13 January 2011

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Intuition or Reasoning + meeting Edwin Saturday + News

Essay, meeting Edwin Saturday, Miguel's mathematical puzzle and Peter's
flat mate to be.
Dear Friends,
First of all, Pilar has orgnised for this Saturday a farewell meeting
with Edwin because as many of you know he is returning back to the UK
for good. Details are:
Saturday afternoon at 21.00 h at Plaza del Callao (out of the underground).
However, Edwin told me last Sunday that he should be able to come for
this Sunday's meeting so you might catch up with him on Sunday as well,
and the topic is: Inutiton or reasoning. Thank you Matilda for the topic.
Which brings me to Miguel's mathematical puzzle:
Estimado amigo,
Mis mejores deseos para 2011: que tengas salud y que tus proyectos se
Desde hoy 1 de Enero de 2011 se puede jugar al konseku online, te invito
a conocerlo: http://www.konseku.com
Saludos cordiales,

You are going to need all the intuition and resoning for this one!!!

In the meantime Peter is still looking for a flat mate:
------- Peter has asked me once again to remind you that he is looking
for someone to share his flat with in Mostoles close to public
transport; very good conditions. Central heating and central hot water.
There two rooms to rent out: a single and a double: tel 609257259 (LJCB
Note: one of the rooms might be taken, not sure which one).
All the best
+++++++++MEETING DETAILS+++++++++
SUNDAY 6.30pm – 8.30pm at Molly Malone's Pub, probably downstairs----
-Email: philomadrid@yahoo.co.uk
-Yahoo group >> philomadridgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.co.uk <
-Old essays: www.geocities.com/philomadrid
- Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com/
photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo
tel 606081813
-metro: Bilbao : buses: 21, 149, 147
Tertulia in English with Ignacio and friends: Every Thursday, from 19:30
to 21h, at Moore's Irish Pub, c/ Barceló 1 (metro Tribunal).
Intuition or reasoning
This interesting topic hinges on three issues: the conscious self,
methodology, and the state of our knowledge. However, a lot depends on
the language behind these two terms.
Is intuition a form of reasoning or are reasoning and intuition two
separate activities? Briefly, intuition is usually regarded to be a type
of knowledge, or even maybe belief, that is not derived from a rational
process. In other words, intuition is something we have, a sort of
something out of the blue. Reasoning on the other hand, is a rational
process based on information and or data including perception, i.e.
personal experience, and certainly well thought out.
Looking at this is a different way, we cannot account for intution, but
we can for reasoning, hence, my claim that a lot hinges on the conscious
self. But before we can consider this issue, there is an even more
important matter to consider. Is there such a thing as knowledge or
belief that sort of comes to us out of the blue? And to use
philosophical language is there such a thing as a priori knowledge? I
mean a priori knowledge that can be generated in our brain?
The problem with thinking that intuition is the product of some non
causal event in our mind, that is something out of the blue, is that
there is a difference between a non causal event and an event (in our
mind/brain) that we are not conscious of. If, we therefore, cannot
account for why we have knowledge of something but cannot account for
it, it does not follow that that knowledge was not a result of some
methodological causal event. Just because we cannot explain something,
it does not necessarily follow that that something is not explicable.
As I said at the beginning, language has a lot of relevance here, thus
could it be that intuition is just a word we use when we cannot account
for a belief or some knowledge for?
But of course, there is a difference between intuition and instinct.
Instinct is something we know happens from a physical reaction to a
given situation; i.e. the proverbial knee jerk reaction. We can assume
that intuition is not instinct, partly because we can account for
instinct and intuition we accept is something we associate with the self
and not the physical body; we might not know what is going on, but we
know it is not something to do with the body. Or so we think at least.
Whatever we can say about reasoning we can say two things for sure. The
first is that we always reason consciously and secondly we can always
account the casual chain of our reasoning. Reasoning is consciously done
because we say so; in writing these few lines on the topic I'm sort of
racking my brain to consider the issues at hand. I can assure you that
my fingers are not typing away at the keyboard writing these words out
of the blue as it were. And we can also naccount the causal chain in our
reasoning maybe because we read something, experience, we were told
about it and so on.
Of course, in real life it does not make much differnce is we claim
something to be the product of reason or intuition, as long as we get
the credit, and is more or less true. True, that is, as far as it meets
our needs.
Having said that, we are more likely to feel better knowing that we are
right if it was the product of reasoning rather than intuition.
Intuition is Okay, in the same sense that mother (or matron) knows best,
but we generally expect people to apply reasoning for their beliefs or
claims to knowledge. Intuition is okay if it can be backed up with
authority, mother, matron, nanny, the chief executive officer, the
president, the dictator and so.
So what are we to do with intuition? I am inclined to think that
intuition is one of those words in the language that serves to describe
a function when we have no idea what is going on in reality: intuition,
love, miracle, justice, capitalism, communisim and so on.
Moreover, the problem with intuition is the assumption that reasoning
has nothing to do with how the body functions and all to do with how the
mind functions. In a way we cannot be blamed for this belief because we
already have instinct to cover activities based on body function. The
second mistake is to assume that as far as we are concerned there is
something else beyond body function.
The manner we can answer the question, whether there is something beyond
the body, and hence the nature of our beliefs and knowledge, is not to
investigate whether there is knowledge that is not based on our
perception, but rather to investigate the state of our knowledge. In
other words, the investigation ought not be about the nature of
knowledge but how we access that knowledge.
At the centre of the debate is the issue in physics of whether
information is all in physical form or whether there could be
information that is not in a physical form. Thus, these words you are
reading now are physical because they exist as light electrons on your
screen, stimulation on the retina of your eyes, particle arrangements on
a magnetic medium (hard disk), electron arrangements on a chip, but the
most important thing of all they are synaptic links and neuron firing in
your brain.
If it is the case that all information is in a physical form, at least
as far as we are concerned, and we have no reason to assume otherwise,
then it follows that intuition is firmly rooted in what goes on in our
brain as much as reasoning does. Thus as far as we are concerend
information (knoweldge, beliefs, opinions, ect) must be able to exist in
a physical form if we are to access it.
The problem is that there is a whole tradition in philosophy dating back
many centuries about the uncertainty inherent in a posteriori type of
knowledge, that is knowledge derived from experience and about the
world. Certain knowledge, or a priori knowledge, cannot be based on
experience or induction because there is always an element of doubt. To
put it in another way, knowledge about the physical world is
probabilistic knowledge.
Somehow, certain knowledge cannot, therefore, reside in the same place
as probabilistic knowledge, so the brain (Descartes' brain mainly) came
up with the erroneous idea of the mind. Reasoning and maybe even
intuition live in the mind and instinct lives in the brain.
But this is like me looking at myself in the mirror in the morning and
saying look, there are two people in bathroom today, Lawrence and the
guy who organises the Sunday Tertulia; actually I can have as many
people with me in the bathroom as I want: the teacher, the photographer,
the boyfriend, the son, the brother and so. But that, however, wouldn't
leave any space for Ginger Rogers.
Thus certain knowledge is certain not because it has some magical
properties that we call a priori, but because it has a probability of 1.
The statement that all swans are white does not have a probability value
of 1, but 2+2 = 4 does have a probability value of 1. The former does
not happen every time we check the colour of a swan, but the latter
always happens when we add 2+2. Just because we only have access to
knowledge by applying porbabilitic methods (induction, statistics,
evidenced based analysis etc) it does not follow that some of that
knowledge is not always true.
Intuition, therefore, is no less a function of the brain any more than
reasoning is a function of the brain. Thus, it is not a question of
intuition or reasoning but rather what we fill our brains with. And of
course whether we remember when we are wrong as much as when we are right.

Take care

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Intuition or
Reasoning + meeting Edwin Saturday + News

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