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Clear thinking - how we connect our concepts

 
 
Cyracuz
 
Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2011 08:18 pm
Right from the start of our lives there is an emotionally based continuity. As we grow and learn, this continuity becomes more based on intellect rather than emotion, until we have an understanding of the continuity of reality that is both emotional and intellectual.
This is something we mostly take for granted. Things fit together, and for most things we don't really question the validity of our understanding, because it seems to work. But every so often we get indications that something doesn't add up.
One such indication is the question "does free will exist".
Those who think of this as a valid and sensible question have taken for granted that the terminology involved in the debate can accurately describe the processes we seek to investigate. What they really mean, of course, is "do we have free will".
The answer is simple. We do not. We have will, but the very nature of the concept "will" reveals that choice is meaningless without options. If there were no restrictions to our capacity to make choices there would be no choices to make, simply because limited options are what gives the act of choosing any meaning or value.

It's all in how we connect our concepts. We can ask, "what is nothing", and because of the "existential substance" given to the concept "nothing" by grammar we can easily fool ourselves into thinking that "nothing" can exist or not. No matter how we attack that issue all we end up with is confusion and word salad, because of the way we have connected the concepts "exist" and "nothing".

These are pretty obvious examples of misconceptions born of unexamined connections between concepts we use, and there are many more. Goes to show how important it is to pay heed to how we relate to familiar ideas, and how we string them together. Just because we can think it or say it doesn't mean that it will yield anything of value to one who seeks to gain a clearer understanding of the world he perceives.
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smcmonagle
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2011 08:28 pm
@Cyracuz,
well said>>>
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 12:59 am
@Cyracuz,
Yes, according to Wittgenstein and later Rorty, the contextual use of words cannot be sub-analysed by reference to a nebulous "reality" or "truth". Essentially this is the negation of analytic philosophy in the sense that the latter concerned itself with "foundationalism". The consequence of that view is that questions like "do we have free will" are not philosophically answerable...they are merely disembodied residues of social or courtroom dilemmas involving concepts of wisdom or culpability. To take questions out of their social context is merely to indulge in "language on holiday" games.
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 09:26 am
@Cyracuz,
Without words we would have no concepts, and every definition is a concept; and yet most of what we consider to be concepts are really infinites incapable of definition... Space, or nothing as you have it is one such non concept concept, and the bulk of our problems with thought followed by the social problems that come out of them is the result of moral forms, or if you prefer, non physical forms that are infinites if even that much can be said of them truthfully.... You say we grow and learn, but much of our early learning is by rote... Our earliest logic is the syllogism, and that only tells us what a thing is and is not; and it works with moral forms as well as physical forms never telling us more than we presume, so, to think we actually learn something with our concepts is not exactly correct... We learn when our concepts are challenged by reality and we must correct them for reality and since most forms are simply quasi forms or moral forms having no reality with which to compare them to, we usually learn less the more we compare, or rather learn that we cannot know of moral forms in the usual fashion...
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 12:30 pm
@Fido,
...just look at you..."...ARE REALLY infinities"...its lovely !
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 02:29 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil Albuquerque wrote:

...just look at you..."...ARE REALLY infinities"...its lovely !
The hard way of saying not exactly real at all... Good call, and of two infinites, time and space, though they may be nothing it is hard to deny them...
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 07:18 am
@Fido,
I am not sure what you mean by "infinites incapable of definition". Any concept serves to communicate what it was intended to communicate.

If we have a space that is closed within four walls and a roof the concepts outside and inside are very useful, because the walls clearly distinguish the space within from the space without.
But when we are talking about space in the "universe" sense of the word, it seems sensible to many people to ask; "but what is outside the end of the universe?". This is because the concepts "outside" and "inside" are associated with "space" making it seem logical that there has to be something "outside" the edge of space. The whole terminology serves to confuse.

Any concept is only useful in a certain context. Change the context and the concept may become invalid.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 07:23 am
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

I am not sure what you mean by "infinites incapable of definition". Any concept serves to communicate what it was intended to communicate.

If we have a space that is closed within four walls and a roof the concepts outside and inside are very useful, because the walls clearly distinguish the space within from the space without.
But when we are talking about space in the "universe" sense of the word, it seems sensible to many people to ask; "but what is outside the end of the universe?". This is because the concepts "outside" and "inside" are associated with "space" making it seem logical that there has to be something "outside" the edge of space. The whole terminology serves to confuse.

Any concept is only useful in a certain context. Change the context and the concept may become invalid.
Bullshit...

Moral forms never communicate anything but confusion... If I say I am angry; what makes you think my anger has the least similarity to your own??? If I say justice, what makes you believe my meaning has anything like the meaning you give the concept... We have few physical forms, and many moral forms which bedevil us forever... They cannot be defined because they are infinites, and are a source of endless discorce and contest, even to war... So, don't lay stupidity on me... Please.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 07:46 am
@Fido,
You seem to have an ample supply of stupidity all on your own...

You say a moral form cannot be defined because it is an infinite...
How do you identify such a form then, if it has no definition? What makes it stand out as a form different from other forms?
Also.... an infinite? If you can say they are several infinites they have to be finite in some aspect, or you would not be able to distinguish one from the other.
Your thinking is a good example of what this thread is about, logical inconsistencies born of inaccurate use of concepts.
wayne
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 08:12 am
@Cyracuz,
To my mind, this brings up the question of dimensions.
While space and time seem to be infinite in every dimension, moral forms are not. In a sense, language is an attempt to give definition to infinites, we categorize our concepts into neat linear arrangements, restricting the infinity of each category to one dimension.
Of course this is off the top of my head and is my own attempt at a linear arrangement.

The parameters of these arrangements are generally quite fuzzy, as in the case of emotions, the line between anger and fear is not always clear.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 05:00 pm
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

You seem to have an ample supply of stupidity all on your own...

You say a moral form cannot be defined because it is an infinite...
How do you identify such a form then, if it has no definition? What makes it stand out as a form different from other forms?
Also.... an infinite? If you can say they are several infinites they have to be finite in some aspect, or you would not be able to distinguish one from the other.
Your thinking is a good example of what this thread is about, logical inconsistencies born of inaccurate use of concepts.
We identify moral forms by example, but we can take nothing of a definition from so many infinite examples... If we say: We know justice or love when we see them, then what does that tell us about love or justice in every instance... We can identify every instance of a dog, and every example tends to confirm or deny our definition... But if there were infinite varieties of dogs we would be in trouble... We cannot de-fin-e in-fin-ites... You say existence, or God or time, or space, and these are infinites... If every concept is a judgement upon an object, and these are not objects, but every judgement represents some knowledge, then what is it you can say you know about time, or space, or God, or existence??? We have a word, and the definition of that word should give us the concept of it, but does it??? No...

And worse; We take moral forms like justice and build social forms like law out of them... We build social forms like government out of moral forms like Justice, and liberty, security, and even vengeance, and love... What is it to build some real form out of some indefinite form??? Should we expect our social forms to give us good service when we have not managed to define the moral forms behind them??? Chris Christy said it is immoral for the people to tax the wealth of the wealthy, but he does not judge in immoral for the few to take their wealth out of the poverty of the poor... He has not defined morality nor shown how the social form can achieve the moral form... He says it and people who accept his definition of morality agree without critical thought... But we should not simply agree to agree... There is a social and moral aspect to the desire to agree for agreement's sake, but it is bad to do so, and bad because it is false...

The name of the concept is but one part of the concept, and the definition is the main part... Until knowledge is complete, no concept will be complete, but with physical forms, because they deal with objects that can be measured, and upon which comparisons can be done, it is possible to say something true about them... We can never say anything true about moral forms... We can state our presumptions... But; why do we even have moral forms if we cannot define them with some true words of knowledge???

I say that moral forms grow out of our needs which are absolutes... If we see that for our survival that we need justice then we will give it and demand it... Ditto for love and liberty and equality... It is because we need these qualities in our lives and define ourselves as happy (another moral form) if we have enough of these qualities in our lives that we build social forms to help us achieve them... Without enough of the virtues or with too much of the vices, all moral forms, we die, and not just us, but our families, communities, and societies all die with us... We define the moral forms out of our needs rather than out of our haves... We simply have too little of them, and know too little of them to reason upon them or to say they really exist... They are only forms of relationship...Moral forms are a certain, if the uncertain can be called certain- meaning, without being... Physical forms have both meaning and being...
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 05:02 pm
@wayne,
wayne wrote:

To my mind, this brings up the question of dimensions.
While space and time seem to be infinite in every dimension, moral forms are not. In a sense, language is an attempt to give definition to infinites, we categorize our concepts into neat linear arrangements, restricting the infinity of each category to one dimension.
Of course this is off the top of my head and is my own attempt at a linear arrangement.

The parameters of these arrangements are generally quite fuzzy, as in the case of emotions, the line between anger and fear is not always clear.
Kant said we can have only objective knowledge, which is to say: knowledge of objects, such that they can be dimensioned... We can define a square, or a cube... We cannot define a joy...

Certainly, the line between fear and hate is nothing... What people fear, they hate, and it is only by such comparisons that we can say we may know anything of moral forms...Justice has some sort of relationship with equality or liberty or mercy, or hope, or love... What each is by itself cannot be found, and when examples are found in reality they are never without relationship to other moral forms...
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 06:27 pm
@wayne,
As I see it, language is a tool of communication.
But can you guys clarify just what you put into the term "moral forms"?
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 06:34 pm
@Fido,
I think you have to check some more recent work than that of a philosopher who lived hundreds of years ago.

Today we are beginning to understand that our perception plays a vital part in what reality is. Perception precedes the physical world... It is not physical anywhere but in the perception of beings who have a need of the distinction physical/immaterial.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Oct, 2011 05:57 am
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

As I see it, language is a tool of communication.
But can you guys clarify just what you put into the term "moral forms"?

Language is as much a tool of miscommunication... What I call a moral form or a moral concept are all those notions we hold personally, and spend our lives in dispute over such as God, evil, virtues or the nature of good, and all the spiritual values that any society holds dear, and that helps to provide social cohesion... Terms like existence or life, or death, or any of the emotions can be called forth with a word, but can never be studied scientifically... Those are moral forms in the military sense of Morale being opposed to physic, the one being the spiritual health of the corp, and the other being the physical condition...

As far as language used as a tool, consider that truth is an essential element in our lives, and that to deprive one of truth is to deprive him of all he needs to make accurate estimates and decisions, and that only truth is communication, and that lies are miscommunication, and a positive injury to the person and society that accepts them as fact...
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Oct, 2011 06:15 am
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

I think you have to check some more recent work than that of a philosopher who lived hundreds of years ago.

Today we are beginning to understand that our perception plays a vital part in what reality is. Perception precedes the physical world... It is not physical anywhere but in the perception of beings who have a need of the distinction physical/immaterial.
Perception preceeds the physical world in what metaphysical scheme???...

Do you think life had eyes before there was something to see, or had the sense of touch before there was something to feel... What you may be trying to say is that perception of the mental sort must recognize what it is seeing before it sees, and concepts are essential to that....Concepts equal consciousness...

But what sets us apart from other beings is the way we conceive of ourselves spiritually, or as I would say: Morally, and recognize concepts that cannot be perceived by the senses, and not of the physical world, and then, only because we can see the result of their want... We cannot see the effect of Justice or Honor in a happy life, but we can clearly see the effects of too little Justice or Honor in the miserable life... We can find positive proof for our physical forms, but we can only find negative proof for our moral forms...We should try to remember that when humanity had nothing and moved with the seasons following herds where they wandered, or fruit as it grew ripe, harried by enemies and wild beasts, and travelling light -that they carried these moral concepts with them out of the dim and distant past which live on in all natural societies... Civilizations are not natural, but anti nature, and each one in turn destroys the very qualities essential to its survival, and each begins with social humanity and ends with man returned to an animal existence, or worse, dead or enslaved... Will we let that happen to us??? Will we learn what the past already knew as truth, what personal qualities makes possible the life of humanity in society??? I don't know, but without morality and moral consciousness life is not much the treasure...
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Oct, 2011 06:54 am
@Fido,
Quote:
Do you think life had eyes before there was something to see, or had the sense of touch before there was something to feel...


Life? Does life have eyes? Or do living things have eyes?

I think that "something to see" is meaningful only to those with eyes, as "something to feel" is meaningful only to those with the ability to touch.
Reality is not an event that perception suddenly happened in. It is in the relationship between perception and what is perceived. Al ideas you have about "an objective world" are merely more of what you call moral forms or physical forms. They are a thing of our minds, and we cannot prove that they have any meaning elsewhere.

And what you describe as moral forms are what I think of as fantasies. At the base of it there are a few simple rules. There is what can be done and then there is what should be done. The former is a matter of what is possible, the latter of what we want. Justice, god and all the rest are ideas we ourselves introduce and strive to give meaning and reality, but they are no more real than our power to enforce them, and their quality is no more than the quality of our actions. And who's to judge those? We do that ourselves. Perhaps what you call "moral forms" as if they were some kind of absolutes, are merely negotiations between humans. The poor will always want to justify their outrage at those who take from them, as those who take will always try to justify their actions. There are no forms to govern this. There is only our ability to make our world the way we want it. And since there are so many of us and so many different desires, the outcome is a negotiation between all.

Fido
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Oct, 2011 07:23 am
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

Quote:
Do you think life had eyes before there was something to see, or had the sense of touch before there was something to feel...


Life? Does life have eyes? Or do living things have eyes?

I think that "something to see" is meaningful only to those with eyes, as "something to feel" is meaningful only to those with the ability to touch.
Reality is not an event that perception suddenly happened in. It is in the relationship between perception and what is perceived. Al ideas you have about "an objective world" are merely more of what you call moral forms or physical forms. They are a thing of our minds, and we cannot prove that they have any meaning elsewhere.

And what you describe as moral forms are what I think of as fantasies. At the base of it there are a few simple rules. There is what can be done and then there is what should be done. The former is a matter of what is possible, the latter of what we want. Justice, god and all the rest are ideas we ourselves introduce and strive to give meaning and reality, but they are no more real than our power to enforce them, and their quality is no more than the quality of our actions. And who's to judge those? We do that ourselves. Perhaps what you call "moral forms" as if they were some kind of absolutes, are merely negotiations between humans. The poor will always want to justify their outrage at those who take from them, as those who take will always try to justify their actions. There are no forms to govern this. There is only our ability to make our world the way we want it. And since there are so many of us and so many different desires, the outcome is a negotiation between all.


None the less, we grow to our environments, and culturally learn what it is that we are experiencing so we do not have to learn everything from scratch as other animals do... Culture is knowledge, and we must bring some to every experience to get more... Morality is community, and every moral argument is made in reference to community and what is best for community... Injustice is always justified and what is just needs no justification... And you are correct about the negotiations... Every form is a form of relationship either of physical objects, or moral... What ever the form, it is for people to make their own deal, and find ehat they can live with...
0 Replies
 
 

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