Monday, September 24, 2012

One Cannot Just Pick What to Believe

If I see red, then I see red. No matter how much I insist that I see blue, I know that it is red. The data is readily available, and even if I say, "I am looking at a blue expanse," I will know that I am lying. If it is my will that the expanse be blue, I will continue to see red, and I will know that I am lying if I say otherwise. Even if it is critical to the preservation of the species that the expanse be blue, I will continue to see red. I cannot deny it.

We can not deny what we know to be true. This must be recognized before you can understand how Epistemic Lenses work. Someone might suppose that Epistemic Lenses are a kind of epistemological anarchy; indeed there is chaos and anarchy in them, but they are not chaos through and through. I cannot look at a red point in the visual field and honestly say that I see blue. Rather, Lenses recognize that there is a disconnect between perception and reality, and in that disconnect we have no facts to appeal to that tell us how to interpret empirical data, let alone how to make ethical, aesthetic, or religious judgments. The data itself comes from outside of us, it is beyond our control and we know that we are lying if we misrepresent it. The framework, though, the axioms and the preferences (the intuitions and the loves) do not come from out there and for that reason we are free to intuit and to love as our nature dictates.

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