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The Concept of Independent Reality in Discussions of Philosophy

 
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 08:22 am
@fresco,
fresco wrote:

You need to distinguish between "reality as a praxis of living" involving common physiology and language, and "reality as an an abstract concept" as discussed by philosophers. As I have stressed above, the word "reality" is never used in the first case, except where there is discontinuity or disagreement about praxis, at which point negotiation takes place. Shared "thoughts" are equivalent to "common praxis". In the philosophical case we are discussing the hypothetical limits of such "sharing". Such a discussion is about access to a hypothetically independent reference frame. Kant's view is that such access is impossible, and others argue that that reference frame is a myth. Either way,it would make the philosophical quest futile.
It is hardly futile to form ideas out of phenomena, and then to share those ideas through numbers or words by way of meaning... Ultimately we may be forced to ask: what will be when the last person dies... What does it matter if all that we can share with others is what things mean??? No people does not necessarily mean no matter, but it does mean no meaning will remain...
Cyracuz
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 08:43 am
@fresco,
But isn't what philosophers discuss merely abstractions of "reality as a praxis of living"? Isn't that where the whole issue of independent reality arises? Isn't the problem a result of the underlying axiom that human consciousness is apart from the rest of reality?

I was trying to approach awareness as something universal, something that is not mind dependent. That the consciousness I experience is mine appears self-evident, and it seems to me that this is what creates the distinction between the conscious perceiver and the contents of experience. But are the two really distinguishable from each other?
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 08:53 am
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

But isn't what philosophers discuss merely abstractions of "reality as a praxis of living"? Isn't that where the whole issue of independent reality arises? Isn't the problem a result of the underlying axiom that human consciousness is apart from the rest of reality?

I was trying to approach awareness as something universal, something that is not mind dependent. That the consciousness I experience is mine appears self-evident, and it seems to me that this is what creates the distinction between the conscious perceiver and the contents of experience. But are the two really distinguishable from each other?
A greater part of the content of experience is of forms which society has been building on and passing by way of culture since the beginning of the human experience...We may think of ourselves as individuals or as spiritual beings rather than material; but no one starts from scratch and goes very far... We all use the aquired knowledge of humanity as the first steps toward progress... We are not independent of reality, and even if reality is independent of us, it would not exist as we know it, as meaning if we did not experience so much of life though communicated meanings as forms and ideas are.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 09:00 am
@Fido,
The question of "what will be there when the last person dies" begs the question of "absolute existence". IMO Existence is always relative to observers.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 09:09 am
@Cyracuz,
The "praxis of living" argument involves the deflationary view of "self-consciousness" as an epiphenomenon of language users (ref: Dennett for example).
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 09:17 am
@Fido,
Fido wrote:
We feel alien from all we see in nature...

What do you mean "we?"
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 09:42 am
@fresco,
What constitutes "language" in that view? For self-consciousness to be an epiphenomenon of language users, wouldn't even the most rudimentary conceptualization constitute language? Would that make a dog's barking a form of language?
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 11:12 am
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:
Yes, if you think of each human as a closed, individual mind.

What does that have to do with it? When I dream, my mind is just as open and collectively-oriented as when I'm awake. Nevertheless, after a night of dreaming I'm in Chicago, joefromchicago and I will not agree about what happened during the lunch I'd perceived we were having. If I actually do fly to Chicago and have lunch with him, we will agree about the sequence of events in fairly great detail. How does an anti-realist explain the difference?
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 11:20 am
@Cyracuz,
Yes and no ! Its a matter of "order of complexity". Maturana has argued yes, and Dennett might argue no.
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 01:18 pm
@Thomas,
Here's how I'm trying to approach it. I am not trying to argue something true so much as examine the issue from different angle.
Awareness = the "ability" to respond or react. Water is aware of temperature enough to react to it. It just happens. Temperature is also aware of water. They can both mutually affect one another. Neither are aware of awareness, so we call them mechanical processes. Through this negotiation the status quo we call reality comes about. Things that are unaware of each other cannot react to each other.
We humans think in terms of owning our awareness, but even within one aware human being, it is not possible to identify precisely where this awareness resides. Where is the border between perceiver and perceived?
If we think of awareness as a universal phenomenon, there is no border. Self-awareness, which is awareness of awareness, creates a border arbitrarily as it manifests itself through relationship, in the very same way everything manifests through relationship.

In your dream, your awareness of awareness manifests in the relationship that occurs. Joe has no awareness of this. If you fly to Chicago and have lunch, awareness of awareness manifests in a different relationship in which both of you are aware of the same awareness.
igm
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 01:50 pm
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

Here's how I'm trying to approach it. I am not trying to argue something true so much as examine the issue from different angle.
Awareness = the "ability" to respond or react. Water is aware of temperature enough to react to it. It just happens. Temperature is also aware of water. They can both mutually affect one another. Neither are aware of awareness, so we call them mechanical processes. Through this negotiation the status quo we call reality comes about. Things that are unaware of each other cannot react to each other.
We humans think in terms of owning our awareness, but even within one aware human being, it is not possible to identify precisely where this awareness resides. Where is the border between perceiver and perceived?
If we think of awareness as a universal phenomenon, there is no border. Self-awareness, which is awareness of awareness, creates a border arbitrarily as it manifests itself through relationship, in the very same way everything manifests through relationship.

In your dream, your awareness of awareness manifests in the relationship that occurs. Joe has no awareness of this. If you fly to Chicago and have lunch, awareness of awareness manifests in a different relationship in which both of you are aware of the same awareness.


Well said!
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 02:26 pm
@igm,
igm wrote:
Well said!

Laughing
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 02:45 pm
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:
In your dream, your awareness of awareness manifests in the relationship that occurs. Joe has no awareness of this. If you fly to Chicago and have lunch, awareness of awareness manifests in a different relationship in which both of you are aware of the same awareness.


This may or may not answer Thomas' question, but why is it so complicated?
igm
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 02:47 pm
@joefromchicago,
As you know, the meaning of words requires other words for their meaning. You only have that as a tool. That tool will not bring you any closer to being able to know that there is an independent reality. Your idea of what it means to say... there is no independent reality... is not the only game in town.
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 04:37 pm
@wandeljw,
I am expressing myself poorly, maybe that's why. I'm trying to come up with a better way.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 09:41 pm
@Cyracuz,
You are not expressing yourself poorly. On the contrary you are progressing against an impossible task. I very much like your treatment of awareness as relationship, something that extends beyond our focus on neurology to include all of reality.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 11:40 pm
@JLNobody,
The only thing I feel comfortable to say about "reality" is that it is all-inclusive, meaning that it is not separate or independent from anything. Indeed it REALLY includes everything to the extent that whatever else we say about it we must add that it IS you and me..
0 Replies
 
Eorl
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 05:55 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

Cyracuz wrote:
Yes, if you think of each human as a closed, individual mind.

What does that have to do with it? When I dream, my mind is just as open and collectively-oriented as when I'm awake. Nevertheless, after a night of dreaming I'm in Chicago, joefromchicago and I will not agree about what happened during the lunch I'd perceived we were having. If I actually do fly to Chicago and have lunch with him, we will agree about the sequence of events in fairly great detail. How does an anti-realist explain the difference?

I think this and many of the responses from this side are based on a false dichotomy. Saying that there is no absolute reality does not imply that reality is absolutely not, or that nothing can be guessed, or assumed about an ideal objective reality that one can use as input.
All witnesses to the lunch will have similar but not identical memories of the lunch. You could compare notes and produce an approximation of an ideal objective reality based on the commonality.
However, If you were sitting opposite each other one might expect that nearly all of the visual data collected by each observer to be almost completely different. Objects that were part of the environment (food) at the start of the lunch were part of the observational mechanism itself by the end of the lunch.

wandeljw
 
  2  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 08:47 am
@Eorl,
...or, you could say that describing reality in terms of philosophy requires a lot more explanation.
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 09:27 am
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:

Fido wrote:
We feel alien from all we see in nature...

What do you mean "we?"
What I mean by we is most people, excluding the few intelligent... As Goethe said: Nature has neither kernel nor shell... She is everything at once..

So; is prescription necessary without a disease???

Hannah Arendt: Only we who have erected the objectivity of a world of our own from what nature gives us, who have built it into the environment of our nature so that we are protected from her, can look upon nature as something "objective". Without a world between man and nature, there is eternal movement, but no objectivity...

I would like for you to understand that one of the most perplexing and irrational qualities of human kind, and one that is responsible for most of what we think of as progress, the death wish, the great thanatos of Freud is aimed at the detruction of our enviroment, Our Nature so that we can all commit suicide by killing humanity by killing our environment and everything in it... And it is irrational, and it is impossible; but it would not seem possible or rational if we could not cut ourselves off from nature and reality and think of each as abstraction independent of human will and activity; and I think that underlying all this behavior is our awarness of our futile individual lives, alienated both from community, and from nature, totally unreal as life must seem to those who look at it... Is not life considered spiritual only because it is the most unatural element of all nature??? Can anyone imagine life springing into being by accident??? I try only because it is the only way it might have happened without predicate or precident; and otherwise, we have to imagine God, and then, where God, and why???

If it were easy and natural for people to see themselves as real and to see their nature as natural, there would be no need to discuss the point.. If it were easy your mother would already have it done... In fact, the easy answer, and the unreal answer is exactly that answer most of our mother's gave us to explain our lives to us... To Christian Mythology we are unreal, and are unnatural...From that perspective it is not in the least unreasonable that we should alienate ourselves from reality, and seek to destroy our lives with nature so we can have the spiritual being we think ourselves to be...
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