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Alien philosophy! 100% PROOF of Rationality??

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posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 10:40 PM
[Please excuse the thread title; I like my little jokes]

While philosophising about the nature of this philosophy forum, I came up with a question that could possibly be addressed in a unique manner here, on ATS:

Would alien philosophy be different than human philosophy? What assumptions in our philosophy are human-specific?

I started to do a little research, and found out about the Brookings Report:

While the discovery of intelligent life in other parts of the universe is not likely in the immediate future, it could nevertheless happen at any time. Whenever it does occur its consequences for earth attitudes and values may be profound. Hence a long-term research effort, which would aid in preparing for this possibility, could usefully begin with:
  • A continuing determination of emotional and intellectual understanding and attitudes regarding the possibility and consequences of discovering intelligent extraterrestrial life.

Which seemed sort of obvious. I decided to look to see if any philosophers were consulted when writing the report:

The Brookings Institution is particularly indebted to the following people who took time out of their busy schedules to review specific sections of the draft report: ...Charles Morris, Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Florida

And I found this page about the work of Charles Morris. Here's an excerpt [my emphasis added]:

The non-reductive and pluralistic naturalism of pragmatism is evident in Morris’s efforts to construct a theory of language and signs. The scientific method, applied to all areas of inquiry, produces knowledge about humans and their environment which aids with philosophical questions. Neither philosophy alone, nor any single science’s knowledge, can determine the reality of anything, including the nature of meaning, signs, and language. Morris inherited this perspective towards philosophical problems from earlier pragmatists. The psychological functionalism developed by Dewey, Mead, and James Angell at Chicago during the late 1890s synthesized the latest scientific knowledge into a theory of mind inspired by evolution: all aspects of mind are functions of purposive organic activity, explained by their survival value. Morris defended functionalism against its rivals in Six Theories of Mind (Morris 1932), and during the 1930s he labeled his own version as the “neo-pragmatism” advancing the movement.

Also committed to the pragmatist view, emphasized particularly by Peirce, that intelligence essentially involves the creation and proper functioning of signs, Morris focused on their nature. Biology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and linguistics together contribute to semiotics: the study of semiosis or the use of signs. To be a legitimate scientific field in its own right, semiotics must define its subject matter, the nature of signs, and delimit its methodological orientation to the objectively available evidence. Morris, following Mead, accordingly adopted the standpoint of pragmatic social behaviourism towards signs. The meaning of signs consists in their practical use; the practical use of signs is embedded in the behavioural habits of organisms; and complex signs and language arise in the social conduct of humans.

Which seemed kind of interesting! So, looking at this type of pragmatic approach, are our concepts of truth, science, and philosophy necessarily human-centric?

Would extra-terrestrial philosophy necessarily reflect their biological and sociological nature?

What if our dichotomous views of 'true' and 'false', and our objective approaches to rational philosophy are determined by our nature? Would an alien species, without the left-brain / right-brain biology of humans have different types of philosophy? What about aliens who are sociologically organized into some sort of 'hive-mind'?

If an 'advanced' alien species, with such differences, and a much larger recorded history than our own, were to conclude that the rational, objective way that we, and our scientific philosophy, view the world was, in fact, 'correct', would that disprove Morris's theses?

In short: could alien life give us 100% proof of rationality?

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 11:33 PM
Errr....don't forget that there is a unique and individual philosophy for each of the 600 billion+ minds that occupy this ball of dirt!

To say that an alien (singular, plural or whatever) philosophy would be different is "bleedin obvious" to me.

Anyway, this is purely and simply about "human" philosophy as it is our concept of an alien philosophy that is being applied here.

Only if "they" were part of our world would we then be able to say...."tell me about your mothers?".
until then...let's just worry about ourselves eh.

Any concepts or opinions we could form upon "others" thinking could all be blown out of the water in the first five minutes.....confusion would make it difficult to understand further. If we were to have any chance at all of understanding another "being", first we must understand ourselves.

Interesting thread though
will see where it leads, nice one.

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 11:43 PM
reply to post by Ian McLean

Well if they had radically different sense organs, I would expect differing philosophical modalities reflecting the shape of the data trees derived via said organs.
I think if we smelled as well as dogs can smell, our philosophical tradition would be less binary/Aristotelian and more additive/fuzzy logic, to give an example.

posted on Jun, 19 2008 @ 07:54 AM
Aww... what, no one has any interesting stories about how channeled aliens from Sirius told them we need to 'smell the world differently'?

Maybe my opening post was too complex or wordy... too many glazed eyeballs.

How about the idea that the reason Boolean true/false logic (fundamental to the scientific method, by the way) is so appealing to humans is because the 'logic-processing' part of our brains is essentially split down the middle, into left/right hemispheres?

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