• Real Gone Cat
    68


    (Sorry, I can't type fast enough and always think of little edits I want to add.)

    What I am trying to say is that present mental content is narrative, not experience.
  • Terrapin Station
    2.4k


    What is experience in your view if not that present mental content?

    Do you reserce "experience" for something like "things that happen to your body prior to you being aware of it"?
  • Real Gone Cat
    68


    Sorry to answer a question with a question, but ...

    Do you distinguish between experience and narrative? If so, can there be present phenomenal experience without narrative? Please explain.

    Oops, gotta run. I'll pick this up later.
  • Terrapin Station
    2.4k


    I don't use the idea of "narrative," partially because re the way you're using it, no, I'd not make any distinction between that and (phenomenal) experience.
  • lambda
    35
    No… The experiential content of my present sensations is incorrigible.
  • javra
    79
    No… The experiential content of my present sensations is incorrigible.lambda

    I’m on board with this position. Although one has to grant that once it is turned into a proposition—rather than it being direct experience—it can then become corrigible, depending on the proposition held and its expression. It’s when our evolved ape-minds then start pricking and poking at the whys and hows.

    For instance, the issue of direct experience gets tricky when we start to appraise our sensations of agency via narrative. Our sensation of agency easily translates into our holding of some top-down causal ability over our own bodies and, for example, in how we interact with others.

    This to me is the zenith of conflict between our sensations and our cognitions of which metaphysical reality is true relative to what is ontic: our sensation of having freewill verses our mainstream conceptual constructs that no such thing is possible. Unless I’m wrong, it where the “illusion” motif stems from as regards what we experience.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    979
    At any rate, so MU and Real Gone Cat, are you claiming that your awareness is in the past?Terrapin Station

    I'm not saying my awareness is in the past, I'm saying my experience is in the past. Do you see a difference between these two? Awareness implies anticipation of future events as well as experience of past events.

    Are you saying, "Oh look-a tree" in the past?Terrapin Station

    By the time I've said "Oh look, a tree", that's in the past. So "oh look a tree" is necessarily in the past.

    Okay, but that's what I'm talking about--the present mental content, whatever it is.Terrapin Station

    Why do you believe that there is such a thing as "the present mental content"? If you have to say "whatever it is", it seems like you have no idea as to what such a thing as the present mental content might be. Yet you claim that the present mental content cannot be doubted. That's rather ironic, you don't know what it could be, yet you cannot doubt it. I suppose if there is nothing there, there is nothing to doubt. How could there be any such thing as the present mental content? As soon as it's there, it's in the past, in an infinitely short period of time.

    I think that mental content consists of memories of the past, and anticipations of the future. There is no present mental content.
  • Terrapin Station
    2.4k
    Why do you believe that there is such a thing as "the present mental content"?Metaphysician Undercover

    In other words, the awareness that you're not saying is in the past.
  • andrewk
    314


    We have current raw experiences. I feel warm. My back is sore.

    I would call the example of a tree an interpretation of an experience. Dan Robinson, in his lectures on Kant's CPR, asks 'Does a dog see a tree?' He agrees that the dog experiences a certain pattern on its visual field, but it requires the Transcendental Aesthetic and the transcendentally-deduced Categories to interpret that pattern as 'A Tree'.

    Because categorisation takes time, I feel inclined to agree that - whether one is a dog or a human - one cannot currently experience A Tree. However, I believe that one can currently experience the uninterpreted pattern the tree makes on our visual field, and the uninterpreted feeling the bark has against our fingers.

    One's interpretation of one's raw experiences as emanating from a tree may be mistaken. One can also have an illusory memory of a raw experience of a visual pattern or roughness against one's fingers. But one's current experience of the pattern or the roughness cannot be mistaken.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    979
    We have current raw experiences. I feel warm. My back is sore.andrewk

    I would describe this as a persistent experience. I have felt warm, consistently, for a while, and conclude inductively that I will continue to do so in the near future. So I say "I feel warm". Likewise with the back ache, it has been persistent in the recent past, and I infer that it will continue, I conclude "my back is sore".

    I believe that this is how we use inductive reasoning to produce conclusions about what "is". We have notice in the past that the sky has been blue. This is persistent, and so we have good reason to believe that the sky will continue to be blue in the future. We conclude "the sky is blue". All the objects which exist around us, we have noticed a certain continuity of their existences in the recent past, so we assume that they will continue to exist into the near future, therefore we say there "is" a chair over there, and there "is" a table over there, etc. The "is", appears to refer to the present, but it really refers to what we have noticed in the past, and we conclude by induction, will continue into the future.

    One's interpretation of one's raw experiences as emanating from a tree may be mistaken. One can also have an illusory memory of a raw experience of a visual pattern or roughness against one's fingers. But one's current experience of the pattern or the roughness cannot be mistaken.andrewk

    So I think you're somewhat wrong to say "one's current experience ... cannot be mistaken". First, I don't think there really is such a thing as one's current experience, it's a subjective division of time to say what is "current". So this assumption, of a current experience, is itself mistaken. As described above, that which is current, "what is", is itself an interpretation of what has been, and utilizing a very basic form of induction, we claim it will continue to be. But we know that induction is not beyond doubt, so the interpretations which we call "current experience", may well be mistaken.
  • andrewk
    314
    That's an interesting approach. I don't share it, but it's fascinating to me because it's like the inverse of Presentism. Presentism says that the only thing that exists is the Present. Whereas your approach seems to say that the Present does not exist and is an illusion arising from (beliefs in?) the Past and (expectations for?) the Future.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    979
    Except, I still believe that the present is very real. It must be real because there is a very real difference between future and past. This difference, between future and past necessitates a real present. If there were no difference between future and past, there would be no need to assume a real present. We live on that boundary, between future and past, and look both ways. What that boundary is, is just as elusive as what life is.
  • Terrapin Station
    2.4k

    In other words, what I'm referring to is the awareness that you'd not say is in the past.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    979

    Right, I wouldn't say that awareness is exclusively in the past, because I am also aware of some things which will occur in the future.

    But if we just consider sense awareness here, I realize that everything which I am sensing is necessarily in the past by the time that I am aware of it, because sensing is an activity which takes time.

    This is why I must conclude that my awareness is in the future as well as in the past, because if I was only aware of what I've sensed, I would not be able react quickly to get out of the way when something is coming at me. All my actions, my "doing things", indicate to me that my awareness is just as much in the future as it is in the past. My awareness of my sensations is an awareness of what has been, in the past, but my activities of moving my body are an awareness of what will be, in the future.
  • Terrapin Station
    2.4k


    So you'd say that awareness isn't in the past because you'd say it's in the past and the future?
  • aletheist
    358
    My awareness of my sensations is an awareness of what has been, in the past, but my activities of moving my body are an awareness of what will be, in the future.Metaphysician Undercover

    It seems more accurate to say that your activities of moving your body are responses to a prediction of what would be in the future, given your awareness of your sensations and some assumptions about what they entail. The future is not yet actual, so you cannot (strictly speaking) be aware of it yet.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    979
    So you'd say that awareness isn't in the past because you'd say it's in the past and the future?Terrapin Station

    Right, I am aware of the past as well as the future. But I don't think my awareness can be in the present, because the present is an infinitesimally short period of time which divides future from past, which is so short that nothing can exist within it. Surely I am not aware of anything which occurs in a only Planck time length which would divide future from past. So I put these two things together, the fact that I am aware of both the past and future, and the fact that the present is too short of a period of time for me to be aware of anything, to produce the assumption that my awareness must be in the past and the future.

    It seems more accurate to say that your activities of moving your body are responses to a prediction of what would be in the future, given your awareness of your sensations and some assumptions about what they entail.aletheist

    No, I don't think that's the case at all. I definitely would not characterize it like that. When I am moving around doing things, typing on the keyboard, getting something to eat, etc., I am not responding to predictions about what would be in the future, my mind is actually in the future. My mind knows what I will type before it is typed, and it is not the case that it is responding to predictions about what could be, it is actively creating what will be in the future. My mind has the capacity to actually produce what will be, in the future. This is not a case of responding to predictions, it is a case of my mind being in the future, and ensuring that when that future comes to pass, for my senses, things will be, as my mind wants them to be.

    The future is not yet actual, so you cannot (strictly speaking) be aware of it yet.aletheist
    I don't see how you can draw this conclusion. All the things which I have experienced, all the things which I have sensed, are in the past. I am fully aware of these things even though they are all in the past. What principle do you use to deny that I can be aware of things in the future? What principle allows you to say that being in the past is actual, but being in the future is not actual?
  • aletheist
    358
    My mind knows what I will type before it is typed ...Metaphysician Undercover

    Your mind only knows what you (presently) intend to type. Something can (and sometimes does) interrupt you before you actually type it. When we debated whether final causes can be in the future, you took the position that this intention is the final cause of the outcome, and on that basis insisted that it must always be temporally prior to the outcome. Have you changed your mind about that?

    My mind has the capacity to actually produce what will be, in the future.Metaphysician Undercover

    Your mind has the capacity to imagine what would be produced in the future, if certain conditions come about; and only some of these are within your control. Unless you are omniscient and/or omnipotent, you cannot guarantee in the present what will be in the future.

    What principle do you use to deny that I can be aware of things in the future? What principle allows you to say that being in the past is actual, but being in the future is not actual?Metaphysician Undercover

    Because nothing is actual until it occurs. Modally speaking, the future is always possible, never actual. Claiming that the future is already actual amounts to determinism.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    979
    Your mind only knows what you (presently) intend to type. Something can (and sometimes does) interrupt you before you actually type it. When we debated whether final causes can be in the future, you took the position that this intention is the final cause of the outcome, and on that basis insisted that it must always be temporally prior to the outcome. Have you changed your mind about that?aletheist

    The final cause is temporally prior to the outcome in the same way that the future is temporally prior to the past. If you consider time itself, the time which will be in the past is always in the future before it is in the past. So for example, January 8th is in the future before it is in the past. So I haven't changed my mind, I just understand time in a different way from you. We can consider material things which exist in time, and those in the past are prior to those in the future, but if we take time itself, as an immaterial object, then any part of time itself, is always future time before it is past time. I understand that the future is always becoming the past, as time passes.

    Your mind has the capacity to imagine what would be produced in the future, if certain conditions come about; and only some of these are within your control. Unless you are omniscient and/or omnipotent, you cannot guarantee in the present what will be in the future.aletheist

    Of course I cannot "guarantee" what will be, in the future, in any absolute sense, that's the point of the thread, we can always be mistaken. I might think that I am typing "mistaken", but actually type "mistakwn", or something like that. The capacity for my mind to produce what will be, physically, in the future, is very limited, because of the limitations of my body. But this does not mean that the capacity is not there.

    Claiming that the future is already actual amounts to determinism.aletheist

    No, determinism is the claim that the actuality of the past determines absolutely what will happen in the future. I can claim that the future is actual, but it doesn't consist of material things, it is immaterial, without implying determinism. That is the advantage of dualism, we can appeal to two distinct actualities, material and immaterial.
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