Friday, September 16, 2005

New Yorker bullshit

I finally read the somewhat blogged-about overview in the New Yorker of the much more blogged-about philosophy of bullshit. Although I was riveted going in, "Ho Hum" is how I came out. I don't know why. One thing is that the author Jim Holt undermined my faith in his authority when he propounded a theory of mind that seemed ignorant of basic and well known brain biology. Representing this as the view of the philosopher Donald Davidson's followers, Holt talked about the whiff of poop as being unable to directly justify an inference that Fido is home (and so there's nothing to justify a belief but another belief). Yet if the jingle of the bell didn't justify the mouth-watering inference of meat by Pavlov's dog, then I don't know what "direct" is. Maybe "belief" and "inference" are good words for what is happening, but the brain seemingly accomplishes a lot with simple association. I guess I am verging on philosophical faux pas of behaviorism, but I don't know enough philosophy to be embarrassed.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Edie said...

What is this post about exactly? No offense. Is it post-modernist neurosis being published in the New Yorker, or is this all some demented joke?

Murky Thoughts said...

Do you mean my post or the article? Did you follow the link? Anyway, I don't think anybody was joking, unless you are.

Anonymous said...
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Edie said...

No, actually, I didn't read the whole piece. It was a little too florid for me. No offense. I just was not sure how to take it.