• Janus
    15.3k
    (i.e. ideality is merely abstracted from materiality)180 Proof

    :up: Yep.
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    So, you are claiming that you can perceive the mind.
    What is the shape and colour of your mind?
    Corvus

    When I awoke this morning, looking up through my concave skylight, I saw a palette of swirling, subtle grays hovering like thought-balloons with glowing, white cracks of lightning.

    As I leaned over the side of the bed and looked down I saw my black leather slippers with roasted- cashew feet slipping into them.
  • Corvus
    2.4k
    When I awoke this morning, looking up through my concave skylight, I saw a palette of swirling, subtle grays hovering like thought-balloons with glowing, white cracks of lightning.

    As I leaned over the side of the bed and looked down I saw my black leather slippers with roasted- cashew feet slipping into them.
    ucarr
    That sounds like your visual perception. Are you sure it is the existence of your mind itself?
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    That sounds like your visual perception. Are you sure it is the existence of your mind itself?Corvus

    Apart from my mind, where is my… perception?
  • Corvus
    2.4k
    Apart from my mind, where is my… perception?ucarr
    So, if you are watching TV comedy show, then is the TV comedy show your mind?
    If you close your eyes, then you see nothing but darkness. Is the darkness your mind?
    Are you claiming, then a blind man has no mind?
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    Are you claiming, then a blind man has no mind?Corvus

    You’re driving in your car. You suddenly stop at a green lit intersection where you see a blind man in dark glasses slowly making his way through the crosswalk. Do you conclude the blind man has no mind?
  • Corvus
    2.4k
    Are you claiming, then a blind man has no mind?
    — Corvus

    You’re driving in your car. You suddenly stop at a green lit intersection where you see a blind man in dark glasses slowly making his way through the crosswalk. Do you conclude the blind man has no mind?
    ucarr
    I was asking you the questions, and you are supposed to give your answers.
    You are not supposed to answer questions with your questions.
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    So, if you are watching TV comedy show, then is the TV comedy show your mind?Corvus

    If it walks like a duck and squawks like a duck it must be a duck.

    If you close your eyes, then you see nothing but darkness. Is the darkness your mind?Corvus

    The new born pup lost its bitch getting born, but the little girl took the dying whelp to her bed and her warm stomach. Next morning the pup squealed from under the covers vivid with life and a new, two-legged mother.

    Are you claiming, then a blind man has no mind?Corvus

    The blind flower girl touched the little tramp’s face carefully, telling him his day would be a good one. She knew this she explained by telling him she could see his smile. Puzzled, he asked her, “How do you know I’m smiling? You’ve never seen a smile.” Smiling, she said, “Here at the flower stand I see smiles because I perceive with eyes forever closed.”
  • Corvus
    2.4k
    The blind flower girl touched the little tramp’s face carefully, telling him his day would be a good one. She knew this she explained by telling him she could see his smile. Puzzled, he asked her, “How do you know I’m smiling? You’ve never seen a smile.” Smiling, she said, “Here at the flower stand I see smiles because I perceive with eyes forever closed.”ucarr
    It seems to be your futile tactics to revert back to some poetic nonsense, when you have no idea what you were even asking about.
  • Corvus
    2.4k
    If it walks like a duck and squawks like a duck it must be a duck.ucarr

    The new born pup lost its bitch getting born, but the little girl took the dying whelp to her bed and her warm stomach. Next morning the pup squealed from under the covers vivid with life and a new, two-legged mother.ucarr
    What do they have anything to do with the knowledge of your mind?
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    It seems to be your futile tactics to revert back to some poetic nonsense, when you have no idea what you were even asking about.Corvus

    What do they have anything to do with the knowledge of your mind?Corvus

    The boy returned to the old man. He was always sitting under the baobab tree. It was during the highest heat of the day when young Jabari would go to him, perplexed and angry with questions he couldn’t answer. “Why won’t old man Davu give me direct answers when I ask him questions?” he wondered, thoroughly vexed. Now, instead of going away puzzled and furious, he would confront him. “Why don’t you just tell me directly what I want to know?” Davu, calm and unperturbed by Jabari’s vehemence, took a long time to respond, saying finally, “It’s no good my talking to you directly. That is my mind. You have your own mind. When it sees the world directly, or sees the world through a story, you must learn to listen when you hear it talking to itself.”
  • Corvus
    2.4k
    Davu, calm and unperturbed by Jabari’s vehemence, took a long time to respond, saying finally, “It’s no good my talking to you directly. That is my mind. You have your own mind. When it sees the world directly, or sees the world through a story, you must learn to listen when you hear it talking to itself.”ucarr
    A story that you hear, or the world you see is not your mind itself. You seem to be misunderstanding the content of your perception with your mind. It is like saying the coffee in the mug is as same as the mug.

    When you say "the mind", it must have a referent that "the mind" is referring to. But if you say the stories that your hear, and the world you see is "the mind itself", it just doesn't make sense. Because when you closed your eyes or bloked your ears, you lose all your mind. You don't see or hear anything. You become a mindless. Do you? Really?

    Ok, let's suppose that is the case. How does it explain your mind and the body problems?
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    Since you agree concepts do not exist independent of the minds contemplating them, I now know we agree on something important to both of us.ucarr
    When I first posted on this thread, I assumed that we had something in common, besides accepting the dependence of mental functions on material mechanisms. Perhaps, a philosophical role for Deacon's immaterial/potential "Absence" to soften the Hard Problems of physical Science. So, I interpreted "Absential Materialism" as an attempt to reconcile the obsolete Certain physics of Newton with the Uncertain modern physics of Heisenberg. But, your criticisms seem to be defending that 300 year old mechanical/scientific paradigm against the philosophical implications of the 21st century model of random/statistical physics, where particles are only potential*1 (absent) until "observed", and the quantum state is non-local.

    Materialism is the easiest metaphysical position to defend. Johnson physically responded to Berkeley's immaterialism : “I refute it thus”, and kicked a stone*2a. On the other hand, Idealism can only be defended with metaphors and rational arguments, but no appeals to the authority of empirical Science. That's because Ideas (per se) are materially Absent, and cannot be explained by any traditional physical mechanism. Emergent functions from material processes cannot be observed empirically, but must be inferred theoretically.

    So, I assumed that the OP was postulating some emergent input/output relationship between Matter (etym. “mother”) and Absence (nothingness). Or perhaps, by presenting some novel philosophical insight into the relationship between Philosophy (ideas) and Science (objects). But so far the coinage seems to be simply an apparent paradox, of interest only to fans of Deacon's radical notion of Causal Absence as an explanation for "how mind emerged from matter".

    For the record, my interpretation of the "power of Absence" does not imply the "non-existence of matter"*2b, but merely the potential to cause Life & Mind to emerge, via evolutionary processes, from dead mindless matter. Since Newtonian physics can't explain how mind emerged from matter, why not view Deacon's "Absence" as a clue to such mysterious instances of Emergentism*3, that Johnson found "absurd"*2c. Functionalism*4 is a philosophical inference, not a scientific observation. :smile:


    *1. Quantum potential :
    quantum potential is an energy term that is required for local energy–momentum conservation.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_potential

    *2. I refute it thus! :
    a> The name "appeal to the stone" originates from an argument between Dr. Samuel Johnson and James Boswell over George Berkeley's theory of subjective idealism (known previously as "immaterialism"). Subjective idealism states that reality is dependent on a person's perceptions of the world and that material objects are intertwined with one's perceptions of these material objects.

    b> After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley's ingenious sophistry to prove the non-existence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it, "I refute it thus."
    — James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson

    c> Johnson's intent, apparently, was to imply that it was absurd of Berkeley to call such a stone "immaterial," when in fact Johnson could kick it with his foot.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_the_stone
    Note --- Berkeley's Immaterialism was similar to Kant's ding an sich, and did not mean that you could kick a rock without physical consequences.

    *3. Emergentism is the belief in emergence, particularly as it involves consciousness and the philosophy of mind. A property of a system is said to be emergent if it is a new outcome of some other properties of the system and their interaction, while it is itself different from them.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergentism

    *4. Functionalism :
    Functionalism in the philosophy of mind is the doctrine that what makes something a mental state of a particular type does not depend on its internal constitution, but rather on the way it functions, or the role it plays, in the system of which it is a part.
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/functionalism/
    Note --- "internal constitution" = matter. "System" = Holism, another term used by Deacon, that is relevant to Absence and Potential.

    fc1cea9d-2930-4724-b35c-91e968a32048f6a25a6fb8fa59c726_g4.jpg
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    Interesting JSTOR review of Deacon from a process-theology oriented academic:
    Is Terrence Deacon's Metaphysics of Incompleteness Still Incomplete? (free but requires registration.)
    I'm going to call it a day with Deacon, I have other fish to fry.
    Wayfarer
    I'm sorry you're not as impressed with Deacon as I am. Perhaps you need to skip forward to the Epilogue --- after the chapter on Consciousness --- where he says : "In the natural sciences there appears to be no place for right/wrong, meaningful/meaninglessness, beauty/ugliness, good/evil, love/hate, and so forth". Hence, the need for philosophy to explore those subjective territories. He also proposes : "rethinking the frame of natural sciences in a way that has the metaphysical sophistication to integrate the realm of absential phenomena as we experience them." I have been hoping that he would publish a sequel to Incomplete Nature, that would focus more on the philosophical applications than the scientific evidence. That might be more your cup o' tea. But so far, nothing has been forthcoming. :smile:
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    When you say "the mind", it must have a referent that "the mind" is referring to.Corvus

    You say the mind must have a referent it is referring to? And if it doesn't?

    But if you say the stories that your hear, and the world you see is "the mind itself", it just doesn't make sense. Because when you closed your eyes or bloked your ears, you lose all your mind. You don't see or hear anything. You become a mindless. Do you? Really?Corvus

    You say when you are blocked off from the world you are mindless? You say when you are blocked off from the world and mindless you don't see or hear anything? When you do see and hear things, it's because you have a mind in contact with the world?

    Someone light a Roman Candle! Make the black sky bright with light! Corvus is starting to get me.

    Ok, let's suppose that is the case. How does it explain your mind and the body problems?Corvus

    "...the mind", it must have a referent that "the mind" is referring to.Corvus

    ...when you closed your eyes or bloked your ears, you lose all your mind. You don't see or hear anything. You become a mindless. Do you? Really?Corvus

    You've already answered your question in your own words.
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    ...I assumed that we had something in common, besides accepting the dependence of mental functions on material mechanisms.Gnomon

    Mental functions are dependent on material things because they too are material things, albeit absentially.

    Idealism can only be defended with metaphors and rational arguments, but no appeals to the authority of empirical Science. That's because Ideas (per se) are materially Absent, and cannot be explained by any traditional physical mechanism.Gnomon

    Let me make a distinction between materially absent and materially absential. The difference is parallel to the difference between 2 - x versus 2i = 0 + 2i. In verbal grammar this is the difference between something simply distanced, as in the first example versus something
    distanced-yet-complexly-connected, as in the second example.

    Emergent functions from material processes cannot be observed empirically, but must be inferred theoretically.Gnomon

    This is true when the emergent functions are themselves material, albeit absentially.

    I know you're not all in on Idealism, but you seem to be invested in the immaterial status of philosophical ideas, especially those considered metaphysical.

    Our disagreement boils down to whether you can show how ideas, beyond occupying the thinking space of philosophers, have causal impact upon material things. There's no problem if you, like me, acknowledge ideas are, ultimately, connected to physical_material things via self-organizing dynamical systems. There's only a problem is you insist on understanding ideas in terms of:

    Idealism can only be defended with metaphors and rational arguments, but no appeals to the authority of empirical Science. That's because Ideas (per se) are materially Absent, and cannot be explained by any traditional physical mechanism.Gnomon

    If you repeat your argument about energetic, potential enformaction en route to becoming enformation with the power of Wheeler's it from bit, I'll acknowledge that's your bridge from idea to material whereas I see it as physical_material across the entire spectrum.

    So, the only important difference between us is that you see ideas are materially absent whereas I see that ideas are materially absential.
  • ucarr
    1.1k
    Here's Robert Lawrence Kuhn interviewing David Chalmers on Closer To Truth. The Australian mathematician, physicist, philosopher runs through a list of materialisms examining why none of them work with respect to consciousness. If I'm not mistaken, he concludes with a theory of consciousness that sounds similar to what Penrose and Hameroff are working on: within each active neuron there's a moment when its QM waveform collapses; that's when subjectivity makes its appearance at the micro-scale within the human brain.

  • Corvus
    2.4k
    You say when you are blocked off from the world you are mindless? You say when you are blocked off from the world and mindless you don't see or hear anything?ucarr
    You said you know the mind very well. So I asked you what is your mind? You said, what you see is your mind. I said that cannot be true, because if you closed your eyes and blocked your ears, then you don't see, and you can't hear. Does it mean that you become a mindless when you closed your eyes and blocked your ears? So, what you see and hear cannot be your mind itself. What is your mind that you claimed to know?

    When you do see and hear things, it's because you have a mind in contact with the world?ucarr
    What you were saying here seems to be a Circular Fallacy. The evidence used to support your statement is just a repetition of the statement itself.
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    ...if you closed your eyes and blocked your ears, then you don't see, and you can't hear. Does it mean that you become a mindless when you closed your eyes and blocked your ears?Corvus

    Seeds for the crop were planted on the island. Shortly thereafter, the local volcano erupted, sending great spews of lava high into the air accompanied by boulders, rocks and volcanic ash. For months the atmosphere darkened the island, blotting out the sun. Villagers took to the caves with their animal skins and last season's stocks of grain and vegetables.

    Eventually, mid-season for planting, strong ocean currents carried off the volcanic ash blighting the islands growing season. Turned up soil revealed dead seeds succumbed to the lack of the sun's regulation of soil temperature. Crops already growing prior to the eruption, unsupported for weeks in their photo-synthetic production of sugar by direct sunlight, withered and paled, providing but meager food. These were the minority of stalwart growths; most had died.

    The high priests were busy with offerings to the sun gods accompanied by loud chantings and throbbing drum beats. Inspired by the efforts of the holy, farmers planted pale, withered seeds into the warming soil, looking skywards with hope.

    Dahlbach, the village outcast, given to rantings about the unreliable gods and their wanton inclinations, launched into daily rants about the need to banish the gods and replace them with his solution to the problem of crops: farming inside of caves, where termperature control is easier. The villagers, sympathetic to the misfortunes caused by madness, made sure he ate his meager rations along with everyone else. Dahlbach, risen to his imaginary bully pulpit of woven palm fronds, his belly full of donated grain, bellyached in loud voice: "I banish your false gods! In this cave I will bring fertile soil and plant seed. With torches I'll keep the soil warm, because a seed can't sprout without the sun, and the torch will be the sun. You say the sun is not here in the cave? No, it's not. I shall pretend it is here in the cave with my torches. You say the sun is unapproachable. You remind me of the fate of Icarus, whose wax wings melted during his flight towards the sun, sending him to his death below. I shall approach the sun in the cave. No, I shall not find the sun. Who can find the sun without finding death first? Instead, I shall chase the sun with my torches, pretending to be the sun I can never find."
  • Corvus
    2.4k
    You remind me of the fate of Icarus, whose wax wings melted during his flight towards the sun, sending him to his death below. I shall approach the sun in the cave. No, I shall not find the sun. Who can find the sun without finding death first? Instead, I shall chase the sun with my torches, pretending to be the sun I can never find."ucarr
    It seems to be the case that at this stage, your incumbent job is to define what mind is. What does mind mean to you? Please define.
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    Mental functions are dependent on material things because they too are material things, albeit absentially. . . . .
    Let me make a distinction between materially absent and materially absential. The difference is parallel to the difference between 2 - x versus 2i = 0 + 2i. In verbal grammar this is the difference between something simply distanced, as in the first example versus something
    distanced-yet-complexly-connected, as in the second example.
    ucarr
    As is the case with many disagreements on this forum, some key words are used with unconventional, or abstrusely technical, meanings. So they need to be carefully defined in terms that can be understood intuitively, from personal Experience : the feeling of personal affectation. For example, I can understand the general idea of the math symbol for an imaginary number "i" in your example. That's because I too experience imagination. But, as a non mathematician, I don't experience the combination of real & unreal quantities, for the same reason that I have no experience of Infinity.

    Likewise, I can read your definition : "distanced-yet-complexly-connected" as a possible-but-not-obvious-relationship. But it doesn't mean anything to me intuitively. It does however, suggest a relationship similar to "Potential vs Actual", where a Potential thing is "distanced" from reality, but is statistically "connected" to a Probability definition in the realm of Possibility. That imaginary "realm" is not Real, but Ideal, since it has no material instances, only abstract imagery. It's not a Thing, but the ideal concept of a presumably possible Thing. In your terminology, the imaginary object is literally "materially absential" : the quality of lacking a material instance. Or in Deacon's vocabulary : "Constitutive Absence".

    Deacon describes his notion of "Absence" in ideal, not material, terms. It's something we know by reasoning not by observation. Hence, the idea of a particular Absent thing, such as a future state of a material object, is literally Immaterial and Ideal. So, describing something as "absent" merely means missing from its expected place. But "absential" describes a quality as-if it was a quantity ; non-existence as-if it was existence. In that case, it's a hypothetical Difference that makes no meaningful Difference. Except perhaps in the sense that Deacon described "Aboutness" or "Entention" as a "non-material property of minds" (index) :

    Your distinction between "materially absent" is equivalent to the numerical quantity Zero : as in "no specified material object there". But "materially absential" is similar to the conceptual quality of Nothingness : as in "nothing of any kind there". Except that the ironic meaning of that combination of words is an oxymoron, like "deafening silence". Therefore, a more useful definition of "materially absential", for me, would be merely "Potential" : conceptually possible but not yet materially actual; or "Latent" : possessing a quality that could become a quantity.

    In terms of my own Information-based worldview, your "distanced-yet-complexly-connected" could be translated into "No real or actual or material form, but having the potential to become a real thing, by means of the power of EnFormAction". :smile:

    Absential : The paradoxical intrinsic property of existing with respect to something missing, separate, and possibly nonexistent. Although this property is irrelevant when it comes to inanimate things, it is a defining property of life and mind; elsewhere (Deacon 2005) described as a constitutive absence
    https://absence.github.io/3-explanations/absential/absential.html

    Constitutive absence : A particular and precise missing something that is a critical defining attribute of 'ententional' phenomena, such as functions, thoughts, adaptations, purposes, and subjective experiences.

    Ententional : an adjective that applies to the class of objects and phenomena that refer to or are in some other way "about" something not present.

    Potential : having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future.

    Latent : existing in hidden or dormant form

    EnFormAction :
    Ententional Causation. A proposed metaphysical law of the universe that causes random interactions between forces and particles to produce novel & stable arrangements of matter & energy. The term is derived from Wheeler's "it from bit" equation of matter & information. Which is similar to Einstein's E=MC^2 equation of Energy and Matter/Mass.

    How is information related to energy in physics? :
    Energy is the relationship between information regimes. That is, energy is manifested, at any level, between structures, processes and systems of information in all of its forms, and all entities in this universe is composed of information.
    https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/22084/how-is-information-related-to-energy-in-physics
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    ...your incumbent job is to define what mind is. What does mind mean to you? Please define.Corvus

    The curious villager comes forward. "It's you duty to tell what you believe about mind."

    "Narrative holds up a mirror to nature." -- Shakespeare

    Chorus:

    The speed of light is constant. It’s absolute in its velocity. All other velocities refer to it.

    Photons have no rest mass. Light is the animation of the universe. All other animations refer to it.

    The popular question is “What?” The mysterious question is “How?”
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The elder, after venturing across the lake to the far island of the mysterious, flashing lights, returns to his village. He carries a large, rectangular shape underneath a sackcloth.

    After supper, the villagers gather round the elder for the unveiling of the gift from the far island, now held for hours of painful suspense underneath the sackcloth.

    The elder calls on Glaucon, his favorite student, to come forth before the gathering inside the cave and remove the sackcloth.

    Upon doing so, the villagers start gasping with excitement as they see images of themselves on the surface of the looking glass just unveiled.

    Andrew, Glaucon’s friend, exclaims, “I see a man who moves just as I move.”

    Hesperia, arriving just as the sun behind her is deepest gold, answers Andrew. “You are looking upon yourself.”

    “I am in that shiny surface?”

    “You are,” the elder explains.

    Glaucon, suddenly jealous, shoves aside Andrew and now his image inhabits the shiny surface.

    Before long, a gaggle of men fight amongst themselves for a place in the shiny surface.

    Sebastian, clever and observant, exclaims “It is the lake, the deity that gives us our fishing, made solid. Have we not seen shadows moving just as we move in the daylight water?”

    The elder spoke up. “Not shadows, but rather reflections, just like you see in the daylight water.”

    Hesperia chimed in. “But this lake become solid doesn’t let us see through our doubles down to the lakebed below.”

    “Listen to me, students. Our gift, from the dwellers on the island across the lake, has a name. They call it a looking glass. It has a special magic that lets you look backwards at yourself. When it looks at the sun, it makes you look backwards at the great source of life. The blinding lights from across the lake have us looking backwards at the sun.”

    Hesperia laughs when Glaucon, turning around and facing her, exclaims, “I can’t see myself by looking backwards!”

    When the elder beckons her to come to the front and stand beside him, she obliges him.

    “Hesperia, gaze into our looking glass and tell us who it favors within itself.” The elder keeps his stern gaze upon her as she stands there suddenly affrighted.

    “The cave grows quiet as she contemplates the reflection of herself for a long time.

    Andrew can’t hold his peace any longer. “Hesperia, most beautiful maiden of all! The looking glass favors you!”

    The elder next beckons Daphne, the cook still wearing her bloody apron, to come forward. She too gazes at her reflection for a long time.

    Hecuba, Hesperia’s mother, stands up from the gathering and the elder dares not deny her the floor.

    “Please, grand dam, speak to us.”

    “It’s clear to me the looking glass favors no one beyond the person it happens to reflect upon in the moment.”

    The elder, delighted, smiles, nodding his approval. “Yes, Lady Hecuba. You speak truth.”

    After Hecuba seats herself, the elder makes his move. “Who can tell us something about the looking glass most memorable?”

    Glaucon rises to the occasion. “The looking glass favors no one.”

    “Anyone else care to speak?”

    Hesperia rises. “The looking glass, if it has time enough, will favor everything in creation that might be looked upon.”

    The elder is now very excited. “Who else can speak?”

    Daphne’s voice suddenly starts intoning. “The looking glass wants to take a journey throughout all of creation! It wants to see everything.”

    Hecuba rises. “A journey throughout all of creation? That’s a journey without an ending.”

    Now the elder is ready to deliver the closer. “Consider a journey without an ending. It is constant, moving at the speed of possibility, and it never rests. It’s not primarily concerned with what to look at, but rather how to look at. And what does it tell us about how to look at?”

    Glaucon has the last word. “Look at everything.”
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Chorus:

    When looking glass looks at looking glass, not only is what they see not local, it’s not localizable.
  • Corvus
    2.4k
    Glaucon has the last word. “Look at everything.”
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Chorus:

    When looking glass looks at looking glass, not only is what they see not local, it’s not localizable.
    ucarr
    You seem to have been confused between your mind and the objects of your perception. What you see and hear, the content of your perception is not your mind. There must be far more than just the content of your perception in your mind.
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    You seem to have been confused between your mind and the objects of your perception.Corvus

    A visual artist walks a country road early morning one day. Through the light, blue-gray fog he sees the dark-spotted, white "blanket" at the center flank of an Appaloosa. It's running circles around the paddock in a frolic with neighing.

    Come evening, the artist finishes a charcoal sketch of the morning Appaloosa just as his wife comes into his studio with news of supper being ready. She praises his work by way of commenting upon the vitality of the captured image.

    He smiles at her. "I have a sticky mind for pretty pictures, my dear. Especially for horses at daybreak. Something smells good. Roast beef?" He puts his arm around her as they stroll towards the kitchen. Glancing back to the studio, she smiles, looking at her charcoal portrait next to the Appaloosa. "Now that you've got me just right, and the horse just right, maybe we should go down to that ranch and buy that horse."

    Hecuba, Hesperia’s mother, stands up from the gathering and the elder dares not deny her the floor.

    “Please, grand dam, speak to us.”

    “It’s clear to me the looking glass favors no one beyond the person it happens to reflect upon in the moment.”
    ucarr

    What you see and hear, the content of your perception is not your mind.Corvus

    At the dinner table, between mouthfuls of roast beef slathered with horseradish, he makes an admission to her. "You know, the grain of my charcoal pencil is too coarse. The appaloosa has a much finer coat. But there's no way to change the grain of my pencil, so I had to rough up the appaloosa." She comforts him. "Well now, that's not to worry about. Roughing up the appaloosa makes a pretty visual."

    Observer Effect
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    Mental functions are dependent on material things because they too are material things, albeit absentially.ucarr
    Because Deacon's notion of Absence is relevant to my own information-based philosophical worldview, I'm still trying to make sense of your materialistic understanding of "Absence" (noun) & "Absential" (adjective). In the worldview of Materialism : all things we observe in nature are by definition "material". But, to be a complete philosophical concept, that definition should explain both objects observed by the senses, and changes in those objects over time (functions) due to energetic inputs & outputs, and relationships between objects that are not seen, but inferred. In what meaningful sense are Abstract Nouns*1, such as Absence, Function, and Causation, referring to material things, and not to ideas about things or processes? Of course, mental abstractions are dependent on a material Brain, but scientifically, their referents have no objective material substance, only subjective meaning. It's the material stuff that is Absent or Absential.

    In psychology, Mind is a function of brains. In math, physics, and biology, a Function is a causal concept (input causes output), but not a material object. So, a more appropriate statement would say that "mental functions are dependent on the process of causation in material things". Hence, the Function is not a "material thing", but an ongoing process of change in a material object, more like Energy. For example, in biology, Life is a function of Causation in a material substrate. As noted in the Quora opinion below*2, Abstractions are "products of physical reality". But those Absential products are not made of Presential matter. So, my question is not about the walnut-shaped Vessel, but about the contents we call Mind : the "Substance" or "Essence" of subjective Ideas, as defined by Aristotle*3.

    With that clarification, I can provisionally agree with the first part of your assertion above : "mental functions are dependent on material things" ; but not with the second part : "because they {mental functions} too are material things, albeit absentially". How can something "absential" be material? Isn't Presence an essential element of the definition of "material". Deacon's "absence" seems to be a commonsense reference to the philosophical concept of "potential". Aristotle, in his discussion of Motion, Causality, & Physiology, contrasted present material Actual with absent immaterial Potential. From that perspective, Absence (no-thing) or Absential (quality of nothingness) is the opposite of material Presence. So, how can you conclude that something Absential is also Material? What kind of matter is nothingness made of? In other words, what is the Substance of Absence? Instead of "material thing" do you mean "a philosophically meaningful concept"?

    I'm gradually coming to realize that Materialism is an unprovable metaphysical Axiom (presumption), not an empirical scientific Theory (inference from facts). It's more of an attitude or belief than a fact. So, I guess I can't expect such beliefs to make sense in an objective manner. Regarding a scientific or philosophical explanation of Consciousness --- including awareness of abstractions like Absence --- Terrence Deacon said "Materialism, the view that there are only material things and their interactions in the world, seems impotent here" {my emphasis}. He also referred to “the antimaterialist claim” that “like meanings & purposes, consciousness may not be something there in any typical sense of being materially or energetically embodied, and yet may still be materially causally relevant p7 .{my bold} Your concept of Absential Materialism may be related to the notion of “materially relevant”. :smile:


    *1. Abstract nouns :
    We have four categories when it comes to nouns: 1.Person 2.Place 3.Animal 4.Thing. Everything in the above list can be labelled as "things". Things that are visible to the eyes. Whereas, abstract nouns contain feelings, like happiness,sadness, which can't be seen. https://www.quora.com/What-nouns-arent-words-that-refer-to-things

    *2. How can scientific materialism explain the existence of abstract non-material entities? : You need to unwind your definition of Materialism to match what materialists (or physicalists) really believe, which is "matter is primary, and mind or spirit or ideas are secondary, the product of matter acting upon matter." That doesn't mean that we don't believe that mind or ideas don't exist, but they are a product of our physical reality. https://www.quora.com/How-can-scientific-materialism-explain-the-existence-of-abstract-non-material-entities
    Note --- My position is that Abstractions are indeed “a product of physical reality”, but they have no material Substance.

    *3. What according to Aristotle is the essence of a thing? :
    In Aristotle essence was identified with substance (ousia) or sometimes substantial form. The essence is what makes the thing be what it is. The essence of a thing or substance is able to be known and so defined accordingly. It is through the definition that we come to know essences.
    https://brainly.ph/question/25605568

    *3. Substance, in the history of Western philosophy, a thing whose existence is independent of that of all other things, or a thing from which or out of which other things are made or in which other things inhere. . . . Benedict de Spinoza . . . . there was only one substance, which constitutes the whole of reality.
    https://www.britannica.com/topic/substance-philosophy
    Note --- a better term for Spinoza's all-encompassing "substance" may be non-local Essence.
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    In what meaningful sense are Abstract Nouns*1, such as Absence, Function, and Causation, referring to material things, and not to ideas about things or processes? Of course, mental abstractions are dependent on a material Brain, but scientifically, their referents have no objective material substance, only subjective meaning. It's the material stuff that is Absent or Absential.Gnomon

    If end-oriented constraints compel self-organizing reciprocal processes, with constraint bottom-up and supervenience top-down, then the physical products of these nested processes of higher-order dynamics are absentially tied to these absent contraints because without them, these products wouldn't exist. Physically compelled strategic constrainsts via design constructs the bridge linking physical dynamics with physical things. This blockchain of interwoven dynamical causes examples absence, i.e., non-physicality causally linked to physicality.

    This seeming break between mind and body is in reality absential materialism. Below is Deacon's blockchain of nested dynamical systems bi-directionally linked across space and time:

    The dynamical reflexivity and constraint closure that characterizes a teleodynamic system, whether constituting intraneuronal processes or the global-signaling dynamics developing within an
    entire brain, creates an internal/external self/other distinction that is determined by this dynamical closure. Its locus is ultimately something not materially present—a self-creating system of constraints with the capacity to do work to maintain its dynamical continuity—and yet it provides a precise dynamical boundedness.


    The sentience at each level is implicit in the capacity to do self-preservative work, as this constitutes the system’s sensitivity to non-self influences via an intrinsic tendency to generate a self-sustaining contragrade dynamics. This tendency to generate self-preserving work with respect to such influences is a spontaneous defining characteristic of such reciprocity of constraint creation. Closure and autonomy are thus the very essence of sentience. But they are also the reason that higher-order sentient teleogenic systems can be constituted of lower-order teleogenic systems, level upon level, and yet produce level-specific emergent forms of sentience that are both irreducible and unable to be entirely merged into larger conglomerates.2 It is teleogenic closure that produces sentience but also isolates it, creating the fundamental distinction between self and other, whether at a neuronal level or a mental level.
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    Life is a function of Causation in a material substrate.Gnomon

    But those Absential products are not made of Presential matter. So, my question is not about the walnut-shaped Vessel, but about the contents we call Mind : the "Substance" or "Essence" of subjective Ideas, as defined by Aristotle*3.Gnomon

    In a functional relationship, there's an operator that transforms input into output. For sentients with minds generating abstractions, they, no less than the other orders of life, function with the operator as the nested hierarchy of self-organizing dynamical processes articulated by Deacon. Furthermore, the observing mind-brain-body is physically entangled with the object of its observation. Still furthermore, the medium propagating the object/observer relationship is material-physical spacetime. Absential materialism, possessing both properties of waves and of particles, presents itself as a knot of complexity fostering the-glass-is-half-full-half-empty debates.
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    I can provisionally agree with the first part of your assertion above : "mental functions are dependent on material things" ; but not with the second part : "because they {mental functions} too are material things, albeit absentially". How can something "absential" be material? Isn't Presence an essential element of the definition of "material"Gnomon

    Consider the modulated EM-field that populates your tv screen with audio-visual phenomena. Does the EM-field have presence within your den? How about when the tv set is off. Does the EM-field still have presence within your den? Now, let's take a step further from the foggy presence of a waveform energy field to the absential presence of an absence strategically constrained by the design intent of a teleodynamic process compelling the strategic absence via its physicality. We have a physical system propagating through physical spacetime towards a desired future state of being.

    Deacon's "absence" seems to be a commonsense reference to the philosophical concept of "potential".Gnomon

    potential | pəˈten(t)SH(ə)l |
    adjective [attributive]
    having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future: a two-pronged campaign to woo potential customers.
    Apple Dictionary

    If my argument above your last quote has truth content, then it applies here also.
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    I'm gradually coming to realize that Materialism is an unprovable metaphysical Axiom (presumption), not an empirical scientific Theory (inference from facts). It's more of an attitude or belief than a fact. So, I guess I can't expect such beliefs to make sense in an objective manner.Gnomon

    So, you think materialism is objectively non-sensical.

    Terrence Deacon said "Materialism, the view that there are only material things and their interactions in the world, seems impotent here" {my emphasis}. He also referred to “the antimaterialist claim” that “like meanings & purposes, consciousness may not be something there in any typical sense of being materially or energetically embodied, and yet may still be materially causally relevant” p7.{my bold}Gnomon

    Your concept of Absential Materialism may be related to the notion of “materially relevant”. :smile:Gnomon

    Since we both agree on the material relevance of thought, again I say we're not far apart in our beliefs. I further think thought absentially material whereas you hold fast at thinking thought materially relevant.
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    then the physical products of these nested processes of higher-order dynamics are absentially tied to these absent contraints because without them, these products wouldn't existucarr
    I would interpret your use of "absentially tied" as referring to a Cause & Effect relationship. For example, in the Photoelectric Effect, incoming invisible inferred Photons are the cause of the observed effect (Electrons) flowing as energy in a material substrate. This is a physical transformation, but the photons, while moving at lightspeed are massless, and electrons are both non-local and massless while "flowing". Therefore, in their ghostly Cause & Effect forms they have no material attributes ; hence Absent as far as our matter-detecting senses are concerned.

    Only at rest can they be legitimately called "particles of matter". But "rest" is not a normal state for a Photon*1. So, in its normal invisible & massless state, does it qualify as materially Absent"? This how I interpret Deacon's "Causal" or "Constitutive" Absence : immaterial cause produces material effects. "Causal Absence" is what I call the Potential to become Actual. One "Constraint" in an electrical system is Voltage, which is not a thing but an inherent limitation of the system as a whole. :nerd:

    *1. Is it possible for a photon to be at rest? :
    No, a photon in vacuum is required by its very nature to move at the speed of light c.
    https://www.quora.com/Is-it-possible-for-a-photon-to-be-at-rest



    If end-oriented constraints compel self-organizing reciprocal processes, with constraint bottom-up and supervenience top-down, then the physical products of these nested processes of higher-order dynamics are absentially tied to these absent contraints because without them, these products wouldn't exist. Physically compelled strategic constrainsts via design constructs the bridge linking physical dynamics with physical things. This blockchain of interwoven dynamical causes examples absence, i.e., non-physicality causally linked to physicality.ucarr
    You seem to be saying something close to my own understanding, but using terminology that I'm not familiar with. My knowledge of "blockchain" is limited to an abstract money-market concept of a "distributed database" in which the "chain" is not a physical thing, but a software network of mental trust interrelationships. So, those "interwoven dynamical causes" seem to be Absent in the same sense as immaterial ideas (promises), that can have material effects (buying power) on the real world.

    For example, we can think of New York City as a cultural machine for shared economic progress. The material infrastructure --- skyscrapers, roads, etc.--- and immaterial Constraints --- laws, contracts, etc --- are bound together by the mental ententions of millions of entrepreneurs. Is that anything like what you mean by "blockchain"? Without the immaterial "design constraints" of the blockchain system the "products" (imaginary cryptocurrency) wouldn't exist. :wink:

    Non-material Culture :
    Culture is the beliefs, behaviors, practices, norms, values, history, characteristics, knowledge, and artifacts of a social group. Culture includes language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music, and arts. These elements combine to create the culture of the social group and impact how members of the group think, act, and acquire possessions as a shared way of living.
    https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-culture-material-and-nonmaterial-culture.html
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