Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization--Articles and Reviews 2006-2016 662p by Michael Starks (2016)
Michael Starks (2016)
This collection of articles was written over the last 10 years and the most important and longest within the last year. Also I have edited them to bring them up to date (2016). The copyright page has the date of this first edition and new editions will be noted there as I edit old articles or add new ones. All the articles are about human behavior (as are all articles by anyone about anything), and so about the limitations of having a recent monkey ancestry (8 million years or much less depending on viewpoint) and manifest words and deeds within the framework of our innate psychology as presented in the table of intentionality. As famous evolutionist Richard Leakey says, it is critical to keep in mind not that we evolved from apes, but that in every important way, we are apes. If everyone was given a real understanding of this (i.e., human ecology and psychology) in school, maybe civilization would have a chance. In my view these articles and reviews have many novel and highly useful elements, in that they use my own version of the recently (ca. 1980’s) developed dual systems view of our brain and behavior to lay out a logical system of rationality (personality, psychology, mind, language, behavior, thought, reasoning, reality etc.) that is sorely lacking in the behavioral sciences (psychology, philosophy, literature, politics, anthropology, history, economics, sociology etc.). The philosophy centers around the two writers I have found the most important, Ludwig Wittgenstein and John Searle, whose ideas I combine and extend within the dual system (two systems of thought) framework that has proven so useful in recent thinking and reasoning research. As I note, there is in my view essentially complete overlap between philosophy, in the strict sense of the enduring questions that concern the academic discipline, and the descriptive psychology of higher order thought (behavior). Once one has grasped Wittgenstein’s insight that there is only the issue of how the language game is to be played, one determines the Conditions of Satisfaction (what makes a statement true or satisfied etc.) and that is the end of the discussion. Now that I think I understand how the games work I have mostly lost interest in philosophy, which of course is how Wittgenstein said it should be. But since they are the result of our innate psychology, or as Wittgenstein put, it due to the lack of perspicuity of language, the problems run throughout all human discourse, so there is endless need for philosophical analysis, not only in the ‘human sciences’ of philosophy, sociology, anthropology, political science, psychology, history, literature, religion, etc., but in the ‘hard sciences’ of physics, mathematics, and biology. It is universal to mix the language game questions with the real scientific ones as to what the empirical facts are. Scientism is ever present and the master has laid it before us long ago, i.e., Wittgenstein (hereafter W) beginning principally with the Blue and Brown Books in the early 1930’s. "Philosophers constantly see the method of science before their eyes and are irresistibly tempted to ask and answer questions in the way science does. This tendency is the real source of metaphysics and leads the philosopher into complete darkness." (BBB p18) Nevertheless, a real understanding of Wittgenstein’s work, and hence of how our psychology functions, is only beginning to spread in the second decade of the 21st century, due especially to P.M.S. Hacker (hereafter H) and Daniele Moyal-Sharrock (hereafter DMS), but also to many others, some of the more prominent of whom I mention in the articles. When I read ‘On Certainty’ a few years ago I characterized it in an Amazon review as the Foundation Stone of Philosophy and Psychology and the most basic document for understanding behavior, and about the same time DMS was writing articles noting that it had solved the millennia old epistemological problem of how we can know anything for certain. I realized that W was the first one to grasp what is now characterized as the two systems or dual systems of thought, and I generated a dual systems (S1 and S2) terminology which I found to be very powerful in describing behavior. I took the small table that John Searle (hereafter S) had been using, expanded it greatly, and found later that it integrated perfectly with the framework being used by various current workers in thinking and reasoning research. Since they were published individually, I have tried to make the book reviews and articles stand by themselves, insofar as possible, and this accounts for the repetition of various sections, notably the table and its explanation. I start with a short article that presents the table of intentionality and briefly describes its terminology and background. Next, is by far the longest article, which attempts a survey of the work of W and S as it relates to the table and so to an understanding or description (not explanation as W insisted) of behavior. The key to everything about us is biology, and it is obliviousness to it that leads millions of smart educated people like Obama, Chomsky, Clinton and the Pope to espouse suicidal utopian ideals that inexorably lead straight to Hell On Earth. As W noted, it is what is always before our eyes that is the hardest to see. We live in the world of conscious deliberative linguistic System 2, but it is unconscious, automatic reflexive System 1 that rules. This is Searle’s The Phenomenological Illusion (TPI), Pinker’s Blank Slate and Tooby and Cosmides Standard Social Science Model. Democracy and equality are wonderful ideals, but without strict controls, selfishness and stupidity gain the upper hand and soon destroy any nation and any world that adopts them. The monkey mind steeply discounts the future, and so we sell our children’s heritage for temporary comforts. Thus I end with an essay on the great tragedy playing out in America and the world, which can be seen as a direct result of TPI. The astute may wonder why we cannot see System 1 at work, but it is clearly counterproductive for an animal to be thinking about or second guessing every action, and in any case there is no time for the slow, massively integrated System 2 to be involved in the constant stream of split second ‘decisions’ we must make. As W noted, our ‘thoughts’ (T1 or the thoughts of System 1) must lead directly to actions. It is my contention that the table of intentionality (rationality, mind, thought, language, personality etc.) that features prominently here describes more or less accurately, or at least serves an heuristic for how we think and behave, and so it encompasses not merely philosophy and psychology but everything else (history, literature, mathematics, politics etc.). Note especially that intentionality and rationality as I (along with Searle, Wittgenstein and others) view it, includes both conscious deliberative System 2 and unconscious automated System 1 actions or reflexes. Thus all the articles, like all behavior, are intimately connected if one knows how to look at them. As I note, The Phenomenological Illusion (oblivion to our automated System 1) is universal and extends not merely throughout philosophy but throughout life. I am sure that Chomsky, Obama, Zuckerberg and the Pope would be incredulous if told that they suffer from the same problem as Hegel, Husserl and Heidegger, but it’s clearly true. While the phenomenologists only wasted a lot of people’s time, they are wasting the earth. All of my papers and books have now been published in revised versions both in ebooks and in printed books. Talking Monkeys: Philosophy, Psychology, Science, Religion and Politics on a Doomed Planet - Articles and Reviews 2006-2017 (2017) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071HVC7YP. The Logical Structure of Philosophy, Psychology, Mind and Language in Ludwig Wittgenstein and John Searle--Articles and Reviews 2006-2016 (2017) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071P1RP1B. Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st century: Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization - Articles and Reviews 2006-2017 (2017) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0711R5LGX
Archival date: 2016-12-11
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Another Attack on Evolution, Rationality and Civilization. A Review of Nowak and Highfield ‘SuperCooperators’ (2012).Starks Michael
Altruism, Jesus and the End of the World—How the Templeton Foundation Bought a Harvard Professorship and Attacked Evolution, Rationality and Civilization. A Review of E.O. Wilson 'The Social Conquest of Earth' (2012) and Nowak and Highfield ‘SuperCooperators’ (2012).Starks Michael
A Very Brief Review of the Life and Work of Neuroscientist, Physician, Psychoanalyst, Inventor, Animal Rights Activist and Pioneer in Dolphins, Isolation Tanks and Psychedelics John C Lilly 1915-2001.Starks Michael
Is There Such a Thing as Pragmatics?--Review of Concise Encyclopedia of Pragmatics 2nd Ed (2009).Michael Starks
Will the World Decrease Births or Increase Deaths?—A Review of ‘Reproductive Medicine’--E. Coutinho & P. Spinola Eds. 366p (1999).Michael Starks
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