Congratulations David. I saw this thread late, as I usually don't browse while logged in. Good job on all the...uh...stuff...you've been doing around here. Seriously though, I really like all your posts in the literature/art forum and you're quite helpful to newbies. Keep up the good work!
I'm not sure how fruitful this comparison is, due to the wealth and variety inherent in philosophy itself. Because philosophy can be artistic or scientific, inspirational and austerely logical, the best metaphor for what philosophy is, I think, is that of a tree with sprawling branches. With its roots firmly grounded in the ancients, it is an organic unity that continues to grow today into new boughs and twigs. Since most major fields of study today branched off from philosophy itself, there are going to be some limbs still on that tree, bearing more resemblance to one discipline than another. Thus, reducing philosophy to just music or literature is overly simplistic. And to claim that all music does to inspire emotions and philosophy should be a rational approach to truth reveals a rather crude understanding of both. Although it
Care to elaborate? What constitutes non-discursive thinking? Would that be considered a language game on Witt's account?
Heidegger proposed what non-discursive thinking might be like in some of his later writings, e.g. poetry. But I think Witt would say that poetry is a language game. The notion of a language game is so broad, it could cover anything from poetry, to music, to gesturing, etc. Are those discursive? Seems like it if it follows rules.
Also, I'm thinking our first-order experiences may not be discursive, but then we'd have to ask are those 'thoughts'? Moreover, it's supposed that animals can think without language, hence they also possess non-discursive thought. But it's just strange to say that a dog thinks. Am I even close to what you meant there?
I have a slightly different interpretation of aphorism 32, namely, I think Witt is saying that Augustine's account of language acquisition only explains a second language acquisition and not first, i.e. he assumes that the child already has a language -- i.e. it could already 'think' and not yet 'speak'. So the distinction between 'think' and 'speak', here, is not Witt's view, but a mistaken view he is attributing to those who believe that humans have innate mental ideas, from which we just add sounds/words to as if language was just a cloak for those ideas -- thus the distinction between thought and language is a faulty one here.
What do you think?
EDIT: Also, I think he is saying that ostensive definition is an effective method of learning a second language, although guessing is part of the process.
Thanks qualia for your insightful posts. To tell you the truth, I'm working a paper but it's related to the philosophy of language as opposed to the A.I. aspect of the Turing Test. But regarding the A.I. part, I am in full agreement with you, especially given my interest in phenomenology, I don't think a computer is capable of replicating human experience. (Maybe I should've started a new thread or something.)
But a criterion is not a definition. I'm using it in Wittgenstein's sense (developed in the PI), i.e. criteria are just the normal circumstances in which we apply a word/sentence. So one criterion for knowing the meaning of a word is being able to teach it to another person (e.g. by ostensive definition). And criteria are neither necessary nor sufficient conditions, but they make up the meaning of our language.
And Wittgenstein didn't believe that thinking was something that just takes place in some ethereal place, (i.e. you can't point to something in your mind). Thinking is also not just a brain process; the latter may be a psychological accompaniment to thought. Rather, the thought is its expression. Or, language itself is the vehicle of thought. So if we have something that passes the Turing Test, i.e. shows to us that it knows how to use our language, does that mean it's thinking (according to Wittgenstein's account)?
I realize that the above interpretation of the Turing Test may not be the one that was originally formulated by Turing himself. But what the Chinese Room Argument and your initial list of the deficiencies of purely algorithmic thinking shows is that a computer can't pass the test, i.e. you can never capture know-how by trying to reduce it to know-that intelligence. But the point is if non-human entity demonstrated a know-how for our language, are we then justified (--that's perhaps not the right word) to attribute thought to it? Maybe a better way of putting it is that we can say "it's thinking" -- or the meaning of this proposition is indicated by the fact that it indeed can use our language.
I don't know. I get the feeling that there are nuances in Witt's arguments that I might be missing.
I was reading the SEP article, linked here. In the very last section, it deals with the Chinese Room Argument, and by the penultimate paragraph, the author claims
"So far, the argument that we have described arrives at the conclusion that no appropriately programmed computer can think. While this conclusion is not one that Turing accepted, it is important to note that it is compatible with the claim that The Turing Test is a good test for intelligence."
I was trying to figure out how he arrived at that conclusion. Now, I think I probably just misunderstood him. My interpretation, upon rereading, is that he buys Searle's argument but it only proves that a digital computer (or hand-simulation) could not possess genuine intelligence. Nontheless, the Turing Test remains a good criterion of intelligence (for testing non-computer entities). That is, the Turing Test is not a neccessary nor sufficient condition for intelligence, which I interpreted (probably mistakenly) your original post to claim.
Anyway, thanks for the note.
EDIT: I'll just add that the article in question gave a different version of the Chinese Room Argument than yours, although I think yours is probably the most common version I've heard. It shows Searle's argument, using modal logic, as claiming that computers/machines can't think, period.
Who reads the history of philosophy to be correct? That simply isn't the point of studying the history of philosophy, which tells a story about the experimentation of ideas. It is not necessarily linear or progressive. Another thing is that philosophy does not always deal with questions that have definite/definable solutions. If you wish to be correct all the time, don't study philosophy. I think the principle of charity itself though not strictly stating this requires that you agree with the experts before disagreeing with them. Anyway, philosophy is not just about the results of your arguments, is often the process of thinking itself. Single-minded concern with results reflects shallow thinking.
Moreover, I think that prestige is justified in philosophy after you've made a genuine attempt at understanding a thinker. You may disagree with his/her conclusions but still respect the fact that they came up with revolutionarily new methods of (re-)thinking about a problem. Prestige should never be assumed, but when you study any discipline, you have to start somewhere. I think the only way to avoid shallow thinking is to ruminate over the ideas, internalize them, before rejecting them. I am not advocating that we should accept the cannonical group of thinkers as gods. Only that the cannon gives us a place to start from which we could leap off later. I just think that too many leap too early.
Alright. Let's see if I can explain some Heidegger in layman's terms, thus probably distorting his thought. There's a reason he has that almost impenetrable jargon. My point is you're not gonna understand "why [i'm] so worried about Heidegger's moral character" unless you understand Heidegger's philosophy itself. For one thing, he is throwing out a lot of presuppositions of traditional philosophy, because he believed that they misconstrued the meaning of Being itself. Such terms as "moral character" would be a traditional way of conceiving Dasein's existential comportment. Basically, when you still approach philosophy with your own prejudices -- the very ones that Heidegger are rejecting -- you're not gonna see my point. My conclusion from reading Heidegger is that if you take the philosophy espoused in B&T seriously, there is something extremely problematic about Heidegger's 'existential comportment' in his political relationships. Anyway, I never used the term 'moral character'. It's what you read into my post. But I was giving a Heideggerian reading of Heidegger's Dasein.
I think that post you quoted was done in a hyper-rush. I apologize that I probably misspoke there. I didn't mean to say we shouldn't read older philosophers for their arguments. I'm saying that we shouldn't read older philosophers for their arguments alone. I believe, and this may be unconventional, that all good philosophy is expressed in literature and all good literature is also philosophical. But not all the ideas expressed in literature can be reduced to arguments. Therefore, not all the (important) ideas in philosophy can be reduced to arguments. So I'm not assuming that what's worth saying can't be put into syllogistic arguments, although at the time I made that post, I think there was a certain philosopher swimming in mind who did believe that. Anyway, I bet I probably give off that impression some, most?, of the time. To correct myself, I simply think that not all philosophical ideas are reducible to logical arguments.
Also, I suppose we just disagree on a lot of our presuppositions. For example, I think how an idea is expressed is as important (maybe more) than what is said. This is not something I just made up in my sleep, but in my posts I simply wanted to point out the literary approach to philosophy has a long tradition in the history of philosophy itself. It's simply happens that the most popular/dominant approach to philosophy in English-speaking countries is the analytic one.
I know my last post probably sounds antagonistic and it was sloppy & rushed. What I'm saying is that by considering several dimensions of a philosopher's thought, including the political, does not reduce a philosophy into the political, conformist/non-conformist thinking. Anyway, I agree that we shouldn't assess Heidegger's philosophy on his politics.
Well, it's hard for me to explain, since I already said it has to do with the nature of his philosophy itself and it's easy for someone who hasn't read his works to make these generalizations. Fact is truth is never so simple, once you bothered to look beneath the surface. For one thing, he did support his political views with his philosophical ones, at least with his philosophical jargon.
Right. And the Heidegger scholars who try to vindicate his Nazism is another example thereof.
And who said anything about reading a philosopher just to agree with them? Who said anything about letting a philosopher do your thinking for you? Sorry, but I don't think you know what you're really talking about.
Just to give an example of what I mean:
Given the whole chapter spent on conscience and 'the They' in Being and Time, I don't think that excuse really works for him.
Okay. I'll bite. All the topics you've started seem to voice your indignation and sarcasm -- you sure like the smiley alot! -- but I have to ask over what? All your attacks seem to be against generalizations and stereotypes of certain trends/ways of doing philosophy. So I ask who said philosophy was linguistics? And who's trying to find out what words mean?
I also found this article on Aristotle's Poetics for those interested. In the section on catharsis, it also says that literature/art inspires a sense of wonder. For both Plato and Aristotle, philosophy begins in wonder. Here, Aristotle claims that poetry adds to or is another source of this wonder. (Aside: Heidegger contrasts the view of philosophy as wonder for the Greeks to that of curiosity, i.e. constantly seeking new knowledge.) Unlike Plato, Aristotle believed that art is a higher form of mimesis that takes us straight from the world of becoming to the world of being, because it's not just imitating the shadows of shadows.
The article begins with...
This is not a view that the author espouses. He's just summarizing the critics here and goes on to say that he disagree. But I'd like to add another response: these critics know not what they speak of. Perhaps, this is not a commonly known fact, but Aristotle was a literary man. Like Plato, he wrote dialogues, which were highly praised by other literary figures such as Cicero. Unfortunately, none of them survived (or only in small fragments). Today, we only have access to a minute fraction of his complete works, and most (all?) of them were not authored by Aristotle himself. The bulk of his writings that we read today were lecture notes taken by his students. Evidently meticulous note-takers, whoever they were parsed all his ideas in a very systematic, logical way. Without this context, most get the impression from reading him in translation that Aristotle himself was always this dry analytician. Anyway, Aristotle was far from being an unpoetic soul.
Here's my experience of encountering Plato & Aristotle in university: Usually in an intro to ethics course, you'll have Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics on the syllabus. But if you take a course on ancient philosophy where the prof has a background in classics and has read the complete works of Plato & Aristotle in the original, you get radically different pictures of these two thinkers. This is what I meant about the analytic traditions' mis-appropriation of the history of philosophy, by their ahistorical approach of reducing everything to arguments. Granted that there are arguments in their philosophies (and they play an important role), they're not reducible to arguments, and doing so necessarily presents a distorted view of their thoughts.