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Intuitions Aren't Shared That Way

According to Luke, this is not a strawman, but in fact a correct representation of the current state of affairs.

It is correct if you go by a select set of quotes that, from what I can tell, have been chosen specifically to support a presupposed position, i.e., philosophers don't think about obvious problems which have been intimately entwined with moral and ethical philosophy for hundreds of years.

Obviously I don't feel that this is correct, or that the quotes given are representative of what they're being made to represent.

I don't know what you mean by "settle", but Luke does present several pieces of strong evidence against the proposition that our intuitions can be trusted.

Sure. And presenting "strong evidence" in a reasoned back-and-forth is the point of philosophy, since every position has evidence which (it considers to be) strong support. This is why the debate is necessary, unless, as I wrote elsewhere, you presuppose there is only one privileged interpretation of the existing data.

If you believe that then I'd refer you to the debate around underdetermination and IBE in philosophy of science for a healthy re-orientation of your worldview.

Intuitions Aren't Shared That Way

In this "Philosophy by Humans" sub-sequence, it seems like the most common response I get is, "No, philosophers can't actually be that stupid," even though my post went to the trouble of quoting philosophers saying "Yes, this thing here is our standard practice."

So? I can quote scientists saying all manner of stupid, bizarre, unintuitive things...but my selection of course sets up the terms of the discussion. If I choose a sampling that only confirms my existing bias against scientists, then my "quotes" are going to lead to the foregone conclusion. I don't see why "quoting" a few names is considered evidence of anything besides a pre-existing bias against philosophy.

On a second and more important point, you've yet to elaborate on why having a debate about ethics is problematic in the first place. Your appeal to Eliezer and his vague handwaving about "bad habits" and "real work" (which range from "too vague" to "nonsensical" depending on how charitable you want to be) is not persuasive, so I'd ask again: what is wrong with philosophy doing what it is supposed to do, i.e., examine ideas?

I realize that declaring it "wrong" by fiat seems to be the rule around here, if the comments are any indication, but from the philosophical standpoint that's a laughable argument to make, and it's not persuasive to anyone who doesn't already share your presuppositions.

Intuitions Aren't Shared That Way

You can understand the difference between being a rough progenitor of a historical tradition in thought, on the one hand, and the views held by an individual, correct?

Honestly I'd expected a little better than the strategy of circling of the wagons and defending the group on the site of Pure Rationality where we correct biased thinking. Turns out LW is like every other internet forum and the focus on "rationality" makes no difference in the degree biases underpinning the arguments?

Intuitions Aren't Shared That Way

If you aren't denying or opposing anything, then what work is "only" doing in the sense "the natural world is the only world"?

In that there is "no more than", in ontological terms, there are no other fundamental categories of being. I don't have to explicitly deny that unicorns exist in order to rule them out of any taxonomy of equine animals.

If you've presupposed a worldview that allows for "supernatural" or "mystical" or Cartesian mind-substance or what have you, then of course the opposition seems obvious, but modern analytical naturalism as it stands makes no such allowance. This is why we cannot take our presuppositions for granted.

Define 'science,' while you're at it.

You don't have the space on this forum for that debate. However, for pragmatic purposes, let's (roughly) call it the social activity of institutionalized formal empirical inquiry, inclusive of the error-correcting norms and structures meant to filter our systematic errors.

The vagueness of the term 'naturalism' is the primary reason it's a bad habit to define your methods or world-view in terms of it.

Maybe if you didn't take flippant comments and run with them you wouldn't encounter this problem. I brought up naturalism because I found it hilarious that "even modern analytic philosophy" teaches these laughably vague "bad habits" -- which you still seem surprisingly unconcerned with, given the far more serious issues there -- and contemporary naturalism as practiced by many philosophers in the English-speaking world is as pro-science a set of ideas as you'll find.

Spiraling it out into this protracted debate about whether we can accurately define naturalism -- on your terms, no less -- is not the point of the exercise (and I suspect it's only happened to take the focus off the matter at hand: that there is no adequate account of these "bad habits" and we're seeing an interference play to keep eyes off it).

There is virtually no content to 'naturalism' or 'scientism,' beyond the fact that both are associated with science and the former has a positive connotation, while the latter has a negative connotation.

Yes I'm well aware of the dislike of anything intrinsically opposed to the formal and computable around these parts, and I also find that position to be laughable (and a shining example of why you folks need to engage with philosophy rather than jumping head-first into troubling [and equally laughable] moral-ethical positions).

But, as per the thread, there is a more interesting and proximate criticism: your intuitions on such are unreliable, by your own lights, so you'll pardon me if I am hardly persuaded by your fiat declaration that i) there is "no content" to a whole wide-ranging debate (of which you seem barely familiar with, at that, with your introduction of yet another nonsensical opposition that might as well be fiction for all it reflects the actual process*) and ii) that we should -- again by decree -- paint as "useless" the tools and methods used to engage in the debate.

We are only fortunate that the actual intellectual world doesn't conduct itself like a message board.

  • PS There is no serious debate "between" naturalism and scientism. The latter isn't even a "position" as such, even less so than naturalism could be.
Intuitions Aren't Shared That Way

Luke says that even naturalistic philosophers exhibit these bad habits. He does not say that naturalism is a bad habit, or that it's a bad habit because it uses science to understand the world.

Not quite:

reading too much mainstream philosophy ... is somewhat likely to "teach very bad habits of thought that will lead people to be unable to do real work."

"Teach" implies that engaging one's self with "too much" mainstream philosophy will cause bad habits to arise (and make one unable to do 'real work', whatever that might be).

Unexamined presuppositions make a wonderful basis for discourse.

Intuitions Aren't Shared That Way

Because in a general sense, ignoring a large and useful body of knowledge out of hand and on the grounds that it triggers intuitive dislikes (esp. when said intuitions are based on a weak strawman interpretation of said discipline) is usually not a good move.

More specific to the argument at hand, why should a debate about reliability of intuitions disqualify philosophy? Do you believe this is a settled debate? And if so, on what grounds is it settled?

The center of the issue is that you can't answer these questions empirically. What observation(s) could you ever make that would settle the matter? We've got to invoke some form of philosophical justification even if it is vague and implicit. I'd prefer a more rigorous framework, as I imagine would most here, and that is what philosophy does and why it is still taken seriously, Eliezer's exasperation and misunderstanding notwithstanding.

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