Free Capitalist Network - Community Archive
Mises Community Archive
An online community for fans of Austrian economics and libertarianism, featuring forums, user blogs, and more.

What's the action axiom?

rated by 0 users
This post has 166 Replies | 12 Followers

Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,551
Points 46,635
AJ replied on Thu, Mar 31 2011 1:02 PM

Daniel James Sanchez:

It's pretty obvious when even the anti-teleologist is talking about neuroeconomics that all parties are talking about human action in the "economic" sense..

It seems that, partly, it is the definition of what we want to call economics that is in contention. It seems that StrangeLoop wants to include non-telelogical prediction as part of the field of economics, but the Austrian tradition does not.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,260
Points 61,905
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
Staff
SystemAdministrator

Your mistake seems to be that you are treating the fact that the sound/string-of-letters "action" is sometimes used to describe two different conceptions as if it means that the two conceptions are really one conception treated differently.

"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 4,922
Points 79,590
Autolykos replied on Thu, Mar 31 2011 1:08 PM

Daniel James Sanchez:
It's pretty obvious when even the anti-teleologist is talking about neuroeconomics that all parties are talking about human action in the "economic" sense..

To be honest, I don't think it's that obvious. Some schools of economics seem to consider numbers (e.g. prices, profits/losses, interest rates, growth rates, etc.) as the fundamental units of economic analysis, rather than human individuals.

The keyboard is mightier than the gun.

Non parit potestas ipsius auctoritatem.

Voluntaryism Forum

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,260
Points 61,905
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
Staff
SystemAdministrator

It's not "non-telelogical prediction" if it is attempting to predict teleological events (which all market phenomena are).  And neuroeconomists do want to predict market phenomena (prices, interest rates, etc).

"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
  • | Post Points: 35
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,162
Points 36,965
Moderator
I. Ryan replied on Thu, Mar 31 2011 1:17 PM

Daniel James Sanchez:

It's not "non-telelogical prediction" if it is attempting to predict teleological events (which all market phenomena are).  And neuroeconomists do want to predict market phenomena (prices, interest rates, etc).

But what are the actual observable human behaviors behind the market phenomena?

If the AE people want to try to explain or predict them by modeling them on themselves, while the neuroeconomists want to do so by modeling them strictly as 3D objects, that's fine, right?

Maybe they're using a different definition of "market phenomena" than you. Maybe you're using that word to refer to the teleological model for those observable human behaviors, while perhaps they're using the word to refer to any model for those observables.

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 200 Contributor
Posts 447
Points 8,205

I. Ryan:

Micah71381:

Perhaps I am still not understanding how you define economics then.  Would it be possible to sum up your definition in a sentence or a paragraph?

Yes, I would define economics as modeling other people on yourself to explain or predict market phenonema.

Interesting way to define it.  I would choose to define it, "the science that attempts to explain or predict market phenomena".

I don't have the time (or the urge) to read through that entire document, could you point out the particular section that talks about why it is reasonable to restrict the definition of economics so much?

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,551
Points 46,635
AJ replied on Thu, Mar 31 2011 1:22 PM

Daniel James Sanchez:

Your mistake seems to be that you are treating the fact that the sound/string-of-letters "action" is sometimes used to describe two different conceptions as if it means that the two conceptions are really one conception treated differently.

I am saying that the sound/string-of-letters "action" is used in two different ways: one to describe a bodily movement with the connotation that it is being analyzed in terms of it being purposeful behavior, and another to describe a bodily movement without that connotation. For example, even if I don't ever consider the school bully's fist coming toward me as purposeful behavior, I will still in some quite meaningful everyday sense want to call it human action. The Austrian sense really requires that it be considered in terms of being purposeful behavior. 

It is like with coins. To speak of money in the Austrian sense requires that I perceive the coins as a medium of exchange. Yet the everyday sense of the word coin does not require that. I may say to the train conductor, "Watch out for that coin on the tracks up ahead!" I don't need to be intending anything to the conductor other than that there is a round metal disc on the track ahead (you know, the kind that people shuffle back and forth at shop counters), but I will still call it a coin. Hence coin (or at least money) in the Austrian and everyday sense are different. 

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,162
Points 36,965
Moderator
I. Ryan replied on Thu, Mar 31 2011 1:27 PM

Micah71381:

Interesting way to define it.  I would choose to define it, "the science that attempts to explain or predict market phenomena".

I don't have the time (or the urge) to read through that entire document, could you point out the particular section that talks about why it is reasonable to restrict the definition of economics so much?

This post would be more useful for that purpose.

I would restrict it from any way to explain or predict market phenomena (modeling other people on yourself, modeling them strictly as 3D objects, or whatever) to the teleological way to do so (only modeling them on yourself) simply because one of the classic mistakes in trying to model human behavior is to confuse those two methods.

It would be useful to make sure that we know that modeling other people on ourselves is a whole different science than doing so strictly as 3D objects. It has an entirely different method etc. Mises argued that the economics of his time was totally messed up because of that confusion, I would argue that the linguistics of our time is completely screwed up for the same reason, etc.

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,260
Points 61,905
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
Staff
SystemAdministrator

I. Ryan:

But what are the actual observable human behaviors behind the market phenomena?

If the AE people want to try to explain or predict them by modeling them on themselves, while the neuroeconomists want to do so by modeling them strictly as 3D objects, that's fine, right?

Maybe they're using a different definition of "market phenomena" than you. Maybe you're using that word to refer to the teleological model for those observable human behaviors, while perhaps they're using the word to refer to any model for those observables.

The only "observables" for a drop in an interest rate are teleological observables.  There is nothing in bodily movements alone that says "drop in interest rate".

"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
  • | Post Points: 35
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,162
Points 36,965
Moderator
I. Ryan replied on Thu, Mar 31 2011 1:29 PM

Daniel James Sanchez:

The only "observables" for a drop in an interest rate are teleological observables.  There is nothing in bodily movements alone that says "drop in interest rate".

Then what's a "teleological observable"? A few examples might help.

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,260
Points 61,905
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
Staff
SystemAdministrator

In this case, credit transactions.

"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,162
Points 36,965
Moderator
I. Ryan replied on Thu, Mar 31 2011 1:33 PM

Daniel James Sanchez:

In this case, credit transactions.

But what's there to a credit transaction besides a bunch of bodily movements?

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,551
Points 46,635
AJ replied on Thu, Mar 31 2011 1:35 PM

Daniel James Sanchez:

It's not "non-telelogical prediction" if it is attempting to predict teleological events (which all market phenomena are).  And neuroeconomists do want to predict market phenomena (prices, interest rates, etc).

But if teleology is just a mode of analysis - a perspective to take - then prices [in the everyday sense] don't need to be teleological. Indeed I can see a price as just another feature of the world, no different than a rock that happens to be in my path. The bottom line is I want to predict what number I will have enter into a text box on a web form in order to buy a bar of silver tomorrow. It may be most useful for me to predict that number using teleology, and hence to be viewing it as a teleological phenonenon, but that doesn't all by itself preclude the possibility that I could predict it to some useful degree without doing any teleological analysis, and never once considering it as a teleological phenomenon.

Maybe then you wouldn't want to call it a price, because again the Austrian meaning requires that the actor consider it a teleological phenomenon in order to consider it as a price. But I would still want to call it a price in everyday talk, as the word is still useful in conveying the meaning of "the number I have to enter in the text box on the web form in order to ensure that a bar of silver shows up at my door."

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,260
Points 61,905
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
Staff
SystemAdministrator

One person purposively putting money in the control of another person in the anticipation that the other person will purposively put more money in his control at a later date: plus the second person purposively making known to the first person that he intends to do so.

"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
  • | Post Points: 35
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,162
Points 36,965
Moderator
I. Ryan replied on Thu, Mar 31 2011 1:44 PM

Daniel James Sanchez:

One person purposively putting money in the control of another person in the anticipation that the other person will purposively put more money in his control at a later date: plus the second person purposively making known to the first person that he intends to do so.

But do you actually observe their thoughts (e.g., their intentions)? All you observe are a bunch of bodily movements.

If you want to try to explain or predict those bodily movements (the only actual observables here!) by modeling them on the example of your own consciousness, while the neuroeconomists want to do so by modeling them strictly as 3D objects, that's okay, right?

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 4,922
Points 79,590
Autolykos replied on Thu, Mar 31 2011 1:45 PM

More to the point of the OP - is it just me, or does the action axiom depend upon an even more fundamental axiom, which I'd call "the teleological axiom"? Maybe others in this thread have already said this, just not in the same way?

The keyboard is mightier than the gun.

Non parit potestas ipsius auctoritatem.

Voluntaryism Forum

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,551
Points 46,635
AJ replied on Thu, Mar 31 2011 1:47 PM

Daniel James Sanchez:
There is nothing in bodily movements alone that says "drop in interest rate".

Someone punching a number into a computer and pressing the Enter key?

If those bodily movements alone are not enough, it could only be because a drop in the interest rate is only a drop in the interest rate in AE if a given observer considers it in that fashion - just like a coin is only money if the actor whose perspective we are considering views it as a medium for trade (rather than a metal disc). In that case, we again have a split where the term "drop in the interest rate" is interpreted as either (1) the everyday sense of bodily movements (or Ben Bernanke's lips flapping) without any teleological view necessarily being taken, or (2) the Austrian sense where it only really qualifies as a "drop in the interest rate" if the actor in question perceives it as the purposive action of another actor.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,260
Points 61,905
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
Staff
SystemAdministrator

I. Ryan:

Daniel James Sanchez:

One person purposively putting money in the control of another person in the anticipation that the other person will purposively put more money in his control at a later date: plus the second person purposively making known to the first person that he intends to do so.

But you don't actually observe their thoughts (e.g., their intentions), right? All you observe are a bunch of bodily movements.

If you want to try to explain or predict those bodily movements (the only actual observables here!) by modeling them on the example of your own consciousness, while the neuroeconomists want to do so by modeling them strictly as 3D objects, that's okay, right?

 
All you sense are bodily movements.  Strictly speaking you don't even sense that.  All you sense are blobs of color moving in 2D space.
 
The neuroeconomist in trying to predict similar bodily motions (or color blob movements) isn't predicting anything credit transaction-y or interest rate-y.  A nearly identical credit transaction will almost certainly be associated with a vastly different set of particle motions and color blob movments.  And neureconomists aren't interested in bodily motions and color blob movements simply for their topographical or spectographical natures.
 
And I don't want to predict bodily movements by my modeling them on the example of my consciousness.  If I want a loan, I'm not concerned with whether the lender is visible in profile or not, wearing a red sweater or a green sweater, giving it to me with a swipe of a card or a click of a button, or if he's clicking a button on his computer while he's at his desk or tapping the screen on his iPhone while he's on a stairmaster.  I am concerned with the action of lending me money, which can only be apprehended teleologically.
"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
  • | Post Points: 35
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,260
Points 61,905
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
Staff
SystemAdministrator

AJ:
(1) the everyday sense of bodily movements (or Ben Bernanke's lips flapping) without any teleological view necessarily being taken, or (2) the Austrian sense where it only really qualifies as a "drop in the interest rate" if the actor in question perceives it as the purposive action of another actor.

There is nothing novel about teleological language.  Again what you keep calling the "Austrian" sense is the everyday sense of these ideas.

And see my response to I. Ryan.  Without the teleological view, there is absolutely nothing "drop in the interest rate"-ish about the mere visuals associated with a bald bearded man's lips flapping.

"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
  • | Post Points: 35
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,162
Points 36,965
Moderator
I. Ryan replied on Thu, Mar 31 2011 2:19 PM

Daniel James Sanchez:

All you sense are bodily movements.  Strictly speaking you don't even sense that.  All you sense are blobs of color moving in 2D space.

The neuroeconomist in trying to predict similar bodily motions (or color blob movements) isn't predicting anything credit transaction-y or interest rate-y.  A nearly identical credit transaction will almost certainly be associated with a vastly different set of particle motions and color blob movments.  And neureconomists aren't interested in bodily motions and color blob movements simply for their topographical or spectographical natures.

And I don't want to predict bodily movements by my modeling them on the example of my consciousness.  If I want a loan, I'm not concerned with whether the lender is visible in profile or not, wearing a red sweater or a green sweater, giving it to me with a swipe of a card or a click of a button, or if he's clicking a button on his computer while he's at his desk or tapping the screen on his iPhone while he's on a stairmaster.  I am concerned with the action of lending me money, which can only be apprehended teleologically.

I might want to drive a car without caring about its color or whatever.

And why would you want the loan in that example? Maybe so later you could type a number on your computer and then the next day find a box of stuff on your front step?

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,551
Points 46,635
AJ replied on Thu, Mar 31 2011 2:22 PM

Daniel James Sanchez:
AJ:
(1) the everyday sense of bodily movements (or Ben Bernanke's lips flapping) without any teleological view necessarily being taken, or (2) the Austrian sense where it only really qualifies as a "drop in the interest rate" if the actor in question perceives it as the purposive action of another actor.

There is nothing novel about teleological language.  Again what you keep calling the "Austrian" sense is the everyday sense of these ideas.

You mean "...is one of the everyday senses..."

There's nothing novel about teleological language, but there is something novel about a field where such terms are only considered proper when they are strictly teleological. The everyday sense allows for both teleological and non-teleological senses:

 

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,260
Points 61,905
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
Staff
SystemAdministrator

I. Ryan:

I might want to drive a car without caring about its color or whatever.

What's your point?

 

I. Ryan:

 

And why would you want the loan in that example? Maybe so later you could type a number on your computer and then the next day find a box of stuff on your front step?

 
 
Why does it matter?  Whatever my purpose for the loan, I still need to apply teleology to understand whether or not the person is lending to me when "lending to me" might be associated with any one of trillions of different sensation-bundles which, considered only as sensation-bundles, have no topographical or spectographical rhyme or reason.  However, introducing my purpose for the loan would only require even more teleological understanding.  I wouldn't want a loan so that the sensation bundle associated with a rectangular prism manifests before my eyes; I want it to acquire goods and services.
"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,551
Points 46,635
AJ replied on Thu, Mar 31 2011 2:30 PM

Daniel James Sanchez:
I am concerned with the action of lending me money, which can only be apprehended teleologically.

Really? I am only concerned with having the money show up in my account. 

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,260
Points 61,905
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
Staff
SystemAdministrator

AJ:
The everyday sense allows for both teleological and non-teleological senses:

How can one sense allow for two senses and still be one sense?

"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 200 Contributor
Posts 447
Points 8,205

You really like your MS Paint don't you?  ;)  I have to admit, the pictures are a nice change to the usual walls of text that describe the same topic as a picture could.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,162
Points 36,965
Moderator
I. Ryan replied on Thu, Mar 31 2011 2:37 PM

Daniel James Sanchez:

What's your point?

I couldn't figure out why it mattered that you wouldn't care about a bunch of stuff.

Daniel James Sanchez:

Why does it matter?  Whatever my purpose for the loan, I still need to apply teleology to understand whether or not the person is lending to me when "lending to me" might be associated with any one of trillions of different sensation-bundles which, considered only as sensation-bundles, have no topographical or spectographical rhyme or reason.  However, introducing my purpose for the loan would only require even more teleological understanding.  I wouldn't want a loan so that the sensation bundle associated with a rectangular prism manifests before my eyes; I want it to acquire goods and services.

There's an ambiguity to deal with here:

  • your purposeful behavior vs. our purposeful behavior

Your purpose for the loan is an observable for you, but the purpose of the person lending you the money is just how you model their behavior.

So why does it matter? What AJ said. He's only concerned with the money showing up in his account (seeing numbers on a screen, knowing that pressing a certain key would cause something else, etc). So what are you concerned with? I'm not sure what it would mean to be concerned with "the action". Isn't it the money showing up in your account that you're worried about?

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,260
Points 61,905
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
Staff
SystemAdministrator

AJ:

Daniel James Sanchez:
I am concerned with the action of lending me money, which can only be apprehended teleologically.

Really? I am only concerned with having the money show up in my account. 

I am concerned with both: the former as a means to the end of the latter.  But I can only comprehend the means by viewing it teleologically, because the means I'm looking for, again, might come in any one of trillions of different sensation-bundles which have no topographical or spectographical rhymre or reason.

And furthermore, I can only undestand money in the terms in which I'm interested in it in the first place (as near-universal medium of exchange) teleologically.

"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
  • | Post Points: 50
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,551
Points 46,635
AJ replied on Thu, Mar 31 2011 2:37 PM

Daniel James Sanchez:
Without the teleological view, there is absolutely nothing "drop in the interest rate"-ish about the mere visuals associated with a bald bearded man's lips flapping.

Yet someone watching Ben Bernanke make his pronouncement will indeed perceive that the interest rate has dropped, whether he thinks Ben is really a robot or whatever. 

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,162
Points 36,965
Moderator
I. Ryan replied on Thu, Mar 31 2011 2:40 PM

Daniel James Sanchez:

I am concerned with both: the former as a means to the end of the latter.  But I can only comprehend the means by viewing it teleologically, because the means I'm looking for, again, might come in any one of trillions of different sensation-bundles which have no topographical or spectographical rhymre or reason.

This is a dumb example, but what if all you knew was that saying "lend me the money or die" would get you the money in your account? Maybe you don't know English or anything; all you know is that sequence of sounds seems to make the numbers appear on your screen later.

Daniel James Sanchez:

And furthermore, I can only undestand money in the terms in which I'm interested in it in the first place (as near-universal medium of exchange) teleologically.

By definition, right?

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,551
Points 46,635
AJ replied on Thu, Mar 31 2011 2:43 PM

Daniel James Sanchez:

AJ:
The everyday sense allows for both teleological and non-teleological senses:

How can one sense allow for two senses and still be one sense?

It would be clearer if I had said, "There is an everyday sense that doesn't  distinguish between teleological and non-teleological cases."

Just like the everyday sense of the word "kill" does not distinguish between intentional and unintentional killing. It would be as if there is a special field where kill always means murder, but in the everyday sense it covers both murder and accidental killing.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,260
Points 61,905
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
Staff
SystemAdministrator

I. Ryan:
I couldn't figure out why it mattered that you wouldn't care about a bunch of stuff.

You said that regarding a credit transaction I was only concerned with bodily movements, and I was explaining how I was not.

 

I. Ryan:
Your purpose for the loan is an observable for you, but the purpose of the person lending you the money is just how you model their behavior.

 

Observations regarding other people's purposes and actions are not apodictically certain, but they are observations nonetheless.

I. Ryan:
So why does it matter? What AJ said. He's only concerned with the money showing up in his account (seeing numbers on a screen, knowing that pressing a certain key would cause something else, etc). So what are you concerned with? I'm not sure what it would mean to be concerned with "the action". Isn't it the money showing up in your account that you're worried about?

See my response to AJ.

"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,260
Points 61,905
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
Staff
SystemAdministrator

AJ:
Yet someone watching Ben Bernanke make his pronouncement will indeed perceive that the interest rate has dropped, whether he thinks Ben is really a robot or whatever. 

Yes, because of his teleological interpretation of the event.

"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,162
Points 36,965
Moderator
I. Ryan replied on Thu, Mar 31 2011 2:46 PM

Daniel James Sanchez:

Observations regarding other people's purposes and actions are not apodictically certain, but they are observations nonetheless.

Then you're using a different definition of "observable" than I am.

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,260
Points 61,905
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
Staff
SystemAdministrator

I. Ryan:
This is a dumb example, but what if all you knew was that saying "lend me the money or die" would get you the money in your account? Maybe you don't know English or anything; all you know is that sequence of sounds seems to make the numbers appear on your screen later.

If I didn't think the sounds was influencing the purposive action of another person, then I would be getting the resource by, for all I know in the situation, non-interhuman means, like if I was digging up gold.  What's your point?

I. Ryan:
By definition, right?

Yes, money described by that definition is what I'm interested in.

"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,551
Points 46,635
AJ replied on Thu, Mar 31 2011 3:00 PM

Daniel James Sanchez:

AJ:

Daniel James Sanchez:
I am concerned with the action of lending me money, which can only be apprehended teleologically.

Really? I am only concerned with having the money show up in my account. 

I am concerned with both: the former as a means to the end of the latter.  But I can only comprehend the means by viewing it teleologically, because the means I'm looking for, again, might come in any one of trillions of different sensation-bundles which have no topographical or spectographical rhymre or reason.

So you would not be happy to get more money in your account even if you couldn't tell how anyone decided to give it to you? Besides, the "visuals" thing is not the same as "predicting movements." I believe StrangeLoop is saying there may be other ways to predict what someone will do. That doesn't mean a specific movement or a specific visual necessarily. It could be something like, "They will do something that gets money put in my account." 

The practical applications of this are myriad and daily: I can predict that a female will come home with me with high accuracy if I hear certain noises from her. I need not - and don't - predict specific concrete visuals of her walking with me to a certain station and doing a certain thing, nor specific movements, other than the general change in location to my room. Yet I can predict this entirely through statistics: it has worked every time so far, so I am pretty confident it will work again. I don't need to know or ever consider the process teleologically. I can entirely comprehend the means without any teleological consideration at all. All I need is, "It worked before many times, so it will probably work this time."

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,162
Points 36,965
Moderator
I. Ryan replied on Thu, Mar 31 2011 3:04 PM

Daniel James Sanchez:

If I didn't think the sounds was influencing the purposive action of another person, then I would be getting the resource by, for all I know in the situation, non-interhuman means, like if I was digging up gold.  What's your point?

My point was simply to get it back to this post:

I. Ryan:

If you want to try to explain or predict those bodily movements (the only actual observables here!) by modeling them on the example of your own consciousness, while the neuroeconomists want to do so by modeling them strictly as 3D objects, that's okay, right?

Do you (still?) disagree?

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,551
Points 46,635
AJ replied on Thu, Mar 31 2011 3:06 PM

Daniel James Sanchez:

AJ:
Yet someone watching Ben Bernanke make his pronouncement will indeed perceive that the interest rate has dropped, whether he thinks Ben is really a robot or whatever. 

Yes, because of his teleological interpretation of the event.

Or because his coworkers and boss told him that when the robot "says" the interest rate has dropped, that means it has dropped. To make it even easier, we could imagine someone who has a little interest rate widget on his desktop, and all he knows is that when the number changes the interest rate has changed. For all he knows it is set by computer, weather patterns, etc.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,260
Points 61,905
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
Staff
SystemAdministrator

AJ:
It would be clearer if I had said, "There is an everyday sense that doesn't  distinguish between teleological and non-teleological cases."

But the everday sense of "drop in the interest rate" is not...

  • the mere fact that a bald bearded man flapping his lips, or maybe
  • the mere sounds that happen to be associated with any of the billions of ways it could be phrased on the radio or maybe
  • the mere patterns of black and white that happen to be associated with any of the billions of ways it could appear in newsprint or maybe
  • any of the other sensation-bundles through which the news might appear

The everyday sense is "the persons who have the power to make borrowing cheaper for me have done so, and now I can expect to be able to acquire money (media of exchange) in exchange for granting a claim for less money than I would have had to before."

"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,551
Points 46,635
AJ replied on Thu, Mar 31 2011 3:23 PM

Daniel James Sanchez:

AJ:
It would be clearer if I had said, "There is an everyday sense that doesn't  distinguish between teleological and non-teleological cases."

But the everday sense of "drop in the interest rate" is not...

  • the mere fact that a bald bearded man flapping his lips, or maybe
  • the mere sounds that happen to be associated with any of the billions of ways it could be phrased on the radio or maybe
  • the mere patterns of black and white that happen to be associated with any of the billions of ways it could appear in newsprint or maybe
  • any of the other sensation-bundles through which the news might appear

The everyday sense is "the persons who have the power to make borrowing cheaper for me have done so, and now I can expect to be able to acquire money (media of exchange) in exchange for granting a claim for less money than I would have had to before."

The everyday sense need only include what is left after crossing out the part I did. I don't know where you're getting the bullet points from (besides the first one). 

I think you're missing the fundamental point, which is that it is only how a given actor perceives the action that matters. Even if he perceives what he receives as money (medium of exchange), he need not perceive the steps that led to him receiving that money as teleological actions per se.

As you noted above, he could have mined it (or thought he did, when he was really swinging his pick and the people that lived in the cave were getting scared and throwing gold at him). He could have noticed that people drop their wallets when he points a gun at them. If he were normal and reasonable, he would probably immediately get a good teleological theory of why, so he could better predict that, say, a guy with a bigger gun would not necessarily drop his wallet. But it is conceivable - far fetched, yes, but we are arguing whether it is possible in principle - that he will only think in terms of simple statistical results, treating everyone, effectively, as if they were money trees and as if pointing a gun at them is the magic switch that makes their fruit drop to the ground. If he does so, indeed, he is not treating the people as humans or as teleological agents, but that does not mean he is not considering the money as a medium of exchange that he can later use to get stuff he wants.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,551
Points 46,635
AJ replied on Thu, Mar 31 2011 3:35 PM

Daniel James Sanchez:
And furthermore, I can only undestand money in the terms in which I'm interested in it in the first place (as near-universal medium of exchange) teleologically.

It is as if you are saying here that since you can only understand money teleologically (for your purchases), you can therefore only understand the obtaining of money teleologically. But of course you could have just picked it up off the ground, etc. Or you yell into a well and a gold dubloon pops out. Every time! So you think maybe someone is down there. But at other times it seems so mechanical you wonder if your voice isn't just triggering some automatic device that's shooting the gold up to you. You go back and forth, thinking it might be one or the other. You vacillate between analyzing the well phenomenon as mechanical or purposeful. Later you find out it really just a weird gold-dispensing machine. Does that mean the gold isn't money anymore? Could you still only comprehend the means by viewing it teleologically?

  • | Post Points: 5
Previous | Next
Page 4 of 5 (167 items) < Previous 1 2 3 4 5 Next > | RSS