Monday, June 8, 2009

Scientfic materialism.

I'm a materialist. I don't necessarily think that because I look at a book that that is what the book is. Senses don't really work like that. My perception of the book may be something quite alien from the objective reality of the book. Molecules, and ink, held together with chemical bonds absorbing and reflecting and allowing radiation to pass through it at various wavelengths. I don't know what that actually *is* in any sort of metaphysical sense. I do, however, know what my perceptions convey to me and it's a consistent picture of reality. It may not be real reality, but even if I were a brain in a vat it would be absolutely consistent. Further, if I read the book and it conveys to me ideas which are likewise insights into further consistencies of this world, I will accept those ideas as truth, but more importantly I know that I didn't do the real work required to produce such insights. So I can conclude that there are other minds.

The idea that senses confirm senses and therefore is circular is unreasonably shrift and trivializing a very non-trivial subject. The same way we scientifically investigate phenomenon in the universe that we can't easily directly detect with our senses and still find consistent and predictive theories about what is occurring, we can likewise make predictions about our perceptions of reality. While we should be careful to understand that our perceptions are not necessarily reality itself, they are however useful and can be used to find commonalities about reality. The same way we can scientifically determine gravity is truth, we can scientifically determine the rocks we drop are also truth. This is not circular, this is various forms of very distinct evidence leading us to a conclusion based on those points of evidence. I am not saying that reality is a logical conclusion, I am saying it is a deductive conclusion based on robust evidence. If it does like reality does, if it thinks like reality thinks, if it feels like reality feels, if it doesn't go away when we stop believing in it, then it's probably reality.

I'm saying that the epistemology which allows me the conclusion that reality exists is a scientific epistemology. Science is the only epistemology. And, it does, very much predicate itself on the idea that the future will be like to the past. I do not hold this an issue, because outside of logical absolutes, I regard most truths, especially about our world, as experimental and the product of deduction. Only ego and flawed cognition allow one to conclude perfect cognition. Our brains don't work in such a way as to produce or require perfection.

I really wrote this elsewhere but figured it was so good I needed to post it here too. Besides somebody might want to know what my epistemological foundations are in the future and it's nice to look em up on my blog.

No comments: