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Help Me, Captain Philosophy! [Aug. 16th, 2006|04:51 pm]
I took a relatively interesting philosophy quiz (here) that characterizes me as a metaphysical Realist, an epistemological Subjectivist, and an ethical Utilitarian.

The corresponding viewpoints aren't a horrible match -- they're better than the subcategories listed under the polar opposite "Reductionist/Absolutist/Relativist" type, but still, there were a bunch of questions where none of the answers really fit what I believe. There are lots of these questions to which my answer is really mu -- either the question is ill-posed, or there's not enough context to give a proper answer.

So, not that I actually expect anybody on my flist can answer the question, but: Can you help me find a label for my philosophical outlook?

In a nutshell, here's what I think. There are two kinds of thing in the world: physical things, and informational things. A rock is physical; a 30-60-90 triangle is informational. Your mind is software (informational) that runs on the hardware of your body (physical). Part of your mind is a model of the objective physical universe; this model is imperfect, being fed by your imperfect perceptions of the universe, but there's an isomorphism between model and reality.

Here's the part that seems to be unconventional: I've come to believe that statements about physical things are qualitatively different than statements about informational things. In particular, boolean truth is applicable only to purely informational propositions. Statement about physical things evaluate to what I'll call "floating-point truth".

So what is that? Property dualism? Fuzzy-logic Aristotelianism? Any ideas?

[User Picture]From: drdeleto
2006-08-17 11:29 pm (UTC)
Well, reading, say, Kant's Critique of Pure Reason--or, heck, even a thorough summary of it--my response is basically, "Gosh, he's addressing a lot of really important stuff here, half of which I've never considered. Some of it sounds right to me. Some of it sounds wrong. But his argument is clearly stronger than anything I could put together. Other philosophers have spent their careers analyzing where Kant went wrong, so I'm unlikely to accomplish remotely as much as they have. Probably don't even have time to read them. But, no denying this is important stuff. Really would love to get a handle on it... I need a sandwich."

It's not that I could never assert a proposition against Kant, where I think he's wrong. It's just unlikely to be anything other than a statement of preference. "I don't like that idea; I prefer this one." Which, philosophically speaking, is mostly useless. I'd have to be able to back it up beyond "It's my experience..." That's where the heavy lifting comes in, and I certainly don't have a heavy-lifting kind of mind. Chance that I don't really know what I'm talking about: 99.9%

So, yeah, when it comes to delegating my thinking... Well, that's the rub, isn't it? I guess part of it is just a constant trial of ideas against other ideas, and part of it is finding a source that you trust for reasons that have not really anything to do with the intellectual content of their arguments.
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