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Switch to Forum Live View Materialism vs Idealism
3 years ago  ::  Jul 12, 2011 - 11:14AM #51
Blü
Posts: 24,966

TransJ


LMAO


It's always nice to see you cheerful.  Note my words ONLY reliable way we know of at present (emphasis added, of course).

Thus I don't need scientific evidence to prove anything conclusively about scientific method.  I've simply observed that at this time nothing else gets the job done as well.  I'm  interested to know what you'd like to add to it.


Idealism


So it's a doctrine about reality.  It says activity is the prime property of reality.   What's an interrelated prior object?  How do you manage to equate 'activity' with 'being / mind?

On one view the universe is a single system, and it can be convenient at times to think of it that way eg There may be other universes.  Most of the time it's inconvenient, which is why I asked you how idealist science works, since science is about both the general (the whole) and the particular (the relationship of the parts).

How do you figure the universe is 'sentient'?  No examinable evidence suggests that's the case.  And I have no idea what So this form of Idealism is an object priority monism with property monism and the whole is prior to its parts means.


blü: [The universe is] not more than the sum of its parts and their relationship to and interaction with each other.

TransJ: But yes it is, unless you believe in absolute determinism  for all of reality.


I don't think we can ever make absolute statements.  The idea of determinism is tempered these days by the evidence for quantum randomness.  But that leaves us only two ways in which anything can happen - by cause and effect, or randomly.  Neither of those supports the claimed dignity of freewill.  And this, incidentally must be true of spirit, and of gods - either their thinking processes and decisions are a mix of cause-and-effect  and randomness, or they're nothing - there's no third option.

Of course, in reality it's sufficient that we think we have freewill.  We're built that way.  It's the basis for social responsibility.

What do you say is the part of the universe that's more than the sum of its parts?  How do you say it makes decisions other than by cause and effect and randomness?


'having objective existence' Its just a locality outside the brain nothing more. Your definition does not say that there is any thing there, its just a locality.


Rather, it's a convenient way of thinking about it.  We have brains - devices that respond to stimuli, including stimuli that one part of the brain may send to another part.  We all see the world from behind our eyes, thus the idea of inner and outer.  In addition, the inner does things that only brains can do - hold concepts and representations of things.  (Aside: arguably computers can do these things to some extent because they're brain-like things.  When I refer to brains, I include brain-like things.)  Thus concepts may exist in brains that have no external counterpart - unicorns, supernatural beings, characters in stories, and so on.  It's a qualitative difference as well as a difference in location.


if something has subjective existence, it exist in and as the universe exists.


That generalization isn't available.  It will only be true when some concept in a brain represents a counterpart with objective existence.  If something has subjective existence, it exists as a concept in a brain.  It may or may not represent something in reality.  Unicorns, gods and Donald Ducks don't have objective existence, but the representation of them can exist in brains.


I'm not sure what you mean here.


I mean the universe is not a brain, so existing in the universe is not a subjective state.

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3 years ago  ::  Jul 13, 2011 - 11:01AM #52
newchurchguy
Posts: 3,637

Jul 1, 2011 -- 10:57PM, TransJ wrote:


Newchurchguy: If you accept that the conceptualiztions of physics are the ones in practice for the last 30 years - then a "space" where matter cannot exist - is a real part of the universe, as currently understood.


TransJ: I read the article, excellent! I'm going to look up this Informational Realism on the web but what do you recommend as a site that gives me the core of its concepts?  


 



TransJ,


I am glad to share references to IR.  If you googled it - I am sure you found Floridi's paper of a few years ago.  It has a history going back a few decades and is coming into its own lately.


I am more interested in your defense of Idealism.  I found your comments about wholes and parts quite insightful and stated well.  I find the subject matter of mereology so densely written, when reading modern opinion, that I suspect that it is not clearly understood in modern times.


I am a fan of C. S. Peirce - and have a modest grasp of his reasoned endorsement of objective idealism.  I see IR as a "new species" of this tradition - which is more adapted to the modern landscape of physics.


A starting place for my own view of this worldview - is to note science methodolgy in particulars.  (Rather than in the sweeping generalized conceptions of Blu)


Physics measures particles and forces and there is a standardized list of units of measure that address manifest physical properties.


I see a second level of measurements - that are not about "parts" as you say - but about organization in systems, communication of formal information and about logical probability.


I endorse a limited materialism, where category one measurement units such as amps, volts and ohms operate. (hardware)


Along side of MM, a second category, of limited informationalism - where bits, system productivity and logical structure is measured in a separate category of units.  (software)


What I think is most interesting is where they interface!


Your idealism may shed light on my humble categorization of these areas.


 

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3 years ago  ::  Jul 13, 2011 - 9:25PM #53
TransJ
Posts: 731

Thus I don't need scientific evidence to prove anything conclusively about scientific method.  I've simply observed that at this time nothing else gets the job done as well.  I'm  interested to know what you'd like to add to it.


Its an excellent posterior tool and nothing more.


Idealism; one interrelated prior object


Put another way, there is only one reality, I'm a object monist not an object dualist or pluralist. Think of it this way the whole of reality is ether one object, two objects, or many objects. For me there is just one reality nothing beyond it, as one object. For a dualist there is two distinct objects of reality (God/universe). For the pluralist there is many distinct objects of reality ( particles, atoms, gods...). Is reality composed of one object, two objects or many objects? 


How do you manage to equate 'activity' with 'being / mind?


Okay, once you have the number of objects that compose reality, you can move on to the number of properties that the object's have. Yes I'm a property monist not a property dualist or pluralist. For me activity is the primary property of the object of reality. For a property dualist it could be mind and matter or matter and energy or so on. For the property pluralist its open. The main question is what property's compose the actualities and possibilities of the object's of reality. So being is an activity of reality and mind is an activity of being. 


How do you figure the universe is 'sentient'? No examinable evidence suggests that's the case.


 So you want me to provide you with intelligible evidence that the universe is intelligible. So that you as an intelligent being, which by the way is an intelligent being produced of the intelligible environment, can judge if the universe is a sentient (intelligible) reality or an inert (insentient) reality. Tell me Blu from your point of view is sentience defined as an effect of activity or inertness?


I asked you how idealist science works, since science is about both the general (the whole) and the particular (the relationship of the parts)...
But that leaves us only two ways in which anything can happen - by cause and effect, or randomly...there's no third option.


Let me adjust your formula some what. Affect and cause and effect with probability or randomness. You are assuming the posterior cause and effect without adding the a priori affect and cause. A cause in and of itself is meaningless without something to be the “cause” which is the affect. I think we can not have possibilities without first having actualities nor can you have causes without first having affects. Causes and possibilities relate effects and actualities to each other. The scientific method is a posterior mode of thought and thats as it should be for now. Metaphysics is an a priori methods and modes of thinking and is a developing science. I hope that help you understand idealist science.


What do you say is the part of the universe that's more than the sum of its parts? How do you say it makes decisions other than by cause and effect and randomness?


Are you hoping I will say there is a ghost in your cause and effect and randomness machine? LOL, by rejecting absolute determinism you are saying that the universe has more possibilities than it parts can actualize. As to the cosmic “mind” making decisions I like the Affect and cause and effect with probability or randomness position. The word affect means to act or change upon, so activity is at the core of reality. By the way I think something is real if it can affect itself. I think the universe is real in that it can affect itself, do you?


Material 'having objective existence' Its just a locality outside the brain nothing more. Your definition does not say that there is any thing there, its just a locality.


Rather, it's a convenient way of thinking about it...


Okay, so your materialism is only a convenient thought about something outside your brain, its not a physical property that the thing and your brain have in common, other than them not being in the same location. Imaginary materialisms, I get it now.


 If something has subjective existence, it exist in and as the universe exists.


That generalization isn't available.  It will only be true when some concept in a brain represents a counterpart with objective existence.  If something has subjective existence, it exists as a concept in a brain...I mean the universe is not a brain, so existing in the universe is not a subjective state.


Subjective existence, is simply a form of dependent existence. We depend on the universe for our existence and the ideas in a brain depend on that brain for their existence. Both are subjective existences. If reality is as much dependent on relativity as physics say it is then subjectivity is a better generalization than objectivity is of reality. The interdependence and relatedness of the parts of the universe as a system is better defined as a subjective reality.


 We need to shorten these post, my girlfriend does not believe in sharing me this much! LOL. 






















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3 years ago  ::  Jul 13, 2011 - 11:43PM #54
Blü
Posts: 24,966

TransJ


So being is an activity of reality and mind is an activity of being.


No, mind is not an activity of being.  Mind is an activity of certain parts of certain nervous systems, which are themselves the product of evolution - in our case three and a half billion years of it.  Outside of brains and brain-like things, nothing can have mind.  All the universe has being, but the overwhelming proportion of the universe is not brain.


So you want me to provide you with intelligible evidence that the universe is intelligible.


No, I want you to provide me with examinable evidence that the universe is sentient - self-aware, capable of choice and deliberate action, that sort of thing - roughly, intelligent, not intelligible.

A thing can only be intelligible in relation to a brain capable of understanding it.  Without that, 'intelligible' has no meaning.  The only brains and BLTs we know of are all on earth.


is sentience defined as an effect of activity or inertness?


Sentience / awareness is a by-product of nervous systems.  Nervous systems are active, for what it's worth.


Let me adjust your formula some what. Affect and cause and effect with probability or randomness. You are assuming the posterior cause and effect without adding the a priori affect and cause.


No I'm not.  I'm using cause-and-effect to describe one of the two ways we know things happen - the other being random, which covers effects without causes (or, some would still say, without known causes).   


we can not have possibilities without first having actualities


Of course we can.  We can imagine possibilities of impossible things - that's what Donald Duck comics are.  That's what stories of gods are.


Causes and possibilities relate effects and actualities to each other.


Possibilities only fit in there as quantum random-within-parameters statistical possibilities, not in any other sense of the term.


Metaphysics is an a priori methods and modes of thinking and is a developing science.


Metaphysics, and I quote David Armstrong who has a world reputation in that very field, is like this -


But if we follow the lead of natural science why do we not foreclose any appeal to metaphysics? Why not just hand over the inquiry to science? The answer is that there are a great number of notions that, following the lead of Gilbert Ryle and J.J.C. (Jack) Smart, we can call topic neutral notions. Instances are cause, class, property, relation, quality, kind, resemblance, quantity, number, substance, fact, truth, law of nature, power, and others. These notions are perfectly general, are very difficult to analyse and interconnect, and give rise to controversy, sometimes to bitter controversy, when we (and the ‘we’ here includes scientists as much as philosophers) try to discuss them. They are not exhausted by logic or mathematics. It is these sorts of notions, I suggest, that metaphysics strives to give a systematic account of.


Sketch for a Systematic Metaphysics, p. 3.


Note that he doesn't agree with you that metaphysics is a science.  Instead it's a field of discussion in philosophy.  In fact I can argue that he doesn't even say it's a priori, rather ad hoc.


I hope that help you understand idealist science.


Not yet.

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3 years ago  ::  Jul 14, 2011 - 8:49PM #55
williejhonlo
Posts: 3,710

Jul 13, 2011 -- 11:43PM, Blü wrote:


TransJ


So being is an activity of reality and mind is an activity of being.


No, mind is not an activity of being.  Mind is an activity of certain parts of certain nervous systems, which are themselves the product of evolution - in our case three and a half billion years of it.  Outside of brains and brain-like things, nothing can have mind.  All the universe has being, but the overwhelming proportion of the universe is not brain.


So you want me to provide you with intelligible evidence that the universe is intelligible.


No, I want you to provide me with examinable evidence that the universe is sentient - self-aware, capable of choice and deliberate action, that sort of thing - roughly, intelligent, not intelligible.

A thing can only be intelligible in relation to a brain capable of understanding it.  Without that, 'intelligible' has no meaning.  The only brains and BLTs we know of are all on earth.


is sentience defined as an effect of activity or inertness?


Sentience / awareness is a by-product of nervous systems.  Nervous systems are active, for what it's worth.


Let me adjust your formula some what. Affect and cause and effect with probability or randomness. You are assuming the posterior cause and effect without adding the a priori affect and cause.


No I'm not.  I'm using cause-and-effect to describe one of the two ways we know things happen - the other being random, which covers effects without causes (or, some would still say, without known causes).   


we can not have possibilities without first having actualities


Of course we can.  We can imagine possibilities of impossible things - that's what Donald Duck comics are.  That's what stories of gods are.


Causes and possibilities relate effects and actualities to each other.


Possibilities only fit in there as quantum random-within-parameters statistical possibilities, not in any other sense of the term.


Metaphysics is an a priori methods and modes of thinking and is a developing science.


Metaphysics, and I quote David Armstrong who has a world reputation in that very field, is like this -


But if we follow the lead of natural science why do we not foreclose any appeal to metaphysics? Why not just hand over the inquiry to science? The answer is that there are a great number of notions that, following the lead of Gilbert Ryle and J.J.C. (Jack) Smart, we can call topic neutral notions. Instances are cause, class, property, relation, quality, kind, resemblance, quantity, number, substance, fact, truth, law of nature, power, and others. These notions are perfectly general, are very difficult to analyse and interconnect, and give rise to controversy, sometimes to bitter controversy, when we (and the ‘we’ here includes scientists as much as philosophers) try to discuss them. They are not exhausted by logic or mathematics. It is these sorts of notions, I suggest, that metaphysics strives to give a systematic account of.


Sketch for a Systematic Metaphysics, p. 3.


Note that he doesn't agree with you that metaphysics is a science.  Instead it's a field of discussion in philosophy.  In fact I can argue that he doesn't even say it's a priori, rather ad hoc.


I hope that help you understand idealist science.


Not yet.



Hi blu, great thread you guys have going on here. Stimulating post from everyone involved. On your point that you want proof on a sentient universe, would you say that since the universe gave us sentience, is that act in itself, an act of sentience? Is not sentience essential in maintaining balance within a system? If something becomes unbalanced, how does it achieve balance again?

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3 years ago  ::  Jul 15, 2011 - 2:46AM #56
Blü
Posts: 24,966

Willie


would you say that since the universe gave us sentience, is  that act in itself, an act of sentience?


No, I wouldn't.  I'd simply say that the rules of physics include the possibility of biology.  Once the accidents of chemistry result in a self-replicating cell, natural selection just keeps pruning out the ones that work least well at the time, so that one of the directions evolution takes is up a gradient of increasing complexity.  (It also goes across, and down, the same gradient.)


Natural selection isn't even a law (as such) of nature.  It's an observation about the way genetic variation in biological forms tends to function in particular environments.


 


Is not sentience essential in  maintaining balance within a system? If something becomes unbalanced,  how does it achieve balance again?


Ask any gyroscope.  That's to say, the rules of physics are perfectly fine for the job - and when they're not sufficient to restore balance, some new and equally natural equilibrium will take its place.

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3 years ago  ::  Jul 15, 2011 - 7:32PM #57
williejhonlo
Posts: 3,710

Jul 15, 2011 -- 2:46AM, Blü wrote:


Willie


would you say that since the universe gave us sentience, is  that act in itself, an act of sentience?


No, I wouldn't.  I'd simply say that the rules of physics include the possibility of biology.  Once the accidents of chemistry result in a self-replicating cell, natural selection just keeps pruning out the ones that work least well at the time, so that one of the directions evolution takes is up a gradient of increasing complexity.  (It also goes across, and down, the same gradient.)


Natural selection isn't even a law (as such) of nature.  It's an observation about the way genetic variation in biological forms tends to function in particular environments.


 


Is not sentience essential in  maintaining balance within a system? If something becomes unbalanced,  how does it achieve balance again?


Ask any gyroscope.  That's to say, the rules of physics are perfectly fine for the job - and when they're not sufficient to restore balance, some new and equally natural equilibrium will take its place.



But aren't all these rules of physics just the way nature acts, isn't all this cause and effect taking place within nature, and in a sense just nature acting? Isn't sentience something essential for survival?


Being sentient allows me to know when I'm sick, hungry, when danger is present or imminent. The way i see it, you can't get something out of something if it's not already there. If it's not there even as a potential, could even chance bring it about?

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3 years ago  ::  Jul 15, 2011 - 9:09PM #58
TransJ
Posts: 731

TransJ: So being is an activity of reality and mind is an activity of being.


Blu: All the universe has being, but the overwhelming proportion of the universe is not brain.


Sentience / awareness is a by-product of nervous systems.  Nervous systems are active, for what it's worth.


I agree the cosmic mind is not derived from a human or animal brain. However mind in the human or animal sense is  derived from activity and so would be the cosmic mind, which means we are talking about mind generically. The universe is a reality and as such it can affect itself and so do human or animal minds. All this points to mind as  a form of activity, particular activity in humans and generic (universal) activity in the universe. In this case the activity of affecting itself.


So you want me to provide you with intelligible evidence that the universe is intelligible.


 No, I want you to provide me with examinable evidence that the universe is sentient - self-aware, capable of choice and deliberate action, that sort of thing - roughly, intelligent, not intelligible.


Again we are talking about the whole of reality (universe) here not the  sentience of a particular beings in reality. So sentience has to be in the  generic (universal) meaning of reality. Sentience in the generic sense is a capacity of some kind. The sentience of the universe is its capacity for creating an intelligible reality out of itself.

A thing can only be intelligible in relation to a brain capable of understanding it.  Without that, 'intelligible' has no meaning.  The only brains and BLTs we know of are all on earth.


The evolution of the intelligible universe has indeed produced intelligent being with brains, but need I point out that the  intelligible nature of reality is there before our brains know about it. I think we are discovering the intelligibility of reality with our brains and by doing so we are expanding our intelligence to what reality is in itself.


Of course we can.  We can imagine possibilities of impossible things - that's what Donald Duck comics are.  That's what stories of gods are.


Hmm,  A possibility is something which is not known to be untrue or is not known to be false. So impossibility is something known to be untrue or is known to be false. How do you know that gods are impossibilities?


Had to shorten it up some but if there is something that I did not reply to that you think is important just shoot it at me again.



 

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3 years ago  ::  Jul 15, 2011 - 11:09PM #59
TransJ
Posts: 731

Jul 13, 2011 -- 11:01AM, newchurchguy wrote:


 




I am a fan of C. S. Peirce - and have a modest grasp of his reasoned endorsement of objective idealism.  I see IR as a "new species" of this tradition - which is more adapted to the modern landscape of physics.


I endorse a limited materialism, where category one measurement units such as amps, volts and ohms operate. (hardware)


Along side of MM, a second category, of limited informationalism - where bits, system productivity and logical structure is measured in a separate category of units.  (software)


What I think is most interesting is where they interface!


Your idealism may shed light on my humble categorization of these areas.


 




 


I posted something earlier "Imo With the decline of atomistic theory and the advent of quantum theory, Materialism has retreated into a moderate idealism or “Physicalism”. Because the objective and subjective have become relativistic."  I would like to hear your comments on this option because I think you may have some insight to help me understand materialism as it now exist. I'm not trying to pick a fight, just hoping to gain some insight. And think you I'm glad your are enjoying my post. 



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3 years ago  ::  Jul 16, 2011 - 3:31AM #60
Blü
Posts: 24,966

TransJ

It keeps coming down to this.

You keep wanting to anthropomorphize the universe - to imply that it knows what it's doing, that it deliberately created sentient beings, that it's aware of itself.  I collide with this view at every turn, and I keep asking you to show it's true, but I get unintelligible replies eg -


mind in the human or animal sense is  derived from activity and so would be the cosmic mind, which means we are talking about mind generically.

The universe is a reality and as such it can affect itself and so do human or animal minds.

Sentience in the generic sense is a capacity of some kind. The sentience of the universe is its capacity for creating an intelligible reality out of itself.


I think all those propositions are false and the last one doesn't refer to sentience but to some entirely different concept.  Whatever it is, I suggest you rename it 'furp' to avoid confusion with real sentience.

Reality is not intelligible until evolution happens to produce a nervous system sufficiently complex to understand things (ie to make them intelligible).  As far as we know, the universe was over 13 billion years old before that happened.  Until then the universe could not be intelligible - the concept didn't exist, because it needs a brain to exist.
 


How do you know that gods are impossibilities?


I don't.  In exactly the same way I don't know that Donald Duck isn't out there somewhere living under an assumed name.  I simply think that on all the available evidence, both things are extremely unlikely - though as between them, Donald is the more likely, because at least we know that the category 'duck' has members with objective (non-imaginary) existence - something we can't say about gods.




I feel pessimistic that this conversation is going to result in my understanding what you're saying.

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