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Old 2nd January 2020, 06:07 AM   #1121
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Originally Posted by LarryS View Post
DavidMo- have you no shame? Which posts did you push subjective realism

again and again?


Classic strawman, you are not replying to what I said but your own creation.
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Old 2nd January 2020, 06:11 AM   #1122
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Sorry, Darat, I don't remember the post where you presented a list of subjective idealists who tried to prove through reasoning alone that a god was necessary to explain the world we find ourselves in. Could you tell me the comment number?



Or were you unable to present that list?


That you don't understand what subjective idealism is and that you don't understand it is now simply a chapter in the long history of philosophy and has been for decades and decades is not something I can do anything about if you wish to remain ignorant.
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Old 2nd January 2020, 06:20 AM   #1123
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For those that do not wish to remain ignorant as to subjective idealism's place in the history of philosophy this is a very good readable entry point: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/idealism/

We often read criticism of what philosophy is but remember the likes of DavidMo are not actually discussing academic philosophy as it is today. It is the equivalent of how some of the crackpot threads in the science section think physics stopped with Newton or Einstein.
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Old 2nd January 2020, 07:40 AM   #1124
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
For those that do not wish to remain ignorant as to subjective idealism's place in the history of philosophy this is a very good readable entry point: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/idealism/

We often read criticism of what philosophy is but remember the likes of DavidMo are not actually discussing academic philosophy as it is today. It is the equivalent of how some of the crackpot threads in the science section think physics stopped with Newton or Einstein.
Once again you prove that you don't know what you're talking about. The encyclopedia article you quote does not refer to subjective idealism, so the authors mentioned are almost always not subjective idealists. I suggest you try the list again with more knowledge.
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Old 2nd January 2020, 08:28 AM   #1125
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Is reality real?

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Once again you prove that you don't know what you're talking about. The encyclopedia article you quote does not refer to subjective idealism, so the authors mentioned are almost always not subjective idealists. I suggest you try the list again with more knowledge.


Ah it is wilful ignorance, I did wonder. The article does refer to subjective idealism

...... After discussing precursors, the entry focuses on the eighteenth-century versions of idealism due to Berkeley, Hume, and Kant, the nineteenth-century movements of German idealism and subsequently British and American idealism, and then concludes with an examination of the attack upon idealism by Moore and Russell.....

.........

Because in Fichte’s metaphysical world everything is based on the I as a pure activity, it is not that surprising that his idealism very often was called “subjective idealism”, even though he would resist any identification with Berkeley’s substance-accident form of immaterialism. He avoids that conception by introducing what could be called an ontology of pure action.


........


From Wikipedia


Subjective idealism
Philosophy that only minds and ideas are real
Subjective idealism, or empirical idealism, is the monistic metaphysical doctrine that only minds and mental contents exist. It entails and is generally identified or associated with immaterialism, the doctrine that material things do not exist. Subjective idealism rejects dualism, neutral monism, and materialism; indeed, it is the contrary of eliminative materialism, the doctrine that all or some classes of mental phenomena (such as emotions, beliefs, or desires) do not exist, but are sheer illusions.

...snip....


..... Subjective idealism made its mark in Europe in the 18th-century writings of George Berkeley, who argued that the idea of mind-independent reality is incoherent, concluding that the world consists of the minds of humans and of God. ....

......
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Old 2nd January 2020, 10:53 AM   #1126
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Originally Posted by Frank Newgent View Post
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Old 2nd January 2020, 10:55 AM   #1127
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I love how often Philosophizers use "Please handhold me through an entire Kindergarten level science basics courses" as a retort.

No. Neither I, and I'm guessing Ron, are going to drag you, kicking and screaming, fighting us the entire way, through "Reality 101: Why it Exists" that we all know you have zero intention of actually listening to, only for you to spout some garbage word salad in response at the end.

Go count the angels on the head of a pin all you want, just stop acting like it makes you better or smarter then everyone else.
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Old 2nd January 2020, 05:55 PM   #1128
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
That's because the philosophical ideas presented in this thread are nothing to do with current academic philosophy.

The one DavidMo has talked about many times in this thread is subjective idealism, that was an attempt to prove by reasoning alone that a god was necessary to explain the world we find ourselves in. That was shown to be flawed about a century or more ago and is only of interest today for academic philosophers in terms of the history of philosophy. Indeed in UK secondary education 30 years ago it was provided as an example of an unsound philosophy and we were tasked to explain why it was unsound.

I think there's something broader and more subtle going on. It took me a few days' holiday from this thread (mostly due to actual holidays) to start seeing it.

Consider looking at a tree, and what the two main models of reality being discussed here actually tell us about that tree. The materialist model tells us that the tree has other sides that will look similar but not the same as from the angle we're looking at it; that the tree has roots that we cannot currently see; that the tree builds its structure from gases from the air and water from those roots using energy from the sun, none of which we can currently see it doing; that the tree grew up from a small that we cannot look at right now, over decades of growth that we cannot see happening right now; that the tree shares a lineage with many other similar trees, and also a deeper lineage with other current species of tree and with other plants and with all other life on the planet, none of which is apparent to our eyes or other senses.

The idealist model tells us that whatever image of the tree we are sensing at that moment... that's it. That's the tree's only and entire reality. Any of those other ideas about the tree, photosynthesis, transpiration, growth, lineage, kind, evolution, even that the tree has roots or another side, are just stories in our minds and nothing else.

The first model tells us that the reality of the tree is greater than our minds' or thoughts' ability to encompass. Even those who know all those facts about the tree's nature (a very tiny portion of the people who have lived) can't appreciate them all simultaneously, nor know (without extensive further study) the count of its leaves or the sequence of its DNA or the complete shape of its root system or the species of all the animals, insects, microbes, bacteria and fungi that live there.

The second model tells us that the reality of the tree extends no farther than our immediate apprehension of it.

And this generalizes to the entire world. The first model tells us that the reality of the world is vastly greater than our individual selves. The second model tells us that no matter how large or complex or mysterious the world appears to be, its reality never exceeds our momentary thoughts. Go us!

The interesting question isn't which model is right or wrong. It's why would anyone prefer or promote the second model?

What seems to happen is, in certain periods of history, some cultures develop an aptitude for, and then a preference for, abstraction, which goes hand in hand for idealistic philosophies. For instance, this isn't the first time philosophy has turned to the idea that pure mathematics (rather than something that merely obeys mathematical laws) is the true reality. Civilizations that build up a lot of infrastructure and a lot of complexity require a managerial class adept at abstractions. Those people's contribution to society is to deal with numbers and markets and schedules and laws rather than dealing directly and physically with soil, wood, stone, water, and metal.

In today's word we've turned that up to eleven. Hardly anyone deals directly with natural material substances any more, and those who do are regarded as intellectually irrelevant, the least educated people suitable only for the most menial of work. The classes with power and influence are those really good at creating and manipulating abstractions. Most members of those classes barely understand the workings of our material environment. They're able to use abstractions (e.g. a web site and a credit account) to address their material problems (e.g. fallen leaves on their lawn). The opinion on what is real held by the Guatemalan lawn care workers they hire is of no concern to them.

If you're really good at manipulating abstractions and really suck at manipulating material, then wouldn't it be nice for you if abstractions turned out to be the only reality after all?

Now add persistent but unacknowledged concerns about material matters. Especially, that the ability of abstractions to continue to adequately control the material environment (e.g. of market forces to continue to provide sufficient energy, or of legislation to limit the atmosphere's carbon dioxide concentration) is being called into question. As is the central faith of our own lifetimes, the faith in perpetual benevolent progress.

But if there's not an enormous, complex, uncontrollable, and generally indifferent-to-your-well-being material world out there, but just ideas safely contained within your own experiences, then what's to worry about? Yeah, Johnson's refutation of Berkeley might still hurt (if applied to your shin instead of a rock), but surely nothing bad will happen to all that infrastructure that permits you to live in a world of abstractions and question whether any of it's real.
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Old 2nd January 2020, 08:26 PM   #1129
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
The second model tells us that the reality of the tree extends no farther than our immediate apprehension of it.

Substitute "quantum particle" for "tree" and you've an adequate summary of Copenhagen ie consensual reality when it comes to quantum physics

But you know that already, don't you?
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Old 2nd January 2020, 08:54 PM   #1130
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I don’t see the implications of the models as you. The physicalist model predicts a sentient being (ie human) would see one’s self as a bound parcel or unit of consciousness moving about in an inert brutish world. There would be a distinct sense of a subject clearly delineated and alienated from an external world.
No human lives this way.
Human experience is seamless and integrated-and things (ie trees) of the world are known and experienced directly. There is no sense of a separate physical world ‘out there’ that tempers and modulates my experience.
Granted, to me the physicalist model makes no sense at all - and there folks (many here in this forum) who find idealism nonsensical word salad.
Perhaps idealism / physicalism are different ‘firmware’, different ways of seeing, hearing; different ways of being.
I’m surprised you’d go down the road that physicalism is the more benevolent and responsible model, this is generally the last stand of the over zealous.
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Old 2nd January 2020, 09:10 PM   #1131
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Originally Posted by LarryS View Post
I don’t see the implications of the models as you. The physicalist model predicts a sentient being (ie human) would see one’s self as a bound parcel or unit of consciousness moving about in an inert brutish world. There would be a distinct sense of a subject clearly delineated and alienated from an external world.
No human lives this way.
Human experience is seamless and integrated-and things (ie trees) of the world are known and experienced directly. There is no sense of a separate physical world ‘out there’ that tempers and modulates my experience.
Granted, to me the physicalist model makes no sense at all - and there folks (many here in this forum) who find idealism nonsensical word salad.
Perhaps idealism / physicalism are different ‘firmware’, different ways of seeing, hearing; different ways of being.
I’m surprised you’d go down the road that physicalism is the more benevolent and responsible model, this is generally the last stand of the over zealous.
The reason “things (ie trees) of the world are known and experienced directly” is because they are actually there. The fact that human minds cannot completely comprehend and explain the quantum world does not change that.

At what point in the evolutionary development of the human brain did humans begin to realize that the natural world that had been crucial for millennia of their survival and evolution did not actually exist? Did it suddenly change the instant the first proto-human mind became sentient?
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Old 2nd January 2020, 09:41 PM   #1132
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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
The reason “things (ie trees) of the world are known and experienced directly” is because they are actually there. The fact that human minds cannot completely comprehend and explain the quantum world does not change that.
Electrons aren't there?
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Old 2nd January 2020, 10:17 PM   #1133
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Originally Posted by Frank Newgent View Post
Electrons aren't there?
I can see no connection between this question and anything I have said. And I have no idea where you think “there” is, but electrons do exist.
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Old 2nd January 2020, 10:35 PM   #1134
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Werner Heisenberg: "The idea of an objective real world whose smallest parts exist objectively in the same sense as stones or trees exist, independently of whether or not we observe them, is impossible."

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com...about-reality/
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Old 2nd January 2020, 11:02 PM   #1135
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Originally Posted by Frank Newgent View Post
Werner Heisenberg: "The idea of an objective real world whose smallest parts exist objectively in the same sense as stones or trees exist, independently of whether or not we observe them, is impossible."

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com...about-reality/
Seems to be a sensible man. He has no problem with stones or trees existing. Neither do I.
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Old 2nd January 2020, 11:26 PM   #1136
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Ah it is wilful ignorance, I did wonder. The article does refer to subjective idealism

...... After discussing precursors, the entry focuses on the eighteenth-century versions of idealism due to Berkeley, Hume, and Kant, the nineteenth-century movements of German idealism and subsequently British and American idealism, and then concludes with an examination of the attack upon idealism by Moore and Russell.....

.........

Because in Fichte’s metaphysical world everything is based on the I as a pure activity, it is not that surprising that his idealism very often was called “subjective idealism”, even though he would resist any identification with Berkeley’s substance-accident form of immaterialism. He avoids that conception by introducing what could be called an ontology of pure action.


........


From Wikipedia


Subjective idealism
Philosophy that only minds and ideas are real
Subjective idealism, or empirical idealism, is the monistic metaphysical doctrine that only minds and mental contents exist. It entails and is generally identified or associated with immaterialism, the doctrine that material things do not exist. Subjective idealism rejects dualism, neutral monism, and materialism; indeed, it is the contrary of eliminative materialism, the doctrine that all or some classes of mental phenomena (such as emotions, beliefs, or desires) do not exist, but are sheer illusions.

...snip....


..... Subjective idealism made its mark in Europe in the 18th-century writings of George Berkeley, who argued that the idea of mind-independent reality is incoherent, concluding that the world consists of the minds of humans and of God. ....

......
Neither Hume, Kant nor others quoted in Wikipedia, etc. are subjective idealists.
Fichte is not the same kind of idealist as Berkeley either. in addition, he was convicted of being an atheist. Your claim that subjective idealism is a kind of theism sinks.
You don't understand that there are several types of idealism and that subjective idealism is only a part of them.

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Old 2nd January 2020, 11:39 PM   #1137
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
I think there's something broader and more subtle going on. It took me a few days' holiday from this thread (mostly due to actual holidays) to start seeing it.

Consider looking at a tree, and what the two main models of reality being discussed here actually tell us about that tree. The materialist model tells us that the tree has other sides that will look similar but not the same as from the angle we're looking at it; that the tree has roots that we cannot currently see; that the tree builds its structure from gases from the air and water from those roots using energy from the sun, none of which we can currently see it doing; that the tree grew up from a small that we cannot look at right now, over decades of growth that we cannot see happening right now; that the tree shares a lineage with many other similar trees, and also a deeper lineage with other current species of tree and with other plants and with all other life on the planet, none of which is apparent to our eyes or other senses.

The idealist model tells us that whatever image of the tree we are sensing at that moment... that's it. That's the tree's only and entire reality. Any of those other ideas about the tree, photosynthesis, transpiration, growth, lineage, kind, evolution, even that the tree has roots or another side, are just stories in our minds and nothing else.

The first model tells us that the reality of the tree is greater than our minds' or thoughts' ability to encompass. Even those who know all those facts about the tree's nature (a very tiny portion of the people who have lived) can't appreciate them all simultaneously, nor know (without extensive further study) the count of its leaves or the sequence of its DNA or the complete shape of its root system or the species of all the animals, insects, microbes, bacteria and fungi that live there.

The second model tells us that the reality of the tree extends no farther than our immediate apprehension of it.

And this generalizes to the entire world. The first model tells us that the reality of the world is vastly greater than our individual selves. The second model tells us that no matter how large or complex or mysterious the world appears to be, its reality never exceeds our momentary thoughts. Go us!

The interesting question isn't which model is right or wrong. It's why would anyone prefer or promote the second model?

What seems to happen is, in certain periods of history, some cultures develop an aptitude for, and then a preference for, abstraction, which goes hand in hand for idealistic philosophies. For instance, this isn't the first time philosophy has turned to the idea that pure mathematics (rather than something that merely obeys mathematical laws) is the true reality. Civilizations that build up a lot of infrastructure and a lot of complexity require a managerial class adept at abstractions. Those people's contribution to society is to deal with numbers and markets and schedules and laws rather than dealing directly and physically with soil, wood, stone, water, and metal.

In today's word we've turned that up to eleven. Hardly anyone deals directly with natural material substances any more, and those who do are regarded as intellectually irrelevant, the least educated people suitable only for the most menial of work. The classes with power and influence are those really good at creating and manipulating abstractions. Most members of those classes barely understand the workings of our material environment. They're able to use abstractions (e.g. a web site and a credit account) to address their material problems (e.g. fallen leaves on their lawn). The opinion on what is real held by the Guatemalan lawn care workers they hire is of no concern to them.

If you're really good at manipulating abstractions and really suck at manipulating material, then wouldn't it be nice for you if abstractions turned out to be the only reality after all?

Now add persistent but unacknowledged concerns about material matters. Especially, that the ability of abstractions to continue to adequately control the material environment (e.g. of market forces to continue to provide sufficient energy, or of legislation to limit the atmosphere's carbon dioxide concentration) is being called into question. As is the central faith of our own lifetimes, the faith in perpetual benevolent progress.

But if there's not an enormous, complex, uncontrollable, and generally indifferent-to-your-well-being material world out there, but just ideas safely contained within your own experiences, then what's to worry about? Yeah, Johnson's refutation of Berkeley might still hurt (if applied to your shin instead of a rock), but surely nothing bad will happen to all that infrastructure that permits you to live in a world of abstractions and question whether any of it's real.
The tendency to lock oneself into one's own world has nothing to do with subjective idealism. The biggest egomaniac only cares about his own little world, but he believes that world exists outside his mind: His things are still things. Subjective idealism is something else. So strange that there is none in Western civilization, at least.
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Old 3rd January 2020, 12:11 AM   #1138
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Originally Posted by Frank Newgent View Post
Substitute "quantum particle" for "tree" and you've an adequate summary of Copenhagen ie consensual reality when it comes to quantum physics

But you know that already, don't you?
There's a problem with the vulgarized view of the Copenhagen school. First, there is no school. Its components differed quite a bit from each other. Furthermore, it is intended to summarize its positions based on loose and blunt phrases. Gossip.

I don't think any of them really believed that the world doesn't exist, as Berkeley believed (or claimed to believe). They believed that some of the essential characteristics of subatomic particles did not exist independently of the measurement processes. Spin, location, momentum... It's a very different thing.

That's not much different from what happens in the world of phenomena. We firmly believe that the tree we see exists, but it would be childish to pretend that it is as we see it. Naive realism is unsustainable even before quantum mechanics arrived.

The novelty of quantum mechanics is that it reinforces uncertainty in the field of science. The naive realist claimed that science was absolutely objective, in the face of the uncertainty of the phenomenal world. Now uncertainty enters science. We can no longer say that the electron "is" solid like a rock in the popular imagination.
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Old 3rd January 2020, 06:15 AM   #1139
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Originally Posted by LarryS View Post
I don’t see the implications of the models as you. The physicalist model predicts a sentient being (ie human) would see one’s self as a bound parcel or unit of consciousness moving about in an inert brutish world. There would be a distinct sense of a subject clearly delineated and alienated from an external world.
No human lives this way.
Human experience is seamless and integrated-and things (ie trees) of the world are known and experienced directly. There is no sense of a separate physical world ‘out there’ that tempers and modulates my experience.
Granted, to me the physicalist model makes no sense at all - and there folks (many here in this forum) who find idealism nonsensical word salad.
Perhaps idealism / physicalism are different ‘firmware’, different ways of seeing, hearing; different ways of being.
I’m surprised you’d go down the road that physicalism is the more benevolent and responsible model, this is generally the last stand of the over zealous.

A consciousness "clearly delineated and alienated from an external world" sounds much more like a dualistic model than a physicalist one. What would such a consciousness be made from? How would it come about?

A present-day physicalist acknowledging biochemistry, neurology, cognitive science and evolution could not posit any such alienation. It's clear that in any monist non-idealistic model, cognition must arise within and from the material world and, furthermore, arises primarily by means of interaction between the organism and its surroundings, in a process we call experiencing. That explains the seamlessness.

As for different firmware, I don't see any necessity in such a hypothesis. What I see instead is over-commitment to specific models that are after all just cognitive tools. I can and do employ different models at will. If I want to narrate the origin of the solar system, I use a model in which the earth rotates. If I want to aim my telescope, I use a model in which the earth is stationary and the stars are fixed to a spherical shell that rotates around it. Some events in my life are best adapted to by regarding them as random chance, and others by regarding them as the acts of elemental spirits. Despite neither random chance nor elemental spirits being likely candidates for things that objectively exist (possibly excepting the former, in the quantum domain).

Problems only arise when models are misapplied beyond their own reasonable scope. Just because a rotating spherical shell containing the stars is a good model for steering my ship at sea at night doesn't mean it's a reasonable idea for NASA to send a robotic probe to land on that shell and explore. Unfortunately such errors occur quite frequently. We have a variety of words and phrases for them. "Mistaking the map for the territory." "Every problem looking like a nail (when you have a hammer)." "Not seeing the forest for the trees." "Dogmatism." "Superstition." They all mean essentially the same thing.
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Old 3rd January 2020, 06:38 AM   #1140
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
A consciousness "clearly delineated and alienated from an external world" sounds much more like a dualistic model than a physicalist one. What would such a consciousness be made from? How would it come about?
*Cough* Soul *Cough* God *Cough*

There is no version of the "dualistic" model that isn't just a fancy-pants way of arguing about a soul. The "Hard Problem of Consciousness" is a code word for "I want to have a soul."
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Old 3rd January 2020, 03:08 PM   #1141
LarryS
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
A consciousness "clearly delineated and alienated from an external world" sounds much more like a dualistic model than a physicalist one. What would such a consciousness be made from? How would it come about?

A present-day physicalist acknowledging biochemistry, neurology, cognitive science and evolution could not posit any such alienation. It's clear that in any monist non-idealistic model, cognition must arise within and from the material world and, furthermore, arises primarily by means of interaction between the organism and its surroundings, in a process we call experiencing. That explains the seamlessness.
What I mean: Physicalism predicts* that all human experience, one's entire subjective life, is a running calculation occuring within one's skull. This running calculation does not have to result in a non-physical ontolology - but it is an abstraction of a physical (brain) activity - it is seperate from the physical world that tempers and modulates our experience. Thus the alienation; I and my experience occur in my brain, the world is out there.
Above I suggest predicts* because as of today we have no idea how the brain generates consciousness, how quarks become conscious of trees and coffee. IOW, the brain as computer may be incorrect.
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Old 3rd January 2020, 05:06 PM   #1142
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Originally Posted by LarryS View Post
What I mean: Physicalism predicts* that all human experience, one's entire subjective life, is a running calculation occuring within one's skull.

No it doesn't. First of all, I prefer "computation" rather than "calculation" because neither the inputs nor the results are numeric in nature.

But more important, the computation obviously doesn't occur only within one's skull. Are there teachers within your skull? Are there libraries within your skull containing books written within your skull that you read within your skull? Were you born with the language(s) you now speak implanted within your skull? Did you learn about trees from all the trees within your skull?

If you were confined in an isolation chamber for a day or two, would you be just fine with all the activity going on entirely within your skull, or would you experience it as a form of privation or torture? If you'd been put into a sensory isolation tank at birth and remained there your entire life, do you think your conscious experience would be anything like it is now?

Asking, "how can conscious experience come about entirely from neural processes inside my skull?" is a lot like asking, "how can such a detailed three-dimensional image occur entirely inside a mirror?" It's also a lot like, "how can evolution produce complexity from random variation alone?"
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Old 4th January 2020, 12:11 AM   #1143
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Originally Posted by LarryS View Post
What I mean: Physicalism predicts* that all human experience, one's entire subjective life, is a running calculation occuring within one's skull. This running calculation does not have to result in a non-physical ontolology - but it is an abstraction of a physical (brain) activity - it is seperate from the physical world that tempers and modulates our experience. Thus the alienation; I and my experience occur in my brain, the world is out there.
Above I suggest predicts* because as of today we have no idea how the brain generates consciousness, how quarks become conscious of trees and coffee. IOW, the brain as computer may be incorrect.
I don't know what your sources are but this is not the usual meaning of physicalism.
In the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
Physicalism is the thesis that everything is physical, or as contemporary philosophers sometimes put it, that everything supervenes on the physical. (...) Physicalism is sometimes known as ‘materialism’. Indeed, on one strand to contemporary usage, the terms ‘physicalism’ and ‘materialism’ are interchangeable. (...) [It is also] the linguistic thesis that every statement is synonymous with (i.e. is equivalent in meaning with) some physical statement.
The theory that nothing exists out of mind is subjective idealism.
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Old 4th January 2020, 02:24 AM   #1144
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I don't know, this discussion about "reality" seems rather oldfashioned - like metaphysics before the natural science really started produce miracles of understanding. "Beyond reasonable doubt" is a very good standard for also philosophy, not to speak of every day life. The stability of physical world is very convincing in its stubborn continuance of undeniable existence. The self-evident point that we experience it only mediated by senses and by cultural and local pre-existing interpretations that can be very misleading is in itself not that important, just a basic reservation to all sense data. The natural science is anyhow really far beyond that, it has penetrated far deeper into the workings of the material world. And nothing that it has found has challenged the stability and predictability of that world, bar certain processes at the particle level whose complications we don't yet totally understand.
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Old 4th January 2020, 09:41 AM   #1145
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
No it doesn't. First of all, I prefer "computation" rather than "calculation" because neither the inputs nor the results are numeric in nature.

But more important, the computation obviously doesn't occur only within one's skull. Are there teachers within your skull? Are there libraries within your skull containing books written within your skull that you read within your skull? Were you born with the language(s) you now speak implanted within your skull? Did you learn about trees from all the trees within your skull?
To make sure I understand what you are saying . . . if I am looking up at the moon, are you suggesting the computation we refer to as consciousness extends to the moon (or any object)? If so, this is different than the paradigm that the brain/nervous system is sufficient to explain consciousness.
Or, do you support the 'standard paradigm' that the brain/nervous system is the source of the computation and the physical world provides a rich array of inputs?
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Old 4th January 2020, 09:47 AM   #1146
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I don't know what your sources are but this is not the usual meaning of physicalism.
In the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
Physicalism is the thesis that everything is physical, or as contemporary philosophers sometimes put it, that everything supervenes on the physical. (...) Physicalism is sometimes known as ‘materialism’. Indeed, on one strand to contemporary usage, the terms ‘physicalism’ and ‘materialism’ are interchangeable. (...) [It is also] the linguistic thesis that every statement is synonymous with (i.e. is equivalent in meaning with) some physical statement.
The theory that nothing exists out of mind is subjective idealism.
I am describing an implication of physicalism - and the brain as source of consciousness. In this case, everything we've ever experienced, a tender embrace, grief, love for a furry friend - - it's all a computation ocurring inside the physical matter of the skull - - while the physical reality that stimulated the experience is out there.
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Old 4th January 2020, 09:55 AM   #1147
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Originally Posted by LarryS View Post
I am describing an implication of physicalism - and the brain as source of consciousness. In this case, everything we've ever experienced, a tender embrace, grief, love for a furry friend - - it's all a computation ocurring inside the physical matter of the skull - - while the physical reality that stimulated the experience is out there.
Such a distinction doesn't exist, none of us are separate from the world we live in. It's all rather fuzzy.
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Old 4th January 2020, 09:55 AM   #1148
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Originally Posted by LarryS View Post
I am describing an implication of physicalism - and the brain as source of consciousness. In this case, everything we've ever experienced, a tender embrace, grief, love for a furry friend - - it's all a computation ocurring inside the physical matter of the skull - - while the physical reality that stimulated the experience is out there.
Yeah so? And? You're point.

Just more vague, emotionally laden "I just want to more then a bag of meat controlled by electrical impulses in response to stimuli." nonsense?

You don't have a soul. Deal with it.
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Old 4th January 2020, 12:02 PM   #1149
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"We are such stuff as stars are made from."

And we are also such stuff as can feel love, compassion, etc. And that is no small thing! We won't survive the death of our bodies, though. Best make good use of the limited time we have!
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Old 4th January 2020, 12:58 PM   #1150
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Originally Posted by LarryS View Post
To make sure I understand what you are saying . . . if I am looking up at the moon, are you suggesting the computation we refer to as consciousness extends to the moon (or any object)?

Yes.

To help understand this answer in context, though, allow me to point out a few things.

1. Computations (unlike mathematical equations) are not instantaneous truths; they're physical processes that take place over time. One therefore cannot pinpoint a moment in time in which the computation occurs, nor a specific moment in which the entire result appears. This is true even for the simplest computations. No grade schooler would consider "which individual step in the long division arithmetic algorithm actually produces the quotient?" a meaningful question. And saying "the first step of the process isn't really related to the result because it happens long before the result is complete" wouldn't make much sense either.

2. Most things in the world don't passively provide input. If you're looking at the moon, it's because you looked in some direction and the moon is there. Whether or not the moon is there at that time is the result of a computation performed by the earth, moon, and other orbiting bodies of the solar system. The far more complex computations performed by earth's weather systems also factor into your being able to see it (i.e. no heavy cloud cover in that position in the sky). That those computations were underway long before you decided to glance in the moon's direction at the moment in question doesn't make them irrelevant, per point #1.

3. Does your being conscious therefore depend on the moon's presence or visibility at that particular moment? Of course not. You don't fall unconscious whenever the moon's not visible. But having the experience of consciousness that you do, does depend upon the world's overall presence in your past (point #1 again) and in the present (per previous comments about e.g. sensory deprivation torture).

Quote:
If so, this is different than the paradigm that the brain/nervous system is sufficient to explain consciousness.

That's a woefully incomplete paradigm, in my view. Though it's often stated (usually, in the context of people making the point that sufficient explanation of consciousness doesn't require supernatural elements), I'm not sure anyone really would hold to it if pressed. Most scientists acknowledge that experiences interacting with the world are necessary for the brain and nervous system to develop the capability for conscious experience as we experience it, and most are aware of the extreme subjective effects of sensory deprivation. And they know that from infancy, those developmental interactions with the world are not, and must not be, limited to passive inputs. The first things infants instinctively do, even before they open their eyes, are to cry, an "output" that reliably elicits reactions from the world; and grab things in their hands and try to move them toward their mouths.

Then there's the incomprehensibly massive amount of computation that was required for brains and nervous systems to have evolved that way. Might that not count too? Is a computation disqualified from contributing toward creating your present conscious experience just because it happened billions of years before you were born? Keeping point #1 in mind, on what basis?

When a past computation's result persists and provides an input to a present one, we call it "memory." Genes are one form of memory, as is of course our more familiar neurological memory.

Quote:
Or, do you support the 'standard paradigm' that the brain/nervous system is the source of the computation and the physical world provides a rich array of inputs?

In any process or system of computation, one can draw distinctions between inputs and outputs. Sequences in which results of one event contribute to the conditions of the next, outputs becoming inputs, is after all how all computation works. Those distinctions can be usefully descriptive when understanding the functioning of integrated subsystems (the output of the data write buffer becomes the input of the disk drive in a write operation). But since any meaningful output is by definition an input to something else, distinctions between input and output can be quite arbitrary. For instance, there's no real distinction between an input from memory versus an input from immediately preceding computations.

To me, as a materialist, you (like myself) are features of the physical world. You have provided me (via this and other questions) with a rich array of inputs. But is that all you do? I doubt you think so. I certainly don't. As part of the world, you compute and interact. Some of my inputs from you arise from your thinking about my outputs to you. Your computational contribution to my conscious experience is a lot more complex than the moon's. It might even be more complex than the weather's (that's a difficult comparison to make, one human mind compared to the turbulent atmosphere of a living planet), though the weather's "inputs" on me are usually more immediate.

So again, the paradigm of the world external to me being a mere source of varied inputs, unaffected by me and doing no computation of its own that could possibly contribute to my conscious experience, is woefully incomplete. To say the least, as it's in fact completely and obviously false.

Darat said this far more succinctly.
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Old 5th January 2020, 12:57 AM   #1151
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Originally Posted by LarryS View Post
I am describing an implication of physicalism - and the brain as source of consciousness. In this case, everything we've ever experienced, a tender embrace, grief, love for a furry friend - - it's all a computation ocurring inside the physical matter of the skull - - while the physical reality that stimulated the experience is out there.
I think you're using words in a very particular way. I don't see where physicalism implies subjectivism. If physicalism and materialism can be synonymous, is materialism also a subjectivism?
Remember:
Quote:
PHYSICALISM: ,in the widest sense of the term,materialism applied to the question of the natureof mind. So construed, physicalism is the the-sis–call it ontological physicalism–that what-ever exists or occurs is ultimately constituted outof physical entities. But sometimes ‘physicalism’is used to refer to the thesis that whatever existsor occurs can be completely described in thevocabulary of physics. (Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy).
I don't understand what you mean by "computing." Computing is just a strong form of calculation related to mechanisms and artificial intelligence. What does the word computation add to your reasoning?

Quote:
COMPUTATION: the act or process of calculating an answer or amount by using a machine (Cambridge Dictionary of English)
Either you clarify how you use words, or we're lost.

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Old 5th January 2020, 10:31 AM   #1152
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I think you're using words in a very particular way. I don't see where physicalism implies subjectivism. If physicalism and materialism can be synonymous, is materialism also a subjectivism?
Remember:


I don't understand what you mean by "computing." Computing is just a strong form of calculation related to mechanisms and artificial intelligence. What does the word computation add to your reasoning?



Either you clarify how you use words, or we're lost.
As you can see from Myriad's post above . . . brain as machine, human body as machine, tree as machine, universe as machine, etc. - every thing/unit is a machine 'doing' computations. And No, physicalism is not subjectivism - according to physicalism there is an outside reality, in fact, it is THE reality. Reality provides a dynamic array of computations as input to the running computation we refer to as consciousness. As JoeM elegantly stated it: my brain is a bag of meat performing computations optimized to generate behavior to propel my DNA into the future. My inner life is a lie.
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Old 5th January 2020, 10:53 AM   #1153
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Why do you think your inner life is a lie?
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Old 5th January 2020, 10:58 AM   #1154
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Originally Posted by LarryS View Post
My inner life is a lie.

That doesn't appear to follow from anything I wrote.

If you think it does, can you please explain the reasoning?
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Old 5th January 2020, 11:16 AM   #1155
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Why do you think your inner life is a lie?
Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
That doesn't appear to follow from anything I wrote.

If you think it does, can you please explain the reasoning?
We're telling him he doesn't have a soul.

He's not having a philosophical debate, he's having an existential crisis. Worse still I don't think he's actually having one, just presenting a character that is because he thinks that a valid philosophical argument.

There's not a lot of philosophy out there were you can't scratch the surface not find "My life isn't worth living if magic isn't real."
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Old 6th January 2020, 12:10 AM   #1156
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Originally Posted by LarryS View Post
As you can see from Myriad's post above . . . brain as machine, human body as machine, tree as machine, universe as machine, etc. - every thing/unit is a machine 'doing' computations. And No, physicalism is not subjectivism - according to physicalism there is an outside reality, in fact, it is THE reality. Reality provides a dynamic array of computations as input to the running computation we refer to as consciousness. As JoeM elegantly stated it: my brain is a bag of meat performing computations optimized to generate behavior to propel my DNA into the future. My inner life is a lie.
I'll try to translate. The brain is more complex than a simple machine. It doesn't work by the simple stimulus-response mechanism. There's a question mark between stimulus-response: stimulus-?-response. This is the brain. You may think that the "mechanisms" of the brain will be discovered in the future. That is just an opinion. A philosophical opinion, if it is based on any rational argument.

As usual, I don't think Joe is right, let alone "elegant". The brain is not a "meat bag." Neurons are not steaks. The image is reductionist and offensive - this is Joe in his pure state - ridiculous. The brain does not compute. The brain works. It does not compute at all, but executes neuronal actions that are not designed by anyone. Unless you believe in God the Father or Goddess Nature. In general, these functions can "propel" human DNA into the future or abyss it into extinction. Given current circumstances, the latter is more likely. But in general, the brain performs many functions that are indifferent to DNA. In general, the brain responds to socio-cultural stimuli that have been shaped by causes that have been shaped by social evolution. In Darwinian theory this does not modify our DNA. Although some epigenetic modifications seem possible, they are a minor portion of our behavior and are subject to debate -I believe.
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Old 15th January 2020, 07:58 PM   #1157
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I'll try to translate. The brain is more complex than a simple machine. It doesn't work by the simple stimulus-response mechanism. There's a question mark between stimulus-response: stimulus-?-response. This is the brain. You may think that the "mechanisms" of the brain will be discovered in the future. That is just an opinion. A philosophical opinion, if it is based on any rational argument.

As usual, I don't think Joe is right, let alone "elegant". The brain is not a "meat bag." Neurons are not steaks. The image is reductionist and offensive - this is Joe in his pure state - ridiculous. The brain does not compute. The brain works. It does not compute at all, but executes neuronal actions that are not designed by anyone. Unless you believe in God the Father or Goddess Nature. In general, these functions can "propel" human DNA into the future or abyss it into extinction. Given current circumstances, the latter is more likely. But in general, the brain performs many functions that are indifferent to DNA. In general, the brain responds to socio-cultural stimuli that have been shaped by causes that have been shaped by social evolution. In Darwinian theory this does not modify our DNA. Although some epigenetic modifications seem possible, they are a minor portion of our behavior and are subject to debate -I believe.
Not disagreeing with you, but the current paradigm has the brain as computational AND the brain as fully sufficient to explain consciousness.
Your stimulus?response model is not generally accepted as the ‘?’ leaves an opening for a ‘soul’ or god in gaps, any opening for a ‘?’ is like red meat for a physicalist.
But like I said I agree with you - the brain is not a computer or machine, a tree is not a machine, universe is not a machine. Viewing the brain as computational is useful for some kinds of research - just like viewing the brain as gelatin in a skull is useful for studying brain injuries.
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Old Yesterday, 12:11 AM   #1158
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Originally Posted by LarryS View Post
Not disagreeing with you, but the current paradigm has the brain as computational AND the brain as fully sufficient to explain consciousness.
Your stimulus?response model is not generally accepted as the ‘?’ leaves an opening for a ‘soul’ or god in gaps, any opening for a ‘?’ is like red meat for a physicalist.
But like I said I agree with you - the brain is not a computer or machine, a tree is not a machine, universe is not a machine. Viewing the brain as computational is useful for some kinds of research - just like viewing the brain as gelatin in a skull is useful for studying brain injuries.
What exactly does the computer model add to the research on the brain? I suspect that "computing" is a fashionable concept. I just suspect.
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