Wood and Chair question

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The Voice of Time
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Re: Wood and Chair question

Post by The Voice of Time »

cladking wrote:
The Voice of Time wrote:An "object of nature" would suffice I think for the first one. The second would be an "object of humankind".

There's no simple word that I know of, but those two should help you understand the difference a long way.

Wouldn't this revert back to a beaver dam being simply "wood" and "natural"?
Well if you need a word for animal ingenuity or animal labour, then perhaps "object of animal labour"?
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Re: Wood and Chair question

Post by cladking »

The Voice of Time wrote:
Well if you need a word for animal ingenuity or animal labour, then perhaps "object of animal labour"?
Perhaps, but then language starts becoming unwieldy and will continue its propensity to splinter and be less able to fascilitate communication.

I believe once it is accepted that reality is exactly what it appears to be that life itself exists outside the material word. This is a difficult concept because our language doesn't take reality or language as being axiomatic. We take the "human experience" as being axiomatic; I think therefore I am. Language defies the experience of the senses by taking a far distant perspective and Descartes put this perspective into words. He put it into the only words he knew. The nature of a tool defines what work it can do and Descartes helped us to understand the nature of our language but people understand it as an explanation of our own nature.

Our language is distinct from other languages because it doesn't take reality as a given. Animals have no use for communication not tied directly to the concerns of their world. The language of animals is naturally a language derived from the way their brains are wired which is a reflection of the real world and a part of the real world. Such a language is easily learned by their young because it is already largely encoded in the womb or egg. This is the reason we don't understand all these simple languages; they are too dissimilar to modern human language. We expect them to be using a simple version of human language and they are not.

Human language was once the same way as these animal languages. "Metaphysics" is the means used to gain knowledge. It is the definitions and axioms that allow a "science" to arise. Animal languages are metaphysical because they contain not only these definitions but also contain what has been learned from employing the language through observation. If a beaver observes a better trick for building dams then he shows or communicates this to others and it becomes part of what it means to be a beaver. It becomes a new word. This "word" may not even be a sound but can be a gesture or almost anything. The knowledge and the language in which the original observation was made is already natural to beavers so is usually easy to communicate even in simple language like beavers, no doubt, use. Each new beaver learns this new word when young.

Human meytaphysical language was no different except that it was far more complex meaning far more knowledge was developed and far more observation was possible. It was so complex that almost any knowledge could be set to language and passed down though the generations.

We can't see this because we misinterpret everything related to language. We understand our own modern languages as well as is possible using vast armies of translators, linguists, and other scholars but we don't understand even the very nature of metaphysical language which is used by all other creatures and ancient man. We think in modern human language and from this perspective it's quite difficult to even see other possibilities. The metaphysical languages are more like a computer code that simply directs the listener to the intended message where we just tell him what we mean in our language. But just like computer code there is only a single route to the intended meassage in ancient language. If the listener fails to follow then future "instructions" (words) sound like gobbledty gook. A computer can't follow a bad program and intended meaning can't be relayed in a flawed or misunderstood metaphysical language.

These are very difficult concepts to understand not because they are complicated. If they were complicated I never could have learned all this since I'm not all that smart. They're difficult because they lie outside of everyone's experience. They lie outside the way we think and what we think we already know. They might seem strange but not because they are wrong but because you must change your perspective to "see" them.

I don't believe we will be able to learn animal languages properly until it's understood that until just a few thousand years ago humans used to speak one as well. It's this loss of the human animal language that has erased our history and given us amnesia. It's why ancient writings appear to have been written by sun addled bumpkins. Most of these writings originally appeared in a metaphysical language which can't be translated into modern language and any attempt looks strange.

It's the fragmentation of word meanings and misunderstanding that makes it almost impossible for philosophers to build on the work of previous generations. We can't use metaphysical language any longer but if we simply recognize the inherent flaws in modern language then means to mitigate their effects become readily apparent. Individual words may not be the problem but rather it's the whole collection of words that is.
Ginkgo
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Re: Wood and Chair question

Post by Ginkgo »

cladking wrote:

Perhaps, but then language starts becoming unwieldy and will continue its propensity to splinter and be less able to fascilitate communication.

I believe once it is accepted that reality is exactly what it appears to be that life itself exists outside the material word. This is a difficult concept because our language doesn't take reality or language as being axiomatic.
Not exactly. In many instances language deals with postulates, propositions and theorems.
cladking wrote:
We take the "human experience" as being axiomatic; I think therefore I am. Language defies the experience of the senses by taking a far distant perspective and Descartes put this perspective into words. He put it into the only words he knew. The nature of a tool defines what work it can do and Descartes helped us to understand the nature of our language but people understand it as an explanation of our own nature.
Human experience isn't the axiom Descartes built his "cogito" on. In fact, Descartes thought that experience was just a reflection of varying levels of belief. To my knowledge Descartes didn't have a lot to say on language. The examination of language was left to latter scholars.
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Re: Wood and Chair question

Post by cladking »

Ginkgo wrote:
Not exactly. In many instances language deals with postulates, propositions and theorems.
These terms change each time they are used and each listener takes a meaning that is dependent on context. Each different meaning allows splintering because some individuals will believe the context is something else. A proposition might not be accepted at face value and then a waitress might slap your face.
Human experience isn't the axiom Descartes built his "cogito" on.
Of course it is. No human could even ask the question of whether or not he exists without the language he learned to ask it. "To be or not to be" applies to all individual animals but if reality is your imperative then the question has little meaning and there's no reason to ask. All animals think in language but those thinking in modern human language can't see this. One can't exist because he thinks but rather he thinks because he exists. This ability to think is passed down as language by parents and teachers. It comes to us replete with assumptions and perspectives. Some of these assumptions are simply wrong and most of the perspectives are invisible, ie- we believe we're seeing reality when in fact we're seeing a small facet of reality.
In fact, Descartes thought that experience was just a reflection of varying levels of belief. To my knowledge Descartes didn't have a lot to say on language. The examination of language was left to latter scholars.
It might be accurate to say he thought reality was a reflection of beliefs.

It in a sense, to modern language speakers, reality is a reflection of belief because we act on beliefs. Our actions are the vector sum total of our beliefs. We interact with the reality we can't accept as axiomatic through our beliefs.

There is a lot of resistance to the idea that any reality even exists. This is caused by myriad forces and processes and it manifests everywhere. It is language that allows the idea to propogate because from our perspective reality doesn't even need to exist. We merely need beliefs that allow us to successfully interact with our enviroment which for most of us is a very human enviroment with very little in it that isn't "man made" and applicable to only the concerns of man. We don't spend much time in a jungle with dangerous beasts and when we go to the beach it's crowded with humans rather than seals. When we go to space to get away from it all there are others along for the ride. People don't need to know how to deal with water contamination because it comes to us out of the tap already chlorinated, fortified, and purified. In our enviroment any belief is tolerated by reality.

Of course, since your beliefs are the sole driver of your actions and your actions are the primary driver of events in your life people will usually become a reflection of their beliefs. We are a reflection of what we have experienced. Reality becomes subservient to belief.

Be this as it may there is still the question of philosophy. We don't build on the works of the greats because we don't understand them well enough to build on their work and this is the result of language. It can be mitigated. It will require new language with new axioms and strict definitions. I believe distinctions between things like "wooden chair" and "wood" would be nonproductive since they are the same thing in one sense. All wood is wood but not all wood is a wooden chair. Some wood is inappropriate to make a chair and not all chairs are wood. A tree is wood but few become chairs until they are no longer a tree. A wooden chair might be occupied by seated or running chipmunk briefly. If the chipmunk runs in a tree does a chair shaped segment of it become a chair? If you build a chair of veneered particle board is it even wood? How about if it's metal with a faux wood plastic covering? Electric chairs are wood but they aren't really designed for sitting. Car seats are designed for sitting but are rarely called "chairs" even when they are removable and used as a chair like a baby's car seat. Then the issue is much further muddied by synonyms like "lumber" or "oak" etc etc.

Language is expansive in the sense we can say anything we want but it's very restrictive in what a general listener will understand. We can say anything but we'll never be understood exactly.
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Re: Wood and Chair question

Post by Ginkgo »

cladking wrote: These terms change each time they are used and each listener takes a meaning that is dependent on context. Each different meaning allows splintering because some individuals will believe the context is something else. A proposition might not be accepted at face value and then a waitress might slap your face.
They do??? So, "the square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides" as a theorem changes its meaning depending upon the listener?

When I referred to propositions I wasn't actually referring to proposing to a waitress. I mean the relation of propositions to truth function.
cladking wrote:

Of course it is. No human could even ask the question of whether or not he exists without the language he learned to ask it. "To be or not to be" applies to all individual animals but if reality is your imperative then the question has little meaning and there's no reason to ask. All animals think in language but those thinking in modern human language can't see this. One can't exist because he thinks but rather he thinks because he exists. This ability to think is passed down as language by parents and teachers. It comes to us replete with assumptions and perspectives. Some of these assumptions are simply wrong and most of the perspectives are invisible, ie- we believe we're seeing reality when in fact we're seeing a small facet of reality.
Descartes couldn't have used human experience as a basis for his cogito. There is a very good reason for that. Cartesian methodological skepticism was built upon doubting experience. In fact, it is actually universal doubt.
cladking wrote: It might be accurate to say he thought reality was a reflection of beliefs.
Not really, because Descartes would have to theorize there is a given reality in the first instance. This was something he was trying to avoid. In other words, Descartes posits the existence of his own existence as a starting point. He does not use the presupposition there already exists a reality other than to establish his own existence.
cladking wrote:
Be this as it may there is still the question of philosophy. We don't build on the works of the greats because we don't understand them well enough to build on their work and this is the result of language.
I hope you are speaking for yourself here. I understand their works very well.
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Re: Wood and Chair question

Post by cladking »

Ginkgo wrote:
They do??? So, "the square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides" as a theorem changes its meaning depending upon the listener?
Each of these words have only one meaning in context A ^ 2 = B ^ 2 + C ^ 2.

However they each have other meanings in other contexts.

YES! There are definitions and axioms that are assumed to be true it's all the other words that are open to interpretation.
Descartes couldn't have used human experience as a basis for his cogito.
Of course he could and he did. He didn't invent the language in which he phrased or answered the question. He thought in language and didn't even realize that this language had to be learned. He couldn't learn the language until he first existed. Thought does not cause one to exist nor prove one's existence. A chair exists but doesn't think. An insect can't learn the language in which we phrase the question nor answer it yet still is real. A beaver must think to build a dam yet is also incapable of learning a language that makes the question.

All God's creatures think in language but only modern human language hides the mechanism by which its users think. This is why we think that we exist because we think.

Not really, because Descartes would have to theorize there is a given reality in the first instance. This was something he was trying to avoid. In other words, Descartes posits the existence of his own existence as a starting point. He does not use the presupposition there already exists a reality other than to establish his own existence.
And herein is the problem.

Reality must exist and it must be the same for every observer. Obviously it looks different to each observer and each must be aware that his perception could be faulty and is never complete. To a large extent this is just common sense. Of what good is science or knowledge if it's only applicable to the individual? Why study anything if reality isn't what it appears to be?

I hope you are speaking for yourself here. I understand their works very well.
Have you been able to build on any of their ideas?

There's little doubt many individuals feel they have built on earlier philosophers so perhaps, the real litmus test is three generations of progress.
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Arising_uk
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Re: Wood and Chair question

Post by Arising_uk »

cladking wrote:...
I believe once it is accepted that reality is exactly what it appears to be that life itself exists outside the material word. ...
Pardon!? Not sure where you're living but the reality appears to be exactly that there is no 'life itself' other than there being living things existing in a material world.
jackles
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Re: Wood and Chair question

Post by jackles »

To be or not to be wood is the question.ha
Ginkgo
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Re: Wood and Chair question

Post by Ginkgo »

cladking wrote:
Each of these words have only one meaning in context A ^ 2 = B ^ 2 + C ^ 2.

However they each have other meanings in other contexts.

YES! There are definitions and axioms that are assumed to be true it's all the other words that are open to interpretation.

Exactly. This is why you original statement is a contradiction and therefore cannot be true:

"The terms change each time they are used and the listener takes a meaning that is dependent upon on a context"

What you mean to say is, "there are instances whereby words can be open to interpretation" For example, you misunderstanding of Descartes.
cladking wrote:
Thought does not cause one to exist nor prove one's existence.
Well, it does when it comes to Descartes. It's the whole idea. This is the basis for his theory of knowledge. "Cogito ergo sum" actually means that thought does prove one's existence. Reading his "Mediations" may prove useful.

cladking wrote:
Reality must exist and it must be the same for every observer. Obviously it looks different to each observer and each must be aware that his perception could be faulty and is never complete. To a large extent this is just common sense. Of what good is science or knowledge if it's only applicable to the individual? Why study anything if reality isn't what it appears to be?
No, because it is neither common nor sensible.This is subject to volumes of debate within philosophy. You need to be aware of the fallacy of question begging.
cladking wrote:
Have you been able to build on any of their ideas?
Yes, in academia I have.
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Re: Wood and Chair question

Post by cladking »

Arising_uk wrote:Pardon!? Not sure where you're living but the reality appears to be exactly that there is no 'life itself' other than there being living things existing in a material world.
(All life): Lives take place in a world occupied by many species and each individual must interact with his own species at least to reproduce and with all life to eat. Lives are very much outside the "material world" because every individuual has free will and choice. Stones and storms are the result of harmonic and chaotic forces that are not subject to their own will.

"Nature" happens all around us and while we can predict a rabbit will behave differently than a cat in a given situation nothing is set in stone. Rabbits act like rabbits and cats like cats but there is overlap and individual as well as situational variation.
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Re: Wood and Chair question

Post by cladking »

Ginkgo wrote:
Exactly. This is why you original statement is a contradiction and therefore cannot be true:

What you mean to say is, "there are instances whereby words can be open to interpretation"
My point is that if I say that "force is equal to the mass times the acceleration" most educated people will recognize it as a mathmatical statement that has been shown to apply to nature within the limits of its definitions and the state of the art of modern physics. However a car enthusiast might think I'm saying that the importance of a car is related to its ability to pick up speed and it's weight or horsepower. A preacher might misunderstand it to mean that the ability of mass and of the preacher to adapt to congregations is what makes him effective. Others might draw a complete blank or misinterpret it in ways that make the statement internally inconsistent or mere gobbledty gook.

We rarely notice when we don't understand because of the nature of modern language. EVERY WORD TAKES ITS MEANING FROM CONTEXT SO WE INTERPRET CONTEXT (meaning) AS REFLECTIVE OF OUR OWN UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORDS.

There may be an infinite number of sciences that can be defined. But each will be dependent on its axioms and defnitions and have no meaning outside of them. Our science is dependent on things like euclidean geometry and we see reality in such terms. An individual can see reality in terms of spherical geometry or somesuch but this is the exception and will have no effect on how he understands or misunderstands other things like archaeology or botany.

The point is that modern perspective and modern science are seen through the kaleidoscopic lens known as Cartesian logic. This logic posits not that reality exists but that the experience of an individual human exists. This simply isn't strictly true except for the individual perspective of a modern language speaker. Even though it is fully dependent on language it fails to recognize language as fundamental to that experience. As such it is non sequitur and internally inconsistent.
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Re: Wood and Chair question

Post by cladking »

Ginkgo wrote:
cladking wrote:
Thought does not cause one to exist nor prove one's existence.
Well, it does when it comes to Descartes. It's the whole idea. This is the basis for his theory of knowledge. "Cogito ergo sum" actually means that thought does prove one's existence. Reading his "Mediations" may prove useful.
This is the problem.

You can't think at all without language so the ability to ask and answer the question are strictly a function of language and not of existence.

"I think therefore I command language".

To the ancients it was "I am therefore I think". From their perspective the role of language was fundamental to the nature of man. Language was the father of man and was called "thot". Progress was thot. From their perspective there was no femine progeniture and they said thot had no mother. I can see the metaphysics of their language was the mother of human progress but they couldn't see it because they couldn't see outside their perspective just as we can't see outside our ability to command language. Des Cartes simply codified this perspective and made it the basis of science and thought. It has no more reality than a number or an idea and is inconsistent with facts.
No, because it is neither common nor sensible.This is subject to volumes of debate within philosophy. You need to be aware of the fallacy of question begging.
There's nothing inherently wrong with excluding the concept of "reality" for science though there is a problem when we lose sight of the reality. When we forget the metaphysical meaning of our experiments we will misapply the results having real world implications. When we forget that it's humans for whom science must work and that humans must live in the real world and not the lab we are risking extinction at our own hands.


Yes, in academia I have.
I don't pretend to understand most of this so will take your word at face value.

Be this as it may there is certainly no common agreement on the way people should live their lives beyond the old tenets or folksy flavor of the day science. Somewhere along the line these insights are not being passed down to the man on the street
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chris.4exp
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Re: Wood and Chair question

Post by chris.4exp »

Petals wrote:Hi all,

This is my first post :)

I have been wondering this for some time. My question may be badly formuated, so apologies! Is there a word to differenciate two objects, one which is 'natural' and the other which has been constructed. i.e wood and chair?
Although wood has intrinsic existence, a chair does not (chairs are constructs). I am looking for a word or theory that converys this.

Any ideas??

Many thanks!

Petals
Have you considered if both are actually "intrinsic" - thus if so - clearing this dilemma? ^_^
Ginkgo
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Re: Wood and Chair question

Post by Ginkgo »

cladking wrote:
Ginkgo wrote:
Exactly. This is why you original statement is a contradiction and therefore cannot be true:

What you mean to say is, "there are instances whereby words can be open to interpretation"
My point is that if I say that "force is equal to the mass times the acceleration" most educated people will recognize it as a mathmatical statement that has been shown to apply to nature within the limits of its definitions and the state of the art of modern physics. However a car enthusiast might think I'm saying that the importance of a car is related to its ability to pick up speed and it's weight or horsepower. A preacher might misunderstand it to mean that the ability of mass and of the preacher to adapt to congregations is what makes him effective. Others might draw a complete blank or misinterpret it in ways that make the statement internally inconsistent or mere gobbledty gook.

We rarely notice when we don't understand because of the nature of modern language. EVERY WORD TAKES ITS MEANING FROM CONTEXT SO WE INTERPRET CONTEXT (meaning) AS REFLECTIVE OF OUR OWN UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORDS.

There may be an infinite number of sciences that can be defined. But each will be dependent on its axioms and defnitions and have no meaning outside of them. Our science is dependent on things like euclidean geometry and we see reality in such terms. An individual can see reality in terms of spherical geometry or somesuch but this is the exception and will have no effect on how he understands or misunderstands other things like archaeology or botany.

The point is that modern perspective and modern science are seen through the kaleidoscopic lens known as Cartesian logic. This logic posits not that reality exists but that the experience of an individual human exists. This simply isn't strictly true except for the individual perspective of a modern language speaker. Even though it is fully dependent on language it fails to recognize language as fundamental to that experience. As such it is non sequitur and internally inconsistent.

There isn't an infinite number of sciences that one can define. It is a finite number. Probably about a dozen or so.

You are saying nothing new under the sun. In fact you provide the solution to you own problem, almost in the same breath as it were. Yes I agree, most people who are educated in Newtonian physics understand what Newton was on about. So let the car enthusiast and the preacher get educated in classical physics.

When Ed Witten and Brian Greene talk about classical cars they may well have many misunderstandings leading to gobbledygook. However ,when they come to talk about string theory no such problem exists. In a similar fashion to the car enthusiast and the preacheryour misunderstanding of Descartes is leading to confusions. For some reason you want portray this as a universal problem.
It isn't.


Mediations 1

"All that I have, up to that moment, accepted as possessed of the highest truth and certainty, I receive from or through the senses. I observed, however, that these sometimes mislead us; and it is the part of prudence not to place absolute confidence in that by which we have been once deceived"

Again... experience is not the basis of Descartes' methodology. He doesn't trust the senses as a source of reliable knowledge. He tells us as much.

What Descartes wants to tell us about Cartesian logic can be found in his "Meditations" it is a good read and not that difficult to follow.
Last edited by Ginkgo on Fri Dec 12, 2014 12:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Ginkgo
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Re: Wood and Chair question

Post by Ginkgo »

cladking wrote:
Ginkgo wrote:
cladking wrote:
Thought does not cause one to exist nor prove one's existence.
Well, it does when it comes to Descartes. It's the whole idea. This is the basis for his theory of knowledge. "Cogito ergo sum" actually means that thought does prove one's existence. Reading his "Mediations" may prove useful.
This is the problem.

You can't think at all without language so the ability to ask and answer the question are strictly a function of language and not of existence.

"I think therefore I command language".

To the ancients it was "I am therefore I think". From their perspective the role of language was fundamental to the nature of man. Language was the father of man and was called "thot". Progress was thot. From their perspective there was no femine progeniture and they said thot had no mother. I can see the metaphysics of their language was the mother of human progress but they couldn't see it because they couldn't see outside their perspective just as we can't see outside our ability to command language. Des Cartes simply codified this perspective and made it the basis of science and thought. It has no more reality than a number or an idea and is inconsistent with facts.
If you are saying that Egyptians practised some type of existentialism then I will take your word for that. I am only familiar with contemporary existentialism.
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