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Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by getbent, Nov 7, 2012.
the phrase 'it's all academic' always fazed me
The answer is...both! Take the good analogy previously given of the mental estimate of the product of two numbers and the calculated result. There are problems we simply cannot solve, things we cannot build, technologies that would not exist, etc. without empirical knowledge. The solutions are just too complex and multifaceted. But! You still need reason or "feel" to understand (and question when necessary) the results to make them more reliable.
Larry wrote "I wonder if when my ear takes over, I am engaging in an even deeper form of math, the kind that I cannot express in words or equations." I really like this statement.
IMO, we are all empiricists at some level, some way deeper than others. Languages (including the language of math) are usually inadequate to describe what is happening in our thoughts, and so we resort to vague definitions of "feeling" rather than try and expand the language. If someone appears "intellectual" to you, then it is merely because he/she has a bigger vocabulary (not just of the English language, but in all forms of communication, including models, symbols, abstracts, analogies, etc.), and he/she can use these tools to communicate deeper thoughts. If my motives and actions become difficult to explain rationally (including to myself), then we resort to calling them "actions based on feelings" and "flying by the seat of my pants", etc. In that case, it's almost as if we are saying there is some unknowable randomness to thought. There isn't. It might be unknowable because it is too complicated to truly understand intellectually, but it is not random. There is a *reason* I feel the way do, it just might take some math that hasn't been invented yet in order to describe why.
I heartily recommend Coulson Whitehead's _The Intuitionist_, where this debate plays out among elevator inspectors.
yes, don't shoot the theorist, he's doing the best he can
Educated "feel" is the starting point for most theoretical physicists. They start with a theory that usually comes from a combination of experience in their particular field and the subsequent instinctive questioning that comes from a depth of knowledge.
You could probably even say the same of "genius" musicians - Mozart was only able to come up with new musical ideas because he already understood and had learned all the old ideas.
At that point, you can begin to question what is already known and develop new ideas that are, on the surface, instinctual but actually come from a mixture of experience and a desire to experiment married with the understanding to do it successfully.
You can only have intellectual feel for something if you are knowledgeable enough to have a starting point from which to feel.
Cool, I had to use the dictionary twice...
I'd rather hear their take on "common sense".
IMHO, "feel" dictates ones current state of being directly, which affects their thought processes. Or "feel" in a technicians sense can be a mixture of common sense and learned knowledge... on some things other peoples experience can come in handy...
I use to think that way... One expensive diesel engine ago... Torque wrenches (good ones) rule!
Praxis, praxis, praxis.
Praxis makes perfect.
Here's a thought about this.
Whenever a there's a disussion about tuning a piano here, some people say "Why don't they just use a tuner?" and others explain the concept of stretch tuning.
Then I ask myself "Why do we tend to see a tuner as more valid than our ears?". Sure, we can write the result down as definite numbers BUT we are talking about something that we will listen to, not watch. Sure, it's all math, but this is math meant for listening, not to behold as numbers.
This could be seen as empirical vs. feel, but is it really? In this case I'd be prepared to see the listen-and-feel-guy as just as empirical as, if not more than, the watch-the-tuner-guy. It's just a matter of using different senses for similar results, but the listen-and-feel-guy uses the sense that the result is meant to please.
Oh, and the listen-and-feel-guy's piano will probably sound better.
I agree entirely. The more I do something (anything) the better my "instincts" become.
History is an interesting one, not that i know much about it, yet i hear a lot of interpretation, guesswork, revision, etc. goes on there.
Watched something on tv yesterday on Alexander the Great, and they were trying to prove that they didn't wear bronze armour, but in fact linen armour, and as they said, the best way to find out was to make and test said materials.
Eg. an arrow went straight through their bronze breastplate, admittedly it did look quite thin
There's a lot of processing that goes on at the sub-rational level. Gut feel. Call the results of that processing intuition or instinct.
it seems most of what we do is subconscious, yet you can't have the sub without the conscious
whatever that means
My gut reaction is that empiricism is a path of folly, but my head reminds me that experience has shown that it has always worked for me...
Only a deed can become a work of art.
My Dad called music "art/science". He was right.
this is what I have concluded (at least for now)
someone above mentioned 'common sense'... that term generally gets bandied about as something good, unfortunately, it is a perception that has not been borne out by the data.... the studies of 'common sense' and the efficacy of relying on it... don't turn out like we want to think.
Most times what appears to us as common sense is really just confused confirmation bias....
Perhaps ‘feel’ is processing data that can’t be articulated easily or least not immediately. Probably this has been brought up already. I don't have the time to read this thread right now. But it is the way I often work.