While I was going about my insignificant little life here, Alexei – a designated correlationist of the blogosphere (congratulations, by the way) – was bravely taking another bullet for Kant over here. I have to be honest, I like all things argumentative and philosophical, I enjoy being exposed to new ideas and I generally think that I am open-minded enough to at the very least allow for a different reading of books I have been reading for some time. I am your own friendly sophist sometimes, but mainly I enjoy a good argument – no, not like when you and your husband really get into it, but a good philosophical argument when two sides at least pretend to have a set of rules. Now in case of all these attacks on correlationism, whatever it is, I find it difficult to engage the parties involved (despite my earlier tries and sad consequences) because we are not speaking the same language. I think Alexei is a more patient, less bitter version of myself (not sure if it’s a complement, apologies in advance), and he is able to continue the conversation that is taking more and more bizarre forms at this point:
“Kant said A and therefore he is wrong” – “Actually Kant said B and even if he did say A, how exactly is he wrong?” – “If you were a consistent correlationist, and correlationist you are indeed, and all of your correlationist friends are going to hell, by the way, then you would argue C” – “Why would I argue C, I was arguing for D all this time anyway and none of my objections were addressed?” – “You don’t know Kant like I do, correlationist”…
I think Alexei’s interpretation of Kant is the standard one, and I mean it in a neutral way, he is not trying to propose some sort of a weird unheard-of Kantian reading – of course, it’s just my opinion and I don’t want to claim to be an expert that can expertly evaluate someone’s position, I’m just saying that it’s all very basic stuff, none of the unclear Kantian problems. I read Alexei’s comments and I nod til my neck hurts, yet I think it’s simply because we both read enough Kant to agree on most basic stuff, i.e. we are the choir in this scenario. I find myself to be especially sympathizing with the following excerpt from the comment:
All this said, we can disagree over how to read Kant. That’s fine. But, for the sake of clarity, maybe we should mark this feature. For at least here, a fair bit seems to depend on the interpretation. If I, for instance, reject your interpretation of Kant, which I do, everything following ceases to have any bite. Insofar as it follows from the Kant-example, it too is false. However that may be, I don’t actually think it actually answers my intial question. Assuming that there’s a difference between the epistemic and the epistemological, how does that effect your claims concerning the epistemic fallacy?
This is what seems to be the strategy and I find it very crafty indeed (I might steal it):
a) If your opponent brings up a name of a philosopher, ask them to do without name-calling and ask them to simply engage the issues;
b) if a) is successful, proceed with your ideas, posit things, create principles etc etc, if your opponent claims that the issues were already addressed by a previous philosopher, claim expertise in that philosopher and explain to you opponent that, in fact, that previous philosopher was (choose one) wrong, did not address the same issues, all of the above.
Now you have two possible roads: if your opponent contests your interpretation of the previous philosopher, claim that he is wrong – the basic strategy here is simple: you understand the philosopher, your opponent does not – the more often you get this point across, the better the outcome; if your opponent drops the discussion of the previous philosopher who already solved all of your problems or set up one that you have to address to get to play with objects, return to the original issues of the debate as if nothing happened and wait for your opponent to bring up the same issues already discussed by the previous philosopher and proceed in the same manner as described above – continue until your opponent gives up…
I have to say I find this very interesting, especially in terms of an obvious mental blockage and outright refusal to believe that your philosophical enterprise could be as misleading and random as that of your opponents – I believe there should be a new name for this new philosophical school, I came up with it just now so back off, let’s call it: DOGMATISM. I find it difficult to deal with dogmatists, I admit that I have my philosophical preferences and that I have learned to see the world through my philosophical glasses, but that only means that it is hard for me to find some arguments persuasive, especially when they claim novelty where there is none. Are there original philosophical ideas out there? Of course. Does everyone have to create their own philosophies? Sure, have at it, but it’s very likely that it’s going to be something boring and unoriginal, but because we are lead to believe that unoriginal equals evil, it will be masked and dressed up as something original, and if you question the project, you will be the reactionary crusty type that would do everything to maintain a status quo. As I have said many times before, hurray for innovators and revolutionaries, wake me up when they actually come up with an argument I can understand and possibly counter while having a reasonable expectation that we will use the same rules of logic.
PS. “Why won’t you let them alone then, Mikhail?” – you seems to wonder. I think about it all the time myself. I think it’s that time in a boy’s life when certain philosophical indecency just cannot leave me unmoved. Yet I see your point, imaginary reader, it would be best to just stop paying attention and die already.