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Theoretical Philosophy » Why did the modern metaphysical picture of reality prevail? » Yesterday 8:48 am

John West
Replies: 8

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I can't help but feel like we haven't really done the title question justice. Here is a reiteration, taking into account some of the replies so far:

1. What is the modern metaphysical picture of reality? (i. the "popular" picture or picture among nonphilosophers. ii. the picture in philosophy.)
2. Why did the modern metaphysical picture of reality prevail? (i. among nonphilosophers. ii. among philosophers.)

Chit-Chat » Hanging Threads » 10/21/2018 7:51 am

John West
Replies: 0

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If anyone wants to pick up any of the discussions I've dropped over the last eight months or so, PM me. You may have to wait in line, but I'll be able to make good on my promise to "continue when I have more time" for the next two or three weeks.

Theoretical Philosophy » Why did the modern metaphysical picture of reality prevail? » 10/20/2018 7:49 am

John West
Replies: 8

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Incidentally, Descartes probably never actually read Ockham (cf. Klocker's William of Ockham and the Divine Freedom), and is if anything more likely to have been influenced by later Ockhamists (who often had substantially different views from Ockham). He also wasn't unfamiliar with Thomist ideas. He was trained at La Flèche at a time when it was run by Thomist Jesuits.

Theoretical Philosophy » Why did the modern metaphysical picture of reality prevail? » 10/20/2018 6:56 am

John West
Replies: 8

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RomanJoe wrote:

Why were nominalist, mechanistic, and voluntarist ideas taken seriously enough to eventually have influence?

It's worth distinguishing nominalism and blob nominalism. Nominalism is the thesis that everything is particular; blob nominalism is the thesis that everything is particular and there are no properties or property-instances. Nominalists can believe in tropes (modes, instances, accidents); blob nominalists can't. Ockham was a nominalist, but not a blob nominalist (cf. Adams's William Ockham and Spade's "Ockham's Nominalist Metaphysics: Some Main Themes").

I bring this up partly because I think a lot of the hostility towards the dreaded nominalism comes from people assuming that all nominalists are blob nominalists. A lot of scholastics (including Aquinas) were either nominalists or conceptualists (i.e. thought that universals existed, but only in minds). Partly, to help contextualize the shift that is supposed to have happened between Aquinas and Ockham and Descartes.

(I realize I'm being a bit pedantic in this post, haha.)

Theoretical Philosophy » Simulation Hypothesis » 10/18/2018 7:31 am

John West
Replies: 16

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I'm sorry, Cosmyk. I don't have any more time for this subject. Good luck.

(I'll assume you aren't just playing an elaborate prank on me and edit in a last comment: Honestly, you don't need me to answer your last couple questions. You just need to pay closer attention to what you're saying. Your answers are right in front of you.)

Theoretical Philosophy » Simulation Hypothesis » 10/18/2018 12:22 am

John West
Replies: 16

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Cosmyk wrote:

I don't think so either, but the fact that it is possible to model the world like a video game (for example, to model space as pixilated and model reality as being created by observation) seems suspicious. I'm not saying reality is actually any of these things, just that it is possible to model them like that. Perhaps a Bayesian argument could be made: If reality is virtual, we would expect to be able to model reality in those ways.

You could say the same about pencil drawings.

Theoretical Philosophy » Are there any scholastic writers on epistemology? » 10/18/2018 12:21 am

John West
Replies: 4

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Oh, I hesitate to post because I don't actually have that high an opinion of Thomist views in philosophy of perception. But here you go:

Degrees of Knowledge by Jacques Maritain (here)
Methodical Realism by Etienne Gilson  (here)
Thomist Realism and the Critique of Knowledge by Etienne Gilson
"Against the Skeptics: How Thomistic Realism Refutes Radical Skepticism" by Mario Derksen (here)

I listed some stuff on scholasticism and logic years and years ago on here (edit: here and here), but for now I guess just look for Coffey's book and maybe read Cotter's section in ABC of Scholastic Philosophy. You can find both in the Aquinas Resources post. If you're just looking to study logic though, get a textbook on modern logic instead.

Theoretical Philosophy » Simulation Hypothesis » 10/17/2018 3:15 am

John West
Replies: 16

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Cosmyk wrote:

John West, what are your thoughts on Digital Physics?

I don't know much about it. I don't think that the world is reducible to mathematics (i.e. the output of a computer program) though, if that is what you're asking. Do you?

Theoretical Philosophy » Are there any scholastic writers on epistemology? » 10/17/2018 3:10 am

John West
Replies: 4

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Is there any specific skeptical problem you're looking for scholastic literature on? (I rather not just start lobbing manuals at you.)

Theoretical Philosophy » Simulation Hypothesis » 10/13/2018 10:56 pm

John West
Replies: 16

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Did you read the paper I linked ("Moore Against the New Skeptics")? You don't sound like a man who read the paper I linked.

Cosmyk wrote:

The trouble here, I suppose, is whether we can know if hands have properties different from virtual objects.

The way you put the simulation argument presupposes a distinction between the fleshy base world, which contains brains in vats and scientists stimulating them, and digital worlds in its meaning. I'm just drawing that out. (I'm more than happy to be Humpty Dumptyist here and let the words mean whatever you want them to mean, but if they mean something radically different from what they usually mean you need to give me some definitions or I literally don't know what you're saying.)

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