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Old 30th October 2019, 08:36 AM   #401
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Originally Posted by LarryS View Post
All explanations based upon consciousness don't even have the problem of explaining patterns and similarities we share. Idealism only appears to have this problem when viewed from a Materialistic definition of consciousness (each individual is a distinct parcel of consciousness).

If each individual is not a distinct parcel of experience (which I agree with, by the way), then you need an explanation of why we experience otherwise. And though you then might not need an explanation of why we share patterns, you still need an explanation of where the patterns we experience come from.

So please, just once for the record: why do we consistently experience thirst when and only when we have not recently experienced drinking water?

Again, if you don't care about explaining what we experience, then you don't need the added elements and uncertainties of such explanations. That's kind of like hanging out at a track meet, not entering any events, then congratulating yourself for perspiring less than the runners and pole vaulters do.
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Old 31st October 2019, 07:06 PM   #402
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The experience of thirst and it's connection with water . . . this is the 'if the bus is just a mental image, then why do I step out it's way?' question. Or put another way - why doesn't the mind not recognize everything is a mental image and just resolve all problems through understanding?
I do know if I were to get hit by a car it will hurt. I do not know how is it that events occuring in consciousness have consequences - but the answer to this question falls within the pervue of science.
And science already knows something about mental events: F = G*((m sub 1*m sub 2)/r^2) is an equation that describes a set of conscious experiences.
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Old 31st October 2019, 07:29 PM   #403
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Originally Posted by LarryS View Post
The experience of thirst and it's connection with water . . . this is the 'if the bus is just a mental image, then why do I step out it's way?'

No it's not.

The question is what creates the experience of the consistent pattern that relates the experience of thirst with the experience of drinking water.

Can you answer it instead of changing it to a different question?
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Old 1st November 2019, 08:19 AM   #404
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So another ten pages of "Okay reality is real... only if we assume the universe doesn't work on random dream logic without cause and effect, all the patterns we see are merely coincidences, and I'm a God being and the rest of you might not even exist."
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Old 1st November 2019, 11:13 AM   #405
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
So another ten pages of "Okay reality is real... only if we assume the universe doesn't work on random dream logic without cause and effect, all the patterns we see are merely coincidences, and I'm a God being and the rest of you might not even exist."
And every tenth page, you'll come in with the usual misinterpretation of the entire discussion, yes?

So, business as usual in the philosophy section. I guess there is a certain regularity in the universe.
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Old 1st November 2019, 09:57 PM   #406
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Thing is, this is an interesting enough subject, fascinating even if done right.

Are all ontologoies equally valid? The operational ontology thing I brought in, is it a thing, like I imagine, or is it incoherent, like caveman1917 claims, at least towards the end? Have these ontologies always been lifeless pointless academic questions, or did they ever carry consequences? Might they still? Might Occam's Razor have a role here at all, or are the ontologies destined to carry on with unsightly unshaven chins?

Some coherently worded question, by rounding up the paragraph above, and perhaps adding anything I left out, might make for a compelling discussion if carried on honestly, and without unnecessary distractions, and by people who know what they're talking about.

I'm thinking, this might be a likely candidate for the one-on-ones Meadmaker's trying to set up, with someone like you (phiwum) at one end, or perhaps caveman1917 (who despite my disagreement with him clearly does know a good bit about this sort of thing, I'll readily grant); and on the other side somone like Myriad, or that all-season every-topic heavyhitter JayUtah (that's an observation, indeed a compliment, not sarcasm), or someone like that.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 10:15 AM   #407
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Are all ontologoies equally valid?
No.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 10:27 AM   #408
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
And every tenth page, you'll come in with the usual misinterpretation of the entire discussion, yes?
I'll stop "misinterpreting" it as soon as I get a non-word salad answer that is functionally different.

There's nothing being said here that raises above the level of "Okay 2+2 has always equaled four... but how do you prove that magic won't make 2+2=5 the next time we add them up?"
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Old 2nd November 2019, 10:40 AM   #409
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
No.
Can you prove that?
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Old 2nd November 2019, 10:54 AM   #410
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
No.

I agree. That is, while I'm not very well read about this, and so not very confident about insisting my opinion is the right one, but my opinion is in line with yours on this. (I confess I'd imagined, basis what I read into your comments, that you're ontology-agnostic. I won't trawl back and check your earlier posts, though; it would be simpler to accept that I may have misunderstood your position.)

While it is good to know your opinion, and somewhat gratifying to know we agree, this doesn't settle the issue. caveman1917 had raised some pretty valid points upthread -- at least they seemed valid to me, and what is more, while usually a simple sweep of Occam's Razor is enough to cut down arguments of that nature, in this thread I didn't see that happening.

If as you say you agree with me on this, then sure, you can't take the position I'd envisioned for you in my hypothetical debate. But I still think that hypothetical one-on-one would be a good idea, albeit without you I guess, not even hypothetically.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 11:00 AM   #411
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If we reject both the very base concept of evidence and patterns from the discussion I'd ever so dearly love to know how we're supposed to say one epistemology is more/less valid then another in anyway that raises above the level of a creative writing exercise.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 11:17 AM   #412
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I agree, without bringing in evidence this seems like, well, mental masturbation to me. I'd said as much upthread.

But if you check the thread, you'll find caveman1917 making the point that the "patterns" might equally admit of other ontologies. I don't agree with him, but nor could I puncture his argument, and nor -- so far as I could make out -- could any of the others before me.

I thought caveman1917 was avoiding Occam's Razor essentially by a sleight if hand, by taking his ontologies beyond the scope of working models, to some "ultimate" beyond the reach of evidence.

At that point our discussion broke down, as it often does here. I felt he was being disingenuous at that point, and explained clearly why I felt that; but that does not detract from the points he'd raised earlier on.

So, yeah, storm in a teacup, much ado about nothing: but speaking for myself, I guess I'd enjoy seeing someone who's better read than I am on this, debate this out with caveman1917 (or with someone who, like him, holds an ontology-agnostic position).
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Old 2nd November 2019, 11:53 AM   #413
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I'll stop "misinterpreting" it as soon as I get a non-word salad answer that is functionally different.

There's nothing being said here that raises above the level of "Okay 2+2 has always equaled four... but how do you prove that magic won't make 2+2=5 the next time we add them up?"
Now you're confusing the problem of induction with idealism, and also inductive arguments with deductive perhaps.

The problem of induction is not really controversial. Bertrand Russell has a very good summary in his book The Problems of Philosophy. My students tend to misread the selection, but we can talk about it in another thread if you want.

Russell is about as far from woo as one can find. A first rate logician and philosopher. You should honestly like him.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 11:56 AM   #414
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
Can you prove that?
Sure. Make up a clearly nonsense ontology or, better, point out that the arguments for Descartes's dualism do not meet his professed epistemological standards. (As Hume pointed out, neither does Berkeley's idealism.)
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Old 2nd November 2019, 11:59 AM   #415
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
Now you're confusing the problem of induction with idealism, and also inductive arguments with deductive perhaps.

The problem of induction is not really controversial. Bertrand Russell has a very good summary in his book The Problems of Philosophy. My students tend to misread the selection, but we can talk about it in another thread if you want.

Russell is about as far from woo as one can find. A first rate logician and philosopher. You should honestly like him.
1. I'm perfectly aware of who Bertrand Russel is.

2. "But this philosophizier here said..." is not an argument and beside David Mo already has the board's monopoly on arguing via just pointing at what some long dead philosopher said and grunting.

3. Nothing is "controversial" in philosophy which is the problem. It has no standards.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 11:59 AM   #416
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
I agree. That is, while I'm not very well read about this, and so not very confident about insisting my opinion is the right one, but my opinion is in line with yours on this. (I confess I'd imagined, basis what I read into your comments, that you're ontology-agnostic. I won't trawl back and check your earlier posts, though; it would be simpler to accept that I may have misunderstood your position.)

While it is good to know your opinion, and somewhat gratifying to know we agree, this doesn't settle the issue. caveman1917 had raised some pretty valid points upthread -- at least they seemed valid to me, and what is more, while usually a simple sweep of Occam's Razor is enough to cut down arguments of that nature, in this thread I didn't see that happening.

If as you say you agree with me on this, then sure, you can't take the position I'd envisioned for you in my hypothetical debate. But I still think that hypothetical one-on-one would be a good idea, albeit without you I guess, not even hypothetically.
I'm not so agnostic. If we apply Cartesian doubt as our standard, we seem to fall into Hume's pathological skepticism (or not quite, if you buy Kant). If we apply more reasonable standards, materialism seems to be the most apt conclusion.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 12:02 PM   #417
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
1. I'm perfectly aware of who Bertrand Russel is.

2. "But this philosophizier here said..." is not an argument and beside David Mo already has the board's monopoly on arguing via just pointing at what some long dead philosopher said and grunting.

3. Nothing "controversial" in philosophy which is the problem. It has no standards.
I'm not proposing we defer to Russell's authority. I'm proposing we read and evaluate his argument, using the same standards of logic that we apply elsewhere.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 12:04 PM   #418
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Philosophy is not exempt from the "Why are we even asking this question? What variable are we trying to account for? Is this falsifiable? Does any possible answer actually increase our understanding of anything?" standard, not matter how much it insists it is.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 12:14 PM   #419
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
I'm not so agnostic.

Yeah, I gathered as much from your brief post above.


Quote:
If we apply Cartesian doubt as our standard, we seem to fall into Hume's pathological skepticism (or not quite, if you buy Kant). If we apply more reasonable standards, materialism seems to be the most apt conclusion.

You'll need to translate that into plain English, I'm afraid, if you want me to understand you.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 12:22 PM   #420
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We're, as in all philosophical discussion, being drug down into "Argument via categorization."

Labeling nonsense, giving it a name, saying it in Latin, does not valid it.

Reality exists. Saying "Reality doesn't exist" is wrong. Slapping a philosophical label on the concept of reality not existing doesn't change that.

There's a meta joke concept called LastThursdayIsm, the idea that the universe and everything in it was really created Last Thursday, but it was just created in a way so it would appear that everything has existed for billions of years.

The idea that the universe was created Last Thursday is ludicrous and asinine. That did not change when a term was applied to the idea.

This is why I refuse to use terms like "materialism" to describe my view that reality exists, because people think if I'm a "materialist" and they are a "dualist" (or insert dozens of variations) that, since both concepts have words for them, it's just a difference of opinion.

It's not. It's silly word games designed to make "reality exists" something we have to defend.

So I will call out and reject all arguments which boil down to just repeating what the philosophical concept is called back at me.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 12:34 PM   #421
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Philosophy is not exempt from the "Why are we even asking this question? What variable are we trying to account for? Is this falsifiable? Does any possible answer actually increase our understanding of anything?" standard, not matter how much it insists it is.
Such standards would apply to materialism equally well. It's fine to dismiss a question as uninteresting, but then one can't prefer a particular answer to that question.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 12:37 PM   #422
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
Such standards would apply to materialism equally well. It's fine to dismiss a question as uninteresting, but then one can't prefer a particular answer to that question.
Called it.

Argue in your own words, don't just call things names as the argument.

Yes, materialism. The radical, crazy concept that reality exists. Making up a term to mean the opposite does not a debate make.

Or do you want to argue the pros and cons of LastThursdayism?
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Old 2nd November 2019, 12:40 PM   #423
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Yeah, I gathered as much from your brief post above.





You'll need to translate that into plain English, I'm afraid, if you want me to understand you.
The start of the question "what sort of things are there?" began, for our purposes, with Descartes. In order to avoid false beliefs, he proposed disbelieving any statement which could be doubted. After long considerations, he concluded that the world consists of both mental stuff and physical stuff.

Berkeley applied the same standard, but rightly rejected many of Descartes's arguments and concluded that we cannot say that physical stuff exists, since we'r have direct evidence only of mental stuff.

Hume's rebuttal to Berkeley would require more discussion than I want to give on my phone. I hate this interface.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 12:41 PM   #424
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
We're, as in all philosophical discussion, being drug down into "Argument via categorization."

Labeling nonsense, giving it a name, saying it in Latin, does not valid it.

Reality exists. Saying "Reality doesn't exist" is wrong. Slapping a philosophical label on the concept of reality not existing doesn't change that.

There's a meta joke concept called LastThursdayIsm, the idea that the universe and everything in it was really created Last Thursday, but it was just created in a way so it would appear that everything has existed for billions of years.

The idea that the universe was created Last Thursday is ludicrous and asinine. That did not change when a term was applied to the idea.

This is why I refuse to use terms like "materialism" to describe my view that reality exists, because people think if I'm a "materialist" and they are a "dualist" (or insert dozens of variations) that, since both concepts have words for them, it's just a difference of opinion.

It's not. It's silly word games designed to make "reality exists" something we have to defend.

So I will call out and reject all arguments which boil down to just repeating what the philosophical concept is called back at me.
The naming of positions is only a convenience for the sake of discussion. Since you're not interested in discussion, I can see why you view it with disdain.

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Old 2nd November 2019, 12:42 PM   #425
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Called it.

Argue in your own words, don't just call things names as the argument.

Yes, materialism. The radical, crazy concept that reality exists. Making up a term to mean the opposite does not a debate make.

Or do you want to argue the pros and cons of LastThursdayism?
Every philosopher agrees that that which is real is real. You ought to drop the straw man argument.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 12:45 PM   #426
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
Every philosopher agrees that that which is real is real. You ought to drop the straw man argument.
You've already done the "Nobody is saying reality isn't real.... they are just using reality is some way that literally nobody uses in any other context" argument in this thread.

I asked before what is being debated if "everybody agrees" and didn't get a valid, non-word salad answer.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 01:03 PM   #427
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
You've already done the "Nobody is saying reality isn't real.... they are just using reality is some way that literally nobody uses in any other context" argument in this thread.

I asked before what is being debated if "everybody agrees" and didn't get a valid, non-word salad answer.
I've given answers to you many times before. You dismiss such answers as "word salad", without actually specifying what is meaningless in my post.

You have no intention of carrying on an actual discussion and I have no intention of continuing to explain to you the actual context of the debate and the meaning of the different theories given this reluctance to engage on your part.

Stick your fingers in your ears and shout "La la la la!" It is obviously the intellectually serious position. Congrats.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 01:09 PM   #428
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
The start of the question "what sort of things are there?" began, for our purposes, with Descartes. In order to avoid false beliefs, he proposed disbelieving any statement which could be doubted. After long considerations, he concluded that the world consists of both mental stuff and physical stuff.

Berkeley applied the same standard, but rightly rejected many of Descartes's arguments and concluded that we cannot say that physical stuff exists, since we'r have direct evidence only of mental stuff.

Hume's rebuttal to Berkeley would require more discussion than I want to give on my phone. I hate this interface.

Er ... not to cut you off midway or anything, nor am I saying I mayn't be interested in all of this: But do we really need an overview of who said what, and who said what in response, and who had what to say about that response, at this point? I mean, isn't this something of a non sequitur, at this stage?

I'm not averse to learning about things I don't know; but, at this point, might it not be simpler to clearly spell out what YOU happen to think about the validity of the different ontologies we've discussed here, and how YOU would rebut caveman1917's nihilism / ontology-agnosticism?

*

(Of course, if you think tracing one's way from Descartes to Hume to Berkely is absolutely essential to properly understanding the issue, then sure, that's a different matter. But is it, really?)

(Yeah, I'm on my phone too. I used to never post on here from my phone, but, of late, this forum's grown on me, and I find often myself tapping away, even when I'm on holiday and when fiddling on my phone is the last thing I should be doing! Compulsive, that's the word.)
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Old 2nd November 2019, 01:10 PM   #429
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
I've given answers to you many times before. You dismiss such answers as "word salad", without actually specifying what is meaningless in my post.

You have no intention of carrying on an actual discussion and I have no intention of continuing to explain to you the actual context of the debate and the meaning of the different theories given this reluctance to engage on your part.

Stick your fingers in your ears and shout "La la la la!" It is obviously the intellectually serious position. Congrats.
Okay. I'm content to keep talking at you instead of with you.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 01:16 PM   #430
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A materialist and a dualist are standing in a room in front of a chair.

Describe, in your own words, what their difference of opinion about the existence of the chair is.

The following are not answers, will not be accepted.

1. "Well you see this philosopher once said..."
2. Just relabeling them as a materialist and a dualist (or any other philosophical labeling.)
3. "Well they both agree the chair exists" without explaining what they don't agree about.
4. Flouncing.
5. Taking your ball and going home.
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Last edited by JoeMorgue; 2nd November 2019 at 01:29 PM.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 01:26 PM   #431
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Er ... not to cut you off midway or anything, nor am I saying I mayn't be interested in all of this: But do we really need an overview of who said what, and who said what in response, and who had what to say about that response, at this point? I mean, isn't this something of a non sequitur, at this stage?
It is a non sequitur if you're discussing views different than the classical views. I don't see how any argument from idealism can be plausible divorced from the original setting.

But if you think that the historic philosophical view is beside the point, that's fine. I'm not particularly interested in novel arguments for idealism myself, because I don't quite see the point, but to each his own.

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I'm not averse to learning about things I don't know; but, at this point, might it not be simpler to clearly spell out what YOU happen to think about the validity of the different ontologies we've discussed here, and how YOU would rebut caveman1917's nihilism / ontology-agnosticism?

*

(Of course, if you think tracing one's way from Descartes to Hume to Berkely is absolutely essential to properly understanding the issue, then sure, that's a different matter. But is it, really?)

(Yeah, I'm on my phone too. I used to never post on here from my phone, but, of late, this forum's grown on me, and I find often myself tapping away, even when I'm on holiday and when fiddling on my phone is the last thing I should be doing! Compulsive, that's the word.)
I haven't kept up with Caveman's contributions. I think the information-theoretic approach he uses is somewhat interesting, but I would need to devote more time to understanding it before I have any comments. Roughly speaking, it seems to be looking for a hypothesis that efficiently accounts for all observations thus far. There is some merit to that. Though simplicity and truth are not necessarily the same thing, there are good reasons to prefer a simpler hypothesis over a more complex hypothesis that explains the same data.

I don't know what his nihilist position is and I'm sorry to say that's a part of the conversation I'm not too interested in. No offense intended to Caveman, obviously.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 01:34 PM   #432
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
A materialist and a dualist are standing in a room in front of a chair.

Describe, in your own words, what their difference of opinion about the existence of the chair is.

The following are not answers, will not be accepted.

1. "Well you see this philosopher once said..."
2. Just relabeling them as a materialist and a dualist (or any other philosophical labeling.)
3. "Well they both agree the chair exists" without explaining what they do agree about.
4. Flouncing.
5. Taking your ball and going home.
Against my better judgment, I will respond.

A materialist would say that there is a physical chair, distinct from his impressions of the chair, which causes these impressions (say, by light bouncing off the chair, into his eyes, causing some reaction in his physical body including his brain which forms a perception of the chair as an emergent property of purely physical matter).

An idealist (in the classical sense) would say that he refuses to accept any proposition which he could doubt. He has a perception of a chair. This much cannot be doubted. That this perception was caused by a physical object, distinct from the perception, would require an inference going beyond his actual experience. He has no experience aside from those things which are perceived and hence he concludes that there is a perception having certain qualities (brown color, shape, etc.) which we call a chair. He does not conclude that there is anything distinct from these perceptions causing the perceptions.

Now, the ball is in your court. Will you respond with any substance or simply claim that what I wrote is meaningless "word salad", an ever so clever term that cannot possibly be overused?
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Old 3rd November 2019, 06:22 AM   #433
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
The start of the question "what sort of things are there?" began, for our purposes, with Descartes. In order to avoid false beliefs, he proposed disbelieving any statement which could be doubted. After long considerations, he concluded that the world consists of both mental stuff and physical stuff.

Berkeley applied the same standard, but rightly rejected many of Descartes's arguments and concluded that we cannot say that physical stuff exists, since we'r have direct evidence only of mental stuff.

Hume's rebuttal to Berkeley would require more discussion than I want to give on my phone. I hate this interface.
Using that standard to reject the evidence for direct evidence of physical stuff has to mean you have to reject the evidence form direct mental stuff. As ever the claim for this "direct evidence" for mental stuff always assumes its conclusion.
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Old 3rd November 2019, 06:40 AM   #434
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
A materialist would say that there is a physical chair, distinct from his impressions of the chair, which causes these impressions (say, by light bouncing off the chair, into his eyes, causing some reaction in his physical body including his brain which forms a perception of the chair as an emergent property of purely physical matter).
Yes that would be the correct, none stupid answer.

Quote:
An idealist (in the classical sense) would say that he refuses to accept any proposition which he could doubt. He has a perception of a chair. This much cannot be doubted.
Horsecrap. I can "doubt" someone's perception, even my own, as much as I or they can doubt reality. (G)Your own thoughts aren't sacrosanct.

I reject much of philosophy's "I get to deny reality but you don't get to deny my perception" argument. "Perception" isn't magic, it is a material process. The Idealist's "perception" of the chair is the firing of neurons and glia cells inside his brain, it's raw objective existence no more up for debate then the existence of the chair it is perceiving.

Again if you want to dance with the angels on the head of a pin in the made up "air gap" between perception and reality, knock yourself out. I will not join you.

Descartes didn't prove he thought any more or any less then he proved he existed.

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That this perception was caused by a physical object, distinct from the perception, would require an inference going beyond his actual experience. He has no experience aside from those things which are perceived and hence he concludes that there is a perception having certain qualities (brown color, shape, etc.) which we call a chair. He does not conclude that there is anything distinct from these perceptions causing the perceptions.
That's absolutely nonsensical.

You're saying the "materialist" says the chair exists and the "idealist" says maybe the chair exists, maybe it doesn't but it doesn't make a difference. That's watering the very word "exists" down to meaninglessness.

Again I do not accept as an answer any variation on solipsistic "We can't prove an air gap between our perception and reality exists." It's a nonfalsefiable, distinction without difference, non-question that no answer can ever satisfy. It is not a valid question.

I do not accept "Well maybe the chair exists, maybe it doesn't exist the universe just operates by amazing total coincidence exactly as if the chair exists" as a valid epistemology worth even the most casual mental masturbation levels of response.

Does the universe operate as if the chair is there? Yes. Then the chair exists (and by exist I mean "The chair exists and I'm going to stop talking because there's nothing else to add" and not "The chair exists..... but.") by any meaningful definition of the concept of "exists."
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Old 3rd November 2019, 07:10 AM   #435
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Using that standard to reject the evidence for direct evidence of physical stuff has to mean you have to reject the evidence form direct mental stuff. As ever the claim for this "direct evidence" for mental stuff always assumes its conclusion.
How so?

I do have direct experience of mental stuff. Right now, I am aware of perceptions of my laptop, say.

The content of my experience is mental. The perception of my laptop is not the same as the physical object which causes the perception (ignoring idealism for the nonce). Thus, I have immediate experience of the mental stuff, no doubt. An idealist would say that I have no experience at all of the cause of the mental stuff and distinct from the mental stuff. Hence, I can accept the reality of the mental stuff, but not the physical stuff.

Hume, of course, took this further to deny that we have any conclusive evidence of a persistent mental self in which these experiences occur, but that probably muddies the waters more than necessary. I mention it only because it's possible you were alluding to a criticism like that.
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Old 3rd November 2019, 08:09 AM   #436
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
How so?



I do have direct experience of mental stuff. Right now, I am aware of perceptions of my laptop, say.



The content of my experience is mental. The perception of my laptop is not the same as the physical object which causes the perception (ignoring idealism for the nonce). Thus, I have immediate experience of the mental stuff, no doubt. An idealist would say that I have no experience at all of the cause of the mental stuff and distinct from the mental stuff. Hence, I can accept the reality of the mental stuff, but not the physical stuff.



Hume, of course, took this further to deny that we have any conclusive evidence of a persistent mental self in which these experiences occur, but that probably muddies the waters more than necessary. I mention it only because it's possible you were alluding to a criticism like that.
No you have no idea (play on words intended) that you are anything based on what you think you think. How do you know you aren't a computer programme that is programmed to think it has perceptions? Or the solpolist isn't just imagining that you exist?

It is simply an assumption that you exist, that you have consciousness.
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Old 3rd November 2019, 08:11 AM   #437
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Yes that would be the correct, none stupid answer.



Horsecrap. I can "doubt" someone's perception, even my own, as much as I or they can doubt reality. (G)Your own thoughts aren't sacrosanct.
I perhaps spoke too imprecisely. What I meant is that I cannot doubt that I am currently having certain perceptions, such as the clicking noises as I type, etc. These perceptions must be real, in the sense that I have them. I'm not saying that they are accurate presentations of the world around me, just that I am undeniably aware that I am experiencing the perception of certain sounds, sights, etc.

If, on the other hand, you insist on doubting that you are aware of the very perceptions, thoughts, emotions, etc., of which you are currently conscious, then you go further in your doubt than the empiricists. Indeed, to doubt requires thought itself and is evidence of thought.

Quote:
I reject much of philosophy's "I get to deny reality but you don't get to deny my perception" argument. "Perception" isn't magic, it is a material process. The Idealist's "perception" of the chair is the firing of neurons and glia cells inside his brain, it's raw objective existence no more up for debate then the existence of the chair it is perceiving.

Again if you want to dance with the angels on the head of a pin in the made up "air gap" between perception and reality, knock yourself out. I will not join you.

Descartes didn't prove he thought any more or any less then he proved he existed.
I can understand anyone claiming that this extraordinary deference to doubt is useless navel gazing. It is a purely academic exercise, an attempt to pin down the limits of literal certainty.

I do not understand anyone who would agree to take on this exercise and refuse to admit that the result is the doubt of material substance distinct from our perceptions.

Quote:
That's absolutely nonsensical.

You're saying the "materialist" says the chair exists and the "idealist" says maybe the chair exists, maybe it doesn't but it doesn't make a difference. That's watering the very word "exists" down to meaninglessness.

Again I do not accept as an answer any variation on solipsistic "We can't prove an air gap between our perception and reality exists." It's a nonfalsefiable, distinction without difference, non-question that no answer can ever satisfy. It is not a valid question.
I can also see some sense in the conclusion that idealism is meaningless, in the sense that it produces no practical consequence, but the rub is that its negation and competing theories are in the same boat. Whether one is committed to treating the world as material substance or mere ideas, his practical life will be changed not one whit.

I am sure the logical positivists would agree with this conclusion, that these theories (including materialism) are literally meaningless since there is no possible set of observations which would refute any of them.

Quote:
I do not accept "Well maybe the chair exists, maybe it doesn't exist the universe just operates by amazing total coincidence exactly as if the chair exists" as a valid epistemology worth even the most casual mental masturbation levels of response.

Does the universe operate as if the chair is there? Yes. Then the chair exists (and by exist I mean "The chair exists and I'm going to stop talking because there's nothing else to add" and not "The chair exists..... but.") by any meaningful definition of the concept of "exists."
As long as you consider the perception of the chair as different than the physical chair, which I assume you do, the question remains: I have experience of the perception, but not of its cause. I am aware of the image of the chair, but have no awareness of an object distinct from that image which causes that image. Hence, if I am to follow the path of extreme skepticism proposed by Descartes, I can say nothing about what causes my perception, only that I cannot doubt that the perception itself exists, since I have direct awareness of that perception.

I do not expect to convince you that the project is a good project. I certainly think that most reasonable people are of the opinion that such ruminations add nothing of value to them. I would like to convince you that Berkeley's conclusions were reasonable (Hume's rebuttal aside), given the goal of omitting from consideration any beliefs which are not certain in the strictest sense of the term.

I do not expect to succeed in convincing you of that. From my perspective, it is because you are unwilling to carefully engage with the arguments (of which I have presented only a slim and inadequate, I am sure, summary). From your perspective, of course, it's because the arguments are too stoopid to take seriously even for a moment.
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Old 3rd November 2019, 08:26 AM   #438
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
No you have no idea (play on words intended) that you are anything based on what you think you think. How do you know you aren't a computer programme that is programmed to think it has perceptions? Or the solpolist isn't just imagining that you exist?

It is simply an assumption that you exist, that you have consciousness.
First, can I just say I am thrilled to see you identify a play on words as such, rather than a pun?

I think that the best response to your question is due to Hume. You're pressuring me to say something about this "I" which is aware of perceptions. In the final analysis, I can't say anything more than that these thoughts clearly exist. There is a current set of perceptions, thoughts, etc. that are as self-evident as anything can be. Whether there is a continual progression of these thoughts, occurring in a persistent mental substance (me) is something going beyond what is undeniable according to Hume.

I think that's a bit difficult to digest (and undoubtedly poorly worded, on the fly and several years if not decades after my last reading of Hume), so let me give a little less abstruse response.

Whether I am a bit of simulation, say, or not, it is undeniable that at this moment, I am aware of the words on the screen in front of me. I recognize that, because I have immediate access to the (experience of the) words themselves. In this sense, I can be sure that the experience exists (and, for Berkeley but not for Hume, that I exist) even though I may be radically mistaken about the nature of my existence. Whether or not it is a simulation producing these thoughts, I have immediate awareness of the thoughts themselves.

An empiricist, at least, takes the existence of perceptions as an undeniable starting point. I don't know what it would mean to conclude that the very perceptions I am having do not exist. One cannot be aware of a non-existent perception (I mean this in a first-hand sense, not that one couldn't be aware of the concept of an unperceived perception or something weird like that).

As I write this, I must say I'm a bit concerned that I'm treating existence as a predicate in a way similar to that of the ontological argument. There may be a fallacy in what I wrote, but unless I think very carefully about it, I am not sure the use of the word "exists" here isn't eliminable.
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Old 3rd November 2019, 10:20 AM   #439
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It isn't that these perceptions, these thoughts don't exist is that you don't know what they are. You are assuming they are somehow tied to an "I" that you assume exists. It is all assumptions.

Your perceptions tell you absolutely nothing without presuming that you exist, that you are indeed an "I".
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Old 3rd November 2019, 10:27 AM   #440
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
I perhaps spoke too imprecisely. What I meant is that I cannot doubt that I am currently having certain perceptions, such as the clicking noises as I type, etc. These perceptions must be real, in the sense that I have them. I'm not saying that they are accurate presentations of the world around me, just that I am undeniably aware that I am experiencing the perception of certain sounds, sights, etc.

If, on the other hand, you insist on doubting that you are aware of the very perceptions, thoughts, emotions, etc., of which you are currently conscious, then you go further in your doubt than the empiricists. Indeed, to doubt requires thought itself and is evidence of thought.
Again I'm not going down into the weeds with Philosophy's fetish for the "air gap" between our sense and reality.

The chair is in the room. Photons on the chair hitting your retina is what causes you to see the chair. When the chair squeaks when someone sits in it vibrations in the air caused by the movement of the chair hitting your inner ear is what causes you to hear the chair. And so on and so forth. If the chair isn't there you aren't going to see and hear a chair. If the chair isn't there you aren't going to see and hear the chair.

The existence of the chair in real physical space is what causes your perceptions to happen. Sure this process is not 100% flawless but to jump straight from "Things like hallucinations are a thing that can sometimes happen" to "Therefore perception is less doubtable (that needs to be a word) then reality" is inane.




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I can understand anyone claiming that this extraordinary deference to doubt is useless navel gazing. It is a purely academic exercise, an attempt to pin down the limits of literal certainty.
"Purely academic exercise" is trying to make "meaningless question with no answer" into something worthwhile.

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I do not understand anyone who would agree to take on this exercise and refuse to admit that the result is the doubt of material substance distinct from our perceptions.
Because it's a thought terminating cliche that once thrown into a discussion prevents the discussion from going anywhere.

After any variation; no matter how sideways it approaches it or how many layers of forced obtuseness it tries to hid it in; of the "But prove to me reality is real" card gets thrown out we're left with nowhere to go but sit at the table that may not exist, twiddling our thumbs that may not exist, listening to people who may not exist.


Quote:
I can also see some sense in the conclusion that idealism is meaningless, in the sense that it produces no practical consequence, but the rub is that its negation and competing theories are in the same boat. Whether one is committed to treating the world as material substance or mere ideas, his practical life will be changed not one whit.
You keep coming back to some variation on "The debate is valid because the answer doesn't matter" and that makes no sense.

One I don't buy it. You show me 10 "Idealists" and I'll show you at least 9 people playing the "Oh you can't prove reality is real so you can't tell me Bigfoot didn't shot Kennedy to cover up the Roswell Crash" card.

I have an deep distrust of anyone playing the "It's vitally important I be allowed to keep making this distinction without difference" argument. It almost always comes from people for whom the distinction is very, very important.

If Idealism Vs Materialims is a hill you just have to die either defending, I don't buy it isn't for reason.
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