Sulkowski Essay Research Paper From SULKOMubvmsccbuffaloedu Wed

Sulkowski Essay, Research Paper From SULKOM@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu Wed Feb 9 19:00:49 1994Received: from ubvmsb.cc.buffalo.edu by ponyexpress.princeton.edu (5.65c/1.113/newPE)id AA08661; Wed, 9 Feb 1994 19:00:47 -0500Received: from ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu by ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu (PMDF V4.2-14 #5889) id ; Wed, 9 Feb 1994 18:55:43 ESTDate: Wed, 09 Feb 1994 18:55:43 -0500 (EST)From: Mark Sulkowski Subject: personalTo: bdcaplan@phoenixMessage-Id: Organization: University at BuffaloX-Vms-To: IN%”bdcaplan@phoenix.Princeton.edu”Mime-Version: 1.0Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; CHARSET=US-ASCIIContent-Transfer-Encoding: 7BITStatus: R To: Bryan Douglas Caplan I posted this message earlier:>>1.

Sulkowski Essay, Research Paper

From SULKOM@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu Wed Feb 9 19:00:49 1994Received: from ubvmsb.cc.buffalo.edu by ponyexpress.princeton.edu (5.65c/1.113/newPE)id AA08661; Wed, 9 Feb 1994 19:00:47 -0500Received: from ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu by ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu (PMDF V4.2-14 #5889) id ; Wed, 9 Feb 1994 18:55:43 ESTDate: Wed, 09 Feb 1994 18:55:43 -0500 (EST)From: Mark Sulkowski Subject: personalTo: bdcaplan@phoenixMessage-Id: Organization: University at BuffaloX-Vms-To: IN%”bdcaplan@phoenix.Princeton.edu”Mime-Version: 1.0Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; CHARSET=US-ASCIIContent-Transfer-Encoding: 7BITStatus: R To: Bryan Douglas Caplan I posted this message earlier:>>1. The morality-math analogy. I’m not sure why Sulkowski places>>exclusive emphasis on my mathematics example; if you recall my original>>posting, I also adduced two decidedly non-mathematical instances of the>>use of direct reason.>>That’s correct. I do remember that. However, you specifically>stated that since direct reason worked for you in math, then there was>no reason to suppose it didn’t work in morality — a claim I dispute.>>[......................]>As to your question of whether philosophy fails without direct>reason, I will state again that I am not quite sure what you believe>direct reason to be. Philosophy relies on conceptual thinking and>(hopefully) perceptual evidence. What else is necessary?In case you responded to this already, I didn’t get the response.My account has been filling up on occasion. If you still have a copy ofit, send it to me in email. If you haven’t posted it yet, send me acarbon copy in email. Thanks!Mark | “Simplicity and truth of character are not produced by theAndrew | constraint of laws, nor by the authority of the state, andSulkowski | absolutely no one can be forced or legislated into a state | of blessedness; the means required are faithful and brotherlySec/Treas | admonition, sound education, and, above all, free use of the NFLP | individual judgment.” — SpinozaFrom slagle@sgi417.msd.lmsc.lockheed.com Thu Feb 10 09:52:12 1994Received: from eagle.is.lmsc.lockheed.com by ponyexpress.princeton.edu (5.65c/1.113/newPE)id AA10858; Thu, 10 Feb 1994 09:52:10 -0500Received: from sgi417.msd.lmsc.lockheed.com by eagle.is.lmsc.lockheed.com (5.65/Ultrix4.3-C)id AA06464; Thu, 10 Feb 1994 06:50:12 -0800Received: by sgi417.msd.lmsc.lockheed.com (920110.SGI/911001.SGI)for bdcaplan@phoenix.Princeton.EDU id AA03907; Thu, 10 Feb 94 06:51:59 -0800Date: Thu, 10 Feb 94 06:51:59 -0800From: slagle@sgi417.msd.lmsc.lockheed.com (Mark Slagle)Message-Id: To: bdcaplan@phoenixCc: libernet-d@Dartmouth.EDUIn-Reply-To: Bryan Douglas Caplan’s message of Sun, 6 Feb 94 21:51:18 ESTSubject: Questions About Direct Reason AnsweredReply-To: slagle@lmsc.lockheed.comStatus: RBryan Douglas Caplan writes:> Mark Sulkowski’s latest reply leaves me with the feeling that I should> do a lot more work to make my position clear, and I am happy to do so.> 1. What is direct reason?Well, I read your whole explanation, and I’m afraid I don’t findthe matter any more clear than before. In a nutshell, whatdistinguishes this “direct reason” of yours from garden varietyintuition, or from divine revelation for that matter? And whyshould we regard it as any more trustworthy?=Mark—-Mark E. Slagle PO Box 61059slagle@lmsc.lockheed.com Sunnyvale, CA 94088408-756-0895 USAFrom SULKOM@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu Thu Feb 10 22:25:10 1994Received: from ubvmsb.cc.buffalo.edu by ponyexpress.princeton.edu (5.65c/1.113/newPE)id AA01939; Thu, 10 Feb 1994 22:25:08 -0500Received: from ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu by ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu (PMDF V4.2-14 #5889) id ; Thu, 10 Feb 1994 20:36:12 ESTDate: Thu, 10 Feb 1994 20:36:12 -0500 (EST)From: Mark Sulkowski Subject: personal: direct reasonTo: bdcaplan@phoenixMessage-Id: Organization: University at BuffaloX-Vms-To: IN%”bdcaplan@phoenix.Princeton.edu”Mime-Version: 1.0Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; CHARSET=US-ASCIIContent-Transfer-Encoding: 7BITStatus: R From: Bryan Douglas Caplan >I’m glad we’re taking this to e-mail, since it seems to have gotten a little>technical.A *little* technical? Sulkowski Essay Research Paper From SULKOMubvmsccbuffaloedu Wed> And by the way, hello.Hi there. Pleasure to talk with you.>1. How does direct reason differ from garden variety intuition? [......]>2. How does direct reason differ from divine revelation? [......]Okay, this info was interesting but just so you know you wereresponding to Mark Slagle, a different chap.I was asking you if you had responded to a previous post of mine.Mr. Slagle may have been responding to that response of yours. (Thisis getting a little confusing.)Anyway, I’m not SURE that you wrote this response. All I knowis that my account filled up earlier this week and I might have missedit. I pointed out to you that your concept of direct reason wasunclear to me. I believe I asked for some clarification. Sending itto me through email is fine with me.And now onto your response to Slagle.>1. How does direct reason differ from garden variety intuition? Well,>garden-variety intuition is one species of direct reason, I suppose.You suppose? Then perhaps you aren’t very clear on what directreason is either. What are you clear on about it?>Also, garden-variety intuition is probably less self-critical and>thoughtful than our better direct reasonings are; that is, garden-variet>intuition is probably our knee-jerk reaction, whereas something known>well through direct reason is reached after reflection and careful thought.Is this “self-critical and thoughtful” aspect of successfullyapplying direct reason _part_of_ the faculty of direct reason, or is itsomething else (perhaps the most conscious and volitional level of ourchoice and ability to think)? Since I am still unclear on what youimagine direct thinking to be, this question may seem off-target to you.>2. How does direct reason differ from divine revelation? Well, I presume>that you don’t believe in divine revelation, and neither do I.Okay.>Well, I think that looking>at a philosopher like Aquinas will shed a little light on this. >Basically, philosophers who believed in revelation also frequently>believed in “the natural light of reason,” which is probably yet>another synonym for direct reason.Possibly… I’m no scholar of Aquinas, but “the natural lightof reason” does not strike me as necessarily having anything to do withyour direct reason. Aquinas may simply have had a good appreciationfor the ability of people to think and learn about what they observe.I don’t know of any statement of his that other forms ofreasoning are incomplete without direct reasoning (or “the naturallight of reason”).>But what is it that’s really bugging you about direct reason? I suspect>that it is the popular but mistaken notion that everything must be>”proven.”Maybe… I don’t demand that things be proven without a doubt.We may always suffer some form of doubt about our beliefs. I just wantan _explanation_ for a specific conclusion other than just “it’s obvious!”Perhaps there are “obvious” beliefs. I place a high degree of confidenceon beliefs based on observations under reasonable conditions of observation.For example, if I am reasonably convinced that I am awake and notdelusional, and I cross a street, and I see quite clearly and sharplythat a car is moving towards me with deadly speed, then that is certainlyenough observational evidence to convince me to jump out of the way.I’m not sure how big a role concepts play here. The feeling ofdanger may be geared into a very quick and “low level” evaluation ofthe motion of objects. This feeling of danger might carry a feelingof “obviousness”.Perhaps the concept actually forms afterwards. “That car couldhave killed me!” However, at this point any “obviousness” of the natureof the situation is of a different sort. Now that I have the time tomore fully and critically evaluate the situation, I can bring to bearcertain ideas like “fast moving, heavy, solid objects can seriouslydamage human health”. I can think about other people who actually arehurt seriously by such objects. I can _explain_ why I think that itis obvious that I could have been hurt. I am not left crying “but it’sobvious and apparent” as if that explained everything.Let me know how my hypothetical situation relates to direct reason,if at all.>But of course that can’t be true, because first of all it>leads to an infinite regress, since you would then have to prove your>proofs, prove the proofs of your proofs, and so on. And second of all>it is impossible because a proof only yields truth if its premises are>true, and hence on pain of circularity some premises must be known without>proof.We need some axioms, yes. And this is a serious question.>Or perhaps its because of the related notion that intuition is unreliable>and must be “formalized.”Well…backed up with something.>Haven’t you ever made an argument and found that another person just couldn’t>”get it?”No never. Sulkowski Essay Research Paper From SULKOMubvmsccbuffaloedu WedYes, of course.>If you clearly saw that the argument was valid, did it matter that the>other person couldn’t see it? Actually, yes. I’d want to know what his premises/observations are.Maybe mine are wrong or incomplete.>That’s what I think about direct reason. I see that some things are true>objectively. And if other people don’t see it, why should that shake my>confidence?> –BryanUnfortunately, this still doesn’t do much to help me understandwhat direct reason is. I realize that you are trying to solve the problemof finding end-points to proof. But the existence of a problem does notdemand that there already be a solution. Perhaps we as humans are doomed

to some uncertainty about these most basic assumptions/axioms/end-points.Consider it job security for philosophers.Maybe the situation is better than this and observation can playa big role in providing a foundation for our beliefs. We then need tounderstand how we get from Perceptions -> Concepts. This may requirea greater understanding of the workings of our brain.Perhaps that is what your direct reason is — hardwired logicor concept manipulation? Still, it would be nice to doublecheck theusefulness of that somehow. Sulkowski Essay Research Paper From SULKOMubvmsccbuffaloedu WedMark | “Simplicity and truth of character are not produced by theAndrew | constraint of laws, nor by the authority of the state, andSulkowski | absolutely no one can be forced or legislated into a state | of blessedness; the means required are faithful and brotherlySec/Treas | admonition, sound education, and, above all, free use of the NFLP | individual judgment.” — SpinozaFrom SULKOM@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu Sun Feb 13 15:59:42 1994Received: from ubvmsb.cc.buffalo.edu by ponyexpress.princeton.edu (5.65c/1.113/newPE)id AA16408; Sun, 13 Feb 1994 15:59:41 -0500Received: from ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu by ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu (PMDF V4.2-14 #5889) id ; Sun, 13 Feb 1994 15:59:26 ESTDate: Sun, 13 Feb 1994 15:59:26 -0500 (EST)From: Mark Sulkowski Subject: personal: direct reasonTo: bdcaplan@phoenixMessage-Id: Organization: University at BuffaloX-Vms-To: IN%”bdcaplan@phoenix.Princeton.EDU”Mime-Version: 1.0Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; CHARSET=US-ASCIIContent-Transfer-Encoding: 7BITStatus: R From: Bryan Douglas Caplan >2. Is direct reason necessarily/by definition “self-critical and>thoughtful”? Now that is an interesting question. The answer is yes.>[...] if someone thought carefully and>self-critically about a proposition and came to a conclusion, I would say>that direct reason is at work.Okay. So direct reason can only be used with mental effort?>(This is different from saying that they>are CORRECT, of course. But they have at least used an>in-principle-valid faculty.Okay.>But I go further, and say that>sometimes we can know something beyond a reasonable doubt without any>”proof” at all. That is, without any sort of deductive derivation.Okay. I suppose so.>Rather, sometimes we think about something, then see that it must be or>probably is true. As a paradigm example, take the proposition that the>argument ad hominem is a fallacy. I don’t prove it; rather I see that>it is true on its own merits, directly.I’d say that argument ad hominem is a fallacy because itcontains a premise about the nature of truth that is wrong — thatthe character (or whatever) of the person so attacked has a bearingon the truth of a logical argument. Usually, this is not so.Of course, if it was the case that the point of the argumentwas to prove a person has a bad character, or is ugly, or whatever,then the truth of the argument may be bound up with evidence to thiseffect.Do you think I am using my direct reason here or not? >Indeed, the parallel between deductive/indirect reason and direct reason>extends here; for just as I sometimes know that a deductive argument is>PROBABLY right, so too do I sometimes know that an insight of direct>reason is PROBABLY right. It’s not an all-or-nothing kind of thing.>Maybe the misapprehension that direct reason is supposed to be>infallible is what creates resistance to the notion?That’s part of it. I’m softening in my views to direct reasonnow that it seems more “human” and less God-like.>What makes observation so superior to the>intellect that we should play down the intellect as much as possible?I’m just trying to increase the probability that the intellectis paying attention to reality and not simply imagining it. It’s notthat I don’t value the intellect; it’s just that I value observationas a “reality check”.>In fact, if you re-read your statement, you will notice that even you turn>to the intellect to justify your observations; for what determines what>conditions of observation are “reasonable”? Surely not observation>itself, for then we would have a circular argument.Touche!>Is it obvious that a speeding car will hurt you upon impact? Well, I>think that we are confusing psychological with epistemological>obviousness, here.I wanted to know your position on the matter.>6. What does this have to do with morality? (My question, not yours.)>Well, I think that direct reason can bridge the is-ought gap, and>nothing else can. How can you start with descriptive premises and get a>prescriptive conclusion? You can’t unless you smuggle in a moral>premise. If you deny the existence of direct reason, you’re stuck. I>say that we come to know the moral premise with direct reason. That>provides a non-circular explanation of moral knowledge that I have never>seen anyone else provide. And an extremely clear, clean, and simple>explanation, I might add.Well, this is the meat of the problem. Can we discuss this?Could you make an ought statement and explain how direct reason isinvolved? What moral premise is being brought in?Also, since you admit direct reason could be wrong, how can weknow when it is? What evidence must be brought to bear (eitherobservational or intellectual)?(Are there any books published on the subject of direct reason?)Mark | “Simplicity and truth of character are not produced by theAndrew | constraint of laws, nor by the authority of the state, andSulkowski | absolutely no one can be forced or legislated into a state | of blessedness; the means required are faithful and brotherlySec/Treas | admonition, sound education, and, above all, free use of the NFLP | individual judgment.” — SpinozaFrom SULKOM@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu Fri Feb 18 21:23:52 1994Received: from ubvmsb.cc.buffalo.edu by ponyexpress.princeton.edu (5.65c/1.113/newPE)id AA03366; Fri, 18 Feb 1994 21:23:50 -0500Received: from ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu by ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu (PMDF V4.2-14 #5889) id ; Fri, 18 Feb 1994 21:04:28 ESTDate: Fri, 18 Feb 1994 21:04:28 -0500 (EST)From: Mark Sulkowski Subject: personal: direct reasonTo: bdcaplan@phoenixMessage-Id: Organization: University at BuffaloX-Vms-To: IN%”bdcaplan@phoenix.princeton.edu”Mime-Version: 1.0Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; CHARSET=US-ASCIIContent-Transfer-Encoding: 7BITStatus: R From: Bryan Douglas Caplan >What’s important is that, on your account, you>derive the fact that the argument ad hominem is a fallacy from the nature>of truth. And how do you come to learn about the nature of truth? THAT>is where direct reason is clearly coming in. If you re-read your explanation,>it is a classic case of simply giving a clear statement of an evident truth,>and relying upon my direct reason to see that you are right. (You are, of>course.) I don’t see a proof; I see a clear statement of a proposition which>you verify with the intellect.>So yes, I think you are using your direct reason here.Okay. Interesting. I’ll admit that you may be onto something here.>We need all of the double-checks we can get, fallible>creatures that we are. But notice that it works both ways: the intellect>can serve as a reality check on OBSERVATION.Hmmm, I hadn’t thought of that. You’re right.>But I would disagree if you thought (do you?) that observation has veto power>over the intellect, in the sense that we always go with observation over>the intellect when there is a conflict. I think that we must weigh the>respective evidences provided, and decide accordingly.I agree with you on this point.>Thus, when I decided that Rand’s validation of>morality was erroneous, and the route of direct reason was valid, there wasn’t>any exact moment when my mind changed. I just thought and re-thought the>question, and gradually I came to a new position. Interesting.Indeed.I’m still confused about what role direct reasoning can play inmorality and ethics though.> a. “Happiness is good.” Well, I think about it and see that it is true.? This is a puzzling one. I suppose there may be something deepwithin us that desires happiness. But *I* would prefer to understand howhappiness relates to our well-being. I’d rather not get into the trap ofconfusing just any desire with our good.>Also, I think about its opposite (”Happiness is evil”), which is absurd.Well, happiness would have to be bad for us to be evil. There isno apparent reason why this might be the case, so I suppose your conclusionis reasonable on the face of it.>On a moral claim as basic as this, I’m not sure what more to say. Except:>other’s attempts to “prove” it are hard to believe.For you maybe. Sulkowski Essay Research Paper From SULKOMubvmsccbuffaloedu WedActually, I think that we need more information about the brainto really clinch statements like this. Ayn Rand drew her conclusionsfrom very simple abstractions of human nature. It doesn’t incorporateenough information to convince some people — at least given her seemingdemand for 100% certainty about such things.So I’ll agree that Ayn Rand didn’t completely convince me either,though I _do_ think that answers of this sort are possible without relyingTOO much on direct reason.>For example, you have>Rand’s attempt to say that “life and happiness are just two sides of the same>coin,” and derive the goodness of happiness from the value of life. Well, since>a miserable life is not only possible but fairly common, this argument isn’t>very convincing.I’m going to get picky and state that I don’t think you have quitecaptured her argument. Perhaps she didn’t explain herself very well in thepart you paraphrase, but she didn’t say that life=happiness. Rather, shebelieved that pursuing and achieving objective values (satisfying real,personal needs) leads to happiness as a kind of psychological reward. Thisreward encourages us to live further because life feels like it is worthliving. Thus, happiness acts in the service of life (happiness is good, QED).Of COURSE people can be unhappy, but then people can also be quiteimmoral and still manage to live. Ayn Rand would never have denied that.>It would be far better to affirm “A happy life is better >than an unhappy one” as an insight of direct reason than to torturously argue>that “life” actually “requires happiness” or something like that.Well, it’s better depending on what you are looking for.>Do you have any particular moral claims in mind?Well, how about “murder is immoral”? What can be said about therole of direct reason here?Anyway, thanks for discussing this with me so far. I’ll admitthat direct reason does not look quite as bogus to me as it did at thestart.Mark | “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twentyAndrew | gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”Sulkowski | — Thomas Jefferson

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