Problems In Philosophy

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Jon Awbrey

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Nov 2, 2020, 10:54:09 AM11/2/20
to Cybernetic Communications, Ontolog Forum, Peirce List, Structural Modeling, SysSciWG
Cf: Problems In Philosophy • 6
http://inquiryintoinquiry.com/2020/11/02/problems-in-philosophy-6/

All,

Another one of those recurring questions which I'm
constantly forgetting what I wrote about it before
just came up again on the Gödel's Lost Letter blog.

Re: R.J. Lipton and K.W. Regan
https://rjlipton.wordpress.com/about-me/
::: The Night Of The Ethical Algorithm
https://rjlipton.wordpress.com/2020/11/02/the-night-of-the-ethical-algorithm/

Classical tradition views logic as a normative science,
one whose object is truth. This puts logic on a par with
ethics, whose object is justice or morality in action,
and aesthetics, whose object is beauty or the admirable
for its own sake.

The pragmatic spin on this line of thinking treats logic, ethics,
aesthetics as a concentric series of normative sciences, each a
subdiscipline of the next. Logic tells us how we ought to conduct
our reasoning in order to achieve the goals of reasoning in general.
Thus logic is a special case of ethics. Ethics tells us how we ought
to conduct our activities in general in order to achieve the good
appropriate to each enterprise. What makes the difference between
a normative science and a prescriptive dogma is whether this telling
is based on actual inquiry into the relationship of conduct to result,
or not.

Here’s a bit I wrote on this a long time ago in a galaxy not far away —

• Logic, Ethics, Aesthetics
https://oeis.org/wiki/User:Jon_Awbrey/Prospects_for_Inquiry_Driven_Systems#Logic.2C_Ethics.2C_Aesthetics

Regards,

Jon

inquiry into inquiry: https://inquiryintoinquiry.com/
academia: https://independent.academia.edu/JonAwbrey
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Jon Awbrey

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Nov 3, 2020, 10:10:35 AM11/3/20
to Cybernetic Communications, Ontolog Forum, Peirce List, Structural Modeling, SysSciWG
Cf: Problems In Philosophy • 7
http://inquiryintoinquiry.com/2020/11/03/problems-in-philosophy-7/

Related Readings from Another POV:
Re: FB | Charles S. Peirce Society
https://www.facebook.com/groups/peircesociety/
(a) John Corcoran • Cosmic Justice Hypotheses
https://www.facebook.com/groups/peircesociety/permalink/2015211728614809/
(b) John Corcoran • The Inseparability of Logic and Ethics
https://www.facebook.com/groups/peircesociety/permalink/2128883513914296/

Peirce emphasized the intricate relationships of the
Big Three Normative Sciences — Aesthetics, Ethics, Logic —
a topic early and often discussed in the secondary literature
and on the Peirce List. One might also compare Theodore Parker's
well-known thesis:

<QUOTE>

I do not pretend to understand the moral universe;
the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways;
I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by
the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience.
And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.

— Theodore Parker
https://inquiryintoinquiry.com/2019/12/18/history-its-arc-its-tangents-1/

</QUOTE>

Questions about the interdependence of the principal normative sciences —
Aesthetics, Ethics, Logic — just came up on another blog and prompted me
to go looking for some of my earlier grapplings with the subject.
There's an initial fragment of that harvest in the following post.

* Problems In Philosophy • 6
https://inquiryintoinquiry.com/2020/11/02/problems-in-philosophy-6/

Regards,

Jon

Jon Awbrey

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Nov 3, 2020, 7:40:17 PM11/3/20
to Cybernetic Communications, Ontolog Forum, Structural Modeling, SysSciWG
Dear David, All ...

I'll extend this post tomorrow, apocalypse permitting, but while I wait for
the election returns I'll just post this pair of links to the Wikiversity
articles on Descriptive Science and Normative Science, forked over from
the Wikipedia articles as I last left them 15 or so years ago. I have
no idea what if anything now exists on Wikipedia itself, but this is
pretty much the basic idea in a couple of nutshells.

* Descriptive Science
https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Descriptive_science

* Normative Science
https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Normative_science

Resource
========

Prospects for Inquiry Driven Systems : Logic, Ethics, Aesthetics

Jon Awbrey

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Nov 5, 2020, 12:40:19 PM11/5/20
to Cybernetic Communications, Ontolog Forum, Peirce List, Structural Modeling, SysSciWG
Cf: Problems In Philosophy • 9
http://inquiryintoinquiry.com/2020/11/05/problems-in-philosophy-9/

Many good questions from Richard Saunders ...

Re: FB | Ecology Of Systems Thinking
https://www.facebook.com/groups/ecologyofsystemsthinking/permalink/3460818670663919/
::: Richard Saunders
https://www.facebook.com/groups/ecologyofsystemsthinking/permalink/3460818670663919/?comment_id=3461102183968901

RS:
Hume's is/ought dichotomy: are these as Gould said “non-overlapping
magisteria” or are they concentric domains? Is a science of aesthetics
at the core? If memory serves it seems like that was what Wittgenstein
suggested at the end of “Tractatus”. In “The Moral Landscape”, Harris
narrows the aesthetic focus to a distinction between the minimum and
maximum suffering of all sentient beings. Maximum suffering is bad
or ugly and minimum suffering is good or beautiful. The relationship
of conduct to result is the subject of consequentialism, isn't it?
Isn't that also the subject of science?

JA: I know a lot of people see a cut and dried dichotomy here
and conventional wit says you can't derive Ought from Is.
My tracings of the boundaries though tend to find them
recursively entangled.

RS:
Recursively entangled is a nice phrase, like the the chicken and the egg.
But I'm still wondering about the catch-22. On what general axiom is
aesthetics/ethics/logic based? Harris suggests it's minimizing net
suffering. (That doesn't imply the elimination of suffering,
because some suffering has a net positive result.)

JA: I got no absolutes here. I have my personal aesthetic, but
a personal aesthetic is the moral equivalent of a religion,
and folks are pretty free about that.

JA: I'll have more to say about my personal aesthetic … all in good time.

Resources
=========

• Prospects for Inquiry Driven Systems
https://oeis.org/wiki/User:Jon_Awbrey/Prospects_for_Inquiry_Driven_Systems
• Wikiversity :

• Descriptive Science
https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Descriptive_science
• Normative Science
https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Normative_science

Regards,

Jon

Jon Awbrey

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Nov 7, 2020, 3:15:13 PM11/7/20
to Cybernetic Communications, Ontolog Forum, Peirce List, Structural Modeling, SysSciWG
Cf: Problems In Philosophy • 10
http://inquiryintoinquiry.com/2020/11/07/problems-in-philosophy-10/

Re: Ontolog Forum
https://groups.google.com/d/topic/ontolog-forum/xwFwCa0j8qI/overview
::: David Whitten
https://groups.google.com/d/msg/ontolog-forum/xwFwCa0j8qI/KAd-jNr_CAAJ

DW: Why does classical tradition or any tradition consider logic to be a normative science?

Dear David,

A science is called that because it deals in knowledge (Latin:
"scientia"). Knowing "what is the case" in a given domain of
experience may be distinguished from knowing "what ought to be"
in a given set of circumstances, and people who think in threes,
like Kant and Peirce and me, add knowing "what may be hoped" to
the mix.

In the quest to understand how science works a praxis/pragmatist
like myself gives the process, inquiry, equal billing with the
product, knowledge. People have gotten used to seeing sciences
as "bodies of ostensible knowledge" (BOOKs) and taking their
analysis as a matter of assigning them distinctive catalogue
numbers and sorting them to the indicated library shelves.
That is all well and good but it leaves an all too static
impression of science if we settle for that.

Here are capsule summaries on the "Sciences of Is" and
the "Sciences of Ought" from the Wikiversity articles
on Descriptive Science and Normative Science.

Descriptive Science
===================

A "descriptive science", or a "special science", is a form of inquiry,
typically involving a community of inquiry and its accumulated body
of provisional knowledge, which seeks to discover what is true about
a recognized domain of phenomena.

Normative Science
=================

A "normative science" is a form of inquiry, typically involving a community
of inquiry and its accumulated body of provisional knowledge, which seeks
to discover good ways of achieving recognized aims, ends, goals, objectives,
or purposes.

The three normative sciences, according to traditional conceptions in philosophy,
are aesthetics, ethics, and logic.

Resources
=========

• Inquiry
( https://oeis.org/wiki/Inquiry )

• Descriptive Science
( https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Descriptive_science )

• Normative Science
( https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Normative_science )

• Prospects for Inquiry Driven Systems
( https://oeis.org/wiki/User:Jon_Awbrey/Prospects_for_Inquiry_Driven_Systems )
• Logic, Ethics, Aesthetics
( https://oeis.org/wiki/User:Jon_Awbrey/Prospects_for_Inquiry_Driven_Systems#Logic.2C_Ethics.2C_Aesthetics )

Regards,

Jon

Jon Awbrey

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Nov 9, 2020, 1:36:13 PM11/9/20
to Cybernetic Communications, Ontolog Forum, Peirce List, Structural Modeling, SysSciWG
Cf: Problems In Philosophy • 11
http://inquiryintoinquiry.com/2020/11/09/problems-in-philosophy-11/

Re: Richard Saunders
https://inquiryintoinquiry.com/2020/11/05/problems-in-philosophy-9/#comment-66196

RS: BTW I'm not sure I really see a distinction between descriptive
and normative (prescriptive?) science except in the set of aims,
goals, etc. that are entertained. It might be useful to try to
*characterize* some distinctions in the goals of each.

Re: Richard Saunders
https://inquiryintoinquiry.com/2020/11/07/problems-in-philosophy-10/#comment-66204

RS: Jon, the philosophy of science is all about the aims of science
AND good ways of achieving them. I'm still not seeing a clear
distinction, traditions notwithstanding, between descriptive
and normative science. I do see the recursive entanglement
though, and I’m still wondering if we can find common axioms
that underlie both.

Saturday, November 7
====================

Dear Richard,

Sue and I will be downing some bubbly and sleeping it off till the
dawn's early light, but Sue was into this Policy-Theory Reunion stuff
well before I clued into it, so here's one of her earlier papers you
might find of interest in the interim.

• Scott, David K., and Awbrey, Susan M. (1993), “Transforming Scholarship”,
Change : The Magazine of Higher Learning, 25(4), 38–43.
1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00091383.1993.9939888
2. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40165071
3. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/254338300_Transforming_Scholarship

Monday, November 9
==================

I am still trying to unscramble my brains after the week's events but
I'm surprised to see so much difficulty over the difference between
descriptive sciences, the "special sciences" as Peirce called them,
and normative sciences like aesthetics, ethics, and logic. I deferred
to common idiom and conventional wisdom regarding the irreducibility of
“Ought” to “Is” but roughly the same dimension and tension is recognized
under a legion of names — policy vs. theory, procedural vs. declarative,
deontic vs. ontic, and many others.

A pragmatic semiotician's ears will naturally perk up at reading the word
"irreducibility" above and lead to wondering whether the irreducibility
of normative to descriptive has anything to do with the irreducibility
of triadic relations to dyadic relations.

To my way of thinking, yes, it does.

Regards,

Jon

Jon Awbrey

unread,
Nov 10, 2020, 4:28:49 PM11/10/20
to Cybernetic Communications, Ontolog Forum, Peirce List, Structural Modeling, SysSciWG
Cf: Problems In Philosophy • 12
http://inquiryintoinquiry.com/2020/11/10/problems-in-philosophy-12/

Re: R.J. Lipton and K.W. Regan • The Night Of The Ethical Algorithm
https://rjlipton.wordpress.com/2020/11/02/the-night-of-the-ethical-algorithm/

Re: K.W. Regan • The Election Night Time Warp
https://rjlipton.wordpress.com/2020/11/03/the-election-night-time-warp/
::: John Sowa
https://groups.google.com/d/msg/ontolog-forum/xwFwCa0j8qI/LDGWQr9mCAAJ

JFS: C.S. Peirce made a very clear and sharp distinction between
formal or mathematical logic and logic as semiotic.
...
Short summary: When Peirce uses the word ‘logic’ by itself,
it's important to check the context to see whether he's talking
about formal logic or logic as semiotic.

Dear John,

The first post in this series was prompted by a post 4 years ago
( https://rjlipton.wordpress.com/2016/01/07/you-think-we-have-problems/ )
on the "Gödel's Lost Letter and P=NP" blog which jumped from the frying pan
of problems in programming to the fire of problems in philosophy. Then last
week two more posts, linked above, made the leap to two of the most flagrant
problems in politics, namely, (1) the passage from effective and efficient
algorithms to ethical algorithms and (2) the perils of navigating turbulent
seas in a ship of state guided by elective representation, where the people
pick their pilots from among themselves to represent their collective will
and whatever wits they can muster.

Bearing all that in mind, I would like to keep exploring the ancient issues
of aesthetics, ethics, and logic from our contemporary algorithmic perspective.
There the descriptive and normative orientations to knowledge parallel the
systems-theoretic dimensions of information and control. And there we find
normative sciences appearing under the banner of "design sciences". In that
frame the art of crafting a ship of state becomes a question of optimal design
for a human society.

When it comes to logic, then, a generic conception will do for now,
leaving Peirce's definition of logic as formal semiotic and the
fine points of the difference between “mathematical logic”
and “mathematics of logic” to another day.

Regards,

Jon
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