Individualism vs. Collectivism

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can » Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:35 pm

RCSaunders wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 2:51 pm
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:55 pm
In my view of concepts there is no corresponding conscious experience reflecting or representing existents. The only purpose or function of a concept is to identify existents the concept refers to.
I understand. What I'm pointing out is that it is not really "the same existents" (the specific existents you had in your mind) that are being assimilated into the mind of the hearer: it's only a comparable existent, drawn from his or her "bank."
What bank? And how did we get it? Or do you believe we are born with some kind of innate knowledge?
As I've already said, the "bank" is composed of things learned from parents, culture and personal experiences...whether or not we should add to that the innate is a good question, but most psychologists now accept routinely that we do come with some innate and instinctual content as well.
Most concepts, except for proper names or specific individuals (particular concepts), are universal concept
I would suggest the opposite. The vast majority of concepts we have relate to specific things. After all, there is only one general concept necessary for each category of many, many particular concepts. So the general concept of "apple" (the fruit) covers many particular concepts, such as "green apples," "red apples," "underripe apples," "large apples," "yellow apples"...and so on.
What makes any existent the kind it is are all its necessary qualities, that is, the qualities it must have to be the kind of existent it is, and without which it would not be that kind of existent.
Take out the words "kind of," and I'd agree. (I assume by "necessary," you don't mean the ontological term) "Kinds of" things are categories, and are broad. The things-themselves are individual items within the category.

The general category may not have to contain any "real" existents at all, actually -- the general category could be a sort of "ideal form" of the Platonic kind, and not any "apple" in particular...a kind of conception of vague and general "appleness" that one attached to many different particulars, and allows you to recognize new "apples" you have never seen before. That's possible. But maybe it's just the similarities among particulars we're identifying, not any general category at all. That's also possible.
The referents of a concept are not, "comparable existents," or "similar existents," they are the very same kind of existents identified by the concept.
But again, to say "same kind of" is very different from saying just "same." A green apple and a red one are the same kind of fruit, but not the same piece of fruit...not the same precise existent.
Every existent is different in some way from every other existent, even existents of the same kind. There will be differences in every single actual apple (color, size, shape, etc.). It is those differences that make them unique individual existents, but every apple will have the same attributes that all apples must have to be apples, no matter what other different attributes they have. Any existent that has an apple's necessary qualities is an apple, period.
That's a very Platonic view. There, you've almost got a collection of "different attributes" that are not possessed by any particular fruit, but only by all such fruits in common.
I wasn't going to address this at all until I realized I've been making notes about this very subject in another place. It was your words, "our own impressions of existents are mediated by our own sensory apparatus, our own "bank" of interpretations," that reminded me that this is only an assumption on your part, which does not apply to me at all. Perhaps your sensory apparatus is a cause of distortion, mine is the means to accurate perception of reality, and I have no such, "bank of interpretations."
Oh, I would say that you very likely do.

Kant was perhaps the first but not the only philosopher to note that none of us has unmediated access to things-in-themselves. The problem is that we may well mistake some item from our own "bank" as the universal, Platonic example, and imagine we have no "bank" at all. But I don't imagine that's true, unless humanity comes in radically different forms.
While I must accept the possibility that some people's consciousness is some kind of confusion or illusion that is incapable of perceiving reality as it actually is, those who claim their own inability to perceive reality assume everyone suffers from the same deficiency they do. Since they cannot possibly know how or what anyone else consciously perceives, there is no basis for their assumption that what they cannot do, no one can do. They are not content to make the claim for themselves, they make it for everyone and always express it as, "we," cannot perceive reality as it actually is, and, "we," only believe what we see is really as it appears, even though they cannot possibly know that.
And yet, that claim will be warranted unless you can show that your own perceptive abilities are radically superior to those of normal human beings. And I find that an improbable claim -- so vastly improbable, as a matter of fact, that it comes as close to certainly untrue as one can come in an epistemologically probable estimate.
So I'll take your word for it that you do not perceive reality as it actually is if you'll refrain from assuming you know what the nature and accuracy of my perception is. [The truth is I really don't care if you want to make that assumption, or any other about me. I'm not at all offended only a little intellectually bewildered.]
Well, that suggests two possibilities: either, as I say above, that your humanity and your epistemological powers are superhuman, or that you are not correct when you suppose that you are seeing things-in-themselves. I suppose it's clear which thesis is the most probable.

The most likely hypothesis is that you've been bitten by the Common Sense Realism bug, and suppose that unmediated access to things-in-themselves is possible. But maybe it's not true.
I did not say a concept "is" the actual existents, I said it, "means," the actual existents.
Okay, but let's unpack that word "means." Is the concept something that actually exists, the thing-in-itself, or is it merely the "means" by which you are able to assimilate knowledge of the thing-in-itself? I would say it's the latter.
Pies cannot be made out of concepts.
No. But concepts can be made out of pies.

The concept is the large category, (say, "baked goods") and "pie" a subcategory, and "this blueberry pie" a thing-in-itself.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:55 pm
Well, a concept that had failed to "communicate" something to one's own brain would be unassimilated, ...
"... to one's brain? Do you think the brain is conscious? I know physicalists think that, but I'm surprised if you to. I don't, so 'communicating with the brain' is pure nonsense to me.
If it's not, our present exercise would be hopeless. Brains are "inhabited" by minds (don't put too much emphasis on the word choice there). Minds do all the real work. The brain itself is just meat.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:55 pm
Yet, as I suggest above, we do not even have direct access to existents-in-themselves. We have only access to an assimilated form of them, mediated to us by our sensory apparatus.
And as I said, I'm sorry you have this self-avowed deficiency of perception. I do not.
Well, as I said, this suggests two possible theses, one of which is vastly more probable than the other. But admittedly, though vastly improbable, the other thesis could conceivably be true. I just don't suppose it is.
Most concepts held by most people are the same concepts held by other individuals. What makes them the same concepts is that the referents of those concepts are the same existents or same kind of existents.
Again, you resort here to the phrase "kind of."

But to say that something is "kind of" the same, or is "of the same kind" is not to say it's the thing-in-itself. So again, you don't have an argument for certain knowledge of things-in-themselves unless you are prepared to drop the "kind of" out of your sentences.
The concept represented by the word, "book," is the same concept, no matter how few or many have that concept, or however it is held in each individual mind, because it is not how a concept is mentally conceived that makes them the same, but the actual existents the concepts refer to.
But the term "book" is used to describe everything from papyri to e-books. There is no "sameness" to those conceptions -- only a general, floating set of criteria, perhaps, such as "things that can be held and read." No book-in-itself is being understood there.
Do you believe there are such things as books? Do you know what books are? If there are books, do you know what makes them books rather than cupcakes or bananas?
Sure. But by a non-particular criteria set, not by any specific book-in-itself.
Everyone who knows there are books, and what books are and what makes them different from all other existents has the very same concept for the very same existents and knows what it means.
Not "the same". Only similar by way of criteria.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:55 pm
It is obvious to me, our views of what truth is are very different, which of course will mean our understanding of what knowledge is will be very different. Perhaps, next time, we can discuss what we mean by truth.
That would be interesting.
I think it would be too. So:

What I mean by truth is an attribute or quality that pertains only to propositions. What determines whether a proposition is true or not true is reality itself. If a proposition asserts something about any aspect of reality and that aspect is really what is asserted, the proposition is true. If that aspect of reality is not what is asserted the proposition is not true.
Okay.

That does seem to invoke a kind of Scottish Common Sense Realism. For to know whether or not something is "true," then, you would have to be able to check it against a completely inerrant encounter with "reality." And so you would have to suppose that's what human beings have.

I do not think they do. I do not deny that reality is the touchstone of truth; that which is genuinely so determines whether or not a claim about it is true. But I insist that epistemologically, from our human standpoint, our estimations of the reliability of our grasp of truth is probabilistic, not absolute and certain. The truth is "out there," to be sure; but it is not at all evident to me that we have more than a probabilistic basis for thinking we've seized upon it.

I think that does get to the heart of the matter. We're agreeing that perception is not reality, and truth is tied to reality, not merely to perception. So far so good. But at the epistemological level, we're different: you see epistemological access to reality as untroubled. I see the human position as always somewhat uncertain. As Kierkegaard said, we invest ourselves in our truth claims "with fear and trembling," meaning that we don't KNOW FOR CERTAIN that we're right, but we really, really think we are, and our perception of the situation leads us to make that final leap of faith and say, "I think I know that X."

Sometimes we're wrong, actually. And if unmediated, unproblematic access to the truth of things-in-themselves were our lot, then we would not make any mistakes at all.

Worth thinking about?

Good thoughts.

Talk to you soon.

Nick_A
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Nick_A » Sun Sep 15, 2019 3:37 pm

From an article on Simone Weil:
Alluding to the allegory of the cave in Plato's Republic, where reality is seen second-hand as shadows on the wall rather than directly in the light of reality, Weil points to the compelling truth that everything people do or believe is based on a second-hand source: society. As long as individuals substitute society's view of reality for their own discoveries of reality -- so that the relationship to self, others, nature, and the universe is direct, immediate, intuitive, and accountable -- the individual will remain oppressed.

Conscience is deceived by the social. Our supplementary energy (imagination) is to a great extent taken up with the social. It has to be detached from it. That is the most difficult of detachments.

The most difficult of detachments , yet it can begin, not with action but with reflection.

Meditation on the social mechanism is in this respect a purification of the first importance. To contemplate the social is as good a way of detachment as to retire from the world. That is why I have not been wrong to rub shoulders with politics or society.
When a person acquires the need to think and to meditate as Simone describes they will come to question what this personality is that lives their life for them. It is the beginning of striving to become an individual and open to the experience of the Source rather than rely on second hand sources. Unfortuntely this attitude can get one killed so better not to express it in public before discriminating between those who can be told the truth of the human condition and those who will defend the beliefs of a chosen collective to their death.

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RCSaunders
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by RCSaunders » Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:48 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:35 pm
RCSaunders wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 2:51 pm
What bank? And how did we get it? Or do you believe we are born with some kind of innate knowledge?
As I've already said, the "bank" is composed of things learned from parents, culture and personal experiences...whether or not we should add to that the innate is a good question, but most psychologists now accept routinely that we do come with some innate and instinctual content as well.
I'm sure psychologists do. Psychology (not neurology) is a dangerous pseudo-science that has done nothing but harm.

You said something about the, "bank," earlier, as well:
I'm suggesting that we all get a kind of "bank" of associations (mind-images, sensations, memories, impressions, etc.) through our culture and our tutelage. When one person speaks to us of a concept, we don't get his concept simply given to us intact; rather we tend to draw on this "bank" to find something comparable to it, and when we find such a thing, we say, "Ah, yes; I see."

This process is noted by psychologists and educators. It's called "assimilation." It's that process by which we personally come to grips with alien or unfamiliar ideas and make them "ours," so to speak. It's how we digest them mentally, and make them accessible for future thoughts for ourselves.
I think what you wrote pefectly describes how most people derive their beliefs and ideas. I think it applies to perhaps 90 percent, or more, of people.

Though his estimation is lower then mine, H.L. Mencken was right:

"The average man never really thinks from end to end of his life. The mental activity of such people is only a mouthing of cliches. What they mistake for thought is simply a repetition of what they have heard. My guess is that well over 80 percent of the human race goes through life without having a single original thought."
— H L Mencken, "Minority Report"

Your view of how learning draws on some "bank" of ideas previously learned from teachers and others is exactly what Mencken and I mean. "Assimilating," ideas into a previously accepted, "bank," of ideas is not learning anything new, it is just a rehash of previously accepted ideas. One learns nothing new if every idea has to made to conform to what one already believes.

[NOTE: I do not quote anyone as authority on any idea. I only quote others when there is a question about what somone actually said or wrote or when I like the way someone expressed something. Nothing is true because some authority said it. If the authority happens to be a psychologist, it is almost certainly wrong.]
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:35 pm
Most concepts, except for proper names or specific individuals (particular concepts), are universal concept
I would suggest the opposite. The vast majority of concepts we have relate to specific things. After all, there is only one general concept necessary for each category of many, many particular concepts. So the general concept of "apple" (the fruit) covers many particular concepts, such as "green apples," "red apples," "underripe apples," "large apples," "yellow apples"...and so on.
You have not used a single particular concept and have used the universal concept, "apple," five times. "Green, apples," "red apples," etc. are not particulars. Though most concepts are identified by a single word or symbol, combinations of symbols (which is actually what English words are), like, "green apples," and, "red apples," are actually concepts for kinds of apples. They are not very useful concepts, like Baldwins, Granny Smith, or McIntosh are, because they would have very limited use, but they are universal concepts, nevertheless. What makes a concept a universal concept is that it has unlimited referents. Red apples would identify any and all apples that are red, etc. What makes a concept a particular concept is that it has only one referent. Navada, moon, and Eiffel Tower, are particular concepts. In speech, writing, and thought, most particulars are identified as specific referents of a universal concept, my book, the black cat, the best student. Book, cat, and student are universal concepts. My book, the black cat, the best student are particular concepts identifying single individuals.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:35 pm
What makes any existent the kind it is are all its necessary qualities, that is, the qualities it must have to be the kind of existent it is, and without which it would not be that kind of existent.
Take out the words "kind of," and I'd agree. (I assume by "necessary," you don't mean the ontological term) "Kinds of" things are categories, and are broad. The things-themselves are individual items within the category.
The qualities are ontological in the sense that the actual entities really do have those qualities. The fact that they are necessary is purely epistemological, meaning to epistemologically identify existents as the same kind they must have the same necessary qualities.

Of course kinds of things are categories, not just broad, but totally open ended, because they include all possible referents (actual existents) with the same necessary qualities.

Of course, "the things-themselves are individual items within the category," and every one of them will have the same necessary qualities which is what makes them members of the same category, and every individual existent will have some quality or qualities in addition to the necessary qualities that differentiates them from all other existents of the same kind or category.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:35 pm
The general category may not have to contain any "real" existents at all, actually ...
That is Platonic nonsense. There can only be concepts of categories of actual existents. There must first be existents to identify as having the same attributes before a concept of a category can be conceived, unless it's fiction, of course.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:35 pm
The referents of a concept are not, "comparable existents," or "similar existents," they are the very same kind of existents identified by the concept.
But again, to say "same kind of" is very different from saying just "same." A green apple and a red one are the same kind of fruit, but not the same piece of fruit...not the same precise existent.
That's right.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:35 pm
Every existent is different in some way from every other existent, even existents of the same kind. There will be differences in every single actual apple (color, size, shape, etc.). It is those differences that make them unique individual existents, but every apple will have the same attributes that all apples must have to be apples, no matter what other different attributes they have. Any existent that has an apple's necessary qualities is an apple, period.
That's a very Platonic view. There, you've almost got a collection of "different attributes" that are not possessed by any particular fruit, but only by all such fruits in common.
You really think that's Platonic? Well, maybe the explanation above will clear that up.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:35 pm
Well, that suggests two possibilities: either, as I say above, that your humanity and your epistemological powers are superhuman, or that you are not correct when you suppose that you are seeing things-in-themselves. I suppose it's clear which thesis is the most probable.
There is nothing super-human, or at all extraordinary, about perceiving reality as it actually is. It is how everyone perceives the world and knows it, until some philosopher, psychologist, religionist, mystic, or academic gets a hold of them and convinces them that what they perceive is unreliable and deceptive. If someone really did not perceive physical existence as it actually is, that would be a human defect. While there are such defects, they are extremely rare and I suspect even those who claim not to be able to perceive existence as it is, really do, but would rather they didn't, because it would relieve them of so much responsibility.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:35 pm
The most likely hypothesis is that you've been bitten by the Common Sense Realism bug ...
Yes I have. Once bitten it makes one immune to every form of con and hustle the pseudo-intellectuals of this world attempt to put over.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:35 pm
Most concepts held by most people are the same concepts held by other individuals. What makes them the same concepts is that the referents of those concepts are the same existents or same kind of existents.
Again, you resort here to the phrase "kind of."

But to say that something is "kind of" the same, or is "of the same kind" is not to say it's the thing-in-itself. So again, you don't have an argument for certain knowledge of things-in-themselves unless you are prepared to drop the "kind of" out of your sentences.
I really don't know what your objection is here. I do not know of a single thing-in-itself that is not some "kind" of thing. If I have a chow (dog), it is 'a kind of dog,' which is 'a kind of mammal,' which is 'a kind of animal,' which is 'a kind of organism.' Are you saying I cannot know anything certain about my dog because it is a 'kind' of thing? Are not the facts that it is a dog, a mammal, an animal, and an organism knowledge about the actual thing-in-itself, which is my dog? It is impossible to think of anything that is not some kind of thing, from fire being 'a kind of chemical reaction,' to water being 'a kind of chemical compound,' to a snake being 'a kind of reptile,' to a box being 'a kind of container,' to length being 'a kind of measurement.' Everything is some kind of thing, else it does not exist.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:35 pm
What I mean by truth is an attribute or quality that pertains only to propositions. What determines whether a proposition is true or not true is reality itself. If a proposition asserts something about any aspect of reality and that aspect is really what is asserted, the proposition is true. If that aspect of reality is not what is asserted the proposition is not true.
Okay.

That does seem to invoke a kind of Scottish Common Sense Realism. For to know whether or not something is "true," then, you would have to be able to check it against a completely inerrant encounter with "reality." And so you would have to suppose that's what human beings have.
At this point I was only describing what truth is, not how we know it. I don't think you understand what I said truth is. Again, "If a proposition asserts something about any aspect of reality and that aspect is really what is asserted, the proposition is true."

I'm not sure what you mean by, "completely inerrant," but it is certainly not necessary to know something is true. [That's, "something," not, "everything."] If I say, "the cat is in the closet," and the cat is, indeed, in the closet, the statement is true. How do I know the cat is in the closet? I look in the closet. If I say, "heavier than air human flight is possible," it is true. How do I know it's true, by flying in a plane and seeing thousands of others do so.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:35 pm
... The truth is "out there," to be sure; but it is not at all evident to me that we have more than a probabilistic basis for thinking we've seized upon it.
This is why I wanted to address what truth is before discussing how we know the truth. Is truth an, "it," or is it a quality?
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:35 pm
... We're agreeing that perception is not reality, ....
But I don't agree that perception is not reality. Perception itself is a real attribute of the higher organisms, so is definitely part of reality. Perception is also our direct consciousness of real physical existence. The two facts, 1. the physical existence we directly perceive, and 2. our consciousness, by which we perceive that physical existence, are the foundation facts of all knowledge of reality.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:35 pm
... if unmediated, unproblematic access to the truth of things-in-themselves were our lot, then we would not make any mistakes at all.
This is why we need to first establish what we mean by truth. There is no truth, "out there," for anyone to have access to. Truth is not a thing. It is an existent, but only as a quality and pertains only to those things capable of having that quality, propositions. As such, truth has no ontological existence and is strictly epistemological.

[By the way, perception is not knowledge and provides no knowledge, it is only our direct consciousness of physical existence. Knowledge is all that we know about that perceived existence, and our consciousness of it, by means of identification and reason.]

Of course that is my view of truth, and I strongly suspect yours is different.

And that is good, because, if we agreed on everything we'd have precious little to discuss.

So discuss away, my friend!

RC

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can » Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:39 pm

RCSaunders wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:48 pm
I'm sure psychologists do. Psychology (not neurology) is a dangerous pseudo-science that has done nothing but harm.
Well, RC, I do think that statement is not entirely incorrect, but I'd also suggest it's far too strong.

Psychology has made some major blunders, to be sure. After all, it deals with human beings, especially their inner lives. That's not stuff that's entirely open to empirical investigation. However, to say that it's done no good would be excessive. There are aspects of psychology that are useful, particularly those that are disciplined by empirical investigation.

However, we can leave that. Nothing rests here on the credentials of psychology.
Though his estimation is lower then mine, H.L. Mencken was right:

...My guess is that well over 80 percent of the human race goes through life without having a single original thought."
— H L Mencken, "Minority Report"

Your view of how learning draws on some "bank" of ideas previously learned from teachers and others is exactly what Mencken and I mean. "Assimilating," ideas into a previously accepted,
No, no...I definitely did not say that. I'm afraid you've missed my point quite widely.

Mencken is only talking about lack of originality. He's not talking about "assimilation." That's quite a different phenomenon, and is by no means a synonym for "thinking unoriginally."

"Assimilation" is a process, not a type of content. It has to do with ingesting information, whatever that information is, new or old, original or conventional, and making that information relevant and accessible to one's own cognition and to one's actual situation. It's a higher cognitive function, not a lower one.
"bank," of ideas is not learning anything new,
Well, every person's "bank" is somewhat different from everyone else's. Not completely different, because we do adopt some ideas from others, from culture, from our upbringing, and so on...but much of what enters that "bank" comes from our own personal experiences, which nobody else has had. It's not simply full of unoriginal stuff.
One learns nothing new if every idea has to made to conform to what one already believes.
Well, if every idea one would have was merely a received idea, or a conventional idea, you'd be right. But that's not the case. The "bank" is not full of "what one already believes," but with what one already has thought, known, processed and experienced -- some from others, and some from one's own life experiences and cognitions.

Now, before we move on, let's rethink the idea of having contempt for even the stuff that comes from others, from culture or from teaching. A person who has none of that stuff is uneducated, unsocialized, uncivilized, egocentric, ignorant of the past prior to his birth, and lacking any learning from the great legacy of the past. He could never be apprenticed to any discipline, enrolled in any school, do any science, or acquire any skill, because all of those things are "received" from others.

Is that a desirable condition for a human being to be in? It's independent, and "original," to be sure; but is it independent in a good way? I think not.

So I would have to say that there is something to be said even for "received" knowledge...though it cannot be all one has, or even form the controlling substance of what one has. One also needs one's own materials, of course.

But "assimilation" is not the same as mere "reception of information." Rather, it's a cognitive processing, by which new information is internalized and made accessible and useful to the recipient. In fact, lack of assimilation is a major reason why propagandization is possible: the propagandists dump loads of information, especially repeated information, upon a listener, while allowing him no time for assimilation, and he will likely come to believe lies. Lacking the space and time to process the ideas properly, he will start simply to "take in" information without comparing it to what he has in "the bank" already, and without considering any contrary viewpoints.

And, on the other hand, all learning requires assimilation. Assimilation does not mean making yourself "similar" to others, but rather "taking in" information, then processing it for yourself, in such a way as to possess and employ it within your own world and situation.

Assimilation is that process you use all the time when you listen to the news, for example: you say, "Well, Mr. Trump has lowered the price of bread again." But then you think: "Wait a minute...I don't live in America. The price of British bread is not affected by Mr. Trump's decisions." Then you think again, "But my cousin Iris in Boston will now pay less for bread." Then you think, "I was going to visit Iris this summer; this now means she'll be able to give me toast every morning..." And so on.

In assimilation, what you're doing is turning raw information into information for RC's use. You're making it relevant, useful and applicable to yourself. You're turning it into stuff you can absorb, stuff you can find a slot for in your inner "library" of facts. You're not just receiving it, you're understanding it, and finding out how it relates to you. You're making it yours.

That's what the assimilation I refer to means. It does not mean "received" or "conventional" knowledge.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:35 pm
Most concepts, except for proper names or specific individuals (particular concepts), are universal concept
I would suggest the opposite. The vast majority of concepts we have relate to specific things. After all, there is only one general concept necessary for each category of many, many particular concepts. So the general concept of "apple" (the fruit) covers many particular concepts, such as "green apples," "red apples," "underripe apples," "large apples," "yellow apples"...and so on.
You have not used a single particular concept and have used the universal concept, "apple," five times. "Green, apples," "red apples," etc. are not particulars.
Okay. I thought you might say that. So let me revise: let's say "that apple," instead of "red" or "green" or whatever apples. Now, that's a particular.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:35 pm
What makes any existent the kind it is are all its necessary qualities, that is, the qualities it must have to be the kind of existent it is, and without which it would not be that kind of existent.
Take out the words "kind of," and I'd agree. (I assume by "necessary," you don't mean the ontological term) "Kinds of" things are categories, and are broad. The things-themselves are individual items within the category.
The qualities are ontological in the sense that the actual entities really do have those qualities.

But "qualities" are not per se existents. They are only human evaluations of aspects of existents.

There is, for example, no such singular thing as "big." An elephant may seem "big" to me, but it's not comparable to a planetoid. When we speak of "qualities," were' really making attributions based on encountering the existents, and on comparing them with other things. But most of what we call "quality" is merely relative, perspectival, or conditional. And that's true even of qualities that seem inhere in the objects themselves.

For example, when I was growing up, my best friend was red-green colourblind. He literally had difficulty in telling which was which. He would ask me. And I would say, "That's a red tie." But the "red" I saw was nothing like the "red" he saw. We both saw the same object, but our senses of its colour qualities were totally different. I could (presumably) really see the "red," and he could not.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:35 pm
The general category may not have to contain any "real" existents at all, actually ...
That is Platonic nonsense.
Not at all. I was not referencing Plato, or his idea of ideal forms. I was merely saying that when you say "apple," the "apple" I picture in my mind is very likely one that never existed at all! Rather, it's probably my flawed memory of something I once saw, or it's an imaginary creation made up of bits and attributes of other apple-like things I've previously seen. It might well be the case that my particular prototypical "apple" never existed anywhere, at any time.

And yours likewise, of course. In fact, since you have never seen me, I could describe myself to you falsely: I could say, "I'm a 25 year old Chinese ballerina with one eye." Now, maybe no such Chinese ballerina ever existed: but that would not stop you picturing a 25 year old Chinese girl with one eye, standing in a tutu. It's just that this general category of Chinese ballerinas with one eye, that I have now created in your mind, has not one single actual referent in reality, perhaps.
There can only be concepts of categories of actual existents.

Then how come when I say "unicorn" you can see one?
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:35 pm
Every existent is different in some way from every other existent, even existents of the same kind. There will be differences in every single actual apple (color, size, shape, etc.). It is those differences that make them unique individual existents, but every apple will have the same attributes that all apples must have to be apples, no matter what other different attributes they have. Any existent that has an apple's necessary qualities is an apple, period.
That's a very Platonic view. There, you've almost got a collection of "different attributes" that are not possessed by any particular fruit, but only by all such fruits in common.
You really think that's Platonic?
That's certainly one way of understanding it. If the attributes can have integrity and reality, and can form a concept apart from any particular fruit, that's quasi-Platonic, at least.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:35 pm
Well, that suggests two possibilities: either, as I say above, that your humanity and your epistemological powers are superhuman, or that you are not correct when you suppose that you are seeing things-in-themselves. I suppose it's clear which thesis is the most probable.
There is nothing super-human, or at all extraordinary, about perceiving reality as it actually is.
I disagree. I think that's decidedly beyond human ability. To have that ability, one would definitely have be some kind of super-human. But again, I don't find that hypothesis probabilistically alluring. I think you're probably human.
It is how everyone perceives the world and knows it,

I think it's what they assume, until they get some epistemic humility. And that only comes with maturity and reflection.

We might all start out as some sort of Common Sense Realists: but it's not long until we learn we can be mistaken -- and that there are many and dire penalties for being mistaken. So we become more cautious as we grow.

If we all had unfettered access to the truth, to reality, that would simply never happen.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:35 pm
The most likely hypothesis is that you've been bitten by the Common Sense Realism bug ...
Yes I have. Once bitten it makes one immune to every form of con and hustle the pseudo-intellectuals of this world attempt to put over.
It does have some utility in detecting cons, I'll admit. But it comes with a price: one is afterward conned by oneself. One begins to think one is one's own touchstone of truth.

But if that were the case, why are we so often led into mistakes by trusting our Common Sense Realism?
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:35 pm
Most concepts held by most people are the same concepts held by other individuals. What makes them the same concepts is that the referents of those concepts are the same existents or same kind of existents.
Again, you resort here to the phrase "kind of."

But to say that something is "kind of" the same, or is "of the same kind" is not to say it's the thing-in-itself. So again, you don't have an argument for certain knowledge of things-in-themselves unless you are prepared to drop the "kind of" out of your sentences.
I really don't know what your objection is here.
My objection is that genuinely certain knowledge would be knowledge of things-in-themselves, not simply knowledge of a set of categories.

To say I know George is not the same thing as to say I know George's kind of person. I may say the latter, in fact, and never have met George at all.

So it would be a problem for your suggestion that humans can have certain knowledge, if what we had was only knowledge of the relevant categories.
That does seem to invoke a kind of Scottish Common Sense Realism. For to know whether or not something is "true," then, you would have to be able to check it against a completely inerrant encounter with "reality." And so you would have to suppose that's what human beings have.
At this point I was only describing what truth is, not how we know it.

We cannot separate the two in that way.

You are human: you have no way of knowing that is not human. You do not know things-in-themselves, unless you are superhuman. You know only things by probability. Your knowledge is only relatively certain, not absolutely so.

Either way, you don't have that "completely inerrant encounter with reality" of which we spoke. That is, unless, contrary to all other persons, you're incapable of being mistaken or wrong about anything.
I don't think you understand what I said truth is. Again, "If a proposition asserts something about any aspect of reality and that aspect is really what is asserted, the proposition is true."
There's a difference between "the assertion is truly asserted," and the claim "what is asserted is true." Many false assertions are genuinely asserted.

The problem is in your phrase "any aspect of reality." My question to you is, "How do you know for certain that 'aspect of reality' you need to check your assertion against?

Let me remind you of my earlier example. You're walking up a hall. You see that it ends in a bend. You assert, "When I get to the end of the hall, I will turn left first."

You genuinely believe it. You think you see a hallway off to the left. You fully mean to turn left. You are certain it's the best thing to do.

But what you don't know is that when you get there, you will see that the hall only turns right. On the left is only an indented doorway, and that door is locked.

You will not turn left. You are wrong. Your certainty is not well-founded. But you do not know that.

That's the problem with Common Sense Realism. Sometimes it's just dead wrong. But because it takes itself to be unmediated access to reality, it's not corrigible...it cannot be corrected. It's not humble. And ultimately, it's not even actually realistic. Sometimes, halls only turn right.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:35 pm
... The truth is "out there," to be sure; but it is not at all evident to me that we have more than a probabilistic basis for thinking we've seized upon it.
This is why I wanted to address what truth is before discussing how we know the truth. Is truth an, "it," or is it a quality?
It depends. The truth is a thing. Truthfulness is a quality. It can be either noun or adjective, depending on the context.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:35 pm
... We're agreeing that perception is not reality, ....
But I don't agree that perception is not reality.
Really? You suppose that when people "perceive" something, they're always right? That doesn't seem easy to sustain.

I can't think you meant that. But you'll have to explain that better.
There is no truth, "out there," for anyone to have access to.

If you say so, then you're no Common Sense Realist, for sure.
As such, truth has no ontological existence and is strictly epistemological.
A Common Sense Realist is essentially going to hold that truth and ontological existence are the same thing.
Of course that is my view of truth, and I strongly suspect yours is different.

And that is good, because, if we agreed on everything we'd have precious little to discuss.
Yes, quite true. It's the differences that make things interesting.
So discuss away, my friend!
Will do. And feel free to "push back" on whatever you feel the need to push. This is helpful conversation.

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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by RCSaunders » Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:16 pm

Hi IC,
I'm not going to discuss every issue because I think there are some fundamental differenes we have that make the discussion of some things impossible such as the following:
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:39 pm
But "qualities" are not per se existents. They are only human evaluations of aspects of existents.
This is why any discussion between us about concepts cannot make sense.

I have no idea what you think I mean by qualities, though I think I have explained it. Just in case I have not made it clear, what I mean by qualities of an existent are any characteristics, properties, or attributes of an existent. For example, some qualities of a dog are: it is living, eats, drinks, sleeps, is mammal, and is a canine. Some qualities of an apple are: it is physical, is fruit, grows on trees, has a skin, and has a core. Apples and dogs really have those qualities. They are not evaluations of anything.

Everything that is, exists. Everything does not exist in the same way. Some existents are material entities, others are epistemological existents. Physical entities, qualities, events, relationships, concepts, fictions, all exist, they just do not exist in the same way.

Just as relationships do not exist except as relationships between existents, and behavior does not exist except as the actions of existents, qualities do not exist independently of the existents they are the qualities of. Living, solid, liquid, hot, heavy, smooth, metalic, and magnetic, are all qualities, but none exists except as qualities of actual existents.

If you deny that qualities exist or think they are just some kind "human evaluations of aspects of existents, we have no mutual foundation for discussing concepts.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:39 pm
There can only be concepts of categories of actual existents.

Then how come when I say "unicorn" you can see one?
I cannot see one. Nobody can see one, because they do not exist materially, they only exist as fictions. Perhaps you are confusing imagination with seeing. You are certainly confusing the ontological and epistemological.

You could never have made that suggestion if you understood what I mean by concepts. In spite of your earlier denial, you keep referring to concepts as though they referred to something in the mind: "I was merely saying that when you say "apple," the "apple" I picture in my mind is very likely one that never existed at all! Rather, it's probably my flawed memory of something I once saw, or it's an imaginary creation made up of bits and attributes of other apple-like things I've previously seen. It might well be the case that my particular prototypical "apple" never existed anywhere, at any time."

Concepts do not refer to pictures, or images, or prototypes in ones mind. they refer only to actual, existents-in-themselves.

The real purpose of a concept is to make it unnecessary to mentally identify every single existent, individually, in order to think about them are talk about them. A farmer giving instructions to his apple pickers might want all the thrown apples (those that fall of the tree) to be picked up before picking the ones still on the tree. He could say, "I want you to pick up that object, and that object, and that object, indicating every single apple as an existent-in-itself. The concept apple, meaning any actual existent with the attributes of an apple, makes it possible for the farmer to identify all the actual apples-in-themselves he wants picked up, "pick up all the thrown apples first."

A concept is formed by observing that many things have similar attributes to other things. One does not form a concept then go looking in the world to see if there is anything like the concept one has made up. By observing that some creatures live in water, have gills, swim using fins and an undulating motion one can form a concept to include all creatures that live in the water, have gills and swim using fins and an undulating motion, and can designate that concept by a symbol, like the word fish. That is exactly what a concept is and does and all it does. Without the concept fish, it would be necessary to describe anew every single fish one chose to think or talk about.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:39 pm
Let me remind you of my earlier example. You're walking up a hall. You see that it ends in a bend. You assert, "When I get to the end of the hall, I will turn left first."

You genuinely believe it. ...You will not turn left. You are wrong. Your certainty is not well-founded. But you do not know that.

That's the problem with Common Sense Realism. Sometimes it's just dead wrong.
Now I don't mind how you choose to label me, but, "Common Sense Realist," is what you called me, not what I claimed. I just let you call me that. If that is what I am (and you know I do not embrace any "-ism") a Common Sense Realist would never assert that any future proposition is true. All future propositions are hypothetical. If I say I will do such'n'such, as a prediction of what I will do, I do not, "believe," that is what I'll do, unless I include the caveat, "all things being what they must be for that to be possible." Otherwise a, "Common Sense Realist," such as I am, never asserts any future proposition as true.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:39 pm
... The truth is a thing. Truthfulness is a quality. It can be either noun or adjective, depending on the context.
You said earlier, "There is, for example, no such singular thing as 'big,'" and I totally agree with that, because, "big," is quality (a relative one) and no quality exists independently of the existents they are the qualities of. Nevertheless, as a quality, big certainly exists (in all things that have that quality) and can be referred to as the quality, "bigness." But big, or, "bigness," is not an entity, and only exists as a quality of existents.

What I mean by truth is a quality which only pertains to assertions (or propositions). "Truth," is the name of that quality, and like all other qualities cannot exist independently of the existents it is the quality of (propositions). A proposition that asserts (or states) what is really the case or, "so," has the quality, "true." A proposition that asserts (or states) what is not really the case or, "so," does not have the quality, "true," it has the quality, "not true," or, "false." As a quality, truth certainly exists (in every true proposition) and can be referred to as the quality truth, (but not truthfulness, which pertains to people or things that make or contain propositions or assertions, not propositions themselves). Truth is not a thing (ontological), it is only a thing, (epistemological).
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:39 pm
... You suppose that when people "perceive" something, they're always right? That doesn't seem easy to sustain.

I can't think you meant that. But you'll have to explain that better.
I would not have used the word, "right," but will let it stand unless it becomes a semantic issue. Otherwise, that is exactly what I mean, and I mean it both possible ways: one cannot be wrong about what they perceive and what they perceive is physical existence exactly as it is.

By, "one cannot be wrong about what they perceive," I mean whatever one sees, hears, feels, smells, or tastes is what they see, hear, feel, smell and taste. Here I am only referring to the actual perceptual experience. If I see red, I see red; if I hear a high note, I hear a high note, of I feel cold, I feel cold. I may not know why I see red, hear the note, or feel the cold, what they mean or what causes them, (because those things are about what I perceive, not the perception itself), but if that is what I am seeing, hearing, or feeling, then it is and I cannot be wrong about it. This is very important because so much about perception is confused with how one interprets, identifies, or thinks about what they perceive. Many things which are called perceptual illusions confuse one's interpretation of what is perceived with perception itself.

By, "what they perceive is physical existence exactly as it is," I mean the physical existence we see, hear, feel, smell, and taste is physical existence and that physical existence is exactly as we perceive it to be, and that, within the ontological context of all that is perceived, that perception is perfect.

I've tried to make this as unambiguous as I can. I doubt very much that you know of a single other individual who holds this view of reality and probably find it difficult to believe anyone does. I just want too assure you, I do.

If you wish to discuss this, feel free to present any arguments or what you consider evidence you think casts doubt on the veracity of perception.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:39 pm
And feel free to "push back" on whatever you feel the need to push. This is helpful conversation.
I have no interest in pushing back, or even arguing, really. I'm always interested in other's reasoning, especially when it is interesting, such as yours, and like to discover why others think differently than I do. It gives me new things to think about and I always welcome a chance to learn. So thank you for that, my friend.

The perception question is a good example. I know you do not believe perception is of reality as it is or totally reliable. I think I've heard or read every argument (and the endless baseless assumptions) for why the veracity of perception is doubted, but, I'm still interested in why the view is so pervasive and what convinces others the woman they love and hold in their arms and make love to is not really real or exactly what she seems to be.

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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri Sep 20, 2019 3:34 am

RCSaunders wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:16 pm
Hi IC,
I'm not going to discuss every issue because I think there are some fundamental differenes we have that make the discussion of some things impossible such as the following:
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:39 pm
But "qualities" are not per se existents. They are only human evaluations of aspects of existents.
This is why any discussion between us about concepts cannot make sense.
Oh, I think it's nowhere near so grim as that.

Let's simplify:

"Concepts" are generic categorizations of similar ideas and items. (examples, "courage," "dogs")

"Qualities" are properties attributed to things (examples, "redness," truthfulness")
Just in case I have not made it clear, what I mean by qualities of an existent are any characteristics, properties, or attributes of an existent. For example, some qualities of a dog are: it is living, eats, drinks, sleeps, is mammal, and is a canine. Some qualities of an apple are: it is physical, is fruit, grows on trees, has a skin, and has a core. Apples and dogs really have those qualities. They are not evaluations of anything.
Sure they are. You only recognize a new "dog" by virtue of it having some of these properties...and many of these properties, when isolated, are not exclusive to dogs at all. Maybe "canine" is the lone exception. As for "apples," your list could describe pears just as easily. That's the nature of "qualities": they do not pertain individually to any particular item or "existent." They are features that may pertain to many different items. It's only when the collocation of them is sufficient to eliminate all other possibilities that they can be said to pertain to any one kind of "existent." In and of themselves, they are not exclusively owned by any single "existent."
Everything that is, exists. Everything does not exist in the same way. Some existents are material entities, others are epistemological existents. Physical entities, qualities, events, relationships, concepts, fictions, all exist, they just do not exist in the same way.
Yep, that's true. And add to that things like "minds," "consciousnesses," "intelligence," "perception," "rationality"...these also exist, though they are not material entities.
...qualities do not exist independently of the existents they are the qualities of.

Yes and no.

Yes, qualities have to be attributed TO something. But no, particular qualities are not the exclusive property of any single existent. So, to use your examples, "liquidity" pertains to water and to oil...but also to cash. "Solidity" pertains to rocks, airplanes and emus. "Magnetic," to iron, hillsides and personalities...and so on.
If you deny that qualities exist or think they are just some kind "human evaluations of aspects of existents, we have no mutual foundation for discussing concepts.
Not all concepts are qualities. Qualities are a particular subcategory of concepts. "Cat" is a concept, but not a quality. "Bigness" is both a concept AND a quality.
You are certainly confusing the ontological and epistemological.
Well, to be fair, I was actually wondering the same of you. It seems quite clear to me. I'm not sure where the unclarity remains. Perhaps I've addressed it above.
You could never have made that suggestion if you understood what I mean by concepts. In spite of your earlier denial, you keep referring to concepts as though they referred to something in the mind: "I was merely saying that when you say "apple," the "apple" I picture in my mind is very likely one that never existed at all! Rather, it's probably my flawed memory of something I once saw, or it's an imaginary creation made up of bits and attributes of other apple-like things I've previously seen. It might well be the case that my particular prototypical "apple" never existed anywhere, at any time."

Concepts do not refer to pictures, or images, or prototypes in ones mind. they refer only to actual, existents-in-themselves.
I disagree. The concept of "a good party" exists long before anyone throws a party. The concept of a "unicorn" exists, even though unicorns themselves do not. A concept may or may not refer to entities that exist. That's the great thing about concepts: they allow us to do work in our minds before we have to make a similar move in the material world...which can be much more costly.

For example, if I'm a surgeon, I can "conceptualize" several ways to perform a surgical operation, even before I do anything. That means that the patient doesn't have to suffer me slicing him/her up several different ways, trying to get it right. I can choose from among my conceptions the one that is most likely to produce the best results.
The real purpose of a concept is to make it unnecessary to mentally identify every single existent, individually, in order to think about them are talk about them.
That's one purpose. But it's not the only one.

Another purpose is, as I said, to avoid having to make too many mistakes in reality. (Should I harvest my apples from the bottom, middle or top of the tree first?) Another is to identify the broad classification into which an individual item falls, so as to deal with it effectively. (Is this a good apple, or is it too wormy to sell?) There are multiple uses for concepts.
A concept is formed by observing that many things have similar attributes to other things.
Perhaps initially. But then it is extended to other things that come into one's experience as new. The first time I see a green apple, I may struggle to believe it's actually an apple at all. But eventually I become convinced it does, even though it isn't red, like the first apples I saw.
One does not form a concept then go looking in the world to see if there is anything like the concept one has made up.
As I say, originally, that might be true; but after the concept is formed, that is exactly what one does with it. Once I know what an "apple" is, I may well go looking to find out what other things make it into that category. At least, I will if I want to make apple pie.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:39 pm
That's the problem with Common Sense Realism. Sometimes it's just dead wrong.
Now I don't mind how you choose to label me, but, "Common Sense Realist," is what you called me, not what I claimed.
Fair enough. It seemed an apt descriptor at the time, with no offence implied...or taken, I hope.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:39 pm
... The truth is a thing. Truthfulness is a quality. It can be either noun or adjective, depending on the context.
You said earlier, "There is, for example, no such singular thing as 'big,'" and I totally agree with that, because, "big," is quality (a relative one) and no quality exists independently of the existents they are the qualities of. Nevertheless, as a quality, big certainly exists (in all things that have that quality) and can be referred to as the quality, "bigness." But big, or, "bigness," is not an entity, and only exists as a quality of existents.
Well, it exists as a concept. A quality is a subcategory of concepts, remember? So even when I'm not experiencing it relation to a particular existent, I'm carrying it around in my head as a concept to be potentially applied to yet-unseen existents. That's how I can say of a new thing, something I've never seen before, "Wow, that thing is big."
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:39 pm
... You suppose that when people "perceive" something, they're always right? That doesn't seem easy to sustain.

I can't think you meant that. But you'll have to explain that better.
I would not have used the word, "right," but will let it stand unless it becomes a semantic issue. Otherwise, that is exactly what I mean, and I mean it both possible ways: one cannot be wrong about what they perceive and what they perceive is physical existence exactly as it is.
That would mean there was no such thing as an illusion, a delusion, a hallucination, or even an error. I think it's pretty clear that we human beings make all of those pretty often.
By, "one cannot be wrong about what they perceive," I mean whatever one sees, hears, feels, smells, or tastes is what they see, hear, feel, smell and taste. Here I am only referring to the actual perceptual experience. If I see red, I see red; if I hear a high note, I hear a high note, of I feel cold, I feel cold. I may not know why I see red, hear the note, or feel the cold, what they mean or what causes them, (because those things are about what I perceive, not the perception itself), but if that is what I am seeing, hearing, or feeling, then it is and I cannot be wrong about it.

Ah, I see the problem.

You're right to say that if a person is experiencing a hallucination they did genuinely SEE a dragon leaping out of their steering wheel when they drove into the ditch. But this is quite a different thing from saying that there WAS a dragon leaping out of their steering wheel.

And that's the problem: the delusion of the dragon exists. The dragon doesn't. So you'd have to refine your idea of an existent to include things that only "exist" as hallucinations and delusions. I don't think, though, that's what you'd want to do...
I've tried to make this as unambiguous as I can. I doubt very much that you know of a single other individual who holds this view of reality and probably find it difficult to believe anyone does. I just want too assure you, I do.
Hmm...well, if you know that other people find your view of reality implausible, then why do you think they do that? Are they just being difficult, or is there something about your view that's pretty counterintuitive and unnatural to them?
If you wish to discuss this, feel free to present any arguments or what you consider evidence you think casts doubt on the veracity of perception.
Well, the delusional "dragon" seems to me to be a problem. There, the perception is genuinely experienced; but the truth is that there is no existent, no real dragon.
So thank you for that, my friend.
Likewise, of course.
The perception question is a good example. I know you do not believe perception is of reality as it is or totally reliable. I think I've heard or read every argument (and the endless baseless assumptions) for why the veracity of perception is doubted, but, I'm still interested in why the view is so pervasive and what convinces others the woman they love and hold in their arms and make love to is not really real or exactly what she seems to be.
I don't think that's quite what they do think.

I think the problem more often runs the other way...not that we're in danger of imagining that things that do exist don't (although that can, and does happen), but that we often imagine things that simply don't exist.

I think it's not a danger that we will imagine a woman in our arms isn't real. After all, she's in our arms. Rather, it's when we imagine things about that woman that are simply not true (that she is perfect, that she is faithful, that she is not faithful, that she will never age, that she thinks the same as I do in all important matters, that she is playing me, that she is a gold digger, that she loves me when she really doesn't, or doesn't when she does...and so on). In such matters, what we "perceive" to be the case can be wildly wrong.

Carry on. :wink:

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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by RCSaunders » Sat Sep 21, 2019 3:49 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 3:34 am
Oh, I think it's nowhere near so grim as that.

Let's simplify:
...
"Qualities" are properties attributed to things (examples, "redness," truthfulness")
I'm afraid it is just as "grim" as I said it is, perhaps "futile" would be better. Qualities are not just, "attributed," to things. If a quality is the quality of a thing, it is a quality of that thing. If it is an ontological thing, the quality is ontological and must be discovered, if it as an epistemological thing, the quality is epistemological, and must be learned, but in both cases the quality is actually a quality of the existent, not just attributed to it.

The mistake I see here is in thinking that we first have concepts of things and subsequently attempt to "attribute" qualities to them. Concept formation is the exact opposite. We first observe there are existents with the same qualities and choose to identify those existents with the same qualities as a category of existents.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:39 pm
... That's the nature of "qualities": they do not pertain individually to any particular item or "existent." They are features that may pertain to many different items. It's only when the collocation of them is sufficient to eliminate all other possibilities that they can be said to pertain to any one kind of "existent." In and of themselves, they are not exclusively owned by any single "existent."
This is why the discussion is impossible. Nothing I have written even implies that any quality is the exclusive quality of any single kind of existent. The whole point of universal concepts is that many existents do have some of the same qualities, and those that have those same qualities may be identified as, "existents with those qualities," and a name can be invented to designate, "existents with those qualities," which is what a word is. That word then stands for the concept, "existents with those qualities." Every actual existent referred to by the concept, "existents with those qualities," will have the qualities that all "existents with those qualities," have, else they will not be an, "existent with those qualities." Every actual, "existent with those qualities," will have some additional quality or qualities that are different from some additional qualities of every other existent referred to by that concept, which they must have to be unique individual existents, but they all will have the qualities that all "existents with those qualities," have.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:39 pm
...qualities do not exist independently of the existents they are the qualities of.

Yes and no.

Yes, qualities have to be attributed TO something. But no, particular qualities are not the exclusive property of any single existent. So, to use your examples, "liquidity" pertains to water and to oil...but also to cash. "Solidity" pertains to rocks, airplanes and emus. "Magnetic," to iron, hillsides and personalities...and so on.
This is another reason our discussion can go nowhere. So long as you do not distinguish between words, which are only symbols for concepts, and concepts themselves, we are not even talking about the same thing. The word (symbol), "park," actually designates two entirely different concepts, 1. park, a noun, the concept which identifies a "an area of land set aside for public or other use," and 2. park, a verb, the concept which identifies the action of, "putting or leaving (a vehicle) for a time in a certain location." The word (symbol) "down," is used to designate at least six entirely different concepts, 1. down, an adverb or adjective, the concept which identifies, "from a higher to a lower place or position," 2. down, an adjective, the concept that identifies, "diminished," 3. down, an adjective, the concept that identifies, "afflicted or sick or depressed," 4. down, a noun, the concept that identifies, "fine, soft, fluffy feathers forming the first plumage of a young bird," 5. down, a noun, the concept that identifies, "an expanse of rolling upland, often treeless, grassy, and used for grazing." The failure to recognize that the same word or symbol is often used to designate entirely different concepts is the cause of endless confusion.

That failure allows another source of confusion, the failure to identify the difference between the ontological and the metaphorical. The word, "liquidity," designating the ontological concept of a physical state of some existents is a different concept from "liquidity," designating the metaphorical concept for an economic state. The word, "magnetic," designating the ontological concept for the property of physical attraction or repulsion is a different concept from, "magnetic," designating the metaphorical description of seeming attractions between people.

Probably ninety percent, or more, of language is comprised of concepts that are derived as metaphors from or as analogies based on material existence. When someone is described as having a mercurial personality, it is not the concept, designated by the word, "mercurial," meaning, "containing or caused by the action of the element mercury," that is intended, it is the metaphorical concept designated by the word, "mercurial," based on the observation of the behavior of liquid mercury, "quick and changeable in temperament or volatile," that is intended. Same word, two different concepts.

It is because our whole understanding of what concepts are that we cannot discuss them rationally. If words are concepts, then the words, "in," "on," "above," "below," "right" and "left," are each individual concepts with different ambiguous meanings, like "liquidity" being the same quality when pertaining to water as it does to economics, or "magnetic," being the same quality when pertaining to iron as it does to personalities. The ontological concepts, "in," "on," "above," "below," "right" and "left," pertain to the relative physical positions of physical entities. The epistemological concepts, "in," "on," "above," "below," "right" and "left," are analogies derived from the ontological concepts, but have completely different meanings. For example, in the following phrases, "in history," "on balance," "above and beyond the call," "below standards," "the political left," "the radical right," the words "in," "on," "above," "below," "right" and "left," do not describe any kind of physical positional relationship but are all used analogously and are entirely different concepts from their ontological origins, even though the same words are used to designate those concepts.

Here's what I mean. Is the concept designated by the word, "on," in the sentence, "the bread is on the table," the same concept designated by the word, "on," in the sentence, "he turned the light switch on?" If you think they are the same concept, because they use the same word, we have nothing else to talk about.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:39 pm
The concept of "a good party" exists long before anyone throws a party. The concept of a "unicorn" exists, even though unicorns themselves do not. A concept may or may not refer to entities that exist. That's the great thing about concepts: they allow us to do work in our minds before we have to make a similar move in the material world...which can be much more costly.
We're definitely not going to get anywhere if you do not remember what I said. I said, "Everything that is, exists. Everything does not exist in the same way. Some existents are material entities, others are epistemological existents. Physical entities, qualities, events, relationships, concepts, fictions, all exist, they just do not exist in the same way." Of course concepts are not only concepts of entities. Anything that exists may be identified by a concept but it is only a valid concept if it refers to an existent as it actually exists; material existents as material, epistemological existents as epistemological, fictional existents as fictional, and imaginary existents as imaginary.

I'd love to discuss the difference between concepts that identify actually existents, and concepts that are created from those concepts as imagination, invention, creation, and conjecture, but think we would have to have a mutual understanding of what concepts are before that would be possible.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:39 pm
You're right to say that if a person is experiencing a hallucination they did genuinely SEE a dragon leaping out of their steering wheel when they drove into the ditch. But this is quite a different thing from saying that there WAS a dragon leaping out of their steering wheel.
But nobody said that. If what one is experiencing is a hallucination of a dragon or anything else, that is the perceptual experience they are having, period.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:39 pm
And that's the problem: the delusion of the dragon exists. The dragon doesn't. So you'd have to refine your idea of an existent to include things that only "exist" as hallucinations and delusions. I don't think, though, that's what you'd want to do...
I seriously have to ask if what I have said is that ambiguous. I said, everything exists. Of course hallucinations exist, else we would not discuss them, or study them, or try to discover why people have them. We identify them as hallucinations because what they are perceptions of does not exist ontologically.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:39 pm
I've tried to make this as unambiguous as I can. I doubt very much that you know of a single other individual who holds this view of reality and probably find it difficult to believe anyone does. I just want too assure you, I do.
Hmm...well, if you know that other people find your view of reality implausible, then why do you think they do that? Are they just being difficult, or is there something about your view that's pretty counterintuitive and unnatural to them?
I don't think much about why other's hold views I know are absurd and baseless. I admit, when I was very young I sometimes wondered why people tried to convince me of things that were not true, especially adults, and why so many adults believed things that could not be true but would refuse to answer my questions about them.

It no longer bothers me at all that so few people agree with my views. So long as they do not use their views as an excuse to interfere in my life, I certainly won't interfere in theirs and am content with them believing whatever they choose and living their lives by their own lights. (Old fashioned, heh?)

One thing I have learned, with the exception of those things which are so obvious no one denies them, in almost all other cases, what most people believe is untrue, and the more people who believe something, the more likely it is to be untrue.

As for why people believe untrue things, I have made some study of that. Knowledge is the ultimate requirement for human beings to live and live successfully, just as food, air, and water are physical requirements. Productive effort is the only means of acquiring or achieving any of those requirements. Acquiring knowledge, (learning), requires effort and everything really worth learning requires a great deal of very hard work. Some things are easy to learn and most people settle for what they can learn without expending too much effort. It is, "easier," and most people think, "safer," to let teachers, experts, and authorities tell them what is true and what to believe, or simply to accept what everyone else believes is true, then it is to use their own minds to do the really hard work of discovering and learning what is true.

There is also a certain reluctance to having knowledge on the part of many. If one really knows what reality is and what is true and not true and what is right and wrong, they cannot escape the consciousness that they are responsible for any choices they make based on that knowledge. George Bernard Shaw wrote, "freedom means responsibility, that is why most men dread it." Well knowledge, if one has it, also means responsibility, and that's why they despise it. There is hardly a better excuse for any wrong thought, choice, or action than, "I didn't know."

To all those who prefer to trust their feelings, sentiments, intuition, instincts, their peers, teachers, or authorities, or what, "seems natural," to them for what they believe is true, instead working hard to really know and understand things, my views are definitely, "counterintuitive and unnatural." If one knows the truth, they know it, even if they are the only one in the world who knows it. Fortunately, my views are not unique, just rare.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:39 pm
Well, the delusional "dragon" seems to me to be a problem. There, the perception is genuinely experienced; but the truth is that there is no existent, no real dragon.
How is that a problem? If there were a real dragon, the experience would not be a hallucination. The only way you can know it is a hallucination is by knowing the dragon is not real. Whether it's your own hallucination or one described by someone else, if you do not know the dragon does not exist ontologically, you do not know it is a hallucination.

As you pointed out, a hallucination exists. It does not exist ontologically, but does exist as a perceptual phenomenon, an unusual perceptual phenomenon because it is not a perception of the physical (like a usual perception) which means there must be some unusual reason for that anomaly. The most common reasons for hallucinations are high fever, drugs, and trauma or other physical condition affecting the brain. So, even a hallucination is not a causeless perception, and is an indication of some physical state or process responsible for that perception. [I think of it this way. A hallucination is a perception resulting from, and therefore of, something neurologically wrong.]
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:39 pm
I think it's not a danger that we will imagine a woman in our arms isn't real. After all, she's in our arms. Rather, it's when we imagine things about that woman...
The question is not about what one thinks or imagines about what is perceived, it is about whether what one directly perceives is reality as it is or not. If one does not believe what they see, hear, feel, and smell is actually what exists and is exactly as it looks, sounds, feels, and smells to our conscious perception, then the beautiful woman is not really beautiful but only an image produced by the brain, and her warmth and softness are not really warmth and softness but an interpretation of neural information, and the lovely sound of her voice does not really have the lovely quality we perceive, which is only made up in the mind, and her lovely scent is just an illusion created by some chemical reaction. It is that view, or any other view that denies our perception is of reality exactly as it is that would make the woman in our arms, "unreal," that is, not exactly what she is perceived to be.

It is that skepticism of the validity of perception that I reject, and I am skeptical of every argument that attempts to convince me I should believe the argument when it plainly contradicts what I see.

Our fundamental difference is that I regard the world, as I directly perceive it, to be the real world exactly as it is and you regard the world, as you directly perceived it, to be something other than the real world, which is, in some way, different from the world as it is perceived.

That fundamental difference makes it impossible to have the same view of epistemology. Knowledge, to me, is knowledge of the existence I am directly conscious of and is derived by studying that existence and is valid because that perceived existence is reality, exactly as it is perceived. Knowledge for you cannot be derived by studying perceived existence, because you do not believe perceived existence is reality itself, but at best, some kind of representation of it. That is why our view of concepts cannot be the same.

When I perceive an apple it is exactly as I perceive it, that is, it is the color I see and the shape I see and is smooth, just as it feels, and has that smell and a taste I call, "apple," and has a weight that I feel, and, if cut open, has a core with little brown seeds, and sounds a little hollow if I thump it, and makes a squishy thud sound if I through it against a wall. Everything about the apple I directly perceive are qualities of that apple exactly as I perceive them. My concept of an apple simply identifies every existent that has those same perceived qualities.

Quite frankly I do not know what a concept of an apple can be if it's color and shape are only mental interpretations and not really in the apple, or if how it feels, smells, and tastes are not actually attributes of the apple exactly as they are perceived, or if the sound it makes or how it looks when cut open are not really exactly as they look and sound. If an apple, or any other physical existent, is not exactly what is perceived as it is perceived, it would have to be something other than an existent exactly as it is perceived, (which I think those who deny the validity of perception must believe).

That is the basic problem as I see it. If you choose to, I'm always interested in possible other views, but I think we may be at an impasse here.

We can always talk about trout.

RC

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can » Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:11 pm

RCSaunders wrote:
Sat Sep 21, 2019 3:49 pm
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 3:34 am
Oh, I think it's nowhere near so grim as that.

Let's simplify:
...
"Qualities" are properties attributed to things (examples, "redness," truthfulness")
I'm afraid it is just as "grim" as I said it is, perhaps "futile" would be better.
Well, I'm not sure it is. I think if we keep thinking we'll come to something.
Qualities are not just, "attributed," to things. If a quality is the quality of a thing, it is a quality of that thing.
I see why you're thinking that. But it's perhaps another 1/2 truth, I think.

Let's look at it this way.

An object has "features." For example, a rock may be 2m across. But the quality of being "large" or "heavy" is not something intrinsic to being a 2m rock, but rather an attribution of "quality" based on that feature. Being a 2m rock makes it "large" or "heavy" for throwing, but "small" and "light" compared to a planetoid, and perhaps "just right" for garden ornamentation.

So we might well distinguish the "feature" of being 2m across from the "qualitative judgment" that it's "too heavy," "too small," or "just right." Thus, the "qualities" do not inhere in the rock. The "features" do. But the qualitative assessment depends not merely on the features of the rock, but on the assessment of the observer as to what those features mean in relation to other things.
If it is an ontological thing, the quality is ontological and must be discovered, if it as an epistemological thing, the quality is epistemological, and must be learned, but in both cases the quality is actually a quality of the existent, not just attributed to it.
But see above. A "feature" is ontological, but the "quality" that feature has is epistemological. It's only if we don't distinguish between "feature" and "quality" that it seems that what you say here is necessary. But again, I think it's at best, half right.
The mistake I see here is in thinking that we first have concepts of things and subsequently attempt to "attribute" qualities to them. Concept formation is the exact opposite. We first observe there are existents with the same qualities and choose to identify those existents with the same qualities as a category of existents.
But notice here, even in your own explanation, the words "we observe," and "[we] choose to identify," using "the same qualities as a category." All that is definitely epistemological, not merely ontological.

Distinguishing between the features (ontological) and the qualities (epistemological) is a helpful way to make sense of your statement.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:39 pm
...qualities do not exist independently of the existents they are the qualities of.

Yes and no.

Yes, qualities have to be attributed TO something. But no, particular qualities are not the exclusive property of any single existent. So, to use your examples, "liquidity" pertains to water and to oil...but also to cash. "Solidity" pertains to rocks, airplanes and emus. "Magnetic," to iron, hillsides and personalities...and so on.
This is another reason our discussion can go nowhere. So long as you do not distinguish between words, which are only symbols for concepts, and concepts themselves, we are not even talking about the same thing.
I was not actually pointing to that distinction, though I am aware of it. Yes, concepts and the words used to describe them are distinct...but the words are directed to the conceptualizing of the concept, so they are not entirely unrelated.

I apologize...in my characterization of concepts there, I failed to make it clear that I was only referring to genuine synonyms as referring to the same concept...not to mere homonyms. I did not include any homonyms in my list, it's true; but I should have pointed that fact out, so that you would not be invited to think I was grouping diverse concepts under a single word.

I had no such intention, I assure you. I should have foreseen the possible confusion, and should have headed it off, of course.
The word (symbol), "park," actually designates two entirely different concepts, 1. park, a noun, the concept which identifies a "an area of land set aside for public or other use," and 2. park, a verb, the concept which identifies the action of, "putting or leaving (a vehicle) for a time in a certain location."

Let me straighten out this confusion. The definitions you list under a single word are not the same concept. They are different concepts which just happen to be associated, in our language, with the same word. This is only homonymy, not synonymy.

But if you examine the lists I gave you, you'll see I'm speaking of how concepts can be applied synonymously or even metaphorically...NOT merely by way of homonymy. In synonymy and metaphor, the concept is either literally similar, or analogically so. For example, "heavy" is attributed to rocks and elephants in the same way, and by legitimate metaphor, to emotional burdens. In all cases, the concept is the same -- that of something inconveniently weighty, burdensome, felt by way of gravity, and so on. (It's not mere homonymy, as in your illustration of "down" definition 3, 4 or 5.)
If you think they are the same concept, because they use the same word, we have nothing else to talk about.
I don't. Of course not.
Anything that exists may be identified by a concept but it is only a valid concept if it refers to an existent as it actually exists; material existents as material, epistemological existents as epistemological, fictional existents as fictional, and imaginary existents as imaginary.

The problem here is that all of these require different senses of the word "exists." It is not so simple as saying, "all these things exist." For if I say, "1,000 euro now exist in your bank account, and you go there and find out that it only "existed" in my imagination, you're not going to be satisfied with that "existence," are you?
I'd love to discuss the difference between concepts that identify actually existents, and concepts that are created from those concepts as imagination, invention, creation, and conjecture, but think we would have to have a mutual understanding of what concepts are before that would be possible.
We do, I think. But we need to separate "features" from "qualities," and we need to agree that synonymy is not mere homonymy. Then we'd be pretty close to agreeing about what a concept is.
I said, everything exists. Of course hallucinations exist, else we would not discuss them, or study them, or try to discover why people have them. We identify them as hallucinations because what they are perceptions of does not exist ontologically.
This is correct too...but it requires that we understand a that "exists" can't be casually applied to both hallucinations and real dragons, as if we meant the same word.

And I think you're agreeing with that. After all, you say hallucinations "exist in a different way" than would something material like a real dragon. What I think is that you need to realize that commitment means it's no longer true to just say "Everything that is, exists. Everything does not exist in the same way. Some existents are material entities, others are epistemological existents. Physical entities, qualities, events, relationships, concepts, fictions, all exist, they just do not exist in the same way." The term "exists" just does not mean the same thing in each of those six cases.

And this fact would undermine the "Common Sense" type of view, which requires that our human perceptions all by themselves, give accurate, direct, unmediated access to reality.
I admit, when I was very young I sometimes wondered why people tried to convince me of things that were not true, especially adults, and why so many adults believed things that could not be true but would refuse to answer my questions about them.
I find that an interesting biographical note. Were you frustrated by that?
One thing I have learned, with the exception of those things which are so obvious no one denies them, in almost all other cases, what most people believe is untrue, and the more people who believe something, the more likely it is to be untrue.
Heh. :D Yeah, sometimes it seems like that.

But I think when a belief is very general, we need to explain to ourselves why it is so general. True, it may still be mistaken, as when all people on the earth believed it was flat...but it was not without reason that they thought it, and you and I, if we were "round earthers" back then, would benefit by figuring out why it appeared flat when it was really round.

I think public delusions are often the same: we don't have to agree with them, but we benefit by figuring out where and how they've gone wrong.
George Bernard Shaw wrote, "freedom means responsibility, that is why most men dread it."

That's on the way to being right. There's more to it than that, and Shaw would probably have found Ellul interesting on that question of why freedom terrifies. It's worse than merely that it brings responsibility; freedom, unguided by anything else, produces a thing called "anomie." Anomie is actually a very good reason to be afraid of absolute, unconditional freedom. It turns out not to be a happy state at all.
Well knowledge, if one has it, also means responsibility, and that's why they despise it. There is hardly a better excuse for any wrong thought, choice, or action than, "I didn't know."

That's true. But on the flip side, it's better than anomie, so people actually prefer a mixture of knowledge and freedom...they just often want to be personally selective about both. They want freedom only in those matters in which they wish to be indulgent, and knowledge/responsibility only in those areas that, for their personal anxiety levels, they want to feel that the answers are solid. So they mix it up, to please themselves.
It is that skepticism of the validity of perception that I reject, and I am skeptical of every argument that attempts to convince me I should believe the argument when it plainly contradicts what I see.
I get that. And often that's a good default way to respond. But we've all been fooled by "what I see" before, and we do well not to cling to tenaciously to the mere appearances of things.
Our fundamental difference is that I regard the world, as I directly perceive it, to be the real world exactly as it is and you regard the world, as you directly perceived it, to be something other than the real world, which is, in some way, different from the world as it is perceived.
Not quite. I believe the world is real, in the same sense you wish it to be real; but I point out that what we "perceive" about it is mediated by our perceptual apparatus, and then processed by our bank of conceptions before it "returns to our consciousness," so to speak, as knowledge of the real world.

And I don't think you'll find my view is any longer doubted by anybody but perhaps the last few lingering Common Sense Realists in the world. There's too much evidence that our senses and suppositions can be cheated for us to have unreserved confidence in their deliverances to us.
That fundamental difference makes it impossible to have the same view of epistemology.
Yes, but I don't think the Common Sense view can be reasonably defended. And I feel that a closer inquiry is likely to show that.

Knowledge, to me, is knowledge of the existence I am directly conscious of and is derived by studying that existence and is valid because that perceived existence is reality, exactly as it is perceived. Knowledge for you cannot be derived by studying perceived existence, because you do not believe perceived existence is reality itself, but at best, some kind of representation of it. That is why our view of concepts cannot be the same.

When I perceive an apple it is exactly as I perceive it, that is, it is the color I see and the shape I see and is smooth, just as it feels, and has that smell and a taste I call, "apple," and has a weight that I feel, and, if cut open, has a core with little brown seeds, and sounds a little hollow if I thump it, and makes a squishy thud sound if I through it against a wall. Everything about the apple I directly perceive are qualities of that apple exactly as I perceive them. My concept of an apple simply identifies every existent that has those same perceived qualities.

Quite frankly I do not know what a concept of an apple can be if it's color and shape are only mental interpretations and not really in the apple, or if how it feels, smells, and tastes are not actually attributes of the apple exactly as they are perceived, or if the sound it makes or how it looks when cut open are not really exactly as they look and sound. If an apple, or any other physical existent, is not exactly what is perceived as it is perceived, it would have to be something other than an existent exactly as it is perceived, (which I think those who deny the validity of perception must believe).
I think we may be at an impasse here.
It depends. Are you completely convinced that your perceptions are infallibly right? If you are, then yes, we've probably gotten to a sticking point. If not, perhaps not.
We can always talk about trout.
Grilled Atlantic salmon with lemon relish...that was dinner.

But as for trout, steelhead season is now upon us...let there be rejoicing. :D

Fish on.

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RCSaunders
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by RCSaunders » Tue Sep 24, 2019 7:55 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:11 pm
An object has "features." For example, a rock may be 2m across. But the quality of being "large" or "heavy" is not something intrinsic to being a 2m rock, but rather an attribution of "quality" based on that feature. Being a 2m rock makes it "large" or "heavy" for throwing, but "small" and "light" compared to a planetoid, and perhaps "just right" for garden ornamentation.

So we might well distinguish the "feature" of being 2m across from the "qualitative judgment" that it's "too heavy," "too small," or "just right." Thus, the "qualities" do not inhere in the rock. The "features" do. But the qualitative assessment depends not merely on the features of the rock, but on the assessment of the observer as to what those features mean in relation to other things.
One of the failings of every epistemology I know of is a failure to differentiate between intrinsic and extrinsic concepts. Intrinsic concepts identify existents only in terms of existents' nature, that is, their actual qualities, independent of behavior or relationships. Extrinsic concepts identify existents in terms of something about the existents, a behavior, relationship, or something known about the existents. Every extrinsic concept identifies existents that are a subset of intrinsic concepts.

For example, a, "cook," is an extrinsic concept which identifies an existent in terms of what one does, but a cook is a subset of human beings, without which there would be no cooks. An "Athenian," is an extrinsic concept that identifies an existent in terms of where one lives, but an Athenian is a subset of human beings who would still be a human being if he lived in London.

A, "large rock," identifies an entity in terms of a relative measurement, but a large rock is a subset of "rocks" with the intrinsic quality, "size," without which there would be no "large rocks." Whether relatively large, or small, or light, or heavy, or useful or not, none of those things are defining qualities of a rock. They are about rocks that can be described in those ways because they have the intrinsic qualities of size and weight and those qualities inhere in rocks, and without those "inherent" qualities none of the relative qualities would be possible.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:11 pm
For example, "heavy" is attributed to rocks and elephants in the same way, and by legitimate metaphor, to emotional burdens. In all cases, the concept is the same -- that of something inconveniently weighty, burdensome, felt by way of gravity, and so on.
First of all, I have no idea what an, "emotional burden," is. It sounds suspiciously like something made up by some religious teaching or psychologists. I have to ask you if you really believe the concept "heavy" when it refers to weight due to the physical properties of gravity and mass, is the same concept "heavy" when it refers to some emotional state?

What makes a metaphor a metaphor is that it identifies something as something it is not, but illustrates some characteristic of that thing. For example, "In simple English, when you portray a person, place, thing, or an action as being something else, even though it is not actually that 'something else,' you are speaking metaphorically. The following phrase is an example of metaphor, “My brother is the black sheep of the family,” because he is neither a sheep nor is he black.

When some emotional state is described as, "heavy," it is not literally heavy due to mass and gravity, it is only a figure of speech.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:11 pm
Anything that exists may be identified by a concept but it is only a valid concept if it refers to an existent as it actually exists; material existents as material, epistemological existents as epistemological, fictional existents as fictional, and imaginary existents as imaginary.

The problem here is that all of these require different senses of the word "exists." It is not so simple as saying, "all these things exist."

In the case of the word, "heavy," you say whether applied to rocks, elephants, or emotions, "In all cases, the concept is the same," but in the case of the word, "exist," you say, "It is not so simple as saying, "all these things exist." This seems very strange to me. In the case of, "heavy," two of your examples of heavy things are physical and heavy is a physical property, but one of your examples is strictly psychological with no physical properties. In the case of exist, which only means, "is," you imply the concept is different for different kinds of things.

Perhaps you mean something different by exist. What I mean is anything that is, exists. What is important is whether or not an existent is real. The words existence and reality both identify the same thing, everything that is, but reality includes, implicitly or explicitly, the mode of existence in its meaning. Both pigeons and strix exist, but, of the two, only pigeons are real ontologically, while strix are only real mythologically.

lThat is what I meant by, "Everything that is, exists. Everything does not exist in the same way. Some existents are material entities, others are epistemological existents. Physical entities, qualities, events, relationships, concepts, fictions, all exist, they just do not exist in the same way." So I have no idea what you mean when you say, " The term "exists" just does not mean the same thing in each of those six cases," since "is" is what "exists," means. If any of those things do not exist, it means they are not only not real, but are not anything at all.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:11 pm
And this fact would undermine the "Common Sense" type of view, which requires that our human perceptions all by themselves, give accurate, direct, unmediated access to reality.
You're almost right. The reason I'm not a, "Common Sense Realists," is because it teaches that perception provides or is knowledge itself. In some way it is worse then either empiricism or idealism (rationalism). I don't mind you thinking that is my view, but my view is not even related to it.

Perception provides no knowledge of anything. All knowledge is about what is consciously perceived and about the fact that we perceive it. This is why I disagree with two things you say: 1. "But we've all been fooled by 'what I see'" before," and 2. "I point out that what we 'perceive' about it is mediated by our perceptual apparatus, and then processed by our bank of conceptions before it "returns to our consciousness," so to speak, as knowledge of the real world."

I have never been fooled by what I see, and neither has anyone else. What one sees, they see. Except for possible physiological differences (apparently some animals have a keener sense of smell, raptors and vultures have telescopic sight and most animals do not see color), what an animal sees, what an infant sees, what any average adult sees, and what a genius sees is the same thing. (I admit no one knows for certain what any other conscious being actually consciously experiences, but if reality is what it is, and that is what consciousness is conscious of, individual consciousnesses cannot be very different.) My point here is, when a baby that has not yet learned any language sees a toy, what is in his visual field is exactly the same as what is in his parents' visual field when they see the toy, which is not, "processed by a bank of conceptions," because the baby has no bank of conceptions. All conceptual processing comes after perception and is about what is perceived, and has no affect at all on what is perceived.

There is no, "process" producing perception. Perception is the direct consciousness of those qualities of existence which can be directly seen, heard, felt, smelled, or tasted. The so-called, "apparatus," by which I assume you mean the neurological system, is the means by which we are directly conscious of physical existence. There is no basis for assuming that system does any, "mediating," beyond providing to consciousness what is available to be perceived, exactly as it is. If there is conscious perception there must be some method for an organism to be conscious. To assume that method does not really work is absurd.

What are falsely described as mistakes or faults of perception are mistakes about one's epistemological analysis of what is perceived, that is, one's judgement about the nature of what is seen. So-called,"optical-illusions," for example, are not illusions of vision," they are intellectual mistakes about what is seen. If I see a straight stick on the ground and then see the same stick immersed half-way in a container of water, my interpretation that the stick is bent when in the water is not a perceptual mistake. The appearance of a stick in water must be different due to the refraction of light at the surface of the water), it is only a mistake if I interpret what I see as meaning the stick is bent.

A straight stick lying on the ground and a straight stick immersed in water are not ontologically the same thing. Perception is of physical existence exactly as it is in its entire ontological context. If my perception of a straight stick lying on the ground and the same stick immersed in water were the same, (they looked identical), that would be a perceptual mistake.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:11 pm
I admit, when I was very young I sometimes wondered why people tried to convince me of things that were not true, especially adults, and why so many adults believed things that could not be true but would refuse to answer my questions about them.
I find that an interesting biographical note. Were you frustrated by that?
Not at all. When I was very young (pre-school) I found it bewildering, but I have always accepted reality for what it is and have never desired it to be different.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:11 pm
And I don't think you'll find my view is any longer doubted by anybody but perhaps the last few lingering Common Sense Realists in the world. There's too much evidence that our senses and suppositions can be cheated for us to have unreserved confidence in their deliverances to us.
I think that is true of all those who have been influenced by government education and academia. The cultural Marxists have done their work well. But you already know what I think about the popularity of any view. Nothing is true because of the number of people who agree with it. Ignorance and gullibility are ubiquitous. Knowledge is rare.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:11 pm
It depends. Are you completely convinced that your perceptions are infallibly right? If you are, then yes, we've probably gotten to a sticking point. If not, perhaps not.
I would not describe perception as right or wrong, true or false, or fallible or infallible, which terms I would only use for propositions or knowledge. I believe that the world I directly perceive is physical existence exactly as it is, but not that the physical is all there is. I do not regard life, consciousness, or human minds as physical, but as perfectly natural as the physical, and of course the epistemological is not physical.

I have examined every argument I can find that is supposed to invalidate direct conscious perception of physical existence exactly as it is. So far, every one of those arguments is mere conjecture, depends on concepts assuming the validity of perception, or confuses knowledge about what is perceived with perception itself. If the perceived existence is not real and exactly as I perceive it, I need to know that right away, and will gladly examine any evidence or any argument that can demonstrate it. If what I perceive is not physical reality, I want to know what is. Until what is, "really real," if what I perceive isn't, can be demonstrated, however, I have to go with what is demonstrated.

[Since you obviously are convinced that perception (seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting) is not direct consciousness of physical existence exactly as it is, and that "there's too much evidence that our senses ... can be cheated," perhaps you could list, or explain, if you like, what that evidence is. Two conditions, however: 1. I left out, "suppositions," because they are not perception but what we think or believe about what is perceived. I know how bad people's thinking is, it is only perception itself I'm interested in, and 2. I'm not interested in what any expert or authority thinks or believes. If you choose to quote someone because their argument seems clear, that's fine, but please do not quote someone as authority. If you are not interested in this, I'll understand. It might be a useful exercise in clarifying your own views, however.]
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:11 pm
Grilled Atlantic salmon with lemon relish...that was dinner.

But as for trout, steelhead season is now upon us...let there be rejoicing. :D
Salmon is not my favorite fish, but I do enjoy it. Yours with lemon relish sounds good.
(Did you know that steelhead and cutthroat are now considered salmon? I didn't until about a year ago, though I've always been aware of the similarities.)

My best! RC

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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can » Wed Sep 25, 2019 3:50 pm

RCSaunders wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 7:55 pm
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:11 pm
An object has "features." For example, a rock may be 2m across. But the quality of being "large" or "heavy" is not something intrinsic to being a 2m rock, but rather an attribution of "quality" based on that feature. Being a 2m rock makes it "large" or "heavy" for throwing, but "small" and "light" compared to a planetoid, and perhaps "just right" for garden ornamentation.

So we might well distinguish the "feature" of being 2m across from the "qualitative judgment" that it's "too heavy," "too small," or "just right." Thus, the "qualities" do not inhere in the rock. The "features" do. But the qualitative assessment depends not merely on the features of the rock, but on the assessment of the observer as to what those features mean in relation to other things.
One of the failings of every epistemology I know of is a failure to differentiate between intrinsic and extrinsic concepts.
Well, the intrinsic truth about the rock is that it's 2m across. That doesn't make it a "heavy" rock. It doesn't make it a "light" one. The concepts "heavy" and "light" will be applied only by extrinsic assessment. So while the "feature" stays stable, the "quality" is determined by the context determined by the observer.
A, "large rock," identifies an entity in terms of a relative measurement, but a large rock is a subset of "rocks" with the intrinsic quality, "size," without which there would be no "large rocks."
Of course. I do agree. But I think you'll find that your intrinsic/extrinsic concern is adequately addressed by my "feature/quality" distinction. I think we're on the same page about that. Perhaps the only difference might be that you seem to think that extrinsic qualities perhaps inhere in the object a bit more tightly than I think they do. I think the features account for the qualitative attributions, but do not determine them.
Whether relatively large, or small, or light, or heavy, or useful or not, none of those things are defining qualities of a rock. They are about rocks that can be described in those ways because they have the intrinsic qualities of size and weight and those qualities inhere in rocks, and without those "inherent" qualities none of the relative qualities would be possible.
Again, I think we're agreeing about that...only differing about nomenclature.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:11 pm
For example, "heavy" is attributed to rocks and elephants in the same way, and by legitimate metaphor, to emotional burdens. In all cases, the concept is the same -- that of something inconveniently weighty, burdensome, felt by way of gravity, and so on.
First of all, I have no idea what an, "emotional burden," is. ...When some emotional state is described as, "heavy," it is not literally heavy due to mass and gravity, it is only a figure of speech.
I think there's something worth saying about that, but I don't think it's important to the present discussion, and I don't want to derail that over the relatively small side-matter of metaphorical usages. It is enough for my point that synonymy exists, and that's where I'd like to park that point.
In the case of the word, "heavy," you say whether applied to rocks, elephants, or emotions, "In all cases, the concept is the same," but in the case of the word, "exist," you say, "It is not so simple as saying, "all these things exist." This seems very strange to me.
Then let's leave that point, as I say. It's not central.

However, the idea that "exists" means different things IS important to the present point. "Exists as an object" is clearly different from "exists as a fiction," "exists as a concept," " exists as a perception," or "exists as a quality." All these are different applications of the word "exists," because only the first one completely implicates the material world, and the material world only. The rest implicate human impressions, judgments, assessments, conceptions, beliefs and imaginings. And to say that impressions, judgments, assessments, conceptions, beliefs and imaginings "exist" is not the same as saying that the CONTENT of those imaginings, judgments, assessments, conceptions, beliefs and imaginings is required to be real. We can have an "impression" of dragons, and an "imagining" of unicorns...but dragons and unicorns don't thereby "exist."

But I'm sure you can see the obviousness of that claim. For you wrote...
Both pigeons and strix exist, but, of the two, only pigeons are real ontologically, while strix are only real mythologically.
But here's the difference:
I have never been fooled by what I see, and neither has anyone else. What one sees, they see.
Actually, people have. They are, all the time. They think they "see" things that they have not seen.

Jordan Peterson mentions a very interesting case. He says that if you're writing in your study, and you feel hungry (perhaps for a bit of that fresh trout you had last night...there might still be some in the fridge...It would make a sandwich...), you will go to your kitchen and look around for stuff to make that happen. But a funny effect will also happen: you will "see" all kinds of things in that kitchen, but not really "see" anything but the stuff that leads you to that sandwich. And we can tell, because after you come out of the kitchen, we can quiz you about any number of obvious facts (like, "Where did your wife set the mixer," or "how much cold coffee was left in the pot," all things you looked at while you were in the kitchen...and you won't be able to recall any of it (the mixer was on the right-hand counter, and there was no coffee in the pot anymore).

You will have "seen" without "seeing" at all. Your eyes passed over stuff, and you got absolutely no knowledge from what your eyes passed over.

That's the inverse of my "walking up the hall" scenario, in which you think you "see" a turn to the left, but there is only a turn to the right. It works both ways, it seems. And this is very well-documented...so it seems it's one of the times we can trust psychology to tell us something important about our knowledge of the world.
All conceptual processing comes after perception and is about what is perceived, and has no affect at all on what is perceived.

This statement is what the JP case shows is not so. You "perceived" the coffee maker, and yet "perceived" nothing at all.
The so-called, "apparatus," by which I assume you mean the neurological system, is the means by which we are directly conscious of physical existence.

We are only selectively conscious of what our apparatus detects, though. And we are not directly conscious, in that the smell of stale coffee can seem "homey" to you, and "revolting" to me at the same time, with the same molecules of coffee floating in the air.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:11 pm
I admit, when I was very young I sometimes wondered why people tried to convince me of things that were not true, especially adults, and why so many adults believed things that could not be true but would refuse to answer my questions about them.
I find that an interesting biographical note. Were you frustrated by that?
Not at all. When I was very young (pre-school) I found it bewildering, but I have always accepted reality for what it is and have never desired it to be different.
That's why I keep coming back to the label "Common Sense Realism." You've just classically articulated it there. But you say you're not quite that, and I accept your distinction.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:11 pm
And I don't think you'll find my view is any longer doubted by anybody but perhaps the last few lingering Common Sense Realists in the world. There's too much evidence that our senses and suppositions can be cheated for us to have unreserved confidence in their deliverances to us.
I think that is true of all those who have been influenced by government education and academia.
No, that's too conspiracy-minded an explanation. Of course, that's one way to be convinced, perhaps; but I trust you understand it's not my way.
[Since you obviously are convinced that perception (seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting) is not direct consciousness of physical existence exactly as it is, and that "there's too much evidence that our senses ... can be cheated," perhaps you could list, or explain, if you like, what that evidence is.
Well, it's abundantly clear that when people experience "red" or "pungent" or "rough" they do not identify them with the same objects and experiences precisely. My friend's colourblindness does not imply that colour does not exist. Nor does the delusional man's sincere perceptual experience of dragons mean I ought to lock my gate against them.
2. I'm not interested in what any expert or authority thinks or believes.
By stipulating this, you're actually making the same error you're trying to avoid.

I can see that your belief is that authority does not make truth. Fair enough. I agree entirely. But authority also does not make falsehood. :shock: In other words, the right conclusion is that an authority MAY be wrong or MAY be right...not that authorities are invariably only wrong, by dint of being authorities.

Secondly, while authorities do not make truth, there is still a means by which one becomes a (genuine) authority. So to say, "I won't believe my doctor, whatever he says, because he's an authority" would be madness. He has medical school and experience that you simply do not have. So you owe something to his authority...not blind credence, perhaps, but some moment of pause in which, in all humility, you admit, "Maybe he knows something more than I do about this, and I should investigate further."

So I won't cite studies and such to you here, in deference to your decision not to accept authorities. But I think that decision needs some review.
Salmon is not my favorite fish, but I do enjoy it. Yours with lemon relish sounds good.
It's extraordinary. I can claim no originality, but it's great...salmon broiled on the skin side, then topped with lemon zest, pine nuts, hydrated raisins, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper....amazing.
(Did you know that steelhead and cutthroat are now considered salmon? I didn't until about a year ago, though I've always been aware of the similarities.)
I believe that both trout and salmon are in the "salmonids."

Our steelhead are overgrown rainbow trout...they run about 5-10 pounds, mostly, and come fresh from the lakes and rivers. When hooked, they burn reels.
My best! RC
And back, as always.

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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Nick_A » Thu Sep 26, 2019 1:26 am

In "Sketch of Contemporary Social Life" (1934), Simone Weil develops the theme of collectivism as the trajectory of modern culture.

"Never has the individual been so completely delivered up to a blind collectivity, and never have men been so less capable, not only of subordinating their actions to their thoughts, but even of thinking."

I made the mistake common to most young people with a certain sensitivity to the human condition. I assumed that increased literal knowledge within an institution dedicated to education would lead to a more objective human perspective. Only after years of frustrating times was I able to understand why the opposite is true. The collective left to its own devices will lead society to a dualistic struggle between blind belief and blind denial. To reason as a human being essential for acquiring a human perspective is now only the property of a select few and can be called individuals. Of course those supporting both blind belief and blind denial no longer capable of human reason must hate them

Collectivism must win as the low point in the cycles of human culture.. it is nature's way. Those capable of evolved human individuality will be driven underground and only people capable of human individuality will make the efforts to find them. The majority will either fight for the results of blind belief or blind denial

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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by RCSaunders » Fri Sep 27, 2019 1:58 am

Hi IC,

I'm only going to address two points: what perception means and authority.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Wed Sep 25, 2019 3:50 pm
I have never been fooled by what I see, and neither has anyone else. What one sees, they see.
Actually, people have. They are, all the time. They think they "see" things that they have not seen.

Jordan Peterson mentions a very interesting case. He says that if you're writing in your study, and you feel hungry (perhaps for a bit of that fresh trout you had last night...there might still be some in the fridge...It would make a sandwich...), you will go to your kitchen and look around for stuff to make that happen. But a funny effect will also happen: you will "see" all kinds of things in that kitchen, but not really "see" anything but the stuff that leads you to that sandwich. And we can tell, because after you come out of the kitchen, we can quiz you about any number of obvious facts (like, "Where did your wife set the mixer," or "how much cold coffee was left in the pot," all things you looked at while you were in the kitchen...and you won't be able to recall any of it (the mixer was on the right-hand counter, and there was no coffee in the pot anymore).

You will have "seen" without "seeing" at all. Your eyes passed over stuff, and you got absolutely no knowledge from what your eyes passed over. ...
All conceptual processing comes after perception and is about what is perceived, and has no affect at all on what is perceived.

This statement is what the JP case shows is not so. You "perceived" the coffee maker, and yet "perceived" nothing at all.
When I use the term perception I mean only the immediate conscious seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and tasting one experiences at any and every moment. Perception includes only whatever one is consciously seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and tasting. That experience is entirely involuntary. Whatever light is reaching the eyes will be seen, and whatever sound is reaching the ears will be heard, and whatever is affecting the tactile nerve endings will be felt, and whatever chemicals that are in the air will be smelled, and whatever chemicals are put in the mouth will be tasted, and all those conscious experiences occur simultaneously and continuously. That conscious experience is call, "the field of perception."

By analogy (not a metaphor or description of what actually occurs) the field of perception is like a private television, except that it includes feeling, smell, and taste as well as an image and sound. The TV "camera" captures whatever is there to be seen, heard, felt, etc. and makes it available to the private television. Like a real television, a TV picture is not "seeing," and is not seen unless there is someone watching the TV. That is what conscious perception is, it is the aspect of an organism that consciously sees, hears, feels, smells and tastes what the TV camera and television screen make available to consciousness.

Just as a real TV camera captures everything in its field of view and a real television reproduces whatever the TV camera captures, the analogous human "camera" which captures everything in it's field, image, sound, tactile sense, smell, and taste, and whatever the human "camera" captures is what is consciously perceived. Just as a TV camera captures everything in the continuously changing scene it is aimed at, conscious perception captures everything in the continuously changing "scene" of what is being perceived, and just as a television reproduces exactly what the TV camera captured, conscious perception reproduces exactly what the neurological system captured, and just as anyone watching a television screen is presented with everything the TV camera captured to be seen, one's consciousness is presented with everything the neurological system captured to be perceived, (seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted). Just as one who is watching a television may not pay attention to everything that is on the TV screen, or think about it, or correctly interpret it, one who is consciously perceiving may not pay attention to everything they are perceiving, or think about it, or correctly interpret it.

I have to make this clear because you, and almost everyone else today, uses the word "perception" and, "perceive," ambiguously, sometimes to mean actual conscious perception as I have described it, but more often to describe how one thinks, evaluates, or analyzes what is perceived or how one reacts to what is perceived or how much of it they remember.

It is that ambiguity that makes such confusion as, "They are [fooled by perception], all the time. They think they "see" things that they have not seen." People are fooled by lots of things, but it is never perception that fools them. If someone thinks they saw something they actually did not see, the problem is what they, "think," not what they, "perceive." How can a mistake about what one does not see be the fault of seeing? The mistake is, he thought he had a perception he didn't have.

Worse is the suppose example by Peterson. "you will 'see' all kinds of things in that kitchen, but not really 'see' anything but the stuff that leads you to that sandwich. And we can tell, because after you come out of the kitchen, we can quiz you ... and you won't be able to recall any of it ..."

[I debated with myself about commenting on Dr. Peterson and his strange mish-mash of ideas. Since we're not discussing his views I'll limit my comment to saying, he says some things that are right, but he's just wrong on most things.]

If I see something, I really see it. I cannot see something and also not really see it. If I don't really (honestly and truly) see something, then I don't see it at all. But that is not what Peterson's words actually mean. What he says really means is: "One really saw all those things in the kitchen, but only attended to those things they saw that they were interested in at that time, and will later only recall what they paid attention to. For a doctor of psychology such ignorance of the nature of memory is unbelievable.

One of the very few things psychology seems to have actually identified are some characteristics of memory. Most theories of encoding are probably wrong, but the division of memory into sensory (bad name), short-term, and long-term are based on good evidence. The most important aspects of these aspects is that short-term memory is determined by how much attention one pays to what one currently perceives. At any moment one's field of perception consists of an indefinite number of things, and that field also continuously changes. Only those things in one's immediately field of consciousness that are interesting enough or stimulating enough to capture one's interest will be stored in short-term memory. Most of what we are conscious of may last one or two seconds in sensory memory but is almost immediately forgotten. When something is considered interesting or important enough, repetition and rehearsal will store those perceptions in long term memory.

Now I'm sure you know all this, but apparently Dr. Peterson does not, else he would not claim that forgetting what one is not interested in means they never saw it.

Then you add, "You will have 'seen' without 'seeing' at all. Your eyes passed over stuff, and you got absolutely no knowledge from what your eyes passed over.

This as another very common ambiguity. Perception is not knowledge and provides no knowledge. Perception is nothing more then the direct conscious awareness of physical existence and nothing else. When you look in any direction you will see whatever is there to be seen, and the moment you turn you eyes in another direction your whole field of vision will change, and nothing you saw before you turned you eyes will ever be remembered unless there was something interesting enough to gain your attention. To learn something from what one sees, one must first remember it, then identify it, then use their reason to understand it, which are all intellectual acts about what is perceived, after it is perceived, and those intellectual acts are impossible for perception to do.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Wed Sep 25, 2019 3:50 pm
I can see that your belief is that authority does not make truth. Fair enough. I agree entirely. But authority also does not make falsehood. :shock: In other words, the right conclusion is that an authority MAY be wrong or MAY be right...not that authorities are invariably only wrong, by dint of being authorities.
Anyone who claims they are right, because they are an authority, is wrong, even if what they say happens to be true. I learn things from others that have spent their lives studying things I will never have the time or resources to study myself all the time, but the slightest scent of, "take my word for it because (I have a degree, I am accepted as an expert, I have a huge following, I have more experience than you, or I have some kind of secret esoteric knowledge not available to you) I reject out of hand.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Wed Sep 25, 2019 3:50 pm
Secondly, while authorities do not make truth, there is still a means by which one becomes a (genuine) authority. So to say, "I won't believe my doctor, whatever he says, because he's an authority" would be madness. He has medical school and experience that you simply do not have. So you owe something to his authority...not blind credence, perhaps, but some moment of pause in which, in all humility, you admit, "Maybe he knows something more than I do about this, and I should investigate further."
I don't believe my doctor, whatever she says, if the only basis for what she says is her supposed authority, education, or experience. Faith in anyone else's supposed competence, without verification, is not only madness, it courts disaster.

Medical errors are the third-leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer in the United States. Approximately 12 million adults are misdiagnosed each year. That is 1 out of every 20 adult patients and half of the misdiagnoses result in harm. The statistics are unimportant. The fact that so many medical patients trusted in the authority of their medical authorities (and suffered the consequences) is.

So, if, "maybe he knows something more than I do about this," I'll gladly use him as a research source, so long as he can explain what he knows, so I will know it. "Well maybe it's too difficult for you to understand," I've been told. Maybe it is, but I have not yet run across a case where that was true, although I have experienced many cases where the Doctor did not now what he was talking about.

If I had trusted in the authority of doctor's when in my early thirties, I would have been dead for close to fifty years by now. I was being treated by one GP and three different specialists who all failed to diagnose my fatal disease. It was my distrust in their authority that prompted me to do my own research based on my symptoms and find a doctor that correctly diagnosed my condition and even more amazingly, affectively treated it.

But that treatment was not simply accepted by me. Only after the nature of the disease, (an auto-immune one), was fully explained to me, and the basis for the supposed treatment was fully explained (with it's very serious side affects) did I agree to participate in the treatment, which at the time was still experimental. Everyone who had that disease before that time died a very nasty death, as I would have if I had relied on the authority of my former doctors.

My approach to doctors and all other "experts" is always the same. I do not accept anything anyone says to me unless it can be explained to me in a way I can understand. Of course, I will use the services of a doctor once I am convinced of his competence by my own research, just because it is difficult to perform surgery on oneself. Two out of every three doctors I've personally known, however, have been incompetent and all the training and experience in the world would never have made them competent.

I am an advocate of medical science and am thankful for competent doctors who offer medical services that would otherwise be unavailable and will take advantage of those services when there is a reason to, just as I would any other service or product; but, there is nothing sacred about doctors and I owe them nothing except what I contract to pay for their services.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Wed Sep 25, 2019 3:50 pm
So I won't cite studies and such to you here, in deference to your decision not to accept authorities. But I think that decision needs some review.
Why not? Legitimate studies are always worth examining, that is, the studies themselves, not the conclusions drawn by experts about them. I'm always willing to examine real evidence of anything, but only if I can personally study that evidence and draw my own conclusions.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Wed Sep 25, 2019 3:50 pm
Salmon is not my favorite fish, but I do enjoy it. Yours with lemon relish sounds good.
It's extraordinary. I can claim no originality, but it's great...salmon broiled on the skin side, then topped with lemon zest, pine nuts, hydrated raisins, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper....amazing.
Well that is the only authority I accept, when it is about one's own experience, and your broiled salmon still sounds good, and very different. Cilantro and lime are frequently combined in Caribbean, Mexican, and Southeast Asian dishes, and pine nuts in Italian (e.g. pesto) but the addition of lemon and raisins sounds very interesting.

My three favorite foods are from salt water and are either not cooked at all or only steamed: raw oyster, steamed lobster, and steamed clams. Except for oysters, which I have rarely these days, I almost never have the others because I'm no longer in New England. Fortunately, I enjoy almost anything properly prepared and there is plenty of variety available, even if my favorites are not. There is very little I will not eat. A Portuguese friend taught me to eat periwinkels when I was a boy, which we would gather by the gallon, steam, and then dip them in melted butter, but I will not eat mussels (not even the seagulls will eat them), nor tilapia, nor crawdads (crayfish), which, according to one of my friends, taste just like ditch water--and they do.

Do you have favorite foods?

I'm sure we can find something to agree on there, my friend.

RC

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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:04 am

RC:

I really appreciate the conversation. I especially appreciate the back-and-forth of grappling with complicated ideas. For that, one needs a conversation partner who has a different perspective, one that is well-thought-through, and is willing to set it forth rationally. Too often, people tend to lapse into ad hominems, deflections, misrepresentations, and other forms of transparent strategy. You do not. You have remained decent, fair-minded, cautious and perceptive.

So while we might still have some differences of viewpoint, I tip my hat in your direction, regardless. You're a gentleman.

Now, to the point in hand...
RCSaunders wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 1:58 am
When I use the term perception I mean only the immediate conscious seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and tasting one experiences at any and every moment. Perception includes only whatever one is consciously seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and tasting. That experience is entirely involuntary.
Apparently not.

It seems that what one perceives is strongly influenced by what one expects to perceive, and by the task to which one is addressing oneself.

Another illustration of this fact is the "hidden in plain sight" phenomenon. It works like this. You're looking for an object (like, say, your keys). You look on the dresser, by your bedside, on the keyring at the door, on the kitchen counter...but they're nowhere. Meanwhile, you walked through your living room a half-dozen times, and your keys were resting beside the telly. But you don't expect to see them there, so though you saw the room and the telly, you didn't see your keys. Again, your eyes passed over them several times, but you didn't perceive them. You were not voluntarily prepared to expect your keys to be beside the telly, so you couldn't really see them.

Here's one of the famous experiments about expectation and perception.
http://www.theinvisiblegorilla.com/gori ... iment.html
Immanuel Can wrote:
Wed Sep 25, 2019 3:50 pm
I can see that your belief is that authority does not make truth. Fair enough. I agree entirely. But authority also does not make falsehood. :shock: In other words, the right conclusion is that an authority MAY be wrong or MAY be right...not that authorities are invariably only wrong, by dint of being authorities.
Anyone who claims they are right, because they are an authority, is wrong, even if what they say happens to be true.
Yes, of course. As you see, I said "authority does not make truth." And I said that's "fair enough." It's true. I agree.

But I also said it does not make what they say false either. It's not impossible for someone who says he/she is an authority to actually BE one, or to tell the truth about a matter. That, too, follows.
I learn things from others that have spent their lives studying things I will never have the time or resources to study myself all the time, but the slightest scent of, "take my word for it because (I have a degree, I am accepted as an expert, I have a huge following, I have more experience than you, or I have some kind of secret esoteric knowledge not available to you) I reject out of hand.
Well, of course...but that's not because they are an expert, but because they are invoking bandwagon fallacy ("I have a huge following"), appeal to mystery ("I have esoteric knowledge.") and appeal to authority as a fallacy ("I'm accepted as an expert.") But equally, it would be totally fallacious to say, "The minute I catch the slightest sense of somebody being an actual authority, I assume that what they say is wrong." Because there are people who ARE experts, and who ALSO tell the truth. But there are no self-admitted non-experts on a subject who can be more than accidentally right.

It is for this reason we ought to go to a genuine authority on something. We don't go to the vagrant on the corner for his opinion. He already admits he's no expert.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Wed Sep 25, 2019 3:50 pm
Secondly, while authorities do not make truth, there is still a means by which one becomes a (genuine) authority. So to say, "I won't believe my doctor, whatever he says, because he's an authority" would be madness. He has medical school and experience that you simply do not have. So you owe something to his authority...not blind credence, perhaps, but some moment of pause in which, in all humility, you admit, "Maybe he knows something more than I do about this, and I should investigate further."
I don't believe my doctor, whatever she says, if the only basis for what she says is her supposed authority, education, or experience. Faith in anyone else's supposed competence, without verification, is not only madness, it courts disaster.
Now, while I agree with the principle of checking on the expertise of others as much as one can, for sure, I think this too is excessive. Unless one is a medical doctor with a doctor's colleagues and diagnostic apparatus, one is not able to "verify" what one's doctor says. One can be skeptical, and one can seek a second (expert) opinion; but one is not competent to judge the truth of the diagnosis without a lot of expert knowledge that the ordinary person simply does not have access to.

But supposing you do have the competence, collegial input and diagnostic tools of a doctor -- have you got the same for your auto mechanic? Your roofer? Your economics professor? Your veterinarian? Your plumber or electrician? Your marriage counsellor? Your computer technician?...and so on. And do you suppose that, in order to avoid having to resort to an "authority" on these matters, we should take our pets, our computers, our marriage problems and our roofing dilemmas to some non-expert? Or should you fix your computer, patch your roof, rewire your house, and neuter your cat by yourself?

Me-ouch. :shock:
Medical errors are the third-leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer in the United States.
Sure. And I could give you similar cases, of course.

This is a reason for caution in regard to medical diagnoses. All it means is that medicine is not a precise art, but a developing field; and that at present, multiple diagnoses are much better than a single one. But it does not mean you'd increase your odds by trusting your witchdoctor instead, or by treating yourself. Expertise still matters.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Wed Sep 25, 2019 3:50 pm
So I won't cite studies and such to you here, in deference to your decision not to accept authorities. But I think that decision needs some review.
Why not? Legitimate studies are always worth examining, that is, the studies themselves, not the conclusions drawn by experts about them. I'm always willing to examine real evidence of anything, but only if I can personally study that evidence and draw my own conclusions.
Well, I would think so. But studies are also done by "authorities." And if they're not, then they're usually not worth the paper upon which they're printed.
So you've moved the "authority" problem to a new level, perhaps; but I think you've not eliminated it.

Let us agree on this: if someone says "I'm an authority," then that ALONE does not justify us having confidence in him or her. But if someone has done the study and put in the experience that we ourselves do not have, then they are indeed more of an "authority" than we can possibly be. So we should take their input seriously, examining it to the extent that we can; but we're not well advised to ignore all "authority" simply because it seems to be an "authority." That's knee-jerk skepticism, not cerebral caution; and it would be no more rational than would be unhesitant capitulation to authority.

I'm pretty sure we can agree on that much.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Wed Sep 25, 2019 3:50 pm
Salmon is not my favorite fish, but I do enjoy it. Yours with lemon relish sounds good.
It's extraordinary. I can claim no originality, but it's great...salmon broiled on the skin side, then topped with lemon zest, pine nuts, hydrated raisins, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper....amazing.
Well that is the only authority I accept, when it is about one's own experience, and your broiled salmon still sounds good, and very different. Cilantro and lime are frequently combined in Caribbean, Mexican, and Southeast Asian dishes, and pine nuts in Italian (e.g. pesto) but the addition of lemon and raisins sounds very interesting.
It's really surprisingly good. We always have to make at least a double batch of the lemon relish, because once people taste it, they pile it on. One of my friend's wives insists that she would eat it in a bowl by itself. I'm not sure I would, but I'd come close.
My three favorite foods are from salt water and are either not cooked at all or only steamed: raw oyster, steamed lobster, and steamed clams.
Ah, yes. Overcooking is the destruction of any fish or shellfish. And for me, fish must be cooked skin-on, because there's a layer of good fat between the skin and the flesh that is where all the flavour really lies. When I do salmon or trout, it's skin down for at least 80% of the cooking, and only a quick grill on the topside, if any.
Do you have favorite foods?
Cajun, when it's done right. I have a favourite restaurant that's literally tipping into a bayou. They have the best crab cakes on earth...or as close as any need to be. And surprisingly, they have a large selection of European beers to go with them. But I love Indian too, having grown up with it. Then there's a place downtown in Tegucigalpa that makes the most ridiculously good carne asada...there's a lot of good food in this world.
I'm sure we can find something to agree on there, my friend.
Yes, I'll bet we can.

Good talking to you again...though now I'm hungry, and must raid the fridge. :wink:

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RCSaunders
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by RCSaunders » Sat Sep 28, 2019 5:02 pm

Hi again, IC
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:04 am
I really appreciate the conversation. I especially appreciate the back-and-forth of grappling with complicated ideas.
So do I, and I appreciate your courteous sincerity. If I have been inoffensive, it has been entirely accidental, but I'm glad it seems that way to you.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:04 am
RCSaunders wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 1:58 am
When I use the term perception I mean only the immediate conscious seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and tasting one experiences at any and every moment. Perception includes only whatever one is consciously seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and tasting. That experience is entirely involuntary.
Apparently not.

It seems that what one perceives is strongly influenced by what one expects to perceive, and by the task to which one is addressing oneself.

Another illustration of this fact is the "hidden in plain sight" phenomenon. It works like this. You're looking for an object (like, say, your keys). You look on the dresser, by your bedside, on the keyring at the door, on the kitchen counter...but they're nowhere. Meanwhile, you walked through your living room a half-dozen times, and your keys were resting beside the telly. But you don't expect to see them there, so though you saw the room and the telly, you didn't see your keys. Again, your eyes passed over them several times, but you didn't perceive them. You were not voluntarily prepared to expect your keys to be beside the telly, so you couldn't really see them.
We are not talking about the same thing. In fact, I honestly do know what you are talking about when you use the word, "see." I'm sure you think you're talking about the same thing I am, but it is not.

Since it is not possible for me to know what anyone else's actual conscious experience is, perhaps you really do not see in the same way I do. I can only try to explain what my experience is knowing full well it is really not possible make you, "see," what I, "see." Just as I cannot explain to someone who has never tasted cinnamon, what cinnamon tastes like, I cannot explain what my actual conscious experience of seeing is to you. What I can do, perhaps, is explain why what I mean by seeing and why it is not the same as what you apparently mean.

If I take a picture with a camera, (which I did professionally for a few years), whatever is in the camera's field of view will be in the picture when it is developed (or displayed, if digital). The camera captures everything in the scene, just as it is, without discrimination, and everything that is captured is in the final picture. Here's what seeing is to me. My eyes are my camera and they capture everything that is currently before them and whatever they capture is what I consciously see. I know this because every picture I have ever taken is exactly like what I was seeing with my own eyes at the same time. The picture in my consciousness and the picture produced by the camera are identical. I have never taken a picture that has anything in it that was not in my own conscious picture, and have never had anything in my own conscious picture that was not in the picture taken with a camera. When I use the word, "seeing," I mean only the conscious picture provided to my consciousness by my eyes.

Of course seeing is not static, because the picture in our consciousness is exactly what our eyes are capturing and that constantly changes. Conscious seeing is like a continuous motion picture of all that is available to be seen.

Here's how what you mean by seeing is different from what I mean. You seem to mean that what you see is not complete, that in some way, everything that is before your eyes is either not captured or not included in your final conscious, "picture," of what you are seeing. In my view, if I take a picture of a room and there are keys in it, if they are in the camera's field of view they will be in the final picture. My seeing behaves in exactly the same way. If the keys are in my visual field they will be in my conscious picture.

BUT, I may not notice the keys in my photograph, even though they are there, and I might not notice the keys in my conscious picture, even though they are there. It is, "being in the conscious picture," I mean by, "seeing," not whether I notice them, recognize them, identify them, or think about them. Your example illustrates exactly what I mean.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:04 am
Here's one of the famous experiments about expectation and perception.
http://www.theinvisiblegorilla.com/gori ... iment.html
The experiment is called the, "selective attention test," which is exactly what I am talking about. Before one can select what to attend to, there must be something to select from. If I understand your view, you believe the gorilla actually did not exist in the conscious picture of those who did not notice the gorilla, but that the gorilla did exit in the conscious picture of those same people when they did notice the gorilla.

Of course the test is not exactly a test of what people see normally, because they are only watching a video, but that is very interesting. The same video is shown twice. The first time those watching are told to pay attention to certain things in the video. The second time they are free to pay attention to anything. In my view of, "seeing," the picture I have in consciousness is identical each time the video is watched, (it is the same video after all). There are always an infinite number of things in our conscious picture and it is impossible to pay attention to them all, but they must all be there, because we can choose to pay attention to any of them. The gorilla was seen by (appeared in the consciousness of) all the subjects each time the video was shown, just as it was in the video each time it was shown. The subjects only noticed the gorilla when what they were to pay attention to was not specified, but it had to have been there, both in the video and in each subjects consciousness whether it was noticed or not, because if it were not there, it could not have been noticed.

[Still, it is wonderful that psychologists have made a study to discover people often miss things when their attention is distracted. We might never have known this. Good grief!]

It must be that way. You said, "your eyes passed over them [the keys] several times, but you didn't perceive them." If by perceive you only mean, "notice or pay attention to," I would agree, but if you mean, "see," there is a problem. Physically, you know whatever light is reaching the eyes is focused on the retina of the eye (upside down) where the rods and cones begin the neurological path to the visual cortex. If the eyes pass over the keys the light reflected from the keys (which is actually what an image of the keys is) will be transmitted to the visual cortex, and the keys will be seen, (appear in our conscious picture) unless something turns the visual process off. If they are not seen, something had to stop the neurological process which is seeing off. What could possibly do that?

At any moment one's visual field is full of an almost endless variety of things and it would be impossible to pay attention to more than a few at a time. For it to be possible to select which things to notice or pay attention to they must all be there in consciousness. If they are not all there to be selected, those things that are not there could never be noticed or attended to, and there could be no way to determine which to notice or attend to.

I readily admit this is how my seeing works. I you or other people believe seeing is different, I cannot argue against it. There are many things I see I pay no attention to at all, and sometimes I fail to notice some things I see I'd prefer not to miss, but I see them whether I pay attention to them or not. How someone whose vision does not provide everything to their consciousness they could pay attention to can choose to pay attention to what is not there is a complete mystery to me.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:04 am
It's not impossible for someone who says he/she is an authority to actually BE one, or to tell the truth about a matter.
Why would anyone say they are an authority? If someone is an authority let them demonstrate it by their achievement, and no one will question it. As for telling the truth, all the greatest lies ever told were effective because they included some obvious truth. I'm not interested in anyone telling me anything, if they cannot explain it so I can understand it.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:04 am
But equally, it would be totally fallacious to say, "The minute I catch the slightest sense of somebody being an actual authority, I assume that what they say is wrong."
That's why I never said that. I know a few true authorities, though they would not dream of calling themselves that. I know a few polyglots who are definitely authorities on the languages they know and use. I know and greatly respect some brilliant doctors in very specialized areas. I also regard every author or creator the only acceptable authority on their own works. Otherwise, I recognize no authority.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:04 am
Unless one is a medical doctor with a doctor's colleagues and diagnostic apparatus, one is not able to "verify" what one's doctor says. ... one is not competent to judge the truth of the diagnosis without a lot of expert knowledge that the ordinary person simply does not have access to.
Oh they have access to it, they just aren't willing to do the work necessary to learn what they must. Doctor's love for people to believe what you are saying, but here's the truth. There is nothing any doctor can understand that you cannot understand, and everyone today has access to all the same diagnostic tools as the doctors (which are actually the reports of technicians that anyone can learn to read and understand). Basic anatomy, biology, and biochemistry are not easy, but almost anyone can learn them if they are willing to do the work.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:04 am
But supposing you do have the competence, collegial input and diagnostic tools of a doctor -- have you got the same for your auto mechanic? Your roofer? Your economics professor? Your veterinarian? Your plumber or electrician? Your marriage counsellor? Your computer technician?...and so on. And do you suppose that, in order to avoid having to resort to an "authority" on these matters, we should take our pets, our computers, our marriage problems and our roofing dilemmas to some non-expert?
"Economics professors," and "marriage counsellors?" Really? I certainly won't be consulting either of those. [See my article "Dismal Economics"] Are these really examples of "authorities?" I've wired an entire apartment, put in all the plumbing, done my own roofing, and have made my own computers and was a computer technician, and I've neutered more than one male cat (to my wife's horror). The females are a little tough. I do not regard any of these things as exceptional, but something anyone ought to be able to do, and could if they were willing to learn how. So, now, when I hire anyone to do any of these things, it is because my time is to valuable in other areas, so I buy the services of others, not for their authority, but because I have examined their product and their competence.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:04 am
But if someone has done the study and put in the experience that we ourselves do not have, then they are indeed more of an "authority" than we can possibly be.
Well speak for yourself. There is nothing within the limits of physical possibility that anyone has studied or learned that I could not learn. There are many people in this world who know many things I do not know, and never will, just because I'm not interested or they are of no use to me (I really do not need to know the details of pearl diving) and there are so many other things I do want to learn, none of which depends on anyone else's supposed authority or expertise.

Out of curiosity, does it concern you in any way that I do not accept any authority whatsoever and that I regard any belief based on authority as credulity or gullibility? I certainly don't mind the fact that almost everyone I know, or know about, more or less, regards authority as you do. The reason I ask is because, when I have expressed my distrust in all authority to others, (not you) I have experienced a great deal of animosity, especially when it was their particular authorities I rejected, almost as if my view were some kind of threat to them.

One reason I reject all authority is for the very reason you accept authority. "... if someone has done the study and put in the experience that we ourselves do not have, then they are indeed more of an "authority" than we can possibly be. So we should take their input seriously," which simply means, to me, there are some things I'm just not able to learn or know for myself and therefore I should trust the word of someone who is able to learn or know those things. But, if I am unable to know something, how am I able to know who does? If I'm too dumb to know something myself, I will certainly be too dumb to know who does have that knowledge.

If I'm going to be mistaken about something, I want it to be a mistake I make using my own mind and reasoning, not a mistake I've simply accepted from some authority. I can correct my own mistaken views, because I know how I arrived at them. I cannot correct a mistaken view when I do not know why I have it beyond, "the authority said so."
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:04 am
Then there's a place downtown in Tegucigalpa that makes the most ridiculously good carne asada...there's a lot of good food in this world.
Honduras? What were/are you doing in Central America? There was a time when I seriously considered living in Costa Rica or Panama, but I really never had a desire to visit Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, or Nicaragua. Considering the potential, the history of Central America is very sad. (Most Americans could not tell you where Central America is, much less what any of the countries are, which is also very sad. But they can vote.)

Do you make a distinction between Cajun and Creole food, or have a preference?

Sorry about making you hungry.

RC

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can » Sun Sep 29, 2019 12:48 am

RCSaunders wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 5:02 pm
If I have been inoffensive, it has been entirely accidental, but I'm glad it seems that way to you.
:D
RCSaunders wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 1:58 am
I honestly do know what you are talking about when you use the word, "see."
I'm talking about the entire chain of activity that is produced when the distinctive patterns of light associated with a particular object enter the eye and register on the consciousness of the brain. Less than this complete chain is not "seeing."

What's interesting (as in the gorilla experiment) is that this chain can be almost complete -- a real gorilla (suit), all the appropriate light waves entering the aperture of the eye, but the mind not registering anything at all. This is what I mean by saying that "seeing" is not entirely involuntary. For if one is focused on bouncing basketballs, one does not perceive the gorilla. One has received its light waves, but not made them into any intelligible realization.

One has not seen it.
Here's what seeing is to me. My eyes are my camera and they capture everything that is currently before them and whatever they capture is what I consciously see.
Except that it's abundantly apparent that what one "sees" is conditioned by what one thought one was likely to see, and by what one was consciously trying to attend to at the time. So while some "seeing" is involuntary, some types of blindness are occasioned by the volition of the percipient.
When I use the word, "seeing," I mean only the conscious picture provided to my consciousness by my eyes.
Well, in the gorilla experiment, the object "gorilla" is presented to one's eyes. But in many cases, the consciousness does not register anything as a result.
Here's how what you mean by seeing is different from what I mean. You seem to mean that what you see is not complete, that in some way, everything that is before your eyes is either not captured or not included in your final conscious, "picture," of what you are seeing.
Oh, I think that's evidently true. There are many and very simple tests that show that it is the case.

Take a series of pictures from a magazine or website...say, a dozen photos of all sorts of things. Look at each one for a few seconds or a minute. Then have somebody quiz you on what you saw, like, "How many female figures were in the pictures," or "In the fourth photo, what colour was the water bottle on the left?" You'll quickly find your performance is far from perfect. You passed your eyes over the details, but lacking a sense of what you were trying to "see," your consciousness failed to register the particulars picked out by your partner.
The experiment is called the, "selective attention test," which is exactly what I am talking about. Before one can select what to attend to, there must be something to select from.
It's hard to see precisely what you mean by that. It could be somewhat true, but it's also possibly somewhat false. It isn't the case that one has to "see" something before one can be told what to attend to when one does. But it is true that one "sees" by detecting contrasts among things that one perceives, not merely by receiving the associated light waves.
If I understand your view, you believe the gorilla actually did not exist in the conscious picture of those who did not notice the gorilla, but that the gorilla did exit in the conscious picture of those same people when they did notice the gorilla.
Well, one thing for sure: it didn't register with them AS a gorilla. They got no relevant information from the unusual black-clad shape loafing through the scene.
There are always an infinite number of things in our conscious picture and it is impossible to pay attention to them all, but they must all be there, because we can choose to pay attention to any of them.

Yes. But most of them, we don't really "see" at all. Because the chain between the object and the consciousness of the percipient never becomes complete. The eyes are open, the light waves go in, but nothing in particular is detected by the percipient.
The subjects only noticed the gorilla when what they were to pay attention to was not specified, but it had to have been there, both in the video and in each subjects consciousness whether it was noticed or not, because if it were not there, it could not have been noticed.
That is true. But it was not, in the complete sense, "seen."
If they are not seen, something had to stop the neurological process which is seeing off. What could possibly do that?
Attention. That's the point of the experiment.
At any moment one's visual field is full of an almost endless variety of things and it would be impossible to pay attention to more than a few at a time. For it to be possible to select which things to notice or pay attention to they must all be there in consciousness.
If that were so, how come the participant in the experiment could not recall anything irregular in their first viewing of the video? If what you were saying was right, they should be able to "reach back" in their visual memory, their "camera," if you will, (after all, it was a very recent "seeing" they had experienced) and locate the picture again, and say, "Oh...there was a gorilla."

But they could not do that. They had to see the video replayed. They had no visual record of the gorilla at all.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:04 am
It's not impossible for someone who says he/she is an authority to actually BE one, or to tell the truth about a matter.
Why would anyone say they are an authority?
Oh, for many reasons...and I'm very glad they do.

If my plumbing's bad, I don't want some hack trying to fix it for me...I want a real plumber. He'd better be qualified, and certainly a lot more wise about plumbing than I am. My plumber says he's an authority because his saying so helps me find him and give him money. I want to find him, because I want my plumbing fixed. So it works out very well for both of us.
If someone is an authority let them demonstrate it by their achievement,
That's what an "authority" is, by definition. One doesn't become an "authority" by merely claiming it...that makes one only a charlatan.
I know a few true authorities, though they would not dream of calling themselves that.
Well, there are a lot that would, and would be called by many others "authorities" too. That doesn't mean I have to trust them uncritically -- and I think that's what you're saying, too -- but there's more to know in this world that I can possibly personally know. So for many things (like plumbing, perhaps) I have to look to those with a more authoritative knowledge than I have. And I'm very glad to do so, when they do indeed turn out to be authorities, and my drains work again.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:04 am
But supposing you do have the competence, collegial input and diagnostic tools of a doctor -- have you got the same for your auto mechanic? Your roofer? Your economics professor? Your veterinarian? Your plumber or electrician? Your marriage counsellor? Your computer technician?...and so on. And do you suppose that, in order to avoid having to resort to an "authority" on these matters, we should take our pets, our computers, our marriage problems and our roofing dilemmas to some non-expert?
"Economics professors," and "marriage counsellors?" Really? I certainly won't be consulting either of those.
Well, fine: but the point stands. There are matters in which any individual's knowledge is not presently sufficient to enable good judgment. There are simply too many things to be known in this world. And, in fact, coming to know new things is best done with the assistance of those who already know them best...the real authorities. So even the process of learning is aided by reference to (genuine) authorities.

The simple point is this: "authority" is not automatically a bad thing. Arbitrary authority, unearned authority, or authoritarianism, those are bad things.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:04 am
But if someone has done the study and put in the experience that we ourselves do not have, then they are indeed more of an "authority" than we can possibly be.
Well speak for yourself.
I think I can speak for everyone on that, because it's certain we all have limitations of time, capacity, knowledge and experience...to say nothing of wisdom, too. So it is manifestly impossible that a single person should be the consummate authority on every topic. I don't think that case even needs to be made, it's so obvious.
Out of curiosity, does it concern you in any way that I do not accept any authority whatsoever and that I regard any belief based on authority as credulity or gullibility?
Concern? No, not really. For it does not affect me, of course. But I do say I find it a bit radical, excessive and, if I may say so without creating offence, irrational. There are good authorities and bad ones...and the axiom about babies and bathwater springs to mind.
But, if I am unable to know something, how am I able to know who does?
Well, why do people go to universities? They go because they have reliably been informed that "authorities" on various complex subjects are available there. Are all genuine "authorities"? No, and not to equal degrees (pardon the pun). But the wide reputation of the preponderance of experts on hand is a good indicator that large amounts of otherwise-elusive information is on hand at the university. And that expectation turns out to be right.

How did I find my plumber? Well, he had an advertisement on a reputable website. When I asked for references regarding his work, he had them. And when he finished with my plumbing, I was gratified to discover that my confidence in his authority had been warranted.

That's how we do it. Of course, we're not always right -- but much of the time, we are.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:04 am
Then there's a place downtown in Tegucigalpa that makes the most ridiculously good carne asada...there's a lot of good food in this world.
Honduras? What were/are you doing in Central America?
A long story. But I've been there quite a bit, actually. Also South America, Africa, the USA, Europe and the Middle East. But not to Asia yet, though my wife has.
I really never had a desire to visit Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, or Nicaragua. Considering the potential, the history of Central America is very sad.
Yes, true. But I really wasn't there as a tourist. And many of the people, particularly the poor people in the villages, are quite lovely. El Salvador is like a sauna bath, it's true...but Honduras has altitude, so it's cooler. And it's really a pretty country, despite the sadness of poverty and politics there.
Do you make a distinction between Cajun and Creole food, or have a preference?
Yes to both questions. However, I have only just begun to explore the possibilities of Cajun...it's hard not to order my favourites every time, since I so rarely get the authentic stuff. And as with so many "ethnic" type foods, they just aren't the same when you're not on location.

We eat a lot of Mexican food too, and do our very best to make it authentic. But there are limits to the quality and freshness of some ingredients available to us where we live, so we have to make some substitutions, alas. And that's just too bad.

Here's an interesting thing: artichokes. Have you ever eaten them? I don't mean pickled, or just the hearts, or in a salad...I mean sitting down and figuring out how to eat all that's edible there. I know few people who know how to do that outside of the southern US, but it's really an amazingly good vegetable. It just takes some technique.
Sorry about making you hungry.
It's a curable condition.
:wink:

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