• Isaac
    7.4k
    Translation + stress testing of the bridge translation builds.fdrake

    Yes. I should not have forgotten the duty on the part of the scientist, as you say

    the inverse question induced by the translation; said the neuroscientist to the folk theorist - does this make any difference on a day to day basis? Does this make a difference therapeutically?fdrake

    I think you're right here, it's really important to keep in mind the wider goals of science and one of those has to be to report back to the folk conceptions and processes. I know it's an unpopular position, but I'm not a "science for science's sake" kind of person, we do science for a reason, it's as much politics and social jostling as any other aspect of human affairs.

    One way of framing the issue is that if people behave as if there were a thing, and that behaviour wouldn't work as it does without it functioning as if there were a thing, does it make sense to say that thing exists in some sense?fdrake

    I think we're kind of forced by our grammar to go along with that - "X doesn't exist", "then what is the subject of that last sentence?". The problem perhaps, arises in importing the connections between those 'things' into that behaviour. It's too binomial, perhaps, to say behaviour either works or doesn't, it could work better or less well?

    if something behaves as if a model of it were true, then the model can be treated as real/held to be true/is true. Like F=ma or something like that. If the system involved works in accordance**
    with F=ma, F=ma is true for it. So that system's behaviour generates a commitment to that it acts in accord with that description of it.
    fdrake

    Likewise here. I think this crosses into some of the issue I have with the binomial properties (true/false, known/unknown) being used as if they were a different type of property to their graduated cousins (works-fails, believed-doubted). If something behaves as if a model of it were 'true' then it should, I think, be treated as if it were true. But as I use the terms (which I accept is idiosyncratic) what we're really saying is that a model works. The difference being that another model can work better, whereas one cannot be more true.

    Not sure if I'm nitpicking though (there was that body you asked me to ignore, after all, and here I am doing a bloody autopsy on it)! It definitely works as framing if one allows for graduation in place of (what I'm reading as) binomial binning.

    I think, in that latter sense, science is actually doing nothing special (or at least nothing unexpected). We do it throughout our childhood. I used to think all sorts of things that we might call my own personal folk science, and I updated those models as and when they failed me. My folk ontology was being updated by conflict with the world throughout. And more often than not the process was no less fraught!
  • Xtrix
    3.5k
    We cannot agree on 'what there is' because any determination – ontological commitment – reflects our interests/biases180 Proof

    We don’t have to agree on it. There will be all kinds of interpretations and answers to the question “What is being?” Many will be incompatible.

    But we don’t have to agree on the concept of life either. Yet we’re alive. We don’t have to figure out the ultimate meaning of life (or agree on it), yet we’re all living our lives in some way or other.

    I've pursued, therefore, an inquiry based on what we must agree on rationally: the Principle of Non-contradiction. (NB: Even dialetheism or paraconsistent logic implicitly accept the PNC axiom in so far as such systems deny it.) From there I'm working through, or working out, an apophatic modal-metaphysics (or negative ontology à la "negative theology"); and once 'what necessarily is not there' (i.e. the impossibles) is determined as a principle?180 Proof

    “Must” we agree? What’s so great about absolute, universal agreement anyway?

    If you can determine what is “necessarily” not there, then why do you give up on determining what is?

    Either way, we’re back in the same conundrum: what we determine as the “impossibles” is a matter of interpretation too. If you’re using agreement as a criterion, you’ve only shifted the subject from something (being, existence, thereness) to nothing (non-being, absence, emptiness). Lack of agreement, value and interest-laden interpretation, and biases sweep in here as well.

    What’s interesting to me is the question itself and how its been answered, tacitly or explicitly, for thousands of years. Yes, this is the history of philosophy but also (insofar as thought/beliefs/attitudes/outlook shape actions) a history of human behavior— political, religious, scientific, technological, economic, artistic.

    I’m not so interested in settling on a necessary, concrete answer or definition — for exactly the reasons you mention. But even if we want such an answer, or want to formulate a new one, wrestling with the current and past evolution of the question (and its answers) will be key.
  • 180 Proof
    8.7k
    If you can determine what is “necessarily” not there, then why do you give up on determining what is[/u]?Xtrix
    I don't "give up on" anything. As I wrote above in the post to which you're referring, Xtrix:
    I speculate that the remainder – whatever is not determined 'impossible' as such – is 'what there is' (i.e. the possibles [re: irrealism, actualism ]), no doubt as Spinoza (or Einstein) would say, sub specie aeternitatus.180 Proof
    and perhaps you didn't read further down this page to this follow-up wherein more explicitly I address "what there is".
  • Xtrix
    3.5k
    We cannot agree on 'what there is' because any determination – ontological commitment – reflects our interests/biases or some domain with which we're engaged. Thus, the history of incommensurable, divergent, metaphysics. I've pursued, therefore, an inquiry based on what we must agree on rationally180 Proof

    I don't "give up on" anything.180 Proof

    Fine. We “can’t agree” about being, but supposedly we “must agree on” PNC? Why?

    It’s still simply moving the same problem to another topic, regardless of whether “giving up” is accurate or not. That is, determining what’s “impossible.”

    There’s also the question of why we should care about agreement.
  • 180 Proof
    8.7k
    Fine. We “can’t agree” about being, but supposedly we “must agree on” PNC? Why?Xtrix
    (1)

    Without agreeing on (conforming to) the PNC, ​the principle of explosion reduces discursive reason (e.g. your question) to glossolalia – jabberwocky (L. Carroll). As Freddy says: "I am afraid we are not rid of [Limit] because we still have faith in  grammar."

    (2)
    Anyone who denies the law of non-contradiction should be beaten and burned until he admits that to be beaten is not the same as not to be beaten, and to be burned is not the same as not to be burned. — Ibn Sina
    :fire: :eyes:

    There’s also the question of why we should care about agreement.Xtrix
    Maybe we shouldn't. Many don't care, yet some do. Reasoning begins with agreement – e.g. grammar – and it's argument / dialectic that negotiates whether or not discourse ends in agreement. My concern is with discursive beginnings (grounds), that is, where we must begin in order to make sense with – translate (G. Steiner) – one another.
  • Xtrix
    3.5k
    Without agreeing on (conforming to) the PNC, ​the principle of explosion reduces discursive reason (e.g. your question) to glossolalia180 Proof

    I think people get along just fine without these logical principles, and far too much power has been given to them. It’s like arguing that we speak correctly only because we’ve absorbed the rules of grammar. I don’t really subscribe to that point of view, but I know it’s influential.

    “Logic is an invention of schoolteachers, not of philosophers.”
  • Agent Smith
    5.2k
    A refreshingly new look at ontology. Kudos to the OP.

    My ontology:

    1. The physical/material world exists.
    2. Anything and everything else, a big question mark!

    Keeping it simple and perhaps a tad bit too stupid. :kiss:

    C'est la vie! C'est la vie!
  • Tate
    377
    All the great epics start with those assumptions. Well, actually that's not true.

    You could start a great epic with that assumption, though. Except it might all end up being for nothing. Pointless adventures.
  • punos
    128
    My ontology: Time

    Time = Energy = Logic
    Space = Number = Math (Arithmetic)

    Chaos = (Time + Space)

    Dimension = Space^2

    Information = Chaos + Space (Matter)
    Evolution = Chaos + Information (complexity)
    Consciousness = Information^2 (emergence)

    All = Time.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The most fundamental thing possible in my mind is Time which in my mind is also synonymous with Energy itself. Since Energy can not be created nor destroyed. Without it nothing can happen, so all things are contingent on Time to even exist or continue existing.
    The second most fundamental thing is Space itself which is the other side of Time.
    Information emerges from the interaction between Time and Space (self-interaction).
    I would also add that an inseparable aspect of Time and Space is Logic and Mathematics respectively (Time holds Logic, and Space holds Number or magnitude).

    Also Space can be reshaped to yield other Dimensions from which more complex possibilities are allowed. I believe that this is all that is needed for our or any universe to exist, all viable universes must have these things, for there to be things.
  • creativesoul
    10.5k


    That which exists has an effect and/or affect.
  • ucarr
    254
    Dimension = Space^2punos

    Does motion have an elementary role within your ontology?
  • ucarr
    254
    My own view, which I've been working out is to use Sellar's distinction between the "manifest image" and the "scientific image" as a good provisional distinction, or at least a useful heuristic.

    I'd say I have a manifest ontology which includes "everything" and a scientific ontology which tends to be agnostic. What there is in the mind-independent world may well be what physics says there is, but physics is incomplete and is subject to revisions that may make any previous ontology obsolete.

    The reason for including a "manifest ontology" is because I think our common-sense world is worth talking about, I want to talk about kings and ships and gods and everything else. Otherwise we would have very little to say.
    Manuel

    Is the distinction to the effect that manifest ontology = via the senses and scientific ontology = via reasoned understanding based upon experimentation?

    Is it true that when you make your cognitive journeys, you lead with skepticism?

    If you are skeptical to some degree, do you ever apply it to your manifest ontology?

    This question attempts to examine the possible existence of crosstalk between your two sets of ontology. If it exists, then perhaps your cognitive journeys feature an oscillation between the two sets:

    Skepticism about what your senses detect sends you to science and, conversely, skepticism about what science detects sends you to sensory experience.

    All of the above = my attempt to explain why I ask if you lead with skepticism.
  • Manuel
    2.6k
    Is the distinction to the effect that manifest ontology = via the senses and scientific ontology = via reasoned understanding based upon experimentation?ucarr

    No. Although it is tempting to put forth such distinctions, as it looks neat and saves us from doing more work, I don't think it holds up.

    There is plenty of understanding and experimentation done in the manifest image, and the scientific image ultimately rests on whatever sense data tells us about the phenomena of the world.

    If you are skeptical to some degree, do you ever apply it to your manifest ontology?ucarr

    Depends on what you mean by skepticism in terms of scope and depth. A healthy does of skepticism is good, but figuring out what "healthy" amounts to is not easy.

    Anything stronger than that would be self-defeating, and there are no definitive answers against skepticism, even after thousand of years.
  • ucarr
    254
    Is the distinction to the effect that manifest ontology = via the senses and scientific ontology = via reasoned understanding based upon experimentation?
    — ucarr

    No. Although it is tempting to put forth such distinctions, as it looks neat and saves us from doing more work, I don't think it holds up.
    Manuel

    Sellars claims that the scientific image of man is not able to encompass or comprehend the manifest image but that both are equally valid ways of knowing about man.Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

    I see that your two ontologies, as inspired by Sellars, stand in a somewhat parallel relationship to each other. Do you think their interrelationship important enough to work out a detailed characterization? As Sellars says, scientific imagery comes after manifest imagery, thereby suggesting a conceivably important relationship.

    Depends on what you mean by skepticism in terms of scope and depth. A healthy does of skepticism is good, but figuring out what "healthy" amounts to is not easy.Manuel

    Skepticism, as I'm using it here, means withholding judgment on principle until rational examination (and possible experimentation) are conducted. Accordingly, examination evaluates skepticism just as it evaluates truth claims.
  • Manuel
    2.6k


    I borrow Sellars' terms because I think it's a useful distinction, but aside from that, I'm not a fan (nor do I dislike him), and he has not he been an influence on me, despite his important contributions in epistemology.

    Do you think their interrelationship important enough to work out a detailed characterization?ucarr

    That's a very hard question. It seems to me that, if I look at any ordinary manifest object, whatever science can tell me about it, falls considerably short of my experience of that object. I assume this points to our rich cognitive constitution and how much it adds to the world itself.

    Given this, I don't think that a detailed characterization can be given: one can always add more aspects of experience (phenomenology) to a manifest object.

    When possible, the way we are happens to coincide with some aspects of the way the world is, when these interact, we have a possible science. If not, we don't.

    Skepticism, as I'm using it here, means withholding judgment on principle until rational examination (and possible experimentation) are conducted. Accordingly, examination evaluates skepticism just as it evaluates truth claims.ucarr

    This sounds to me like reasonable skepticism, so, I have no reason to disagree here.
  • Manuel
    2.6k


    What about those things that don't exist but have an effect/affect?
  • punos
    128

    Does motion have an elementary role within your ontology?ucarr

    The ability for a thing to move is afforded by Time itself. Without time a thing would be incapable of changing it's position, state or anything else. Nothing can even exist without Time maintaining its existence in the next moment whether it moves or not. Time affords existence and change (the only constant in the universe).
  • ucarr
    254
    Do you think their interrelationship important enough to work out a detailed characterization?ucarr

    When possible, the way we are happens to coincide with some aspects of the way the world is, when these interact, we have a possible science. If not, we don't.Manuel

    I think your above response gives a substantial & thought-provoking answer to my question.

    If there exist human attributes parallel to the natural world, then, to some extent, humans are not entirely of the natural world, and thus science of the natural world cannot reveal & explain those parts of human. Moreover, human composition is only partly natural. As to the other part, is it super-natural?

    Did you intend to imply the above?

    If there are parts of the world fundamentally unlike human, then human science faces parts of the natural world it cannot understand.

    The two above disjunctions are rooted in the notion that human science can understand variance by degree, but not by fundamental category. I can understand, scientifically, a frog. Like me, it's a protein-based, water-dependent sentient. I cannot understand, scientifically, a conjectured, immaterial spirit.

    Note - Human can embrace immaterial spirit, but that entails non-scientific acceptance of a body/spirit duality.
  • Manuel
    2.6k
    If there exist human attributes parallel to the natural world, then, to some extent, humans are not entirely of the natural world, and thus science of the natural world cannot reveal & explain those parts of human. Moreover, human composition is only partly natural. As to the other part, is it super-natural?

    Did you intend to imply the above?
    ucarr

    Not at all. I think there is an unfortunate trend to associate the word "nature" and "naturalism" to mean whatever science says there is. But there is clearly more to the world than what science says there is (art, morals, politics, human relations, etc.)

    But why should art, morals, human relations and so on not be considered natural things: things of nature? On this view, nature is everything there is, the opposite of reductionism, while not steering into supernaturalism, which is not even clearly stated.

    If there are parts of the world fundamentally unlike human, then human science faces parts of the natural world it cannot understand.ucarr

    I think this is the case regardless of how like or unlike us, the world is.

    Note - Human can embrace immaterial spirit, but that entails non-scientific acceptance of a body/spirit duality.ucarr

    We soon enter into the terminological, rather than substantive by this point. You can call nature "immaterial", "material", "neutral" or anything else, the term does not affect our understanding or ignorance of the world, I don't think.
  • ucarr
    254
    The ability for a thing to move is afforded by Time itself.punos

    Three claims:

    The motion of a material object is associated with a positive interval of time.

    A positive interval of time supports duration.

    When a material object moves across a positive interval of time, it examples duration, and thus you have dimension.

    Conclusion:

    Time, via duration, supports dimensional expansion WRT space, time, motion.

    Questions:

    Can time exist apart from the physics of material objects in motion?

    If we imagine that it can, does the passing of time in isolation consume energy?

    If it doesn't, does it follow that the inertial force attached to material objects is caused by time, a non-energy phenomenon?

    Is time an independent, physical phenomenon, or is it a cognitive construct of the perceiving, human mind?

    If it is the latter, then, as such, is it an emergent property of material objects?

    Four Claims:

    Time, within the perceiving human mind, conceptualizes duration that, in turn, organizes material objects in motion as dimensional expansions.

    Energy = the ability to move

    Energy+motion+duration (perceived time) = the dimensional expansion of our 3D environment

    Our physical ontology is rooted in the triumvirate of energy_animation_duration
  • ucarr
    254
    I think there is an unfortunate trend to associate the word "nature" and "naturalism" to mean whatever science says there is.Manuel

    When I write "natural world," I'm not referring to science & what it claims. I'm referring to earth as humans find it upon the awakening of their consciousness. Earth, our home, as I understand it, is a given. As such, it is, axiomatically, what is there to be perceived, experienced and, if possible, known.

    Science, as I understand it, consists of a highly organized collection of procedures for perceiving what is given i.e. the natural world.

    ...there is clearly more to the world than what science says there is (art, morals, politics, human relations, etc.)Manuel

    I don't believe science excludes art, morals, politics, human relations, etc. from its domain. Consider, for examples, ethics_morality studies in philosophy; political science; psychology, anthropology.

    I've never heard any scientist attempt to exclude the above from the domain of the natural world.

    Do you believe humans to be entirely of the natural world (as I've described it here)?

    If you do, then you don't believe humans have attributes that don't intersect with the natural world out of which they are created.

    It's true that some humans embrace beliefs inscrutable to science (material/spiritual duality), but that's a very different statement from saying parts of human nature and parts of the natural world do not coincide.
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