• creativesoul
    10.9k


    So, you separate the intellect from the senses by virtue of positing a mind(presumably of God) and then tell me that my claim that senses precede intellect needs justification?

    Which tool do we use without requiring us to trust and use our senses? Which thought can we have without using our senses?
  • Mww
    3.7k
    Which tool do we use without requiring us to trust and use our senses?creativesoul

    Morality.

    Which thought can we have without using our senses?creativesoul

    All of them.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    10.8k
    So, you separate the intellect from the senses by virtue of positing a mind(presumably of God) and then tell me that my claim that senses precede intellect needs justification?creativesoul

    I have not presumed God, I just gave you the logic. A sensing body is an organized body. This means that it requires ordered parts. The only thing which is capable of ordering parts, is an intellect. Therefore intellect must precede sense. Thus my claim is justified. Yours, that senses precede intellect, has not been justified.

    From the Platonic perspective, which is what I am giving you, the immaterial mind as "soul", precedes the material body and causes the parts which constitute the organized body to be ordered in the necessary way. There is no need to assume God at this point, only the need to assume an immaterial soul, as prior to the material body. This is because a material body can only exist as an organized body, and that requires something to order the parts.

    It is only when we consider the belief that material bodies preexisted life forms, that we see a need to assume God. This is because these material existents also exist only as ordered parts, and some sort of intellect is required as that which orders the parts.

    Which tool do we use without requiring us to trust and use our senses? Which thought can we have without using our senses?creativesoul

    I don't see how these questions are relevant. Questions do not justify your claim, nor do they address the logic I've presented you with.
  • creativesoul
    10.9k
    I don't see how these questions are relevant.Metaphysician Undercover

    You claimed that we ought not trust our senses but rather our intellect. I claimed it was impossible.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    10.8k
    You claimed that we ought not trust our senses but rather our intellect. I claimed it was impossible.creativesoul

    Actually, I claimed that was Plato's message, and I explained why. You still haven't justified your claim.
  • creativesoul
    10.9k


    My claim is supported by the evidence. That's what the questions were about. Plato's is supported by logical possibility alone. There are no examples.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    10.8k
    My claim is supported by the evidence.creativesoul

    Since "evidence" is empirical, this statement is a fallacious argument called "begging the question", which does not qualify as valid justification. You need to demonstrate logically, why the evidence shows that it is impossible to give priority to the intellect, over the senses. Simply insisting, that this is the way it is, and that the evidence supports this, does not justify your claim. Justification requires a logical demonstration.

    Plato's is supported by logical possibility alone.creativesoul

    I provided you with the logical demonstration. This is not "logical possibility", it is a logical necessity. A conclusion produced by valid logic, is a necessary conclusion, not a logical possibility. Since the logic is valid, and the conclusion is necessary, you need to address the premises, if you do not believe that the conclusion is sound.

    Which premise do you believe to be unsound, that a living body is an organized body, consisting of ordered parts, or, that an organized body consisting of ordered parts requires an intellect as the cause of the ordering? And, how does "the evidence" support your belief of unsoundness?
  • creativesoul
    10.9k
    a fallacious argument called "begging the question",Metaphysician Undercover

    The irony.

    I've not given any argument. Answer the questions.
  • creativesoul
    10.9k
    A conclusion produced by valid logic, is a necessary conclusion,Metaphysician Undercover

    So all valid conclusions are necessary in your view? Seems our notions of "necessary" differ.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    10.8k
    I've not given any argument. Answer the questions.creativesoul

    I didn't bother because I thought Mww gave a satisfactory answer. But I really didn't understand your use of "tool". Why do you think that the intellect has to use tools? Wouldn't the intellect be best represented as a tool itself? And as a tool, it is distinct from the senses, which might also be represented as tools. So the intellect would be a tool which we use without the requirement of trusting the senses.

    In fact, in the Platonic tradition, we use the intellect to question, doubt what appears to us through sensation. That's how people figured out that the earth orbits the sun. So we have established a relation of non-trust between the intellect and the senses, and that's why the scientific method is so strict in relation to observation, such that multiple observations are always compared. This is because sensation is not trusted. So science, through the use of intellect and distrust of the senses, has led us to understand the reality of all sorts of things which we cannot directly sense, like molecules, atoms, subatomic particles, photons, and waves.

    So all valid conclusions are necessary in your view? Seems our notions of "necessary" differ.creativesoul

    Yes, that's what constitutes a valid conclusion. The conclusion is necessitated by the premises. Some people call it entailment or "logical consequence".
    Logical consequence is necessary and formal, by way of examples that explain with formal proof and models of interpretation. — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_consequence
  • creativesoul
    10.9k
    I really didn't understand your use of "tool"Metaphysician Undercover

    It followed from the rationale you employed to arrive at not trusting the senses. You mentioned how we have exceeded our innate capabilities, or words to that effect. We use tools to do that. We 'use' our senses to use tools.

    The intellect is existentially dependent upon physiological sensory perception(biological 'machinery').

    The dispute between us amounts to you holding that the senses are existentially dependent upon an intellect, whereas I'm stating the opposite.

    If you think that morality is a tool that we use and that we can do so completely independent of physiological sensory perception, then I'm not sure I've much interest in continuing. Notice how I didn't answer Mww. If you think that the intellect can somehow exist and/or emerge in the complete absence of physiological sensory perception then I've not much else to say. I find it odd that you're asking me to argue for my view, and even odder that you've accused me of begging the question when I've not even offered an argument. That's especially odd given that you're presupposing precisely what's in dispute within one of your premisses.
  • creativesoul
    10.9k
    In fact, in the Platonic tradition, we use the intellect to question, doubt what appears to us through sensation.Metaphysician Undercover

    So, the intellect orders the parts that it later doubts?
  • creativesoul
    10.9k


    When A is existentially dependent upon B then B is necessary for the emergence of A. When something(A) is existentially dependent upon something else(B), the former(B) cannot precede the latter(A).

    You're claiming that the intellect is what orders the individual parts of the senses(physiological sensory perception). That would require that the intellect exist in its entirety prior to the parts that it arranges into order. This would further require a complete severance of the intellect from all biological machinery(physiological sensory perception) such that the intellect could put those biological structures in order.

    I have no reason at all to believe that the capacity you call the intellect is anything aside from what is afforded to us by certain biological structures. I've no reason whatsoever to believe that the intellect is even capable of remaining intact(in it's entirety) in the complete absence of those structures. Evidence shows otherwise. From this, we can be sure enough that intellects are existentially dependent upon certain biological structures. Whereas there is no evidence to the contrary. We've yet to have discovered a case of intellect when and where there have never been biological structures.

    All things begin simply and grow in their complexity. Thought, belief, and thinking about thought and belief are no exception. The intellect you speak of is capable of doubting the veracity of the senses. As such it is a practice that is itself existentially dependent upon being able to think about one's own thought and belief. That requires picking one's own thoughts and beliefs out to the exclusion of all else. The intellect is existentially dependent upon a worldview. All worldviews consist entirely of thought and belief. All thought and belief results, in part, of certain biological structures(physiological sensory perception) doing their job. The intellect cannot precede that which it is existentially dependent upon.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    10.8k
    You mentioned how we have exceeded our innate capabilities, or words to that effect.creativesoul

    Yes, every person exceeds one's innate capabilities, that's what learning is. We learn how to do more, and to know more than what we are born with.

    The intellect is existentially dependent upon physiological sensory perception(biological 'machinery').creativesoul

    This is what you insist, but you have not justified it. And it really depends on how one defines "intellect". A materialist will define it such that the thing described in the description depends on sensory perception. A dualist sees as I do, the need to allow for some sort of intelligence as the cause of order in the living body, therefore existing prior to the "biological machinery", and "intellect" gets defined in a way to allow that it is not dependent on physiological sensory perception.

    There is really no correct or incorrect definition of "intellect" here, one's preferred definition is a reflection of one's world view. However, how one proceeds from the definition makes a difference to the way that one would understand the reality of the living person.

    So, I can accept your proposal, that "The intellect is existentially dependent upon physiological sensory perception(biological 'machinery')", and we could define "intellect" in this way, as a function of the brain or something like that, but we still need to account for the cause of organization, and order in the living being which constitutes the material body, the cause of existence of what you call "biological machinery".

    This is what I believe Aristotle proposed, a separation between "mind" (intellect), and "soul". Prior to him, "mind" and "soul" were used interchangeably, so there was much ambiguity and confusion between those who insisted as you do, that the mind is a product of the biological machinery, and those who insisted like I do, that the immaterial soul must precede the biological machinery as cause of its existence. So Aristotle separated the concept of "soul" as the immaterial cause of the material body, from the concept of "intellect", as an attribute of the soul, which is dependent on the material body.

    So, the intellect orders the parts that it later doubts?creativesoul

    Yes, that would be the case. And there is really no problem with that idea, because we always proceed in our activities without absolute certainty. So we order things, move them around, with healthy doubt and skepticism, then look back at the consequences with the same skepticism, to see where we have had successes and failures. In its basic form this is trial and error, and in a more complex and structured form it is the scientific method of experimentation.

    But now I've proposed a distinction between the mind (intellect) and the soul, to help you to understand this matter. Let's say that the immaterial soul is prior to the material body, as the cause of that order, and the intellect is posterior to the material body, as dependent on it, like you say. In this way, we have also a direction, or guidance toward sorting out the difference between innate knowledge, and leaned knowledge. We can attribute some sort of "knowledge" to the soul, which inheres within the living body, in its capacity to act, and which must have preexisted the living body, as the cause of it coming into existence as the very body which it is, and we can also attribute a different sort of "knowledge" to the intellect, as knowledge which is learned by the living being.

    When A is existentially dependent upon B then B is necessary for the emergence of A. When something(A) is existentially dependent upon something else(B), the former(B) cannot precede the latter(A).creativesoul

    This is what I say is begging the question. Your claim was that A cannot precede B. You attempt to justify this by defining A as "existentially dependent" on B. But that's just using different words to state your conclusion as your premise, begging the question. What you needed to do was to show, give a demonstration to prove, that A is existentially dependent on B.

    That would require that the intellect exist in its entirety prior to the parts that it arranges into order.creativesoul

    How do you get this conclusion of "in its entirety"? There is nothing to necessitate your conclusion that the named thing "intellect" cannot be changed as a consequence of its own actions. In fact, that's exactly what learning is, changes being made to that thing "intellect", changes being made by the actions of itself and of others. It makes no sense to insist that the intellect must exist "in its entirety", prior to learning. And, the process of trial and error, and the scientific method mentioned above, are changes which the intellect makes to itself. Why insist that the intellect must exist "in its entirety" both prior to and after such changes? How could these even be changes to the intellect, if the intellect must exist in its entirety both before and after the change?

    I've no reason whatsoever to believe that the intellect is even capable of remaining intact(in it's entirety) in the complete absence of those structures.creativesoul

    I really have no idea what you could possibly mean by "in its entirety" when you refer to the intellect. The intellect is something constantly changing, learning, bettering itself. It could never be complete except possibly in omniscience, but then it wouldn't even be an "intellect" which always has the objective of learning.

    Therefore your argument along these lines really is not useful. You observe an intellect using specific biological structures, and you call this an intellect "in its entirety", so as to exclude other forms of "intellect" which are using other biological structures, or even no biological structure at all, from being an intellect "in its entirety".

    To use your word "tool", the biological structure is a tool of the intellect. It shapes that tool in its learning process (neurological patterns), so the intellect is actually conforming the tool to suit its purpose. Why would you not consider the possibility that it created the tool altogether?

    Or, do you think that when living creatures were evolving on earth, there was a specific point in their evolutionary advancements which constituted "having an intellect" in its entirety? All creature without this definable attribute had no intellect, and those with it have an intellect. How would you propose to draw this boundary?

    Whereas there is no evidence to the contrary.creativesoul

    I don't see where you derive this idea from. All the evidence points exactly in the opposite direction of what you claim. First, there is no such thing as the intellect in its entirety. Next, it is exceedingly clear, that the intellect uses the biological structures as a tool. Neurological patterns are shaped in the learning process, for various purposes. And, it is only the particular purpose, the specific end, which is dependent on the tool. The existence of the thing using the tool is not dependent on the tool. Only the particular end desired by that thing is dependent on the tool.

    So you seem to see a biological structure, which has been shaped and formed toward some particular ends, and you conclude that the thing using this tool, (the biological structure), depends on it for existence. But you are not respecting the proper relationship between the user of the tool, and the tool. The user of the tool is only dependent on that particular set of tools, for obtaining that particular set of ends. You are not respecting the reality that if the thing which is using that set of tools (the intellect in this case), was inclined toward completely different ends, it would be using a completely different set of tools.

    In other words, you observe in the world, human intelligence inclined in a specific way, depending on its tools (biological structure), to achieve its desired ends. And you conclude that the evidence indicates that the intellect is "existentially dependent" on that biological structure. This is fallacious logic. The intellect is not existentially dependent on that biological structure. Only the fulfillment of those specific ends is dependent on that biological structure. So now, you will move to define "intellect in its entirety", as the capacity to fulfill some specific set of ends, and insist that "intellect in its entirety" is dependent on that biological structure.

    All things begin simply and grow in their complexity.creativesoul

    This is obviously a false premise which seems to be misleading you. The second law of thermodynamics indicates that the natural process is for the complexity of things to break down over time. So the starting premise needs to be the reverse of what you propose here. All complex structures naturally break down, and lose their complexity as time passes.

    So, if things are observed to grow in complexity, we need to assume a cause of this. So I proposed "intellect" as the cause of this order and organization. You prefer that we define "intellect" in another way, which makes the intellect dependent on, as emergent from this organized complexity. I will consent to this, but will you consent to my proposal now, that "the soul" is the cause of this growth in complexity? Then we can have a proper separation between the soul and the intellect.
  • Mww
    3.7k
    That neither of you highlighted me I understand indicates mutual non-solicitation of a response, but some of this is getting out of hand. You guys are exhibiting inconsistencies between comments.

    I really didn't understand your use of "tool".Metaphysician Undercover

    A tool is just some means that facilitates an end. Morality is, then, merely that tool in a human such that an act he actually performs is in accordance with the means for determining what that act should be. I need no sensibility, and indeed sometimes it’s even better....more comfortable for me.....if there is none, for the accomplishment of my moral ends. We may, or indeed even may not, witness our own acts through sensibility, but the witnessing of them is very far removed from the tool employed for the determination of what they should be, from which it follows that not witnessing at all, removes sensibility from consideration entirely, while the determining tool remains in full force.

    I didn’t get from your comments, that you hold the senses are existentially dependent upon an intellect, or that the intellect orders the individual parts, that is to say, the biological structures, of the senses. What is done with the product of the sense’s biological structures, which is nothing more than mere mental/cognitive stimuli, considered as initially ordering the parts of that which is sensed, is nonetheless the dedicated purview of the intellect. In which case, it does hold that the intellect is antecedent to that which stimulates it. That senses don’t think and intellects don’t perceive, should be perfectly obvious to those examining the human condition, from any justifiable point of view.

    I don’t see it as unreasonable that the intellect can exist in the complete absence of physiological sensory perception. In the first place, sensory perception is redundant, insofar as all sensation is from perception and all perception is sensory, the reciprocity of them being impossible, and that which affects the brain is physiological, re: cognitive neuroscience, but that which affects the intellect is not, re: pure speculative metaphysics. It is possible for the intellect to operate on that which is impossible to perceive, but it is absurd to suppose there is that perception upon which the intellect cannot operate. We all think in our sleep, or, more accurately perhaps, there is precedent for the justification that any human can think in his sleep, which is the same as saying the intellect is functioning in the complete absence of the physiological senses and perception.

    That there is no intellect without the physiological structures sufficient for it, is given, but that structure is the brain and ancilliary connectivity, not mechanistic sensory devices.

    I now return you to your local......ehhhhh, you know.
  • creativesoul
    10.9k


    I've nothing else to say. Be well.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    10.8k
    [
    You guys are exhibiting inconsistencies between comments.Mww

    Creative and I seem to be on completely different planes of understanding. So I really don't understand why Creative engaged me after the thread had gone dormant for a number of days. We could have both foreseen that any attempt at discourse would not get far, based on past experience. Maybe it was a matter of boredom.

    I didn’t get from your comments, that you hold the senses are existentially dependent upon an intellect, or that the intellect orders the individual parts, that is to say, the biological structures, of the senses.Mww

    I think this is the position I was arguing. The biological structures, which include the senses, must be ordered in such a way so as to fulfill each one's purpose. In this case the structures which constitute the various forms of sensation must be ordered in the way required for the senses to sense. The argument is that it can only be an intellect which creates this biological order, the order which is necessary for these parts to serve their various purposes.

    That there is no intellect without the physiological structures sufficient for it, is given, but that structure is the brain and ancilliary connectivity, not mechanistic sensory devices.Mww

    So "the brain" presents an interesting problem. If we equate intellect with brain, or say that intellect is dependent on brain, (as produced by it or something like that), then when I present my argument that the physiological structures which are responsible for sensation require an intellect, we could just reduce this to say that they require a brain. But the problem is that the brain itself is an organized biological structure. And the argument is that any such order in material bodies requires a cause of that type of order. And, the cause must be an intellect of some sort. So this places an intellect as prior to the brain, and impossible that the intellect is a product of, or dependent on, the brain.
  • Mww
    3.7k
    The biological structures, which include the senses, must be ordered in such a way so as to fulfill each one's purpose.Metaphysician Undercover

    True enough, but couldn’t that be conditioned by natural evolution?

    The argument is that it can only be an intellect which creates this biological order, the order which is necessary for these parts to serve their various purposes.Metaphysician Undercover

    Again, true enough, but that kind of intelligence isn’t human, nor could it be, and human intelligence is the only one we have non-contradictory grounds to discuss.

    this places an intellect as prior to the brain, and impossible that the intellect is a product of, or dependent on, the brain.Metaphysician Undercover

    Yeah, that’s been a logical inconsistency for eons. Hence....epiphenomenalism and such like. But whatcha gonna do when there’s no answer that doesn’t ask its own question. Speculate, of course, also been done for eons and with just as much logical inconsistencies between them.

    Pick an explanation, I guess, run with it ‘til you trip over it. Metaphysical reductionism can only go so far before it defeats itself, right?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    10.8k
    True enough, but couldn’t that be conditioned by natural evolution?Mww

    We could say that natural selection is a process whereby different structures of order are selected for, but it doesn't account for the cause of the ordered structures which are selected for.

    Again, true enough, but that kind of intelligence isn’t human, nor could it be, and human intelligence is the only one we have non-contradictory grounds to discuss.Mww

    I agree that this type of intelligence isn't the same as human intelligence, but neither is the intelligence of dogs and other animals, the same as human intelligence. This is why I said to Creative, that the way one defines "intelligence" makes a difference. But why would we define "intelligence" in such a way so as to exclude the possibility of intelligence which is not human intelligence? It makes much more sense to look at what it is which is referred to as "intelligence", and define the term accordingly. This would clearly allow for the possibility that there is intelligence which is not human intelligence. Then the argument I provided necessitates that there is intelligence other than human intelligence, if we use that open definition.

    Or, we could go the other route, which I proposed above. We can maintain that definition of "intelligence" which limits it to human intelligence, as a product of the human brain, and look for another name to account for that other source, or cause of order. This name has been proposed as "soul", which is intelligence-like, but not quite the same.

    Pick an explanation, I guess, run with it ‘til you trip over it. Metaphysical reductionism can only go so far before it defeats itself, right?Mww

    I don't think it's a matter of picking an idea and running with it, it's more like back and forth, back and forth, like the trial and error process I referred to above. Take a set of premises, and produce a conclusion. The conclusion is never completely satisfactory so we go back and make some changes to the premises. The conclusion is still not completely satisfactory so we revisit the premises again, and so on.
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