Tag Archives: pragmatism

Missing Contingency

Ouroboros (Stephen Calhoun - 2016)

Ouroboros (Stephen Calhoun – 2016)

This motivational tendency is a creative process through which the agent approaches new solutions, and enacts new meanings (Arnellos et al. 2007). As we have argued so far, aesthetic emotions provide the agent with the capacity to enact even before learning, by assigning values to current interactive conditions as pro- visions of the enacted meaning. Thus, aesthetic experience motivates the agent to avoid situations, for which the valuative signals are negative (or aversive), and to seek situations for which those signals are positive (or rewarding). This is what we call motivational tendency of aesthetic experience. Accordingly, we suggest that a minimal aesthetic experience should be considered as an aesthetic emotional eval- uation that forms an anticipation for a certain interaction, thereby reducing the interactive uncertainty. Aesthetics as an emotional activity that facilitates sense-making: Towards an enactive approach to aesthetic experience (Ioannis Xenakis and Argyris Arnellos)

Richard Shusterman – Somaesthetics Youtube

I believe that philosophical thinking is not confined to professional philosophers with Ph.D.’s in this subject. This brings me to a further point about the somaesthetics-philosophy relationship. If we conceive philosophy broadly as an ethical art of living that is guided by critical inquiry aimed to promote a more aesthetically satisfying form of life for both self and society, then the various disciplines and forms of knowledge that contribute to this art of living (even if they are not distinctively or professionally philosophical) can be related to the broad philosophical project of the quest for wisdom in how to live better lives. Somaesthetic research in forms outside the normal disciplinary bounds of philosophy surely can contribute to this overarching philosophical project. Interview: Richard Shusterman in Budapest

Somaesthetics at www.interaction-design.org, Encyclopedia of Human Computer Interaction

Richard Shusterman on Somaesthetics and the Middle Way

Cube-O-Probe: Point to clues about the circuit of, Body / Serendipity / Creative Process


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Healthy Solipsism II.


My working assumption is that when I’m learning about another person, I am learning about their personal culture and their sense of their identity and about their narrative and about all the weaving and stitching which provides the sensible and explanatory interconnects between culture/identity/story. However, I have introduced here my own terms, terms popular on planet Stephen C.C., but not in anyway presumptively are these same terms popular on your own planet.

And, even if some of the terms are in use on your own planet, the terms might not mean the same to you as the terms mean to me.

It would be much better for me to start out learning what are your terms, what are the terms commonly used on your planet; you know, the planet you live on.

If you and me are beginning the task of knowing one another, of engaging an interpersonal process of mutual construal, how do we collaborate to do the initial sorting? On my planet, one can also meta-sort; how about on your planet?

Here’s a mundane example. Take the developmentally normative imperatives given by the Experiential Learning Theory of David A. Kolb. These norms are the lingua franca of the community of practice. Three such norms are: flexibility, balance, and resilience. Each of us comes (away) from our unique planet to speak in common terms–and we have worked to cause such terms to be common and shared.

Yet, at the same time, (from the perspective of what my colleague Kenneth Warren termed “your promethean thrust,”) come counter-normative theoretical imperatives, conceptions, or injunctions. With respect to Kolb’s ELT, among these are: intuition, serendipity, enantiodromia, poetics, energetics, polarization, antipathy, inversion, paradox, abduction, and autopoiesis.

These ideas are part of the background, part of my background. For example, the force of enantiodromia–conversion into the opposite–may countermand balance.

The assumption that the use of a common language is not differentially connected to the hidden “it is just so” of personal culture (etc.) is an incorrect assumption–and is so even if such differentials are smoothed over by a presumption of solidarity.

That we are not trapped in our subjective cosmos is obvious enough. However, the ability to stand outside of one’s own cosmos means of course that something personal comes along for the ride! The intentional act of relational intermediation carries with it the possibility of also being a wise enaction of intermediation, where we step outside, and also step into, the common ground knowing fully what aspects of our self-system remain with our self.

In the cybernetic sense, interpersonal intermediation requires reconfiguration which is configurable by choice or by choiceless feedback.

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Meta Plus Recursion (and a topos for truthiness)

This Is It

The idea of a universally shared source of truth called ‘reason’ or ‘human nature’ is, for us pragmatists, just the idea that such discussion ought to be capable of being made conclusive. We see this idea as a misleading way of expressing the hope, which we share, that the human race as a whole should gradually come together in a global community, a community which incorporates most of the thick moral- ity of the European industrialized democracies. It is misleading because it suggests that the aspiration to such a community is somehow built into every member of the biological species.This seems to us pragmatists like the suggestion that the aspiration to be an anaconda is somehow built into all reptiles, or that the aspiration to be an anthropoid is somehow built into all mammals. This is why we pragmatists see the charge of relativism as simply the charge that we see luck where our critics insist on seeing destiny. We think that the utopian world community envisaged by the Charter of the United Nations and the Helsinki Declaration of Human Rights is no more the destiny of humanity than is an atomic holocaust or the replacement of democratic governments by feuding warlords. If either of the latter is what the future holds, our species will have been unlucky, but it will not have been irrational. It will not have failed to live up to its moral obligations. It will simply have missed a chance to be happy. -Richard Rorty (Introduction, Philosophy and Social Hope)

Thank you Google for allowing me to search for the paragraph I need from A Recursive Vision: Ecological Understanding and Gregory Bateson (Peter Harries-Jones.)


Richard Rorty’s argument for the boundless description and explanation that is pragmatically resolved as a matter of these being true enough as a matter of being useful enough, is related to commission–as long as commission is flexible enough to denote: useful. Even if this stretches the similarity too far, the Batesonian epistemology is partly concerned with the rightness in doing. Crucially: the abductive reason is adequate and commensurate for the purpose of supposing usefulness for Bateson, James, Dewey, and Rorty.

(Richard Rorty, in A World Without Substances and Essences  (1994) argues for a crisp eliminativist, anti-essentialist monism not contemplated by Bateson at all. The two monists had different senses of what is possibly ecological.)


Two Pragmatic Moral Universes: James vs. Dewey and Rorty by Scott Segrest (SSRN)
Dewey and Rorty On Truth by Alexander Kremer (pdf)
Foucault and Rorty on Truth and Ideology: A Pragmatist View from the Left by Chandra Kumar (pdf)

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My thesis is that if we start with the supposition that there is only one primal stuff or material in the world, a stuff of which everything is composed, and if we call that stuff pure experience, then knowing can easily be explained as a particular sort of relation towards one another into which portions of pure experience may enter. The relation itself is a part of pure experience; one of its terms becomes the subject or bearer of the knowledge, the knower, the other becomes the object known. This will need much explanation before it can be understood. The best way to get it understood is to contrast it with the alternative view; and for that we may take the recentest alternative, that in which the evaporation of the definite soul-substance has proceeded as far as it can go without being yet complete. If neo-Kantism has expelled earlier forms of dualism, we shall have expelled all forms if we are able to expel neo-Kantism in its turn. William James from What Is Consciousness?

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Reduced Bateson Set I. Set Up; Meta-heuristics


Gregory Bateson & Margaret Mead, Bajoeng-Gedé, Indonesia; photograph by Walter Spies

Sometime ago, yet late in my scatter shot intellectual development, I realized five problems fascinated me in psychology. One is the problem of how our brain instantiates and substantiates consciousness. Two is how it came to be that the equivalent of a William James doesn’t arrive much earlier so as to shift proto-psychology forward at an earlier stage in history. This problem wonders about the relationship between culture and contemporaneous psychological categories. The third problem, related to the second problem, is coded (for me) as the problem of introspection. The fourth problem is coded too, as the bundle of problems given by folk psychology at the level of meta-psychology; ie. philosophy of psychology.

And, finally, the fifth problem, very much related to the fourth problem, is the problem of: everyday behavior joined with how psychology’s different disciplines approach everyday behavior as its object of research. I am especially intrigued by how behaviors are named despite those same names being unnecessary to persons behaving in the way the name denotes.

I will seek to explain what I call The Reduced Bateson Set in a series of posts. The Reduced Bateson Set names a framework I utilize. Meanwhile, from an authoritative source:

For the moment, the set-up for this was evoked by my trying to figure out how to describe what is The Reduced Bateson Set. I was moved to look up the definition of heuristic–or rather a definition–in a standard reference book, because I thought this might be the best descriptive term. If so, I could simply say The Reduced Bateson Set is a heuristic I have come to use and favor.

I didn’t think the term was strikingly adequate, inasmuch as I had a deviant definition of heuristic in mind.

According to the now prevailing definition, heuristics are rather parsimonious and effortless, but often fallible and logically inadequate, ways of problem solving and information processing. A heuristic provides a simplifying routine or “rule of thumb” that leads to approximate solutions to many everyday problems. However, since the heuristic does not reflect a deeper understanding of the problem structure, it may lead to serious fallacies and shortcomings under certain conditions. Thus, in contrast to the positive connotations of the original term, the modern notion of cognitive heuristics has attained the negative quality of a mental shortcut that frees the individual of the necessity to process information completely and systematically. Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Psychology

Okay, my definition turns out to be a bit too innovative! But at least it doesn’t imply a ridiculous optimal “problem solving.”

More precisely to the point here, is how rapidly I landed in a Batesonian moment. Unfolded in the encyclopedia entry is a long treatment of the term, yet, it’s not describing much about what I wish to also describe. And, the problem could be that it could not describe even what it seeks to describe–in a deep sense able to capture something very very common.

What is this something? It is that some large portion, possibly a majority portion, of human behavior is “heuristical.” Which is to suggest: it is likely a majority of human problem solving, leaarning, discovery, etc., everyday, (every darn day,) processes information incompletely and not systematically. Also, a corollary to this is: some large portion of human problem solving cannot access both a totality of pertinent information, or, have been the subject of a complete processing within, I suppose, a formal requirement for complete and systematic processing.

Wikipedia’s entry is not robust, but it is more satisfying.

Heuristic (pronounced /hj??r?st?k/) or heuristics (from the Greek “???????” for “find” or “discover”) refers to experience-based techniques for problem solving, learning, and discovery. Heuristic methods are used to come to an optimal solution as rapidly as possible. Part of this method is using a “rule of thumb”, an educated guess, an intuitive judgment, or common sense. A heuristic is a general way of solving a problem.

Except I will quarrel with it too. I don’t know the correct term for that which is a precise and focused heuristic way of solving particular everyday problems. Yet, I do understand the ‘human everyday’ presents a series of opportunities to problem solve, learn, and discover. Figuring out what you’re going wear is a particular problem, and a problem I’d suppose is solved in precise and focused ways.

(Perhaps a differentiation made among general, and, ‘problem-particular,’ methods is unnecessary.)

Among, (what I will term Batesonian,) distinctions found in definitions is this hot one. First, to develop a correct definition is itself a problem to be solved. Could it be demonstrated that any given normative (or authoritative) definition was created, subject to heuristics? Here of course I’m speaking of an example, the definition of heuristic. A second Batesonian distinction is implicit in speaking of the possible heuristics behind the term heuristic.

Here’s a doable experiment. Collect five of the foremost social psychologists together and have them each write out their definition of the term, heuristic. Assume there is a sound method for scoring to what degree the five definitions match up. For my argument here, let’s assume the result of this experiment shows a very high degree of matching.

The five world class experts are then asked to do the following: “How do you know your definition is the correct definition?” Score the answer.

Let’s do this same experiment and add the following parameter. Before either primary question is addressed, each group member is asked the following: “How many pages will you need to answer the question, How do you define heuristic?” Allow no limit in length for their written answers.

Hypotheses are to be entertained. I won’t offer these, yet I will suppose the results of this experiment will
demonstrate considerable disagreement on question number two, How do you know your definition is the correct definition, and this disagreement increases the longer any answer is to either question. So, the most disagreement would be found between the longest answers.

There’s a problem incurred by my supposing the answers could be scored. How would we score different points of emphasis? Those points could not be scored as only disagreements. Still, our scoring would have to resolve this problem in reckoning with matching points of emphasis and divergent points of emphasis.

My hunch that there would be found disagreement is, obviously, completely a matter of a decidedly intuitive and heuristic approach to thinking about the problem of defining a normative term. What I’m thinking about here is the human system able to develop useful definitions about its own features. The experiment might well defeat my hunch. But, what if the experiment proved the underlying hypotheses?

What then could be suggested by the results of this experiment about hypothesized deviations from agreement? What also could be suggested about how the problem of expert definition is approached by experts? Do these experts employ heuristics as an effective, or not effective, means?

Consider a countervailing–with respect to my hunch–supposition. That: in a description, where detail increases, deviations are reduced. (Speaking of building houses: we can all agree on the sharp nail and the straight board.) This suggests that as descriptions penetrate ‘down’ to more elemental levels of order in a system, deviations between descriptions are reduced.

My hunch asserts the opposite is possibly the experimental result. So: as experts expert in the same system propose descriptions of this system, as the level of detail increases in their descriptions, their descriptions will tend to diverge.

Again, a countervailing supposition might be rooted in the same idea given in the Blackwell encyclopedia: to define a system correctly, and so free the definition from any reliance on heuristic means, this definition must result from a complete and systematic process that reflects deep understanding. However, even if this is true as a matter of commonsense, it is also true that this brings with it the same problem. When we think about the means via which we could shape and amplify convergence, we’re still confronted with this move also opening up to the opportunity for divergence. Surely if you asked five experts in the same field how to promote greater agreement about the field’s conceptual fundamentals, in most fields their answers to this “how” question would prove to be very divergent.

When I walk this back to everyday circumstances in which terms/names/concepts and their concomitant definitions are facts of innersubjective assumption rather than innersubjective negotiation, I’d be even more confident that a similar experiment would verify my hunch.

Actually, I informally test this hunch all the time. The main paradox I’ve discovered in doing this is that people speak about shared concepts, (and these concepts implicate shared systems,) without really caring about whether they share the same definitions for these shared concepts. They likely do not share the same definitions! That this underlying disagreement hardly comes to matter is a fascinating element of ‘folk psychological’ behavior and of what could be called intersubjective heuristics.

Consider the beneficial efficiency gained from being able to talk about systems all the while disagreement about basic stuff is underfoot. Whenever I hear the word socialism in our contemporary political discourse, I’m reminded of this paradox of effectiveness.

The Reduced Bateson Set is a heuristic of the kind that are structured and demonstrably pragmatic. The Reduced Bateson Set is my private naming of a pragmatic structure for working through the experience of observing and participating in, learning, inquiry, and dialog. This structure is useful in other interactive circumstances. I’ve named it so because it is my appropriation of stuff reduced from the partial set of Bateson’s ideas I know.

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The Precision of Imprecision

Charles Sanders Peirce

Louis Menand’s capsule intellectual history of American pragmatism’s initial development, The Metaphysical Club, was an enjoyable read. But even little ol’ me could note he advanced a highly selective narrative, where he chops off C.S. Peirce’s technical discoveries, and, just about erases William James’s “post” transcendentalism. (The latter move was surprising because the only work of James that is widely read is The Varieties of Religious Experience.) Years later, a few weeks ago, I happened upon a discussion at The Valve.

Here the criticisms follow in the comment thread to a review by Andrew Seal in August, Invidiousness and Parentheticals: Louis Menand’s The Metaphysical Club. I came across this while searching for something else, and was first surprised to see Menand’s book get any kind of notice eight years after it was published, and then was amused by the interesting thread the late-out-of-the-gate review evoked.

I noted Mr. Menand gets whacked around freely, and, Richard Rorty get dragged onto the firing range too. I’ve clipped a few interesting fragments.

CW – But that position is not the same as saying that the quest for more knowledge should cease. I understand Rorty to be arguing that viewing that quest as having “objective truth” as an ultimate goal has some unfortunate consequences which can be avoided by instead viewing it as seeking new and hopefully better (in the sense of more useful in achieving one’s immediate objectives) “vocabularies”. That view can perhaps be seen as more-or-less consistent with what Peirce might have meant by “chance will remain ‘until the world becomes an absolutely perfect, rational and symmetrical system in which mind is at last crystallized in the infinitely distant future” (from the Haack paper you suggested as a more palatable intro to her work – which it definitely is! Thanks.) Except I suspect that Rorty would have questioned the convergence implicit in Peirce’s quote; he argued against the hopeless quest for a “final vocabulary”, the one supposedly “spoken” by nature.

O – I really like your argumentation here, and I do not entirely disagree with your conclusion. Moreover, I think you are quite correct in your dissection of the ‘truth’ of the issue, however, you do mischaracterize Peirce’s position, which is not far removed from James’ argument that “truth happens to an idea”, truth has no ontological status – then again, to Peirce, nothing has ontological status except process itself, as seen in his cenopythagorean categories. The common claim that truth is what is, confuses being and truth. What is, is; a ‘truth’ is merely a functional (i.e. useful) depiction of the ongoing process, the interaction that is all that actually is. Here I generalize across several arguments. There are differences between James and Peirce on the issue, however, both agree with Wright in that the greatest possible certification of the ‘truth’ of a notion is its usefulness in the furthering of both knowing, and life itself.


Peirce: “Knowledge can only be furthered by the real desire for it.”

This statement strikes me as a kind of American koan. Can a track be grooved between this and the sort of generative process able to elicit more robust vocabularies, as per Rorty?

Peirce, “The first proper significant effect of a sign is a feeling produced upon it.”

I come upon this philosophical thread and I’m immediately the voyeur who has landed in the territory of scholarly marginalia. In its direction, and in one direction, the subject matter is well beyond me. Yet, in the other direction, in the direction I can forge myself, I reckon with really ‘surface,’ intuitions, albeit this is my surface. So, for me, Rorty wanders through Pragmatism; he is a wanderer. He can argue against anything, say representationalism. And, there are sober secondary scholars of the–in actuality–varieties of pragmatism. There is, again, in actuality, a scholarly industry for and against, in this case, ‘Rorty,’ and this is about what he said and wrote.

It’s funny (to me.)

Yet, in this other direction I recognize the connecting thread, what I would call the urging upon provided by the, as Peirce offers, the effect and the incumbent feeling, the incumbent urging upon. The connecting thread is: that which, unknown to us, urges upon us a groping for knowledge, and, granting this as exemplar, the common instance where what is to be useful, what is to be begun to be known, what is not yet reliable, nevertheless comes to be begun to be known. With this turn, or initiation, the terms are not yet precise, fixed, let alone complete.

The secondary appropriation of somebody’s body of work sometimes, maybe often, gets bogged down in interpretation fused to the assumption the work is complete. ‘This is what Coltrane gave us.’ Or,’ this is how we’ll describe Yeats’s journey.’ The echo of provisionality and contingency is silenced. This is a kind of narrative or linear fallacy.

“Knowledge can only be furthered by the real desire for it.” seems to me, (again from the other, ‘surface,’ side,) to be the sturdy connecting thread, and it even allows for, loops in, Louis Menand. The urging upon, the deeply real desire, quickens exploration proximal to that which is not to be completed. This pragmatism is then, a work in progress–always.

I’m not arguing against locating and getting the terms right. My suggestion is that those terms are also, at once, opened up to their own, as it were, future. And this follows from the feeling produced upon their dynamic ‘it.’

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Talking Problems

If we could bring ourselves to accept the fact that no theory about the nature of Man or Society or Rationality, or anything else, is going to synthesize Nietzsche with Marx or Heidegger with Habermas, we could begin to think of the relation between writers on autonomy and writers on justice as being like the relation between two kinds of tools – as little in need of synthesis as are paintbrushes and crowbars. One sort of writer lets us realize that the social virtues are not the only virtues, that some people have actually succeeded in re-creating themselves. We thereby become aware of our own half-articulate need to become a new person, one whom we as yet lack words to describe. The other sort reminds us of the failure of our institutions and practices to live up to the convictions to which we are already committed by the public, shared vocabulary we use in daily life. The one tells us that we need not speak only the language of the tribe, that we may find our own words, that we may have a responsibility to ourselves to find them. The other tells us that that responsibility is not the only one we have. Both are right, but there is no way to make both speak a single language. (Richard Rorty, from the Introduction, Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity)

My iPod is chock full of hippie classics, jazz, African music, and, lots of lectures, conference presentations, in philosophy, psychology, anthropology. Between deep resources such as learnoutloud, and freebees at iTunes, when I’m not drifting on waves of psychedelic nostalgia, I’m in the school I can create for myself.

I happened upon conference presentations about the philosophy of Richard Rorty, while trolling for curriculum contents for my ongoing rolling (as in: learning while driving in Coltrane, my 2000 Honda Civic, and classroom-on-wheels,) self-education. Rorty’s philosophy is somewhat the old friend, although it had been many years since I last engaged with his distinctively American pragmatic post-modernism. So it was I spent four plus hours with mostly knotty presentations from four ‘Rortyians.’

Rorty is an anti-essentialist: he does not think things are essentially physical and only accidentally of aesthetic, moral, or economic value, and he does not think things are essentially mental or spiritual either. This is because he denies that there is any ultimate context of the sort required to make sense of the assertion that one way of describing a thing is more fundamental or essential to it than all others. There are only limited contexts set by changing circumstances and purposes; as Dewey once put it, ‘Anything is “essential” which is indispensible to a given inquiry and anything is “accidental” which is superfluous’ (Dewey 1938: 138). (James Tartaglia, Rorty and the Mirror of Nature)

Eventually I thought to myself, “I’m, like, half a Rortyian.” I recognize by way of my longstanding bias, I’ll usually be in sympathy with the smart arguments of anti-foundationalists and subtle relativists. On the other hand, the anti-representationalism central to Rorty’s mature philosophy, to me, is arch and a bit too posed as being foundational!

The four presentations are excellent. I especially enjoyed the self-effacing Bjorn Ramberg, For the sake of his own generation: Rorty on destruction, and, edification, and, Albrecht Wellmer, Rereading Rorty. Although one gets tossed right into the deep end–Rorty’s philosophy may be formulated around Pragmatism, but it’s knotty–I became acclimated and soon enough enthralled. One hook could be: if you’re interested in how moderation and flexibility in conceptualizing, language use, proposition definition, qualifies (best!) the discussion of problems, these resources are a good ‘surface’ to dive into and through.

Four presentations about the philosophy of Richard Rorty

Richard Rorty: “Dewey and Posner on Pragmatism and Moral Progress”

Michael Krasny streaming interview with Richard Rorty

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A Good Example of Transformative Anthropology

A Man Walks Into a Pub

Well, hops- he only had one leg.

A man who had his leg amputated when he was 29 after a benign tumour was removed was in the process of saving up forty grand to buy a “bionic” one he had read about in America. Now 42 and not having saved anywhere near the amount he needed, he popped into his local for a pint, where he met another chap, also enjoying a beer.

Luckily though, the second man was a surgeon who specialised in fitting the computer-controlled limbs, and he mentioned he had a spare leg and could fit it for free. Which he did. 


Posted by Karter, September 30, 2008 @ k’telontour blog

Comment–good example of a phenomena of what I term transformative anthropology. (This is ill-named, but I’m sticking with it for the time being.)

A phenomena of this kind is described as exemplifying the initiation of a dramatic and lasting change in a person’s life for which happenstance is a necessary feature.

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If both natural law and ceaseless creativity partially beyond natural law are necessary for understanding our world, and if we as whole human beings live in this real world of law and unknowable creativity, these two ancient strands of Western civilization can reunite in ways we cannot foresee. Out of this union can arise a healing of the long split between science and the humanities, and the schism between pure reason and practical life, both subjects of interest to Immanuel Kant. Science is not, as Galileo claimed, the only pathway to truth. History, the situated richness of the humanities, and the law are true as well. This potential union invites a fuller understanding of ourselves creating our histories and our sacred, as we create our lives.

By Stuart A. Kauffman


The false dichotomizing between absolutely positivist science and, in the the case of this interesting essay, ‘ceaseless creativity,’ reprises a generic argument against the most vaunted possible claim a certain brand of doctrinaire philosopher of science can make. This claim fuses epistemic positivism with ontic positivism to state that the only positive existing truth about a phenomena is that which understands completely the phenomena’s causation and workings. I mention this is a claim a philosopher could hold because an actual scientist is very likely to report that whatever truth they might lay claim too, such truth is always tentative and subject to revision should new data and/or instrumental tools change.

As I’ve pointed out elsewhere on Explorations, (for me) the pragmatics of scientific knowledge-making do not rely on any operational philosophical assumptions whatsoever. Those pragmatics are rooted in proto-empiricism, a cognitive capability traceable to primitive ancestors who happened to discover that what was observed yesterday could be manipulated to advantage today. Utility came to reign thereafter.

This utility is relevant to truth claims in the domains of practical, natural, and meta-physical phenomena. If you added up the total truth derived and claimed each day on the planet, almost all of it exists in the practical realm. Science itself is so lacking practical capacity and thus utility in the necessarily large daily scheme, that it seems ridiculous to pose an argument against scientism–in Hampshire’s present terms–in light of this ‘sociological’ truth about the TRUE.

Still, Hampshire doesn’t seem struck by the very reduction he deploys to boil away many strands so as to elevate the (his) two ancient strands. Oh well, twas ever thus. About the pragmatics of claiming something to be true, it seems obvious most such (non-analytic) claims are conditioned by incomplete: knowledge, methods, cognition, experience, bandwidth, etc., and etc.. If it were a totally ‘billiard ball’ universe, we already can assume we won’t ever know of starting positions, super-positions, the wave functions’ implications, on and on; and furthermore, it’s completely unimaginable how the magnitude of data required to perfectly know start-conditions-process–of the all–could be managed by a sub-system under constraints.

In fact it seems silly to whack scientism for this inflation of its capacity, a capacity it cannot aspire to. (I’ve always thought the whacks supplied by James and Peirce were sufficient!)

So I don’t feel the generative creative capacity as a fact of human life (and nature too–viewed very broadly,) needs anyone to come to their defense at all. Flows of neurochemicals issued as a response to hearing the last movement of Mahler’s 8th Symphony don’t explain what’s true about the experience to any interesting point. Even something as basic as why tomato A seems a likely candidate for purchase is a creative act of truth-making and it is unlikely to be explained veraciously except as a matter of pragmatic enactment.

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