Friday, October 19, 2012

Concerning Human Ignorance

Some have argued that there is no objective form of ignorance; If they do not argue this openly, they will sometimes cater to a viewpoint such as subjectivity, ersatzism, or egoism;

Subjectivity, although a category of metaphysics which is differentiated between philosophical solipsists and psychological individuationists, has the common theme of believing that reality is defined by the mind, or pessimistically by some sort of manipulative god; Clearly these could be symptoms of ignorance;

Ersatzism in the negative light, is something such as that put forth by creationists, in the positive light something such as the philosophy of David K. Lewis, which argues for a scientific outlook on metaphysics;

Egoism is now classified as sophomoric in many minds, at best a kind of intermediate theory that applied more to psychology than to serious philosophy; As an example, some who may have been egoist philosophers have actually turned to environmental philosophy, such as the statement "only rocks are real", this obviously may reflect the theme of ignorance, even if at one degree of remove;

Although I will argue later that ignorance of ignorance is not completely possible, there is an argument for objectivity which can be ignored, although with serious dangers; This is the argument that, contrary to some people's expectations, dish detergent does in fact actually end up in the ocean; Even drinking water from river sources sometimes has bubbles which have been accumulated from dumping dish detergent down the drain; Very few people have adopted ecological controls about this substance in particular;

Thus, the only claim at subjectivity is a form of 'universal subjectivity', that the entire world is somehow built for our individual benefit; Although the rich and famous might feel this way and use their leverage to convince others (even unwittingly), clearly there is a firm argument that any evidence of human folly and frailty is not obviously a world built for one person, unless by some very perverse kind of joke---a joke I will say runs against probability to the point of being impossible;

What then of ignorance of ignorance? Factually, we cannot deny a slightly contrary claim to the above, that each individual is built with a pragmatic imperative which secures a kind of "right to life" within whatever beneficial parameters are available considering contingencies; It is only in this sense, of a practical "law of self" that I am willing to consider that ignorance is possible; For largely, failures of personal duty to the self are failures of society, not failures of individuals;

And failures of society can be delegated partially to failures of politics, which in the microcosmic view are themselves functions of mere ideas; So, some would say, any intellectually minded person has a choice between long-term benefits (political consequence, creating a society which provides for selfish interests) or willful ignorance of the benefits of either thoughtfulness or selfishness;

The two strands of this argument (environmentalism and pragmatism) also relate to my previous argument against time, in which I state that the human dimension in a pejorative (that is, finite) sense is one of the major counter-arguments to the pursuit of longevity::

No comments: