Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Phenomenology and Epistemic Judgement: answering Eric Sotnak

Image result for nebula







Eric Sotnak said... in a comment to my post last Monday  my argument from epistemic judgement):


I think the biggest weakness in this argument is the lack of any known mechanism by which experiences like these could be caused by that which they appear to represent. So, for example, if I have an experience of the metaphysical oneness of all things, the question is how the oneness (and also the type of oneness represented in the experience) is causally related to the experience in such a way that the experience can plausibly be said to represent or to be genuinely indicative of the object (the oneness).Note that I'm not saying the experience can't be veridical,* but that the absence of details in explaining how it works renders the judgment that it is veridical much weaker.
Here is an analogous argument I have used in conjunction with Buddhism: When the Buddha is said to have gained enlightenment, he is said to have realized the fundamental impermanence of all things. But how, exactly, could such a cognition be validated as a part of an enlightenment experience? Supposing it is true that all things are impermanent, how does their impermanence "get into" the Buddha's experience in such a way that he could say, "I experienced the impermanence of all things"?[1]


I answered this saying: "That is a phenomenological question. you are talking about  Heidegger's 'being in the world.' What I am going to do here is to explain what this means and why it helps my argument,  First let's explain something about Phenomenology.My understanding of Phenomenology is that we are allowing the sense data to suggest the categories off reality rather than  forcing data into preconceived categories, For a more elaborate definition turn to  the Stanford Encyclopedia:


 The discipline of phenomenology may be defined initially as the study of structures of experience, or consciousness. Literally, phenomenology is the study of “phenomena”: appearances of things, or things as they appear in our experience, or the ways we experience things, thus the meanings things have in our experience. Phenomenology studies conscious experience as experienced from the subjective or first person point of view. This field of philosophy is then to be distinguished from, and related to, the other main fields of philosophy: ontology (the study of being or what is), epistemology (the study of knowledge), logic (the study of valid reasoning), ethics (the study of right and wrong action), etc.[2]
Heidegger speaks of what he calls "Dasein," or being in the world.  Our understanding of or experiences as humans in relation to an as part of the world. This differs from merely talking about objects per se because it entails a subjective understanding of objective reality. The world is unfolding chaos because it is not guided by a thoughtful discovery, we have to think about our own participation in  that chaos thus Heidegger asks what is being,? This is the fundamental question he seeks to answer, but perspectives are always subjective and situational.  Thus discovery also implies concealment. That's a major aspect of Heideggerian thinking, truth (a lethae the Greek "Unforgettikng") is a dialectal process of discovering and concealing.

A good analogy might be standing in a dark room with a flashlight. We can cast the light on different parts of the room to enlighten new things but in  so doing we leave the rest of the room dark.It's the subjective nature of consciousness that mandates this leaving in darkens that which does not hold our focus. Through phenomenology we can become aware of this subjective nature of our being and allow the sense data   suggest its  own categories rather than imposing  preset categories upon the world. We are imposing those pre set categories when we seek mechanisms. That's  necessary  and unavoidable since we are imposing preset categories to demand a set of epistemic criteria to subject experiences to, but we need to be aware that this is what we do.  

Both set's if criteria  are made from categories that were at one time suggested by the sense data. The criteria of regular, constant, and shared grow out of the nature of experience. The scientific demand for mechanism also grows out of that same awareness  but at a more removed level,since it has to grow out of the sophisticated development of scientific theory. At this point we are dealing with settling  for what can be had in lue of real understanding.In that case falling back on the basic epistemic criteria is the best we can do.

At this point we need to be aware undifferentiated unity is not the only form of mystical experience, there is also sense of the numinous.The oneness is experienced in relation to an all   pervasive  presence of love. So the one thing that is undifferentiated  is love as the basis of reality and the basis of the unity and oneness. Love implies personal awareness it's hard to think of it stemming from some impersonal origin. That's a reason in itself to think of a universal mind as the mechanism for the experience, Even so the inability to understand a mechanism did not prevent the surgeon general from spreading the warning 45 years before they knew the scientific mechanism That;s because it was the subjective nature of being in the  world that demanded action even despite gaps in knowledge. 

In that light the human need the correspondence of the experience to our subjective understanding of reality argues for the vertical nature or the experience. Sotnak's argument seems to find instances where a given problem can only be approached by falling into the problem of that issue and thus it can' really be solved. If that is true then we don't have a choice of waiting to find some kind of mechanisms, doing that will just evoke the same problem again, Mystical experience opens up for us more ontological understanding than does finding scientific mechinisms,



Sources

*veridical   = coinciding with reality.

[1] Joseph Hinman, "Comment: The Thomas Reid Argument: from Epistemic Judgement" Metacrock's Blog. (Nov 5, 2018) 
https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=11516215#editor/target=post;postID=6643928685574542615;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=1;src=link (accessed  11/7/18)

[2] David Woodruff Smith , "Phenomenology", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2018 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), .

(access 11/7/18)

UR: fpr sub section of he article where quote  is found: 

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/phenomenology/#WhatPhen



20 comments:

Eric Sotnak said...

Suppose S claims to have an experience E that yields information about X.
What should we make of such a claim? Under what conditions should we accept that E really does yield information about X? Suppose S's claim is more specific: E yields information that X has some set of properties, P. What are the conditions for accepting that?
These are complex issues and I do not expect less than complex answers. Much will depend on what substitutions are made for X and for P. But one things seems clear: it should at least be plausible to think that E is causally related to X, and if properties P are attributed to X on the basis of E, it should be plausible that the aspects of E that indicate X's possession of such properties are, in fact, causally related to X's actual properties. The question is how anyone, including S, can make a compelling case for this. Also, there is the question of whether anyone other than S (who has not had similar experiences) should (a) take S's experience as providing good objective evidence for X or that X has P, or (b) accept that S is justified on the basis of E in accepting that X exists and has P.

But put much less analytically, if someone tells me they had an experience of the fundamental oneness of all things, I am most likely to say, "Cool. What was it like? Did you enjoy it? How did it affect you?" Unless they demand that I accept some claim they make on the basis of their experience, I am not likely to adopt a critical stance toward their experience.

Joe Hinman said...

The fundamental problem I have with this is that it avoids completely the basic nature of the argument. The salient feature of the argument is that it sets forth an epistemic process through which we test the reality of our experiences by subjecting them to the criteria of this process.

That means we already have in place the means to supply what your your question is asking for and since it is something we all subject our experience to it must be accepted, yet your questions make no mention of it and seem to completely side step the whole issue.

Let's fill in the blanks and see what your question is really asking for:

S claims to have an experience E that yields information about X.

Joe claims to have mystical experience that yields information about God.

you ask: "Under what conditions should we accept that E really does yield information about X?" My argument claims that we already have insistently adopted a process why which we decide such claims,(so we already know the conditions) that is the process of epistemic judgement laid out in the argument. Those are the conditions that the experience meets the criteria laid out.

"But one thing seems clear: it should at least be plausible to think that E is causally related to X," and if properties P are attributed to X on the basis of E, it should be plausible that the aspects of E that indicate X's possession of such properties are, in fact, causally related to X's actual properties.

It is plausible to think that E (Mystical experience) is causally related to X (God) if the experience is an experience of God;s presence, Why should we not think that way?We know what presence is by understanding it in human presence. If it fits the criteria for epistemic judgement, regular, consistent, shared, why should it not seem plausible? Especially when we have piles data from around the world showing the same relationships between experiences and results?

"Also, there is the question of whether anyone other than S (who has not had similar experiences) should (a) take S's experience as providing good objective evidence for X or that X has P, or (b) accept that S is justified on the basis of E in accepting that X exists and has P."

You seem to be ignoring the data gathering process. We know how we get fornication about X and it's not a matter of just "objective data, as though we are going to look for objective experiences. Objectivity is impossible. There are no objective properties of knowledge gathering so there can be no objective perspective regardless of how "scientific" you make it. Given that caveat the point is not to gather objective data from the perspective of the observer because it is impossible. The point is to provide data from a representative sample of observers such that we understand the experiences are inter subjective; 200 peer reviewed studies is as close to that condition as one is going to come.


Joe Hinman said...

"But put much less analytically, if someone tells me they had an experience of the fundamental oneness of all things, I am most likely to say, "Cool. What was it like? Did you enjoy it? How did it affect you?" Unless they demand that I accept some claim they make on the basis of their experience, I am not likely to adopt a critical stance toward their experience."

I don't think that's saying the sane thing exactly. Your initial argument seems to be that there is no ground for the objective nature of the experience, no permanent place for which to establish the standard. The M scale gives us that ground, it fits the epistemic standard we sue for experiences anyway, it establishes a control we know this particular experience fits the perimeters of nepotistic judgement

Eric Sotnak said...

The claim is that there is a difference between saying that S has a right to accept P on the basis of E and saying that E provides objectively good reason to accept P.

If you claim that God is the cause of a mystical experience, yet we have strong inductive grounds for thinking that all known cases of causal influence take place by physical processes, then it is certainly fair to ask how, exactly, God causes the experience. In the absence of an account, I think a skeptical position is perfectly defensible. We know that all perceptual experiences are underwritten by physical processes. We now know quite a bit about the details of the processes in all of these cases. A mystical experience allegedly provides reason to accept claims about the existence or nature of objective reality in the complete absence of any causal account of how such experiences relate the content of the experience to the objective reality in question.

Joe Hinman said...

The claim is that there is a difference between saying that S has a right to accept P on the basis of E and saying that E provides objectively good reason to accept P.

the effects of having the experience tells us it is a real experience of something, the fact that natural methods don't yield a cause tells us we have to look beyond that point.

If you claim that God is the cause of a mystical experience, yet we have strong inductive grounds for thinking that all known cases of causal influence take place by physical processes, then it is certainly fair to ask how, exactly, God causes the experience.

I think that much can be said. No doubt God triggers the receptors in the brain,


In the absence of an account, I think a skeptical position is perfectly defensible.


Since I argue that belief is warranted I don't think means it's mandated.


We know that all perceptual experiences are underwritten by physical processes. We now know quite a bit about the details of the processes in all of these cases. A mystical experience allegedly provides reason to accept claims about the existence or nature of objective reality in the complete absence of any causal account of how such experiences relate the content of the experience to the objective reality in question.

There are a couple of thing wrong with this account. Perceptual experiences are underwritten by physical process but no one has said physical process is not invoked in mystical experience. no reason to think God can't be part of that process. Physical recenter in the brain relate information about senses apparatus God can play with that process. But come to that science doesn't know much about that process either.It cannot pin down why the sensation process the effects that it does.

im-skeptical said...

But come to that science doesn't know much about that process either.
- Science tells us much about the physical process of sensation. In fact, we know much more about it than you suppose. For one thing, there must be some kind of sense organ. It's what you call the "receptor". A sense organ functions as a transducer - something that converts a physical stimulus into electro-chemical signals that travel along neural pathways to the brain, where they are processed, discriminated, and enter our conscious awareness. You postulate this "receptor", but you have not identified any anatomical structure that performs this function. That's not surprising, because there is no such structure that we know of. You are just making it up. The other problem with your postulation is that there is no physical mechanism for God to stimulate this "receptor". How exactly do you think God "plays with" this process? What kind of physical action occurs? Once again, you need to identify the mechanism, but you haven't done that. You are just making it up. And you use the cover of supposed gaps in scientific knowledge, but science actually understands this stuff far better than you think.

Joe Hinman said...

something that converts a physical stimulus into electro-chemical signals that travel along neural pathways to the brain, where they are processed, discriminated, and enter our conscious awareness. You postulate this "receptor", but you have not identified any anatomical structure that performs this function. That's not surprising, because there is no such structure that we know of. You are just making it up. The other problem with your postulation is that there is no physical mechanism for God to stimulate this "receptor".

That theoretical work has been done by Andre Newberg and his mentor (names escapes me but co author why God wont go away--D'agestino?) and it's Hood's argumet he know ore about that process than you do,

Once again, you need to identify the mechanism, but you haven't done that. You are just making it up. And you use the cover of supposed gaps in scientific knowledge, but science actually understands this stuff far better than you think.

that process is nowhere near transparent to us. It is probably analogous to the same process through which we sense the pretense of people. Studies show we are right 60%The Ellis also talk about studies in that area, that was the field that changed him from regular science worshiper reductionist to open minded,

im-skeptical said...

Joe, you have confused physical sensation with thought processes. Your argument was that there is some kind of "receptor" that is physically manipulated by God. What you are describing is not a thought process, but physical sensation of some kind. When I point out that science understands the process of sensation fairly well, you defend with studies about the psychological aspects of belief. That's not the same thing at all. You clearly don't know what you're talking about.

Joe Hinman said...

Joe, you have confused physical sensation with thought processes. Your argument was that there is some kind of "receptor" that is physically manipulated by God. What you are describing is not a thought process, but physical sensation of some kind. When I point out that science understands the process of sensation fairly well, you defend with studies about the psychological aspects of belief. That's not the same thing at all. You clearly don't know what you're talking about.

both physical sensation and and through presses are wired through the brain and relay on receptors, With ME both thorough Process and sensation are involved. The sense of the numinous is a physical sensation of a presence,or it voiceless that.

Saying that we understand sensation is not the same as saying we under all participial sensations

im-skeptical said...

If you want to talk about "receptors" in the brain, there actually is something in neuroscience that goes by that name, but I don't think that's the kind of thing you're talking about. There are chemical receptors that regulate chemical signals between neurons. They are called receptors because they are keyed to different types of neurotransmitters. Here's an article for laymen on it. These receptors do not receive information from external sources (which is what you seem to be saying) - they allow or impede the flow of signals within the brain. But that can't what you are referring to, because there would still need to be some external source, and physical some mechanism for that external source to enter the stream of signals within the brain. You still have identified no such source and no such mechanism. You are making it up.

Joe Hinman said...

If you want to talk about "receptors" in the brain, there actually is something in neuroscience that goes by that name, but I don't think that's the kind of thing you're talking about.

what is nuerowhats its?


There are chemical receptors that regulate chemical signals between neurons. They are called receptors because they are keyed to different types of neurotransmitters.

what are chemicals?Ive never heard of that,is it a game?

Here's an article for laymen on it. These receptors do not receive information from external sources (which is what you seem to be saying) - they allow or impede the flow of signals within the brain.


ot's so nice of bi expert like you to share this awesome knowledge with common folk who are allowed to know,gee Mr Skep you are the greatest expert in that field aren't you? do you teach at Harvard?

But that can't what you are referring to, because there would still need to be some external source, and physical some mechanism for that external source to enter the stream of signals within the brain. You still have identified no such source and no such mechanism. You are making it up.++++


I sure don;t know, don't let me keep you from your important work since you are the greatest expert the world has known,

you know I know this is just by little stupid Christian idea,but rattling around in my empty head is the nagging idea you didn't answer the argument.

Now it was really thrilling that a great genius like you will take the chem to post on the blog of such a stupid Christian like me. Even by Christian standards i'om so stupid, But an example of how stupid i am I just got the idea that the use of a term you know is threatening to you so you have to make it plain: "this is my truf." :

begging your highness pardon but you didn;t actually answer the argument,


yes O great wise one it is the kind of receptors I meant, you have no way of proving that they can't work with God on the other end,

im-skeptical said...

begging your highness pardon but you didn;t actually answer the argument
- You didn't answer the objection I raised to your argument.
1. Where does this external information come from?
2. How does it physically enter the brain?
You can talk about some vague, mysterious "receptors" all you want, but you can't explain what they are and how they work.

yes O great wise one it is the kind of receptors I meant
- I seriously doubt it. It's nor even applicable to the function you were describing. Don't try to fool us, Joe. You don't know what you are talking about. When it comes to scientific matters, you prove it again and again.

Joe Hinman said...

what is really bizarre is that think there has to be some special God magic nervous system instead of God just using the one we have,




Blogger im-skeptical said...
begging your highness pardon but you didn;t actually answer the argument

- You didn't answer the objection I raised to your argument.

your so called objection does not answer the argument. It doesn't make the argument invalid. All it does is Reid us that there are things we don't know. sure. why do you think they call it Mystical?

1. Where does this external information come from?

what external information? You mean the presence of God?it comes from the presence of God.

2. How does it physically enter the brain?
You can talk about some vague, mysterious "receptors" all you want, but you can't explain what they are and how they work.

How does information about any external object enter your brain? why would this be any different?

yes O great wise one it is the kind of receptors I meant

- I seriously doubt it. It's nor even applicable to the function you were describing.

Because you are probably conflating several different things I said. as though I can only talk about one thing,


Don't try to fool us, Joe. You don't know what you are talking about. When it comes to scientific matters, you prove it again and again.


the wise one shows us again that being right is not a matter of logic or of empirical knowledge, but of being worthy by knowing scene stuff. of Christians are not worthy to learn science.

Jesus says don't call any one a fool,I say "Lord have you talked to this cretin?

yes some reason, you already said mystical experience (peak) can be had by atheists,so you must believe there is a natural process through which that sort of thing works. So God can just plug into that process,simple..duh,

Yes I do mean receptors chemicals that control firing over synapse I don't have to understand it with any expertise I have people who explain it to me.,such as Newberg, he wrote a hole book on the process of mystical experience,

Joe Hinman said...

Andrew Newberg, Why God Won’t God Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief. (New York, Ballentine Books), 2001, 37.



Quote
…Tracing spiritual experience to neurological behavior does not disprove its realness. If God does exist, for example, and if He appeared to you in some incarnation, you would have no way of experiencing His presence, except as part of a neurologically generated rendition of reality. You would need auditory processing to hear his voice, visual processing to see His face, and cognitive processing to make sense of his message. Even if he spoke to you mystically, without words, you would need cognitive functions to comprehend his meaning, and input form the brain’s emotional centers to fill you with rapture and awe. Neurology makes it clear: there is no other way for God to get into your head except through the brain’s neural pathways. Correspondingly, God cannot exist as a concept or as reality anyplace else but in your mind. In this sense, both spiritual experiences and experiences of a more ordinary material nature are made real to the mind in the very same way—through the processing powers of the brain and the cognitive functions of the mind. Whatever the ultimate nature of spiritual experience might be—weather it is in fact an actual perception of spiritual reality—or merely an interpretation of sheer neurological function—all that is meaningful in human spirituality happens in the mind. In other words, the mind is mystical by default
Close Quote

you need to read the post for Monday

im-skeptical said...

what is really bizarre is that think there has to be some special God magic nervous system instead of God just using the one we have
- Obviously, you don't quite get the implications of God making things happen. Now think carefully about this. What you are claiming is that God makes things happen that wouldn't have happened if he didn't cause them to. Without God's involvement, nature would take its course, according to the laws of physics. But God makes something else happen, which implies that the laws of physics do not hold. This is the (usual) definition of "supernatural" - otherwise known as "God magic".

your so called objection does not answer the argument. It doesn't make the argument invalid. All it does is Reid us that there are things we don't know. sure. why do you think they call it Mystical?
- I raised an objection to your argument, and you refuse to answer it, just like you always do. We all know that you have no answer. Nobody denies that there are things we don't know. But you are making claims as if you DO know, which is a lie. I'm simply pointing that out.

what external information? You mean the presence of God?it comes from the presence of God.
- If you ask any physicist, he will tell you that information is physical. That doesn't easily translate to knowledge, but it is undeniable that we learn about things through our physical interaction with the world. When we sense things, it is by means of a physical interaction with the sense organs, which in turn create neural signals that travel to the brain to be processed. This stimulation of the senses that is transformed into neural signals is what I mean by external information.

How does information about any external object enter your brain? why would this be any different?
- That's MY point. There has to be some kind of sensory function to create the signals that go to the brain. But all you have said about it is there is some vaguely described "receptor". When I pointed out that there are things in the brain called receptors, you latched onto that, claiming that's what you meant. But these receptors have no sensory function. They can't what you are talking about. The fact is, there are no anatomical sensor structures that would meet the description of what you claim. You are just making it up.

Because you are probably conflating several different things I said. as though I can only talk about one thing
- Actually, I read what you said, and it is scientifically ignorant.

the wise one shows us again that being right is not a matter of logic or of empirical knowledge, but of being worthy by knowing scene stuff. of Christians are not worthy to learn science.
- I'm not talking about Christians. I'm talking about YOU.

yes some reason, you already said mystical experience (peak) can be had by atheists,so you must believe there is a natural process through which that sort of thing works. So God can just plug into that process,simple..duh
- Peak experiences ARE natural. God has nothing to do with it.

Yes I do mean receptors chemicals that control firing over synapse I don't have to understand it with any expertise I have people who explain it to me.,such as Newberg, he wrote a hole book on the process of mystical experience
- It doesn't work. You need to answer my objection.

Newberg: Neurology makes it clear: there is no other way for God to get into your head except through the brain’s neural pathways.
- That's right. And where does the pathway start? At the sense organs. It's the crucial thing you have not identified.

Joe Hinman said...


Blogger im-skeptical said...
Joewhat is really bizarre is that think there has to be some special God magic nervous system instead of God just using the one we have

- Obviously, you don't quite get the implications of God making things happen. Now think carefully about this. What you are claiming is that God makes things happen that wouldn't have happened if he didn't cause them to. Without God's involvement, nature would take its course, according to the laws of physics. But God makes something else happen, which implies that the laws of physics do not hold. This is the (usual) definition of "supernatural" - otherwise known as "God magic".

I am not saying that God has to Make our respecters work he made our bodies to work autonomically so it would work the way it works without direct divine interaction. But I'm talking about sensing God's presence,we would not sense that without a presence to scene. WE woudl not perceive the the pacific ocean without a pacific ocean to sense,

Joeyour so called objection does not answer the argument. It doesn't make the argument invalid. All it does is Reid us that there are things we don't know. sure. why do you think they call it Mystical?

- I raised an objection to your argument, and you refuse to answer it, just like you always do. We all know that you have no answer. Nobody denies that there are things we don't know. But you are making claims as if you DO know, which is a lie. I'm simply pointing that out.

that's horse shit and you know it,what I just said answers it. You havenbo answer


Joewhat external information? You mean the presence of God?it comes from the presence of God.

- If you ask any physicist, he will tell you that information is physical. That doesn't easily translate to knowledge, but it is undeniable that we learn about things through our physical interaction with the world. When we sense things, it is by means of a physical interaction with the sense organs, which in turn create neural signals that travel to the brain to be processed. This stimulation of the senses that is transformed into neural signals is what I mean by external information.

so? you have no means of proving can't work in that process,



JoeHow does information about any external object enter your brain? why would this be any different?

- That's MY point. There has to be some kind of sensory function to create the signals that go to the brain. But all you have said about it is there is some vaguely described "receptor".

I also said it that is just the one's we have not some special god receptor,what are atheist peak experiences registering on?



When I pointed out that there are things in the brain called receptors, you latched onto that, claiming that's what you meant. But these receptors have no sensory function. They can't what you are talking about. The fact is, there are no anatomical sensor structures that would meet the description of what you claim. You are just making it up.

what a bombastic baboon you are, you think that stuff is speleological only you could heavy hard of it, It's so amusing you think that stuff makes you so special only you can know about it its just ordinary unimportant,psychobabble. nothing compared to metrical patterns.

you are so desperate to prove your better than any Christian, you are so uneducated so unread and unlearned.I already told you Newberg and Hood tell me about receptors they are experts you are not..




Joe Hinman said...

JoeBecause you are probably conflating several different things I said. as though I can only talk about one thing

- Actually, I read what you said, and it is scientifically ignorant.


You have the world's worst reading comprehension problem. you are scientifically ignorant, you think sincere is just facts you don't understand Methodology you wont understand philosophy of science, you are not really scientific at all, you are very emotional you seek to feel,important and superior to Christians.


Joe Hinman said...

Newberg: Neurology makes it clear: there is no other way for God to get into your head except through the brain’s neural pathways.


- That's right. And where does the pathway start? At the sense organs. It's the crucial thing you have not identified.

You are assuming that you can physicalize the whole process thus you can physicalize God if you don't see God waves going into the body then God/s not there that just feeble minded

Joe Hinman said...

go read Newberg dumbo, I know you have not, he has the exterior answers this stuff so go read it, you tell Newberg he doens;t knkow Seine,like you do

Joe Hinman said...

I am closing this it;s about to be two or three posts out of date