Something I can’t get enough of…

quantum mechanics

(Photo credit: Plucker)

No, I don’t mean the latest Japanese gameshows.

No, I’m talking about what I call armchair skepticism.


Good old sophistry.

I can’t get enough of it.

Ordinary language arguments against ordinary language.

Reasoned critiques of critical thought.

Advisements to heed those whose vastly superior insight into reality enjoins us to ignore reality and all mortal authority.

Sensible, sober reminders not to take common sense too seriously.

Naturalistic arguments for intellectual realism.

Yep, I eat it up.

And then there’s the undying quantum mechanics (QM) bilocation shtick.

I wonder how physicists came to accept the results and implications of QM….

Oh, right, now I recall: by following the empirical evidence, making it all as theoretically consistent as possible, subjecting it all to peer critique, and then making a logical choice about where to go from here, theoretically.

QM may have made us face bilocation outside of certain Catholic saints, but what it hasn’t delivered us from is plain logic. Given the results of physical experimentation, we can either follow things to their conclusion, or ignore it and observe our current models. In that sense, bilocation is peanuts. Truly rejecting common sense would entail biconceptualism, or the old Averroist “double-truth” heresy. Now that was giving it to common sense, you skeptical slackers! Common sense dictates that either QM is true of the world or it’s not. QM may say quanta are of two locations, but, curiously enough, its proponents are not of two minds about it.

REALISM IS NOT SOLIPSISM. REALISM IS NOT PHENOMENALISM. Realist thinkers give common sense its due, as a first principle, but that hardly means they are limited solely to the deliverances of common thought (“common” in the German sense of ordinär, or the older sense of “mean” in English).

Just look at the works Kit Fine, for example, has authored. Does his work really seem to be common sense just muttering to itself? Or consider Inwagen’s ontology of particles and persons. Or Ruder Baker’s constitution ontology. Or Olson’s animalism. Or, hell, even the Stagirite‘s trusty old mind-blowing, world-shaping metaphysics. If that’s where common sense can get us, there’s nothing very common about it.

Armchair pseudo-skeptics are such boobs. Exactly like the sophists of old, they seem to use philosophy like it’s a trick learned in Men’s Health. “How to Mind-F**k Anybody, and Get Washboard Abs By Flexing Dialectical Nuts!”

Why not go the whole hog and deny we’re actually, like, ya know, really communicating at all, and stuff? At least I could respect that.


About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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