Individualism vs. Collectivism

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Nick_A
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Nick_A » Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:58 pm

So what has been resolved? It seems obvious that people do not really know what either a collective or an individual objectively is. Considering their essential difference seems to be an unimportant question in modern times. We are content to believe ourselves to be both at the same time.

If the thread has revealed that much, it was worth it.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can » Sat Dec 07, 2019 3:14 am

Nick_A wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:58 pm
It seems obvious that people do not really know what either a collective or an individual objectively is.
I have no idea why you think that's true. It's certainly not true in many cases, I can see.

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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Nick_A » Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:02 am

Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 3:14 am
Nick_A wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:58 pm
It seems obvious that people do not really know what either a collective or an individual objectively is.
I have no idea why you think that's true. It's certainly not true in many cases, I can see.
If people knew the importance of distinguishing between a collective and an individual not defined by a collective they would be horrified and not satisfied with what Nietzsche called wretched contentment and seriously contemplate what they may be psychologically losing.

But wretched contentment is now glorified as obedience to the state to become one with human meaning and purpose. Individuality not defined and approved by the state must be scorned.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can » Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:08 am

Nick_A wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:02 am
But wretched contentment is now glorified as obedience to the state to become one with human meaning and purpose.
Well, among socialists it is, anyway. That's not a good reason to generalize to everybody else.
Individuality not defined and approved by the state must be scorned.
I'm not sure how you think ANY individuality is "defined and approved by the state."

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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Nick_A » Sat Dec 07, 2019 5:46 am

Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:08 am
Nick_A wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:02 am
But wretched contentment is now glorified as obedience to the state to become one with human meaning and purpose.
Well, among socialists it is, anyway. That's not a good reason to generalize to everybody else.

I am referring to those who willingly accept being defined as part of a collective by definition cannot be objective individuals

Individuality not defined and approved by the state must be scorned.
I'm not sure how you think ANY individuality is "defined and approved by the state."
The demagogue is the classic example. He is glorified within the state as the greatest of individuals because he has the charisma necessary to tell the people what they want to hear and have them follow him.
The secret of the demagogue is to make himself as stupid as his audience so they believe they are clever as he. Karl Kraus
Jesus as the ultimate individual tells the collectives in power the truth they don't want to hear so must be eliminated as opposing the state.

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RCSaunders
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by RCSaunders » Sat Dec 07, 2019 2:31 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:13 pm
I took a Caribbean vacation, actually. What luxury to feel the sun on one's skin in November! Where I live, it's quite unpleasant in terms of weather right now.
Good for you! I'm sure you enjoyed it.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:13 pm
But I am back now, ...
Hope you saved up some of that sun.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:13 pm
On Emergentism, ...
I think we pretty much agree that argument is pretty-much nonsense. It is where we disagree that is most interesting, I think.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:13 pm
An entity is whatever its qualities are.
This is difficult to accept. It's certainly not intuitively true. A rock is perhaps brown, inert and hard...those are some of its qualities. But it does not follow that the word "rock" is adequately defined as "a brownness," or "that which is inert," or even by a combination of all three qualities. For rocks have other properties as well; and none of them in combination or alone is a sufficient definition of "rock."
This is fundamental, IC. If we cannot agree on this we cannot agree on anything. When I say a thing is whatever its qualities are I mean all its qualities (attributes, properties, or characteristics) whether anyone knows what those qualities are. It doesn't matter how a thing is defined, or if anyone even knows the entity exists. If it exists it is its qualities that are what it is. What else would it be?[/quote]
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:13 pm
In other words, qualities are adjectives we ascribe to the nouns...but these adjectival properties are not the essence of the nouns themselves.
The issue is not epistemological, not about how a thing is defined or described. The issue is ontological, about what any existent must be. If a thing had no qualities at all it would not exist, if it exists, it is whatever its qualities are, because there is nothing else for it to be.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:13 pm
I'm not saying you're wrong to say that things like volition or consciousness exist -- I certainly believe in them -- but even I have to concede to my critics that I cannot claim they "exist" in precisely the same way, or by the same mechanics, as physical stuff does.
But life, consciousness, and volition are not entities (things, substances, energy), they are qualities, therefore, like all other attributes, they only exist as attributes of the entities they are the life, consciousness, or volitional qualities of.
This is my point. We cannot therefore say, "An entity is whatever its qualities are."
But that is exactly what I am saying. A thing is whatever its qualities are and if all its qualities are only physical qualities it is a mere non-living entity, but if it has the additional quality, "life," it is a living organism. It is the life attribute that differentiates between the non-living entities and living organisms.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:13 pm
...if there were such thing as you believe, it would still be true that their life, consciousness, and minds could not exist independently of them, wouldn't it? Even for celestial or supernatural beings there couldn't be life, consciousness, or minds without living, conscious, mental beings could there?
"Independently of them"? What is the "them" to which the above sentence refers? It's not clear to me.
The, "them," is the, "living beings," the life, consciousness, and minds are the qualities of. I'm saying, without the living beings there would be no life, consciousness, and minds.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:13 pm
By scientific principle (law) I do not mean the formulas and theories thus far discovered by the sciences, but the actual nature of physical existence, however well or poorly it is understood.

Well, we do not know anything about that, do we? The "actual nature" of which you speak? How would it be revealed to us?
You just came back from a Caribbean vacation, and since I doubt your means of conveyance was either a flying carpet or celestial chariot, I'm assuming you traveled by means of some mundane human invention which depended on some small knowledge of the physics of materials, machines, and chemistry, as well as the industries that produced the fuel, supplied the food and drink and made the kind of sophisticated electronic communication necessary possible to such an adventure. Yeah, I'd say we know a little something about the physical nature of this world; not by means of some kind of mystic, "revelation," but by intellectual discovery.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:13 pm
I'm sure. What actually is cannot be impossible.
It can, however, mean "impossible by non-supernatural means." In fact, I would suggest that that might well be what it DOES mean.
This seems like a good place to ask the question, "what do you mean by the,
'supernatural?'"

I've already explained what I mean by the natural, once here: First, there is only one, "realm," which I call material existence (or natural existence) and includes all existents, physical, living, conscious, and volitional (human beings)," and again here: By "natural existence," I mean the same as I do by, "material existence," and by "material existence," I mean all that exists and has the nature it has independently of whether anyone is conscious of or has any knowledge of that existence. In short, material existence is all that exists the way it exists. Material existence includes all entities: physical, living, conscious, and volitional (humans) with all their qualities and attributes.

Our knowledge of natural or material existence has two sources. First, the physical aspects of natural existence are all that can be discovered by means of directly perceiving that existence, that it, seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting it. Second, the non-physical aspects of natural existence, (life, consciousness, volition [mind]), are known by the fact we are living, conscious, and volitional beings, which we know, not by perceiving those facts, but by doing them, that is, living, perceiving, and choosing.

I know what I mean by the natural and how I have knowledge of that natural existence. What would be, "supernatural," and how it could possibly be known totally mystifies me. If there is something that in no way can be perceived, either directly or in its affect or influence on what is directly perceived, how could it possibly be known? [If something can be perceived or deduced from what is perceived, it is natural. What else can there be?]
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:13 pm
To make it simple, "something forever," seems more plausible to me than, "something from nothing."
However, it has the distinct disadvantage of being against all science and data that we actually have. We already know that the universe is not eternal, and that it had to have a beginning. All that's really left to debate is the precise nature of the First Cause -- not its necessity.
I do not subscribe to the Aristotelian, Hume(ian), Kantian view of, "event," cause. Events do not cause events. Cause, which only has meaning if it is simply the explanation of an event, is determined by entities. All events are the behavior of entities and how any entity behaves is determined by its own nature and its relationships to all other entities. If there are no entities there are no events. The idea of a, "first cause," does not mean anything. If all events are the behavior of entities, then to say something is the first event would mean there were already at least two entities to behave relative to each other for the first time as the first event.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:13 pm
I think how I must live is determined entirely by my nature as a rational volitional being in the kind of world I live in.
This is exactly right. But then, the question is, "In which kind of world do we actually live -- an accidental one, with no inherent purpose in it, or a purposeful world created by the deliberate decision of a loving God?"
I think looking for some reason or purpose to life outside one's own mind and being is a kind of superstition. I expect you will find that quite unreasonable.
Not unreasonable. But one that forecloses (in my view) far too rashly on the question above.
There is something that has always been a great mystery to me. Though I have found it everywhere, in literature, philosophy, and most popular views, it is never explained. That mystery is the tacit assumption that the one crying need and desire of all human beings is for the company of other human beings who will love them.

I have never experienced any desire or need to be loved, or even appreciated by other human beings. I very much enjoy other human beings, and love most of them myself, but I do not need them. My wife and I sometimes parody the Streisand song, "People, who need people, are the lousiest people in the world." Lice and bed bugs need people.

I do not need anything outside my life to give it purpose. My life and my enjoyment of it is the only purpose that can possibly matter to me. I am not a slave and do not need a master, no matter now much he claims to love me, to dictate what the purpose of my life is. If my life is not my own to live as I choose, I am a slave. If I'm nothing more than the plaything of some other being, then my life has no purpose or meaning.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:13 pm
Actually, what happens in such a case is randomness. Any "pattern" discerned out of it is ex post facto, meaning something you, as a conscious entity, impose after the fact. ...
Because like the Pollock painting, you say the universe was created without the deliberate volition of a Creator. It was, so to speak, a "splatter-painting."
No, I never said the universe, "was created without the deliberate volition of a Creator." What I say is, the universe was not created, period. The universe has a specific nature which is not at all, "random," or, "accidental," and human beings have discovered much of that nature.

It's what you believe. According to you:
There are vast numbers of planets and, we think, whole solar systems that have no life in them, because as we observe them we can see that the size and disposition of matter and energy within them would be life-prohibiting. ... If, for example, the strong and weak forces within the atom itself were even minutely different from what they are, there would be no coherent matter at all...no people, no planets, no galaxies, no universe...nothing.
You are certain scientists have discovered, "whole solar systems," and know, "the size and disposition of matter and energy within them," as well as things about the nature of the physical existence, such as, "the strong and weak forces within the atom itself," that are necessary to what you call, "coherent matter," which means those aspects of physical existence can be discovered and understood.

Now it cannot be both. Either the principles of physics can be discovered and are reliable descriptions of the nature of physical reality or they are only, as you say, a, "'pattern' discerned out of it .. ex post facto ... impose[d] after the fact," but not a description of existence as it actually is.

You can see why I do not understand why you keep arguing from the position the universe is, "random," without a discoverable nature. When you argue that the universe had to have a beginning because of some supposed, "heat death," (second law of thermodynamics, entropy) principle, if the universe is just random, all that could change at any time, couldn't it, and perhaps already has. Or worse, when you argue from the view of the, "big bang," you are assuming the principles of physics on which that particular cosmological hypothesis is based are valid. But, as you have said frequently in the past, that is only statistically likely, not certain, except of course, when you insist we know the universe had to have a beginning.

On the one hand you say the universe is contingent, but you have also argued that if the universe were different than it is, even only slightly, there would be "no people, no planets, no galaxies, no universe...nothing." Of course that argument is to support your view that such a universe could only exist if created by God who fine-tuned everything. But that raises a question about the so-called contingent nature of the universe. If the universe were different in any way from what it is, there would be, "no coherent matter ... no people, no planets, ... nothing." But that puts a limit on your God. If God could have made life possible in any kind of universe, then there is nothing necessary about all the scientific limitations you site as proof God had to make the universe just as it is, but if life and existence are only possible in the universe such as it is, God could not have made this universe different.

You and I both know the universe has an exact nature and that there is nothing random or accidental about it. The only difference is our reason for believing it. Your reason for believing it is because you believe God designed it. My reason for believing it is because nothing else is possible.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:13 pm
Pi is infinite, for example.
Pi is not infinite! Pi is an irrational with a finite bounded value, like all irrational and transcendental numbers. Pi (π) is greater than 3.1415926 and less than 3.1415927, which is hardly infinite. Euler's number, (e)(base of the natural logarithm) is greater than 2.71828 but less than 2.71829.The square root of 2 (√2) is greater than 1.4142857 but less than 1.4142858. The only relationship, "infinity," has to these numbers is, when they are represented by decimal notation, there is no final number in the string. All these numbers can be perfectly described verbally, and Pi (π) can be perfectly represented geometrically. Infinity, in these cases means what it always means, "using this method (maths symbols), the relationship being described cannot be represented."
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:13 pm
As we launch into the Christmas season, RC, I hope yours will be full of warmth, good times and close friends. It's good to be talking to you again.
I do not personally observe any special days or traditional seasons but am delighted to know others enjoy special times and traditions with whatever meaning they have for them, and to whatever extent possible, I encourage their enjoyment of those special times.

I know what the Christmas season means to you, my friend, and hope it is all it can be to fulfill your expectations of it, with family, friends, and whoever else you share those good times with.

RC

Nick_A
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Nick_A » Sat Dec 07, 2019 3:45 pm

My guess is that awareness of the distinction between the mind of the grand collective or society itself and the awareness of the individual always was. It is perennial knowledge.

Plato explained it in his divided line analogy in which opinions are the result of interpreted experiences of what takes place below the divided line or in the visible realm our senses give us access to. Knowledge in contrast exists in the intellectual realm our capacity for intuition can awaken us to.

Of course the grand collective is only capable of experiencing the results of universal laws taking place below the line while a person who has opened to the experience of intuition or remembrance can become a true individual not restricted to the limitations of discursive thought can have the experience of noesis or intuition.

It is no wonder then why those like Jesus and Socrates must be killed by the mindset of the grand collective or the Great Beast. The awakening effect of Individuality only possible through intuition threatens its dominance - its life

Einstein understood:
1930
"Many people think that the progress of the human race is based on experiences of an empirical, critical nature, but I say that true knowledge is to be had only through a philosophy of deduction. For it is intuition that improves the world, not just following the trodden path of thought. Intuition makes us look at unrelated facts and then think about them until they can all be brought under one law. To look for related facts means holding onto what one has instead of searching for new facts. Intuition is the father of new knowledge, while empiricism is nothing but an accumulation of old knowledge. Intuition, not intellect, is the ‘open sesame’ of yourself." -- Albert Einstein, in Einstein and the Poet – In Search of the Cosmic Man by William Hermanns (Branden Press, 1983, p. 16.), conversation March 4, 1930
It seems that the survival of humanity will depend on the results of true individuals capable of intellect of a greater quality than what discursive thought offers. I've witnessed enough of secular intolerance both in the world and online to lead me to believe true individuality will remain only for the few with the need, courage, and will, to withstand the collective pressures of the Great Beast and open to receive the greater reality above Plato's divided line which reveals the source of objective human meaning and purpose..

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can » Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:47 pm

Hi, RC:

Good to hear from you, as always. How's your health been lately? Well, I trust.

All quiet on this "Western front." :D
RCSaunders wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 2:31 pm
An entity is whatever its qualities are.
This is difficult to accept. It's certainly not intuitively true. A rock is perhaps brown, inert and hard...those are some of its qualities. But it does not follow that the word "rock" is adequately defined as "a brownness," or "that which is inert," or even by a combination of all three qualities. For rocks have other properties as well; and none of them in combination or alone is a sufficient definition of "rock."
This is fundamental, IC. If we cannot agree on this we cannot agree on anything. When I say a thing is whatever its qualities are I mean all its qualities (attributes, properties, or characteristics) whether anyone knows what those qualities are. It doesn't matter how a thing is defined, or if anyone even knows the entity exists. If it exists it is its qualities that are what it is. What else would it be?
Something more than "the sum of its qualities." Even more than the sum of all the qualities we can find about it. It has a unitary existence that defies being separated into any qualities or cluster of qualities which can never be more than descriptors of particular aspects of the whole. In other words, the qualities are all just adjectives, and every adjective (or cluster or adjectives or even all the adjectives we can combine) are inevitably merely "facets of the diamond," but not "the diamond-in-itself," if you catch my metaphor.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:13 pm
In other words, qualities are adjectives we ascribe to the nouns...but these adjectival properties are not the essence of the nouns themselves.
The issue is not epistemological, not about how a thing is defined or described. The issue is ontological, about what any existent must be.
Quite so! You've caught my point, though you've used other words. Any "existent" must "be" more than the sum of its parts, and more than the list of its associated adjectives or "qualities."
If a thing had no qualities at all it would not exist,
This part is true.
if it exists, it is whatever its qualities are, because there is nothing else for it to be.
I think that maybe here's the problem: you're using "qualities" in an unusual way. You're including in "qualities" not just adjectival properties, like width, colour, shape, age, and so on, but also unitary essence...and yet you appear unconvinced that any essence exists beyond these "qualities." So it seems to me there's a kind of amphiboly in your application of the term "qualities."

Are "qualities," in your usage, separable descriptors, or are they inseparable sub-features of the unitary whole? I can't really tell yet what you are supposing about that.
It is the life attribute that differentiates between the non-living entities and living organisms.
No doubt it is. But "life" is not simply an additional descriptor, or "quality," is it? I mean, if you thought it was, that would be suppositional, and impossible to prove, I think. It seems to me that to add "life" to a description is more than it is merely to add weight, or colour, or shape, or age, or any other such physical "quality."

Admittedly, what "life" adds is difficult to say in precise terms...it's something like "soul," or "breath," which are antique words used to try to capture that experience about it that we intuitively have. Or perhaps today we would say something like "consciousness" or "animation": I don't know what word we would prefer. But we do have a clear intuition of what it means when we say that all the physical properties and descriptors of an entity are still intact, but that the entity has "died." And we feel that this is a very important issue, much more important than to say, "The entity has changed its length, colour, shape, or age."
The, "them," is the, "living beings," the life, consciousness, and minds are the qualities of.
Is "mind" a quality? I'm thinking that's not the right word to use, except in a very vague and unformed usage.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:13 pm
By scientific principle (law) I do not mean the formulas and theories thus far discovered by the sciences, but the actual nature of physical existence, however well or poorly it is understood.

Well, we do not know anything about that, do we? The "actual nature" of which you speak? How would it be revealed to us?
You just came back from a Caribbean vacation...
Well, yes: but your analogy there isn't adequate, I'm thinking.

I travelled on an airplane and a boat. But I would not say that I knew all the physics and other dynamics involved in either. Rather, I took a lot for granted about what they would do. I would be very far from claiming that my use of them reflected my full grasp of their "actual nature." And I don't think you'd suppose I had to know their "actual nature" in order to use either conveyance.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:13 pm
I'm sure. What actually is cannot be impossible.
It can, however, mean "impossible by non-supernatural means." In fact, I would suggest that that might well be what it DOES mean.
This seems like a good place to ask the question, "what do you mean by the,
'supernatural?'"

Very simply, that which transcends the mere physical boundaries and regularities of the universe itself, since it created the universe. (We can leave out for the moment the question of whether it's a personal or impersonal entity or realm.)
In short, material existence is all that exists the way it exists.
This statement is merely presuppositional Materialism, though. It's something you have to take on faith, rather than something that can be shown. And when taken on faith, it results in absurd consequences that both of us have already rejected, such as Emergentism.

And this part of what you say seems to me to highlight the tautological nature of Materialism:
Second, the non-physical aspects of natural existence, (life, consciousness, volition [mind]), are known by the fact we are living, conscious, and volitional beings, which we know, not by perceiving those facts, but by doing them, that is, living, perceiving, and choosing
.
Your definition of "non-physical aspects" here has a couple of problems. The big one is that it is circular, because it says that "living, perceiving, and choosing" are identified by means of "living, perceiving, and choosing." That seems fairly redundant.

But I think there's maybe a way in which it's not: and that would be if you are saying no more than "the way we know them is by doing them." But if that's it, then it might be true, but it mixes the epistemological problem with the ontological one, and treats the epistemological (i.e. the way we know) as the ontological (i.e. what the think is, in itself).

So either its circular, or it participates in a category error of trying to define ontologically by reference to epistemological considerations...or so it seems to me here.
What would be, "supernatural," and how it could possibly be known totally mystifies me.
Supernatural? Well, anything that transcends the mere vagaries of ordinary physical regularities. And how it would be known could be various ways. Take, for example, a case of the miraculous -- something happening that suspends the behaviour of the ordinary physical regularities for a moment: a divine action or revelation...an event genuinely inexplicable in natural terms, like a man authentically rising from the dead. One might even point out that creation itself is necessarily super-natural, since it is the even that put into place all the natural physical regularities (or "laws," as we sometimes call them) in the universe. An origin of the universe would necessarily be super-natural in that sense. And we do know, both deductively and by empirical means, that the universe had an origin.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:13 pm
To make it simple, "something forever," seems more plausible to me than, "something from nothing."
However, it has the distinct disadvantage of being against all science and data that we actually have. We already know that the universe is not eternal, and that it had to have a beginning. All that's really left to debate is the precise nature of the First Cause -- not its necessity.
I do not subscribe to the Aristotelian, Hume(ian), Kantian view of, "event," cause.
It's not necessary that you do. All that's necessary is that you would be aware of the empirical, cosmological data available to us.
There is something that has always been a great mystery to me. Though I have found it everywhere, in literature, philosophy, and most popular views, it is never explained. That mystery is the tacit assumption that the one crying need and desire of all human beings is for the company of other human beings who will love them.

I have never experienced any desire or need to be loved, or even appreciated by other human beings. I very much enjoy other human beings, and love most of them myself, but I do not need them. My wife and I sometimes parody the Streisand song, "People, who need people, are the lousiest people in the world." Lice and bed bugs need people.
Interesting, for a guy who mentions his wife with such obvious affection. :wink:
I do not need anything outside my life to give it purpose. My life and my enjoyment of it is the only purpose that can possibly matter to me. I am not a slave and do not need a master, no matter now much he claims to love me, to dictate what the purpose of my life is. If my life is not my own to live as I choose, I am a slave. If I'm nothing more than the plaything of some other being, then my life has no purpose or meaning.
I think this would be a very poor and sad way to conceive of relationship -- that is means being "enslaved" by someone who "dictates (presumably arbitrarily, rather than, say, informing me of the truth) the purpose of my life," or having one's "choices" cut off and becoming "the plaything" of another. If those are the proffered terms, I understand why anybody wouldn't want them. It would make God into a petty and arbitrary tyrant...and I fully understand why nobody would want that.

But what if Someone could come along and tell you, "You're not here struggling between womb and tomb with no real or actual purpose. You're not a cosmic accident whose all on your own to fake meaning out of nothing. I made you, and I love you, and I want you to be fully what you can be. I want you to make your choices (and will defend your right to do so absolutely, even if you have to live with some bad outcomes as a result). But as for me, I want you to grow into the best self you can be, and then not just decay and die, but have eternal prospects of happiness, relationship, exploration, wonder and creativity -- and I'm prepared to lay down my life to make it possible for you." That looks like quite a different proposition.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:13 pm
Actually, what happens in such a case is randomness. Any "pattern" discerned out of it is ex post facto, meaning something you, as a conscious entity, impose after the fact. ...
Because like the Pollock painting, you say the universe was created without the deliberate volition of a Creator. It was, so to speak, a "splatter-painting."
No, I never said the universe, "was created without the deliberate volition of a Creator." What I say is, the universe was not created, period. The universe has a specific nature which is not at all, "random," or, "accidental," and human beings have discovered much of that nature.
Ah, we're reasoning backward again: you're saying that the universe has a regular nature, and is rationally comprehensible to us, therefore it must have happened by no deliberate, rational or purposeful process. That's not logical. It's merely assumptive, and begs the whole question of how the universe ever became so wondrously rational, mathematical, predictable, and "law"-governed, and also how we ended up here in the first place.
It's what you believe.
There are vast numbers of planets and, we think, whole solar systems that have no life in them, because as we observe them we can see that the size and disposition of matter and energy within them would be life-prohibiting. ... If, for example, the strong and weak forces within the atom itself were even minutely different from what they are, there would be no coherent matter at all...no people, no planets, no galaxies, no universe...nothing.
No, no, it isn't.

In this passage, I am explaining the problems a Materialist is going to have in explaining how the universe got to the very precise configuration of life-permitting and rationality-responding character it observably has. I'm not saying I have their problem.
Now it cannot be both. Either the principles of physics can be discovered and are reliable descriptions of the nature of physical reality or they are only, as you say, a, "'pattern' discerned out of it .. ex post facto ... impose[d] after the fact," but not a description of existence as it actually is.
This is what I'm saying. I'm saying that the explanation that says, "nothing created the universe, and it just happened to fall into the microscopically narrow range of physical possibilities we needed it to have" is a really poor explanation. And I'm saying that people who are observing the physical laws and then deducing back to a -- I don't know what word you'd accept -- "happenstance" origin are making an extremely counterintuitive and counter-probabilistic explanation.
You can see why I do not understand why you keep arguing from the position the universe is, "random," without a discoverable nature.

No, no...I am not arguing that the universe IS random...I'm arguing that IF IT WERE then it would not have a discoverable nature. But it DOES have a discoverable nature, therefore, the attempted explanation of the universe in terms of chance plus time is absurdly implausible. That's my position.
When you argue that the universe had to have a beginning because of some supposed, "heat death," (second law of thermodynamics, entropy) principle, if the universe is just random, all that could change at any time, couldn't it, and perhaps already has.

Observably, by all scientific measurement, it hasn't. And we know of only one thing that has ever genuinely reversed entropy...resurrection. But I'll grant you that one, if you'll take it. :wink:
Or worse, when you argue from the view of the, "big bang," you are assuming the principles of physics on which that particular cosmological hypothesis is based are valid.

No, I'm only assuming that human science is telling us the truth about that. I'm assuming, for example, that the "red shift effect" isn't a hoax. I'm assuming that entropy is a real thing. I'm assuming that when cosmologists tell us that the amount of matter in the universe is expanding and has vastly exceeded escape velocity already, that these cosmologists are speaking the truth. Their data look right to me. But admittedly, they could be lying.

I just don't think they are.
On the one hand you say the universe is contingent,

Observably so.
If the universe were different in any way from what it is, there would be, "no coherent matter ... no people, no planets, ... nothing." But that puts a limit on your God. If God could have made life possible in any kind of universe, then there is nothing necessary about all the scientific limitations you site as proof God had to make the universe just as it is, but if life and existence are only possible in the universe such as it is, God could not have made this universe different.
Let's suppose that's so. If it were, we have no frame of reference from which to comprehend it. There may indeed be what we might call "life forms" that are nothing like "life" as we know it at all.

But we know only what we know. And we can see that we exist among a vast quantity of other possibilities that would never have permitted life...or a universe...or even coherence of matter. And yet, somehow, we seem to have won the lottery-to-end-all-lotteries, and ended up here, in exactly the fine-tuned circumstances under which we needed to be.

OR we could say, "This was no accident."

Which is the hypothesis to the best explanation? I think that's pretty clear.
You and I both know the universe has an exact nature and that there is nothing random or accidental about it.

Is that true? You don't believe that the universe happened by accident? You don't believe, for example, in the Big Bang? You believe something non-random created the universe?

I know what you're going to say, because you've said it already. You're going to say, "We're in a law-governed universe, therefore it's not random." And I'm going to say, "Dead right: but you're reasoning backward." You're arguing from something that clearly undermines your theory that the universe can "just happen," to the conclusion that it "just happened" into existence. You're accepting the evidence for design, and then concluding that it all happened without design.
I do not personally observe any special days or traditional seasons but am delighted to know others enjoy special times and traditions with whatever meaning they have for them, and to whatever extent possible, I encourage their enjoyment of those special times.
I figured.

I just wanted to wish you well anyway. And I thank you for your kind words in return.

IC

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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can » Sat Dec 07, 2019 5:04 pm

Nick_A wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 5:46 am
The demagogue is the classic example. He is glorified within the state as the greatest of individuals because he has the charisma necessary to tell the people what they want to hear and have them follow him.
I don't think the state glorifies him as an individual. Rather, they glorify him as a consummate expression of the collective state. Hitler was not, for example, a "great individual guy." He was the focal point and embodiment of the Third Reich aspirations shared by the entire collectivist horde.

Or take Stalin. Wiki says this about his "cult of personality":

"The Soviet press constantly praised Stalin, describing him as "Great", "Beloved", "Bold", "Wise", "Inspirer", and "Genius". It portrayed him as a caring yet strong father figure, with the Soviet populace as his "children". Interactions between Stalin and children became a key element of the personality cult. Stalin often engaged in publicized gift giving exchanges with Soviet children from a range of different ethnic backgrounds. Beginning in 1935, the phrase, "Thank You Dear Comrade Stalin for a Happy Childhood!" appeared above doorways at nurseries, orphanages, and schools; children also chanted this slogan at festivals.

Speeches described Stalin as "Our Best Collective Farm Worker", "Our Shockworker, Our Best of Best", and "Our Darling, Our Guiding Star". The image of Stalin as a father was one way in which Soviet propagandists aimed to incorporate traditional religious symbols and language into the cult of personality; the title of "father" now first and foremost belonged to Stalin, as opposed to the Russian Orthodox priests. The cult of personality also adopted the Christian traditions of procession and devotion to icons through the use of Stalinist parades and effigies. By reapplying various aspects of religion to the cult of personality, the press hoped to shift devotion away from the church and towards Stalin."


So Stalin wasn't "the great individual," but rather the nominal head of the collective, in every possible description. He was "father," and "our best collective farm worker," and the "inspirer" of "us." He was the collectivism man par excellence, so far as the Russians were concerned.
Jesus as the ultimate individual tells the collectives in power the truth they don't want to hear so must be eliminated as opposing the state.
Ironically, yes. He was rejected by the Jewish authorities for failing to foment rebellion against the Romans, and condemned by the Romans for challenging the authority of Caesar...but he did neither. He never looked to political solutions at all. He neither curried favour with nor sought to employ the political collectives on either side.

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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Nick_A » Sun Dec 08, 2019 2:24 am

IC
I don't think the state glorifies him as an individual. Rather, they glorify him as a consummate expression of the collective state. Hitler was not, for example, a "great individual guy." He was the focal point and embodiment of the Third Reich aspirations shared by the entire collectivist horde.
But that defines the true individual from the subjective perspective of the collective. The subjective individual helps create and actualize the temporal goals of the grand collective. Both Stalin and Hitler did just that which enabled them to be recognized and classified as individuals.

The objective individual dedicated to the search for truth and its objective meaning cannot be classified. Take Simone Weil for example. Amongst other things she was a philosopher, labor activist, teacher, factory worker, journalist, revolutionary, soldier, anarchist, mystic, Jew and Catholic. She was a young Marxist admired by Leon Trotsky who died a Christian mystic and intellectual influence on Pope Paul V1. How can someone like this be classified other than to admit she was an actualized seeker of objective truth and by definition then: an objective individual?
Ironically, yes. He was rejected by the Jewish authorities for failing to foment rebellion against the Romans, and condemned by the Romans for challenging the authority of Caesar...but he did neither. He never looked to political solutions at all. He neither curried favour with nor sought to employ the political collectives on either side.
I agree. Jesus produced an objective revelation of the truth of the human condition and the means for freedom from it in the process of becoming oneself.

Objective truth is intolerable for everyone caught up with subjective opinions described by Plato in the Cave Analogy as shadows on the wall. What is intolerable must be eliminated with the help of subjective individuals having the authority given to them by society to do so. Pass the hemlock.

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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can » Sun Dec 08, 2019 5:28 pm

Nick_A wrote:
Sun Dec 08, 2019 2:24 am
IC
I don't think the state glorifies him as an individual. Rather, they glorify him as a consummate expression of the collective state. Hitler was not, for example, a "great individual guy." He was the focal point and embodiment of the Third Reich aspirations shared by the entire collectivist horde.
But that defines the true individual from the subjective perspective of the collective.
Well, you might argue that it exemplifies what they think each individual in their collective should be. But that's different from saying that they prize the individual for his own sake.

Rather, by definition, the collectivists see "the individual" as nothing but a composite of the collectivist virtues, and not as "individually" different from everybody else...just "more of the same," so to speak. That's why Stalin could be seen as "the ultimate worker."' It's because other workers existed. And he could be seen as a "father" because he was the head of his collective "children." Thus, even his value as an individual was a product of the collective...not individual as in different from others.

And that's why collectivists speak of things like "white privilege," or "black oppression." It's because they're genuine racists -- people who see individuals as nothing but a product of their position in a collective defined by race...and they see the individuals as guilty or oppressed by association, not by individual case. So you will be an "oppressor," even if you never, in your entire life, oppressed a single other human being. :shock:
Ironically, yes. He was rejected by the Jewish authorities for failing to foment rebellion against the Romans, and condemned by the Romans for challenging the authority of Caesar...but he did neither. He never looked to political solutions at all. He neither curried favour with nor sought to employ the political collectives on either side.
I agree. Jesus produced an objective revelation of the truth of the human condition and the means for freedom from it in the process of becoming oneself.
Well, you can't "become yourself." You ARE yourself -- in whatever state you happen to be. So that's just a rhetorical flourish, when we speak of people "becoming themselves" -- unless we believe that people have a telos that is different from what they are born being, something they have a duty to actualize...but I don't think most people in the modern West would be willing to say they believe that today, even if they did.
What is intolerable must be eliminated with the help of subjective individuals having the authority given to them by society to do so. Pass the hemlock.
Well, I've tried very hard to wrap my head around where they're coming from -- because while some are obviously lunatic, a great many are not such bad people, and some, I think (though I can't say for sure) are genuinely well-meaning. Certainly they seem to see themselves as driven by compassion and communal caring. So I've tried to account for the good-hearted ones, not just the loonies.

And here's what I think. I think that when there's no God in the equation, a good-hearted person can come to be convinced that collective action is the only hope for the world. They can feel that the individual is just too small and weak to achieve the levels of change necessary to, say, save the planet or renew a society. And in particular, they can come to feel that they are too small and weak to do this. But they can't bring themselves just to sit on their hands, and let the world go fall apart. They feel morally compelled to do something about it.

So if you were a good-hearted person who thought that the future was up to human action and nothing else, and if you thought that the individual (you, in particular) was too small and weak to achieve it, what would you do? Probably collectivize, no? Get together with a bunch of others who believed the same thing, try to take over the political process, and impose your vision of justice on the world, maybe? That wouldn't be much of a stretch.

And if someone, an individual, said "No" to you, you might become very angry. You might say, "Well, I'm trying to do something very important for the good of humanity here, and you're just being negative." Or worse, you might say, "We need everybody to believe in my project, which is for the good of h humanity...and you, you're standing against us. You're the problem. So off to 're-education' camp with you." Or "into jail," if you're really obdurate. Or even, "We're going to have to line you up and shoot you into a pit." And it's all going to seem to be operating for the good of the collective, and for the eventual triumph of Heaven-on-Earth that you, as collectivist, have conceived in your head. Individuals who continue to oppose you are just going to look to you like very, very bad people...and if they're bad enough, then any means necessary to achieve Utopia is going to be warranted.

That's how a good-hearted person goes collectivist, then can even go very, very bad.

At least, that's what I think happens. If there's another perspective on how well-intentioned collectivists can go so bad as they do, then I'd love to hear it.

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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Nick_A » Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:22 am

IC
Rather, by definition, the collectivists see "the individual" as nothing but a composite of the collectivist virtues, and not as "individually" different from everybody else...just "more of the same," so to speak. That's why Stalin could be seen as "the ultimate worker."' It's because other workers existed. And he could be seen as a "father" because he was the head of his collective "children." Thus, even his value as an individual was a product of the collective...not individual as in different from others.
Agreed. The subjective individual seems to be the one who best expresses the collective beliefs of the day. That is why I wrote that the demagogue is the ultimate subjective individual.
And that's why collectivists speak of things like "white privilege," or "black oppression." It's because they're genuine racists -- people who see individuals as nothing but a product of their position in a collective defined by race...and they see the individuals as guilty or oppressed by association, not by individual case. So you will be an "oppressor," even if you never, in your entire life, oppressed a single other human being.
Quite true. The political progressive collective seems incapbale of appreciating that they do exactly what they accuse others of.
Well, you can't "become yourself." You ARE yourself -- in whatever state you happen to be. So that's just a rhetorical flourish, when we speak of people "becoming themselves" -- unless we believe that people have a telos that is different from what they are born being, something they have a duty to actualize...but I don't think most people in the modern West would be willing to say they believe that today, even if they did.
In your opinion was Jesus the physical body who visited the earth or the resurrected Man who achieved human evolution? I would say that Jesus became himself much like the husk of the acorn is sacrificed so that the living kernel of life within can become an oak or the real potential for the acorn.

I agree that there are many fine people in collectives. My heart goes out to the individuals who are somehow aware that the reality which is the source of human meaning and purpose exists in the intelligible world and not in the visible world. The world makes them suffer for what attracts them. Consider Simone Weil
"To believe in God is not a decision we can make. All we can do is decide not to give our love to false gods. In the first place, we can decide not to believe that the future contains for us an all-sufficient good. The future is made of the same stuff as the present....

"...It is not for man to seek, or even to believe in God. He has only to refuse to believe in everything that is not God. This refusal does not presuppose belief. It is enough to recognize, what is obvious to any mind, that all the goods of this world, past, present, or future, real or imaginary, are finite and limited and radically incapable of satisfying the desire which burns perpetually with in us for an infinite and perfect good... It is not a matter of self-questioning or searching. A man has only to persist in his refusal, and one day or another God will come to him."
-- Weil, Simone, ON SCIENCE, NECESSITY, AND THE LOVE OF GOD, edited by Richard Rees, London, Oxford University Press, 1968.- ©
Where the world struggles to impose its particular beliefs and reward the subjective individuals who best express them, there are these objective individuals who seek the experience of reality above what the world can offer. They re willing to sacrifice their pearls for the pearl of great price

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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can » Mon Dec 09, 2019 9:16 pm

Nick_A wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:22 am
In your opinion...
Well, not that my opinion matters on that question, of course...whether or not Jesus was what He said He was is framed as a matter of fact, not opinion. And that would be true no matter what view one took on that.
...was Jesus the physical body who visited the earth or the resurrected Man who achieved human evolution?
Was He a physical man? Yes. Was He the resurrected Man? Yes. Was he a product of human evolution? Decidedly not.
Simone Weil
"To believe in God is not a decision we can make. All we can do is decide not to give our love to false gods.
I don't think that's true at all. It makes me think maybe she didn't actually know God, or understand what was required. It's certainly the opposite of what Jesus said about belief. He declared one had actively to exercise faith in Him.
He has only to refuse to believe in everything that is not God.

Well, that's purely negation. Not-believing will not make you a believer in the right thing. It may well make you nothing but a universal skeptic, and leave you knowing nothing at all. :shock:
A man has only to persist in his refusal, and one day or another God will come to him.
I don't have a problem with the suggestion that God makes His appeal at some time to all people. And I don't deny the value of skepticism. But I don't think it's skepticism that produces the encounter with God.

Since you ask, that's my opinion.

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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by uwot » Tue Dec 10, 2019 4:30 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 9:16 pm
Nick_A wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:22 am
...was Jesus the physical body who visited the earth or the resurrected Man who achieved human evolution?
Was He a physical man? Yes. Was He the resurrected Man? Yes. Was he a product of human evolution? Decidedly not.
I don't think it's quite as clear cut as you suggest, Mr Can. If his mother served no function other than incubator, yer gotta say that's a bit exploitative of your god. Seems to be condoning 'rent-a-womb' surrogacy, not to mention procreation outside of marriage. Potentially polygamy. Not the sort of stuff Christians hold much truck with generally. 'Course, there's loads of sects who are well into that sort of malarkey. Then again, perhaps you don't believe in evolution. Fair enough, everyone is entitled to be wrong. Two things spring to mind. 1: If we are made in his image, does he have breasts and a vagina, like half the population? Since it is referred to as 'He' I guess not. So then the question is how big is the almighty cock, and what purpose does it serve? And what does his poop smell of? 2: If you do believe in evolution, then by all accounts, which let's face it aren't many, he looked much like humans currently do. In which case, he is in one sense a product of human evolution. Ah truly sir, you are Mr Can of worms.

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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by RCSaunders » Tue Dec 10, 2019 9:24 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:47 pm
This is fundamental, IC. If we cannot agree on this we cannot agree on anything. When I say a thing is whatever its qualities are I mean all its qualities (attributes, properties, or characteristics) whether anyone knows what those qualities are. It doesn't matter how a thing is defined, or if anyone even knows the entity exists. If it exists it is its qualities that are what it is. What else would it be?
Something more than "the sum of its qualities." ... It has a unitary existence that defies being separated into any qualities or cluster of qualities which can never be more than descriptors of particular aspects of the whole. In other words, the qualities are all just adjectives, and every adjective (or cluster or adjectives or even all the adjectives we can combine) are inevitably merely "facets of the diamond," but not "the diamond-in-itself," if you catch my metaphor.
I did not say a thing is, "the sum of its qualities," I said it is whatever all its qualities are. If an entity exists it must be something with some nature and it is that nature (all its attributes, properties, and characteristics) that are its qualities.

I have no idea what you mean by, a "unitary existence," unless you are implying some kind of Platonic, "substance," that qualities (form) are impressed on. I do suspect that is what you think since you will use, "unitary essence," in a later reply. If so, you are confusing the ontological with the epistemological. "Essence," is strictly epistemological and is only the identification of entities with similar qualities. There are no ontological essences.

[Note: If I am right, you have adopted either the Platonic substance-attribute theory, that a thing-in-itself is a property-bearer distinct from the properties it bears, or Aristotelian hylomorphism in which entities are a compound of, "matter," and, "form." The obvious problem with both views is that if there really were some mystic substrate to existence like, "substance," or, "matter," it would have to have its own properties to exist (because that with no properties cannot exist). If "substance," or, "matter," have their own properties they cannot be the ultimate substrate of existence because their own properties would have to be impressed on something else, which of course leads to an absurd endless regress.]

If you were able to identify every quality of diamond (the substance), that would be diamond, the, "substance," or, "matter." If you were able to identify every quality of any particular diamond, that would be a diamond-in-itself.

There is no need (or possibility) of some kind of mystic or ineffable stuff underlying everything.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:47 pm
If a thing had no qualities at all it would not exist,
This part is true.
if it exists, it is whatever its qualities are, because there is nothing else for it to be.
I think that maybe here's the problem: you're using "qualities" in an unusual way. You're including in "qualities" not just adjectival properties, like width, colour, shape, age, and so on, but also unitary essence...and yet you appear unconvinced that any essence exists beyond these "qualities." So it seems to me there's a kind of amphiboly in your application of the term "qualities."

Are "qualities," in your usage, separable descriptors, or are they inseparable sub-features of the unitary whole? I can't really tell yet what you are supposing about that.
I may be using, "qualities," in an unusual way. Almost everything I say philosophically will be somewhat unusual since I disagree with almost all that goes by the name philosophy. So your question is a fair one. Here is what I mean by qualities:

1. Any true description of any aspect of an entity's intrinsic nature is a quality.
2. As I frequently explain, what I mean by qualities is any of an entity's attributes, properties, or characteristics. A complete identification of any individual entity would include all it's qualities, as well as, its behavior (actions if any), and its relationships to all other entities. An entity's qualities determine what kind of behavior and what kind of relationships are possible to the entity.
3. With the exception of organisms, an entity's qualities include only those things which are true about that entity independent of any particular behavior or relationship to any other entity. In other words, only intrinsic qualities are a thing's identity, e.g. size, shape, mass, charge, resonance, magnetic state, physical state (solid, liquid, gas), soft, hard, smooth, rough, etc. but not any particular behavior or relationships like near, far, above, below, good, bad, new, improved, discovered, important, rare, or necessary which are extrinsic qualities of an entity.
4. Since life is manifest at the physical level as a process, that unique behavior which is called, "living," (such as breathing or hunting), is one of an organism's qualities, and since an organism's relationship to other entities includes sentience (response to stimuli vs physical reaction) those relationships, (such as to water or nutrients), determined by that sentience are also qualities of an organism.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:47 pm
It is the life attribute that differentiates between the non-living entities and living organisms.
No doubt it is. But "life" is not simply an additional descriptor, or "quality," is it?
It is a quality (ontological), not a, "descriptor," (epistemological).
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:47 pm
I mean, if you thought it was, that would be suppositional, and impossible to prove, I think.
There is something different about organisms that distinguishes them from non-living entities else there would be no reason to identify some things as mere physical objects and others as organisms. The name given to that difference is, "life." There is nothing to prove.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:47 pm
It seems to me that to add "life" to a description is more than it is merely to add weight, or colour, or shape, or age, or any other such physical "quality."
"Life," is not a physical quality. Nevertheless, like the physical qualities, all it does is differentiate those enitities which have that quality (organisms) from those that do not (non-living things), just as those entities that are paramagnetic (attracted to a magnetic field, e.g. iron) are differentiated from those that are diamagnetic (repelled by a magnetic field, e.g. bismuth). Notice, that what makes a metal paramagnetic or diamagnetic is not some kind of "stuff," or, "substance," that is added to them, but the actual nature (behavior) of the two metals themselves. The words, paramagnetic and diamagnetic do not explain why the metals behave the way they do, they only identify the difference. The word, "life," does not explain what life is, It only identifies that which differentiates between non-living entities and organisms.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:47 pm
Admittedly, what "life" adds is difficult to say in precise terms...it's something like "soul," or "breath," which are antique words used to try to capture that experience about it that we intuitively have. Or perhaps today we would say something like "consciousness" or "animation": I don't know what word we would prefer. But we do have a clear intuition of what it means when we say that all the physical properties and descriptors of an entity are still intact, but that the entity has "died." And we feel that this is a very important issue, much more important than to say, "The entity has changed its length, colour, shape, or age."
Life is not something, "added," that transforms a non-living entity into an organism, it is not some kind of, "thing," or, "substance," or "stuff." As I've said before, life manifests itself at the physical level as a process that maintains the organism as the kind of organism it is. I agree with you, that "the physical properties ... of an entity are still intact, but that the entity has 'died,'" if the process ceases. Such a process, however, cannot be explained in terms of physical properties alone, which means the life process is possible because non-physical properties, as well as physical properties, are also part of natural (material) existence.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:47 pm
This seems like a good place to ask the question, "what do you mean by the,
'supernatural?'"

Very simply, that which transcends the mere physical boundaries and regularities of the universe itself, since it created the universe. (We can leave out for the moment the question of whether it's a personal or impersonal entity or realm.)
Well I don't know of any, "physical boundaries" of the universe, unless you mean that the physical aspects of existence have a specific nature and all aspect of mere (non-living) physical entities are determined by that nature. The universe I live in includes living organisms which are not limited (or bound) by physical properties, which is what differentiates them from the mere physical. I assume you regard living organisms to be supernatural in some way.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:47 pm
In short, material existence is all that exists the way it exists.
This statement is merely presuppositional Materialism, though. It's something you have to take on faith, rather than something that can be shown. And when taken on faith, it results in absurd consequences that both of us have already rejected, such as Emergentism.
Nothing is being, "supposed," here, it is simply a statement of what I mean by material existence. Let me put it another way. Whatever there is that exists and whatever its nature is, I call that material existence.

Since for me there is nothing that is not physical, living, conscious, or has a volitional mind, material existence includes nothing more than that. If I believed what you believe, I would have to include the supernatural as part of, "all that exists," and therefore material existence.

The purpose of identifying material existence as material existence is to differentiate between what exists, as it exists, independently of anyone's knowledge or awareness of that existence from what only exists as the product of human consciousness, that is, between the ontological and the epistemological. The physical, life, consciousness, and human minds all exist and have the nature they have whether you or I or anyone else knows they exist of have the nature they have or not. Everything else that exists, all knowledge and knowledge methods (language, mathematics, logic), science, history, religion, philosophy, literature, and fiction, only exists as the product of human minds and consciousness, and therefore do not exist materially.

Our essential difference of view is, that you include what is called the supernatural in that which exists ontologically and I regard everything you call supernatural as only existing epistemologically.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:47 pm
And this part of what you say seems to me to highlight the tautological nature of Materialism:
Second, the non-physical aspects of natural existence, (life, consciousness, volition [mind]), are known by the fact we are living, conscious, and volitional beings, which we know, not by perceiving those facts, but by doing them, that is, living, perceiving, and choosing
.
Your definition of "non-physical aspects" here has a couple of problems. The big one is that it is circular, because it says that "living, perceiving, and choosing" are identified by means of "living, perceiving, and choosing." That seems fairly redundant.
Again, I'm only explaining what I mean by material existence, which includes all physical existence which we know because we are directly conscious (perceive) its qualities, (see, hear, feel, smell, and taste it) or deduce them from what is perceived (i.e. the physical sciences). Material existence also includes all living organisms but the qualities which make living organisms possible are not physical and cannot be known by being directly perceived or deduced from what is perceived. We cannot perceive the, "life," quality, but we know what life is, because we are alive. That is what it means to say we know what life is by doing it. It is the same for consciousness and mind as well. We know we are conscious, not by perceiving our consciousness (which we could do if it were physical) but by being conscious, just as we know we can see and hear, not be seeing or hearing those perceptions, but by actually seeing and hearing. We know we have minds, though we cannot perceive them, because of our mind's nature, that is, because we must and can consciously choose all we do, can and must gain and store knowledge (intellect), and can and must think (rationality).
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:47 pm
And we do know, both deductively and by empirical means, that the universe had an origin.
Deductively I know nothing comes from nothing. Non-A cannot spontaneously become A. Empirically I know what exists exists and that there is no evidence that existence could ever not have existed.

Except for the crackpot Hawking, cosmological hypotheses do not say there was ever nothing or that nothing preceded the so-called, "big bang." It is, after all, not science in any case, because the past cannot be directly examined, and is all conjecture.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:47 pm
... what if Someone could come along and tell you, "You're not here struggling between womb and tomb with no real or actual purpose. You're not a cosmic accident whose all on your own to fake meaning out of nothing. I made you, and I love you, and I want you to be fully what you can be. I want you to make your choices (and will defend your right to do so absolutely, even if you have to live with some bad outcomes as a result). But as for me, I want you to grow into the best self you can be, and then not just decay and die, but have eternal prospects of happiness, relationship, exploration, wonder and creativity -- and I'm prepared to lay down my life to make it possible for you."
I would know it was a lie and the speaker was either demented or a rogue. My life is not a, "struggle," it is joy and victory every day. I've already had more life, adventure, and done more than I could ever imagine wanting to, and every new day is only a bonus. Thinking of life as a, "struggling between womb and tomb," is a kind of neurosis or existentialist paranoia. No doubt, anyone with that kind of defective psychology would be ripe for accepting promises of unearned blessings and a "perfect" life that required nothing of them.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:47 pm
If the universe were different in any way from what it is, there would be, "no coherent matter ... no people, no planets, ... nothing." But that puts a limit on your God. If God could have made life possible in any kind of universe, then there is nothing necessary about all the scientific limitations you site as proof God had to make the universe just as it is, but if life and existence are only possible in the universe such as it is, God could not have made this universe different.
Let's suppose that's so. If it were, we have no frame of reference from which to comprehend it. ...
The, "frame of reference," is the universe as it is. If it is the only possible one in which life, as we know it, (not some other imagined kind of life), God could not have made it different. If He could have made it different and life as we know it still be possible in it, there is no, "scientific," reason the universe must be as it is for there to be life. Which is it?
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:47 pm
You and I both know the universe has an exact nature and that there is nothing random or accidental about it.

Is that true? You don't believe that the universe happened by accident? You don't believe, for example, in the Big Bang? You believe something non-random created the universe?
Yes it's true. I do not believe in the, "big bang." I believe the universe is what it is and has the nature it has, period, which does not require that it was created.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:47 pm
You're arguing from something that clearly undermines your theory that the universe can "just happen," to the conclusion that it "just happened" into existence. You're accepting the evidence for design, and then concluding that it all happened without design.
The universe did not, "happen." The universe simply is what it is and requires nothing to make it what it is. The idea that the universe was, "designed," is exactly what you accuse me of, an ex post facto conclusion based on the fact the universe has a specific nature; but that nature does not require a designer anymore than the wonderful patterns of the Grand Canyon or Painted Dessert required a designer.
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Theist's believe there must be something that just is and has the nature it has without anything else making it what it is. The only difference between our views is that I accept the universe I actually see and experience as that which is what it is, but theists push the idea back and make that which is what it is a concept for which there is no evidence and call it God.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:47 pm
I just wanted to wish you well anyway. And I thank you for your kind words in return.
Thank you for that and for inquiring about my health. There are physical problems, but nothing to worry about. I know you must be looking forward to Christmas. I do enjoy much of the music [the old, mostly classical themes, Bach, Mozart, Handle, Beethoven, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Purcel, Elgar, Monteverdi, Tchaikovsky, Telemann, Pachelbel, Luther, not the modern stuff] and the simple joy and pleasure I see in others at this time of year, and wish all the best of that for you and yours.

RC

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