Tag Archives: plurality

There May Be No Such Thing as Quantity in Nature, with an Example from Physiology

Some time ago, I was discussing the qualitative-quantitative divide with a friend, a medical doctor, who happens to be very interested in the philosophy of science.  The discussion became a debate, where we trying to get to the bottom of whether it was as I said, that the world is a qualitative entity, wherein the mind supplies quantity; or as he said, that the world has a mathematical ontology, something like the worldview championed by Meillassoux or Galileo.  To be clear, I was just arguing that it could be either way, with some slightly greater likelihood that the world may not have quantity in it, apart from that supplied by the mind.  By contrast, my colleague, the M.D., did not understand how it could be that there is no such thing as quantity in the world, in the sense that he could not envisage as scenario in which number does not inhere in the world.  Between us was the barrier of language and experience, which was constituted in the difference between education of a physicist —though I did do a pre-med track and have interests in the philosophy of medicine— and that of a physician.  We ended up settling on an example that is grounded in physiology.  I will set up the groundwork for the discussion, then, give the example, and, finally, provide the resolution that has come to me only recently.

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Filed under Kantian Philosophy, phenomenology, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Science, Pure Philosophy, Science

Thoughts on a Fractured Reality

There is some discussion going on in the blogosphere (and youtube) about whether the world we live in is pluralistic or monistic.  Critical Animal’s blog (click here) contains a list of some of these blog posts.  As with most ideas, I am of many minds about the issue.  While I think I would prefer a world that is as envisioned by the zeitgeist of the Enlightenment, axiomatically and formally structured from the bottom up, it is becoming very difficult to see how the world could be anything other than pluralistic.  What I will do in the following is lay out why it seems to me that the world is pluralist, and then lay out why I think the human mind has such a natural bias toward mosism.  On the latter point, I think most readers will agree with me that the commonsense disposition —the disposition of any ole jane or joe on the street— is one inclined toward a single truth, possibly slightly more nuanced, in the axiomatic manner I described; and so I will spend some time explaining why this is probably the case.

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Filed under Cognitive Science, Kantian Philosophy, Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Physics, Philosophy of Science, Pure Philosophy