Conceptual Methodology

I read this today:

What matters is to be right, not nuanced. Again, sometimes the right position is nuanced, but there’s no reason to assume that from the get-go.

And I fully agree. But it inspired me to develop a methodology for my life. I behave in certain ways when I talk to people or discuss ideas. As a philosopher, you learn some tips and tricks fairly quickly. As a minority (in ethnicity and perspective), you learn to understand other’s perspective before you present your own. So… what is it that I do? I think I do the following:

Avoid taking a strong position on any issues I have not thought about many times before. Some of my best friends have the exact opposite responses, so I think this might be a temperament thing more than a disciplinary thing.

I DO, however, take immediate and very strong positions on irrelevant issues for the purposes of humor and in the hopes of drawing people in to conversation.

Assume major issues cannot be solved or explained by sweeping generalizations, and nuance is the way to go.

I am wary of false essentialisms. Our minds tend to assume there are essential features to every object or kind. But we should take a lesson from the Greeks to not assume this is true of everything. There are NO necessary and sufficient conditions for life, for example. I have an entire chapter on this in my dissertation. I’ll put it up if anybody is interested.

I do try monism first, however. In any concept, it makes sense to check if it is unified first rather than assuming it is disunified. This is because if we assume pluralism, we would miss a deep underlying unity. But the reverse will not do.

Isolate variables. The triumph of the scientific method was the experiment. Before experiments, thinkers were extremely inefficient at isolating variables and checking theories piecemeal.

Assume mechanism and naturalism. There are no spirits controlling the world around me. Everything can be explained using physical processes.

Be respectful.

About Pixel

Pixel Q. Styx refuses to talk about himself. If thou wishest, thou may infer from his blog what thou wishest.

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