Up@dawn 2.0

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Objective Critique

The Objective Critique
By Wilhelm Schwarzwald

What is Bioethics? Is it science or philosophy? Is it neither?
The critic says it is ethics, but isn't ethics the philosophical inquiry of morality.

Is it science? Well what is science? Is science something that follows the scientific method to achieve its answers?

If so, then no ethical issue is a scientific issue.
Perhaps that is a bold claim?
Perhaps I should say that ethical issues don't necessarily use or not use the scientific method in order to reach a product.

However what does that say? Nothing.
It is a sketch of an answer, but not an answer at all.

The former claim is a definite answer, something in which other conditions can be built or dismissed.
Whether it is wrong or not should not hinge on circumstantial cases or isolated incidents, but in a disapproval of the universal notion that an ethical issue is inherently different from a scientific issue due to the ways we process and solve each respective subject’s problems.

So now we are back to the separation of ethics and science.
So obviously ethics must be philosophy then?
Bravo! And the crowd goes wild!
But isn't our modern idea of science and the scientific method the bastard child of Aristotle's idea of Empiricism?

Perhaps you do not buy into the western birth of Empiricism.
Of course not, ethnocentrism is a comforting blanket in which we hide from the cold of actually discussing issues.

But where do you say it originated?

The only other place had to be the Muslims!
No! The Egyptians!
Yes; quite, now we may all rejoice!
But what is the difference?

Are we to actually conclude that within these theocracies the pervading religious philosophy was not entwined into their idea of Empiricism? Also, isn't a theocracy a governmental system based on a philosophy of an absolute?

Only a fool would think such a thing, and I have faith this article will not reach the eyes of those.

So science is indeed a peg leg of philosophy!
Why so?

Is science an act concerned with knowing?
Of course!

Is philosophy an act concerned with knowing?
Hopefully! For philosophy without implementation is no better than science without experiments. Individuals who chatter but put forth no systems are critics, not philosophers.

What do you say?
That is not the nature of philosophy?

What isn't?

If philosophy is about knowing, the primary objective should not be to simply come across an issue and think about it. If it is an unknown object, we learn about its characteristics, if it is a problem we solve it, if it is a hole in a system then we correct the system, or suggest a better one.
You can not profit from a lottery ticket you do not cash.

While one could surely suggest other examples, could anyone suggest none?
Can anyone suggest that this is absolutely not the case?
Anyone who did would fully realize my condemnation as a critic.
Or perhaps you like the term skeptic?
Its connotation is not nearly as nasty, but its phenotype is just the same.

Philosophy and Science are both about knowing.

Do we agree that they both apply a methodical approach based on logic to come to a conclusion?

It is inherent in the definition of both these subjects that all proceedings must be coated in the vomit of logic.

Do we agree that due to the fact that the human brain engages in hierarchical thinking to garner ideas, that all logic is methodical?
Skepticism is allowed for such a bold claim. Especially by those in the business of not making any claims, but instead sifting through them like a Rolodex.

Do science and philosophy both engage in experimentation?
Perhaps. Not all science can be tested, similarly not all philosophies can undergo such a procedure. Easy examples of experimentation in both include everything from gravity to the communist revolution. Similarly, examples of things that cannot be tested include certain Quantum Mechanical theories and a few Frenchmen babbling about not existing.

So the purpose and process of scientific and philosophical inquiry are the same?
They are indeed!

Then the elephant in the room is…Why are the results so different?
Why do scientist generally deal with X and philosophers with Y?
Is it down to personal preference?
Is it because society says they should?
Is this an argument against semantics?

Early philosophers, such as Aristotle, made no differentiation between using logic to conclude details about X, and using reason to conclude details about Y.

This means at some point society decided to break the two apart, but for what reason?
Well because one is valued over the other.
Science is put on a pedestal, while philosophy is regulated to the same plane as tabloid articles.
Why is this?

Why is actually easy!
Because science delivers results, and philosophy tends not to.
Because science does not require one to think qualitatively, but only quantitatively.
Because science is in that respect easy, as although logic and critical thinking are at hand, definite numerical results can be acquired, and no one ACTUALLY has to make a decision!

How great that we have come up with a system that runs itself!
Does it even need us at all asks the critic?
If we are in the business of simply saying that red is red, then why are we constantly congratulating ourselves?
Is it because you have a long winded speech about why red is red?
Is it because you now can make yellow red, and red yellow, and brown purple?
Who cares?

What the lady in the pink skirt wants to know is does her red purse match her pink dress.

You couldn't answer though, you were too busy being a scientist.
Similarly, the philosopher wasn't even there to see her; he was too busy writing a critique on how color is just an illusion anyway!


A conclusion is both qualitative and quantitative!
We create governmental systems based on qualitative philosophies, such as capitalism, with the hope that competition is what is RIGHT.
Unfortunately, we then betray our original intention and create fake financial bubbles based on quantitative information so we can pass fake legislation in order to sustain something that is WRONG.

And does anyone ask what effect this will have on the people, planet, or our souls?


The philosopher and the scientist do!
But the philosopher is too busy seeing all 7 sides of the square.
Similarly, the scientist could not possibly solve the problem, for it is a "social" problem, and not a scientific one.

And society does not contain scientists whatsoever, so social problems do not affect them!


But let us remember that science is society's answer!
It is the objective truth; despite only telling one side of the story!
Not philosophy however!
Philosophy is subjective, which is a trait only acquired by women.
Philosophy requires too much thinking, and complexity is directly correlated with failure.

But not science!
Science, with its objectivity, is entirely too manly to fall to such depths!

Because men don't have feelings, mind you, and anyone who does is foolish.

But did we not conclude that philosophy and science are the same?
Were they not only torn apart by society for contestable causes?

Does not a painting look better through two eyes than one?
Not only that, but is not a painting made to be looked at by two eyes?

When your optometrist asks you to cover one eye, is it not to designate a handicap?
I would be opposed to the view that he is simply trying to see if you NEED the other one!

So, why do we value one eye over the other?

Just because society says so?
If we are in agreement and we are all logical human beings, then what we decide is universally logical.
Do the masses not dictate reality?
Do the masses not dictate society?

If so, let us rejoice!
A time of clarity is two eyes away.


  1. Hmmm... Very interesting.

    Bioethics clearly has a foot in philosophy, and philosophy should aspire to scientific values like opennness to evidence, self-correction, and whatever degree of impersonal "objectivity" there is to be had in understanding its subject-matter.

    Where the subject-matter is life itself, though, we're dealing with human beings (and other life-forms), and they come equipped with an ineliminable and un-objectifiable dimension of personal subjectivity we're bound to respect and not "explain away."

    And that's why the philosophy of bioethics must recognize values beyond impersonal scientific objectivity, and deploy tools of creative imagination and sympathy. I'd say that's true of every ethical philosophy.

    But as to the bow and arrow: maybe I'm missing the metaphor, but isn't that a subversive image for a transhumanist to play with? The bow and arrow is an effective but still-relatively- primitive technology, not likely to transform the species at anything like a Kurzweilian rate of acceleration. The B&A is a step up from daggers and staffs but far less impressive than computers and "spiritual machines."

    I assume we're all in favor of any technologies that will leverage our capacity to extend and enhance the quality of life, and any capacities (including native ones like organic intelligence) that will do the same. Philosophy, science, art... they're just tools.

    But I'll bet I've missed your message. Come again?

  2. Haha, you haven't missed it at all.
    Although I must say this was written all at once, and is a true ranty blog post, so I don't know if this morning I can stand behind everything that was said, but it seems as though we are in agreement.

    The message of the essay was to persuade people to accept science and philosophy as one in the same, two "tools" of the same trade that should be used in conjunction. Here enters the bow and arrow metaphor, as to say, they are not separate tools for separate occasions such as a staff or a dagger, but a bow and a arrow, which is a weapon that requires two parts in order to function correctly, and of course, is more efficient than the staff or the dagger because it is long range and more versatile.

    But perhaps an updated weapon would serve a better purpose, although, I simply don't know any two part modern weapons, haha.

    As to why they should be used in conjunction, I was cited that they were originally considered one in the same, and that they were only separated by society for impractical reasoning (i.e. the sexist jokes, valuing objectivity or subjectivity, quantitative vs qualitative, the capitalist example)

    Similarly, I also stated that both should only be used for implementation, which is the major theme I guess in the article. It is a critique of a philosophical mindset that knowing is enough, that we are knowing to know, and it suggests that we should know to "do", if that makes sense. In a similar manner, it is against sciences "progress for progress sake" attitude, as the argument is that that is lazy and not beneficial toward implementation or qualitative progress.

    "Progress for progress sake" takes the decision out of the scientist hand about whether something is actually beneficial or good or not. It is a quantitative understanding progress, saying that a number of breakthroughs, inventions, etc, equals progress. The suggested method is to let subjectivity, through philosophy, re-enter science, in order to make quantitative and qualitative leaps in actual progress.

    A good example is one of the arguments that came up during radiances presentation yesterday, which I don't think was properly voiced as it took place within group 3, but it was that maybe it isn't a good idea to build the human brain at all

    Not for religious reasons, but because we hate science, not because we don't believe it is possible, and not for the moral issue, but because we didn't believe it was a good idea, why?

    It seemed progress for progress sake. Whether it is the issue of an increasing population, the impending civil rights issues, the robot overlords argument, our seemingly consistent ability to create before we understand, or any number of other things, it didn't seem like a good idea.

    That isn't a new argument at all, but it's one that doesn't seem to pop up enough in the science world, and that's because their reliance on objectivity has failed their sense of the reality around them and what it needs. To do it for "Science" or "Progress" seems to me to be abstract non-sense when we have plenty of problems in the real world that could benefit from the 97 billion dollars we ship over to such research.

  3. So yes, the reconciliation of science and philosophy, ALWAYS, the focus on implementation, and assessing ones ability to make good subjective decisions is the case here.

    Subjectivity seems to have been left in the dust a bit back, maybe theres a philosopher I don't know about that writes about the appropriate ways to make "good" decisions, that outlines the brains method of creating subjective clauses, not in the way that a reductionist neurology teacher would say it, but with the same treatment that logic gets in many philosophy articles

    I say this only because when it comes to implementation subjectivity seems to always outweigh the objective, and it seems that we rely on well what do MOST people like, but if no one has refined their subjective senses in the way that we refine our "objective" senses, and we live in a world where education is not universal, then this is just another quantitative method chosen because it easy, and not because it is "Right."

    But anyway, to hurriedly go back to the original question, you seem to have not missed the message. Although I wouldn't say science and philosophy are just tools, but tools of the same trade to be used in conjunction with each other at all times.

    It may seem redundant or novel to you, but I only wrote this to vent from what seems like a myriad of arguments throughout this week who either seemed to view science as the savior of humanity, philosophy as pointless, and/or saw NO connection between the two. People who have seemed to forget that objectivity exist only in subjective relation to ones own definition and experience, and to so many people who claim to love philosophy but want to restrict it to knowledge that only other people who "love" philosophy would care to know. There seemed to be, from my conversations with these people, no effort for the implementation of philosophical ideas, and no movement to make philosophy available to the public, or, and this is my preferred method, no effort to bring the public to the level of understanding required for philosophy.

    So this was really a rant to them, done, now that I see it in retrospect, with Kierkegaard's Rotation Method on my mind, as I'd just re-read it.

  4. CALLING ALL REFUTERS TO REFUTE THINGS. I highly doubt that everything I have said is without fault.

  5. Refuting takes more energy than affirming, and sometimes takes more of a toll on the spirit. I generally prefer to spend more effort on trying to say something true myself, rather than point out the errors in others' discourse. I'd rather be an affirmer than a negater. It's probably best never to construe silence as assent. But maybe some will rally to your call.