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No Reality Outside Our Own Existence

 
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2004 12:24 pm
So Joe, your views on reality are supported by three authors the most recent of whom died in 1914. Since this is somewhat before Heisenberg, Quantum Mechanics, Piaget, Wittgenstein and Capra one can understand your difficulties with the material we offer. Of course if you do ever get round to reading these we might have a meaningful discussion. Until then It seems you remain content to paper over the gaps in your education with a rather poor performance of supercilious posturing. Really Joe, surely you can do better than than play THAT "Old Man's Game" ?
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2004 12:25 pm
Re: truth
JLNobody wrote:
Joe, how can you consider "inter-paradigmatic" impenetrable and ultimately meaningless jargon? You've read Kuhn, of course. And since you must therefore know what a paradigm is--that is elementary--you must also know what communication across/between paradigms is. You DO seem to be pugnaciously resistant. Why?

Indeed, I have read Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions twice. I know, therefore, what he means when he talks about "paradigms." On the other hand, I have no clue what you mean when you talk about them or about communications across paradigms.

Presumably, you are suggesting that dualism and non-dualism are competing and incompatible worldviews, much as the Ptolemaic and Copernican systems are competing and incompatible theories of the universe. Furthermore, as Kuhn pointed out, paradigms compete over the same scientific territory until eventually one paradigm proves to be superior to its competitors. But since non-dualism is a purely metaphysical system, there is no point in talking about competing paradigms, since there's no common field of competition. As such, any notion that discussions between dualists and non-dualists are discussions across paradigms unjustifiably places non-dualism in the position of an epistemology, which it certainly is not.

EDIT: corrected a typo.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2004 12:36 pm
fresco wrote:
So Joe, your views on reality are supported by three authors the most recent of whom died in 1914. Since this is somewhat before Heisenberg, Quantum Mechanics, Piaget, Wittgenstein and Capra one can understand your difficulties with the material we offer. Of course if you do ever get round to reading these we might have a meaningful discussion. Until then It seems you remain content to paper over the gaps in your education with a rather poor performance of supercilious posturing. Really Joe, surely you can do better than than play THAT "Old Man's Game" ?

Even by your standards, fresco, that's a lamentably poor response.

Surely, if my sources are as antique and superannuated as you suggest, you could at least come up with some kind of refutation of my position. Instead, it's a few references to your favorite philosophers (along with an obligatory nod to the much-abused Heisenberg), a bit of your trademark patronizing, and then a wave bye-bye. Your attempt to substitute condescension for logic, however, is less than persuasive. But then I have come to expect no less from you.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2004 12:40 pm
So according to you Joe, Piaget's "Genetic Epistemology" which epitomises the mutuality of observer and observed is mistitled ?
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2004 12:48 pm
And the refutation of your position starts and ends with with the simple problem of trying to "perceive perception".
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2004 12:52 pm
fresco wrote:
So according to you Joe, Piaget's "Genetic Epistemology" which epitomises the mutuality of observer and observed is mistitled ?

Having never read it, I have no idea (and, to anticipate your next post: I've never read any Wittgenstein or Capra either. Yes, sometimes I grieve over the lacunae in my education. But you'll have to excuse this old man: I just started reading Spinoza for the first time today, so I still have many important gaps to fill before working my way toward Wittgenstein).

fresco wrote:
And the refutation of your position starts and ends with with the simple problem of trying to "perceive perception".

That's it? That's all you're going to say by way of argument? Surely, even twyvel could do better than that.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2004 01:05 pm
Thats it Joe, read a little more and you might begin to get it.

(BTW As I remember it, Spinoza is a "logic freak"...not the best for your "education")

Later Edit: Try this for example http://www.thehope.org/Bernard_Scott/Observer.html
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2004 04:17 pm
truth
Joe, I laugh when I read our exchanges. Enough already.

I have been meaning to read a work ABOUT Spinoza but keep putting it off for more immediately rewarding works. Spinoza is, as I remember, a non-dualist insofar as he has been labelled a psychophysical monist; his theory is termed "psycho-physical parallelism". I've read that he sees the unitary universe as consisting ultimately of a single "substance" which cannot be known directly. Reminds me of Kant's thing-in-itself (noumena). He argued that of this Subtance's infinte attributes all we can know are its physical and mental (matter and mind) manifestations. Since mind and matter are aspects of the same substance, what happens to mind affects matter and what affects matter affecs mind. This interchangeability qualifies his general position as an example of Metaphysical MONISM. Please me know if your reading of Spinoza leads to the same interpretation.
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2004 10:41 pm
I'd like to take this opportunity to expand upon my previous comments and contribute another post in my occasional series examining logical fallacies in depth (previous posts looked at "begging the question" and the fallacy of equivocation.)

Fresco wrote:
So Joe, your views on reality are supported by three authors the most recent of whom died in 1914. Since this is somewhat before Heisenberg, Quantum Mechanics, Piaget, Wittgenstein and Capra one can understand your difficulties with the material we offer. Of course if you do ever get round to reading these we might have a meaningful discussion. Until then It seems you remain content to paper over the gaps in your education with a rather poor performance of supercilious posturing. Really Joe, surely you can do better than than play THAT "Old Man's Game" ?

It is rare indeed to have the chance to address an argumentam ad novitam, but fresco has graciously provided an excellent example of this fallacy. It is an argument to modernity or novelty. As David Hackett Fischer explained, it can be recognized by "the excessive weight which often attaches to the most recent interpretation of any given subject."

In this particular instance, fresco notes that the philosophers cited by me were all dead by 1914, and that the ones he cited were all more recent than that. All of this, of course, could very well be true, but it is equally true that neither the antiquity of my sources nor the modernity of fresco's have any bearing on the strength or weakness of either of our positions. Likewise, the fact that I identified three "classic" philosophers in no way indicates that I am incapable of understanding philosophers of more recent vintage. As such, fresco's argument constitutes a fallacy of substantive distraction: it is not directed toward the subject, but rather aims at an irrelevant side issue.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2004 10:56 pm
Cyracuz, You probably made the most profound post on this forum. Wink
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fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2004 11:43 pm
Joe,

The rhetorical status of "your position" on "logical grounds" becomes sidelined with respect to my main issue.

A tenet of Genetic Epistemology is that "knowledge evolves" even the concept of "knowledge" itself! For example,The 20th. century brought probabalistic explanation to the fore over universals to the extent that even Hempel needed to revise his ideas on "scientific explanation". Other major examples of influences on epistemology are ecology, genetic engineering, and the paradox of non-locality in physics. Even "binary logic" itself has been deconstructed as merely one aspect of general semantics. ( When you for example reject "Kosko" on "technical nuances" you have not taken on board the metalogical zeitgeisst within which he writes).

So as JLN implied "enough of this baloney already"...read and come back. Some of my references are difficult stuff.
0 Replies
 
Heliotrope
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Apr, 2004 04:21 am
So far there has been a lot of metaphysics and semantics bandied around here and while very interesting most of it has no bearing on the question.
So I shall attempt to clear the water so to speak.

fresco wrote:
It is "self-evident" to JLN and myself that observer and observed are inextricably related. It follows for us that the status of "observational evidence" depends on "consensus".


It doesn't have to be self-evident.
This is provable.
It is not dependent upon anyone's opinion nor is it some ancient philosophical idea.
It has been experimentally proven. Repeated in experiments across the planet to the satisfaction of anyone who wants to get involved.
There is no philosophy and no special viewpoint required.

That observer and observed are linked to form reality is experimentally proven.
Thus reality depends on the observer and vice versa.
No one can tell which way around it is.

There really is no point in getting steamed up about the rather wordy arguments as most of them are irrelevant.
One experiment is worth ... well it's the only thing of worth. No words necesary.

Perhaps some hard physics reading material would be of more help than the philosophical discussions of people who cannot test their ideas.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Apr, 2004 05:30 am
Heliotrope. Nice point.

From a "scientific platform" you may be able to talk about "proof" (consensus implicit), but from the philosophical standpoint all we have is perhaps "lack of counter examples."
And this point is particularly problematic when talking about "observation of observation".

Perhaps if you gave the experimental scenario which illustrates the point we could discuss it.
0 Replies
 
kitchenpete
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Apr, 2004 09:41 am
Re: truth
joefromchicago wrote:
JLNobody wrote:
I take it, Joe, that you just don't want to make the effort to understand him. It's the same old story: inter-paradigmatic communication is extremely difficult and generally fruitless.

Actually, JLN, I've made a tremendous effort to understand non-dualism and its trio of acolytes. But I invariably find that there's nothing to understand, apart from: (1) a purely metaphysical worldview; (2) a lot of impenetrable and ultimately meaningless jargon (like "inter-paradigmatic"); and (3) a consistent effort to use the impenetrable jargon to disguise the metaphysical worldview.


Hear, hear, Joe.

I've been trying very hard to understand the arguments of fresco and JLN. Sadly, I've been thwarted by a failure on their parts to define their terms - that failure being compounded by the repetition of jargon which (when penetrable at all) fails to do anything more than give me the feeling that I'm a child being told "You'll understand when you grow up". Twisted Evil

Well, I'm grown up, I'm educated, if not in the specifics of philosophy of this kind: I've got a degree in Medicine and Social and Political Sciences from Cambridge.

The impression I have, Joe, of our interloqutors in this, is somewhere between a fundamentalist Christian "it is so, because it's the word of God" and a mathematician's "you have to invent a term because it doens't exist in the real world". At least, in the case of the latter, I can see as far as the horizon of imaginary numbers and don't have the energy to travel further. Here, I get the feeling that I'm being told "believe me - you don't understand and, until you do, you won't understand". Rolling Eyes

"Enigmatic" would be a compliment. It isn't the word I'd use.

Come on, fresco and JLN - if you want to make your point clear, start from first principles or give me some indication of where I can find such principles.
0 Replies
 
kitchenpete
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Apr, 2004 10:02 am
fresco wrote:


The mathematical models in structural dynamics are beyond the realm of this discussion. What matters is the shift of focus from the (fallacious) existence of structure in its own right to the complementarity of "existence" in terms of mutual interaction. In terms of the traditional "tree in the forest" argument...there is no such thing as a "tree"etc independent of an observer who evokes "treeness" or "fallingness" or "forestness" with all these "-nesses" implying sets of interactions common to specifically human observers.


So, when Heliotrope mentions that scientific, empirical findings support your argument, you suddenly U-turn on this?

I have no problem in coming to agreement that electromagnetism will manifest itself in different ways, dependent on how you look at it. I can't find a good link, just now but look up "wave-particle duality" and you'll get there.

My real problem with this thread is that I think I agree with you, subject to the agreement of terms but I can't actually separate the point you are trying to make from the background noise of jargon.

I'd be happy to learn - I think you know more about philosophy than I do - I'm giving you the chance to teach/explain in language that those outside your "magic circle" of dualism can understand.

Can you actually start at the beginning or should Joe and I save our efforts and look for another thread?
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Apr, 2004 10:11 am
What you guys are running into is what I call philoso-babble. Hiding behind non-sensicaly couched sentences.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Apr, 2004 10:50 am
fresco wrote:
Joe,

The rhetorical status of "your position" on "logical grounds" becomes sidelined with respect to my main issue.

Yes, I've noticed how many threads in this forum somehow turn into discussions about your "main issue."

fresco wrote:
A tenet of Genetic Epistemology is that "knowledge evolves" even the concept of "knowledge" itself! For example,The 20th. century brought probabalistic explanation to the fore over universals to the extent that even Hempel needed to revise his ideas on "scientific explanation". Other major examples of influences on epistemology are ecology, genetic engineering, and the paradox of non-locality in physics. Even "binary logic" itself has been deconstructed as merely one aspect of general semantics. ( When you for example reject "Kosko" on "technical nuances" you have not taken on board the metalogical zeitgeisst within which he writes).

Given my acquaintance with Kosko and his work, I am quite relieved that I have not taken on his "metalogical zeitgeist" (whatever that is). But this is yet another example of the non-dualists insistence on accepting their premises first before attempting to deal with their conclusions. As I explained in the Non-Contradiction thread, this is simply question-begging, and I can only imagine that it would be question-begging in a non-dualistic universe as well.

fresco wrote:
So as JLN implied "enough of this baloney already"...read and come back. Some of my references are difficult stuff.

In the past, I have had occasion to accuse you, Fresco, of being condescending.

I apologize for those previous accusations.

Clearly, I had no idea of what true condescension was until I read your latest post. Indeed, yours is no ordinary condescension: it is a sort of empyrean condescension, a condescension that does not even condescend to explain itself. As kitchenpete correctly notes, it is akin to a fundamentalist Christian saying "if you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior you'd understand." Your refusal to explain your position, apart from patronizingly adverting to the works of others that are, presumably, far too advanced for mere mortals, is nothing but a pusillanimous retreat into the confines of your own metaphysics where, behind layers of obscurity and jargon, you are protected against all criticism. Not only is it intellectually dishonest, it raises the suspicion that you don't even understand your own position well enough to explain it.
0 Replies
 
twyvel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Apr, 2004 11:49 am
joefromchicago wrote:


Quote:
Really, fresco, given twyvel's dismal performance on the "Non-Contradiction" thread, I had hoped that you might have something more to offer than a bland assertion that your position is "blatantly obvious." Imagine my disappointment, then, when I discover that your epistemology is just as barren as twyvel's. Where twyvel rests on "blatant obviousness," you rely on "self-evidence" to support your assertions. But, in the end, the result is the same: the sole foundation for your position is a bare ipse dixit, a feeble "sez me."
0 Replies
 
twyvel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Apr, 2004 11:53 am
joefromchicagodoing
0 Replies
 
twyvel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Apr, 2004 11:54 am
joefromchicago

Note:

If you're reading William James you might consider, Does Consciousness exist, if you haven't already.

[snip]

My thesis is that if we start with the supposition that there is only one primal stuff or material in the world, a stuff of which everything is composed, and if we call that stuff 'pure experience,' the knowing can easily be explained as a particular sort of relation towards one another into which portions of pure experience may enter. The relation itself is a part of pure experience; one if its 'terms' becomes the subject or bearer of the knowledge, the knower,[] the other becomes the object known. This will need much explanation before it can be understood. The best way to get it understood is to contrast it with the alternative view; and for that we may take the recentest alternative, that in which the evaporation of the definite soul-substance has proceeded as far as it can go without being yet complete. If neo-Kantism has expelled earlier forms of dualism, we shall have expelled all forms if we are able to expel neo-Kantism in its turn.

For the thinkers I call neo-Kantian, the word consciousness to-day does no more than signalize the fact that experience is indefeasibly dualistic in structure. It means that not subject, not object, but object-plus-subject is the minimum that can actually be. The subject-object distinction meanwhile is entirely different from that between mind and matter, from that between body and soul. Souls were detachable, had separate destinies; things could happen to them. To consciousness as such nothing can happen, for, timeless itself, it is only a witness of happenings in time, in which it plays no part. It is, in a word, but the logical correlative of 'content' in an Experience of which the peculiarity is that fact comes to light in it, that awareness of content takes place. Consciousness as such is entirely impersonal -- 'self' and its activities belong to the content. To say that I am self-conscious, or conscious of putting forth volition, means only that certain contents, for which 'self' and 'effort of will' are the names, are not without witness as they occur.

Thus, for these belated drinkers at the Kantian spring, we should have to admit consciousness as an 'epistemological' necessity, even if we had no direct evidence of its being there.

But in addition to this, we are supposed by almost every one to have an immediate consciousness of consciousness itself. When the world of outer fact ceases to be materially present, and we merely recall it in memory, or fancy it, the consciousness is believed to stand out and to be felt as a kind of impalpable inner flowing, which, once known in this sort of experience, may equally be detected in presentations of the outer world. "The moment we try to fix out attention upon consciousness and to see what, distinctly, it is," says a recent writer, "it seems to vanish. It seems as if we had before us a mere emptiness. When we try to introspect the sensation of blue, all we can see is the blue; the other element is as if it were diaphanous. Yet it can be distinguished, if we look attentively enough, and know that there is something to look for."[] "Consciousness" (Bewusstheit), says another philosopher, "is inexplicable and hardly describable, yet all conscious experiences have this in common that what we call their content has a peculiar reference to a centre for which 'self' is the name, in virtue of which reference alone the content is subjectively given, or appears.... While in this way consciousness, or reference to a self, is the only thing which distinguishes a conscious content from any sort of being that might be there with no one conscious of it, yet this only ground of the distinction defies all closer explanations. The existence of consciousness, although it is the fundamental fact of psychology, can indeed be laid down as certain, can be brought out by analysis, but can neither be defined nor deduced from anything but itself."[]

'Can be brought out by analysis,' this author says. This supposes that the consciousness is one element, moment, factor -- call it what you like -- of an experience of essentially dualistic inner constitution, from which, if you abstract the content, the consciousness will remain revealed to its own eye. Experience, at this rate, would be much like a paint of which the world pictures were made. Paint has a dual constitution, involving, as it does, a menstruum[] (oil, size or what not) and a mass of content in the form of pigment suspended therein. We can get the pure menstruum by letting the pigment settle, and the pure pigment by pouring off the size or oil. We operate here by physical subtraction; and the usual view is, that by mental subtraction we can separate the two factors of experience in an analogous way -- not isolating them entirely, but distinguishing them enough to know that they are two.

II

Now my contention is exactly the reverse of this. Experience, I believe, has no such inner duplicity; and these paration of it into consciousness and content comes, not by way of subtraction, but by way of addition -- the addition, to a given concrete piece of it, other sets of experiences, in connection with which severally its use or function may be of two different kinds. The paint will also serve here as an illustration. In a pot in a paint-shop, along with other paints, it serves in its entirety as so much saleable matter. Spread on a canvas, with other paints around it, it represents, on the contrary, a feature in a picture and performs a spiritual function. Just so, I maintain, does a given undivided portion of experience, taken in one context of associates, play the part of a knower, of a state of mind, of 'consciousness'; while in a different context the same undivided bit of experience plays the part of a thing known, of an objective 'content.' In a word, in one group it figures as a thought, in another group as a thing. And, since it can figure in both groups simultaneously we have every right to speak of it as subjective and objective, both at once. The dualism connoted by such double-barrelled terms as 'experience,' 'phenomenon,' 'datum,' 'Vorfindung' -- terms which, in philosophy at any rate, tend more and more to replace the single-barrelled terms of 'thought' and 'thing' -- that dualism, I say, is still preserved in this account, but reinterpreted, so that, instead of being mysterious and elusive, it becomes verifiable and concrete. It is an affair of relations, it falls outside, not inside, the single experience considered, and can always be particularized and defined.

[/snip]

http://www.meta-religion.com/Philosophy/Articles/Consciousness/does_consciousness_exist.htm
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