File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_2003/bhaskar.0312, message 47


Subject: RE: BHA: scientific realism,
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2003 09:52:36 -0500


Hi Carrol,

Although I am a sociologist, I have had some training in epistemology and have had many conversations about these issues with a friend who is a neuroscientist.  I very much like the way you phrase the epistemological question:  "How do we know something?"  Epistemologists get locked into a boxes when they start out by asking, "How do I know whether I really know anything?"  I maintain that we have to start out with the fact of human knowing, and then ask about what is going on.

I am not a phenomenologist, but I do accept the validity of reflecting upon my own conscious acts of knowing and chosing.  This gives me information about knowing that I can't get from neuroscience, just as neuroscience gives me information about knowing that I can't get from introspective reflection.

Best regards,

Dick



-----Original Message-----
From: Carrol Cox [mailto:cbcox-AT-ilstu.edu] 
Sent: Wednesday, December 03, 2003 8:05 PM
To: bhaskar-AT-lists.village.Virginia.EDU
Subject: Re: BHA: scientific realism,




"Moodey, Richard W" wrote:
> 
> Hi Carrol,
> 
> Do you hold that all epistemological questions really belong in 
> neuroscience?  If not, could you give me an example of a question that 
> does fall into the realm of philosophical epistemology?
> 

I'm neither a neuroscientist nor trained in epistemology -- but insofar as epistemology asks "How do we know something?" I suspect that my answer to your question would be, tentatively, yes. I first came across this perspective on epistemology in Sebastiano Timpanaro, _On Materialism_. The Eleventh Thesis on Feurbach suggests that the findings of neuroscience should be subordinated to (or seen through) the science of social practice. I.e., I am assuming that that thesis is not primarily an ethical or pragmatic injunction to "Make a Difference" but rather an account of how we are to go about interpreting the world -- i.e. through our attempts to change it and reflection on that practice. (Mao wittily articulated this as, "If you want to know what a pear tastes like, you have to change the pear by biting into it." Quoted from
memory.)

Carrol

> Regards,
> 
> Dick
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Carrol Cox [mailto:cbcox-AT-ilstu.edu]
> Sent: Wednesday, December 03, 2003 3:46 PM
> To: bhaskar-AT-lists.village.Virginia.EDU
> Subject: Re: BHA: scientific realism,
> 
> "Moodey, Richard W" wrote:
> >
> > A very general epistemological question involves reflection upon my 
> > own acts of knowing -- what am I doing when I am knowing?  A related 
> > ontological question is:  what am I knowing when I am doing these 
> > things?
> 
> The first question properly belongs to neuroscience rather than 
> philosophy. The second question does seem to be a validly 
> philosophical question.
> 
> Carrol
> 
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> 
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