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Old 17th September 2012, 02:42 PM   #41
hgc
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Originally Posted by levi View Post
Is all philosophy crap?
Philosophy is an umbrella term encompassing some topics that I think are worth study and discussion, e.g., Ethics and Logic.
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Old 17th September 2012, 04:31 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by levi View Post
Why does peter unger think I do not exist?
Morgenbess 'im.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidney_Morgenbesser

Quote:
Asked to prove a questioner's existence, Morgenbesser shot back, "Who's asking?
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Old 18th September 2012, 12:43 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by levi View Post
Is all philosophy crap?
Probably not all but it's a useful rule of thumb.
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Old 18th September 2012, 07:18 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by levi View Post
Is all philosophy crap?
No, you can't even use it to fertilize the rose bushes.
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Old 18th September 2012, 07:41 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by levi View Post
I reread the post and noticed that a poster said that humans have fuzzy boundaries like a cloud. But how can humans have fuzzy boundaries? I thought it is pretty clear how to define what human boundaries are. It may be hard to come up with a definition of humans. Is that what the article means by fuzzy boundaries?
I'm just saying that you and a cloud have a lot in common. The same evolutionary processes that cause a cloud to appear cause humans to appear. I suppose that philosophy might wonder where one thing begins and the other ends, but why are boundaries and labels so important?
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Old 18th September 2012, 10:49 AM   #46
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I guess I am curious how this affects persistence of self.

Also I am pretty sure I do have boundaries.
If I hit a wall I am pretty sure that is a boundary.

Do you mean it is hard to define a human?

Sorry for repeating myself it just I am having trouble seeing how humans don't have boundaries.
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Old 18th September 2012, 11:11 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by levi View Post
I guess I am curious how this affects persistence of self.

Also I am pretty sure I do have boundaries.
If I hit a wall I am pretty sure that is a boundary.

Do you mean it is hard to define a human?

Sorry for repeating myself it just I am having trouble seeing how humans don't have boundaries.
Well, you can define a person as being their body, but that raises the question: Are still the same person if they lose a limb?

Conversely, you can define a person as being their mind, but that raises the question: Are they in the room with you if you talk to them on the phone?
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Old 18th September 2012, 11:49 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by levi View Post
Is all philosophy crap?
No! I'm actually surprised at how dismissive people are of the field; Philosophy is amazing!

Originally Posted by levi View Post
I guess I am curious how this affects persistence of self.
What is the "self"? All of your body's cells are renewed something like every eight days (Ship of TheseusWP), so does that mean that your self doesn't persist?

I'd say the "self" is a "worm" in space-time (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perdura...tage_theorists) and that the self persists in the face of continually renewing parts.

Quote:
Also I am pretty sure I do have boundaries.
If I hit a wall I am pretty sure that is a boundary.
The term boundary is a little ambiguous here: you have a physical boundary in the extent of your cells, but you interact with the world via sense data, which is not confined to "you." I think the concept of emergent properties is the best explanation for this: we aren't just a conglomeration of cells, but a specific conglomeration that engenders new properties, such as consciousness.
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Old 18th September 2012, 12:20 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by hgc View Post
Philosophy is an umbrella term encompassing some topics that I think are worth study and discussion, e.g., Ethics and Logic.
I agree. Ethics is an extremely useful field that you don't see nearly enough philosophers examining. Determining how to relate ethics to modern technology, especially medical technology, is a very important service to the modern world. More philosophers should stop chasing ancient linguistic oddities and start thinking about quality of life, choice of death and the morality of research.

Logic, on the other hand, is taking philosophy out of thought and into action. It has already come to grips with modern technology and is marching forward towards new and greater heights in programing and algorithmic development. While you can still use logic to philosophically chase your own tail there are far better uses for it these days.
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Old 18th September 2012, 12:28 PM   #50
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I've heard of a philosophical argument that existence doesn't exist. Utter tripe.
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Old 18th September 2012, 12:34 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by Mudcat View Post
I've heard of a philosophical argument that existence doesn't exist. Utter tripe.
Really? How does it go?
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Old 18th September 2012, 12:35 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by levi View Post
I guess I am curious how this affects persistence of self.

Also I am pretty sure I do have boundaries.
If I hit a wall I am pretty sure that is a boundary.

Do you mean it is hard to define a human?

Sorry for repeating myself it just I am having trouble seeing how humans don't have boundaries.
Would you accept that boundaries are a matter of context though? This turns the argument around to: if there are multiple boundaries, is there any one that should be seen as natural or fixed or trump all the others?

For example, I am a father, a son, an employee, a citizen and so on. Each of these ways of looking at who I am comes with a different emphasis and boundaries in the form of what's permissible and what isn't. I am all those things but none of those things (at least not in any fixed way). The role I take on and the permitted activities are set by the context I find myself in, not by anything fixed solidly in me.
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Old 18th September 2012, 12:41 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by Twiler View Post
Really? How does it go?
Originally Posted by anti-realism

The term was coined by Michael Dummett, who introduced it in his paper Realism to re-examine a number of classical philosophical disputes involving such doctrines as nominalism, conceptual realism, idealism and phenomenalism. The novelty of Dummett's approach consisted in seeing these disputes as analogous to the dispute between intuitionism and Platonism in the philosophy of mathematics.

According to intuitionists (anti-realists with respect to mathematical objects), the truth of a mathematical statement consists in our ability to prove it. According to platonists (realists), the truth of a statement consists in its correspondence to objective reality. Thus, intuitionists are ready to accept a statement of the form "P or Q" as true only if we can prove P or if we can prove Q: this is called the disjunction property. In particular, we cannot in general claim that "P or not P" is true (the law of Excluded Middle), since in some cases we may not be able to prove the statement "P" nor prove the statement "not P". Similarly, intuitionists object to the existence property for classical logic, where one can prove \exists x.\phi(x), without being able to produce any term t of which \phi holds.

Dummett argues that the intuitionistic notion of truth lies at the bottom of various classical forms of anti-realism. He uses this notion to re-interpret phenomenalism, claiming that it need not take the form of a reductionism (often considered untenable).

Dummett's writings on anti-realism also draw heavily on the later writings of Wittgenstein concerning meaning and rule following. In fact, Dummett's writings on anti-realism can be seen as an attempt to integrate central ideas from the Philosophical Investigations into analytical philosophy.

Anti-realism in the sense that Dummett uses the term is also often called semantic anti-realism.
I don't get. If someone can explain to me how it's possible to deny the existence of objective reality in nice simple terms, I'd be really grateful.
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Old 18th September 2012, 01:23 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by Mudcat View Post
I don't get. If someone can explain to me how it's possible to deny the existence of objective reality in nice simple terms, I'd be really grateful.
None of that is an argument against objective reality, it's a description of a system of thought considering the foundation of truth.

Generally, the denial of objective reality is based on the fact that our senses can be fooled, meaning that we can't be completely sure of anything.

It's not constructive to assert 'reality doesn't exist'; but I think it can be worthwhile to consider why it is constructive to act as if it does.
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Old 18th September 2012, 03:26 PM   #55
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Is sense data just how are brain gathers information and sees the world? For example, a stick that is straight. if we look at it will be straight but put it under water and it will look bent.

Merton if this what you mean I am still confused. Sure we are part of the universe but how does being part of the unviersee affect me not having boundaries? The only possible explaination I could come up with is that how do you seperate yourself from the universe? My response is that just as though you can add things to get properties. An example is emergent properties. You can also seperate things to get properties.

An example could be a cell and a organ.

Does this make any sense?

Is this incorrect?

marplots not forget about you. Is that what you were trying to illustrate?
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Old 18th September 2012, 04:08 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by Twiler View Post
None of that is an argument against objective reality, it's a description of a system of thought considering the foundation of truth.

Generally, the denial of objective reality is based on the fact that our senses can be fooled, meaning that we can't be completely sure of anything.

It's not constructive to assert 'reality doesn't exist'; but I think it can be worthwhile to consider why it is constructive to act as if it does.
I think it's safe to say at this point that I'm too thick to get philosophy.
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Old 18th September 2012, 04:34 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by levi View Post
Is all philosophy crap?
No it is not.

But let's be very, very, very clear here. What we see 99.99999% of the time here on JREF is not philosphy.

Sad little faux-wise man on the mountain word games used as passive aggressive backdoors for Woo are not philosophy. Rewording the same question over and over is not philosphy. Pretentious meaningless questions are not philosophy. Ponderous wall of text word salad designed to hide the fact that you don't like or are too stupid to understand the real answer aren't philosophy. Any idiot can call themselves a philospher and many do.

Philosophy is not crap. Navel Gazing absolutely is.
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Old 18th September 2012, 04:39 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by levi View Post
Is sense data just how are brain gathers information and sees the world? For example, a stick that is straight. if we look at it will be straight but put it under water and it will look bent.

Merton if this what you mean I am still confused. Sure we are part of the universe but how does being part of the unviersee affect me not having boundaries? The only possible explaination I could come up with is that how do you seperate yourself from the universe? My response is that just as though you can add things to get properties. An example is emergent properties. You can also seperate things to get properties.

An example could be a cell and a organ.

Does this make any sense?

Is this incorrect?

marplots not forget about you. Is that what you were trying to illustrate?
I think you are on track, but I'll give you a couple of experiments (because I love direct experience). First, to get at your illusion of perception of boundaries. Take a finger and touch the table top. It should be clear what the feeling is -- try to lock that in. Take the same finger and touch your nose. Is the feeling the same? How is it different? Which "feeling" takes precedence, the feel of from your finger of your nose or the feel from your nose of the finger?

Now, pick up a pencil or pen so the blunt end points away from your hand -- any grip is good. Use that pencil to feel around you. For example, with your eyes closed and using just the feelings from the pencil, does the carpet feel soft? Does the chair feel differently than your keyboard? Ask yourself how it can be that a non-seeing pencil can extend the boundaries of your sense of touch. Is this different than how the dead cells of your hair might "feel" things? Or the dead skin on the outside of your body?

Finally, and just to get advanced with the ideas, see if you can figure out where some of the boundaries of "you" are in time, both backward in the past (easier) and forward into the future (harder). How could I, for example, be directly influenced by something that never actually happens?

Last edited by marplots; 18th September 2012 at 04:41 PM.
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Old 18th September 2012, 04:41 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by Twiler View Post
Really? How does it go?
It doesn't, it was never there...
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Old 18th September 2012, 06:34 PM   #60
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mudcat I think I can explain what objective reality is.

Objective reality is how the world works. Take the colour blue. Blue is blue. But to a blind person blue looks I guess black. I am not colour blind so I assume my description is right. That is where subjectivity comes into play. Subjectivity how you view the world. Objective the world is blue and subjective the world is black to the blind person.

Why do you want to know if objective reality doesn't exist?

This is a little simplified and am not sure if this is correct so someone tell me if I am right or wrong because I don't want to give someone incorrect info.

Last edited by levi; 18th September 2012 at 06:46 PM.
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Old 18th September 2012, 06:42 PM   #61
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People need to stop using "Subjective" to mean random, arbitrary, or totally divorced from reality.
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Old 18th September 2012, 07:09 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
I think you are on track, but I'll give you a couple of experiments (because I love direct experience). First, to get at your illusion of perception of boundaries. Take a finger and touch the table top. It should be clear what the feeling is -- try to lock that in. Take the same finger and touch your nose. Is the feeling the same? How is it different? Which "feeling" takes precedence, the feel of from your finger of your nose or the feel from your nose of the finger?

Now, pick up a pencil or pen so the blunt end points away from your hand -- any grip is good. Use that pencil to feel around you. For example, with your eyes closed and using just the feelings from the pencil, does the carpet feel soft? Does the chair feel differently than your keyboard? Ask yourself how it can be that a non-seeing pencil can extend the boundaries of your sense of touch. Is this different than how the dead cells of your hair might "feel" things? Or the dead skin on the outside of your body?

Finally, and just to get advanced with the ideas, see if you can figure out where some of the boundaries of "you" are in time, both backward in the past (easier) and forward into the future (harder). How could I, for example, be directly influenced by something that never actually happens?
It did it by transmitting the force back to your hand.
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Old 18th September 2012, 09:40 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Ask yourself how it can be that a non-seeing pencil can extend the boundaries of your sense of touch.
Originally Posted by tsig View Post
It did it by transmitting the force back to your hand.
And herein we see another problem with Fauxosophy. Trying to create grand, ponderous, wordy, self important, pretentious answers to grand mysteries that don't exist.
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Old 18th September 2012, 10:52 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by levi View Post
mudcat I think I can explain what objective reality is.

Objective reality is how the world works. Take the colour blue. Blue is blue. But to a blind person blue looks I guess black. I am not colour blind so I assume my description is right. That is where subjectivity comes into play. Subjectivity how you view the world. Objective the world is blue and subjective the world is black to the blind person.

Why do you want to know if objective reality doesn't exist?

This is a little simplified and am not sure if this is correct so someone tell me if I am right or wrong because I don't want to give someone incorrect info.
Yes, I think that description works.
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Old 18th September 2012, 10:53 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
And herein we see another problem with Fauxosophy. Trying to create grand, ponderous, wordy, self important, pretentious answers to grand mysteries that don't exist.
I don't think philosophy is about grand mysteries, I think that's just a common misconception.
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Old 18th September 2012, 11:43 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
And herein we see another problem with Fauxosophy. Trying to create grand, ponderous, wordy, self important, pretentious answers to grand mysteries that don't exist.
The proper term is mental masturbation.
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Old 18th September 2012, 11:50 PM   #67
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I said:
Quote:
Now, pick up a pencil or pen so the blunt end points away from your hand -- any grip is good. Use that pencil to feel around you. For example, with your eyes closed and using just the feelings from the pencil, does the carpet feel soft? Does the chair feel differently than your keyboard? Ask yourself how it can be that a non-seeing pencil can extend the boundaries of your sense of touch.
Originally Posted by tsig View Post
It did it by transmitting the force back to your hand.
So where's the boundary? How come it "feels" like the tip of the pencil instead of the pencil in my hand?

We were talking about fuzzy boundaries and setting them. If the pencil deal doesn't float your boat, where would the proper boundary lie? Is it proprioceptors, brain, somewhere else? And why would I rank one boundary as deserving of merit and another not as context changes? It's a good question, the shifting line between exteroception and interoception.
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Old 19th September 2012, 12:09 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
So where's the boundary? How come it "feels" like the tip of the pencil instead of the pencil in my hand?
Humans are tool using creatures and that ability and how engrained it is in us gives us a very, very unique ability... the ability to mentally see tools as extensions of ourself.

When you're driving your car and you come to a turn in the road you think "I'm going to turn left." You don't think "I'm going to control my hands to cause the steering wheel of the car to turn, causing the axel to tilt, causing the wheels to change direction, causing the car to change direction." Why? Because when driving you are in a mindset where you and the car are the same thing.

If you've ever been playing a video game or a musical instrument or painting a picture and found yourself in a state of mind where the controller or instrument or the paint brush just sorta... disappears and you lose the connection between what you are doing and the tool you are using to do it, that's what that is.

You "feel" with the pencil because your brain is capable of entering a mindset where it sees the pencil as an extension of yourself.

It's an amazing little mental state, but what it isn't is some grand mystery of the universe.

It's semantics, like most Navel Gazing. We see the basic collection of cells controlled by the brain as the person because it's handy term for it.

For instance we have a special term for a 12 of something, a dozen. That doesn't mean 12 of something is "a thing" anymore then 11 of something or 22 of something or 4,323 of something. It just means that the concept of 12 of something was used so often it became useful to create a term to describe it. It doesn't mean that the number 12 holds some grand meaning we have to unlock to understand the unviverse.
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Old 19th September 2012, 12:31 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
Humans are tool using creatures and that ability and how engrained it is in us gives us a very, very unique ability... the ability to mentally see tools as extensions of ourself.

When you're driving your car and you come to a turn in the road you think "I'm going to turn left." You don't think "I'm going to control my hands to cause the steering wheel of the car to turn, causing the axel to tilt, causing the wheels to change direction, causing the car to change direction." Why? Because when driving you are in a mindset where you and the car are the same thing.

If you've ever been playing a video game or a musical instrument or painting a picture and found yourself in a state of mind where the controller or instrument or the paint brush just sorta... disappears and you lose the connection between what you are doing and the tool you are using to do it, that's what that is.

You "feel" with the pencil because your brain is capable of entering a mindset where it sees the pencil as an extension of yourself.

It's an amazing little mental state, but what it isn't is some grand mystery of the universe.

It's semantics, like most Navel Gazing. We see the basic collection of cells controlled by the brain as the person because it's handy term for it.

For instance we have a special term for a 12 of something, a dozen. That doesn't mean 12 of something is "a thing" anymore then 11 of something or 22 of something or 4,323 of something. It just means that the concept of 12 of something was used so often it became useful to create a term to describe it. It doesn't mean that the number 12 holds some grand meaning we have to unlock to understand the unviverse.
Completely agree, except for the "grand mystery" characterization. We don't need to inflate something to that level to find it interesting or think about the question of where boundaries lie and why we set them one way or another. It was an interesting enough question for the OP to ponder it, that's enough.

Thinking about boundaries leads to other interesting things. You are no doubt familiar with the "How long is the coastline of England?" question and fractal dimensions. Let's not be in a hurry to dismiss as obvious some musing or other. Too much clarity, too soon, ruins the enterprise.
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Old 19th September 2012, 01:13 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Let's not be in a hurry to dismiss as obvious some musing or other.
And that's fine except for the fact that so many people take these "musings" far too seriously and start acting like they are somehow more "enlightened" then the rest of us because they play with the language for no purpose and to no real end.

Our language developed to allow us to communicate basic, practical, day to day concepts. Because we don't have a specific word for some specific concept or collection doesn't mean there's some grand mystery of the universe that we're need to unlock.
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Old 19th September 2012, 05:39 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
I said:


Quote:
Quote:
Now, pick up a pencil or pen so the blunt end points away from your hand -- any grip is good. Use that pencil to feel around you. For example, with your eyes closed and using just the feelings from the pencil, does the carpet feel soft? Does the chair feel differently than your keyboard? Ask yourself how it can be that a non-seeing pencil can extend the boundaries of your sense of touch.
Quote:
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It did it by transmitting the force back to your hand.




So where's the boundary? How come it "feels" like the tip of the pencil instead of the pencil in my hand?

We were talking about fuzzy boundaries and setting them. If the pencil deal doesn't float your boat, where would the proper boundary lie? Is it proprioceptors, brain, somewhere else? And why would I rank one boundary as deserving of merit and another not as context changes? It's a good question, the shifting line between exteroception and interoception.
The boundary is the blunt end of the pencil. It feels like the tip because that's the end you put in your hand.


The only shifting here is between you and the goalposts.
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Old 19th September 2012, 05:42 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by Twiler View Post
I don't think philosophy is about grand mysteries, I think that's just a common misconception.
Then you can tell us what it's about instead of making these vague statements.
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Old 19th September 2012, 05:50 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Completely agree, except for the "grand mystery" characterization. We don't need to inflate something to that level to find it interesting or think about the question of where boundaries lie and why we set them one way or another. It was an interesting enough question for the OP to ponder it, that's enough.

Thinking about boundaries leads to other interesting things. You are no doubt familiar with the "How long is the coastline of England?" question and fractal dimensions. Let's not be in a hurry to dismiss as obvious some musing or other. Too much clarity, too soon, ruins the enterprise.
No clarity at all leads to muddy thinking.
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Old 19th September 2012, 09:16 AM   #74
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Originally Posted by levi View Post
Is sense data just how are brain gathers information and sees the world? For example, a stick that is straight. if we look at it will be straight but put it under water and it will look bent.

Merton if this what you mean I am still confused. Sure we are part of the universe but how does being part of the unviersee affect me not having boundaries? The only possible explaination I could come up with is that how do you seperate yourself from the universe? My response is that just as though you can add things to get properties. An example is emergent properties. You can also seperate things to get properties.

An example could be a cell and a organ.

Does this make any sense?

Is this incorrect?

marplots not forget about you. Is that what you were trying to illustrate?
It sounds like you understood me well, though the sense data extends beyond mere perception. If you are a determinist or compatibilist--while trying not to get too off-topic here--then the "self" is merely a collection of the various chemical processes that constitute your body and the sense data you've obtained from your environment, including other people. But you also transmit sense data and contribute to the "selves" of others. This is where the concept of memes comes in handy, elucidating the propagation of cultural data (e.g. ideas, beliefs, rituals).
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Old 19th September 2012, 09:30 AM   #75
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
Then you can tell us what it's about instead of making these vague statements.
Philosophy is an incredibly large field, but is often divided into five main branches: 1) Epistemology 2) Metaphysics 3) Ethics 4) Political Philosophy and 5) Aesthetics. We first want to know what knowledge is and the best way(s) to obtain it (Epistemology), and then we use these methods to learn about the world (the other branches). I find a lot of these so-called "great mysteries" tend to lie in Metaphysics, which is of little interest to me.
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Old 19th September 2012, 11:10 AM   #76
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
Then you can tell us what it's about instead of making these vague statements.
Yeah, that wasn't thought out well.

What I should have said:

I don't think philosophy is about pointing out these types of semantic problems and acting as if they're incredibly important, I think that it's about considering why these problems exist and what we should do about them.

I.e, not:

'We can't be sure our senses are correct, give up, wear rags, worship our words!'

But:

'We can't be sure our senses are correct, is this a problem?'

Quote:
The boundary is the blunt end of the pencil. It feels like the tip because that's the end you put in your hand.


The only shifting here is between you and the goalposts.
The question is intended to be 'Where does the body end, and the mind begin?'
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Old 19th September 2012, 11:25 AM   #77
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Originally Posted by Twiler View Post
I don't think philosophy is about pointing out these types of semantic problems and acting as if they're incredibly important/
That usually seems to be what it boils down to on JREF. I can count on one hand the number of self proclaimed "Philosophers" here that do anything more intellectually nourishing then trying to create some kind of Zen Koan out of the difference between "clothes" and "apparel."

Quote:
The question is intended to be 'Where does the body end, and the mind begin?'
And that question is meaningless. We have different words for mind and body because it's handy for us to, but the mind is just a bodily function, nothing more.
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Old 19th September 2012, 12:07 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
That usually seems to be what it boils down to on JREF. I can count on one hand the number of self proclaimed "Philosophers" here that do anything more intellectually nourishing then trying to create some kind of Zen Koan out of the difference between "clothes" and "apparel."



And that question is meaningless. We have different words for mind and body because it's handy for us to, but the mind is just a bodily function, nothing more.
That's your answer, but is everyone else going to say the same?
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Old 19th September 2012, 12:50 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by Twiler View Post
That's your answer, but is everyone else going to say the same?
Well yeah if they want to be wrong sure.

It is. The mind is what the brain does, the same way pumping blood is what the heart does. This is not a matter of opinion or POV or some "subjective" concept. You either accept this or are wrong.

Dismissing it as "My answer" is nothing but anti-intellectual horsepiddle. You are entitled to your own opinions, you are not entitled to your own facts.
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Old 19th September 2012, 01:10 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
Well yeah if they want to be wrong sure.

It is. The mind is what the brain does, the same way pumping blood is what the heart does. This is not a matter of opinion or POV or some "subjective" concept. You either accept this or are wrong.

Dismissing it as "My answer" is nothing but anti-intellectual horsepiddle. You are entitled to your own opinions, you are not entitled to your own facts.
That's not quite what you said in your preceding statement; You said we distinguished between mind and body because it was handy, and that the mind was just a bodily function, which has a connotation beyond a mere statement of fact.
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