3
   

Absolute determinism and the illusion of free will.

 
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Feb, 2004 07:33 pm
So that we don't lose focus here, JL, think of what I have been saying about your "belief system."

One of the essential elements is that there is an attempt to portray a guess/estimate/perception/whatever as something more than a guess/estimate/perception or whatever.

That is where we come into conflict -- not on the issue of whether or not guesses are made -- or estimates or perceptions.

Said another say: Nearly as I can tell -- ALL BELIEFS ARE GUESSES.

But not all guesses are beliefs.

Hope you grok what I am trying to communicate here, JL.

It is a very important element of our disagreement.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Feb, 2004 08:53 pm
truth
Frank, I just lost another lost post. Here's my attempt at reconstruction: I think that many guesses are beliefs, except when we make a "flip-of-the-coin" type of guess that verges on the arbitrary because we must decide between options without any facts to guide us. And "beliefs" are often guesswork for the same reason--as in Pascal's Wager. But I would also agree with the philosopher C.S.Pierce who says (in "The Fixation of Belief") that all knowledge is provisional and ultimately a matter of opinion or belief. My problem with this post is that it underscores your failure to understand what we mean by our "perspective." Have you ever seen that double image of a vase and/or two faces facing each other? This is a good illustration of what I, at least, mean by perspective. One can only see the vase OR the faces at one time. Some people can switch back and forth between the two quickly, but some people find it difficult to switch and sometimes it takes individuals a long time, if ever, to see the two faces once they've committed to the vase and vice versa. These two images refer very closely to what I mean by "perspective" and, as you can see they have nothing to do with belief or guesswork.
This point is also very crucial to our disagreement.
By the way, what's a "grok."
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Feb, 2004 09:49 pm
Re: truth
JLNobody wrote:
But I would also agree with the philosopher C.S.Pierce who says (in "The Fixation of Belief") that all knowledge is provisional and ultimately a matter of opinion or belief.

Peirce said something like that in many of his writings, but he never maintained that knowledge was only opinion or rested solely on belief. Indeed, he was firmly convinced of an objective reality, as he stated in "The Fixation of Belief:"
    "To satisfy our doubts, therefore, it is necessary that a method should be found by which our belief may be determined by nothing human, but by [i]some external permanency[/i] -- by something upon which our thinking has no effect. . . . Such is the method of science. Its fundamental hypothesis, restated in more familiar language, is this: [i]There are Real things, whose characters are entirely independent of our opinions about them[/i]; those Reals affect our senses according to regular laws, and though our sensations are as different as are our relations to the objects, yet, by taking advantage of the laws of perception, we can ascertain by reasoning how things really and truly are; and any man, if he have sufficient experience and he reason enough about it, will be led to the one True conclusion." (emphasis mine)

Thus, although the human mind was prone to error, the scientific method promised the closest approximation possible for humans to ascertain reality.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Feb, 2004 10:13 pm
truth
Joe, yes, with regard to his ideals he is a positivist, but regarding his description of how people actually behave in the conduct of inquiry, he says: "...the sole object of inquiry is the settlement of opinion." He goes on to say that "we may fancy that this is not enough for us, and that we seek not merely an opinion, but a true opinion. But put this fancy to the test, and it proves groundless; for as soon as a firm belief is reached we are entirely satisfied, whether the belief be false or true...The most that can be maintained is that we seek for a belief that we shall think to be true. But we think each one of our beliefs to be true, and, indeed, it is mere tautology to say so." I am not a positivist, as you know, so I would not accept the statement you quoted as correct, and I do not think he is consistent here with pragmatism, but that is beside the point.
Moreover, he is talking about Science as an ideal, as the "closest approximation" to a methodology for ascertaining the truth about the physical world. I am not talking about that, I'm talking about our perspective on our experience, acknowledging that dualism is fine for some purposes, in that it consists of a fundamentally useful fictional perspective for the examination of the physical world--in terms of answering our dualistic questions about "it". What I am arguing for is something else, a non-dualistic perspective for an epistemologically more realistic grasp on the nature of our life experience.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Feb, 2004 12:52 am
JLN

Well said.

I doubt whether "The Scientific Method" referred to above envisaged some of the results it has produced such as contemporary paradoxes like "nonlocality" , or mathematical models "producing their own evidence". It is from these paradoxes that the "philosopher" proceeds and the "layman" (non-philosopher) either follows or remains in his limited cocoon of understanding. The quest for a more satisfying epistemological position is entirely justified.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Feb, 2004 08:33 am
Re: truth
JLNobody wrote:
I think that many guesses are beliefs...


Me too.

Quote:
...except when we make a "flip-of-the-coin" type of guess that verges on the arbitrary because we must decide between options without any facts to guide us.


I agree...these kinds of guesses seldom are offered as "beliefs."

Quote:
And "beliefs" are often guesswork...


As far as I've been able to determine, "beliefs" are ALWAYS guesses. Unfortunately, "beliefs" are often offered in discussions as facts or truths.


Quote:
But I would also agree with the philosopher C.S.Pierce who says (in "The Fixation of Belief") that all knowledge is provisional and ultimately a matter of opinion or belief.


My tendency is toward the notion that "all knowledge is provisional and ultimately a matter of opinion or estimation.

Quote:
My problem with this post is that it underscores your failure to understand what we mean by our "perspective." Have you ever seen that double image of a vase and/or two faces facing each other? This is a good illustration of what I, at least, mean by perspective. One can only see the vase OR the faces at one time. Some people can switch back and forth between the two quickly, but some people find it difficult to switch and sometimes it takes individuals a long time, if ever, to see the two faces once they've committed to the vase and vice versa. These two images refer very closely to what I mean by "perspective" and, as you can see they have nothing to do with belief or guesswork.


I am one of those fortunate individuals who can see both the face and the vase -- or the woman at the mirror and the death head -- or the crone and the beautiful woman...almost at will -- and I can easily switch back and forth.

I understand what you mean by perspective.

You unfortunately are not seeing what I am saying about "beliefs" and "guesswork."


Quote:
This point is also very crucial to our disagreement.


I agree -- but I don't know how to get you to grok my point.


Quote:
By the way, what's a "grok."


It is a popular term invented by sci-fi writer Robert Heinlein. It means to understand in a way that goes past understanding; it means to grasp a concept in an exceptional way.

The word is used often in Internet threads and I thought you were familiar with it.

Bad guess on my part! :wink:
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Feb, 2004 09:33 am
JLN: I'm glad you agree, at least in part, with Peirce: I happen to have a high regard for his brand of pragmatism as well. But I see no warrant for accepting his method of scientific inquiry while rejecting its fundamental premises. To put it another way, I don't know how Peirce's method of inquiry can have any validity apart from Peirce's acceptance of a dualistic conception of reality, and you certainly haven't offered any arguments that would suggest such a divorce is permissible.

But then I find this is also fairly typical of the non-dualists here. Not only are we witness to the non-dualist shell game that I described in an earlier post (btw, my challenge still stands unanswered: where's the non-dualist explanation of Popper's falsifiability principle?), but we also have to endure the highly selective (and often deceptive) use of evidence. For instance, scientific findings that point, however tentatively, to non-dualism are accepted unquestioningly, whereas findings that point in the other direction are dismissed as "naive realism." In the same fashion, scientific results are embraced while the underlying scientific premises are rejected.

And thus we see the non-dualistic cherry-picking of quantum mechanics, string theory, M-theory, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, and others. In this, the non-dualists resemble no one so much as the convinced theists who gather the loose ends of science to construct theories of miracles, deluges, spontaneous creation, and holy relics while rejecting as "irrelevant" or "erroneous" those scientific findings that call those conclusions into doubt.

The non-dualists, in effect, embrace science in the same way that creationists embrace geology: rock layers that indicate a massive flood -- valid evidence; rock layers that indicate that the earth is billions of years old -- clearly wrong. Yet to accept one is to accept both, since both are founded on the same principles. In the same sense, the non-dualists cannot accept quantum mechanics without accepting physics; they cannot accept Heisenberg's uncertainty principle without accepting the non-identity of observer and observed; they cannot, in sum, accept scientific results without accepting scientific premises. And scientific premises presume the existence of both observer and observed.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Feb, 2004 11:26 am
Joe,

1. An answer WAS given about Popper. You may not understand it , like it, or accept it, but so what - I don't need to rely on it and am ready to discard it as a teaching device that didn't work

2. It is scientists themselves that are questioning a dualistic epistemological position. "Philosophers" are going along for the ride, and pointing out alternative paradigms which have been arrived at without reference to any particular data. In any case selection of data is an inevitable and natural aspect of perception from a non dualistic point of view. Your raising of the issue as a "criticism" is a category mistake which merely reinforces non duality.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Feb, 2004 12:00 pm
fresco wrote:
Joe,
2. It is scientists themselves that are questioning a dualistic epistemological position.



Well, Joe can answer for himself...but the observation I would make is:

I have absolutely no problem with scientists or Twyvel or JL or you...'questioning a dualistic epistemological position."

I do have a problem with you folks proclaiming that the issue has been settled in favor of a non-dualistic REALITY. I have a problem with you guys asserting that dualism is an impossibility.

If you three would simply acknowledge that your position is a belief system -- and that the question is still up for grabs -- I'm outta here.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Feb, 2004 12:22 pm
fresco wrote:
Joe,

1. An answer WAS given about Popper. You may not understand it , like it, or accept it, but so what - I don't need to rely on it and am ready to discard it as a teaching device that didn't work

No. I asked if anyone could explain Popper non-dualistically. In response, you said that your use of Popper was "discursive." But, of course, your response failed to address my question, which wasn't directed at your use of Popper, but of any possible non-dualistic use of Popper.

Indeed, your non-response is another routine tactic that I've seen employed by the "unholy trinity." Really, it's a technique that was mastered by the artful dodger Michel Foucault, who habitually responded to tough queries by saying "that's not the right question" or "you don't understand." By doing this, Foucault managed to ask all the questions himself, which made it seem like all his answers were right.

In the same way, the non-dualists routinely frame difficult questions to their own liking, or simply disregard them because the questioner "doesn't understand." It's a transparently evasive debating technique, but I can certainly appreciate why the non-dualists want to avoid answering any but their own questions.

fresco wrote:
2. It is scientists themselves that are questioning a dualistic epistemological position. "Philosophers" are going along for the ride, and pointing out alternative paradigms which have been arrived at without reference to any particular data. In any case selection of data is an inevitable and natural aspect of perception from a non dualistic point of view. Your raising of the issue as a "criticism" is a category mistake which merely reinforces non duality.

Identify one science that does not rest upon the fundamental distinction between observer and observed.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Feb, 2004 01:12 pm
Physics!!!!!!!!

<<In the 20th century, physics was forced into the position of re-evaluating the role of the observer, both in relativity and in quantum mechanics. In relativity, the absolutes of Newtonian physics were banished, and observations obtained by observers in different frames of reference became all that was available. These observations were linked through a system of coordinate transformations.

In quantum mechanics, the observer and the system being observed became mysteriously linked so that the results of any observation seemed to be determined in part by actual choices made by the observer. This situation is represented by the wave function, a function in the complex domain that contains information about both the cosmos at large and the observer's apparent state of knowledge. >>


David Maza (NASA)
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Feb, 2004 05:46 pm
truth
Joe, we are truly talking past one another. I should not have brought up Pierce's description of how people arrive at settled opinions, because it left the opening for you to show me how I was accepting a method of inquiry while denying the "premises" upon which the method is based. I don't understand. The method was his criticism perhaps of how people actually behave and said that given this they would always remain with doubt (I'm assuming that). The only way to avoid such doubt would be to have a perfect impersonal and objective scientific method that could provide them with a picture of how the world actually is. Does he say that method exists? I don't think so--at least not a perfect one. And even if he did think so, we must not compare this mid-19th century philosopher--as brilliant as he was--with the current speculations of 20/21st century thinkers. So much as been learned since then. The "naive realism" of today is to Newtonian mechanics what contemporary epistemology is to post Einstienian physics (cf. David Maza in Fresco's last post). Pierce can be characterized a naive realist at least to the extent that he can be characterized as a positivist.
But please try to understand and remember that I am not denying the value of either naive realism, for our mundane life, or of dualism in our interactions with the world. I'm just arguing that they are poor pictures of the reality beyond our practical concerns, concerns handled quite well with naive realism and dualism. Non-dualism does not, notwithstanding the promise of the new physics suggested by David Maza, give us knowledge about the world; it gives us a dazzling, yet private, realizaation of our mental nature and life experience.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Feb, 2004 06:16 pm
truth
Joe, your challenge to us to provide a non-dualistic explanation of Popper is (or at least appears to me to be) disingenuous. I do not know what kind of an "explanation" you are looking for. If you take my relativistic approach to our disagreement(s), you might understand that objectivist, dualist, positivist thinking HAS ITS (limited) PLACE while the subjectivist, non-dualist, mystical/transcendental perspective (notice I did not call it "thinking") has its own limited place. As such, trying to EXPLAIN dualistic thinking in non-dualistic terms is like trying to explain the experience of mystical realization by means of a Freudian model of the psyche. They are distinct realms. I said that dualism is ultimately non-dualistic, meaning that if a person who is THINKING (dualistically) were to be able to simultaneously observe his thoughts as immediate sensuous experience he would see that he was not separate from, or having, thoughts: that he IS those thoughts. Similarly, trying to "understand" this perspective by means of ideas runs against the current. It would be based on the false assumption that non-dualism is a dualistic notion in denial. That's where you misunderstand us.
I'm amazed in these threads to learn from Fresco how contemporary physics is speculating non-dualistically about the nature of the physical world. We are learning that that world is not unproblematically separate from us, the observers, and that its "material" is not quite what Newton meant by matter. It's an opening that I regret I will not be around long to savor. But I do not consider such advances in physics to be at all necessary to validate the non-dualistic (dynamic or dialectical monism) realizations of mysticism. Science could have remained positivistic, behavioristic, dualistic, etc. etc. while in no way detracting from the liberating value of non-dualism.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2004 09:37 am
fresco wrote:
Physics!!!!!!!!

Ah, fresco, if only the number of exclamation points used could actually increase the validity of one's assertions, you'd have something there.

I have no idea who "David Maza, Nasa" is, and you didn't include a link in your post. I Googled "david maza nasa" and "david maza quantum mechanics" and came up with nothing, so I have naught to work with except the small excerpt you chose to quote (perhaps he's the "former airline pilot" alluded to in one of Terry's posts). But even this tiny excerpt does nothing to support your position that physics dispenses with the observer-observed distinction. Maza wrote:
Quote:
In quantum mechanics, the observer and the system being observed became mysteriously linked so that the results of any observation seemed to be determined in part by actual choices made by the observer. This situation is represented by the wave function, a function in the complex domain that contains information about both the cosmos at large and the observer's apparent state of knowledge.


So the observer and the observed are "mysteriously linked." In what fashion, we do not know, and presumably Maza didn't solve that "mystery" or else I'm sure you would have quoted it, fresco. In particular, I'm quite certain that Maza never concluded that the "mysterious link" arose from the identity of the observer and the observed, as that would have made complete nonsense of his statement that: "In relativity, the absolutes of Newtonian physics were banished, and observations obtained by observers in different frames of reference became all that was available. These observations were linked through a system of coordinate transformations" (emphasis added). In other words, Maza himself is clearly still wedded to the notion of "observers" and "observations" in a wholly dualistic manner.

Maza may be stumped, but I have no problem solving this mystery, since Heisenberg already provided a solution: the "mysterious link" is something we like to call "causation." Causation, in turn, rests on a firm foundation of dualism (as I have noted in several other posts, there can be no "causation" as we understand it in a non-dualistic universe). Thus, physics most definitely rejects the non-dualist position of observer-observed identity.

Would you like to try again?
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2004 09:49 am
Re: truth
JLNobody wrote:
Joe, we are truly talking past one another.

And this is a surprise why?

JLNobody wrote:
I should not have brought up Pierce's description of how people arrive at settled opinions, because it left the opening for you to show me how I was accepting a method of inquiry while denying the "premises" upon which the method is based. I don't understand.

I'm sorry to hear that, JLN: I'm happy to talk about Peirce any time you'd like. As for not understanding my argument: you can't accept a method while rejecting the factual basis for the method. That would be like accepting the accuracy of a thermometer while rejecting the notion that mercury reacts in a predictable way to changes in temperature.

JLNobody wrote:
But please try to understand and remember that I am not denying the value of either naive realism, for our mundane life, or of dualism in our interactions with the world.

That's exactly what I'm trying to understand, JLN. But let me offer a possible analogy to see if I can get at what you're trying to say: let's suppose I want to measure the ground for a building foundation. I can measure it without taking the earth's curvature into consideration, even though the resulting measurement will be slightly inaccurate as a consequence. I can, in other words, act as if the world was flat for the purposes of my task, despite the fact that, in reality, the earth is round.

Now, JLN, is that how it works with dualistic evidence in a non-dualistic universe? Is the non-dualist like the person who knows the world is round but, for certain mundane purposes, can function as if it were flat?
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2004 09:55 am
Re: truth
JLNobody wrote:
Joe, your challenge to us to provide a non-dualistic explanation of Popper is (or at least appears to me to be) disingenuous.

Yeah, that's the kind of response that I've come to expect.

JLNobody wrote:
I do not know what kind of an "explanation" you are looking for.

Look, JLN, I didn't bring Popper into the discussion in the first place. That was fresco's doing. He said that Popper's falsifiability principle was evidence of the falsity of dualism. I challenged him (and anyone else who cared to respond) to explain Popper non-dualistically. He didn't respond, and I'm sure that's because he couldn't. Now, if that was an unfair question, then you'd also have to admit that fresco's use of Popper was baseless. On the other hand, if fresco was right, I'm sure he or you or someone else could come up with a satisfactory answer to my question.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2004 12:44 pm
truth
Joe, regarding your flat-round earth model. Yeah, at the moment that seems to serve well. But like all analogy models the fit is not perfect, so I might qualify this assent later. But so far, good. Dualism, like the notion of terrestial flatness, is a heuristic fiction.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2004 01:42 pm
truth
Joe, when I commented that your challenge regarding Popper appeared" to me to be disingeuous, it was a mere subjective reaction. It was not the meat of my response, or my contribution, as I would like to consider it. You DO have a tendency to avoid my (our) theses. I looked back at the post in question I find that I expressed my point quite to my satisfaction. I would appreciate it if you would re-read it again, and respond to IT, not to my passing reaction. I admit that sometimes my comments do not invite responses, that they are sometimes of the nature that one can only take them in and then drop them for lack of handles to grab onto. Inter-paradigmatic discourse is very awkward and difficult. Frank has noted, very kindly, that dispite our differences in the matter of dualism/non-dualism, we do agree on much, particularly on political and social value topics. But he, and you and Terry, and I have poor prospects for coming to agreement on the issue of dualism/non-dualism. But I do hope you enjoy exposure to our perspective(s). We already know yours; we were raised with it.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2004 02:07 pm
Joe,

What's the matter ? You didn't like the reply ?

You used the phrase "the fundamental distinction between observer and observed". I gave you a quotation which clearly stated that the position in physics was now to question the "fundamental distinction".
If you don't understand what was said there and wish to count exclamation marks or spuriously delight in the usage of separate "observer" and "observed" because the writer was obliged to start from the conventional view in order to give meaning to his rejection of it, then thats your problem.

When you've moved on from checking spellings and punctuation, pre-empting debating ploys, quetioning credibility of sources,
and using the term "evidence" in a dualistic manner, let me know.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2004 04:44 pm
fresco wrote:
Joe,

What's the matter ? You didn't like the reply ?

It's not a matter of "liking," fresco. And your reply was no more and no less than what I expected.

fresco wrote:
You used the phrase "the fundamental distinction between observer and observed". I gave you a quotation which clearly stated that the position in physics was now to question the "fundamental distinction".

No, you gave a quotation that indicated that at least one person (who may or may not be a physicist) is a little confused about some sort of "mysterious link" between the observer and the observed. But, as I pointed out in my response, the mystery is easily solved by reference to the notion of causation.

fresco wrote:
If you don't understand what was said there and wish to count exclamation marks or spuriously delight in the usage of separate "observer" and "observed" because the writer was obliged to start from the conventional view in order to give meaning to his rejection of it, then thats your problem.

No, it's your problem, since you still haven't come up with a satisfactory response to my question. Of course, if you want to stop trying, I'll understand.

fresco wrote:
When you've moved on from checking spellings and punctuation, pre-empting debating ploys, quetioning credibility of sources,
and using the term "evidence" in a dualistic manner, let me know.

Well, you've been keeping me pretty busy with those tasks, but I'll be sure to keep you in mind.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

How can we be sure? - Discussion by Raishu-tensho
Proof of nonexistence of free will - Discussion by litewave
morals and ethics, how are they different? - Question by existential potential
Destroy My Belief System, Please! - Discussion by Thomas
Star Wars in Philosophy. - Discussion by Logicus
Existence of Everything. - Discussion by Logicus
Is it better to be feared or loved? - Discussion by Black King
 
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 04/18/2021 at 12:37:35