• Aaron R
    139
    I'd be interested to get your thoughts on what constitutes a "good reason" for believing that objects continue to exist when they are not perceived. You mention observation and inference, so let's head down that path a bit.

    Consider classical physics. It is it reasonable to claim that classical physics is the best available model for understanding the motion of inanimate, macroscopic objects? Classical theories assume continuous trajectories and temporally persistent masses. They predict that if objects disappeared when unobserved then there would be observable consequences that we simply do not experience. A reasonable explanation, given the assumptions built into our best model, is that those objects don't disappear when unobserved, but continue to exist much as they were when last observed.

    Is this philosophically air-tight? No. Is it reasonable and responsible for the purposes of belief? No question.

    What are your thoughts?
  • Inter Alia
    46
    Scepticism is about not adopting ‘world views’ as a kind of global opinion.Wayfarer

    Right, so back to my earlier question of what does skepticism look like then? You seem quite convinced that there's not enough skepticism but I'm lost as to how you reached that conclusion. If it's not the adoption of any 'world view' how does such a person act that people (including the Dawkins' and Church land's of the world) aren't currently doing?

    Isn't the belief that we shouldn't adopt any particular 'world view' itself a 'world view'. If you've justified skepticism by its necessity, rather than its utility, then how come it isn't also necessary when deciding whether skepticism is the right approach?

    Even if we were to adopt a "don't adopt any world view as a global opinion" approach, how does that apply to Dawkins' attacks on religion, he's not suggesting that materialism is his "world view" in 100% of all thought, just that it isn't when it comes to morality, the afterlife etc. What's wrong with that?
  • T Clark
    1.2k
    I'm demonstrating that such an argument does exist, the "default position" argument is much more subtle and well-thought out than you caricature it as being. It may be wrong, of course, but to suggest it is so absurd that even the Realists don't believe it is nonsense.Inter Alia

    I don't remember saying that the default position is absurd, I said it is wrong. And I don't mean metaphysical wrong, I mean real in-the-world wrong. What do they call that..., oh, wait, that's right - realism. [Fe] That's not the way the world works. It's not the way the human mind works. It's not the way children or parents work.

    And you had just done with accusing me of mis-characterising the argument and the arguers! I have never presented an argument which states or implies that because theists are crazy we should ignore them.Inter Alia

    I was making a joke. Being ironic. I'll start using the international symbol for irony [Fe] from now on.

    The only use of the word crazy was to describe the way in which we would consider someone who believed in fairies, or believed they were Admiral Nelson. These people are locked up and yet we have no more reason to dismiss their belief than we have someone who believes in God. The same denial of Realism on the grounds that we cannot prove it can be applied to the insane.Inter Alia

    I have a very conventional, very sane friend who believes in reincarnation. People with unconventional understandings of the world are not ipso facto crazy just like very conventional people are not necessarily sane. Speaking for myself, I have never denied realism. It can't be denied, it's not a fact, it's a way of thinking, a story we tell. It has no consequences for the real world, although it may have consequences for how we see it. Realism, idealism, mysticism, whatever - it's the same damn world.
  • T Clark
    1.2k
    “Nonsubjective actuality”, for example, doesn’t yet seem to me to be proper terminology for this concept—again, the concept of “a reality that is perfectly indifferent to personal preferences and opinions regarding what is or what ought to be”.

    So, if either of you feel like offering your opinions on this, could “nonsubjective actuality” be cogently understood to express this stated meaning? Such as in the proposition: “that the first person point of view holds presence while it is in any way aware is a nonsubjective actuality”. (this being the first example that comes to my mind)
    javra

    I'm back after a rest and ready to get back in the fray. So, "nonsubjective reality" is your term that could include both the Tao and objective reality, as a way to avoid pointless argument about terminology. Is that correct? Off the top of my head, have no problem with that, although I'll think about it some more. Wherever I finally come down, I appreciate the effort and understand the impulse. The problem for me is that the really interesting issues are found between the two concepts. This is a fight between the Tao and OR, not one where they join together like a Power Ranger to create a mighty Nonsubjective Reality to fight for truth and justice. Wow, that's some metaphor. I'm really proud of that.
  • Inter Alia
    46
    I don't remember saying that the default position is absurd, I said it is wrong. And I don't mean metaphysical wrong, I mean real in-the-world wrong.T Clark

    Great, that's at least tangible, so could you explain why you think the theory that children naturally, instinctively understand the data they receive from their senses in a classically realist sense (physicalist, even materialist) is wrong?

    I was making a joke.T Clark

    Yes, so was I. We also need a symbol to indicate when we've got it.

    People with unconventional understandings of the world are not ipso facto crazyT Clark

    Yes but clearly we treat some of them as such, why is someone who believes they're Admiral Nelson not consulted on naval strategy but someone who believes they can speak to God (the Pope) is consulted on morality?

    It has no consequences for the real world,T Clark

    Did you not previously describe it as a toolbox, are they now all tools which you never use because they don't actually do anything? I'm a bit lost now.
  • T Clark
    1.2k
    Great, that's at least tangible, so could you explain why you think the theory that children naturally, instinctively understand the data they receive from their senses in a classically realist sense (physicalist, even materialist) is wrong?Inter Alia

    Aw, geez, you mean you want me to get facts. I hate that. Just trust me.

    Ok, ok, I'll do some homework and come back to discuss further. By which I mean that I'll wait till you forget about this and deny ever saying anything. I am really, really lazy. That's my version of Occam's Razor - if it takes any effort, screw it.

    Yes, so was I. We also need a symbol to indicate when we've got it.Inter Alia

    I spent some time with the periodic table but couldn't find anything good. How about [O][K]. Or you could use if you don't find the discussion interesting. [EDIT - Ha, I guess we can't use B in brackets. All that does is bold the text. I'll use {B} instead]

    Yes but clearly we treat some of them as such, why is someone who believes they're Admiral Nelson not consulted on naval strategy but someone who believes they can speak to God (the Pope) is consulted on morality?Inter Alia

    Poor analogy - the belief that the Pope has a direct relationship with God is supported and reinforced by a vast social and cultural network. He may be wrong, but he's not crazy. Do you really think he is?

    The Pope's job is to understand what God wants. Who better to give their opinion than someone who talks to God?

    Did you not previously describe it as a toolbox, are they now all tools which you never use because they don't actually do anything? I'm a bit lost now.Inter Alia

    It's an intellectual tool box. It has to do with our understanding of the world, not the world itself. Is a wrench the car? That may be a stupid metaphor. I'll think about it.
  • T Clark
    1.2k
    I spent some time with the periodic table but couldn't find anything good. How about [O][K].T Clark

    I was thinking - we should just use [K]. That's the cute short hand for OK now. Because, you know, like OK is too hard to type.
  • javra
    332
    In my view, we work with a persuasive speech that is both logical and feeling-tinged. For instance, I might ask you what it is for logos to convince logos. What is this being convinced? Is this not something like a feeling about the way that sentences hang together? A good feeling that approves? (I realize that this stress on feeling drags along the specter of irrationalism. )ff0

    Yea, you’re of course correct that there is no such thing as emotion-devoid logic. Logic is, I very strongly believe, strictly a tool via which our cherished emotions (e.g., sense of well-being) are safeguarded, embellished, and so forth. Hence, our emotive experience of being is primary and our logic (or even wisdom) secondary—thought the first is strongly dependent upon the second. Yet, even in this, merely so saying will not be enough to convince someone who deems logic to be the superlative faculty of intellect to which, ideally, all emotions (including those of desire and sense of satisfaction/comfort) then become subservient slaves of. So, while I agree with you, I still personally find the fine-tuning of logical arguments to be very worthwhile. Then again, there’s wisdom in how one best goes about conveying what one intends to convey, this again addressing the emotive aspects of what is expressed … and I’ve so far found myself direly lacking in this department. But I’m aiming to fail better next time around. :)

    So, "nonsubjective reality" is your term that could include both the Tao and objective reality, as a way to avoid pointless argument about terminology. Is that correct? Off the top of my head, have no problem with that, although I'll think about it some more. Wherever I finally come down, I appreciate the effort and understand the impulse. The problem for me is that the really interesting issues are found between the two concepts. This is a fight between the Tao and OR, not one where they join together like a Power Ranger to create a mighty Nonsubjective Reality to fight for truth and justice. Wow, that's some metaphor. I'm really proud of that.T Clark

    Very cool. To my mind, if it could be agreed upon (else, logically demonstrated) that nonsubjective reality holds presence, this would then simplify a great deal of ongoing arguments—mostly dealing with at least some issues of what can be labeled subjectivism. Then the concerns become solely focused on what in fact is nonsubjectively real. A lot of disagreements would yet occur, but at least we’d all agree that there is something real which underlies all that we otherwise imagine to be—maybe even including a strictly subjective opinion that there is a logical contradiction to the Tao and OR co-occurring. (Maybe.)

    OK then, so my resolute stance is then one of nonsubjective realism. (Just trying to get used to expressing this phrase … still weird to me, but I’ll be using it.)
  • Inter Alia
    46
    Aw, geez, you mean you want me to get facts. I hate that. Just trust me.T Clark

    [K]

    Poor analogy - the belief that the Pope has a direct relationship with God is supported and reinforced by a vast social and cultural network. He may be wrong, but he's not crazy. Do you really think he is?T Clark

    I think he might be, yes, but let's not dwell on that. You're right it was a poor analogy because what I'm trying to say is that the reason the Pope is consulted and our Nelson delusion is not is only because of the social network and I just don't think that's a very good reason to give any greater credit to what the Pope says than to our Nelson. But I agree it might be a good reason to think our Nelson's mad and the Pope isn't.
  • Wayfarer
    4.8k
    Scepticism is about not adopting ‘world views’ as a kind of global opinion.
    — Wayfarer

    Right, so back to my earlier question of what does skepticism look like then? You seem quite convinced that there's not enough skepticism but I'm lost as to how you reached that conclusion. If it's not the adoption of any 'world view' how does such a person act that people (including the Dawkins' and Churchland's of the world) aren't currently doing?
    Inter Alia

    The materialism of those types of thinking is an ideology, a constellation of ideas, which form the basis for judgements about what is and isn't true. For that reason, they are examples of 'unbelief as a belief'. Your own appeal to Dawkins illustrates a similar tendency: the view that science is (pardon the irony) the 'path of righteousness' while religion is a pernicious error; it puts science in the place of a religion, not in its methods, but in the sense of being the source of normative judgement.

    'Dawkins's message is basically that we are social animals on an evolutionary trajectory to ever more rational, and therefore higher, moral standards, but that the process has been derailed somewhere along the line by the appearance of religion. It had looked until recently as though we were shaking off religion and entering an Age of Reason. But now, with the rise of religious fundamentalism, there is a relapse which accounts for the world's present troubles. Nevertheless, thanks to the enlightenment Science brings, we can root out religion and get back on track. 1'


    Isn't the belief that we shouldn't adopt any particular 'world view' itself a 'world view'. If you've justified skepticism by its necessity, rather than its utility, then how come it isn't also necessary when deciding whether skepticism is the right approach?Inter Alia

    That's a good question, to which I refer back to my initial response.
  • gurugeorge
    26
    I am presently asking whether what I ordinarily think is actually true, and whether I have any reliable means of figuring it out.PossibleAaran

    I already told you: do something like take a picture while you have your eyes closed, and you will be able to verify that the object of your experience exists unperceived. Or just ask someone else. It's not that complicated or difficult, and there's no great mystery about it.

    As I said, you're only making it seem difficult and mysterious because you're mixing up the abstraction of the experience of the object with the object. This is also the reason why you think I'm begging the question, or defining things into existence.

    Your experience of the laptop, certainly, cannot possibly exist unperceived. In the case of experiences as such, abstracted away from what they're experiences of, esse most certainly is percipi.

    But objects, the things we normally perceive, are not the sorts of things that exist only while being perceived, they exist unperceived, and that is easily verified by means such as I outlined (instruments, like cameras or other causally-connectable things).

    A painfully simple way to see the difficulty with your argument here is as follows. Every Theist means by 'God', a being which actually exists. Does it then follow that God exists, just from the fact that the Theist uses a word a certain way? Surely not, but if not, why should it follow, from the fact that I use the word 'laptop' to mean a being which exists unperceived, that the thing actually exists unperceived?PossibleAaran

    It doesn't follow from the fact that you use the word "laptop" that the laptop exists unperceived, it follows from the fact (if it is a fact) that you're really and truly perceiving a laptop that it exists unperceived.

    Again, if you're really perceiving a laptop, then necessarily it exists unperceived, because a laptop is a physical object and physical objects are just the sorts of things that exist unperceived (a fact that can easily be verified by various kinds of instruments, as I said).

    And you check whether it's really a laptop (a physical object) by means of further inspection - e.g. by switching it on to see if it functions as a laptop, by opening it up; or by taking a picture, or asking someone else, if you suspect you might be having something like a laptop hallucination (which would be something that only exists while perceived).
  • T Clark
    1.2k
    what I'm trying to say is that the reason the Pope is consulted and our Nelson delusion is not is only because of the social network and I just don't think that's a very good reason to give any greater credit to what the Pope says than to our Nelson.Inter Alia

    This is true of all of us. My place in the world on a day to day basis comes from my social network. I'm an engineer. I have a job and can practice because of the social network. Ditto for you. You, me, the Pope, we're all in this together. He may be wrong, but he got here the same way you and I did.
  • ff0
    59
    Yea, you’re of course correct that there is no such thing as emotion-devoid logic. Logic is, I very strongly believe, strictly a tool via which our cherished emotions (e.g., sense of well-being) are safeguarded, embellished, and so forth. Hence, our emotive experience of being is primary and our logic (or even wisdom) secondary—thought the first is strongly dependent upon the second. Yet, even in this, merely so saying will not be enough to convince someone who deems logic to be the superlative faculty of intellect to which, ideally, all emotions (including those of desire and sense of satisfaction/comfort) then become subservient slaves of. So, while I agree with you, I still personally find the fine-tuning of logical arguments to be very worthwhile. Then again, there’s wisdom in how one best goes about conveying what one intends to convey, this again addressing the emotive aspects of what is expressed … and I’ve so far found myself direly lacking in this department. But I’m aiming to fail better next time around. :)javra

    All good points. What's interesting to me is that an investment in the superiority or priority of logic is still 'irrational' in a certain sense. We take our most fundamental criterion in a blindly passionate sort of way. Because what's so great about being logical? We can't use logic to justify this, since the authority of logic as a criterion is what's at stake. On the other hand, something like being logical is experienced as a self-justifying value. It's 'aesthetic' in some sense. How are logic textbooks written? With what authority? With an intuitive authority. Strip away everything where bias plays a role, and we all agree intuitively on the skeleton.

    The problem with real language is ambiguity. We're never finished deciding what our non-trivial terms mean. One might say that reason is rhetoric, self-persuasive and other-persuasive. Or reason is rationalization. Of course we use these words pejoratively when describing speech that fails to persuade us. That it persuades others we chalk up to bias, weak-mindedness or lying, etc.

    I understand the charm of fine-tuning arguments. Still, I think the most revolutionizing speech often involves a strong new metaphor --an analogically shifted paradigm, etc.
  • PossibleAaran
    22
    I'd be interested to get your thoughts on what constitutes a "good reason" for believing that objects continue to exist when they are not perceived. You mention observation and inference, so let's head down that path a bit.

    Consider classical physics. It is it reasonable to claim that classical physics is the best available model for understanding the motion of inanimate, macroscopic objects? Classical theories assume continuous trajectories and temporally persistent masses. They predict that if objects disappeared when unobserved then there would be observable consequences that we simply do not experience. A reasonable explanation, given the assumptions built into our best model, is that those objects don't disappear when unobserved, but continue to exist much as they were when last observed.

    Is this philosophically air-tight? No. Is it reasonable and responsible for the purposes of belief? No question
    Aaron R

    A good reason to believe it would be any means of reliably establishing it to be true. Sense perception and inference I discussed because these are our most obvious and relevant reliable faculties.

    It is true that classical physical theories assume that things exist unperceived, but this is hardly a justification of that claim. What reason do these classical theories give for supposing that things do exist unperceived? They certainly say it, but why do they say it? The theories predict that 'if objects disappeared when unobserved then there would be observable consequences'. What would those consequences be? It seems like the hypothesis that things only exist when perceived has all of the same predictive consequences as the hypothesis that they exist also unperceived. Perhaps I have missed something. But if so, it would be good to be clear about what.

    I already told you: do something like take a picture while you have your eyes closed, and you will be able to verify that the object of your experience exists unperceived. Or just ask someone else. It's not that complicated or difficult, and there's no great mystery about it.gurugeorge

    But I don't believe you did 'already tell me'. This argument about taking a picture is a new argument introduced with this post, is it not? At any rate, this isn't all that clear. What exactly does taking the picture prove? So at this moment, T1, I am perceiving something. I close my eyes at T2. Does that which I perceived when my eyes were open still exist when unperceived? I take a picture with my eyes closed at T3. When I open them at T4, I can see on the camera a picture which 'looks just like' that which I experienced with my eyes open. What is the evidence we have at this stage? Well I remember perceiving something at T1 and I remember taking a picture at T3, and I am currently perceiving something else (namely, the picture which looks like what I perceived at T1, on a camera screen) at T4. These three bits of evidence don't logically entail that something existed unperceived and which the camera took a picture of.

    I know at this point you will likely complain that they do entail it, because cameras take pictures of things and they can't take pictures of things which don't exist. So if I really did take a picture of something at T3, it follows that the thing I took a picture of existed unperceived at that time. But now it is clear that this whole language of the camera 'taking pictures of things' assumes that Realism is true and hence begs the question. In other words, it is an interpretation of the evidence to suggest that I took a picture of something which existed unperceived at T3 and that thing is what I have a picture of at T4. The experiences I have at T1-T4 do not entail that interpretation. We should describe the evidence neutrally, in a way that doesn't just assume that something existed at T3 of which I took a picture. If we do that then the evidence I have is that I perceive something at T1, then I close my eyes at T2, then I press a button at T3 and hear a clicking sound, then at T4 I perceive a picture of something which looks like the thing I perceived at T1. None of that entails that things exist unperceived, so how do you cogently infer that things exist unperceived from this data? This would be an intriguing argument, if you could fill the details in.

    As I said, you're only making it seem difficult and mysterious because you're mixing up the abstraction of the experience of the object with the object. This is also the reason why you think I'm begging the question, or defining things into existence.

    Your experience of the laptop, certainly, cannot possibly exist unperceived. In the case of experiences as such, abstracted away from what they're experiences of, esse most certainly is percipi.
    gurugeorge

    This is the 2nd time you have accused me of this conflation. I am well aware of the difference, which Moore pointed out, between the experience of something and the object of the experience. I am not sure I even used those words in my last post. At T1 I perceive something. It is something which I would ordinarily call a 'laptop', but since you insist that if it is a laptop then it must exist unperceived, I do not call it a 'laptop'. Instead I try to characterize the perception in a way that doesn't presuppose Realism, by saying merely 'I perceive something'. This was also the reason I spoke of the 'object of my experience'. The 'object', as I was thinking of it, is merely that which I see. I see a black, rectangular thing with a slightly lighter front face. What I don't see, is the property of unperceived existence, which is why if the thing I perceive really has that property, I can only reliably tell that this is so by inference.

    I completely agree with you that our language itself isn't metaphysically loaded. I think ordinary language is far less precise than most philosophers suppose that it is and doesn't have 'build in' views on philosophical issues. I think Bertrand Russell saw this clearly. I do think, though, that most non-philosophers believe that Realism is true, at least implicitly.

    PA
  • ff0
    59
    I completely agree with you that our language itself isn't metaphysically loaded. I think ordinary language is far less precise than most philosophers suppose that it is and doesn't have 'build in' views on philosophical issues. I think Bertrand Russell saw this clearly. I do think, though, that most non-philosophers believe that Realism is true, at least implicitly.PossibleAaran

    Yes, I agree that non-philosophers accept realism as a true, in a sort of unconscious way. Indeed, I think we all think some kind of 'primordial' realism is true. In our Humean studies we can play with other ideas, but everywhere else the pre-theoretical sense of a shared world is primary. We can only bother to communicate from this half-conscious half-conceptual assumption. We can only bother to debate about what is the case because there is a sort of shared space about which statements can be true or false. Or that's how I see it. Thanks for your reply.
  • javra
    332
    We take our most fundamental criterion in a blindly passionate sort of way. Because what's so great about being logical? We can't use logic to justify this, since the authority of logic as a criterion is what's at stake. On the other hand, something like being logical is experienced as a self-justifying value. It's 'aesthetic' in some sense.

    [...]

    I understand the charm of fine-tuning arguments. Still, I think the most revolutionizing speech often involves a strong new metaphor --an analogically shifted paradigm, etc.
    ff0

    Hesitantly—and kind’a encouraged by the last quoted statement—I’ll be a bit creative in this post’s expressions so as to condense an otherwise hard to communicate concept:

    I sometimes liken logic (logos as it was addressed in Ancient Greek) to itself be a universal metaphor—in the sense here intended, a metaphor for pure being as it is and as it, in all its existentially divided parts, operates via process of becoming. This can probably become a multifaceted stance—and maybe you’ll agree that poetic speech might be both helpful for conveyance of meaning between some while simultaneously being a hindrance as regards meaning-conveyance among others. Still, relying on the Ancient Greek concept of Logos: logic, reasoning, ratios and rationing (or, partitioning this from that; appropriating relations between; proportionality; etc.), rationalizing, and language itself—among other concepts—were all interlinked in the concept of Logos. Are all interlinked, I’d say. Our inability to get behind language—which you’ve previously mentioned—is then, from certain vantages, one and the same with our inability to get behind the logos within which we dwell and of which we are in large part composed … and—like the fish’s lack of awareness of the water within which it swims, which you’ve addressed—quite often of which we can’t help but be utterly unaware of. IMO, due to our inability to get behind all the logos that is, we in some ways then cannot ever get to the pure, non-linguistic, being that is—for which we as beings use logos to address.

    That perspective briefly mentioned, logic—in the form of the principles of thought being consistently applied—then serves as our common, human, universal language—or common meta-language if one prefers. (For my part, the particulars of formal logic then follow suit, but are not as universal as the principles of thought themselves.)

    To cut to the chase, what I’m here trying to make the case for is this: imo, the optimal metaphor would be one that consists of a logical expression readily accessible to all—such that the meaning holds the potential to become commonly understood by (as extremely overreaching an ideal as this is) all people. Since all people share the aesthetic for consistency in what is and what is deemed to be—otherwise said, all are subjects to the principle of noncontradiction—all could then in principle come to understand such logos-bound expressions.

    … or so I’m currently thinking. And waxing a bit too poetic at that, I imagine. (Heck, not all poetic verse is good even from the vantage of its author.) But I trust that some of this can come across in a comprehensible manner—though maybe not to everyone.
  • ff0
    59
    Still, relying on the Ancient Greek concept of Logos: logic, reasoning, ratios and rationing (or, partitioning this from that; appropriating relations between; proportionality; etc.), rationalizing, and language itself—among other concepts—were all interlinked in the concept of Logos. Are all interlinked, I’d say. Our inability to get behind language—which you’ve previously mentioned—is then, from certain vantages, one and the same with our inability to get behind the logos within which we dwell and of which we are in large part composed … and—like the fish’s lack of awareness of the water within which it swims, which you’ve addressed—quite often of which we can’t help but be utterly unaware of. IMO, due to our inability to get behind all the logos that is, we in some ways then cannot ever get to the pure, non-linguistic, being that is—for which we as beings use logos to address.javra

    Yes. Very well put. I follow you well here. We can't behind the logos completely. I think 'factic life' is a one name of this impossible target --the fantasy of the unmediated. Moment zero, unstained by the past, unstained by the inherited pre-interpretaion through which we always already are forced to peer through as if through stained glass. Unmediated being, the smooth untrodden snow, a sort of holy virgin of uncontaminated truth.

    That perspective briefly mentioned, logic then—in the form of the principles of thought being consistently applied—then serves as our common, human, universal language—or common meta-language if one prefers. (For my part, the particulars of formal logic then follow suit, but are not as universal as the principles of thought themselves.)javra

    Right. And we can agree on the basic structures when we filter out all the usual content about which we are biased. But plug in the word 'God' or 'virtue' or 'science' or 'rationality' and the stain of history is there, including personal history. The words we care about are wet.

    To cut to the chase, what I’m here trying to make the case for is this: imo, the optimal metaphor would be one that consists of a logical expression readily accessible to all—such that the meaning holds the potential to become commonly understood by (as extremely overreaching an ideal as this is) all people. Since all people share the aesthetic for consistency in what is and what is deemed to be—otherwise said, all are subjects to the principle of noncontradiction—all could then in principle come to understand such logos-bound expressions.

    … or so I’m currently thinking. And waxing a bit too poetic at that, I imagine. (Heck, not all poetic verse is good even from the vantage of its author.) But I trust that some of this can come across in a comprehensible manner—though maybe not to everyone.
    javra

    I mostly agree. I do speculate that some metaphors will only speak to certain types of people. For instance, some don't give a damn about Nietzsche's poetry of solitude. It speaks to me. He also writes that the spirit is a stomach. That too speaks to me. But others don't like the idea of consumption,that life is a bloody maw in some sense, digesting experience, turning disaster into opportunity. The spirit must instead be a sort of diamond apart from the 'filth' of time-trapped flesh. So we might speak of esoteric metaphors, of 'passwords.'

    But I generally agree. A metaphor can become literalized for a culture. 'Love is the only law. ' This, for instance, would institute a way of holding any particular law as an imperfect approximation of some foggy ideal law. With this notion comes 'the letter killeth, but the spirt giveth life.' And then maybe we have implicit metaphors, such as the physicist as priest who connects us to inhuman really real reality.
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