• numberjohnny5
    174
    If everything is constantly changing, then there is no such thing as a state of affairs. To assume that everything is changing, and that there are states of affairs is contradictory. So in your claimed ontology, facts or truths cannot be expressed as states of affairs.Metaphysician Undercover

    Only if you parse that as a false dichotomy between "constant change" as not having a regularity to it, and "non-constant change" as being only or permanently static. It's more nuanced than that. Think of it as two dancers dancing together. One dancer represents a person/mind, and the other dancer represents what the mind refers to. Maybe the dancers are waltzing incredibly slowly, so you can't very easily perceive that they're moving/constantly changing. But at any time that one dancer refers to the other dancer re a truth-claim, the other dancer obtains and "makes" the truth-claim "true".
  • numberjohnny5
    174
    (1) Why you're deflecting the question back to me? — numberjohnny5


    I expected that you'd recognize that the question was a rhetorical question. You asked me how do non-physical things exist if they have no properties and my answer (by way of rhetorical question) is that properties are non-physical things. So it doesn't really make sense to ask about the properties of properties.
    Metaphysician Undercover

    I didn't realise, no. It's difficult for me to grasp how non-physical things exist (even if you say that properties are non-physical), and at the time, I was hoping you'd clarify that for me. That's why I asked you a direct (non-rhetorical) question.

    So, Ill now ask you the question. Do you or do you not apprehend properties as non-physical things? Take the property "large" for example. Many physical things are large, so it is impossible that large is any particular physical thing.Metaphysician Undercover

    It depends how we use "large" -- whether it's a mental property of our minds assigning things as "large" (the concept "large" is a thought) in terms of relative scales, or whether we're referring to non-mental properties of things that actually take up more space than other things, say. There are no "comparisons/measurements" that are non-mental though.

    It appears to me, like you do not adequately understand what "ontology" is. Ontology consists of the assumptions which we make about existence, and we always have our own reasons for the assumptions which we make. So my ontological assumption is that non-physical things have existence no less than physical things.Metaphysician Undercover

    That's how I use ontology too, except I'd add claims and commitments to that criteria as well as assumptions.

    Non-physical things are apprehended by the mind, they are called intelligible objects like universal ideas, concepts like "large", "red", etc..Metaphysician Undercover

    Sure, I guessed that you'd believe something like that. It just isn't coherent to me.

    How do you think that the numeral "2" stays the same, as the numeral "2", within my mind, if all there is in my mind is brain activity? How does the numeral "2" stay in my mind as a static object, if my "mind" is only accounted for by brain activity?Metaphysician Undercover

    The numeral "2" doesn't stay the same when I visualise it. If I visualise the number "2" now, I notice it isn't this stable image; it fluctuates and changes. It's relatively "stable" in that as long as I try to visualise it, it remains there in some form. But it's in no way an actually non-changing, static thing in my mind.

    So let's readdress this question. There is brain activity which corresponds to me thinking should I or should I not shut down my computer. Then I make a choice and proceed with the appropriate activity. What, other than the non-physical mind, causes the actual choice? It cannot be the brain activity which is the cause of the decision, because the brain activity is considering the options, weighing the possibilities, and the choice causes the end of this brain activity, to be replaced with a different activity, the movement of the body parts. The brain activity cannot cause the activity of the bodily parts directly, because a choice is required. Nor is it something external, which is the cause, because the choice comes from within me.Metaphysician Undercover

    It's not that it's not like a sequence of brain activity that involves perceiving the situation, weighing up possibilities, making a choice, and making sense of the consequences of that choice. That's all (conscious) brain activity; and it's constantly doing/juggling multiple things sequentially; and this is all happening while nonconscious brain activity is working too.

    Brain activity causes the actual choice. It's not like the brain activity only amounts to "considering the options, weighing the possibilities". Whatever gave you that idea? And I'd say "the choice is the end of that particular sequence of brain activities." The brain activity sends projections from the motor regions to the muscle sites in the body. So it is directly responsible (along with other nonconscious processes) for causing movement of body parts. Also, making choices is the mental aspect of brain activity, and it can only be mental activity if non-mental activity (autonomic processes) is functional.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    Metaphysician Undercover has been too patient trying to help you understand your errors and as a result has allowed you another opportunity to become enthused by the verbosity of your own loquaciousness. @jkg20 was correct in his prediction - you are clearly incorrigible, but let me have one stab at this before I move on, as it upsets me to think that someone so wrong can believe they are so right.

    It's not that because everything is always in flux that there is no general stability to things.

    This is utter nonesense. To say that everything is always in flux is precisely to say that there is no general stability to things.
  • numberjohnny5
    174
    This is utter nonesense. To say that everything is always in flux is precisely to say that there is no general stability to things.MetaphysicsNow

    It depends what you mean by "general stability", which I mean as a general regularity to how things occur/are.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    So instead of
    It's not that because everything is always in flux that there is no general stability to things.
    You should have more accurately stated;
    It's not that because everything is always in flux that there is no general regularities to how things occur/are.

    I repeat; this is utter nonsense - to say that everything is always in flux is precisely to deny that there are general regularities to how things occur/are, since if there were such general regularities they would be things exonerated from being in flux.
  • numberjohnny5
    174
    So instead of
    It's not that because everything is always in flux that there is no general stability to things.
    You should have more accurately stated;
    It's not that because everything is always in flux that there is no general regularities to how things occur/are.
    MetaphysicsNow

    It's not about being more accurate. "General stability" is synonymous with "general regularity" for me in this context. Maybe you would have preferred me to have stated one thing over the other, but both statements mean the same thing for me.

    I repeat; this is utter nonsense - to say that everything is always in flux is precisely to deny that there are general regularities to how things occur/are, since if there were such general regularities they would be things exonerated from being in flux.MetaphysicsNow

    Again, it depends on what you mean by "general regularities/stability". You'd have to explain/define those terms for me to understand how you're supporting that claim. In other words, you haven't actually given any good reasons for me to buy the claim you're making. You've just said, A wouldn't happen because B. Well, what does A mean and what does B mean for you? I personally find it coherent for "constant flux" and "general regularities" to be ontologically compatible. Show me how that's incoherent.

    I wonder whether you'll repeat "this is utter nonsense" again.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.3k
    I didn't realise, no. It's difficult for me to grasp how non-physical things exist (even if you say that properties are non-physical), and at the time, I was hoping you'd clarify that for me. That's why I asked you a direct (non-rhetorical) question.numberjohnny5

    As it is difficult for you to grasp that non-physical things exist, it is equally difficult for me to grasp that physical things exist. I have extreme difficulty grasping what it means to exist. When I started to understand what "exists" means, I started to realize that it's more logical to assume that non-physical things exist than it is to assume that physical things exist. This is expressed by Descartes' "I think therefore I am". However, I see the need to assume that physical things exist as well, therefore I lean toward a dualism.

    It depends how we use "large" -- whether it's a mental property of our minds assigning things as "large" (the concept "large" is a thought) in terms of relative scales, or whether we're referring to non-mental properties of things that actually take up more space than other things, say. There are no "comparisons/measurements" that are non-mental though.numberjohnny5

    My point is that it is impossible that there is such a thing as a "non-mental property". If something takes up more space than another thing, this is a judgement made by a mind.

    It's not that it's not like a sequence of brain activity that involves perceiving the situation, weighing up possibilities, making a choice, and making sense of the consequences of that choice. That's all (conscious) brain activity; and it's constantly doing/juggling multiple things sequentially; and this is all happening while nonconscious brain activity is working too.numberjohnny5

    Let's say that a brain is "weighing up possibilities" as you describe. What is a "possibility" other than a non-physical thing?

    Do you see why I hit your questions with other questions? Your way of speaking has inherent within it, the assumption of non-physical things. You claim that your ontology allows for no such non-physical things, but you're always referring to them in your speech. So I ask you, how can you talk about these non-physical things, "properties", and "possibilities", as if the brain is doing something with these non-physical things, while you deny that these things have any reality? This is why wayfarer says your ontology leaves you in a position of meaningless nonsense. You insist that the brain is doing something, but all the material which it is working with, when it is doing this, is non-existent nothing. But you, in order to make it appear like what you are saying is somehow intelligible, speak of this non-existent nothing, as if it were something. So all you do is contradict yourself, or behave in an extremely hypocritical way at best, talking about all these non-physical things as if they exist, but then denying that they exist, as an ontological principle.

    Metaphysician Undercover has been too patient trying to help you understand your errors and as a result has allowed you another opportunity to become enthused by the verbosity of your own loquaciousness.MetaphysicsNow

    "Loquaciousness", that's a new word for me, I'll have to remember that. Numberjohnny goes on and on, talking about how the brain is using non-physical things like properties and possibilities, in mental processes, then denies all reality to these non-physical things. If these things are not real, then the brain is doing nothing, working away with no material to work with, therefore doing nothing.

    Numberjohnny gives us a similar problem in relation to the physical world when saying everything is in flux. In talking about "changing relations", it is implied that there are static things which are being related to each other in this expression of change. Numberjohnny keeps referring to these static things and in the same breath denies that they are real. It's an ontology of denial, denying the reality of what is being talked about, and this renders the talk as nothing more than loquacious nonsense.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315


    Definition of the claim "Everything is in constant flux": Every single existent thing alters from one moment to the next.

    Definition: "General regularity" = An unaltering pattern, such as a natural law (e.g the force felt by a falling object is proportional to its gravitational mass).

    Are there such things as general regularities?
    Response 1: "No" - then since there are no such things as general regularities, they cannot be appealed to in any way shape or form to explain anything at all.
    Response 2: "Yes" - then the claim "Everything is in constant flux" is false, since there exists something, i.e. at least one general regularity, and possibly many more, which does not alter from one moment to the next.

    Your responses are utter nonsense because you seem to think you can give both responses at one and the same time, which you cannot, since by doing so you would be violating the law of non-contradiction. Please don't respond "paraconsistent logic", because that really is utter nonsense.

    @Metaphysician Undercover I've done the best I can, I wish you luck if you continue to struggle on with numberjohnny5.
  • numberjohnny5
    174
    As it is difficult for you to grasp that non-physical things exist, it is equally difficult for me to grasp that physical things exist. I have extreme difficulty grasping what it means to exist. When I started to understand what "exists" means, I started to realize that it's more logical to assume that non-physical things exist than it is to assume that physical things exist. This is expressed by Descartes' "I think therefore I am". However, I see the need to assume that physical things exist as well, therefore I lean toward a dualism.Metaphysician Undercover

    Yes, this brings something up I often think about, actually. The idea that we all have a "network of beliefs" that cohere with one another, and which keep our general perspectives relatively stable. And I also think that people are, in general, relatively resistant to change or changing their ideas because of this stable network. I never expect nor assume anyone will change their mind when I discuss/debate philosophy with them. Nor do I assume or expect my mind to be changed, at least not immediately. But I am generally curious about others' views, especially when they are radically different to mine.

    My point is that it is impossible that there is such a thing as a "non-mental property". If something takes up more space than another thing, this is a judgement made by a mind.Metaphysician Undercover

    We are necessarily bound by statements that refer when referring to things. But this doesn't constrain us from being able to use statements to refer to things we believe are actually external-to-minds. So when I use a statement in the form of an ontological claim, for instance, I am referring to what obtains ontologically, not to the actual ontological statement that refers. And that is supported by other beliefs, of course.

    Let's say that a brain is "weighing up possibilities" as you describe. What is a "possibility" other than a non-physical thing?Metaphysician Undercover

    A brain weighing up possibilities is a brain experiencing a situation with perceived options that they care enough about in order to make a decision re which options to choose. It's a process. If you're talking about "possibility" in a logical or metaphysical sense, that's different; the former being any claim that is not contradictory, and the latter being anything that is possible based on past and present actuals.

    Your way of speaking has inherent within it, the assumption of non-physical things.Metaphysician Undercover

    I'm afraid not, and it's interesting that you believe that's the case. Which makes me think that's because your ontology re this stuff is so ingrained that it's difficult for you to imagine or make sense of physical existents, as you noted already. That's not a criticism, really; merely an observation. On the other hand, one reason why I don't buy the notion of non-physical existents is because no one has been able to clarify the ontological nature of non-physical existents, except to offer some vague examples like objects of the intellect or universals. In my opinion, the problem with those answers/explanations is the fact that the reason they're intangible is precisely why I think no one can offer a tangible/graspable explanation. It's a self-defeating problem that can't be resolved because of the fuzzy/vague/intangibility of what non-physical existents are for people. And also, I believe that "explanations" are subjective, which means that some people are satisfied with the explanations they have for their beliefs, while others aren't so satisfied.

    Anyway...

    You claim that your ontology allows for no such non-physical things, but you're always referring to them in your speech.Metaphysician Undercover

    That you believe I'm referring to non-physical existents in my speech is only because you can't imagine how to refer to physical existents in your speech.

    In talking about "changing relations", it is implied that there are static things which are being related to each other in this expression of change.Metaphysician Undercover

    No, you just keep putting words in my mouth. I don't believe anything is actually static/non-changing. I've repeatedly claimed the opposite. It's just that you can't (and I don't think you care to) understand my perspective on this, so you just make this stuff up so you can wrap me up in a box and label me as "the guy who thinks there exists physical things but is confused and talks nonsense." That's fine, but all you're doing is showing how dogmatic and close-minded you are.
  • numberjohnny5
    174
    Definition of the claim "Everything is in constant flux": Every single existent thing alters from one moment to the next.

    Definition: "General regularity" = An unaltering pattern, such as a natural law (e.g the force felt by a falling object is proportional to its gravitational mass).
    MetaphysicsNow

    All that shows, so far, is that we don't share the same views regarding "general regularity" there, which is one reason why I wanted you to reveal your definitions.

    It depends how you're using "alter" and "unalter" too. I'm guessing you mean change or non-change, respectively. If so, then that's not how I use them, at least not when I'm talking about this ontologically.

    I define "general regularity" as a consistent, recurring or reiterative pattern of particulars (as in, particular properties) in particular relations interacting. That's compatible with "constant flux" or "existent altering from one moment to the next."

    Your responses are utter nonsense because you seem to think you can give both responses at one and the same time, which you cannot, since by doing so you would be violating the law of non-contradiction. Please don't respond "paraconsistent logic", because that really is utter nonsense.MetaphysicsNow

    Rather than impulsively assuming you're right, why don't you first try to understand and check what others are claiming? Your comments and attitude reek of "utter" arrogance and condescension. There really is no need for that. It'd be nice if we could have friendly debates/discussion without all the pomposity.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    I define "general regularity" as a consistent, recurring or reiterative pattern

    "consistent, recurring or reiterative" are you supposing those terms are synonymous? Pick up a dictionary, they are not. Nevertheless, leaving your mastery of the English language aside, let's focus in on "recurring" shall we?

    If a P pattern recurs, then P occurs at at least two distinct times, T1 and T2. Since P at T1 is the same pattern as P at T2 then P has not changed between the times T1 and T2, consequently P has not altered between T1 and T2. Hence a recurring pattern is an unaltering pattern, and despite your word play our definitions are ontologically equivalent.
  • numberjohnny5
    174
    Nevertheless, leaving your mastery of the English language aside, let's focus in on "recurring" shall we?MetaphysicsNow

    Is that how you speak to people face to face?

    "consistent, recurring or reiterative" are you supposing those terms are synonymous?MetaphysicsNow

    I'm using them in a similar sense, yes. Whether that's conventional per dicitionary definitions I don't know. But I'm willing to bet you'll throw that in my face.

    If a P pattern recurs, then P occurs at at least two distinct times, T1 and T2. Since P at T1 is the same pattern as P at T2 then P has not changed between the times T1 and T2, consequently P has not altered between T1 and T2. Hence a recurring pattern is an unaltering pattern, and despite your word play our definitions are ontologically equivalent.MetaphysicsNow

    As a nominalist, I don't buy that two things/events are numerically identical. So P occurring at two distinct times involve two non-identical ocurrences of P. Ontologically, things/events are relatively similar or disimilar in terms of "degrees of similarity." So P at time T1 is relatively similar to P at T2 but not identical. The degree of similarity of P at T1 and T2 entails a "general regularity" of P, where "general regularity" does not mean identical occurrences or re-occurences of some thing/event, but rather siimilar occurrences or re-occurences of some thing/event.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    "P" is a pattern, patterns are not events, events are (amongst other things) things that conform to or break patterns. Let's say that pattern P is the following:
    the force applied to a falling object is proportional to its gravitational mass.

    Let's say event1 is me dropping a stone from a tall building at a given time. Let event2 be me dropping a banana from a bridge at some other given time. Event1 and event2 have similarities and differences, they are certainly not identical. If you like, even the me involved in event1 is not identical with the me involved in event2. None of that matters. The issue is that both event1 and event2 conform to the pattern P. Pattern P does not change in all of this, it does not alter.
  • numberjohnny5
    174
    Wait--what are patterns for you ontologically? I don't buy that "natural laws" are real, btw, if that's how you support or use "pattern". That's mainly because of the (unresolvable) problem of induction. Rather, we observe tendencies or regularities and project a "law" onto them to help us organise reality and be able to make instrumental predictions.

    patterns are not eventsMetaphysicsNow

    Patterns are, ontologically, identical to properties (re-)occurring, which include things and events, and where things are comprised of properties, and events are collections of things interacting. (I use "events" as "facts" or "states of affairs" too, btw.)
  • numberjohnny5
    174
    I leave you with the recommendation to read this article
    https://www.jstor.org/stable/43154157?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
    MetaphysicsNow

    Why would you do that?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.3k
    brain weighing up possibilities is a brain experiencing a situation with perceived options that they care enough about in order to make a decision re which options to choose.numberjohnny5

    So there are "options" which are perceived. These options are non-physical things. If these non-physical things, the options that is, are not real, then it is nonsense for the brain to consider them as possibilities; because if there are not any real options, determinism is what is the case, so there is no reason for the brain to consider options which have no reality.

    I suppose you believe that options are somehow real, and therefore physical? Perhaps you could explain how an option is physical?

    I'm afraid not, and it's interesting that you believe that's the case.numberjohnny5

    Clearly it is the case that your talk refers to non-physical things. You have talked about properties, possibilities, and now "options". All of these are non-physical things.

    Anyway...numberjohnny5

    You haven't addressed any of my criticism of your ontology, principally, that you deny that non-physical things are real, but you support your physicalist argument by referring to non-physical things. Now you are denying that you are referring to non-physical things. Unless you can show me an option or a possibility which has physical existence, then surely you are referring to non-physical things.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    Because it is a carefully reasoned, reasonably short article on nominalism that will, if you read it with care, help you understand what nominalism is and what problems it faces.
    You appear to have a "humpty dumpty" view of language that allows you to pick and choose at will the meanings you give to words. It is impossible to reason with someone of that nature. Goodbye.
  • wellwisher
    163
    Information is not physical. Information has levels of subjectivity, while physical is objective.

    For example, sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can never hurt me.

    If I throw a stick or stone at you; physical, this will cause pain. If I throw information at you, like name calling, the impact can vary from person to person, due to the subjectivity of information. There is no universal or consistent action and reaction when it comes to name calling. Physical is consistent.

    Information, like name calling, can trigger different levels of response and different levels of emotional and physical energy output. Picture is lighting a match with the result different reaction each time or for each person. The impact of the rock is not different each time, unless the person extrapolates the cause and affect of the rock, through information; overreaction or under reaction.

    The difference has to do with the connection between language and information. Language is subjective. There are roughly 6500 languages in the world. The sounds, noises and characters for language are arbitrary with no consistent reason why any sound is chosen. The medium used to process information is subjective.

    The hydrogen atom, which is physical, is not arbitrary. It can become so, as information. As information the hydrogen atom can be like a planet orbiting the sun, or as a wave function. We can have more than one theory for any given phenomena. This is not a function of physical reality, but rather it is a function of human subjectivity; information.

    This forum demonstrates how the same evidence; information, can impact each of us differently; different written output. Physical does not work that way, except when massaged by information.
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