Materialism is logically imposible

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

Post by Immanuel Can »

Terrapin Station wrote:That's fine, but you asked if the position was objective, not whether what it's about is objective.
No, a "position" is always held by a person, but is always a "position on" something. And I don't think the objective/subjective debate, as it is generally understood, is about whether or not "positions" are subjective, but about whether they are "on" anything objective. At least, it seems to me the only question worth pursuing here.

The value of any "position" is not in the person who has it, but on its relevance to an accurate understanding of the thing it's "on." A person may want to "take a position" that he or she can flap his or her arms and fly...but before they get up on the roof to try, they had better be sure they're understanding aerodynamics accurately.

No actual value inheres in a wrong "position," no matter how fervently held.
Again, in my view, truth value is a judgment about the relation of a proposition to something else (the something else depends on just what approach to truth someone is using, whether correspondence or coherence or whatever).

That seems implausible to me. I think the "something" people are always looking for is the objective truth. In fact, I would suggest their arguments are always about that very topic: which person's view has better reference to the objective truth about the topic. Look at us right now: what else are we doing?
I don't know what a "common judgment" would be, unless you're just saying a judgment that's statistically common.
A common judgment would be one with all parties take for granted or agree on. Every debate needs a common agreement for when the debate will be settled, and when it will not be, what sort of evidence is going to be accepted, and whether it will be argued on reasons.

You and I are talking about Materialism. If you suddenly switched to epistemology, or I suddenly switched to football scores, the debate would simply fall apart. Unless I miss my guess, our agreement is that the most logical and rational argument will win. That's a common judgment on our part.
It's a fact that truths are not objective, and that's an objective fact.
It cannot be. I think you've decided to impose a definition of your own on "truth." It's not one you and I have in common -- nor, indeed, do most people share yours.

When someone says, "Are you speaking the truth?" the asker is never assuming you're going to answer, "Of course: but it's not a fact." The truth is about the facts. The two are inseparable, at least in normal usage.
Re normatives ("should," "ought," etc.),
*Sigh*. I did NOT speak of normatives. That is why I put the word "rational" before them. I was trying to keep you from barking up the wrong tree about that, and I just knew you'd wander into morality. But no, I was not going there.

"Ought" can be moral, but a different "ought" is rational. There is no moral wrongness to writing 2+2 = 5. The claim, "You ought to say 2=2+4 is not normative or moral, but rational. It means, "You're being irrational if you don't," not "you're being bad if you don't."

I suspect you may need to reread the previous question in that light in order to understand it now, because your answer wasn't actually to the question I was asking.
I indeed have no expectation that anyone is going to agree with anything I say in forums like this. I say what I do because I like to express myself, I like to broadcast what I think.
So...just making noise, but not expecting anyone to care? :shock: I doubt that. I think you're expecting more: you wouldn't argue if you weren't. You'd just state your case and leave.
Wait, so numbers in your ontology are "descriptors of attributes of quantity." What exactly, as existents, are those? What are they made of, for example?
They're adjectives. So to pose such a question is as bizarre as to ask, "What is red made of?" or "What is old made of?" Adjectives don't have their own substance, like most nouns do. They're modifiers implying real qualities (or rather, quantities) that nouns can have.
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Terrapin Station
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

Post by Terrapin Station »

Okay, I'm going back to doing one thing at a time, because you're going to continue to expandingly argue with every thing I say. I don't want to do that:
Immanuel Can wrote:No, a "position" is always held by a person, but is always a "position on" something. And I don't think the objective/subjective debate, as it is generally understood, is about whether or not "positions" are subjective, but about whether they are "on" anything objective. At least, it seems to me the only question worth pursuing here.
But what you asked was this: "Am I to take it that that is an objective position?"

"Objective" is an adjective that modifies "position" right? "Objective position" attributes the property "objective" to "position."
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

Post by Immanuel Can »

Terrapin Station wrote:"Objective" is an adjective that modifies "position" right? "Objective position" attributes the property "objective" to "position."
Good heavens. Its means, "a position that you intend to be understood as objectively true." Can you not construe?

Or better still, to quote the Bard, "How absolute the knave is! We must speak by the card, or equivocation will undo us." (Hamlet) :lol:

Look, the point is simple: when you say that truth is subjective, you must be making an objective claim, or it isn't necessarily true. Either way, it's self-contradictory. If you can follow that, we're good. 8)
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

Post by attofishpi »

Noax wrote:Tell me why the robot doesn't feel pain. All you're doing is asserting it in all caps. That doesn't make the point stick any harder.
I'm looking for a statement of the hard problem, not just an unfounded assertion that there is one.
So are you asking why a rock does not feel pain?
Londoner
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

Post by Londoner »

Immanuel Can wrote:
Look, the point is simple: when you say that truth is subjective, you must be making an objective claim, or it isn't necessarily true. Either way, it's self-contradictory. If you can follow that, we're good. 8)
By saying 'truth is subjective' one need not be making an objective claim about the nature of 'truth'; one could be pointing out that there are no examples of objective truths.
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

Post by Ginkgo »

Noax wrote:
Ginkgo wrote:I am not really sure how to answer your objections. A machine feels nothing, not hunger, fear, pain or any short of experiential state. It is just a machine designed and programmed for specific functions. How could a machine possibly feel hunger or pain?
Such words are usually used to label human experience of what is effectively detection of low fuel or damage. The closer to a human something is (a mammal say), the more we're likely to apply the word. But nobody will draw a line where the word no longer applies. They reach for something safely distant from the line (a laptop) and say that doesn't experience hunger, which only means it experiences it in a sufficiently different way.
But my objection is that the two are the same thing: A detection of low fuel, and each evidenced by a reaction to the detection. I see humans as much as a programmed device as anything. I don't see any essential difference so defies classic explanation that it requires some immaterial substance.
Even if we stretch the word "experience" far beyond the accepted meaning then we might say that a laptop "experience"s a low battery charge. However, the point of the hard problem is to demonstrate the QUALITATIVE nature of experience. Even at this huge stretch a machine's "experiences" have no quality, or in the broad sense, qualia. Unless of course we are prepared to say that a laptop when experiencing low battery charge has some type of first person introspective aspect that accompanies the "experience".
Noax wrote: Really? I thought the mind was the immaterial thing and the zombie lacks that. 'Experience' is obviously being defined differently between us, since I would consider any detection of something to be experience. What does the zombie do that enables it to not walk into things, and motivates it to avoid injury? If not experience, then what word is used to describe the zombie's detection of its environment?

Chalmers intended the p-zombie to be just like us in every way except that it lacks experience or the hard problem. We don't usually walk into walls so the p-zombie doesn't usually walk into walls. We can use a self-propelled vacuum cleaner that is equipped with sensors in order to work around chairs, tables and the like. No doubt you would want to say that the vacuum cleaner "experiences" objectives to be avoided. When Chalmers talks about "experience" and the hard problem he is talking about the qualitative nature of experience, something machines and p-zombies lack. I think it is a good idea to clear up what Chalmers and I mean by experience: Experience=introspective phenomenological quality=the hard problem.
Noax wrote: I don't know what the word 'experience' means to you though. How do I know I have it? I have the thing the zombie needs to sense its environment. Take away what I consider to be 'experience', and I'd not be able to do that, so I don't think we're talking about the same thing.
As outlined above, sensory detection by itself doesn't constitute experience. If your experiences of drinking fine wine or hitting your thumb with a hammer have a certain introspective quality about them, then you have it.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

Post by Immanuel Can »

Hello, Londoner:

Welcome to the field.
Londoner wrote:By saying 'truth is subjective' one need not be making an objective claim about the nature of 'truth'; one could be pointing out that there are no examples of objective truths.
Well, perhaps we should ask this: is it objectively true that there are no examples of objective truths?

Firstly, empirically, how would one justify such a claim? Has one exhausted the field? What sort of a preposterous claim is that to make, to propose that one knows already all the apparent "facts" in the universe, and knows of a certainty not one of them is objectively true?

Secondly, and decisively, if it were true, then it's false. For in that case, there is at least one objective truth, namely that "there are no objective truths." :shock:

You can probably see that it just cannot make sense, no matter how one slices it. It's literally "nonsense" -- not because I say so, or because anyone else does, but because it cannot even keep faith with its own terms, having no sense in which it can apply to the situation of reality.

However, one CAN rationally say, "I don't know any secure facts," or "I fear that perhaps there are no objective facts." But that falls considerably short of the claim that no one else can know any facts or must disbelieve in their existence, and fails to undermine the concept of objective truth.

So relativists usually choose to frame their view in universal (or absolute, or objective) terms -- thereby instantly self-defeating.
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

Post by Londoner »

Immanuel Can wrote: Well, perhaps we should ask this: is it objectively true that there are no examples of objective truths?

Firstly, empirically, how would one justify such a claim? Has one exhausted the field? What sort of a preposterous claim is that to make, to propose that one knows already all the apparent "facts" in the universe, and knows of a certainty not one of them is objectively true?
That would suggest that there are 'facts' out there, as objects in the universe, and that we might stumble across an objective one. But to say there are no objective truths is to dispute that any 'facts' can qualify as such.

For example, one could say 'the sky is blue' and also 'the sky is not blue'. That covers all possibilities, so one of those 'facts' must be true. Yet neither are objectively true.
Secondly, and decisively, if it were true, then it's false. For in that case, there is at least one objective truth, namely that "there are no objective truths." :shock:
The claim would not be that the one 'objective truth' does not exist, but that the phrase 'objective truth' does not describe anything. That it is like 'square circle'. We do not know that there is no 'square circle' inductively, saying that because we have looked at lots of circles and never seen a square one yet we guess they don't exist (although the next one we look at might be). Rather, we can say the words 'square circle' but we have no idea what they describe.

To put it another way, it isn't that we have not yet come across a particular objective truth, it is that we have no idea what sort of thing we are looking for.
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

Post by Noax »

Immanuel Can wrote:Well, perhaps we should ask this: is it objectively true that there are no examples of objective truths?

Firstly, empirically, how would one justify such a claim? Has one exhausted the field? What sort of a preposterous claim is that to make, to propose that one knows already all the apparent "facts" in the universe, and knows of a certainty not one of them is objectively true?

Secondly, and decisively, if it were true, then it's false. For in that case, there is at least one objective truth, namely that "there are no objective truths." :shock:
How is that decisive? The statement is nonparadoxical and is simply false, leaving the question of existence of objective truths unstated. I don't see the :shock: in it.
You can probably see that it just cannot make sense, no matter how one slices it.
You only suggested one slicing of it. Try the other way.

What is subjective about the truth of circles being round? I'm wondering about definitions people are using here since there seem to me to be obvious objective truths.
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Noax
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

Post by Noax »

attofishpi wrote:
Noax wrote:Tell me why the robot doesn't feel pain. All you're doing is asserting it in all caps. That doesn't make the point stick any harder.
I'm looking for a statement of the hard problem, not just an unfounded assertion that there is one.
So are you asking why a rock does not feel pain?
Rocks seem not to feel pain. Neither does a pinball machine, since it is merely detection illegal motion which might put the machine in danger. But it otherwise relies more on armor. It does not directly detect attempts to break into its coin box for instance.

So the laptop and hunger is a far better example. A rock requires no fuel, so it doesn't feel hunger. A candle does require it, but it doesn't detect low fuel. It just eventually starves. Mayflies similarly do not experience hunger. Does that make my laptop more conscious than a mayfly? Only if the consciousness experience is defined solely as knowing hunger.
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

Post by Noax »

Ginkgo, your replies require more thought. I thank you for putting up with my annoying insistence that simple machines are conscious.
Ginkgo wrote:Even if we stretch the word "experience" far beyond the accepted meaning then we might say that a laptop "experience"s a low battery charge. However, the point of the hard problem is to demonstrate the QUALITATIVE nature of experience. Even at this huge stretch a machine's "experiences" have no quality, or in the broad sense, qualia. Unless of course we are prepared to say that a laptop when experiencing low battery charge has some type of first person introspective aspect that accompanies the "experience".
First off, I deliberately reached as far away as I could, looking at traditionally non-conscious things. The accepted meanings of 'experience' and 'conscious' carry the bias that it is human (or sufficiently near-human) experience, but the line where the word no longer applies is always left off of the definintion. So I had to start by discarding the biases and using the terms to describe things that are not traditionally conscious in attempt to identity why I went too far.

Yes, experience and consciousness have a qualitative nature, but that means the qualitative nature varies from one end of the spectrum to the other. A rock feels no hunger, but a laptop does. It is low on the spectrum, but not at the absolute end of it. But the dualistic solution to the problem is a binary solution, not a qualitative one. At some point (never specified), physical explanations no longer suffice, and the immaterial mind must suddenly be added to explain things. There would be an obvious discontinuity in the qualitative experience, but no discontinuity is ever proposed. There should be a line: Vertebrates have it but bugs don't, in which case that distinction must be justified by more than just "there's a big physiological difference between the two".

The first-person aspect is also separately brought up. The laptop seems to sense low battery in first person. What else knows about the low battery if not the laptop itself? I means not all experience is first person. I experienced cancer in second person. I wasn't conscious of it until somebody told me. The laptop doesn't detect its hunger that way. Still, I feel the first-person ground (the Nagel argument) is going to be more fruitful than the qualia one. The first--person aspect, if it can be identified, would be a binary difference amenable to the binary solution that dualism posits. You have it or you don't. So why doesn't the laptop or pinball machine have first person experience? From a physicalist standpoint, I must insist that both quite obviously do.
As outlined above, sensory detection by itself doesn't constitute experience. If your experiences of drinking fine wine or hitting your thumb with a hammer have a certain introspective quality about them, then you have it.
I never claimed the machines had the same qualitative experience as we do. Everything experiences things differently, and the differences between the experience had by something seems directly proportional to the physical differences between us. I just claimed the laptop has qualitative experience of hunger, very simple and dissimilar to our experience since I deliberately chose something as dissimilar as I could imagine. Or did you choose that? I forgot. It is a good example.

The thing that stands out in your reply is "certain introspective quality". Perhaps I'm trying to identity that certain introspective quality, which, the way it is worded, is something you might have or do not have. Can consciousness be defined as introspection? There's no way AI will be able to ponder its self? Is not detection of internal state a low form of introspection? Fiction is full of AI and/or other things becoming self-aware. Is that a binary event, or more of a sliding scale. If one has rational thought, I really don't see what prevents introspection. An immaterial mind seems to add nothing to such an ability.
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

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Immanuel Can wrote:Look, the point is simple: when you say that truth is subjective, you must be making an objective claim, or it isn't necessarily true. Either way, it's self-contradictory. If you can follow that, we're good. 8)
When I say that truth is subjective, I'm (1) Referring to what I take to be an objective fact (the fact that truth-value does not occur extramentally), and (2) Stating something that I judge to be true; that judgment is subjective, obviously, as are all judgments.

Re (1), reference is subjective, by the way, and it's also not the same thing as truth value. For example, "cat" (for me) subjectively refers to an objective animal. "Cat" (as a concept, word, reference--whichever aspect of it you want to look at) isn't itself true or false. What's true or false are propositions about cats, and they're true or false via making a judgment about the relation between the proposition and something else.

Re (2), it's definitely not something I'd say is necessarily true. It's contingently true. Also, "necessarily true" at best refers to someone not being able to conceive/imagine how something could be false. It's not a broader metaphysical property. That doesn't imply that there can not be metaphysical necessities, but truth wouldn't be a metaphysical necessity.
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

Post by uwot »

Terrapin Station wrote:]When I say that truth is subjective...
I've lost track. I thought you were talking about meaning being subjective, which it quite clearly is; that is why dictionary producers since Samuel Johnson have had to see how words are used by different people and arrive at some best fit definition. Even then, dictionaries are subject to revision. It is also contextual; individual words have very little meaning outside of a sentence and how anyone interprets a sentence is entirely subjective. I was watching an outdoor production of Macbeth in Stratford with a couple of actor friends recently. They were very sniffy about it; I asked why, so they told me that most of the cast didn't have a clue what the play was about. It seemed fine to me, so I asked why? One of my friends wrote these words on an empty Rizla packet: I didn't kill your wife. He asked me to read them out five times, putting the stress on each word individually. I saw the point, but still couldn't see what was wrong with the play.
As I understand, you are claiming that truth is a value that people assign sentences, which I think is entirely true, but that is just my subjective opinion, which by default means that any claim that the contrary is objective is false.
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

Post by Terrapin Station »

uwot wrote:I've lost track. I thought you were talking about meaning being subjective,
Yeah, I was, but somehow we moved on to truth, too. A bunch of stuff is subjective in my view--namely, anything that only exists/occurs as mental phenomena and doesn't occur outside of minds.
As I understand, you are claiming that truth is a value that people assign sentences, which I think is entirely true, but that is just my subjective opinion, which by default means that any claim that the contrary is objective is false.
Well, any claim to the contrary is a claim that you'd assign false to (as long as you buy the principle of noncontradiction (at least in this case)). True and false do not get assigned by the extramental world "in general," so it's always true or false to someone (and usually not to other people). That's the case even when we're talking about something like computers doing true/false logic gates, which are really just computers doing things that involve electro-magnetic signals being on or off, which we interpret as truth values.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

Post by Immanuel Can »

Londoner wrote: That would suggest that there are 'facts' out there, as objects in the universe, and that we might stumble across an objective one. But to say there are no objective truths is to dispute that any 'facts' can qualify as such.
But if the category "fact" is just an empty set, then even the claim that there is no such thing as a "fact" cannot itself be a "fact."
For example, one could say 'the sky is blue' and also 'the sky is not blue'. That covers all possibilities, so one of those 'facts' must be true. Yet neither are objectively true.
How do you conclude this? Are you asserting that "blueness" is not produced by any property in the sky, but rather is a complete illusion generated by the percipient? If it were so, then there's no expectation that any two people would agree at all...and no content to the statement "the sky is _________ (anything).
Secondly, and decisively, if it were true, then it's false. For in that case, there is at least one objective truth, namely that "there are no objective truths." :shock:
The claim would not be that the one 'objective truth' does not exist, but that the phrase 'objective truth' does not describe anything. That it is like 'square circle'.
You're still faced with the first problem: how do you know that? And with the second, because even to say "Objective truth is a squared circle" is to make an objective proposition. If objective truth doesn't exist, you really cannot make a statement of any kind at all.
We do not know that there is no 'square circle' inductively, saying that because we have looked at lots of circles and never seen a square one yet we guess they don't exist (although the next one we look at might be). Rather, we can say the words 'square circle' but we have no idea what they describe.
But the square circle defies a universal law of logic, namely the Law of Non-Contradiction. Are you trying to assert that the term "objective truth" contains the same kind of self-evident contradiction? Or are you saying it's empirically untrue? Either way, the old problems resurface.
To put it another way, it isn't that we have not yet come across a particular objective truth, it is that we have no idea what sort of thing we are looking for.
Three further problems.

"Cogito ergo sum" still looks very good as a candidate for an objective truth. I may not be able to say what the "sum" refers to precisely, but that it must logically refer to something existent is unimpeachable.

And secondly, to say "I don't know of any universal truths" is certainly suitably modest. But to say, "Therefore you do not either" or "They don't exist" is excessive, rationally speaking. One cannot know such a thing oneself. And to say, "We do not know what we are looking for" is not to say a thing does not exist either. Before we knew the kiwi bird existed, nobody ever went looking for one. And yet they exist.

Finally, even the statement "Objective truth is like a square circle" is a universal predicate, a statement of objective truth. So perhaps your candidate for such a thing is not nearly so elusive and unknown as you suggest: in fact, it's in your own claim there.

And if it's not, then surely there's no reason to take your claim as anything stronger than a personal confession of frustration with epistemology -- it certainly cannot be a universal problem. If it were, it would be an objective problem.
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