Saturday, November 29, 2008

Is This What 'Education" Does to You?

Dear Richard Brown,

"Insults are not arguments. If you don't want to argue, it's fine. You're allowed! It's okay! But you do have to say so."
"This is rather poor reasoning."
Bald statements are not reasoning. They are not arguments either, and can't be subject to fallacies of argument.
"Now it may seem to us that our access is special, but that is easily explainable as an artifact of the way in which we become conscious of our first-order mental states."
Since it's easy, I asked him to explain it. He ignored this request. I take this as evidence that he never wanted to argue.

Alternatively it was a lie. At least, if it's so easy, why haven't I simply shown it to myself?
"Hi Alrenous, It is rather hard to make sense of this rambling response, but I’ll try. "
Pointless insult.
"Wow, long incoherent response!"
Pointless insult.
"The rest is to absurd to even take seriously."
Pointless insult.

Apparently 'incoherent' means that I discover one thing - the directness of consciousness - and find it matches what we know of other things - the other minds problem. Hey, I thought that was the exact opposite of incoherency, but I'm not certified; what do I know?

So obviously Brown doesn't understand my ideas. The problem is that he can't accept this.

So why am I putting the effort to post this? Petty revenge?

Disappointment. I was hoping there was a mind behind his hypocritical insults. I was hoping he knew something I don't. He doesn't.

I recently, as you can find in a link at the very bottom, had an argument with one Danny Shahar, who did know something I didn't. Brown comes off badly in comparison.

I used the exact same technique in both cases. I matched tone - respectful or not - started with a brief post, expanded to a longer post, and got a response. Shahar understood my theory well enough to prove me wrong with it. Brown could only sputter.
"This was a brief post, which is why I didn’t even glance at this, but I thought it was well-known.

Well, that’s the problem. Begging the same question that a lot of other people beg as well is not an excuse."

Brown can argue only by misinterpreting. What he's trying to say is that I'm assuming physicalists share my assumptions. What I'm actually saying is that I thought it was well known that we only know the external world indirectly through our senses.

He could have just told me I was mistaken, and I needed to explain myself. Didn't.

Once I clarified this, Brown did not deign to pretend to argue any longer.

I could go on. But, if he doesn't delete my comments, you can go see it all there

Exactly one useful thing came out of this discussion. I was unaware that the proposition that infinite regress is a fallacy is controversial. This just means I get to prove it, which is nice because I was at a loss for what to seek next.

So what I want to know is this. Brown is clearly lying. But, is he lying to himself as well as to me? Further, is he using some kind of profiling, and if I'd fit another profile (not an autodidact), he would have treated me very differently?

Was there, in fact, no way short of pure dishonesty to get a sensible response out of him?

I suspect so in all cases, but of course I'm heavily biased by now. But, to clarify, I didn't kow-tow to his expensive education by giving myself lower social rank, and thus he refused to deal with me. Hopefully I can get some independent corroboration here.


So I re-read my original remarks. I mentioned that directness may be epistemologically irrelevant, but that it seemed to me that it wasn't. Really, I should have used the fact Brown completely ignored this paragraph to tip me off right away. I did not present an argument. I certianly didn't present an argument against physicalism, a fact which he reiterated. Nevertheless he felt the need to accuse me of begging the question against physicalism. How am I supposed to do that by expressing a personal opinion?


Yes, he deleted my comments. But it's okay, because I kept copies, which I can give you if you're curious.

Incidentally, this is partially why I tend to reproduce large sections of my references, because this is the internet and nothing except scandal is forever.

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