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Greg Anderson is a history professor at Ohio State University. He recently gave a TED talk on the pluriverse.

He rejects objective reality, arguing that there are many realities which he calls the pluriverse. Essentially each culture (or group of people) has their own reality which they create themselves. (He uses the ancient Athenians as an example.) These realities are equally real and important, except perhaps for modern Westerners who believe in objective reality and a universe. Thus we need to take notes from all the indigenous peoples who believe in primitive gods and live sustainable lives.

I suppose the "multiverse" concept is not subjectivist enough for the hardcore leftist academic. Multiverse comes mostly in the form of a physics theory subject to scientific scrutiny. But the "pluriverse" idea is sustained by pure imagination, by the various popular myths of different societies throughout time. The problem, however, is that an egalitarian metaphysics has an inherent enemy in anyone who claims a superior metaphysics, and so it must be implied, if not clearly explicated, that pluriverse is the one, true view of reality.

Edited by MisterSwig
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His contention that today we regard our scientific understanding of reality as objective in the sense of THE absolute one way that the world is is a falsehood asserted of us, and it is a straw-man. Our view, our overwhelming modern view, is that we are getting ever-fuller, ever-more-accurate grasp of reality through our scientific research, our mathematical research, and our development of new observational and experimental apparatus. That means we are damn sure that we DON'T have it all correct so far as we've gotten, that there is still darkness all around us, and that there is much of the ONE true reality for us (future generations) to discover (and exploit). The idea that the views in the age of Aristotle that the stars are riding on a sphere that is rotating about the earth and that that sphere of stars is an intelligence and is the nearest likeness to a further thing that is the Prime Mover or the view that the basic elements are earth, fire, wind, and water are just as fine a version of reality as we've won in modern cosmology and chemistry is a brazen moral obscenity. Something I've seen before rear its head from people in the humanities, including from some historians and philosophers of science.

Edited by Boydstun
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2 hours ago, Boydstun said:

...a brazen moral obscenity.

I'm a little shocked by his level of absurdity and nihilism. He seems to evade the basics of mythology in his quest to destroy objectivity utterly. His concept of "the real world" is so thoroughly subjective that he thinks whatever nonsense the Athenian mythologists put to paper was actually their reality. I suppose in his view that's the only type of reality that could exist, a non-objective one of pure imagination.

So is this the answer to the stolen concept fallacy? In the pluriverse concepts are the reality, so there is no logical dependency between one concept and another. They all exist equally with no hierarchical connection because there is no objective reality to impose such a hierarchy on them.

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"[Reality] is something that humans actively participate in producing when their minds interact with their environments."

That's 11 minutes in just about.

It wouldn't be so insane if he meant something like "the society people live in is shaped by the way minds interact with the environment". That would be true, but obviously that doesn't mean each society is literally a different reality... It's like he forgot that when people say "ancient people lived in a different world" they don't literally mean a whole separate reality. 

My conclusion: Never go full subjectivist.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wVagQ_LVd4

I find that he really was attempting to give a basis to say that indigenous people deserve respect. In a way, he sees the indigenous people (especially those exterminated by the Spanish) as offering worthless ideas and were thoroughly primitive, so the only way he could offer any value for them is to say that they lived in a literally different reality. They are so worthless to him that he has to create a whole separate reality for them. The truth is, people like the Inca had great ideas as well as bad ideas even compared to Europeans. He doesn't have to dismantle objective reality: If he actually cared about indigenous people, he would be telling us about what they got right about reality, especially the things that Europeans could not figure out.

Edited by Eiuol
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~Complexities of Myths and How They Are Taken~

In about 1970, while I was pursuing my first degree at University of Oklahoma, I was a Physics major. I got to take some philosophy courses and one course in the history of science. One day our Professor Thomas Smith was unable to teach our class, and we had a substitute lecturer, who was Professor Duane Roller. His PhD had been from Harvard, and he was rather renowned in the History of Science profession. At one point a woman in the class referred to “Christian mythology”, and much to my surprise, Prof. Roller went ballistic. It was NOT a myth, and don’t dare call it that!

I’m unable to recall what more, if anything, he said about it on that occasion. I suppose he was a Believer. Certainly there are Believers—believers of stories, characters, and the why and wherefore of our world in those stories originating in the human mists of time—who do not think of the stories as myths.

I have long wondered to what extent archaic and ancient Greeks thought of stories of the gods and their interactions with humans as myth (as we think of them) and to what extent they thought of them as true history and explanation (cf. Anderson at 4m forward). Offering significant sacrifices to the gods points to Belief, I’d say offhand.

The muses inspiring the poets setting down the myths in writing are described by the poets as telling lies that pass for truth as well as the truth itself. Interpretation of the stories by people applying them seems to be demanded, rather like oracles received at Delphi. So far I’m baffled as to how definite and literal was the truth of Greek myths as embraced by any “Believers”. Seems likely rather different than the ancient Hebrews.

One nicety of the discovery and development of America by the pale-faces and their cultural wares was the birth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints, through which it was realized that Native Americans are descendants of a long-lost tribe of Israel. Happy day. And, being partly Choctaw, I can say “I was lost, and now I’m found.”

“My, my. A body does get around. Here we ain’t been coming from Alabama but two months, and now it’s already Tennessee.” —William Faulkner, Light in August

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Of related interest to the lecture of Prof. Anderson, with respect to past humans:

Michael Tomasello:

A Natural History of Human Thinking (2014)

A Natural History of Morality (2016)

Robert Bellah:

Religion in Human Evolution (2011)

Joseph Henrich:

The WEIRDest People in the World - How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous (2020)

Edited by Boydstun
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3 hours ago, Boydstun said:

I have long wondered to what extent archaic and ancient Greeks thought of stories of the gods and their interactions with humans as myth (as we think of them) and to what extent they thought of them as true history and explanation (cf. Anderson at 4m forward). Offering significant sacrifices to the gods points to Belief, I’d say offhand.

Also, if you believe Plato, one of the charges against Socrates was impiety. So I think the Athenians took their gods pretty seriously. 

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I found this on his CV:

https://greattransition.org/roundtable/human-rights-greg-anderson

This essay shows how his thinking is just his own angle on critical theory.

It seems that his Pluriverse is rooted in the social world. It's a literal social metaphysics. His framework of thinking seems to be exclusively focused on the social world with utterly no conception of reality. The reason we don't understand what he even means by reality is because I don't think he understands either. He doesn't define reality, he doesn't talk about in what way he means the indigenous world is a different reality. He is trapped between using metaphor and referring to reality, because he has no conceptual tool to distinguish between the two. So when we evaluate his arguments, we can't distinguish between the two either. 

Basically, he makes me think of a teenager's take on Nietzsche. He's trying to take Nietzsche's perspectivism (that what we know to be true or claim to be true is determined by our perspective) and sound even deeper by suggesting that ancient people lived in a different reality. 

This is your brain on critical theory:

 

Edited by Eiuol
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  • 3 weeks later...
On 3/20/2021 at 12:06 PM, Boydstun said:

. . .  Our view, our overwhelming modern view, is that we are getting ever-fuller, ever-more-accurate grasp of reality through our scientific research, our mathematical research, and our development of new observational and experimental apparatus. That means we are damn sure that we DON'T have it all correct so far as we've gotten, that there is still darkness all around us, and that there is much of the ONE true reality for us (future generations) to discover (and exploit). . . .

 

On 4/7/2021 at 8:31 PM, Boydstun said:

 

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1 hour ago, MisterSwig said:

t seems like this evidence is limited to muons wobbling at -450°F. So I guess that means the "new physics" would only apply to calculations for events in outer space?

Any time an old physics is overthrown, it remains a good enough approximation for many situations.  Newtonian physics, which was overthrown long ago, remains a good enough approximation for many situations.  The physics which is currently being overthrown will remain a good enough approximation for many situations.  It will take time to determine exactly what difference the new physics makes.

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8 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

The physics which is currently being overthrown will remain a good enough approximation for many situations.

I guess my question is whether the new physics would have to work for events at normal earth temperatures, as well as outer space temps. Or maybe whatever is affecting the muons does not affect other particles, so it's more of a special physical law rather than an overturning of a general principle.

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William, the following may help with our grip on this.

“What do touch screens, radiation therapy and shrink wrap have in common? They were all made possible by particle physics research. Discoveries of how the universe works at the smallest scale often lead to huge advances in technology we use every day.”

“Today is an extraordinary day.”

I think the low temperatures in this experiment have to do with making a setup with high enough sensitivity for our detection of phenomena, rather than production of the phenomena.

This present experiment at Fermi uses the same basic way of accessing the domain of the possible new phenomena (new to us) as was used 20 years ago at Brookhaven, but with increase in sensitivity. A different design for accessing the possible new phenomena is underway in Japan.

If the physicists have indeed found a fifth natural force, characterizing it empirically more and more specifically and precisely, theorists will be chasing unifications (finding fitting mathematics for the unified description) of the new force with (any or all of) the four we know for sure: gravity, electromagnetic, weak nuclear, strong nuclear.

Discovery of the weak nuclear force led to explanations of phenomena already known. I don’t know/recall if the weak-nuclear force unification with the electromagnetic force has led to any new phenomena, aside from existence of some previously unknown elementary particles. That unification and later unification with the strong nuclear is an increase in understanding (by physicists) of fundamental constitution of our material-energetic world.

William, I gather that the circumstance that a force of nature is at play in only some, not all, elementary particles and their actions does not affect the physicists' classification of the force as one of the fundamental forces of nature.

Edited by Boydstun
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