• Isaac
    8k
    The consideration I've been trying to coax some kind of agreement upon is that humans had experiences long before the term "experience" was coined.creativesoul

    Indeed. But you additionally claimed that those experiences constituted both internal and external features. The counter was that what experiences constitute depends on the definition being used. Like the cell. Someone claiming "cells contain both organismic and foreign proteins" could just as well be met with exactly the same counter "it depends on which definition of 'cell' you're using"
  • Pie
    553
    We find ourselves in the midst of the world, and cannot understand it except from within.Joshs

    I like this theme, and I connect it to a inescapable ethnocentrism (having only our current norms for a not-so-final authority, the way we do things, what we take words to mean.) Yes, we can change them, but only from within, for what else could compel us?
  • Pie
    553
    The idea that all we have access to is our perception of the tree, and not the tree("Stove's Gem", it is often called) pervades academia to this day.creativesoul

    It's strange.

    For one thing, we could just grant that we don't know things as they are in themselves, adding also that we don't know what the hell it's supposed to mean to know something as it is itself. We understand (well enough) the idea of a warranted statement or a true statement. But knowledge of something as it is independent of knowledge is like the taste of ketchup without the flavor, or music that is 'better than it sounds.' What's the turn on ? The mirage of surprisingly easy eternal 'knowledge'?


    Another thing, whether something is 'real' or an 'illusion' or 'true' is a fundamentally social issue. So there's something weird in reasoning about whether or not others exist in the first place.
  • Pie
    553
    assuming that we do indeed use the same words to refer to the same patterns in experienceHello Human

    As I see it, there's a sneaky piece of bad logic in here that Ryle and others have tried to point out. If you think (each) human experience is essentially private, then by this assumption alone all the datapoints we need are impossible to get, even in principle, forever and ever amend.

    Do we attach the same words to the same private experiences? That's the issue. But what evidence could support such a thesis, except for the very stuff that's supposed to be so encrypted that not even the NSA could get it ( what red looks like to you, for instance.) The question seems so reasonable, and it's traditional, but it's bonkers.

    The reason we assume that experiences are the 'same' iin the first place is probably the public norms for concept application and our conspicuous skill in applying them (when we aren't in a language trap that is.)
  • creativesoul
    10.6k
    The consideration I've been trying to coax some kind of agreement upon is that humans had experiences long before the term "experience" was coined.
    — creativesoul

    Indeed.
    Isaac

    Human experience existed in its entirety prior to the term "experience". That is a true claim with considerable consequential power. It only follows that what we say about human experience could be mistaken. This becomes even more obvious when we acknowledge that many of the different senses of the term are mutually exclusive and/or in some clear conflict with one another. They cannot all be accurate depictions and/or characterizations of what existed in its entirety prior to them. They are all attemting to take account of something that emerged, evolved, and existed in its entirety long before our awareness of it, and hence long before not only the term, but common language as we know it.

    So, when competing notions of human experience are under consideration, at least one is mistaken. Since the notions can be mistaken, it cannot be the case that what constitutes human experience is up to us. It also cannot be the case that whether or not human experience consists of both internal and external things depends upon the definition of "experience" being used. Nor is it the case that the constitution of human experience just a matter of definition alone and nothing else.

    It's a matter of what existed in its entirety prior to, and thus regardless of, all accounting practices thereof thereafter.

    Any notion of human experience worthy of assent will consist of the simplest terms possible so as to be able to adequately explain emergence at the earliest stages possible, prior to language use, during initial acquisition, as well as throughout the rest of the individual's life. It needs to be universal in the sense of consisting of basic statements that are true of all individuals regardless of subjective particulars because they pick out the basic elemental constituents at the core of all individual meaningful experience.





    But you additionally claimed that those experiences constituted both internal and external features.

    I did and have offered argument and reasoning for those claims that has been given neither just due nor adequate attention. As just argued above, whether or not human experience consists of both internal and external things is not a matter of definition and nothing more.





    The counter was that what experiences constitute depends on the definition being used.

    It would follow that the basic elemental constitution of all human experience prior to the term somehow depended upon that which did not even exist at the time.

    Not very convincing from my vantage point.
  • creativesoul
    10.6k
    l
    The idea that all we have access to is our perception of the tree, and not the tree("Stove's Gem", it is often called) pervades academia to this day.
    — creativesoul

    It's strange.

    For one thing, we could just grant that we don't know things as they are in themselves, adding also that we don't know what the hell it's supposed to mean to know something as it is itself. We understand (well enough) the idea of a warranted statement or a true statement. But knowledge of something as it is independent of knowledge is like the taste of ketchup without the flavor, or music that is 'better than it sounds.' What's the turn on ? The mirage of surprisingly easy eternal 'knowledge'?


    Another thing, whether something is 'real' or an 'illusion' or 'true' is a fundamentally social issue. So there's something weird in reasoning about whether or not others exist in the first place.
    Pie

    :up:
  • Mww
    3.4k
    philosophy must be done within the limits of our concepts and language,Hello Human

    Philosophy can only be done within the limits of reason, philosophizing is done within the limits of language.
    ———-

    It's a matter of what existed in its entirety prior to, and thus regardless of, all accounting practices thereof thereafter.creativesoul

    “Its” being experience, the assertion is true iff the accounting practice is reason itself, brain machinations aside, insofar as it would be very difficult to establish neurological function as an accounting practice.
  • javi2541997
    1.7k
    it makes sense to me to understand this as a debate about which usage is preferable.Pie


    Folks, that is what philosophy amounts to - finding a good way to say tricky things.Banno

    :eyes: :sparkle:

    And what I envied most about him was that he managed to reach the end of his life without the slightest conscience of being burdened with a special individuality or sense of individual mission like mine. This sense of individuality robbed my life of its symbolism, that is to say, or its power to serve, like Tsurukawa’s, as a metaphor for something outside itself; accordingly it deprived me of the feelings of life’s extensity and solidarity, and it became the source of that sense of solitude which pursued me indefinitely. It was strange. I did not even have any feeling of solidarity with nothingness.
  • Isaac
    8k
    This becomes even more obvious when we acknowledge that many of the different senses of the term are mutually exclusive and/or in some clear conflict with one another. They cannot all be accurate depictions and/or characterizations of what existed in its entirety prior to them.creativesoul

    Of course they can. We just agreed that one can define a cell as containing the foreign proteins or as not containing them. Neither definition is right. There's no law governing what we ought to include as covered by our word 'cell'.

    As just argued above, whether or not human experience consists of both internal and external things is not a matter of definition and nothing more.creativesoul

    But you just agreed this was the case with 'cell', now you're saying it's not the case with 'experience'. what's different about these two words?

    It would follow that the basic elemental constitution of all human experience prior to the term somehow depended upon that which did not even exist at the time.creativesoul

    Not in the least. If I group some cows into 'herd1' the cows still existed prior to my naming them 'herd1' but whether daisy the cow was in or out of herd1 did not pre-exist my naming. I declared it to be the case by grouping the herd that way.

    What is and is not part of cell is declared by using the word 'cell'.

    What is and is not part of human experience is declared by using the term 'human experience'.

    You can disagree all you like, but you'd need, in your account, to provide some source of authority as to what should constitute 'a cell'. if you're to claim that the grouping 'cell' pre-existed our use of the term. To what ought we look to find the 'right' meaning of words?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    10.2k
    The same way two different people may share the same name.creativesoul

    Actually, what I described is how "cell" refers to two distinct concepts, in one case a whole living organism, and in the other case a part of a living organism.

    They are both called by the same name. They are not said to be the same thing. You've already said as much directly above. One is an entire living organism, and the other is but a part thereof. Sometimes "cell" is used to pick out an entire organism, sometimes it is used to pick out parts of an organism.creativesoul

    The point was that if a word refers to an external thing ("picks out a thing" as you said), then "cell" would pick out "a thing", not a multitude of different things. Then the whole living organism, and the part of a living organism, which "cell" refers to, would be the same thing.

    Sometimes "cell" is used to pick out an entire organism, sometimes it is used to pick out parts of an organism.creativesoul

    OK, this is a better way for you to say it. The word doesn't pick out a thing, the person uses the word to pick out a thing. But what you don't seem to understand, is that the thing which the person uses the word to pick out, is a concept. In one case the person uses the word to signify the concept of a whole living organism, and the person may produce supposed external objects to exemplify this use, and in the other case, the person uses the word to signify the concept of a specific part of an organism, and may produce supposed external objects to exemplify that use.

    Exactly.creativesoul

    Why are you abruptly changing your claim? You said a word picks out things. I said a word picks out types. Now you agree with me. Do you not see the difference between a supposed external thing, as a particular or individual, and a supposed internal type of thing, as a universal or generalization? Failing to see that difference is what caused Janus' equivocation, in our discussion concerning the proposition "thought does not need words".

    Folks, that is what philosophy amounts to - finding a good way to say tricky things.Banno

    Perhaps, but when philosophy is reduced to simply being concerned with 'the way things are said', then "good" is removed from your proposition, and it is simply "finding a way to say tricky things". That is sophistry. So we must maintain "good" here, and determine exactly what qualifies as a good way. Of course a bad way of saying tricky things is deception. The problem is that there is a multitude of bad ways, and the "good way" gets narrowed down toward the ideal, the best way, which is the goal of perfection in understanding.

    The following is a good example of a bad way:

    When a community uses words in certain ways...,creativesoul

    This is an example of a bad, or deceptive way of using words, because individual people use words in particular instances of usage. So there is no such thing as a "certain way" that a community uses any particular word, because a community is a collective, consisting of a multitude of persons, each using any specific word in very distinct ways in the various different circumstances that the person might find oneself in. These differences are referred to as accidentals.

    We might generalize, and say that a particular person uses a certain word in a specific type of way, removing the accidentals. But then we'd have a type of way, and this does not provide us the certainty of knowing the particular way, which would be the way of a particular instance, complete with accidentals.

    But to jump from that type of generalization made about an individual person, to a generalization about "the community", requires a different sort of generalization, which would render a multitude of distinct individuals as one "community". This sort of generalization is logically invalid. It is invalid because individual people are the ones who use words, and as explained above, an individual's particular way of using words is an accidental property of the individual, and therefore cannot be transposed so as to be a property of the generalized whole community, unless it is done through valid inductive logic.

    Being accidental properties, rather than essential, such inductive logic could not proceed unless every person in a specific community used words in the very same way. For example, it's like saying "the community has red hair". This would only be true if every person in the community has red hair. If its only ninety nine per cent, who have red hair, we can't truthfully say that, because it's a statement supported by faulty inductive logic.

    This thread is full of such faulty inductive logic. which is a bad or deceptive way of using words. I've been working to point out some of these occurrences, but the guilty parties tend to use tactics like accusing me of sophistry, when in reality I am just exposing their sophistry.
  • Mww
    3.4k
    Is there an external material world? (....) Such questions are the bane of philosophy. They are consequences of placing (...) the wrong kind of value upon consistent language use.creativesoul

    What would the right kind of value look like?
  • Joshs
    3.7k
    No object simply exists for us as what it is outside of changing contextual relationships of sense.

    Key words being "for us"... Does that include the toddler in the crib under the tree?
    creativesoul

    If the toddler is young enough, they will not yet have attained the level of object permanence. To recognize an object as something which remains when we are no longer looking at it , or when it is covered up , requires a constructive process. In fact , everything to do with the concept of a spatial object requires a sequential
    process of construction. We don’t originally directly see objects as solid unities, we see a constantly changing flow of sensations, from perspectives that change as we move our eyes, head or body. We concoct the idea of a unitary object like ‘tree’ from concatenations of memory , expectations and the meager data that we actually see in front of us. The notion of a tree as this thing in front of me is thus a complex synthesis of what we actually see , what we remember and what we predict we will see. Most of the ‘tree’ is filled in this way. And the most important element is that we have to interact with the ‘object’ in order for it to exist for us. Animals deprived of the ability to move and interact with their surroundings do not learn to see objects. When we passively see a thing, we are understanding what it is in terms of how we can interact with it, how it will change in response to our movements. This is the standard model from developmental perceptual psychology.
  • Joshs
    3.7k



    I don't think feeling is essential to abstract meaning; abstract meaning consists in generalization. 'Tree" refers to whole class of concrete objects, whereas a class is an abstract object; a concept.

    I didn't know that about people drawing similar images after listening to instrumental music. Can you cite references for that study? Does it work with all instrumental music or just some, like for example Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony?

    In any case music is gentle, calm, slow, racing, violent, aggressive, chaotic, ordered, happy, sad, eerie, dark, light, and so on and these are all feeling tones, it seems to me. So, if the similarity in the drawings is on account of the feeling tones in them which echo the feeling tones in the music, that would not surprise me.

    Haiku is a very "pictorial" genre of poetry; generally it evokes concrete images, the classic being Basho's best know haiku:

    The ancient pond

    A frog leaps in.

    The sound of water.

    I am not aware of poetry which is abstract like abstract art is. The Abstract Expressionists aimed to dispense with any representational associations with things of the world such as human figures or landscapes, under the influence of Clement Greenberg, they wanted to produce paintings emphasizing the two-dimensionality of the surface, which were to be judged in purely formal, compositional terms. Yet of course some of these paintings seem to evoke landscape such as Jackson Pollock's Autumn, Blue Poles and Lavender Mist.

    So they skirt the edges between representing recognizable objects and evoking the feeling of natural textures: patterns of moss on walls, or the general fractal forms of foliage, rock-faces, clouds and so on. I suppose you could say that evoking generalized forms, as opposed to clearly representing particular objects, is a kind of abstraction, so maybe I'll rethink what I said earlier about "abstract" being an inappropriate label. But then maybe not, because again I think it comes down to evoking the feeling tones, and even representing or at resembling the patterns of these natural forms.

    In any case, none of this changes my mind about whether it is possible to think complex discursive ideas without using language. As I said earlier my belief that it is not possible is based only on my own experience and the reports of some others I have put the question to. so I am not totally ruling out the possibility, but find it hard to see how I could be convinced, since any counterargument could only come in the form of reports by others who claim they can do it. So far only @Mww is the only one to have claimed to be able to do anything like this, and going by his descriptions I'm not sure we are even talking about the same thing.
    Janus

    Let’s draw up a general conception of language for our purposes and see what we can discern from that. We know that even the simplest forms of perception draw from conceptuality in that they involve a meeting between expectations and what actually appears to our senses.
    A remarkable feature of a word (or a picture) is that it allows the brain to integrate a wide range of modalities(visual, touch, auditory, kinesthetic, smell and taste) of perception into a single unitary concept. This is what I mean by abstraction here, the creation of a more complex synthetic unitary concept from simpler perceptions or concepts. For instance , abstract art isn’t interested in representing the photographic details of a scene in order to tell its story , but strives to begin from deeper and more meaningful conceptual forms. It is looking to bring out inner truths rather than getting bogged down on surface aspects.

    When you see the world ‘cat’ right now, your brain , as brain imaging studies show , may be accessing the sight of a cat , it’s smell, how its fur feels , the sound of its purring. And it is doing this all simultaneously. In addition, the brain may be accessing emotional associations and complex bits of knowledge about a cat or cats in general from scientific or literary sources. How does language do this? It builds up to this complex whole step by step from simpler associations, starting with the recognition of the shapes of letters or the phonemic characteristics of spoken words. Of course this doesn’t happen in a vacuum. When we are presented with language, we are already expecting the visual or auditory units to be meaningful symbols, because we already know what a language is. So we are priming our brain to rapidly recognize these shapes as words , and words that belong to a meaningful context that is already ongoing.

    The bottom line is that words are technologies, ways that we reconstruct our world in order to develop our culture.
    All of our built environment( our architecture, communication and media devices , produced arts , manufactured goods) acts a language in this sense, speaking back to us and pushing us to further levels
    of abstract thought.

    How does this background summary relate to your contention that words have a distinct advantage over other forms of language in enabling abstract conceptualization? Assuming we can accept my definition of abstraction, it seems you’re making two points
    First , that only word symbols allow to a brain to attain the deepest forms of synthetic unity in a manner that is usable. For instance , when we are in deep thought, we tie together a continuous string of words. This allows us to sustain a recognizably clear and meaningful flow of ideas that we can build upon. Painting, dance and music, by contrast, while allowing for a certain. degree of synthetic abstraction, gives us only murky, vague felt signposts of meaning. This merely ‘felt’ kind of meaningfulness is different than abstract knowing. For one thing, it is hard to imagine how a felt experience can build’ on itself exactly in terms of intensity. How can there be conceptual development in a medium devoid of concepts?

    This assumption seems to repeat the traditional divide between emotion and cognition, feeling and thinking.
    Supposedly , only verbal cognition is rational , conceptual. Feeling is mere spice, coloration, window dressing. It’s an important motivator but does not produce ideas in and of itself.

    Recent approaches to emotions and feeling overturn this divide. Affect is now assumed to provide the very basis of conceptual meaning. As Ratcliffe(2002) puts it,“moods are no longer a subjective window-dressing on privileged theoretical perspectives but a background that constitutes the sense of all intentionalities, whether theoretical or practical”.
    There is no concept without affectivity , because affect has to do with the meaningful way in which we embrace new concepts , or the extent to which we are able to coherently embrace new concepts at all. I reading these words, you are understanding them in an affective contextual out of how they are relevant to you , how they matter and to you. Every text is accompanied by a kind of ‘music’ but we usually don’t notice this aspect and instead assume a conceptual content can be divorced from its significance to us. By the same token, feeling never occurs apart from a conceptual domain that it is intrinsic to. To feel
    something is always to experience an intrinsic aspect of conceptualization, the relative coherence and consonance of meaning. Just as we can pretend that the music of felt relevance is not intrinsic to the use of all word concepts, we can ignore that a piece of music
    is presenting an unfolding conceptual text while we focus exclusively on the feelings that this unfolding conceptual text is delivering.

    In accord with this newer thinking, let me make the following claims:

    Music, painting , dance and other non-verbal arts produce ideas , and these ideas evolve in parallel with theoretical conceptualizations in the science and philosophy. The history of painting, for instance, is an evolution in how we see and think about ourselves.
    The octave scale of music is organized similarly to a subject-object proposition. And these ‘sentences’ belong to larger ‘paragraphs’ developing the ideational theme of the song. By the end of the song one has learned something , travelled somewhere, not just ‘emotionally’ but conceptually.
    Instrumental music can be profoundly political and subversive.

    The difference between these vocabularies and words is that the language of the arts is more ‘impressionistic’ and incipient. This can be an advantage over words, which have a tendency to lock us into old ways of thinking because of their concreteness.
  • creativesoul
    10.6k
    Is there an external material world? (....) Such questions are the bane of philosophy. They are consequences of placing (...) the wrong kind of value upon consistent language use.
    — creativesoul

    What would the right kind of value look like?
    Mww

    Less like truth, more like meaning.

    Confidence and/or certainty that is grounded upon consistent terminological use alone can and should be tempered according to what we already know. A model, story, narrative, worldview, report. accounting practice, and/or philosophical position can be perfectly sensible, consistent, understood, commensurate with current convention and yet still be... dead wrong! Absurdly so even. Scopes. Thus, consistent language use alone is insufficient evidence to conclude that what's being said is true, and thus does not justify any subsequent truth claims about the story, narrative, worldview, report, accounting practice, and/or philosophical worldview under consideration.

    Apply this to any philosophical position resting its laurels upon logical possibility, coherence, and/or consistent language use alone. This is nothing new. Falsification, verification, and justification(some notions anyway) are all tempered accordingly. Not to mention Kant's own critique on 'pure reason'. :wink:
  • Mww
    3.4k
    Less like truth, more like meaning.creativesoul

    Short, sweet, to the point....the boon of good philosophizing.

    Scopes......(chuckles to self).

    Still, at the end of the day, I’m more convinced by my own logical reasoning than I am persuaded by another’s semantics. I never question my own meanings, for then understanding must question itself insofar as it is the source of all my meanings and is therefore a self-contradiction, but invariably question another’s logical reasoning.

    consistent language use alone is insufficient evidence to conclude that what's being said is true....creativesoul

    True enough, insofar as determinations of what is true has nothing to do with what’s being said in the first place.

    Counterpoint: the bane of philosophy doesn’t reside in wrong kind of value placed on consistent language use. It is that consistent language use is valued at all.
  • creativesoul
    10.6k
    If I group some cows into 'herd1' the cows still existed prior to my naming them 'herd1' but whether daisy the cow was in or out of herd1 did not pre-exist my naming. I declared it to be the case by grouping the herd that way.Isaac

    Exactly.

    The grouping did not exist in its entirety prior to your 'christening'. I'm talking about things that did. You're talking about things that did not. That's the difference.
  • Isaac
    8k
    The grouping did not exist in its entirety prior to your 'christening'. I'm talking about things that did. You're talking about things that did not. That's the difference.creativesoul

    All things we name are such groupings. The tree is a group of cells, the cell is a group of organelles, the organelles are groups of molecules, the molecules are groups of atoms...

    And all such groups are in constant flux, molecules from one group entering and leaving, becoming part of, and then excreted from...

    And all such groups change over time such that their actual constituent parts are never the same...

    There's not a thing in the world which is not brought into being, from the heterogeneous soup of hidden states, by our conceptualizing, and constant reconstruction of it.
  • Isaac
    8k


    You should re-read 's excellent reply here. It sums up the idea in developmental psychology terms very succinctly.
  • Janus
    12.6k
    This assumption seems to repeat the traditional divide between emotion and cognition, feeling and thinking.
    Supposedly , only verbal cognition is rational , conceptual. Feeling is mere spice, coloration, window dressing. It’s an important motivator but does not produce ideas in and of itself.
    Joshs

    No, I wouldn't say that; feeling is basic, primal and indispensable. I also think that rational inference can be non-verbal; animals do it all the time. Conceptualizing is not only of the abstract kind, but also of the concrete kind; even animals see things as specific things. But abstract reasoning using symbols is something that I think only humans do. For example, you would not be able to think that last sentence I just wrote, without words, in other words.

    The kind of reasoning animals may do, and humans also do pre-verbally or non-verbally is reasoning based on concrete visual, auditory, motor, tactile, olfactory, gustatory and proprioceptive images. At least that's what I assume based on my own experience.

    I actually think that verbal reasoning would be impossible without the affective underpinning of pre-verbal reasoning; and that the latter is more basic and more important; abstract reasoning would be vacuous without it.

    To repeat, my point has only been that complex, discursive reasoning is impossible without language. I don't see why that would even be controversial. Unless I have misunderstood you, you say that even our perceptual experience is culturally constructed; well.human culture itself would be impossible without symbolic language.
  • Joshs
    3.7k
    The kind of reasoning animals may do, and humans also do pre-verbally or non-verbally is reasoning based on concrete visual, auditory, motor, tactile, olfactory, gustatory and proprioceptive images.Janus

    Are you saying that music is based on concrete images, or that music is not a kind of reasoning?
    What about the pre-verbal valuative assumptions that motivate all kinds of human decisions, In psychotherapy, the aim is to make verbally articulable these driving values. We often do things
    for good reasons that we know we can justify , but have difficulty putting them into words. These reasons are
    quite abstract, but hard to pin down.
  • Janus
    12.6k
    Music consists in concrete auditory imagery (sounds). Music presents, evokes, it does not represent in my view. I also would not say music is a kind of reasoning, in that it does not provide reasons; but it is, one could reasonably say, a kind of thinking or grammar. But again, all of this is going to depend on how you define terms.
  • Joshs
    3.7k
    ↪Joshs Music consists in concrete auditory imagery (sounds). Music presents, it does not represent in my view.Janus

    I think you’re wrong here. A concrete auditory image is a door creaking or a train whistle , not a highly organized pattern of notes and pauses designed to represent thought in ways similar to the highly organized sequence of letters that form words and sentences. Notes ARE special kinds of words , creating a kind of impressionistic variation of what verbal concepts do.
  • Banno
    17.8k
    forever and ever amend.Pie

    Sometimes autocorrect is astute.
  • Janus
    12.6k
    Notes ARE special kinds of words , creating a kind of impressionistic variation of what verbal concepts do.Joshs

    Sure you could they are kinds of signs, but not symbols with determinate meanings.
  • Joshs
    3.7k
    Sure you could they are kinds of signs, but not symbols with determinate meanings.Janus

    They are determinate enough to evoke a cultural context, to produce a narrative , to unsettle beliefs , and to be preferred over words by many as a way to tap into the most profound depths of abstract meaning.

    Think about a text about zen buddhism that produced a powerful feeling of enlightenment and creative joy for you the first time you read it. Subsequent readings didnt produce that same profound sense of meaningfulness even thought the words were the same. Why? Because words only imperfectly determine sense of meaning. The feeling of pure conceptual discovery cannot be encoded in the words in a reliable way because of the changing way we interpret the same word concepts over time. Music is the code we use to capture the original meaning of concepts. It reliably brings us back again and again to what it was about the way we interpreted a text that produced the profound conceptual meaning that first time. It does this by giving us only the general outlines of that meaning by representing it as a soaring melody. But not just any soaring melody. Only a certain general
    context of thinking fits the particular way the piece of music is constructed. When we hear the music we fill in that particular context. So music is more accurate than words for preserving the ‘real’ meaningful power of abstract conceptual domains , but at the cost of specificity of content. Words give us this specificity of content but we can’t preserve the identical sense of meaning of words (their conceptual power) when we repeatedly return to them.

    We could go for weeks having conversations, thinking to ourselves, or reading texts about those ideas that initially meant so much to us conceptually , and none of this verbiage may be capable of recapturing that meaning. But one special piece of music can be capable of immediately elevating our understanding to that special place of enlightenment. The only drawback is that it delivers us over to a general range of abstract meanings that encompasses more than just the particular content of the buddhist text that we read. But once , thanks to the percolate language of music , we have arrived back in the general vicinity of the powerful conceptual terrain we were attempting without success to attain without success through verbal means, we can then use words to tighten, clarify and definitively articulate the impressionistic space of ideas that the music put back at our disposal.
    So there is a back and forth cycle between musical and verbal articulation, each insufficient without the other.
  • creativesoul
    10.6k
    If I group some cows into 'herd1' the cows still existed prior to my naming them 'herd1' but whether daisy the cow was in or out of herd1 did not pre-exist my naming.Isaac

    The grouping did not exist in its entirety prior to your 'christening'. I'm talking about things that did. You're talking about things that did not. That's the difference.
    — creativesoul

    All things we name are such groupings.
    Isaac

    Now you're contradicting yourself.
  • creativesoul
    10.6k
    The tree is a group of cells, the cell is a group of organelles, the organelles are groups of molecules, the molecules are groups of atoms...

    And all such groups are in constant flux, molecules from one group entering and leaving, becoming part of, and then excreted from...

    And all such groups change over time such that their actual constituent parts are never the same...
    Isaac

    I've little to no issue with any of the above. The question is whether or not those 'actual' parts existed prior to their being named. However, what's below does not follow from what's above...


    There's not a thing in the world which is not brought into being, from the heterogeneous soup of hidden states, by our conceptualizing, and constant reconstruction of it.

    So much for discovery huh?
  • creativesoul
    10.6k
    The notion of a tree as this thing in front of me is thus a complex synthesis of what we actually see ,Joshs

    Well sure, but the notion of a tree is not the tree. We actually see the tree, not our notion. My notion of trees is not out in my front yard. The Kukui nut tree is though. What we believe about the tree is our notion. The tree is not equivalent to our belief about it. We can be wrong about the tree. The same is true of all that exists in its entirety prior to our picking it out to the exclusion of all else.
  • Pie
    553
    Sometimes autocorrect is astute.Banno

    Actually, that was intentional.
  • Janus
    12.6k
    I agree with what you say about texts, at least in regard to some texts.Other texts retain their evocative power, and even reveal new things on subsequent readings. At least that has been my experience, particularly with poetry.

    I just don't consider that evocative, affective power that some music, literature and art possesses to be abstract; that just isn't the terminology I would use. For me it is feeling, and feeling is concrete; felt in the body, in the heart and mind.

    When it comes to these kinds of issues, about which no empirical confirmation can be found, I remember something Nietzsche said: there are no truths, only perspectives.
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