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Old 21st October 2019, 08:12 AM   #321
caveman1917
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
You're missing out on the "operational" part.

Just restate everything you've said here, all of it, including your definitions and your restatement of my earlier post and your subsequent argument, with that qualifer "operational" thrown in, and you'll realize what I've been trying to say to you all this while.

*

One's operational position has real and immediate consequences. One's theoretical beliefs are wholly irrelevant as far as consequences (unless those theoretical beliefs get translated into operational positions).
Ok then, there is no such thing as operational-materialism or operational-other-ontologism, since none of these ontologies have real and immediate consequences in an operational sense.

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You've conceded to me upthread that materialism and idealism and solipsism are just words without any real meaning. I suggest to you that they're meaningless precisely because you've divested them of meaning, by having them apply to one's inconsequential theoretical beliefs -- as opposed to one's immediate, direct, on-the-ground, operational position on these things.
Do you then agree that Sokal's quote above was, at least in part, making meaningless and baseless claims?
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Old 21st October 2019, 08:32 AM   #322
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Yes reality is real. We've all already agreed to that by agreeing to have the conversation in it. I'm tired of God Beings demanding figments of their imagination prove their own existence to them and acting intellectual superior when they can't.

Nowhere has making up strawmen to argue against been more absurd then in this discussion, because in this discussion it's literal.

"Oh you're a materialist and I'm a dualist" is absolute across the board nonsense. It's like going into a math class and going "Oh you're a 2+2=4ist? Oh well I'm a 2+2=5ist" and expecting your wrongness to be treated as "just a different kind of being right."

This is my problem with the reductionist "It's just epistimologies all the way down" view of Philosophy. It thinks if you categorize and label "wrongness" it's no longer "wrongness" but some new, equal form of "correctness."

If you are in a room with a chair and you're arguing there is no chair even though you're sitting in it, you're wrong. You're not some alternative, more woke kind of correct no matter what some 16th century white dude who still thought maggots could spontaneously generate from rotting beef called the idea in Latin.
The fundamental issue is that you're so disinterested in the questions raised that you are still ignorant of the basic facts. Materialists, dualists, idealists and solipsists all agree that the chair in my room is a real object.

There's no shame in saying you're not interested in these issues. Perfectly reasonable not to bother caring about abstruse philosophy. The shame is that you pretend to intellectual superiority and a damning critique when you still don't even understand the basic positions of these various schools.

Every idealist says that the chair in my room is a chair. It is a real thing. It is present in the room I'm in.

They just deny that these statements have anything to do with unexperienced material objects which somehow cause the perceptions I do experience.

But never mind. You'll carry on as you always have in discussions such as these. Popping by to criticize philosophy as utterly stupid without having a damned clue what is being discussed.

(NOTE: I'm speaking of classical philosophical theories. I'm not saying that everything said in this thread is equally sensible. I'm not even saying that idealism is an attractive theory. I'm just saying that Joe still doesn't know squat about the issues.)
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Old 21st October 2019, 08:33 AM   #323
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Originally Posted by Dr.Sid View Post
But you can't explain why things exist, can you ? That's the issue. We simply don't know, and we will never know.
Sure, gods are silly concept. But matter just popping up into existence, that's also silly concept.
Not sure that's the issue in the various theories Joe mentioned.
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Old 21st October 2019, 08:37 AM   #324
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
The fundamental issue is that you're so disinterested in the questions raised that you are still ignorant of the basic facts. Materialists, dualists, idealists and solipsists all agree that the chair in my room is a real object.

There's no shame in saying you're not interested in these issues. Perfectly reasonable not to bother caring about abstruse philosophy. The shame is that you pretend to intellectual superiority and a damning critique when you still don't even understand the basic positions of these various schools.

Every idealist says that the chair in my room is a chair. It is a real thing. It is present in the room I'm in.

They just deny that these statements have anything to do with unexperienced material objects which somehow cause the perceptions I do experience.

But never mind. You'll carry on as you always have in discussions such as these. Popping by to criticize philosophy as utterly stupid without having a damned clue what is being discussed.

(NOTE: I'm speaking of classical philosophical theories. I'm not saying that everything said in this thread is equally sensible. I'm not even saying that idealism is an attractive theory. I'm just saying that Joe still doesn't know squat about the issues.)
I see you are gunning for David Mo's "Protector of Philosophy's Virtue" role and using the same "Ah but you just don't understand philosophy!" argument.

Do prey tell and inform little ole's stupid me from your perch upon high, if the Materialists, dualists, idealists, and solipsists all agree the chair is there... what's the point of contention exactly that isn't just a silly word game?

ETA: Goddamn spellcheck it's not "Duelist." There is no philosophical category I'm aware of based on "Pistols at ten paces at dawn."
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Old 21st October 2019, 08:50 AM   #325
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
There's definitely escaping that. (Is there? Read this through, and you'll probably agree that there is, after all, no escaping that.)Though you are free to present scientific evidence that necessitates an operational belief in an external material world. I've yet to see any. (You see that basis all around you, including in this computer I'm typing from, and in the computer you're reading this from! I refer to the basis for an operational belief in materialism.)
I don't see any scientific evidence that neither you nor the computer you're typing this on nor the computer I'm reading are not, say, part of a computer simulation.

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Not only is this anything but a fact, it doesn't even follow. What has science uncovered thus far that necessitates an operational belief in an external material world? (Need you ask?)
I have asked, you've yet to provide any.

Quote:
If I were a mechanic and an operational-simulationist then I would do exactly the same thing to fix the car as if I were an operational-materialist, because whether the car is an external material object or a simulated one makes no difference whatsoever, operationally, at a functional level, on the actions required to fix it. (Clearly it does make a difference, right, operationally, at a functional level? Clearly you would, indeed, do things differently, right, if your operational position were different?)
[/QUOTE -- quote tags disabled][/indent][/indent][/i]
Not at all.

If I were an operational-materialist mechanic and I have to fix an external material car then I perform action A because I know that "A->AF" (where F is "the car is fixed") is a scientific law (ie a regularity in the data sequence). If I were an operational-simulationist and I have to fix a simulated car then I perform action A because I know that "A->AF" is a scientific law (ie a regularity in the data sequence). In either case I perform exactly the same action, A, for exactly the same reason.

Your argument just seems to go like this:

1) I believe in X but I have no evidence for X over, say, Y.

2) So I introduce new concepts operational-X and operational-Y.

3) I still have no evidence to prefer operational-X over operational-Y. Indeed, operational-X must be the same as operational-Y given that I've admitted that there is no meaningful, and hence no operational, difference between X and Y.

4) So I just arbitrarily assume that anyone who doesn't hold to operational-X is irrational and anyone who does hold to operational-X is rational.

5) I completely ignore that the rational/irrational axis is orthogonal to the operational-X/Y axis. Effectively just cherry-picking. Indeed, the material universe posited by the operational-materialist is an instance of the simulation posited by the operational-simulationist (the material universe is, after all, but one way to build such a computer) so, assuming this particular simulation device, the operational-simulationist reduces to the operational-materialist and if the former is, by your assertions, going to spend time trying to contact the simulator or developing supposed supernatural powers then why isn't the operational-materialist spending time trying to contact the creator or developing such supposed powers?

All in all it just seems to boil down to "materialism is better because it's the one I believe in" with an argument that just consists of calling everyone else irrational. To me, though, it would be Sokal and the rest of the materialists (or other such -sts, although they are in a minority) who are irrational as they are holding a belief for which they have no evidence in the data sequence.

PS: Terms like rational/irrational and supernatural powers have been defined earlier in the thread, and all such terms are used as defined.
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Old 21st October 2019, 08:57 AM   #326
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I see you are gunning for David Mo's "Protector of Philosophy's Virtue" role and using the same "Ah but you just don't understand philosophy!" argument.

Do prey tell and inform little ole's stupid me from your perch upon high, if the Materialists, dualists, idealists, and solipsists all agree the chair is there... what's the point of contention exactly that isn't just a silly word game?

ETA: Goddamn spellcheck it's not "Duelist." There is no philosophical category I'm aware of based on "Pistols at ten paces at dawn."
Perhaps there should be. It resolve some arguments a lot faster.
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Old 21st October 2019, 08:59 AM   #327
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I see you are gunning for David Mo's "Protector of Philosophy's Virtue" role and using the same "Ah but you just don't understand philosophy!" argument.

Do prey tell and inform little ole's stupid me from your perch upon high, if the Materialists, dualists, idealists, and solipsists all agree the chair is there... what's the point of contention exactly?

ETA: Goddamn spellcheck it's not "Duelist." There is philosophical category I'm aware of based on "Pistols at ten paces at dawn."
First, this discussion occurs in the context and aftermath of Descartes, who aimed to take skepticism to its limits, so that he would not be duped by believing in extraordinarily probable but nonetheless false propositions. Such skepticism leads to questions such as, "What can we conclude about the nature of stuff? What evidence do we have of the nature of this chair, say?"

Materialism says that everything that exists is fundamentally matter (or an emergent consequence of matter). The chair is a material object which causes certain effects in my material body, resulting in a particular configuration in my brain which is identical with my sensation of the chair.

Idealism says that we do not have any evidence (direct or otherwise) of a cause of my perception of the chair. We have only the perception itself. Any cause distinct from the perception would necessarily be imperceptible and hence there is no reason to speak of such things. The chair exists, surely, but not independently of my perception. Rather it *is* my perception (or, more to the point, a collection of perceptions, memories, etc.).

A solipsist is essentially an idealist with the further point that there is also no reason to believe that other minds exist. We do not experience the thoughts of others. We merely experience behavior which is consistent with our own thought-caused behavior, but that consistency is insufficient to conclude that the cause of that behavior is other minds (note: a materialist could be a solipsist too, but the term as used here is usually about an endpoint of idealism).

A dualist believes in both material and mental stuff, interacting in some obscure way. (The mental stuff is not merely an emergent property of the material, but different in kind.)

I left out Hume, who took this pathological skepticism to its logical limit.

Every one of these theories says the chair is real, but differs on the nature of the chair. Idealism says, for instance, all I know is what I perceive and I do not perceive any cause of my perceptions distinct from the perceptions themselves.

Now, it's perfectly reasonable not to care about this purely academic exercise in the limits of skepticism. Of course, it's a little weird to go into conversations on these matters to proclaim how little you care, but whatever.
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Old 21st October 2019, 09:01 AM   #328
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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
Perhaps there should be. It resolve some arguments a lot faster.
Philosophy is like sailing.

My family complains that we don't go anywhere on my sailboat. They don't understand that we are already where I want to be. We are on the boat.
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Old 21st October 2019, 09:07 AM   #329
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
Now, it's perfectly reasonable not to care about this purely academic exercise in the limits of skepticism. Of course, it's a little weird to go into conversations on these matters to proclaim how little you care, but whatever.
There's a difference between "not caring" and "not considering the distinctions valid."

I'm not in the discussion going "I don't care." I'm in the discussion going "This isn't a valid discussion." That's a pretty big difference.

Again if someone was having a discussion about 4 different points of view, one where 2+2=4, one where 2+2=5, one where 2+2=a potato, and one where 2+2="Forever unknowable because of the al priori ipso facto latin word latin word event horizon of the formless" and treated it as the "everybody is correct, it's just different philosophies" I'd be doing the same thing.

Thing is why nobody is doing that but they are doing this is a question people get pissy when you ask.
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Old 21st October 2019, 09:13 AM   #330
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Originally Posted by LarryS View Post
Correct, science works in a Materialist POV, but does not require it.
Rather, most scientists work in a materialist POV. Science itself is independent of such POV's. As an example, asking "what is an electron?"

A materialist scientist (ie a scientist who believes in an external material universe) would say something like "a particle with such mass and such charge and such other properties."

I would say something like "it is a name for a particular block of bits that occurs in the data - a huge sequence of 0's and 1's - with some regularity such that, if we use it to construct a model, we can compress the data. Given that we don't like writing our models with huge blocks of 0's and 1's we give them names, such as electron, but an electron isn't anything but a syntactic name - a short bunch of elegant squiggles - for a (computable function of a) huge particular block of bits."

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Regarding any external world independant of consciousness - it has never been found. It is not irrational to infer or believe in an external world independant of consciousness, but it is a belief, an inference.
Well it's not an inference, it isn't inferred from anything, it's a belief alright. No idea why anyone would hold it, but there you are I guess.
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Old 21st October 2019, 09:16 AM   #331
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I see you are gunning for David Mo's "Protector of Philosophy's Virtue" role and using the same "Ah but you just don't understand philosophy!" argument.

Do prey tell and inform little ole's stupid me from your perch upon high, if the Materialists, dualists, idealists, and solipsists all agree the chair is there... what's the point of contention exactly that isn't just a silly word game?

ETA: Goddamn spellcheck it's not "Duelist." There is no philosophical category I'm aware of based on "Pistols at ten paces at dawn."
It's not "prey" either, as philosophers tend to be pretty benign and rarely do draw their pistols. I can understand some of your frustration, but even if everyone agrees that the chair is real, and even if that's all we can ever know for sure, some might still at least entertain themselves and each other trying to figure out how it got there or why. I think there's a difference between what is inconsequential or unknowable and what is meaningless, even if logical positivists tend to lump them together.

My own point of view tends toward the pragmatic, but some of those deep ontological questions can, at least in theory, influence how one behaves toward the world, and if so, then they have some meaning even if they're wrong.

The older I get, the more I tend toward the viewpoint that much of what we argue about is fundamentally flawed by the limitation of our own minds and our own language. People dilate endlessly on the possible purpose of the universe, but the universe does not care. The very idea of a purpose may not have any relevance to the existence of the universe. We must think in human terms, but the universe need not. We shudder at the idea that it's "just there," but there's no evidence that it isn't, and our logic, our arguments, our fears and our longings are the same.
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Old 21st October 2019, 09:17 AM   #332
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
There's a difference between "not caring" and "not considering the distinctions valid."

I'm not in the discussion going "I don't care." I'm in the discussion going "This isn't a valid discussion." That's a pretty big difference.

Again if someone was having a discussion about 4 different points of view, one where 2+2=4, one where 2+2=5, one where 2+2=a potato, and one where 2+2="Forever unknowable because of the al priori ipso facto latin word latin word event horizon of the formless" and treated it as the "everybody is correct, it's just different philosophies" I'd be doing the same thing.

Thing is why nobody is doing that but they are doing this is a question people get pissy when you ask.
I don't get it.

Idealists believe the chair exists. Why do you keep claiming the question is whether the chair exists or not?

Okay, look, if you say so, I'll agree that you aren't ignorant. You're just dishonest instead, reaching for a strawman rather than actually responding to the argument itself. I'm not sure why you prefer that characterization, but okay.


Forgive the above. On a reread, I think I missed your claim.

I don't see how you will prove the discussion "invalid" (whatever that may mean) by mischaracterizing the heart of it.

I'm also not sure why you're so passionate about the wrongness of "invalid" discussions that you are compelled to break in every so often and proclaim that people ought to cut it the hell out.

By the way, you tell me where I've ever said every philosophy is correct or equally valid or ******** like that. I'll sure repent, honest I will.

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Old 21st October 2019, 09:30 AM   #333
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I keep getting told what the discussion "isn't" to the point I don't think anyone knows that it actually is.

A purely argumentative "I don't see why you are in discussion" seems like a new variation on "Just stop being mean and let us have our fun" or "What's it hurting you if someone believes in something wrong?" copout.

The chair is there. You claim everyone is agreeing. I'm asking then what are they talking about.

Note I asked what they are talking about, not just have what they aren't talking about repeated back to me.

Again, you say the materialist and solipsistic and the Last-Thursdayist with Sprinkles all agree the chair is there. Again I ask you "Then what is it that they do disagree about?"
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Old 21st October 2019, 09:31 AM   #334
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Originally Posted by BadBoy View Post
Doesn't this miss out a very important part of science, that of making predictions. And I'm not talking about how the model always works every time you run the experiment. I am talking about how new predicted observations can be made based on the way we expect something to work.
No it doesn't miss out on it. Suppose you come up with model M which includes "E->EO" where E is "performing some new experiment" and O is "getting some new predicted observation." Then you'd want to test the model by adding E to the data sequence (ie perform the experiment) and see if you get O as the next symbol. The goal is to compress the data as much as possible, meaning you want the model that best models the data (but that also doesn't add much complexity itself, the compression ratio is between the data d on the one hand and the model+compressed data on the other hand, ie LEN("M;c") vs LEN("d")) so you'd want to manipulate the data sequence (by adding E's to it) so as to make it as easy as possible to reject candidate models (checking whether you get O as the next symbol).

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Cannot these predictions be based around an assumption that a materialists world view is what drove us to make the prediction in the first place. I mean perhaps at some point it may be possible to predict an expected observation which will depend on what nature of reality actually is (simulation or material)
Wouldn't it just shift things? Suppose we learn that we are in a computer simulation in a larger universe. Now the question is about the larger universe, is that also a computer simulation in some even-larger universe or is it the material-external world.
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Old 21st October 2019, 09:35 AM   #335
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
No it doesn't miss out on it. Suppose you come up with model M which includes "E->EO" where E is "performing some new experiment" and O is "getting some new predicted observation." Then you'd want to test the model by adding E to the data sequence (ie perform the experiment) and see if you get O as the next symbol. The goal is to compress the data as much as possible, meaning you want the model that best models the data (but that also doesn't add much complexity itself, the compression ratio is between the data d on the one hand and the model+compressed data on the other hand, ie LEN("M;c") vs LEN("d")) so you'd want to manipulate the data sequence (by adding E's to it) so as to make it as easy as possible to reject candidate models (checking whether you get O as the next symbol).



Wouldn't it just shift things? Suppose we learn that we are in a computer simulation in a larger universe. Now the question is about the larger universe, is that also a computer simulation in some even-larger universe or is it the material-external world.
Turtles.
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Old 21st October 2019, 09:43 AM   #336
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I keep getting told what the discussion "isn't" to the point I don't think anyone knows that it actually is.

A purely argumentative "I don't see why you are in discussion" seems like a new variation on "Just stop being mean and let us have our fun" or "What's it hurting you if someone believes in something wrong?" copout.

The chair is there. You claim everyone is agreeing. I'm asking then what are they talking about.
I can't speak for every thread in this discussion. I have told you what the various philosophical positions are. Are you still asking? A moment ago, you claimed to understand but were denying some distinction or other (not clear what the distinction was). Have you forgotten already?

Quote:
Note I asked what they are talking about, not just have what they aren't talking about repeated back to me.
Have you forgotten my answer already?

Quote:
Again, you say the materialist and solipsistic and the Last-Thursdayist with Sprinkles all agree the chair is there. Again I ask you "Then what is it that they do disagree about?"
I just told you. Please reread the post and then ask a more specific question, because I don't care to say the same thing twice. I believe that I made the difference as clear as possible in a reasonably short form. I don't aim to answer exactly the same question a second time unless you can tell me precisely why my previous answer was unclear.
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Old 21st October 2019, 09:53 AM   #337
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
Have you forgotten my answer already?
I did not find your answers meaningful enough to respond to. You just did what I'm talking about, labeled and categorized the "wrongness" and pretended it was some form of alternate correctness because it's "valid philosophy."

You claim that everyone agrees the chair is there, and then immediatly tell me that there are valid alternatives (or alternatives worth treating as something we have to discuss to not set off your "sHoW mE WhERe I SAiD ThAT!" subroutine) to the chair existing, just by rewording it to the chair existing but not being matter or the chair existing but we can't prove it exists outside our head or other such nonsense.

You claim everyone agrees the chair exists, but dishonestly don't mention that are all using different definitions of "exist" to the point that... yes some of the most certainly are saying (if only purely argumentatively) that the chair doesn't exist.

It's as if you're defending someone from the accusation that they are saying "2+2=5" while they are sitting there going "I'm totally not saying 2+2=5, but I am saying that if I have two apples in one hand and two apples in the other I have five apples."

What people are saying and what people are.... "saying saying" are not the same thing. This is not new information to me, you, or anyone else.

If (g) you say "The chair exists.... but" you are saying the chair doesn't exist. Let's avoid the temptation to put obtuseness on an even higher pedestal for the sole purpose of stroking the egos of the Wise Old Men on the Mountain.

Everything else was so much tired old word games, the bog standard mixture of "How many legs does a dog have if you call a tail a leg?" and "What is the difference between ketchup and catsup?" arguments.
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Old 21st October 2019, 09:59 AM   #338
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You claim everyone agrees the chair exists, but dishonestly don't mention that are all using different definitions of "exist" to the point that... yes some of the most certainly are saying (if only purely argumentatively) that the chair doesn't exist.

Minus the accusation of dishonesty, I think this is the key point.
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Old 21st October 2019, 10:05 AM   #339
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
Ok then, there is no such thing as operational-materialism or operational-other-ontologism, since none of these ontologies have real and immediate consequences in an operational sense.

But there are, very much so.

Take the idealist healer. He believes some kind of spirit causes your illness, and so treats you accordingly, by exorcizing the demons inside you, or praying for you, or by extending some saint's blessings on to you by sprinkling you with holy water.

That was just one example, it's easy to think of any number of such examples.

In your subsequent post -- which I'm not responding to separately -- you accuse me of painting all non-materialist ontologies as irrational, but that's not what I'm saying, at all. That is, I'm not getting into that discussion at all. I'm simply taking issue with your terminology -- that's all I've been doing in this thread -- as follows:


Operational-materialism/idealism, these really are a thing. People ontological beliefs do affect their actions in a real, operational, immediate way, it does have profound effects on their life.

I'm using the present tense, but in historical times such instances were far more numerous. Literal idealists, conducting their lives accordingly.

Today most people, at least in the west, are operational-materialists, but evn so, this operational belief is still a thing, even if in lesser numbers.

So, I'm saying, your definitions are such that you have no names for, and no discussion about, people's operational beliefs about these things, which do have consequences and import. But you do have words for, and discussions around, theoretical ontologies that have no consequences and no import.

Wouldn't you agree with me that that's odd, bizarre even?

And it's easily remedied, this state of affairs. I've already suggested how.

P.S.
I'm not contesting your understanding of philosophy or philosophical terms. You clearly know more about these things than I do. What I'm doing is offering a common-sense critique of what appears to me to be a glaring anomaly in this discussion on ontology.


Quote:
Do you then agree that Sokal's quote above was, at least in part, making meaningless and baseless claims?

I haven't read Sokal, hell I only came across the name here. So I don't know where he's coming from.

He may have only laid out an operational base to be doing science from, in which case I agree with him.

If, on the other hand, he was going for ontology in the sense of commenting about the ultimate nature of things, then clearly he was overreaching himself, clearly his words are not valid then. I've said as much, readily, upthread, in response to you.
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Old 21st October 2019, 10:08 AM   #340
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I did not find your answers meaningful enough to respond to. You just did what I'm talking about, labeled and categorized the "wrongness" and pretended it was some form of alternate correctness because it's "valid philosophy."
No, I didn't. I discussed various schools of thought and gave no opinion on their plausibility or correctness.

If I don't comment on the correctness of a theory or school, it does not mean that I embrace it or view it as good as any alternative. If you want my opinion, you are welcome to ask, but it's not particularly germane to my previous post.

Quote:
You claim that everyone agrees the chair is there, and then immediatly tell me that there are valid alternatives (or alternatives worth treating as something we have to discuss to not set off your "sHoW mE WhERe I SAiD ThAT!" subroutine) to the chair existing, just by rewording it to the chair existing but not being matter or the chair existing but we can't prove it exists outside our head or other such nonsense.
No, I said no such thing. I can totally understand someone expressing no interest in this topic. There is literally no practical consequences to be had from this discussion. I can even understand someone thinking it a waste of time.

But criticizing it as stupid requires at least a passing familiarity with the issues. Now, I certainly don't think that everyone should have such a familiarity. An alternative is not to criticize arguments that you literally don't understand.

Quote:
You claim everyone agrees the chair exists, but dishonestly don't mention that are all using different definitions of "exist" to the point that... yes some of the most certainly are saying (if only purely argumentatively) that the chair doesn't exist.

It's as if you're defending someone from the accusation that they are saying "2+2=5" while they are sitting there going "I'm totally not saying 2+2=5, but I am saying that if I have two apples in one hand and two apples in the other I have five apples."

What people are saying and what people are.... "saying saying" are not the same thing. This is not new information to me, you, or anyone else.

If (g) you say "The chair exists.... but" you are saying the chair doesn't exist. Let's avoid the temptation to put obtuseness on an even higher pedestal for the sole purpose of stroking the egos of the Wise Old Men on the Mountain.

Everything else was so much tired old word games, the bog standard mixture of "How many legs does a dog have if you call a tail a leg?" and "What is the difference between ketchup and catsup?" arguments.
I don't see any redefinition of existence. The chair exists, though what that means depends not on what we identify as existence, but as "the chair". For a materialist, the chair is an object distinct from our perceptions (and about which, hence, we literally have no direct knowledge). For an idealist, it is nonsense to posit an object distinct from that which we know, namely the perception itself. This is, says Berkeley, the chair, since there is nothing distinct from the chair that we can point to.

Berkeley claims that prior to the addled teachings of philosophy, no one thought there was a chair distinct from the perception of the chair and only over-educated gullible folk believe in the material world. The common folk believe only in the mental world. He sure didn't sell me on that argument, but it was a darned spirited attempt.
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Old 21st October 2019, 12:01 PM   #341
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
No, I didn't. I discussed various schools of thought and gave no opinion on their plausibility or correctness.
Ah yes the "I'm just asking questions (or just talking about in this case" gambit.

Again you can't go "I'm not saying 2+2=4 and 2+2=5 (but I'm gonna pretend I'm saying 2+2=4) are equally correct, I'm just discussing both in neutral terms." That's not a thing.

This is "Teach the controversy" level.

Quote:
I don't see any redefinition of existence. The chair exists, though what that means depends not on what we identify as existence, but as "the chair". For a materialist, the chair is an object distinct from our perceptions (and about which, hence, we literally have no direct knowledge). For an idealist, it is nonsense to posit an object distinct from that which we know, namely the perception itself. This is, says Berkeley, the chair, since there is nothing distinct from the chair that we can point to.
And see here's the problem. I call that bunch of distinctions without difference at best, total word salad at worst "gibberish" and you'll use that as proof that I "just don't get it."

Yes in any sane discussion "The chair like totally exists but... like in my head *takes hit off of joint*" is saying the chair doesn't exist and you pretending it falls under the same term is redefining existence to mean something else.

You're Jabbaing, demanding that people already agree with you before you''ll allow them into the discussion, creating a discussion where everyone already agrees with you and hiding behind the "If you don't think it's important, why are you here?" tactic.
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Old 21st October 2019, 01:04 PM   #342
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
But there are, very much so.

Take the idealist healer. He believes some kind of spirit causes your illness, and so treats you accordingly, by exorcizing the demons inside you, or praying for you, or by extending some saint's blessings on to you by sprinkling you with holy water.
And here you go again, simply assuming that people who aren't materialists are irrational. What evidence does this idealist healer have for believing that performing these acts will alleviate the illness?

Quote:
That was just one example, it's easy to think of any number of such examples.
Exactly, take the materialist healer. He believes some kind of material cause exists for your illness, and so treats you accordingly, by chanting a certain prayer so that the vibrations of the air will alleviate the material cause of the illness.

He has no evidence that such vibrations alleviate such illness, you say? Glad you pointed that out. Let's get to it after you've answered the same question for the idealist healer above.

Quote:
Operational-materialism/idealism, these really are a thing. People ontological beliefs do affect their actions in a real, operational, immediate way, it does have profound effects on their life.
So you keep claiming.
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Old 21st October 2019, 01:43 PM   #343
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I'd rather be treated by a rational religious healer, who believes he is "exorcizing demons" by performing "administering drug" because that's what he observes to make the illness go away, than by an irrational materialist healer, who believes he is "affecting material causes" by performing "chant a prayer" because he arbitrarily believes that very specific air vibrations have such effect.
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Old 21st October 2019, 01:47 PM   #344
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
I'd rather be treated by a rational religious healer, who believes he is "exorcizing demons" by performing "administering drug" because that's what he observes to make the illness go away, than by an irrational materialist healer, who believes he is "affecting material causes" by performing "chant a prayer" because he arbitrarily believes that very specific air vibrations have such effect.
That's like saying you'd rather have your taxes done by an account who thinks 2+2=7 but somehow still gets your taxes right by pure accident then by an accountant who knows 2+2=4 but makes an honest math mistake.

Knowledge is not random. People who understand the world comes to accurate information more often then people who don't.

Going "Well yeah I'd still rather deal with someone who is accidentally correct then someone who is 'by the actual process that works' wrong" as if those events just happen in a vacuum is silly.

"I'd rather deal with someone who is wrong by accident" only works if you look at once random scenario taken out of context and not trends or... like reality.

The accountant who thinks 2+2=7 or the faith healer who gets it right once by accident is going to screw up a lot more a long enough, and not even that long, timeline.
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Old 21st October 2019, 01:55 PM   #345
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
That's like saying you'd rather have your taxes done by an account who thinks 2+2=7 but somehow still gets your taxes right by pure accident then by an accountant who knows 2+2=4 but makes an honest math mistake.

Knowledge is not random. People who understand the world comes to accurate information more often then people who don't.

Going "Well yeah I'd still rather deal with someone who is accidentally correct then someone who is 'by the actual process that works' wrong" as if those events just happen in a vacuum is silly.

"I'd rather deal with someone who is wrong by accident" only works if you look at once random scenario taken out of context and not trends or... like reality.

The accountant who thinks 2+2=7 or the faith healer who gets it right once by accident is going to screw up a lot more a long enough, and not even that long, timeline.
But the rational religious healer who goes to medical school to learn how to distinguish different demons and exactly how to perform the exorcism for each, as well as keeps up with the published literature on such, is going to get it right almost consistently. Whereas the irrational materialist healer, who goes to a monastery to learn which chants supposedly produce the exact right vibrations, is going to get it wrong almost consistently - you know, few if any diseases being curable through such air vibrations. I'll still go with the former, thanks.
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Old 21st October 2019, 02:13 PM   #346
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
I'd rather be treated by a rational religious healer, who believes he is "exorcizing demons" by performing "administering drug" because that's what he observes to make the illness go away, than by an irrational materialist healer, who believes he is "affecting material causes" by performing "chant a prayer" because he arbitrarily believes that very specific air vibrations have such effect.
Unfortunately when we had rational religious healers they couldn't and didn't cure anything. I think your example fails because the model of a reality with demons causing illness did not match the reality in which we appear to exist, it simply fails to accurately model the world around us.
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Old 21st October 2019, 02:14 PM   #347
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Ah yes the "I'm just asking questions (or just talking about in this case" gambit.

Again you can't go "I'm not saying 2+2=4 and 2+2=5 (but I'm gonna pretend I'm saying 2+2=4) are equally correct, I'm just discussing both in neutral terms." That's not a thing.

This is "Teach the controversy" level.
Er, teaching the philosophical controversies is what I do. I don't teach idealism any more, because I found Berkeley is difficult to do justice to when I have a lot I want to cover in an intro course. It's genuinely hard to get idealism across to students with no background.

My primary aim in intro courses is to get students to understand the argument. I don't ask them to criticize the argument in any written work, because I think they need to be able to present the argument in their own words before they can reasonably criticize it. I will discuss criticisms in class, but my main aim is to give them familiarity with historic arguments.

I tend to think that's useful. You may not. My university seems to think it's reasonably useful.


Quote:
And see here's the problem. I call that bunch of distinctions without difference at best, total word salad at worst "gibberish" and you'll use that as proof that I "just don't get it."

Yes in any sane discussion "The chair like totally exists but... like in my head *takes hit off of joint*" is saying the chair doesn't exist and you pretending it falls under the same term is redefining existence to mean something else.

You're Jabbaing, demanding that people already agree with you before you''ll allow them into the discussion, creating a discussion where everyone already agrees with you and hiding behind the "If you don't think it's important, why are you here?" tactic.
You are welcome to dismiss the argument as useless. In the context it was raised (in the deep skepticism introduced by Descartes), I think it's quite a good argument. I tend to think that its real use is showing that such a deeply skeptical view leads to very little things we can call knowledge. As a result, such a view is not so useful in developing a broad theory of the world around us.

But you're right. I think you haven't a clue about idealism because you don't understand the context in which it was suggested. Your reaction to idealism is an illustration of why I focus on understanding before expecting reasonable criticism.

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Old 21st October 2019, 03:01 PM   #348
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Phywum, do you find a lot of first year students are stuck in the binary world of being?
It is or it isn't. No space between the two options to fudge in " well, Schroeder's cat says that it could be either if you imagine it so ".

In the mundane of life binary thinking on existing is adequate. I see a cup on the table, no doubt it is there. Not seeing the sugar bowl means I must look more because it isn't present.

But in religion or supernatural subjects, themselves not being evidence based the entire world of philosophy applies. You can't really be wrong even if you are in a coffee shop gazing at navels.

You could appear a deep thinker or a total loon, but you won't be right or wrong until evidence appears to decide.
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Old 21st October 2019, 03:07 PM   #349
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
And here you go again, simply assuming that people who aren't materialists are irrational. What evidence does this idealist healer have for believing that performing these acts will alleviate the illness?



Exactly, take the materialist healer. He believes some kind of material cause exists for your illness, and so treats you accordingly, by chanting a certain prayer so that the vibrations of the air will alleviate the material cause of the illness.

He has no evidence that such vibrations alleviate such illness, you say? Glad you pointed that out. Let's get to it after you've answered the same question for the idealist healer above.



So you keep claiming.

Despite my repeated disclaimers you keep misunderstanding my posts, and in any case ignoring the main thrust of what I've said here.

For the last time: I'm not touching on the rationality or otherwise, or the merits and demerits, of competing ontologies.

I'm simply making this clear: It is possible to have your ontology actually affect you at a direct level, at an operating functional level. It isn't necessary, but it can happen. That healer was an example of how this might happen.

Have you understood NOW? Your ontology need not necessarily be sterile theory; it is also possible to have operating ontologies, working models as it were, that do impact how we act.

Do you claim that faith healers -- for example -- never existed? Not deliberate frauds, but faith healers who actually believed they were doing good?

Well, you have an example of operational-idealism right there. That's as clear an example of an operational-ontology as anyone may ask for.

My single point here is this: While you do have terms for, and therefore discussions around, ultimate-ontologies, despite the fact that these are sterile things; yet you do not, apparently, have terms for, and therefore discussions around, operational-ontologies, that is, the de facto ontology that you take as you working model in some particular endeavor.

I cannot imagine why you keep ignoring my actual words, and insist on imputing strawman motives on to me.

For the last time, I'm NOT getting into the comparative merits of these ontologies here, I'm only pointing out that ontologies can operate both at some remote ultimate sterile theoretical level, as well as at an immediate, de facto, operational level. I was only pointing out to you the absurdity of having terms for the former, but not the latter.

I'm not interested in the endless loop of speaking-across-one-another argument-fests that most philosophy discussions here tend to devolve to. I only wanted to have a brief but meaningful discussion about this anomaly with you, that I keep pointing out, and that you keep simply ignoring while imputing your own imagined meanings to my words.

This will be my last post in this thread. Any further misunderstandings -- whether owing to wilful misdirection on your part, or your obtuseness, or for that matter my own inability to articulate my ideas clearly to you -- I do not care to take the effort to correct any further. I'll leave you to fight your own imaginary battles against materialism and materialists. (Certainly it is imaginary, this battle, this pitting the merits of one ontology against another, where I myself am concerned.)
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Old 21st October 2019, 03:53 PM   #350
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Despite my repeated disclaimers you keep misunderstanding my posts, and in any case ignoring the main thrust of what I've said here.

For the last time: I'm not touching on the rationality or otherwise, or the merits and demerits, of competing ontologies.

I'm simply making this clear: It is possible to have your ontology actually affect you at a direct level, at an operating functional level. It isn't necessary, but it can happen. That healer was an example of how this might happen.

Have you understood NOW? Your ontology need not necessarily be sterile theory; it is also possible to have operating ontologies, working models as it were, that do impact how we act.

Do you claim that faith healers -- for example -- never existed? Not deliberate frauds, but faith healers who actually believed they were doing good?

Well, you have an example of operational-idealism right there. That's as clear an example of an operational-ontology as anyone may ask for.
Yes, I agree that it is possible to have your ontology actually affect you on a direct level, at an operating functional level. For example the actions taken by the irrational materialist healer, chanting a particular prayer, are informed by a belief in an external material world. What I don't agree with is that operational-materialism should be preferred over operational-otherism. I don't care if the healer thinks he's living in an external material world or in a simulation, just as long as he administers the correct treatment.

Quote:
My single point here is this: While you do have terms for, and therefore discussions around, ultimate-ontologies, despite the fact that these are sterile things; yet you do not, apparently, have terms for, and therefore discussions around, operational-ontologies, that is, the de facto ontology that you take as you working model in some particular endeavor.
The operational terms are rational and irrational, as I've defined above. I don't think there's any such thing as an operational-ontology, hence why I've asked you to define the term. By the definition you've given, essentially "doing things while also happening to believe in some ontology" I see no reason to prefer operational-materialism over an operational-otherism.

Quote:
This will be my last post in this thread. Any further misunderstandings -- whether owing to wilful misdirection on your part, or your obtuseness, or for that matter my own inability to articulate my ideas clearly to you -- I do not care to take the effort to correct any further. I'll leave you to fight your own imaginary battles against materialism and materialists. (Certainly it is imaginary, this battle, this pitting the merits of one ontology against another, where I myself am concerned.)
Projection much? If you don't want to be misunderstood then define your terms properly, it's not like you haven't been asked. And the battle is certainly yours, as I've repeatedly stated to have no preference for one operational-ontology over another, yet you seem to be arguing that operational-materialism should be preferred over another.
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Old 21st October 2019, 04:05 PM   #351
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Originally Posted by 8enotto View Post
Phywum, do you find a lot of first year students are stuck in the binary world of being?
It is or it isn't. No space between the two options to fudge in " well, Schroeder's cat says that it could be either if you imagine it so ".

In the mundane of life binary thinking on existing is adequate. I see a cup on the table, no doubt it is there. Not seeing the sugar bowl means I must look more because it isn't present.

But in religion or supernatural subjects, themselves not being evidence based the entire world of philosophy applies. You can't really be wrong even if you are in a coffee shop gazing at navels.

You could appear a deep thinker or a total loon, but you won't be right or wrong until evidence appears to decide.
My primary issue is that students don't understand the arguments various authors present. It's not so much about viewing things in black and white, but rather carefully reading the authors (and listening to the lecture) and understand what is being said. Instead, they kinda get the idea only sorta and feel in the details with what they naturally assume is being said.

It's remarkable. Certain authors are utterly misinterpreted in exactly the same way, semester after semester. It doesn't matter that I specifically warn folks that Russell, say, can be misunderstood in this manner, that he's not saying this, he's saying that. They still do it (though in somewhat fewer numbers).

It's not quite reading comprehension. It's paying close attention to the argument, so there's some laziness when it comes to grasping the logic involved.
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Old 21st October 2019, 06:12 PM   #352
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
I don't get it.

Idealists believe the chair exists. Why do you keep claiming the question is whether the chair exists or not?

Okay, look, if you say so, I'll agree that you aren't ignorant. You're just dishonest instead, reaching for a strawman rather than actually responding to the argument itself. I'm not sure why you prefer that characterization, but okay.


Forgive the above. On a reread, I think I missed your claim.

I don't see how you will prove the discussion "invalid" (whatever that may mean) by mischaracterizing the heart of it.

I'm also not sure why you're so passionate about the wrongness of "invalid" discussions that you are compelled to break in every so often and proclaim that people ought to cut it the hell out.

By the way, you tell me where I've ever said every philosophy is correct or equally valid or ******** like that. I'll sure repent, honest I will.
As a bit of a by stander on these things, I will speak up and suggest that JoeMorgue raises a point of view that is equally valid IMO. It's an interesting discussion, but pointing out that in fact this whole thought experiment could be completely bogus pulled me up to consider this too.

I also noted that someone called these different philosophical positions theories. I assume this is theory with a small 't'?
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Old 21st October 2019, 06:20 PM   #353
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Originally Posted by BadBoy View Post
As a bit of a by stander on these things, I will speak up and suggest that JoeMorgue raises a point of view that is equally valid IMO. It's an interesting discussion, but pointing out that in fact this whole thought experiment could be completely bogus pulled me up to consider this too.

I also noted that someone called these different philosophical positions theories. I assume this is theory with a small 't'?
It's one thing to deny that it is particularly interesting or useful to worry about the consequences of Cartesian doubt. It is another to rant that it's all nonsense and poppycock and stupid and no one should be talking about this stuff.

I'm well aware that many folk aren't interested in seeing where attempting to remove doubt in its entirety leaves one. Joe however was misrepresenting the conclusions of the arguments and betrayed no understanding of the context in which they were raised.

One often speaks of philosophical theories. They are not the same as scientific theories just as neither of these two are the same as mathematical theories (which is more or less the same as logical theories).

The word theory has different meanings in different contexts.
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Old 22nd October 2019, 02:00 AM   #354
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Originally Posted by Dr.Sid View Post
But you can't explain why things exist, can you ? That's the issue. We simply don't know, and we will never know.
Sure, gods are silly concept. But matter just popping up into existence, that's also silly concept.
Why must there be a why? (Serious question.)
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Old 22nd October 2019, 04:23 AM   #355
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Why must there be a why? (Serious question.)
It's a good question.
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Old 22nd October 2019, 05:26 AM   #356
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Why must there be a why? (Serious question.)
There's always why. Like .. in your question.
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Old 22nd October 2019, 05:30 AM   #357
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Why must there be a why? (Serious question.)
"Why" questions are just "what" questions badly worded.
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Old 22nd October 2019, 05:44 AM   #358
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Originally Posted by Dr.Sid View Post
There's always why. Like .. in your question.
The "why" in his question means, "what reasons do you have for thinking..."

If we ask, "why does this universe exist?" it is not clear what you are asking for.
If you're asking for the purpose or meaning of the universe, it seems unclear that there should be an answer (and it is clear that no such answer would be scientific).

If you're asking for an explanation, something like a sufficient condition, for the universe to exist, that may be possible and sensible. If we could say that prior to the universe existing, conditions were such that a universe was inevitable, that would work. Of course, the problem is making sense of the notion of "conditions" prior to the existence of the universe.

I'm sure there are other interpretations of "why" in this context.
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Old 22nd October 2019, 09:02 AM   #359
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Originally Posted by BadBoy View Post
As a bit of a by stander on these things, I will speak up and suggest that JoeMorgue raises a point of view that is equally valid IMO. It's an interesting discussion, but pointing out that in fact this whole thought experiment could be completely bogus pulled me up to consider this too.
Materials think they are calling it as things are and aren't doing any philosophy (aka word salad or being dishonest) - but ironically, it is quite the opposite. Doing Materialism is doing Philosophy. Experientially, all we have is a bundle of perceptions and sensations, there is no subject and object or any kind of demarkation between a subject and object - there is only a seamless integrated experience. Everything we know and experience falls within awareness.
Materialism is an inference - Idealism is an honest description of how we live.
I wouldn't suggest Materialism and Idealism are 'theories' but perhaps models, and being models they are not an exact match for reality, but each have their utility.
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Old 22nd October 2019, 09:32 AM   #360
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Originally Posted by LarryS View Post
Materials think they are calling it as things are and aren't doing any philosophy (aka word salad or being dishonest) - but ironically, it is quite the opposite. Doing Materialism is doing Philosophy. Experientially, all we have is a bundle of perceptions and sensations, there is no subject and object or any kind of demarkation between a subject and object - there is only a seamless integrated experience. Everything we know and experience falls within awareness.
Materialism is an inference - Idealism is an honest description of how we live.
I wouldn't suggest Materialism and Idealism are 'theories' but perhaps models, and being models they are not an exact match for reality, but each have their utility.
Idealism may be how "I" live. I experience everything through myself. But do other people experience it in same way ? We can only study materialistic acts of other people. I share less "ideas" with other people then I share "materials" with them.
So while I agree that idealism is honest description, it is not description of how "we" live. It's how "I" live.
Please note that I'm materialist and I think that while this description is honest, it's also wrong, and impractical.
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