Certainty, Experiments & Facts

Eric Watt Forste (arkuat@factory.net)
Fri, 27 Sep 1996 19:56:24 -0700

At 7:11 PM 9/27/96, Reilly Jones wrote:
>I cannot understand this. If something, really I should say someone, affects
>your life, they either a) help you, or b) hinder you. Neutral intentions or
>actions have no effect on your life.

Is it not possible for someone to help you with regard to one aspect of
your values while simultaneously hindering you with regard to some other
aspect of your values?

For instance, you might publicly show me up in an argument by revealing
some fallacy in my thinking, which would hinder me by damaging my
reputation as a cogent thinker while at the same time help me by revealing
the fallacy and allowing me to improve my thinking. Do these two aspects
taken together form an overall help or an overall hindrance? That's a
difficult question... I suspect it would depend on the situation.

But even if I decided it was a hindrance (for instance, because the mistake
in question was not a very important one), I'd probably choose to be
tolerant of such things.

As for your assertions about "only one thing can happen at a time", do you
disagree that there are many computations being carried out in different
parts of the brain simultaneously at any given moment? That is, do you deny
parallelism and think that cognition only occurs at the focus of attention
and that the human brain is not capable of "background processing", as it

Eric Watt Forste <arkuat@pobox.com> http://www.c2.org/~arkuat/