But Philosophers Really Are Insane…

by rsbakker

… if one uses Einstein’s famous definition of insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Gary has posted Wittgenstein’s famous quote on the sanity of philosophers over at Minds and Brains and I thought it worth a quick holiday riff. On my Blind Brain account, philosophers of mind can be seen as blind mechanics in the workshop of nature, using fingers they barely feel to swap between tools they cannot see to repair breakdowns in their ability to repair. Since they are all blind, they remain convinced they can see everything that needs to be seen, so they continue using pliers to file, hammers to tighten,  and screwdrivers to measure, thinking that if they just hold this or that implement just the right way, things can be repaired just enough, maybe.

This picture actually accords with Einstein’s definition quite well. To advert to Cogski speak: Conscious (System 2) cognition unconsciously engages heuristics adapted to domain-specific problem ecologies. Blind to the fractionate, heuristic character of its resources, it assumes the universal sufficiency of those resources. Conscious (System 2) cognition, accordingly, missapplies heuristics oblivious to those misapplications–it is stymied without the least inkling as to why. Conscious (System 2) cognition thus compulsively repeats these misapplications, over and over and over through the ages.