Well, maybe some of the above helped to explain it. Basing stuff
on "1st person" has a long history. That's what everyone, it seems
to me, did before the scientific era (about 1600?). So far as I know, nothing
has ever come of it.


Its been the cornerstone of modern philosophy since the 1600's. It defines the moment the 'scientific era' begins. In the realm of indubitable facts, that I exist is one of them. It is established to me, for myself if not you, just by the fact I have 1st person experiences going on. No doubt you know this, perhaps it will incur your ire that Im reminding you of it, but this subjective fact unfalsifiable though it is, has more certainty than any 'objective' scientific truth. Why not build from this certainty?

wrt sarcasm, because it is common amungst scientific realists and their ilk. It isnt really sarcasm at all, its exasperation - directed at themselves. It stems from the fact that they cant marry third person descriptions with first person descriptions. They cant reduce the one to the other in any appreciable way. To employ realist form to a non realist position one might sigh, and go 'Oh come on! how can a description of cells, chemicals and compounds ever match up with the feeling that corresponds to being apart from a lover, or whatever'.

To be sure, psychological facts might ultimately be found to reduce to to phisiological facts, but right now, phisiological language simply has not accrued the explanatory or descriptive power, for all the Daniel Dennets, to do the same to psychological language. I cant see that the latter reduces to the former at all.

Ofcourse, linguistically trained goats might yak on about their perceptions, as Lee points out, but is that reason to ignore 'subjective experience'? The perjorative nature of words like 'yak' do not change the fact the goats are yakking about something certain to them, whilst all else they yakked about would be to a greater or lesser degree uncertain. Its true, we should expect them to yak on as they might, but im not sure that gets us anywhere, because Newton was not suprised when the apple fell. There are suprising results in science but they are reached by a consideration of what is normal and expected.

Realism is the philosophical equivolent to Ebenezer Scrooges dictum 'Bah Humbug!'. The intractability of phenomenology leads realists to ignore it entirely. Notice that the argument is weaker than a complete denial of phenomenology - sometimes it gets that absurd - but rather a conclusion that it is 'irrelevent' to any meaningful description of the world. 'Meaningfull' no doubt has a pragmatic definition in such arguments, and 'pragmatic' implies some sense of 'ability to manipulate the world'. Whatever, I think the feeling that definitions are being pushed on us is natural. Knowledge is being limited semantically, through narrower and narrower definitions.

Even here its odd, mental abberations like blind sight help us moderate our third person descriptions of how brains operate only by recourse to 1st person accounts of what has been perceived. So, these useless things have some use. Perhaps this is evidence for quantum mind theories? the existance of a phenomenological use/useless duality. Perhaps Realism is just a bit inconsistant.

Private subjective experiences exist more certainly than the objective and public world. It requires a satisfactory explanation, it isnt that convincing to watch it continually ignored . Futhermore, in ignoring it, disciplines that have every right to be described as scientific, rational and illuminating suddenly become 'soft' and suspect.

Regards

Chris.

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