• Wayfarer
    13.6k
    I've started on that, following your recommendation. Another facet to that whole argument is the rejection of mathematical Platonism in analytic philosophy but I won't divert this thread in that direction.
  • Manuel
    1.4k


    I hope you find it to your liking.

    Well, as far as I know, most mathematicians are Platonists in some sense.

    As for "ordinary objects", it's hard to articulate such a view, given that what we perceive - including concepts - are likely unique to us, that is to say, a bird or a dog very likely has no such notions of ordinary objects. So our view of rivers and apples are unique to us, I'd venture to guess.

    But the noumenal substratum would still apply to all creatures endowed with a certain level of perception. Something like that.
  • TheMadFool
    11.9k
    I'm not sure but desensitization/habituation understood in terms of causal ineffectiveness seems relevant. I mean, we're, as per biologists, products of evolution and that to me requires a reduction in, sometimes also expansion of, the set of things that have causal import on an organism.

    A few examples should help make my point. Sound is not a phenomenon viruses and bacteria need to be sensitive to and so, in a sense, they've evolved in ways that make them tune out sound (reduction in the causal field) but humans, at our scale, need sound sensing powers for survival and so we've developed ears, sound receptors (expansion of the causal field). By causal field I refer to all objects (matter/energy) that can elicit a response, produce an effect, in an organism.

    In essence, the causal field is finely adjusted in terms of how important a particular, in your words, "stimulus" is for survival. Those stimuli like e.g. the gravitational pull of Saturn on our bodies that are always present and yet have no significance to our survival (astrology :chin: ) are those we become desensitized/habituated to i.e. we will no longer feel them and they lose their ability to influence our lives. Perhaps a particularly sensitive person or organism can, if it/fae tries, actually sense the gravity well of Saturn, other planets, the sun, the milky way and other galaxies; after all we are in their sphere of influence. :chin:

    So, yes, we may have a fragmented picture of reality but, interestingly, our bodies are, let's just say, in the thick of everything going on, not just in your immediate vicinity, but also in the entire universe itself. We should then, in principle, be able to sense everything that's happening in the cosmos. Do we need to evolve sense organs or is the mind/brain, by itself, adequate (ESP)? I dunno, you tell me.
  • 180 Proof
    5.6k
    I toy with the idea that there are many important phenomena in the world, which play a crucial causal influence in the way we view the world, but which we utterly fail to detect because we are human beings and not God (or angles, or intelligent aliens) .

    I have no way to prove this, but wanted to get a few reactions.

    Any thoughts?
    Manuel
    Just this ...

    *Aspects of the territory recursively make & use (perspective-in/variant) maps of the territory. :eyes:
    A - Some are oblivious (i.e. naive) because, for them, any distinction between map and territory is invisible (e.g. common sensists à la 'water to swimming fish')

    B - Some conflate, or confuse, maps with the territory (e.g. idealists / anti-realists / anti-naturalists).

    C - Some speculate (i.e. project) that maps constitute a "higher" territory that regulates map making which is separate from the "lower" territory to which map users-followers belong (e.g. platonists-cartesians-kantians / super-naturalists).

    D - Some* re-cognize (i.e model) the limits of maps, or that maps are distinct abstractions – not separable entities – from observable features of the territory (e.g. naturalists / atomists / spinozists / pragmatic fallibilists).
    Like terra incognita or playing chess (or go), in the *naturalistic view, every un/known un/known is "hidden in plain sight" out in the open and is, therefore, a function of how we look and what we look for, or our discursive practices (i.e. search procedures).

    "Reality" is not epistemically "incomplete"; rather, I think, human cognition is too wantonly meta-cognitive (Zapffe), that is, our intellects tend to neglect the unfamiliar and strange and intractably perplexing in order to simplify – reduce – "reality" to human scale familiarity and experience so that we feel more "at home" in our worlds (and in our skins). Thus, the appeal of self-flattering biases which prefer images to facts, believing to knowing, ideals to reals – "there must be more to existence than (this existence)" to "existence is gratuitous" – transcendence (the soul) to immanence (flesh), etc.

    The "there must be more" occludes cognition and occults "reality" with, as Camus says, "nostalgias" and Feuerbachian "projections" (i.e. deities/demons, spectres, destinies, ego-fantasies, etc). And so they then fetishize their maps because they demand a "greater territory" than the territory itself, especially insofar as they fail to understand or accept that no map, not even a "sacred or magical" map, is ever equal to, let alone encompasses, the territory itself. They reflexively blot out much of reality and then, often pseudo-philosophically, take that "ideality" all the way to the bank of Woo. (Btw, who are "they"? The A, B & C designatees above.)

    Of course, I could be mistaken. :smirk:
  • SoftEdgedWonder
    42
    Thus, the appeal of self-flattering biases which prefer images to facts, believing to knowing, ideals to reals – "there must be more to existence than (this existence)" to "existence is gratuitous" – transcendence (the soul) to immanence (flesh), etc.180 Proof

    Is preference for images (over facts) self-flattering? If so, why?
  • 180 Proof
    5.6k
    Path of least cognitive effort for a start – images are subject-dependent whereas facts are subject-invariant/resistant. Images easily flatter (or expedites) self importance, etc.
  • SoftEdgedWonder
    42
    Path of least cognitive effort for a start – images are subject-dependent whereas facts are subject-invariant/resistant. Images easily flatter (or expedites) self importance, etc.180 Proof

    I "seriously" disagree. Facts are the path of least effort, cognitive-wise, perceptive, or everything-wise. Facts are subject-variant, dependent on images we see in the mental world. The true nature of the world is revealed by imagery. Images can flatter (or expedite) self importance and they can light it up. But generally images are not involved in flattering at all (I'm not talking about the flattering that is involved in, say, nude photography).
  • SoftEdgedWonder
    42
    Okay. We disagree.180 Proof

    In fact, I am right and you are wrong.
  • 180 Proof
    5.6k
    An image, not a fact. Thanks for making my point. :smirk:
  • SoftEdgedWonder
    42
    So, yes, we may have a fragmented picture of reality but, interestingly, our bodies are, let's just say, in the thick of everything going on, not just in your immediate vicinity, but also in the entire universe itself. We should then, in principle, be able to sense everything that's happening in the cosmos. Do we need to evolve sense organs or is the mind/brain, by itself, adequate (ESP)? I dunno, you tell me.TheMadFool

    :up:
  • SoftEdgedWonder
    42
    ↪SoftEdgedWonder An image, not a fact. Thanks for making my point. :smirk:180 Proof

    That's your image of the facts... :wink:
  • Manuel
    1.4k


    Lots of good stuff to go over in that post. Obviously, such an OP can be taken as not being satisfied with how much we have and can know and is thus seeking more than what we have available to us. Such an approach can invite naïve spiritualism a la "new age" types.

    I can't help that too much, save to say that it's not the intention. As it currently stands, absolutely we look for shortcuts and ease of access when we construct our model of the world. It has to be (at least in part) a matter of efficiency in natural selection: if we had to spend several hours to make out an image of the world, we'd be eaten alive.

    Yes, our maps can and often do mislead us when we try to navigate the territory. But our maps are quite a treasure too, it seems to me, even if it leads many to the edge of the world.
  • PoeticUniverse
    1k
    That is to say, our exposure to any object in the world, is so brief, quick and fleeting, that only very brief exposure leads to an image which we have no reason to believe exists "out there", as far as manifest reality goes.Manuel

    But the exposures get repeated and eventually coalesce into a useful representation…

    Conscious experiences are of qualia as reality based 'apparitions' honed in the early years and onward from outward in and inward out into what is the best guess for the model and so soon one can tell a bottle of milk apart from what’s else. It’s not like the waves have a label on them saying that they came from the bottle but that one kept estimating the separate object into the best representation. There is some help in that light peels information off of an 'obect'.

    In a night dream, the apparitions and phantasms are as true ghosts in that they have no outside basis, but the same world-simulating model is being employed, already having its best guess available.

    The identification of you as a self is also an experience as a best guess estimate.
  • Manuel
    1.4k


    Sorry, I missed your post initially. I mean, if we were able to go to a habitable place, say, in the Andromeda galaxy, then we should be able to experience phenomena the way we do here. As of now, we can only experience the distant past of things in space - likely forever, unless some crazy new physics develops, which, while not impossible per se, seems highly unlikely.

    We can experience the Sun here. If we were instantly dropped on Mercury we would either burn or freeze instantly. So there are practical parameters in which experience is possible for organisms.

    However, when it comes to mental phenomena, I think it's not crazy to suspect other types of forms of organizing the world are available to other creatures. Perhaps they appreciate something which is meaningless to us. Or again, they can see infrared light, which we detect via instruments.

    If we evolve aspects of our brain (or sense receptors) we could have more acute perceptions. As is the case of people who have 4 light cones instead of the traditional 3.
  • Manuel
    1.4k


    Yes. I think that's accurate, and I don't have a reason to think it should be otherwise, once we shed our naïve realism.

    Dreams are interesting. Of course, when we are awake we tend to easily point out what was out of order or made no sense when comparing dreams to waking life. Skeptical games aside, we don't do the inverse much, that is, when dreaming, comparing "real life" to dream life, as it were.
  • PoeticUniverse
    1k
    If we evolve aspects of our brain (or sense receptors) we could have more acute perceptions. As is the case of people who have 4 light cones instead of the traditional 3.Manuel

    (Some of was inspired from listening to the transhumanism aims of David Pearce.)

    When this trans-humanism arrives…

    Through natural evolution or via human-assisted evolution to higher being:

    The naturalist, with the senses deepened, would be able to absorb with awestruck reverence scenes of overpowering sublimity far beyond the simple prettiness on offer now.

    A musician would be able to hear and play music more exhilarating and heartfelt than anyone had ever dreamed of.

    The celestial music of the spheres heard by the mystics would become as a child’s toy flute in comparison to this grand and ultimate symphony.

    The sensualist would discover that what had passed for deep and passionate sex had been merely a pleasant prelude. Erotic pleasure of an intensity that flesh had never known would become enjoyable without guilt, even by thought alone.

    A creator or patron of the visual arts would be able to behold representative vision in a holographic reality of indescribable glory and completeness.

    Scientists would be able to apply a googolplex of neurons to their thought experiments, or by using AI, rivaling Einstein’s fortunate “ah-ha” moments, all of the time, to reveal much of what was unknown between heaven and Earth.

    Arguments by people insisting on their own selfish ways would melt into a new sense of increased reasoning, just as bad and aversive emotions forced upon us involuntarily would be greatly lessened by new and safer medical miracles.

    Wars would become much reduced, and humanity at large could finally progress beyond its everyday suffering.

    People would actually remember their car keys and glasses that had often and usually piled up at the vanishing point of the ‘lost and found’, which is at the end of the converging railroad tracks.

    Of course, throughout the ages there had always been those rare and mystical moments as described above, for some enlightened and peaceful souls or those in love, but they were but fleeting glimpses of a rare light that lit their minds for a while as a flickering candle, when all one’s thoughts perfectly conjuncted, but then, as usual, soon dispersed, scattering into the oblivion of forgotten dreams.
  • Manuel
    1.4k


    That true, if transhumanism turns out to be correct, that is, that we can "super-evolve".

    But I don't think transhumanism is quite reliable. But, I hope I'm wrong, it would be interesting to fine tune oneself to such degrees. Perhaps.
  • TheMadFool
    11.9k
    If we evolve aspects of our brain (or sense receptors) we could have more acute perceptions. As is the case of people who have 4 light cones instead of the traditional 3.Manuel

    :up: Interesting!
  • TheMadFool
    11.9k
    I was thinking of how, no matter what the sense organ is, old/novel, the perception from it ultimately ends up in the brain and therein lies the rub - we can focus our energies on the brain itself and not the senses. My proposal though enters the territory of what science labels as woo-woo (nonsense), you know, ESP, parapsychology, paranormal, and so on.
  • Manuel
    1.4k


    Mmm. That's where I think this thought experiment can be misleading. This paranormal stuff, ghosts and the like, are all quite ancient registers of our evolutionary history. We used to believe in animism, fire has life, the Gods get mad and the dead roam the life of the living, wanting revenge or looking to quell a pain before going to the after life.

    The evidence for almost all of this is non-existent. Ghosts are hallucinations, fire is not alive and the Gods don't control thunder or love. Another thing is to talk about something like intuition, in which very little is known - it's very hard to study. But plainly some people have good intuitions other do not.

    The case of the photoreceptors proves that one mutation can reveal an aspect of reality most of us just cannot experience. We can, if feeling suggestible, feel ghostly presences and even make sense out of the idea that thunder is due to some human-like God wanting to harm us. We have access to these things already, but the reality attributed to them does not withstand scrutiny, so far.

    The kind of thing I have in mind, hinted at photoreceptors are real phenomena which we cannot access even if we wanted to. We can't see more colours than the ones we see, save very few exceptions. Likewise, we cannot smell nearly as well as most other mammals. In this vein, an intelligent alien (if they exist - we don't know, prospects are iffy) could well organize reality in different ways.

    They could smell like dogs, see much more of the visual spectrum and intuit how non-mental stuff leads to mental stuff, the way we intuit how apples fall. The difference here is one of lack of capacities not venturing into areas which lead back to the dark ages, burning witches based on testimony.

    So I get your drift, but I'd be cautious.
  • TheMadFool
    11.9k
    So I get your drift, but I'd be cautious.Manuel

    Right!

    However, don't you think that just like having infrared receptors in your eyes can help us see in the dark, acquiring a novel receptor could open up the world of ghosts, poltergeists, demons, and angels to us? Just saying.
  • Manuel
    1.4k


    Well, that's the thing. Some suggestible people already (claim) to see ghosts, demons, angels, without any extra cognitive faculties. In fact, I suspect all of us did if you go far enough back in our history.

    So I think we would expect other aspects of reality much more ample than ghosts. Think, like of prodigies who can count thousands of numbers of pi by associated numbers with colours. Or being able to read a book to pages at a time and capturing all the content.

    Such cases exist.
  • TheMadFool
    11.9k
    Well, that's the thing. Some suggestible people already (claim) to see ghosts, demons, angels, without any extra cognitive faculties. In fact, I suspect all of us did if you go far enough back in our history.Manuel

    Why are you dismissing the paranormal world, calling people who report encounters with it as "...suggestible people..."? My take on it is that, as I said, since all perceptions have, as their final destination, the brain, there may not be any need for additional/enhanced sense organs; the brain alone would suffice in detecting all things/phenomenon in the blind spot of our sensory apparatus.

    Take radios and infrared cameras - they're products of the brain, no?
  • Manuel
    1.4k


    Well, if you want to go that route, you'd probably want to say that these are natural phenomena as in the end, all processes are. Yes, the brain is the end point of it all, but that doesn't mean we should give much importance to phenomena which have been repeatedly shown not to be what people claim: things belonging to a different reality outside of nature. I don't think that's coherent.

    At best you can say ghosts are like hallucinations. Which is fine. But I don't think these things "expand" our mental or sensible faculties, in fact, they fit into the ones we have.

    Why stop at ghosts? We then need to grant literal existence to not only the Abrahamic God, but to Satan, the Flying Spaghetti monster and everything else. I think it muddles our ontology.

    It would be more helpful then to develop an ontology of fictional entities and include all the characters of all the novels in the world, which are as real as ghosts. You can do that if you wish, but it would be an infinite task, just a list of all possible mental entities.

    But these things don't add to the faculties we already have.
  • TheMadFool
    11.9k
    Well, if you want to go that route, you'd probably want to say that these are natural phenomena as in the end, all processes are. Yes, the brain is the end point of it all, but that doesn't mean we should give much importance to phenomena which have been repeatedly shown not to be what people claim: things belonging to a different reality outside of nature. I don't think that's coherent.

    At best you can say ghosts are like hallucinations. Which is fine. But I don't think these things "expand" our mental or sensible faculties, in fact, they fit into the ones we have.

    Why stop at ghosts? We then need to grant literal existence to not only the Abrahamic God, but to Satan, the Flying Spaghetti monster and everything else. I think it muddles our ontology.

    It would be more helpful then to develop an ontology of fictional entities and include all the characters of all the novels in the world, which are as real as ghosts. You can do that if you wish, but it would be an infinite task, just a list of all possible mental entities.

    But these things don't add to the faculties we already have.
    Manuel

    How do you know ghosts and the like are fictional? What if you added a sense organ to the existing five and with that detected the presence of what people have been calling ghosts? What then?

    As for muddling ontology, remember what can be detected with the senses has ontological import and if I can feel the presence of ghost-like entities, then these entities have ontolological significance, no?
  • Manuel
    1.4k
    How do you know ghosts and the like are fictional? What if you added a sense organ to the existing five and with that detected the presence of what people have been calling ghosts? What then?TheMadFool

    We're now talking past each other. I said (some) people already see "ghosts". You can find them in these entertainment channels were some guys get a camera and go to so-called haunted places and end up seeing at best some static or a flash of light.

    So people don't need extra faculties to "see" them.

    Ontological significance would be significance pertaining to the nature of the world. Hallucinations fit the same bill. But these aren't ontological per se, they are epistemic. Hallucinations don't have ontological weight. There are no hallucinations in the world.

    Things change if you put them in a fictitious "epistemic-ontology", pertaining to the way our minds, in some circumstances, project these things, with little by way of causal connection between world and mind. In an epistemic-ontology analyzing fictions, we can say that we add entities to the world which do not exist.

    We could say the same thing about trees, but we have good reason to believe trees have casual powers, not only for us, but likely to other creatures, like birds, who use them to build nests or whatever else they do.

    So the ghosts thing doesn't add anything new. In fact, they are as old as human culture, when we had primitive beliefs. Sophisticated compared to anything else, but pails in comparison to what we understand now.
  • TheMadFool
    11.9k
    All I mean to say is, so long as we grasp the limited nature of our senses, presently 5 (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell), and also take into account the narrow band of the entire spectrum of sensations our sensory apparatus is tuned into, we can say nothing about ontology.
  • khaled
    3.1k
    I toy with the idea that there are many important phenomena in the world, which play a crucial causal influence in the way we view the world, but which we utterly fail to detect because we are human beingsManuel

    If they played a role, we’d accurately model them. Example: Electromagnetic waves. That doesn’t mean we “detect” them, rather, we see their effects and infer what they may be doing. These guesses will be as simple as possible in order to fit the observation, meaning we won’t know if we “really” got the right model of reality, but we will have something that works. Until new observations show it isn’t the right model either.

    And if it doesn’t play a role, who cares about it?
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