RBJones.com Monthly: December 2009
I started this monthly page of notes thinking to keep some kind of track of what seemed like substantial changes in my conception of what I am doing, which were outstripping the writing and causing the web site to become more rather than less remote from my current ideas. I'm hoping this divergence will STOP, sometime in the not so distant future, but for the web site to catch up I have to do a lot of writing.
I have now slipped from thinking of a book about Metaphysical Positivism to thinking about one on Positive Philosophy.
From Metaphysical Positivism to Positive Philosophy
I have now slipped from thinking of a book about Metaphysical Positivism to thinking about one on Positive Philosophy.
How did this happen?
From Analysis to Dao

Well first we have the change from following Carnap by regarding metaphysical positivism as a proposal for adoption of a certain method and a conceptual/metaphysical framework to underpin its exposition, to thinking more analyitically, as looking for objective comparisons between that and other methods. This is a part of what I now call "Nomologico-deductive analysis", and of the idea of epistemic retreat, and the retreat from committment.

Now these flow from scepticism. Instead of making a choice, once and for all, the idea is to get a good understanding of the relative merits of the various alternatives, and use any or all of them, as appropriate to the problem in hand. Though the origin is scepticism, we are here avoiding the negative dogma that none of the alternatives can be established, and allowing the practical side of scepticism to take account of appearances (of what theories or methods appear to be best suited to present circumstances).

The avoidance of the negative dogma takes scepticism close to the Dao concept of Wu Wei. This is the idea that one should act from the center, (without acting they say). Dao deals with this topic better than Greek philosophy, which when compared with Dao appears overintellectual. Greek philosophers are too enamoured of reason, and presume that our actions should be determined by rational decisions. This turns out to be problematic because the solid core of rationality is deduction, and deduction, though effective in mathematics proved for the Greeks (and subsequent philosophers in that tradition) completely unreliable. So the rational basis for action is defective, and for the Greeks the alternative is rather pathetic. The phyrrhoneans seem to think we should just follow custom. For Dao, whether or not one thinks it possible to make a rational choice, one should act spontaneously from within. In this sense of within, we think of cerebral intellectual processes as belonging to some peripheral realm, possibly of no more than an kind of academic interest for what we actually do, or are.

So here I am, making my conception of metaphysical positivism more analytic, but at the same time locating the roots of this transformation in something like the Dao. Making best sense of a greater emphasis on analysis in analytic philosophy depends upon talking more about practical, non-analytic philosophy.

Understanding Irrationality

Application of Analysis

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