Comments

  • Against spiritualism
    The table is made of matterSamuel Lacrampe

    Again, you're just begging the question of the nature of things in the world. An idealist would dispute that the table is made of matter.

    An idealist can just make the same begging the question argument: "I perceive a table. The table is made of my visual experience of it, thus is experiential. Therefore I perceive an experiential world."
  • Against spiritualism
    But we do perceive a physical world.Samuel Lacrampe

    Begs the question.
  • Against spiritualism
    The effect of our perception of the physical world requires an adequate cause. That cause must be a real physical world. Could it be something else?Samuel Lacrampe

    Here you're just assuming, or begging the question that what we perceive with our sense IS a physical world, which the idealist disputes. The idealist also disputes that his experiences require "an adequate cause" - which is the exact same thing that you are doing, except in regards to the physical world. You hold that the physical world is a 'cause', and isn't an effect of something else/some other level of reality.

    The difference between the two positions is which level of reality is uncaused/requires no 'adequate cause'. So demanding the idealist explain what's causing everything experiential to exist is missing the point - the idealist holds that experiential things are uncaused - there *isnt* some other level of reality (such as a physical world) causing them to exist.
  • Against spiritualism
    As long as you have experienced "blue", you need to explain where this experience comes from, if not from a physical world.Samuel Lacrampe

    Why do you not in return though, need to explain where the physical world comes from? The idealist/spiritualist believes reality exists on an experiential level, with no other 'level' of reality causing or holding/bringing the experiential world into existence. You might gawk and demand an explanation for what on earth is causing the experiential world to exist, but the physicalist is merely bringing the 'uncaused' part of reality out from our experiences into a physical world.

    At some point, there must be a 'level' of reality that is uncaused, that just exists with nothing causing it or bringing it into existence. You hold that this is the physical level of reality - the physical world doesn't require an explanation/another level of reality which brings it about, causing it to exist. The idealist holds that this uncaused level of reality is our experiences. That there is no level of reality bringing them into existence, the merely exist uncaused.

    Do you see my point? Every position has this same feature - that there is a part/level of reality that does not require an explanation for what is causing it to exist. For you, that level is a physical world. For the idealist, that level is our experiences. Both the idealist and physicalist theories have the very same feature - that some part of reality is uncaused and merely exists with nothing holding it in existence - it just exists by brute force and requires no explanation (because it has none), the only difference between the two theories here is the disagreement over which level of reality is uncaused/exists through brute force.

    So when you say "you need to explain where this experience comes from", the idealist can simply respond that his experience is uncaused/it exists through 'brute' force - in the very same way that the physicalist would respond to a question about what causes the physical world to exist.

    Why must the idealist give an explanation for the cause of his experiences, whereas you don't have to give an explanation for what is causing the physical world to exist? The only difference between your positions here is what level of reality you believe is uncaused and requires no explanation.
  • Against spiritualism
    Does this mean that, to a spiritualist, a tree (even imaginary) is a spiritual thing, not a physical one? If so, then how does he differentiate between physical and spiritual things?Samuel Lacrampe

    I think the word "spiritual" is bringing a lot of confusion to this conversation. By my reading of this thread, it appears as if you are arguing against the idea that reality is purely mental, or experiential. This position is commonly refereed to as "idealism"' or more broadly speaking 'anti-realism'.

    Anyway, in response to the quote above, a "spiritualist"/idealist doesn't believe that anything is physical. To a spiritualist/idealist there would merely be different kinds of tree experiences - eg, trees experienced in waking life (such as when walking through a forest), trees experienced in dreams, trees that one imagines in their minds eye, fictitious trees referred to in books, images of trees, etc. To the idealist, none of these trees are physical, all of these trees exist only as experiences, but they're differentiated from each other by the kind of experiences that they are - they're all experienced in a clearly different way.
  • A child, an adult and God
    No I'm not giving up on omnibenevolence. I'm giving up on human ability to comprehend god.TheMadFool

    The problem here though is that if we can't comprehend god, then what are we actually believing in? We can't even comprehend the nature of the content of our belief (god). We can't even know WHAT we are believing in, and so the "god" in the "I believe in god" statement is meaningless to us. It's incomprehensible, the word is essentially meaningless.

    But it appears to me like you want it both ways. As in, "god has x nature (exists, is omnipotent, non-evil, what have you), while at the same time, "gods nature is incomprehensible to humans". How can you have this both ways? It makes no sense. God can't be incomprehensible an yet you comprehend gods existence and at least a few attributes of his (its?) nature.

    This apparent contradiction is why I don't think your argument works.

    Personally I just don't see how the problem of evil can be resolved. There is a disgustingly abhorrent amount of suffering in this world, and I simply can't perform the mental gymnastics required to believe that an all powerful being (benevolent) being couldn't EASILY resolve. At the risk of sounding antagonistic, this "it's all for some obscure greater good so it's not REALLY that bad" strikes me a wishy washy self-comforting delusional nonsense. Forming this belief is like a child reaching for his blanket - it's a comforting feeling, but not particularly mature.

    I think there's just two options here,
    1. God (as an omnipotent being, benevolent, perfect, creator of universe, etc) doesn't exist
    2. God exists, but just doesn't care about suffering and evil, or is downright evil himself

    I'm putting my chips in with option one - although perhaps some might say that that's just me forming a belief because it's comforting - my own personal child's blanket. Option two is quite unsettling indeed.
  • There is no difference between P-zombies and non P-zombies.
    No, the difference is that p-zombies don't have consciousness, and conscious people do.Michael

    You can't escape the fact that this is you attributing consciousness. You are here personally saying that x has consciousness.
  • There is no difference between P-zombies and non P-zombies.
    The difference is the one described in the definition. P-zombies don't have consciousness.Michael

    So the difference here is that you don't attribute consciousness to p-zombies, whereas you do attribute consciousness to 'normal' people.

    My point is that this really is no difference at all. The only difference here is whetheryou personally attribute consciousness to the person or not. This has nothing to do with actual, transcendentally existing conscious experiences which are somehow in relationship to this person before you. All it is is you basically going "that person over there is conscious, and therefore isn't a p-zombie", and nothing else.

    The only difference here really between a p-zombie and non p-zombie is whether you personally attribute consciousness to that person. Here you might say, "no the difference is whether that person is actually conscious or not, he's not a p-zombie because that person is actually conscious". But my point here is that's just nothing more than you again attributing consciousness to the person. It's inescapable. Non p-zombies are simply nothing more than humans that you personally attribute consciousness to.
  • Is pencil and paper enough?
    I think there's an issue here with our own access to the brain that is (allegedly) causing our conscious experience. I'd liken it to something like an arrow that cannot shoot at itself, or an eye that cannot see it's own gaze.

    It's like this. (Allegedly) there is a brain which is causing this conscious experience I am having. But in order to study this brain I only have at my own disposal my sensory experiences (and my thoughts). The trouble here is that those things are themselves already a conscious experience caused by a brain. So lets say somehow I examine my brain (imagine I cut my skull open and start cutting into it or something). The problem here is that what I'm examining is entirely a conscious experience. It's a visual experience of a brain, a touch experience, my thoughts, etc. But these are all themselves conscious experiences which are ALREADY being generated by a brain.

    So there's an access issue here. I cannot examine my brain without using conscious experience generated by that brain. But the conscious experience generated by that brain, is NOT, the brain which is causing the conscious experience - it is what that brain is doing.

    It's like I cannot step outside of my own gaze, in order to examine the eye.

    So I think there is an issue of access here, in that we really cannot get at what it really is that's (allegedly - this is all just a theory that there is a brain generating our conscious experience) causing our conscious experience. We are trapped within conscious experience, and cannot step outside of that in order to examine the cause.
  • Idealism and "group solipsism" (why solipsim could still be the case even if there are other minds)
    It's like two people playing chess against one-another, but are on other sides of the planet. There's two chess sets which corresponds to each other, so if the white knight is moved on one board, it automatically moves on the other. Each person is alone in their own room, with their own chess board, but they are playing against each other in a singular match. So for example, one guy is playing as black. He'd see on the board in front of him, a white piece moving by itself, corresponding to the guy on the other side of the world moving that white piece with his hand.

    Your face and body is much like this as well, when you are in public. You control it's movements, but it's appearing in the visual fields of other people. So you're in a store for example. You are intensely aware/self-conscious of the movements and expressions in your face, and of your arms when you point to a product for the store person. It's like you are basically existing in their visual field. You're kind of transported into their mind (their visual perception) and with your movements in your body and your facial expression you control what they perceive. You walk around and make expressions directly within their minds.

    It's very odd to me. It's as if your body is basically an exterior, a shell or a surface, and it moves in and out of people's minds, and it's totally up to you what you express or do with that exterior, how you present it. There's a huge difference in how you experience your body compared to being in the presence of other people and being alone. When other people are around my perception of my body and face drastically switches so that I am immediately aware of myself as another persons perception - I have entered the mind of another person. And so I experience the surface of my body and my face as a visual perception for another person. I experience myself, in my mind, from a third person visual perspective. Imagining myself as existing within the visual perception of another person, and he does the same for me. We essentially lose our first person perspective that we have while alone, and see ourselves as the exterior/shell of our bodies which others are perceiving.

    The world is so totally incomprehensibly bizarre! I seriously have no idea wtf is going on. I still have a lot of doubts about/towards solipsism. It seems no matter how secure I feel about myself actually communicating with others, these niggling little doubts always sneak back in, "are you really? is there truly another visual field which my body is being perceived within? Is there really a perceivier somehow associated with that persons body I see? Is there really a pain experience associated with that person hurting themselves?"

    I suppose us being separate beings means we really just cannot know for sure whether the other actually exists. Which troubles me greatly. Whether you exist or not has huge consequences for morality, love, meaning, etc.
  • Philosophy of Drugs and Drug use


    Why do you have such a negative attitude towards drug use?
  • Philosophy of Drugs and Drug use
    You mind is not "altered"; it is impaired.Jeremiah

    This just assumes that people operate best/ideally when sober, and all drugs decrease how one functions. I don't buy it. People can work longer and harder when on stimulants like caffeine and amphetamines. Some people claim they're more creative on certain drugs. People with pain issues certainly operate better when they've ingested opiates. Most people are better at socialization after taking benzos, alcohol, or MDMA. I certainly dance better after a few drinks!

    There might be some subjectivity in weighing the pros and the cons, but assuming there's not a real legitimate purpose, it's probably a better idea to live within a normal state of consciousness.Hanover

    Why is 'for enjoyment' not a legitimate purpose though?

    This reminds me of the cannabis debate where somehow it's seen as better/more acceptable to use cannabis for pain, than for plain enjoyment. Society seems to be more willing to 'allow' cannabis use when there's a medical reason, rather than because the person wants to do it, for their own enjoyment.

    Society seems to really look down upon people who want to take drugs because they enjoy it. They have to have some sort of medical reason. I really don't see why getting pleasure out drug use is so vilified in our culture. I think it's something to do with people seeing the pleasure gained from drug use as 'unearned', as if you should have to work far harder to enjoy yourself.
  • "Comfortable Pessimism"
    No, I'm not excluding us in saying that. I really don't know what to do to be happy etc. I simply don't understand my own body or psychology well enough, and so I stay miserable because I seriously don't understand what to do not to be.The Great Whatever

    This made me laugh! If it's any comfort I feel the exact same way.

    What about drug use? Have you tried that for your misery? What's your thoughts on it as a means to be happy?
  • "Comfortable Pessimism"
    Active, purpose-driven pessimism eschews aesthetic comfort and decadence for a prescription to end the problem once and for all. This entails participating in and supporting public institutions focused on maximizing welfare and making the world a better place, and actively advocating pessimistic philosophies, within the constraints of self-preservation.darthbarracuda

    To be fair a lot of those 'comfortable pessimists' espoused anti-natalistism, something which really would 'end the problem once and for all' once implemented. Neither Schopenhauer, the Buddha, nor Emil Cioran had children.
  • Is suffering all there is ?
    If pleasure is merely an absence or negation of suffering, then graveyards must be filled with the happiest people of all!

    Personally I think genuine pleasure exists. Granted, it's fairly rare though (too rare - this world could sure do with some improving!). I'd say our default state is suffering, suffering is a far more motivating force in our lives, suffering (and our evasion away from it) is what keeps us living, and not say our movement towards pleasure. Suffering is what our pleasure always fades away to. I don't buy this notion that "you wouldn't be able to feel pleasure without suffering", or "suffering is what makes the good times good", "nobody would know what pleasure was without first suffering". There's genuine pleasure in this world - which means there's genuine 'good', there's something of actual positive value.

    What about drug induced pleasures/euphorias? Surely these aren't just (entirely) the negation of some suffering or another? IV meth, or speedballs for example - it's self-evident these are genuinely pleasurable. Rolling on MDMA!

    I think I'd start genuinely considering suicide if all I did was suffer, and pleasure was some sort of illusion.

    The problem is not that pleasure doesn't exist, or that it's some sort of illusion, or that pleasure isn't actually positive in the way suffering is negative/bad. The problem instead is just it's rarity. A lot rarer than I think most people believe (or want to believe).
  • Epicurus, or Philosophy Incarnate
    By pleasure we mean the absence of pain in the body and of trouble in the soul. — Epicurus

    Then graveyards must be the happiest places on earth...
  • Don't you hate it. . .
    Doxylamine works for me when I can't sleep, better than most prescription sleeping meds I've tried.
  • What are you playing right now?
    Internet poker, mostly 2-7 triple draw and baduci. Primarily on pokerstars.

    Triple draw is so frustrating, manic depression - the card game version. Half the time I want to smash a brick into my face and end it all. But the other half I'm on a heater taking pot after pot.

    It mostly balances out.
  • The manipulative nature of desires
    Suffering motivates us to act, in order to stop feeling it, or prevent it being felt. This is perpetual. We will do this till the day we day, because we have bodily needs - food, water, shelter, etc. Hunger is suffering, thirst is suffering, cold is suffering. So we must act, expend effort and energy, struggle to avoid it. Because if we don't, the suffering will intensify greatly, until we die a horrible painful death, of starvation, thirst, exposure, etc. Life is a constant struggle to avoid suffering, and the consequence of avoiding all these various sufferings is that we continue to exist (and suffer). So I would not say that "we avoid suffering because we want to continue living". Rather, I'd say that we want to avoid suffering (because it feels bad, it's unwanted, it hurts), and the consequence of this is continued existence. Evolution has fine tuned this, whereby we feel hunger, so we struggle to find something to eat, and then we feel thirst, so we must expend effort to drink, and then we get cold, so we find some clothes or heat, etc. It's a constant series of sufferings in various forms, which motivate us to perform different actions - which produces the overall effect of continued existence (and continued suffering).

    The horrible thing is that when we avoid all our bodily sufferings, we're not rewarded with anything (aside from not feeling suffering), there's no prize, no compensation for our struggle. All we achieve is a state which the dead get through no effort at all, and don't have to suffer and struggle for it. We just feel 'not-bad'. Our physical needs are met, now what? We are confronted with the emptiness of existence, it's inherent lack of value, it's ambivalence - you could take it or leave it. And we become bored, and restless. We are so used to perpetually being in action, struggling from suffering that when we rest, we simply don't know what to do with ourselves. We need tofind something to do. When our attention isn't being absorbed into something, when we lack a goal or purpose, we face life itself. And it's empty. So we must invent goals, we must invent something to absorb our attention into. We must put made up goals ahead of ourselves, so that we struggle towards those instead.

    And we are so dumb, that psychologically we imagine it all paying off in the future. "I'll be happy when I achieve x, or when I reach y, or when I get z". But when we reach xyz, perhaps we feel some momentary excitement, or joy, but soon, due to our once again lacking purpose, goals or direction to distract us from the emptiness of existence, we are confronted with it again, and lapse into suffering. We become anxious and restless. And it just repeats. "I'll be happy when I reach a".

    And due to psychological complexity, how complicated we are (as opposed to say a cow), we have more needs than just bodily. We experience a far greater range of suffering than other animals. We need social contact, we need to feel valued, we need to feel like what we do is meaningful, we need to feel part of a wider, greater whole (a society, a country, the human race, etc). It's just endless. Life is just a constant race, a struggle to avoid a vast range of sufferings. Because we experience such a wide range, we develop the complex and complicated societies we see today. There's no real end goal. We may tell ourselves we do it all for 'x', it all has 'y' meaning, and that's why we live and struggle. But this isn't the case. We struggle simply because suffering hurts. Pain hurts, cold hurts, hunger hurts, and so we do whatever we need to, to avoid these various sufferings. The resulting effect being continued biological existence. But we also feel the suffering of meaninglessness, and so we must invent justifications/reasons for our struggle ("we may tell ourselves we do it all for 'x'), to try and give us some psychological comfort, to avoid the ennui and anxiousness.

    And there's all kinds of other sufferings as well. This is just the normal functioning humans life. Everything can go wrong, addiction, mental illness, physical illness, heartbreak, rejection, fingers down chalkboard, car crashes, being harmed by empathy (you feel bad when others do), I could go on for days.

    But yet, there's no true pleasure in this world. There's no genuinely positively valued experiences. Suffering has negative value, and yet pleasure is not positive. At best it's neutral. What pleasure actually consists of, is an experience of 'losing oneself'. We say that we feel pleasure in moments when we become absorbed into something so much that we forget our existence, our struggle. We say eating good food is pleasurable. What actually happens is we become lost into the flavor sensation, we focus so much on it that we lose our sense of ourselves and forget we exist. This is what happens in sports, movies, music, sex, massages. Pleasure is nothing but a brief respite from suffering, through completely absorbing ones attention into something. An orgasm feels good, not because it's an actual genuinely good sensation in-itself. Rather, the feeling is so strong that our attention is overwhelmed into it, and we lose our sense of self, of being in the world, if only for a brief moment.

    I'm writing this post right now, because I have secured my bodily needs, and the emptiness of the world is confronting me head on. I need to find something to do, to distract myself, to absorb my attention into. Just so happens that the complicated thought involved in doing philosophy, much like a puzzle to solve, takes a lot of concentration/attention, so that I don't have to face the emptiness of merely existence anymore. Soon this wont be enough, my attention will stop being absorbed by my thoughts, it doesn't last. And so I'm downloading an episode to watch soon. I've prepared to avoid the future suffering.

    I don't think most people are really aware of how bad their lives are, and the world is. It's suffering all the way down. There are no motivations for action that are not a kind of suffering. We seek 'pleasurable' (which we falsely believe are genuine goods) experiences only because the lack of them is a kind of suffering. Anyone with any sense of empathy should conclude that creating another being that will have suffering inflicted upon them, day in and day out, until it finally overwhelms them and they die, is clearly not the right thing to do. It's cruel and unnecessary. But most people are deluded about the value of their lives. They are masters of pollyannaism, or just genuinely lack empathy. Some of the reasons people have children are downright shocking. "So someone will care for me in my old age", "to save my marriage", "to get money from the government". And then there's people who do it unthinkingly, because that's the thing that you do. You become an adult, you find a partner, you have children and settle down. And so they do that, because that's the thing that you do. thedoxa.

    Life consists of nothing more than a struggle away from suffering, and brief respites from suffering by forgetting you exist, essentially. Losing oneself into a moment, or a sensation. That's it. We delude ourselves by perpetually imagining the future better than it will be in reality. We imagine happiness ahead, we don't really understand that we'll never reach the future, we'll always be here, presently suffering and struggling. And then one day our bodies will be lethally harmed, or give out, and we will die.

    Humour and laughter is an important and effective counter to suffering. It's probably the best way to deal/respond to it. Find a way to keep laughing, try not to get too depressed.
  • How to reconcile the biology of sense organs with our sensory perceptions?
    Here's how to reconcile them: Biological sense organs are nothing but a particular type of sense-perception.

    That was easy.
    lambda

    If you press on the side of your eye, your vision doubles. If you lose your eyes, you become blind, losing your tongue means you can't taste anything. If you lose all your sense organs/brain, then presumably you cease to have perceptions altogether and die. There's clearly something special about sense organs, that I don't think can simply be explained by saying that what clearly looks like a casual relationship between sense organs and perceptions is mere correlations of perceptions or coincidence. As in, it's just a correlation that one loses their taste perception after one loses their tongue, and there's no casual relationship between your tongue and your sense of taste. There's something deeper going on than that. I suppose I cannot prove this 100% though, but neither can we about a lot of things and yet we still believe it (eg, that I am talking to another conscious person through this forum).