Is Pyrrhonism the ultimate truth?

Saying I agree with him would be an overstatement. I don’t know the details of every philosophy at that time in history anyway, so I can’t say. As for modernity, I was told from a young age by many people that I should pick a philosophy, a church, a political party, and I should live by it. It’s rare to find a different way to look at how we choose our actions, how we navigate a world of so many ideas. I like that aspect of pyrrhonism, that you don’t choose.

I don’t care. I said it was hyperbolic in my opening post. That hasn’t changed. It doesn’t ruin the rest of it for me. It doesn’t stick in any of my craws. I don’t get all perturbed by it. He can say words if he wants. I don’t care.

As long as you try to discuss this in terms of enemies, we are dead in the water. I can go debate someone, in whatever format they want. I can participate in that. AND, here’s the thing, then I can walk away. I can go back to working on ending hunger or fighting for the environment or whatever it is I do. The entire time, my mind stays open. I don’t have to first close my mind, then go debate.

This is schoolyard. Beneath either of our dignities. It’s a Tu quoque fallacy. How many years have we known each other? And I still can’t critique your style? I can’t comment that you just generalized with a “you never”? That’s how old married couples talk.

I’m not going to make time to read and respond to everything you said. If you can figure out how Sapolsky can be applied to practical daily practices that an average person can use, let me know. Note after that 26 min mark in the Sapolsky interview, about 33, he starts talking about doing meditation and developing habits. Sapolsky understands the science of evolution, the brain science, and he knows the philosophy of living that helps us deal with who we are. Why you would sacrifice the philosophy and believe the science alone can tell you how to handle the daily stresses of life, I don’t get that.

Well it’s the hyperbolic tendency of philosophers and spiritual guides or whatever it is Leo sees himself as, that I’m done with and calling out.

I got nothing again Pyrrhonism, I gather it’s about skepticism, and the different degrees and types and so on. That’s great. Reading it probably has some wonderful insights and eye poppers. I am not knocking the substance of that. Just don’t come at me as though that were some great mystical breakthrough, it’s what it is.
Skepticism and degrees of self-deception are a cornerstone of achieving an insightful, self-aware living? It’s not some ultimate truth, it’s the actually living of it, that is what matters.

Critique away.

I’ll take what conversation I can get. :wink:

If I said, “It’s not the pursuit of happiness, it’s the happiness of the pursuit”, would you call that philosophy?

How about, “It makes as much sense to hate a person as it does to hate a volcano”

Sure. And I can’t deny what I do is philosophy.
But you’re coming on like I’m supposed to think it’s beyond reproach.
Philosophy isn’t the problem.

It’s not grasping the Human Mindscape ~ Physical divide thing and all that cascades from it.

It’s clinging to a way of thinking that has helped us make hideous decisions for hundreds and hundreds of years. It’s about clinging to the search for God out there - and refusing to absorb the reality that we create our own gods from within our own selves (individually and communally)

I’m not saying old philosophy is awful, just that it’s time for us to take the next step that science is pointing at.

Actually and truly and deeply recognizing I am an evolved biological creature, just like all the others out there. Sure, the most spectacular creature Earth has ever created, dang straight - nonetheless, another primate, mammal, and so on.

We have the facts, we superficially acknowledge it, just as we know about the reality of atmospheric CO2, but then we retreat to the same old same old, instead of God, now it’s The Answer to Everything waiting out there like some gem to snatch.

For the most part people can’t do it, our egos are too large and dominating. Plus our economy simply won’t tolerate it. It is what it is.

Nothing is beyond my reproach. I am an equal opportunity reproacher.

You address your own concern here. BTW, the quotes were by Robert Sapolsky. He is adept at knowing neuroscience and applying it to actual modern problems like the stress of modern life and how our lizard brains aren’t adapted to that modern world. He also recognizes that accepting that we don’t have free will is a major leap in humans understanding themselves. He arrived at it after a lot of study, and he sees his students struggling with it and people like Daniel Dennett not wanting to talk about it.

I’m not sure where you stand on this because you say things like “we superficially acknowledge it”, but what “we” are you talking about? I get some pretty negative reactions when I tell people they don’t have free will. “We”, that is, many of us “we”, according to sociologists and anthropologists, believe gods have something to with guiding our leaders, that Newtonian forces are the only ones that matter, and scientists can’t be trusted. In the next breath you say “people can’t do it”, and I agree with that, so I can’t tell what you think of “people”. I don’t know how you think we can take this “next step” you talk about.

What I do know, is we got really far without knowing that thoughts happen in the brain, that those funny moving stars are planets, that the universe is 13.7 billion years old and all sorts of other basic knowledge that creates my view of life. When I hear Sapolsky jump from brain science to answering a question about how we handle our boss yelling in our face, I see how we got here. Those ancient Greeks figured out some of the same strategies that Sapolsky suggests. They did it by reflecting on their own thoughts and observing success and failure in others.

We could not have gotten where we are now (on the moon, blowing up cities, making energy from a pile of rocks, collecting the sun’s rays to make toast) if had not been for those ancient weirdos gazing at their navels. When I evaluate philosophy, I use all the science I know. This is why I keep pointing to that talk about the spectrum of science, politics, and philosophy. I’m not choosing science OR philosophy; I’m choosing philosophy based on science. If you can’t see Sapolsky doing that, then I don’t know what you are seeing from him.

You occasionally say, “I do philosophy”, but you spend 100 times more words on what’s wrong with philosophy. You repeat your worldview and say “take the next step” but very little on what that step is. “Actually, truly, deeply recognizing” is not a step. Understanding ourselves, mind and body, learning what brings us joy, eating the right foods, reading a book, those are steps.

And you recognize that they have no choice but to present their negative reactions. If one of them punches you in the face in disgust, is it their fault? Does anyone have any responsibility for their actions? Should everyone be released from prison because they had no choice but to do what they did?

But you are only under the illusion that you are choosing. Right?

Yes. But we need to rethink that word and apply it appropriately. A child getting in a fight is different than a soldier is different than a drug addict is different than a self aware person weighing options.

Oh F!
just deleted a morning worth of scattered attention and word smithing on my response.

And I’m hours beyond my budgeted CFI time for today. Something else demanding attention with a drop deadline.

Will revisit when I can.
Have a good day.

Sapolsky spends a lot of time on that and gets into details that will leave mere mortal minds in the weeds. But in a good way. A lot to take in. Coffee, I think you’d find him fascinating.

My idea about a petit FW, as in choices and the cascades of events we set into motion, blossomed while listen to his book “Determined” and now “Behave” - though he’s on hold for a while. But, I definitely hope and plan to get back to him in a while. Only so many hours in a day.


Okay, I have to admit that I see no difference. Each is working with what they have available at any time. If prefrontal cortex development is the difference, then is it the product of such development to have the ability to choose among alternatives? And what should that ability be called?

Thanks, CC. I wish I had more time. I do think there are a couple of smart people here who can help me out.

Lectures on YouTube :wink:
is a good substitute for spending hours reading a book.

But I know what you mean, so little time, so little bandwidth, oh but what a ride.
It’s why the concept of triage is so vivid for me. I can do this, it means I can’t to that,
and Maddy is slinking about letting me know it’s her turn already! I never got the thing with dogs and people, then Maddy adopted me. . . .

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“Free will” suggests unlimited choice, but that’s not how it works.

I believe that we have a choice between acting and not acting which is different from choices of kind of action.

The moral action does not depend on action but on “kind of action” and in that we have no “choices” other than act or not act. This is compatible with the “fight or flight instinct”.

Short answer, our language is not representative of what we now know. It could be a generation or more before culture catches up to the science.

Opinion. Obvs.

So you say we have free will to act but not in the choice of actions? Where is the science supporting this?

This is one of the things that aggravate non-philosophers. Everything becomes so slippery. It feels like the non-answers given by politicians and cons.

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Maybe that’s because the way you figure out that there isn’t free will is by looking at all the ways that reactions are processed by our bodies (including the brain), all the chemicals, and the neurons firing, there isn’t someplace where the thought of overriding a thought can happen. The opposite can be found. I can’t regurgitate the experiments because I don’t quite understand them, but it has something to do with looking at something and being told to move your hand based on some stimulus and they watch your brain and they can see that you move the hand before you “decide to”.

It’s not philosophy, it’s a shifting of how to prove it. If you start with the premise that we have an illusion of free will, or it “seems like” we have free will, then look at all the myths and bad science we developed over thousands of years, you can see, or I do anyway, that culture and language and law are all based on us having control over our actions. That is, if you steal an apple, it’s your decision to break the law and pay the consequences if you get caught. If you are starving, if you don’t understand the law, if you were drugged or otherwise forced to do it, it can be complicated to get the law to accept any of that.

In the Sapolsky interview, he puts it this way: The thing you just did is a reaction of your neurons and chemistry to something that just happened a second ago, and that is due to what you had for breakfast and how your day went, and that’s dependent on your diet and exercise routine which was developed by how you were raised and depends a lot your genes and your mother’s health, and their health and genes depend on their parents and so on, back to a lizard in a swamp somewhere a billion years ago.

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Not quite. When there are options of equal benefit, you have freedom to choose.

I forgot the name of the article, but this is the example they cited.

You always like to go to work riding your bike, it’s a routine.
Then one day it rains and now you must choose between taking the bike or your car.
If you don’t want to get wet, you are free to choose your car.

Or you go into an icecream parlor and order chocolate icecream. You are told they are out of chocolate, but have a choice of 3 different other flavors from which you can pick an alternate choice.

These actions are still deterministic but allows for choice between available options.

That was on the Anil Seth video where they performed the false hand simulation and the brain accepted the false hand as part of the body. But that is not choice either because the brain is convinced the false hand is real and reacts defensively on that premise.