Londoner wrote:'What things are and their causal relations' are descriptions of phenomena, not noumena.
Not necessarily, since when we are describing phenomena we are referring to how the noumena appears to us. In other words, because things as they appear to us are intrinsically related and depend of things in themselves, our perceptions can give us keys to knowing how the world of things in themselves works. Unless you thought that things as they appear to our senses are not intrinsically related to things in themselves.
Londoner wrote:It isn't that the words are 'particular constructions of each individual mind'. If that was the case then we couldn't understand each other. On the contrary, words are a tool of communication - for a purpose. If two people use a word like 'real' then it is understood relative to the purpose. So, for example we might agree that 'dreams are real' (people have dreams) but also agree 'dreams are not real' (the experiences in dreams are unlike those we have when we are awake).
This means that if you want to argue that something is 'real' this can only be understood if you explain the context, what you mean by 'real'. But perhaps you can't; perhaps you find you are still including contexts with contradictory meanings. Or perhaps an explanation is circular, you explain the meaning of 'real' using other abstract terms, that also can only be understood in context. The 'real' is that which can be 'verified', things that can be 'verified' are things which are 'real'.
So if we are discussing what is 'real' - as opposed to how we use the word 'real' - we need to pin down what we mean. If we can't, we cannot have the discussion because we don't know what we are discussing.
I already explained quite a few posts back what I defined as "real". To that you responded with the following objections, all inmersed in subjectivism: 1) that "real" cannot be defined, that it's a mere tautology and can't refer to "things in themselves". 2) that all we have access are constructions of the mind and everything "arises from us". To claim something to be real, according to you, is to make a claim about the nature of perception, not of the thing in itself. I gave lenghty explanations of my views opposing that conception, so I won't repeat them now.
Londoner wrote:These references to 'delusions' and 'constructing the entire situation in my mind' serve to depict this exchange as if I was claiming that all our experiences are self-generated. What I am saying is that the character of our experiences, whatever their origin, are the products of our own organs of perception and understanding.
I guess you didn't realize that you just did what you started saying you never do. If experiences are "the products of our own organs of perception and understanding", then they are self-generated.
Londoner wrote:But it doesn't. 'Ergo sum' is not a capital sentence in philosophy and does not make sense on its own. What does that 'therefore' relate to? Does 'therefore cheese' make sense? So, we can drop the 'ergo' and just have the 'sum'; 'I am'.
Of course we can drop the "ergo": "I am" has a full meaning on its own. Now, if you will not agree that this famous sentence, which is said to be part of the beginning of modern Western philosophy, is a capital sentence in philosophy, I shall respect your opinion.
How about "To be or not to be"?
Londoner wrote:Now this superficially resembles other sentences, like 'I eat', but it is different. In 'I eat', the 'I' is different to the 'eat'. Because the two are different we could also say 'I do not eat'. . But we cannot say 'I do not be' or 'I am not I''. This is because the 'being',the 'existing', is already contained in the subject, we cannot introduce the subject 'I' and simultaneously take it away; 'is not'.
You forget that in English, as in all languages, there are non-copulative expressions, like Descartes' famous sentence and even sentences without verbs: "trees, therefore life". We can say "I am" because we can say "I exist" and the negative form will be "I am not". That's the way it's constructed in English, but in Spanish is even more straightforward: "yo soy" the affirmative form and "yo no soy" the negative form.
Londoner wrote:You can also see this if you suppose we were to ask of the person who said 'I am' what this meant, what they were being. They would reply 'I am I'. So we ask, 'And what is I?' They would again reply 'I am I'. They are stuck in this loop because by saying 'I am' they have not said anything.
Again, you are forcing non-copulative expressions to be copulative, ignoring the use of the verb "to be" as "to exist".
Londoner wrote:I am not making this stuff up as I go along; it is mainstream philosophy The use of existence as a predicate features in well known 'ontological arguments'; these also look reasonable on first inspection because they superficially resemble the grammar of normal logic, but that is a trap.
Verbs link the subjects to other expressions and form the predicates. They are also part of the predicates. "To exist" is a verb and forms a predicate.
Londoner wrote:When I write 'I cannot know' that cuts both ways. I can neither know that other people do have an internal life (they are not robots) and I cannot know that they don't.
But as I quoted, you did say that you know about their internal life. This is what is contradictory: you affirm and reaffirm that you don't know, that you cannot know, and all of the sudden you know.
Londoner wrote:You seem to think that I must make an arbitrary decision, join some philosophical school and support one view rather than another, as if 'Idealism' was a sort of cult. That isn't how it works; if we cannot know something then that is the situation. Idealism not what you suggest, it is nuanced, it covers a great range of ideas.
Just the same way you don't find useful categorizing philosophical ideas in schools or doctrines, I don't find useful categorizing them as "mainstream philosophy" or "commonplace of philosophy", as if they were neutral, non-arguable philosophical ideas. And that's precisely a very good reason to categorize them in the schools or doctrines they belong to, so that they don't pretend to be neutral and out of question.
Londoner wrote:As to how I know other people do not have an internal life exactly like my own, it is because they sometimes do things that surprise me, or turn out to know things I don't, or not know things I do. So I hypothesise that other people do have an internal life and one that is like my own in some ways, but not entirely. Don't you?
But you don't know of "real" other people, just the perception on your mind of other people, right? So how can you tell something about "people in themselves"?