On the Death of Meaning
My copy of New Directions In Philosophy and Literature arrived yesterday…
The anthology features an introduction by Claire Colebrook, as well as papers by Graham Harman, Graham Priest, Charlie Blake, and more. A prepub version of my contribution, “On the Death of Meaning,” can be found here.
congrats Claire’s the best so yer in good company there thanks for sharing a version.
Picture: Meaning hitting a windscreen
looks like you got shooters in the Rorty fandom coming for you and misusing Feyerabend to get there lmao
You’re not just a voice crying out in the wilderness anymore, the academy has heard you and the first dogs are baying at the edge of the forest in unthinking contempt!
don’t be confused by the “academia.edu” that’s a fringe dweller of the blogosphere, for better or worse Scott’s still largely under the radar, except for @turingcop the cog-biases of those in the Ivory Towers are largely intact…
Congrats. After reading through it, my main comments are that I like the apple glossiness example, and that I like that Fodor quote.
Semi-related: I was listening to Sean Carroll’s podcast “Mindscape” today and he had one of Hofstadter’s students. They discussed how ol’ Douglas doesn’t much like the idea that human cognition might just be “cheap tricks” all the way down. Unfortunately, scientific revelation and “what humans would prefer” are typically totally orthogonal.
I have to wonder if the trick of it is more, in healthy raising conditions, compiling generations of parental care. You can’t see through something when it basically comprises of parent/grandparent care and echoes of prior generation care. People aren’t being tricked so much but enmeshed in what would really have to be called healthy conditioning of love and affection.
But have a less healthy childhood (and yet still some intellectual training in such a childhood, even as that has requirements that are opposite to healthy raising), and the gaps in the consciousness Truman show start to become possible to envision and grasp.
The concept ‘self’ becoming less useful due to the provision of deep information…
…And a timely reminder that bad science makes for bad public policy.
The thing about Sigmund Freud was that he coined new terminology and thereby fooled himself (and a few other people) into thinking that his theory was explanatory rather than (at best) merely descriptive. Isaac Newton likewise coined new terminology (indeed, a new mathematics) but always understood that his theory of gravity was merely descriptive. I bring up Freud because he is, to me, the exemplar for kidding ourselves that we possess the “information access and cognitive capacity required to intuit our fundamental nature.” His mistake, thinking that a theory of mind could be scientific without being biological, is similar to the mistake “humanistic theoreticians” make in thinking that a theory of mind can be explanatory without being scientific.
I mean ‘explanatory’ in the sense that nuclear physics explains how the sun produces radiation and nuclear weapons demonstrate the correctness of that explanation. By a genuinely explanatory theory of mind I mean one that will allow you to produce minds. I do not mean to imply that my standard of explanation is the only valid one.
Advertising works in a sort of cheat space. In the ancestral environment if you heard the same thing multiple times you were most likely either hearing it from multiple people or hearing it repeated multiple times from someone important to you, with whom you spent a lot of time. If you heard something often it was either the consensus in your village or coming from someone to whom you were close. It made sense that what you heard often you tended to believe, absent information to the contrary. With modern technology you can hear something often without it being either the consensus in your village or coming from people close to you. Repeated advertising encourages belief by cuing the sense of a consensus and (especially with celebrity advertising) the sense of recommendation by those close to you “out of school.”
Before the advent of the internet and modern social media only governments and large corporations had the wherewithal to access this cheat space. Now it’s available to just about anyone. How do we shut off this tendency to believe what we hear often, now that we know that in the modern technical environment it makes us easier to deceive? How, in general, do we control access to cheat space? Do authoritarian nations such as China, Russia and Saudi Arabia have the right of it? Do traditional liberties such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press etc do more harm than good when modern communication media seem better suited to lies than to the truth? Or when we seemingly no longer have criteria for distinguishing them?
Hell yea! Looking forward to getting a copy myself!
have you ever reached out to Pat?
I just finished reading the Prince of Nothing Trilogy. Really excellent. The only thing I’ve read that is even close to on par with Frank Herbert’s Dune series.