Who- why- where are we ?

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Conde Lucanor
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Re: Who- why- where are we ?

Postby Conde Lucanor » Sat Apr 15, 2017 11:15 pm

Londoner wrote:There are no logical consequences to saying you can't know something. You only start doing logic once you have made an assumption that something is either true (or false).

That's simply not true. And of course there are logical consequences to saying you can't know something. Didn't Descartes start by rejecting all certainties and then proceeding to claim the one thing he could be certain of? Doesn't agnosticism have logical consequences? Doesn't skepticism?

Londoner wrote:If 'there is (or there isn't) a noumenal world behind phenomena' was an empirical question, then we couldn't answer it empirically because empiricism is about phenomena. If you claim to be in a position to know, then it must be on the basis of non-empirical evidence.

I must remind you that it was you who introduced the problem as stated:

Londoner wrote:If we posit there is a noumenal world behind phenomena, then by definition phenomena are 'related' to the noumenal, but the point is we do not - cannot - know how.


Now I shall ask you: were you approaching the problem empirically or any other way?

Londoner wrote:I notice that in your last reply you bring in Plato's cave! As I wrote last time, are you sure you are a materialist?

I brought a case to which everyone is familiar, but I never gave a reason to believe I subscribed to Plato's view. I can use the trolley problem and not necessarily I must subscribe to the original intention of its proponents.

Londoner wrote:I don't understand why you think 'claims #1 and #2 (there is, or isn't, a noumenal world) are posited as claims we are certain of'.

Any propositional statement with the intention of asserting a truth implies the firm belief from the one who makes the claim. Both claims can be either true or false, but not at the same time, because they contradict each other.

Londoner wrote:Nor do I understand why you write that Claim #3 (that we cannot know) does not deny them. You cannot both assume you know something and also that you don't.

I clearly explained that it implied acknowledgement of "one of them being true or false".

I never talked about "assume", which is not taking a firm position at all. You either subscribe to claim 1, 2 or 3 and advocate for your choice as hard as you want to. I you can't subscribe to any of such propositions, you can say so and proceed to explain to what you subscribe to. I guess one day we will find out.

Londoner wrote:And I would add that in the case of the options you offered, (there is or isn't a noumenal world, or we don't know), they are actually all equally meaningless because we have no idea what the word 'noumenal' refers to.


That completely contradicts the statement you provided and from which these options originated:

Londoner wrote:If we posit there is a noumenal world behind phenomena, then by definition phenomena are 'related' to the noumenal, but the point is we do not - cannot - know how.


Are you saying now that your own statement was meaningless and we don't know what you were referring to?

Londoner wrote:Although we cannot be certain about anything, we must still...

I thought that "there are no logical consequences to saying you can't know something." But anyway...all that follows after that in your post is conditioned by that one statement of "we cannot be certain about anything", implying that all of that is a mere assumption, an act of faith, grounded on nothing else but our desire to believe it. Anything could be, including the notion that all that we perceive is directly related to the underlying order of things, prior to our perception. So, if we were to remain faithful to your claim, it wouldn't be that "we must still create a model", but that "we can still create a model..."

Londoner wrote:
Conde Lucanor wrote:And even more, by accepting the claim above, you are also acknowledging that there's a connection between noumena and phenomena, that the first one determines the latter, and that it is the reason why we can assert that there is a noumena
.

Yes, I acknowledge the connection in that I understand that is what the word 'noumena' means. I also understand what 'angel' is supposed to mean, but it doesn't follow that I must therefore assert angels exist, or even agree that the concept of an angel is clear or comprehensible.
.
But that's exactly what you did. You said that was the reason we could posit the existence of noumena:

Londoner wrote:the position I have been arguing throughout; that because some phenomena exhibit a regularity and independence from our will we can posit there is a noumenal world

Londoner wrote:
A dead person saying 'I live' is unusual outside horror films but it is perfectly comprehensible. We understand the monster lives in a sense, but not in the usual sense. 'Live' supplies the predicate. Similarly, if we asked the person 'Are you alive?' and they answered 'I am' then we understand the 'am' is short for 'am alive'.

If you want to use Hollywood as a criteria for the validity of sentences, OK. Me might consider Shakespeare plays, as well.

Londoner wrote:
Conde Lucanor wrote:What refers to something is the predicate. That which it refers to is the subject. All of the phrases above had a subject and a predicate, so they had meaning. You are left then only with the possibility that the verb had no object to which the action is directed, but there are intransitive verbs which still convey full meaning.


Not if the intransitive verb contradicts the existence of its subject. 'We didn't talk' has subject, but We weren't we does not.

You're just entangled with grammar, not with a real philosophical problem. As I explained before, in Spanish grammar you will find a construction which is perfectly consistent with the verb "to be" in non-copulative sentences: "yo soy" and "yo no soy" have subjects and predicates.

Londoner wrote:
Conde Lucanor wrote:You can't be a materialist without being a realist. Materialists are monistic, acknowledging one physical world, which is experienced through the senses.


You think there are two worlds, the one which is experienced through the senses and also another world behind that world.

The only advocacy of other worlds besides the physical we have seen lately in this thread is yours. I have only advocated for the one and only world. The fact that we can represent that world in our minds does not mean it is a different realm, the same way that I will not support the view that all that happens in a computer is an ontological "virtual world".

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Re: Who- why- where are we ?

Postby Belinda » Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:59 am

Conde Lucanor wrote:

If it helps, I'll quote from a philosophical encyclopedia the introduction to the term "physicalism", understood to be interchangeable with "materialism". There's nothing else for me to do to make you understand what I mean to be a materialist:

"...is the thesis that everything is physical, or as contemporary philosophers sometimes put it, that everything supervenes on the physical. The thesis is usually intended as a metaphysical thesis, parallel to the thesis attributed to the ancient Greek philosopher Thales, that everything is water, or the idealism of the 18th Century philosopher Berkeley, that everything is mental. The general idea is that the nature of the actual world (i.e. the universe and everything in it) conforms to a certain condition, the condition of being physical. Of course, physicalists don't deny that the world might contain many items that at first glance don't seem physical — items of a biological, or psychological, or moral, or social nature. But they insist nevertheless that at the end of the day such items are either physical or supervene on the physical."(Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).

If you are convinced that Cartesian dualists, neutral monists, and idealists(immaterialists) will agree completely with all the statements above, but are not yet to be considered materialists, it would be interesting to know what you think is the key distinction that separates them from the crowd of materialists.


Cartesian dualists, neutral monists, and idealists (immaterialists) would agree that the philosophical dictionary description above is a good and lucid description of what materialism means to philosophers.

There are two key distinctions that separate materialists from the others, not just one key distinction.

1. Monists and Dualists:

How many ontic substances? Cartesian dualists posit that nature includes two ontic substances namely mind and matter. Monists i.e. idealists, materialists, and neutral monists posit that nature is composed of only one ontic substance which may be

2. Monists:

Idealists believe that what seems to be material stuff is mind-dependent.Sort of like we imagine it all.

Materialists believe that mind is matter-dependent. Sort of like mind is a creation of the material brain.

Neutral monists believe that mind and matter are different names for the same substance, nature, but viewed from the mental and/or the
physical aspect .

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Re: Who- why- where are we ?

Postby Londoner » Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:51 am

It is difficult to respond if you quote my posts one sentence at a time and give one sentence responses. If I do the same it makes it unintelligible to anyone else and it also means we tend to wander away from the point. That's why I'm not going to respond line by line. And I've said all I have to say about the mistake of treating existence as a predicate.

Conde Lucanor wrote:That's simply not true. And of course there are logical consequences to saying you can't know something. Didn't Descartes start by rejecting all certainties and then proceeding to claim the one thing he could be certain of? Doesn't agnosticism have logical consequences? Doesn't skepticism?


Exactly. Descartes starts off from a position of doubt in the reliability of his senses; he might be being deceived by some demon. However he holds it is certain that he thinks - and that is the ground from which he can start to argue.

And no, agnosticism or skepticism does not have any logical consequences. I think you are using the word 'logical' rather loosely. Logic works with propositions and propositions are either true or false, but these words describe a person's state of mind. To say agnosticism was 'false' would be to say that the person wasn't really agnostic.

Later you write:

Any propositional statement with the intention of asserting a truth implies the firm belief from the one who makes the claim. Both claims can be either true or false, but not at the same time, because they contradict each other.


A proposition in logic must be something that can (must) be either true or false. Belief does not come into it; logic is only concerned with relationships, what is 'valid'. 'Not knowing if X is true or false' is not a proposition because we have not assigned X a truth value.

I never talked about "assume", which is not taking a firm position at all. You either subscribe to claim 1, 2 or 3 and advocate for your choice as hard as you want to. I you can't subscribe to any of such propositions, you can say so and proceed to explain to what you subscribe to. I guess one day we will find out.


If you are doing logic then you have to assume, because logic is about the form of the argument not the 'soundness' of the assumptions. If you think you can 'advocate for your choice', say why it is 'sound', then you cannot do it through logic, you must use some other criteria.

To put it simply; 'Trump is a man' can be a proposition within logic, meaning it can be true or false. But its truth - in the sense of facticity - cannot be determined by that logic, rather we need empirical evidence.

The only advocacy of other worlds besides the physical we have seen lately in this thread is yours. I have only advocated for the one and only world. The fact that we can represent that world in our minds does not mean it is a different realm, the same way that I will not support the view that all that happens in a computer is an ontological "virtual world".


If we only 'represent' that one-and-only-world in our minds, then the thing that is in our minds cannot be the one-and-only-world. So then there would be two worlds, one 'out there' and one 'in our heads'. You need a different word.

If what is in our minds is identical to that one-and-only-world, then the one-and-only-world 'out there' must have moved directly into our heads, unmediated by our sensory organs, the nature of our understanding, or anything else.

I can only repeat that this seems to contradict our experience of how our sensory organs and minds work. But let that go. If our human sensory organs etc. are configured such that we have unmediated knowledge of the one-and-only-world, how did it come about?

And thus we return to Descartes. Descartes overcomes doubt about the reliability of our senses not via 'cogito ergo sum' but with the argument that a loving God who created us would not permit us to be deceived.

You have the same problem. If you want to claim that there is just the one-and-only-world, which we know through our senses, then you need to be able to say how you know that. If I say I know 'there is only this one-and-only-world', I must have been able to see this one-and-only-world from a place outside that world...but then it wouldn't be the 'one-and-only-world' after all!

For Descartes, the thing outside this world that enables us to know this world is God. For you...I don't know.

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Conde Lucanor
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Re: Who- why- where are we ?

Postby Conde Lucanor » Sun Apr 16, 2017 6:48 pm

Belinda wrote:Conde Lucanor wrote:

If it helps, I'll quote from a philosophical encyclopedia the introduction to the term "physicalism", understood to be interchangeable with "materialism". There's nothing else for me to do to make you understand what I mean to be a materialist:

"...is the thesis that everything is physical, or as contemporary philosophers sometimes put it, that everything supervenes on the physical. The thesis is usually intended as a metaphysical thesis, parallel to the thesis attributed to the ancient Greek philosopher Thales, that everything is water, or the idealism of the 18th Century philosopher Berkeley, that everything is mental. The general idea is that the nature of the actual world (i.e. the universe and everything in it) conforms to a certain condition, the condition of being physical. Of course, physicalists don't deny that the world might contain many items that at first glance don't seem physical — items of a biological, or psychological, or moral, or social nature. But they insist nevertheless that at the end of the day such items are either physical or supervene on the physical."(Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).

If you are convinced that Cartesian dualists, neutral monists, and idealists(immaterialists) will agree completely with all the statements above, but are not yet to be considered materialists, it would be interesting to know what you think is the key distinction that separates them from the crowd of materialists.


Cartesian dualists, neutral monists, and idealists (immaterialists) would agree that the philosophical dictionary description above is a good and lucid description of what materialism means to philosophers.

There are two key distinctions that separate materialists from the others, not just one key distinction.

1. Monists and Dualists:

How many ontic substances? Cartesian dualists posit that nature includes two ontic substances namely mind and matter. Monists i.e. idealists, materialists, and neutral monists posit that nature is composed of only one ontic substance which may be

2. Monists:

Idealists believe that what seems to be material stuff is mind-dependent.Sort of like we imagine it all.

Materialists believe that mind is matter-dependent. Sort of like mind is a creation of the material brain.

Neutral monists believe that mind and matter are different names for the same substance, nature, but viewed from the mental and/or the
physical aspect .


With these definitions you put Plato out of the picture of idealism. As I understand now, you only refer to idealism as the 18th and 19th centuries versions of idealism. My approach, as of most materialists that I know of, is different: there are two basic antagonisms, materialism and idealism. Materialism holds that there's only one (monistic) reality (the physical) and everything, including our psyche, is a part of it. Everything else is nothing but some version of idealism.

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Re: Who- why- where are we ?

Postby Belinda » Sun Apr 16, 2017 7:20 pm

Conde Lucanor wrote:
With these definitions you put Plato out of the picture of idealism. As I understand now, you only refer to idealism as the 18th and 19th centuries versions of idealism. My approach, as of most materialists that I know of, is different: there are two basic antagonisms, materialism and idealism. Materialism holds that there's only one (monistic) reality (the physical) and everything, including our psyche, is a part of it. Everything else is nothing but some version of idealism.


Cartesian dualism distinguishes the person from his body like "I am a soul and I dwell in a body" . This was the attitude of Plato, that the soul. distinguished from the body, was better than the body. I can't of course claim that Plato was a Cartesian, but Descartes was a theistic Platonist. True, for Plato the real person is a mind. However Plato was not, like Descartes, sceptical about the existence of the person. Plato was concerned with the worth of and access to the real person.


My too brief account of theories of existence misses several important theories , but Plato advances no theory of existence at all: Plato advances a theory of a hierarchy of truth. If you want to support Plato's theory about who we are , in addressing the OP, plenty people would endorse you . But calling yourself an idealist is worse than useless because what you mean by idealism is not what others mean by idealism.

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Re: Who- why- where are we ?

Postby Conde Lucanor » Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:07 pm

Londoner wrote:It is difficult to respond if you quote my posts one sentence at a time and give one sentence responses. If I do the same it makes it unintelligible to anyone else and it also means we tend to wander away from the point. That's why I'm not going to respond line by line. And I've said all I have to say about the mistake of treating existence as a predicate.

Unfortunately, you gave me no other option, as you usually construct your own arguments omitting much of what has been said against them. There's no point in quoting myself extensively. Also, several arguments are presented as the logical connections between several clauses, which are assumed as being true. It is therefore necessary to deal with each clause on its own and then proceed to show its false connections.

Londoner wrote:
Conde Lucanor wrote:That's simply not true. And of course there are logical consequences to saying you can't know something. Didn't Descartes start by rejecting all certainties and then proceeding to claim the one thing he could be certain of? Doesn't agnosticism have logical consequences? Doesn't skepticism?


Exactly. Descartes starts off from a position of doubt in the reliability of his senses; he might be being deceived by some demon. However he holds it is certain that he thinks - and that is the ground from which he can start to argue.

And no, agnosticism or skepticism does not have any logical consequences. I think you are using the word 'logical' rather loosely. Logic works with propositions and propositions are either true or false, but these words describe a person's state of mind. To say agnosticism was 'false' would be to say that the person wasn't really agnostic.

By accepting Descartes' methodology, which is well known as "Cartesian doubt" or "Cartesian skepticism", you're in fact acknowledging that skepticism does have logical consequences. A person's state of mind regarding knowledge is already determined by his/her acceptance or rejection of given propositions, which can be either true or false. "Agnosticism" means "not knowing" or "without knowledge" of the truthfulness or falsehood of given propositions, for which other logical consequences derive.

Londoner wrote:
Conde Lucanor wrote:Any propositional statement with the intention of asserting a truth implies the firm belief from the one who makes the claim. Both claims can be either true or false, but not at the same time, because they contradict each other.


A proposition in logic must be something that can (must) be either true or false. Belief does not come into it; logic is only concerned with relationships, what is 'valid'. 'Not knowing if X is true or false' is not a proposition because we have not assigned X a truth value.

When someone asserts something to be true or false, it is implied that his/her assertion comes from his own internal conviction, his own state of mind. You can call that self-held proposition a belief, or whatever, but it's certainly part of what a logic proposition is made to be.

Please note that you have misrepresented the original proposition to fit your argument. It was not being held that "Not knowing if X is true or false" is a proposition. It was held that "It is not knowable that X or Y are true or false". The whole set of options was actually this:
X (meaning: "I know that X is true").
Y, which equals not X (meaning: "I know that Y is true").
Z: It is unknowable that X or Y are true or false (meaning: "I know that Z is true").
There's a difference between asserting that you don't know something to asserting that there's no possibility to know something.

Londoner wrote:If you are doing logic then you have to assume, because logic is about the form of the argument not the 'soundness' of the assumptions. If you think you can 'advocate for your choice', say why it is 'sound', then you cannot do it through logic, you must use some other criteria.

To put it simply; 'Trump is a man' can be a proposition within logic, meaning it can be true or false. But its truth - in the sense of facticity - cannot be determined by that logic, rather we need empirical evidence.

Here applies the distinction between analytic and synthetic propositions. However, it must be noted that according to your own way of thinking, experience itself is to be doubted as a criteria for determining the factual value of propositions. Remember that according to your solipsistic account of the world, all propositions are reduced to mere tautologies: we will account as truth what has been defined in the realm of language as truth. It's your view, not mine.

Londoner wrote:If we only 'represent' that one-and-only-world in our minds, then the thing that is in our minds cannot be the one-and-only-world. So then there would be two worlds, one 'out there' and one 'in our heads'. You need a different word.

Your conclusion is evidently false, as it does not take into account that our minds are already part of the physical world. So as the "virtual world" of computers.

Londoner wrote:If what is in our minds is identical to that one-and-only-world, then the one-and-only-world 'out there' must have moved directly into our heads, unmediated by our sensory organs, the nature of our understanding, or anything else.

No "world" needs to move "into" our heads. Our heads are already part of the physical world.

Londoner wrote:I can only repeat that this seems to contradict our experience of how our sensory organs and minds work. But let that go. If our human sensory organs etc. are configured such that we have unmediated knowledge of the one-and-only-world, how did it come about?

And thus we return to Descartes. Descartes overcomes doubt about the reliability of our senses not via 'cogito ergo sum' but with the argument that a loving God who created us would not permit us to be deceived.

You have the same problem. If you want to claim that there is just the one-and-only-world, which we know through our senses, then you need to be able to say how you know that. If I say I know 'there is only this one-and-only-world', I must have been able to see this one-and-only-world from a place outside that world...but then it wouldn't be the 'one-and-only-world' after all!

For Descartes, the thing outside this world that enables us to know this world is God. For you...I don't know.

That is the same discussion we held before and I already made my point of the wrong notion that all there is to say about the subject/object relationship is to be accounted on the grounds of the sole individual subject against the object-world. This view doesn't take into account that there are "public objects", as demonstrated by the little experiment of the object in the room and the two observers.

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Conde Lucanor
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Re: Who- why- where are we ?

Postby Conde Lucanor » Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:14 pm

Belinda wrote:My too brief account of theories of existence misses several important theories , but Plato advances no theory of existence at all: Plato advances a theory of a hierarchy of truth.

I disagree, since I think (as many others in the history of philosophy) that the Theory of Form advances a theory of existence, specifically the existence of universals opposed to the existence of concrete singulars.

Belinda wrote:calling yourself an idealist is worse than useless because what you mean by idealism is not what others mean by idealism.

Yes, idealism is always problematic. Much better to stick to materialism.

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Re: Who- why- where are we ?

Postby Belinda » Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:46 am

Conda Lucanor wrote:

I disagree, since I think (as many others in the history of philosophy) that the Theory of Form advances a theory of existence, specifically the existence of universals opposed to the existence of concrete singulars.


The key to our disagreement here is the word 'existence'. Can universals be said to exist? Universals have no mass. Please don't say that mass is nothing to do with it; you yourself used the word " concrete" , as would I.

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Re: Who- why- where are we ?

Postby Londoner » Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:38 am

Conde Lucanor wrote:By accepting Descartes' methodology, which is well known as "Cartesian doubt" or "Cartesian skepticism", you're in fact acknowledging that skepticism does have logical consequences.


As I wrote last time, you are using the term 'logical' in a loose way. Because Descartes starts off by doubting the evidence of his senses, that means that he must start his philosophy from somewhere else i.e. cogito...

A person's state of mind regarding knowledge is already determined by his/her acceptance or rejection of given propositions, which can be either true or false. "Agnosticism" means "not knowing" or "without knowledge" of the truthfulness or falsehood of given propositions, for which other logical consequences derive.


Yes, a person's state of mind is determined by their state of mind! If your state of mind is that of not knowing whether a proposition is true or false, then your state of mind is not knowing whether a proposition is true or false. If you cannot assign a truth value to a proposition then you can't do logic with it.

Any propositional statement with the intention of asserting a truth implies the firm belief from the one who makes the claim.


Logic is not about beliefs. It is only about the relationships between propositions.

When someone asserts something to be true or false, it is implied that his/her assertion comes from his own internal conviction, his own state of mind. You can call that self-held proposition a belief, or whatever, but it's certainly part of what a logic proposition is made to be.


Not in logic. Socrates is a horse, horses live in the sea, therefore Socrates lives in the sea. That is valid in logic but I have no internal conviction that any of it is true (sound).

Please note that you have misrepresented the original proposition to fit your argument. It was not being held that "Not knowing if X is true or false" is a proposition. It was held that "It is not knowable that X or Y are true or false". The whole set of options was actually this:
X (meaning: "I know that X is true").
Y, which equals not X (meaning: "I know that Y is true").
Z: It is unknowable that X or Y are true or false (meaning: "I know that Z is true").
There's a difference between asserting that you don't know something to asserting that there's no possibility to know something.


Then let me be clear: I say there is no possibility of knowing - as an empirical fact - that there is a noumenal world (and if there is one its nature) - because empirical facts all relate to the phenomenal world.

You write: X (meaning: "I know that X is true"). This is confused because it brings 'I' into it. So is the proposition about X, or about you? If it is about your beliefs, then it is true if it describes you. It makes no difference whether X is true or false. If I believe in dragons then it is true that I believe in dragons; dragons do not have to be real.

But if the proposition is about X, then the meaning would be...X. 'X is true' is saying 'X is the case' (empirically) or 'assume X' (in logic). You need to decide which.

Me: To put it simply; 'Trump is a man' can be a proposition within logic, meaning it can be true or false. But its truth - in the sense of facticity - cannot be determined by that logic, rather we need empirical evidence.

Here applies the distinction between analytic and synthetic propositions.


Yes...more or less. So when you declare 'there is just the one-and-only-world' which is it? But you do not say! Rather you continue:

However, it must be noted that according to your own way of thinking, experience itself is to be doubted as a criteria for determining the factual value of propositions. Remember that according to your solipsistic account of the world, all propositions are reduced to mere tautologies: we will account as truth what has been defined in the realm of language as truth. It's your view, not mine.


Yes, that is my view, because I do not claim to be able to know some sort of metaphysical truth that lies beyond all possibility of human experience.

If you think my modesty is correctly described by the word 'solipsism', so be it.

Me: If we only '[i]represent' that one-and-only-world in our minds, then the thing that is in our minds cannot be the one-and-only-world. So then there would be two worlds, one 'out there' and one 'in our heads'. You need a different word.[/i]
Your conclusion is evidently false, as it does not take into account that our minds are already part of the physical world. So as the "virtual world" of computers....No "world" needs to move "into" our heads. Our heads are already part of the physical world.


If our heads - the ideas in our minds - are not differentiated from the 'one-and-only-world', then what did you mean by saying our mind 'represented' that 'one-and-only-world'? My brain is partly made of carbon, so is the rest of the world. The carbon in my brain is simply itself, it doesn't 'represent' carbon generally. Nor does my brain understand the carbon that exists in the world - by being partly made of carbon.

To talk at all about something 'representing', then you need something for it to be representing to. In that case we have a dualism; if you say the mind is part of the 'one-and-only-world, and also that it is 'representing', then there must be a meta-mind it is representing to, and you are back where you started.

(I do not understand what you are saying in your occasional references to computers.)

That is the same discussion we held before and I already made my point of the wrong notion that all there is to say about the subject/object relationship is to be accounted on the grounds of the sole individual subject against the object-world. This view doesn't take into account that there are "public objects", as demonstrated by the little experiment of the object in the room and the two observers.


Yes; if everyone agrees that a thing looks green, then they agree it looks green. They will say 'it is true that it is green' meaning that they think that others will also say it is green (unless they are blind etc.). But you want to say something else.

It happens that certain cells in the human eye respond to certain types of radiation. There is nothing special about those types of radiation, they are not themselves coloured - we only think of these types as colours because our human cells happen to respond to them. Different eyes respond to different wavelengths, therefore they would 'see' different types as radiation as colours. Not everything has eyes, not all eyes are the same, not even within a species. Nor do our own cells respond consistently; if a particular wavelength is too prevalent we will lose our ability to detect it.

The response of those cells is not to send the radiation into the brain, rather it causes an electro-chemical signal. Our colour experience is the result only of our brains reaction to that electro-chemical signal, so there is no reason why it should be the same for everyone. It is not even the same for ourselves; under unusual conditions we make mental adjustments so that we still 'see' things in the colour we know them to be under normal lighting. And so on.

And as Locke, Wittgenstein and many others have pointed out, that two or more people use the same word for a sensation does not show that their internal experiences are the same. I have learnt the meaning of 'green' by seeing the social circumstances when other people use it; not by looking inside their minds. That we both agree that the name of the colour of grass is 'green' is no proof we are having the same experience.

Yet, despite all this, you insist that your own internal experiencing 'green' is not in any way subjective, or conditional on your own sensory organs or brain. That you just know that the 'green' in your own head just now is how things are 'in themselves', such that any alternative description of that form of radiation would be incorrect - even though this claim is inconsistent with the way we know perception works.

You need Descartes' God as authority for your claim, because you won't find it in science.

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Arising_uk
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Re: Who- why- where are we ?

Postby Arising_uk » Mon Apr 17, 2017 12:03 pm

Londoner wrote:I agree that the fact others can see something when I can hints that it is not just a figment of my imagination, in the same way that the something is persistent for me, it does not appear and disappear at random, or according to my wishes. (I cannot be certain however; these other people may also be products of my own imagination, generated by the Matrix, or whatever) ...
I sort of agree but think that what you can certainly know is that there is an 'other' out there as I think Descartes problem of the external world and his cogito can be solved by noticing that the language we're using means that there has to be another other than me, as I don't believe the kind of language we have and use could be constructed by a solitary being.
But even if I assume other people have a consciousness like mine, I cannot know that I have the same perceptions as them. I learn the meaning of words by seeing when other people use them. If every time I have the experience you associate with seeing-red, I find other people say 'green', then the word I will learn to use to describe my experience of seeing-red will be 'green'. That being the case, we can all continue to look at the grass and agree it is 'green', even though I am having a different experience to everyone else. ...
Again, I get the issue but how could we explain that we've discovered the colour-blind on this model?
So again, that this grass isn't changing its colour at random - for either of us - is a hint that it is different from dream-grass or imaginary-grass. But it doesn't tell us that our own particular perception of its colour is 'true'. ...
Depends what you mean by 'true' as what is true is that we're seeing grass.

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Re: Who- why- where are we ?

Postby Belinda » Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:08 pm

Arising -UK wrote:

I sort of agree but think that what you can certainly know is that there is an 'other' out there as I think Descartes problem of the external world and his cogito can be solved by noticing that the language we're using means that there has to be another other than me, as I don't believe the kind of language we have and use could be constructed by a solitary being.


But if by "solitary being" you mean one and only subject , then we have no evidence that the hypothetical one and only subject did not invent objects including social life, language, and language as a social theory. Has solipsism ever been disproved?

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Re: Who- why- where are we ?

Postby Londoner » Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:03 pm

Arising_uk wrote:Again, I get the issue but how could we explain that we've discovered the colour-blind on this model?


I think that those we call colour blind have the problem of distinguishing colours, for example they cannot see a difference between red and green. If they could distinguish between them, but were consistently wrong; if (say) they always saw red when others see green (and vice versa), then they (and we) would never know it.

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Re: Who- why- where are we ?

Postby Arising_uk » Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:15 pm

Belinda wrote:But if by "solitary being" you mean one and only subject , then we have no evidence that the hypothetical one and only subject did not invent objects including social life, language, and language as a social theory. Has solipsism ever been disproved?
I think so as this is only one of the two insights I had when studying philosophy(not that I claim it is original but that I'd not read of it applied this way before nor since) and I think that the language we have is impossible for a solipsist to invent, i.e. there would be no 'internal voice' aspect to the language(probably pronouns, etc, as well) as who would they be talking to? Now I'm not saying that we're still not in Descartes demon's world, just that we know that that 'demon' exists as an other.

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Arising_uk
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Re: Who- why- where are we ?

Postby Arising_uk » Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:23 pm

Londoner wrote:I think that those we call colour blind have the problem of distinguishing colours, for example they cannot see a difference between red and green. If they could distinguish between them, but were consistently wrong; if (say) they always saw red when others see green (and vice versa), then they (and we) would never know it.
But according to your position they could quite viably say you are wrong, there is no red or green there and if it were only a matter of saying a word when whatever colour is there for them then they couldn't be colour-blind?(I know there's something wrong with my point here so just chatting.)
This might aid the discussion -
http://www.colourblindawareness.org/col ... rience-it/

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Re: Who- why- where are we ?

Postby Londoner » Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:34 am

Arising_uk wrote:But according to your position they could quite viably say you are wrong, there is no red or green there and if it were only a matter of saying a word when whatever colour is there for them then they couldn't be colour-blind?(I know there's something wrong with my point here so just chatting.)


I don't think there is red or green 'there', meaning that the final 'thing in my head' is the product of a whole chain of other things - the colour of light, the pigment, the nature of the human eye, and so on. To ask 'what is the real colour' is like me asking what a cake is made of, and demanding a one-word answer.

To put it slightly crudely, 'all cats are grey in the dark', but in the light some are tabby, white etc.. If we hold that there is only 'the one and only world' and it is the one revealed by our senses, then which is the 'one and only' colour of the cats? It is no good appealing to other observers, because they will also confirm that cats have different colours in different circumstances. But we get this; when we talk about something's colour we understand that it is not a 'one and only' description; we are only talking about a perception, not doing metaphysics.

I think this is not just true of colour but about all the ways we describe the world. If our perceptions are identical to the world, then can we give an example? Can we say 'I perceive this and this is the case'? We are looking for a really basic description; to say 'I perceive a chair' cannot be basic, because to know something is a 'chair' we need to understand 'chair' as an abstract concept, about language and so on. It also seems that statements about colour are complicated. And it turns out that whenever we want to say something about the 'one and only world' it is never a simple fact, it always turns out to be something conditional, understood in context, and so on.

Obviously this doesn't matter normally, we understand the context of someone saying 'the cat is grey' without needing to spell it out. But if we claim that there is a single truth about 'what is' and this is revealed by our senses, then we should be able to give an example. Yet we find we can't.

(This last bit is sort-of lifted from Wittgenstein, as he moves from 'early' to 'later')


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