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The Concept of Independent Reality in Discussions of Philosophy

 
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 09:44 am
@JLNobody,
Thanks for the kind words.
I am not at all certain that we can say that all things have awareness. But we cannot conclude that they don't with any greater certainty. Perhaps, ultimately, all discussions about reality are about how we define relationships, and which attributes we assign to which counterparts.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 10:13 am
@Cyracuz,
I think it would be excessively anthropocentric to attribute our kind of "mental" awareness to everything including inanimate forms in nature--I wouldn't even do that with other mammalian forms. But I do very much like the idea of expanding the term, awareness, to everything, as a metaphor for relationship, connections or the unitarian processes of unification. I go so far as to apply it to violent mutual destruction, to war and predation, as well as to mutual support and interactional harmony. It is a reference to relationship without evaluastion.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 10:13 am
@Cyracuz,
I think it would be excessively anthropocentric to attribute our kind of "mental" awareness to everything including inanimate forms in nature--I wouldn't even do that with other mammalian forms. But I do very much like the idea of expanding the term, awareness, to everything, as a metaphor for relationship, connections or the unitarian processes of unification. I go so far as to apply it to violent mutual destruction, to war and predation, as well as to mutual support and interactional harmony. It is a reference to relationship without evaluastion.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 10:48 am
@fresco,
I suspect we are making a distinction between the "praxis of living"--the deflationary view of self-consciousness as an expression of meaning referred to by Fresco--and the "praxis of being"--the more abstract and inclusive use of "awareness" (one that is not mind dependent) that I take from Cryacuz.
Both work for me in different ways.

0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 10:48 am
@fresco,
I suspect we are making a distinction between the "praxis of living"--the deflationary view of self-consciousness as an expression of meaning referred to by Fresco--and the "praxis of being"--the more abstract and inclusive use of "awareness" (one that is not mind dependent) that I take from Cryacuz.
Both work for me in different ways.

0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 11:15 am
@JLNobody,
What's the opposite of anthropomorphism? I am thinking of the act of removing attributes from something on the basis that the attributes are strictly human.

What's the simplest form of awareness we can imagine?
I made the claim that water has awareness. By this I mean that water reacts when it comes into contact with other substances and energies. If water had no sensitivity to temperature, it would not exist in different states under different conditions. This mechanical sensitivity is what I put into the word 'awareness'.
Can such a use of the word be justified?

If it can, we can say that a human being is only aware of one thing; awareness. This creates the loop in which reality seems to unfold in our perception.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 01:29 pm
@Cyracuz,
What's the opposite of anthropomorphism? I think of "anthropomorphism" as the projection or ascription of human qualities to non-human aspects of the world. Its opposite may be the ascription of universal or "cosmic" qualities to humans.
The "simplist" form of awareness is the most general form, i.e., the most abstract level of connection or relationship. I suspect that covers everything in the cosmos; nothing (including water) is totally insensitive to everything else. It would be extreme to view everything as directly sensitive (like water and temperature) to everything else. Our experience does not justify that. Nevertheless, a unitary conception of the world assumes that ultimately all is one with all else, even if we cannot experience that principle empirically (perhaps modern physics will do so someday).
But I do like (I should say "enjoy") your broad use of "awareness" to the World. By projecting to everything a term we normally use to describe our relationship to the experienced world is to encourage a more intimate sense of Reality--it's why I like to use Brahman to reference the Cosmos.
That is, after all, the value of a functioning metaphor.
G H
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 02:48 pm
@JLNobody,
Quote:
I think it would be excessively anthropocentric to attribute our kind of "mental" awareness to everything including inanimate forms in nature--I wouldn't even do that with other mammalian forms. But I do very much like the idea of expanding the term, awareness, to everything, as a metaphor for relationship, connections or the unitarian processes of unification.

Limited to only a metaphor, yes. Since if what follows death is the absence of everything (a combo of extinctivism and anti-panexperientialism), then such a general "awareness" would be transpiring in the dark/silence, lacking presentations of any kind. Seemingly equating, as Cyracuz may have suggested elsewhere, to the materialist's lawful-like interactions between bodies.

That is, even the attractive and repulsive fields of sub-atomic particles seemingly "detecting" each other and responding with reliable changes would just be part of the universe's regulation by general laws. And not so much (in that context) a genuine awareness, the latter being more a figurative ascription or everyday useful term reducible to local mechanistic patterns abiding by global habits of the cosmos.

For that reason, I usually emphasize the phenomenal content or presentations of consciousness as what makes the latter a concept distinct from the matter concept -- or the connections and activities of various bodies that physicalists desire to reduce it to. IMO, most of the rest of consciousness could indeed be construed as potential folk psychology, explained-away by neuroscience, computer sciences, etc.

Below, Kant considered the speculation of panpsychism, or attributing ubiquitous experience to matter, but suspended belief of it because the possibility lacked positive evidence in much the same way as noumena. It would be unknowable, something that garnered only an empty conception; and would be different from the manifestations of human consciousness even if dogmatically asserted to be so. (Kant refers to this as "thinking" in the translation, but he surely means appearances / experiences, needed just to verify any reasoning, language, etc. as taking place....)

KANT: In the Transcendental Aesthetic we have proved, beyond all question, that bodies are mere appearances of our outer sense and not things in themselves. [...] Extension, impenetrability, cohesion, and motion -- in short, everything which outer senses can give us -- neither are nor contain thoughts, feeling, desire, or resolution, these never being objects of outer intuition, nevertheless the something which underlies the outer appearances and which so affects our sense that it obtains the representations of space, matter, shape, etc. , may yet, when viewed as noumenon (or better, as transcendental object), be at the same time the [unknowable] subject of our thoughts.

[...] I may further assume that the substance [matter] which in relation to our outer sense possesses extension is in itself the possessor of thoughts, and that these thoughts can by means of its own inner sense be consciously represented. In this way, what in one relation is entitled corporeal would in another relation be at the same time a thinking being, whose thoughts we cannot intuit, though we can indeed intuit their signs in the [field of] appearance.

Accordingly, the thesis that only souls (as particular kinds of substances) think, would have to be given up; and we should have to fall back on the common expression that men think, that is, that the very same being which, as outer appearance, is extended, is (in itself) internally a subject, and is not composite, but is simple and thinks.

But, without committing ourselves in regard to such hypotheses, we can make this general remark. If I understand by soul a thinking being in itself, the question whether or not it is the same in kind as matter -- matter not being a thing in itself, but merely a species of representations in us -- is by its very terms illegitimate. For it is obvious that a thing in itself is of a different nature from the determinations which constitute only its [phenomenal] state. If, on the other hand, we compare the thinking 'I' not with matter but with the intelligible that lies at the basis of the outer appearance which we call matter, we have no knowledge whatsoever of the intelligible, and therefore are in no position to say that the soul is in any inward respect different from it.
--CPR, p 338-340, Norman Kemp Smith translation
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Jan, 2012 09:13 am
@JLNobody,
Quote:
It would be extreme to view everything as directly sensitive (like water and temperature) to everything else. Our experience does not justify that.


I am not sure what you mean by this.

--------

I agree with you about the value of a functioning metaphor. I have it from somewhere that Hinduism doesn't really consider Brahman and the others to be gods, but conceptualizations of "higher" forces.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Jan, 2012 10:25 am
@Cyracuz,
I assume that, because the Cosmos (or Reality) is a unity, everything is ultimately connected to everything else, but not simply. The connection is too complex, subtle and vast for me to be able to experience It's every connection even in principle. For example I can directly witness (i.e., measure) the way temperature affects water (fluid to ice to gas) but I cannot witness the effect of, say, weight on temperature or the way the size of Venus affects our tides today. I realize that these are as absurd as measuring size by means of sound, but that's part of my suggestion. Ultimate unity is beyond perception*--and even our conceptual grasp**--in its totality.
* Beyond our scan.
**as illustrated by the nonense in my suggestion.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Jan, 2012 11:14 am
@JLNobody,
I think measuring size by means of sound isn't absurd at all, but I think I understand what you mean.
There is simply too much information for us to be aware of. But the idea of an independent reality seems to suggest information that remains inaccessible to us even when it's within the range of our perceptual scan. I don't know if I can relate to that idea.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Jan, 2012 11:40 am
@Cyracuz,
I agree. If it's accessible to us perceptually it's probably accessible to us conceptually--doesn't mean, of course, that our conceptualizations will be of value to us.
I think I suggested that the total physical universe, even though observable IN PRINCIPLE, is too large for us to scan IN PRACTICE.

I guess bats measure size and distance by means of sound.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Jan, 2012 01:38 pm
@JLNobody,
You know, SIZE (as in "size of the universe") makes sense to us but it may not be applicable to the reality of the cosmos. To paraphrase: it may make intellectual sense but have no relevance to the actual reality of the cosmos. It may be beyond "physical dimension".
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jan, 2012 08:54 am
@JLNobody,
JLNobody wrote:

I assume that, because the Cosmos (or Reality) is a unity, everything is ultimately connected to everything else, but not simply. The connection is too complex, subtle and vast for me to be able to experience It's every connection even in principle. For example I can directly witness (i.e., measure) the way temperature affects water (fluid to ice to gas) but I cannot witness the effect of, say, weight on temperature or the way the size of Venus affects our tides today. I realize that these are as absurd as measuring size by means of sound, but that's part of my suggestion. Ultimate unity is beyond perception*--and even our conceptual grasp**--in its totality.
* Beyond our scan.
**as illustrated by the nonense in my suggestion.
Assumption is no sound base for philosophy.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jan, 2012 11:05 am
@Fido,
Assumptions underlie all beliefs and knowledge. Even the "facts" that you might be suggesting are a more solid basis for philosophy rest on presuppositions--such facts are "little theories."
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jan, 2012 12:58 pm
@JLNobody,
JLNobody wrote:

Assumptions underlie all beliefs and knowledge. Even the "facts" that you might be suggesting are a more solid basis for philosophy rest on presuppositions--such facts are "little theories."
Assumptions underlie belief.. knowledge must work at least near term to be accepted. Even axioms are constantly given evidence if not proof
0 Replies
 
Procrustes
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jan, 2012 06:31 pm
@JLNobody,
Dimensionality seems arbitrary to me. I even have trouble relating to a view of the universe from the fixed point of this planet let alone the focal point of an observer. We don't have the computing power to map the reality of the cosmos, but if we did, we might only be percieving a sample slice of the broad spectrum of what might be actual to percieve beyond human senses. That is of course if human technology manages to go that path. (Not to disregard any other paths that technology may go down... excpet its use in warfare perhaps)
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jan, 2012 07:53 pm
@Procrustes,
Excellent post, Procrustes. I especially like your last subjunctive phrase, "if' human technology manages to go that path." That's refreshing: we seem to assume there's only one possible path to follow. Even our science fiction stories assume that all possible kinds of species would do exactly what we are "planning" to do--after their Scientific and Industrial Revolutions.
0 Replies
 
 

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