Tony and Cody dialogues (continued)


Continuing the dialogue (culled from the blogs) between Tony (a Platonist/Positivist) and Cody (a Codicalist/Pragmatist).


TONY: I have found that philosophical approaches [to questions about the existence of God] are very helpful and that approaches modeled on science of really of very little help. On this basis I am happy to conclude that the existence of God is a philosophical and not a scientific question. [ref]

CODY: That there are different kinds of “truths” to be determined: one kind existing in a one domain studied by science and another kind in another domain by philosophy, would be Platonism, I think, in Rorty’s sense, and thus rejected (on a pragmatic basis). A Pragmatist might say the questions of “God” may not be scientifically resolvable, but they are not philosophically resolvable either — or that either is equally advantaged or disadvantaged to answer such questions.

TONY: If you asked me whether or not the existence (or non-existence) or God is a “different kind” of truth than a scientific truth I would have to hear a good bit more of what you meant by kinds of truth.

CODY: I am guided first by a pragmatist definition of ‘truth’ (vs. platonist or positivist) in Rorty’s “Platonists, Positivists, and Pragmatists” (from Introduction, Consequences of Pragmatism). I expand on this in “Philosophy’s (pragmatic) function” In the end, I think the endeavor to separate what’s in the domain of science vs. what’s in the the domain philosophy is not a pragmatic one. They both may have developed their vocabularies (languages), frameworks, and paradigms, but these can overlap, migrate, and intermingle.

TONY: Arguments modeled on science tend to fail because they do not appreciate the subtleties of the concepts and the ambiguities of implication. Philosophical arguments fare better because they are highly responsive to just these issues.

CODY: I think this a too strong a distinction, but as I have characterized philosophy as the foundry and criticism of vocabularies, I do see philosophy as distinct in that philosophers study the nature of vocabularies in themselves.


TONY: The important issue is whether there are big epistemological divides between different areas of knowledge that have different “ways of knowing”; or whether the world, and thus knowledge, is essentially unified. [ref]

CODY: Even given a final “unified” common inner “machine” language (whatever its “unconventional” features could be: quantum, super-recursive, phenomenological, … ) underlying all of nature, there could still be in the future (as there is now) a “disunified” babel of “higher-level” languages, frameworks, and paradigms for (and within) different domains: math, physics, chemistry, biology, logic, psychology, art, music, politics, ethics, … .


TONY: If matter/energy had slightly different characteristics, the ratio between a circle and its diameter in the plane might have been 3? [ref]

CODY: If one could still build computers in such a universe, one could presumably make one that computes Machin-like formulas, so “computable pi” would be the same in both. (One approach to mathematical physicalism is given here:
Mathematical Facts in a Physicalist Ontology.)


Philip Thrift


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