of mine once told me that his job would be taken over by AI before my paramedic job would be taken over by a robot.
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but i would not want to have a work where all i do all days is just put the same screw in over and over day after day
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i want a job where i can do all sort of things
[13:46] herman Bergson: Well...guess we have reached a cheerful view at our future now :-)
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and i have
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and really happy with it
[13:46] CB Axel: And he was right. A lot of lawyering work is now being done by AI.
[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): by who CB?
[13:47] CB Axel: Writing patents, etc. (He's a intellectual property attorney)
[13:47] Ciska Riverstone: because its about looking up stuff and referencing cb?
[13:47] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): computers
[13:47] herman Bergson: Yes indeed CB
[13:47] CB Axel: Yes, Ciska. That too.
[13:47] Ciska Riverstone: well still finding a new angle must be done by a human - no?
[13:47] herman Bergson: Well...we still have philosophy to keep us busy ^_^
[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:48] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:48] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and thats a good thing
[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:48] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): never ending
[13:48] Ciska Riverstone: *:-.,_,.-:*'``'*yaaaaaaaay*:-.,_,.-:*'``'*
[13:48] herman Bergson: But I guess it is time to take a rest now :-)
[13:48] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): what is the biggest change in the past century?
[13:48] herman Bergson: So...thank you all again for your participation....
[13:48] CB Axel: Yes. I'm going to head over to a talk with Oz and Grumpity Linden. °͜°
[13:48] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): wow have to think about that beertje
[13:48] herman Bergson: Class dismissed....
[13:48] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): oh yes wil y ou tp jme cb??
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): oh no i cant go
[13:49] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): looks I'm too late with my question :))
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): will get the stream
[13:49] CB Axel: Beertje, that will depend on the person.
[13:49] CB Axel: Bye, all. See you next week. I'll be less busy then. °͜°
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ah yes
[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa cu
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): you will
[13:49] Ciska Riverstone: take care cb
[13:49] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): bye CB
[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): bye for now
[13:49] Ciska Riverstone: cu around bejiita
[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:49] Ciska Riverstone: welterusten beertje
[13:49] bergfrau Apfelbaum: it was very interesting again! ty Herman Nad Class :-)
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i have to run a fishing contest
[13:50] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): welterusten
[13:50] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): contest even
[13:50] bergfrau Apfelbaum: #°*** BABA ***°#
[13:50] Ciska Riverstone: thanx herman
[13:50] bergfrau Apfelbaum: Beertje:-)

[13:50] herman Bergson: Be well you all :-)