Apr 5, 2010

1st question

How is pragmatism different from evidentialism in the context of beliefs? Which side are you on?
In evidentialism one must not believe an unsupported belief because it is said that though it is instrumentally wrong it always has bad consequences. The reason here is lack of sufficient evidences. Also the evidences here may not necessarily be authentic and can be just a feeling. For eg. I strictly believe that there are no people on mars just because I have not seen it. These evidences are sufficient for me to believe.
While in pragmatism, unsupported belief is allowed as the consequences at that moment is considered and not the previous evidences. Here practicality of the consequences of the belief is considered and not the availability of sufficient evidences. Like for the above eg. If a scientist can prove that there can be people on mars by putting forward some theories or conclusions then it can be believed by me that there are people over there.
So, I am not on the side of evidentialism because I feel that having a belief doesn’t mean having “sufficient evidences”.

Apr 3, 2010

Check out the tentative training schedule

Lookup the Google Calendar at http://abhinav.ac.in/Events.htm
Events marked Philo or Astro are for corresponding summer workshops

1st 2 questions

How is pragmatism different from evidentialism in the context of beliefs? Which side are you on?

Pragmatism- The practical consequences of the belief, taken into account.
Evidentialism- A belief should be backed by evidence in order for the believer to hold it.
In both cases, the belief comprises of the proposition that is put to test. In case of pragmatism, the validity of having is determined at the end of the process and accordingly if a particular proposition has no content that explains reality or includes instances of it, then that proposition doesn’t stand. In case of evidentialism holding a belief is based on present evidence supporting that belief; the kind of ‘evidence’ that brings out a belief [that may not have sufficient evidence] to be proved true after experiment doesn’t bring validity to a belief.
In case of pragmatism, the proposition has its form to turn into a belief eventually as, ‘I believe in green rabbits’ only states that for some reason, which is too crude for a thought to be verbalized, I think that green rabbits exist. The existence of green rabbits in reality perfectly allows two possibilities of the belief being true or not true; the belief remains valid. Whereas in case of evidentialism, I will have to justify that I have a reason for the mental conception of my beliefs- is there any evidence that initiates a thought process about green rabbits and takes form into this belief. I’m not on the side of evidentialism, as having beliefs should not necessarily imply having justified beliefs. The definition of beliefs stands in case of pragmatism, but taking the thought process further one cannot tag a belief to be invalid if it does not give any practical consequences for the following reasons-
The absence of practical evidence can be a result of inadequacy of methods of implying that belief.
One can say she ‘knows’ something when it is a justified true belief; the ‘belief’ part of this condition is the basic requirement which is different from ‘truth’ [its correspondence to objective reality] and also it requires a causal link between them which is irrespective why the belief was ‘pre-justified’ and from that one’s knowledge isn’t based on evidentialist conditions.
Not all the components of truth we know are and can never be sufficient by themselves to establish a standard route to reach the other components of truth. Pragmatism creates this bifurcation of beliefs that possibly will and actually do give practical consequences and those that seem to carry more degree of abstraction.

Is explicit ideology inevitably "distorted"? Is there always an "imposed" ideology? Is such imposition "intentional"? Is it possible for individuals to "see through" the distortions of their group's ideology?
Ideology is a creed philosophy. It is seen as a universal principle encompassing all concerned questions about topic like morality, truth, etc.; and the explicit nature of ideologies designs this philosophy in form of those topics of concern rather than the principle implying the answers to their problems. This is that factor which is responsible for the ‘distortion’, which is a result of how the explicit ideology was created- compression of concepts that will fit in the universal which was never derived from every concept nor was an a priori proposed logic that was to be implied all over. Thus the distortion is a part of such ideologies which are more like compilation of thoughts of all group members rather than their one single collective thought. It sounds wrong to allow the distortion in an ideology, as the word suggests a necessary idea that acts as the basis of further thought, but it is actually a misnomer as the concept in reality develops differently.
The second question is more confusing as ‘imposed’ as an action is about enforcement and by its consequence it is entailment. An ideology is shared by a group. On account of absence of a single real guiding principle, membership of the group holding the ideology decided only on the basis some of its practices of thought being followed. This makes it impossible for an ideology to be imposed on someone and it doesn’t amount for flexibility of an ideology. But thoughts are seen to be carried forward in society that belong to an ideology. Thus if here the meaning of imposed is taken to be as that which entails- here the previous set of beliefs and parameters of thought, then one who accepts and ‘follows’ an ideology will let imposition take place. But that is a choice, which can never be imposed as choice is the final step I resolving the conflict of thought by opting for one over the other; what should act as the imposing force may have skimmed down earlier thoughts, but still to let that happen is a free choice at every step. Thus imposed ideology is impossible; the effect of any ideology seen doesn’t prove it is imposed.
I have disagreed to the earlier point and I think the same explanation also stands for ‘the intentional imposition’ and also though there may be imposers [humans or mental factors], and that they carry an intention of forcibly fitting ideas into an ideology and therefore acting accordingly as a hindrance to thought, still the imposition never takes place. It isn’t about the action, but what impact the action leaves on one’s mind; this impact is in the form of the derived factor that functions in the thought process.
If the last question is about human capacity to see through the distortions then the obvious answer is yes- one can choose to remain unaffected by those distortions. But the seeing through part makes it necessary to have a method of operation by which one actually spots those distortions at large. Making choices at every step in thought is indeed the thought process; establishing a relationship within every inconsistency obtained is what an individual needs to do along with tracing the faulty pattern of philosophy. This is possible for any individual who chooses not to restrict his thinking on seeing counterevidence to his earlier principle. Spotting such distortions and overlooking them in order to have a rational outlook towards issues is possible as every person has control over her own mind and even if the group influences the matter of thought it cannot put a halt to the thinking at a point of time.

Apr 1, 2010

Prep for Greece IPO and training for next IPO

Time to start training the available members of the Greece IPO team. Also we should use this opportunity to prepare the future IPO candidates. we will go over certain basics first and then we dig deep. We will work on two tracks - the red (online blog assignments) & the black (face-to-face sessions at Abhinav). So if you are interested, come to Abhinav Vidyalay & Jr. College at 12 noon on the 3rd April.
Newcomers may work with us until mid-may, after which we break until say mid-August. Those who cant physically be present, can work on the blog-based assignments and I'll try to arrange chat sessions with them from time to time. But please let me know if you are interested in this mode of working. The study plan is as follows:

  • First we begin sessions (thrice a week) somewhere from 3rd April. (Until 18th I wont be able to give mornings, but only around 11am to 2pm) In these sessions we go over the rudiments of philosophical thinking, i.e. Arguments, Logic, Fallacies & isms.

  • Parallel to this I will give assignments on this blog from completely different and interesting areas of philosophy, to read and write about.

  • Around 15th April or before we begin with a serious area like Metaphysics or Epistemology (we have already gone over Asthetics, Ethics & rudimentary Phil. of Science recently)

  • We do one area for about 10 days or until we become mad and uproot all our hair. Then we move on to other pastures (sic).

  • We will continue 2-3 hours a day until 26th April. After which we increase pace to about 4-5 hrs a day until at least 17th May.

  • After this as the Greece IPO is from 21st and we need to reach there on the 20th, we simply go over the basics as a revision and go shopping for warm clothes in the 'hottest' (literally) part of town.
So, either be at the school on 3rd at noon, or sms or email to me to let me know your interest and diffculties and i will try to patch you in.