• numberjohnny5
    78
    Agreed! But just what is that value? Ans.: in itself, nothing. What is the value of anything, beyond what some person will give it?tim wood

    So if value is subjective, then it is "nothing"? That doesn't make sense. Or do you mean, if value is subjective then it is worth nothing, or value-less? In other words, value can only be valuable if it is "beyond" subjectivity.

    Is that what you mean?

    I don't know what "ontologically" means, here. I assume you mean what is its being.tim wood

    Yes, by "ontologically" I mean what some thing/X actually (as in, in actuality) or really (as in, in reality) is.

    Does the thing itself contain in itself that which satisfies the criteria?tim wood

    Yes, the "thing" has properties that satisfy whatever criterion we have in mind.

    I'll try this: beauty is the name of a feeling, given voice as the expression of an appreciation for the compliance of something with something - like a set of criteria.tim wood

    So "beauty" is a name/label within some criterion that we assign to some appreciative feeling in relation to something. Is that right?

    In other words, "beauty" is a name, and therefore...what?...a concept? A mental thing?

    Aristotle's matter and formtim wood

    I do not agree with Aristotle's "matter and form", mainly because I don't buy universals or essences as real (in terms of realism). For me, "matter" is identical to "form". In other words, "matter" is synonymous with "form".
  • Noble Dust
    1.5k
    Perhaps consciousness is on a spectrum, but why would you think birds have any of it?tom

    Because they're animals that have brains. Obviously I don't know for sure if they have limited consciousness, it seems impossible to know. But what makes you assume they don't have any of it?

    The question of whether birds have limited consciousness isn't a major factor of the OP. For instance, if animals have no consciousness, that doesn't effect the idea of there being a being with a higher consciousness than us. It could be possible that we're the lowest organism on the chain of consciousness.
  • Noble Dust
    1.5k


    I disagree. But it's just a subjective aesthetic judgement, I guess. Beauty is there if you're willing to see it.
  • numberjohnny5
    78
    Because it's not a physical aspect like limbs or mass. Consciousness gives birth to reason, imagination, etc; the things you're using to discuss in this thread. It's the backdrop of you're entire human experience.Noble Dust

    Ah right. So the non-physical is what...superior to/better than the physical?

    Would you say that the assertion that "consciousness/non-physicality determines relative levels of hierarchy" is subjective?
  • Jake Tarragon
    340
    t's just a subjective aesthetic judgementNoble Dust

    Beauty is there if you're willing to see it.Noble Dust

    I might be tempted to agree with either statement on its own, but surely not both together...
  • Noble Dust
    1.5k
    Ah right. So the non-physical is what...superior to/better than the physical?numberjohnny5

    In my view the physical is generated by the non-physical. I'm not sure how one being superior to the other would obtain in any meaningful way. Consciousness isn't the basis for the hierarchy because consciousness is in some way superior to the physical world; it's just prior to the physical, in my view. Consciousness is the ocean we're swimming in.

    Would you say that the assertion that "consciousness/non-physicality determines relative levels of hierarchy" is subjective?numberjohnny5

    What do you mean by subjective?
  • Noble Dust
    1.5k


    True, it's contradictory. The second statement is my view.
  • Cavacava
    1.8k


    Yes, by "ontologically" I mean what some thing/X actually (as in, in actuality) or really (as in, in reality) is.

    'Ontic' is what is, and 'Ontological' is the study of what is, its theory.
  • Jake Tarragon
    340


    Actually I'm not sure now that they are contradictory statements. It could be that beauty is always available but it comes in a subjective form. In other words, the onus is on us to see/hear beauty. I could go with that! (will check out tigers, larks and penguins more fully and let you know..)
  • Noble Dust
    1.5k


    Yeah, that could work. It's true that beauty is subjective in the sense that it's viewed through the subjective view of the individual, which means the experience of beauty is not uniform (not objective), but it doesn't mean that an objective beauty does not exist. It's like we see parts of the beauty, but it's difficult to see the entirety of it.
  • numberjohnny5
    78
    Ontologically, beauty is first an experience.Noble Dust

    I just want to clarify something: For me, "experience" is synonymous with "conscious experience". Do you agree?

    The combination in the bird of color, movement, and song, cause us to experience beauty.Noble Dust

    I'd prefer to say that the properties of a bird (which includes things like colour, movement, etc.) cause us to experience something that we feel and refer to as "beautiful".

    But moving outwards from experience, the way I'm using beauty in this thread is as a fundamental aspect, an identifying characteristic, of a being. It's not the colors themselves, the movements themselves, or the songs themselves, that specifically make the bird beautiful. Even a flightless bird, a bird with a broken wing, a molting bird, or squawking crow is still experienced as beautiful.Noble Dust

    I take it you're only talking about those individuals who experience and label such birds as beautiful, since not all individuals will feel all birds are beautiful...?

    There is something intrinsic to our experience of the bird that is beautiful, regardless of the specifics of the characteristics.Noble Dust

    By "intrinsic to our experience" are you referring to something intrinsic in our minds/mental apparatus?
  • Jake Tarragon
    340
    It's like we see parts of the beauty, but it's difficult to see the entirety of it.Noble Dust

    Hmmm it seems you are introducing the concept of overarching narrative into the procedings. Whilst I agree that a narrative can have beauty of sorts, I don't think it is an essential component to being beautiful. Parts can be beautiful per se - or at least beautiful within a constricted narrative. The mega-meta narrative bothers me.
  • numberjohnny5
    78
    'Ontic' is what is, and 'Ontological' is the study of what is, its theory.Cavacava

    Within the study of what there is (i.e. one's ontology), it makes sense to say something like "x is y ontologically". It's about ascertaining what some x is within one's ontology.
  • numberjohnny5
    78
    In my view the physical is generated by the non-physical. I'm not sure how one being superior to the other would obtain in any meaningful way. Consciousness isn't the basis for the hierarchy because consciousness is in some way superior to the physical world; it's just prior to the physical, in my view.Noble Dust

    I see. So what determines levels of hierarchy is priority and generation? Is generation synonymous with causation there?

    So if the physical generated the non-physical, would you then say that the physical would be at the top end of the hierarchy?

    What do you mean by subjective?Noble Dust

    Of the mind. "Objective" or "extra-mental" would refer to everything that is not of the mind.
  • Noble Dust
    1.5k
    I just want to clarify something: For me, "experience" is synonymous with "conscious experience". Do you agree?numberjohnny5

    I'm not sure; why is the distinction important for you?

    I'd prefer to say that the properties of a bird (which includes things like colour, movement, etc.) cause us to experience something that we feel and refer to as "beautiful".numberjohnny5

    So we don't experience beauty as something external to us, is that the distinction you're making?

    I take it you're only talking about those individuals who experience and label such birds as beautiful, since not all individuals will feel all birds are beautiful...?numberjohnny5

    As I mentioned to Jake, the fact that the experience of beauty is subjective doesn't mean there isn't an objective reality of beauty external to the experience.

    By "intrinsic to our experience" are you referring to something intrinsic in our minds/mental apparatus?numberjohnny5

    No, because I don't conflate experience and mental apparatuses.
  • numberjohnny5
    78
    I'm not sure; why is the distinction important for you?Noble Dust

    Because your "intrinsic to our experience" isn't clear to me.

    So we don't experience beauty as something external to us, is that the distinction you're making?Noble Dust

    Yes.

    As I mentioned to Jake, the fact that the experience of beauty is subjective doesn't mean there isn't an objective reality of beauty external to the experience.Noble Dust

    Which is why I've been interested in finding out what "beauty" is ontologically for you. It seems that to you beauty is both subjective and objective. Well, what is objective beauty, ontologically? Is it the actual properties of things that we perceive? So objective beauty (external-to-mind beauty) exists in the objects themselves independent of any observer? Or is it a mixture all at once between subjective and objective beauty?

    No, because I don't conflate experience and mental apparatuses.Noble Dust

    Note that by "mental apparatus" I don't mean some static object; rather, I mean a dynamic, mental processing structure. In other words, experience is a mental process.
  • tim wood
    293
    So if value is subjective, then it is "nothing"? That doesn't make sense. Or do you mean, if value is subjective then it is worth nothing, or value-less? In other words, value can only be valuable if it is "beyond" subjectivity. Is that what you mean?numberjohnny5
    As with gold. What is its intrinsic value as a precious metal? As the "precious" suggests, it requires someone to think it precious. Without that, its "precious" value is nil.
    Yes, by "ontologically" I mean what some thing/X actually (as in, in actuality) or really (as in, in reality) is.
    Careful here. It's hard to defend the notions that any thing has qualities in and of itself, or that a quality (value) itself has qualities. Of course as a practical matter, this is a useless conversation: red is red, things are beautiful, and so forth. But sometimes the conversation is properly not about things as a practical matter, and that turns the practical aspect upside down.
    I'll try this: beauty is the name of a feeling, given voice as the expression of an appreciation for the compliance of something with something - like a set of criteria.
    So "beauty" is a name/label we assign to some appreciative feeling in relation to something. Is that right? In other words, "beauty" is a name, and therefore...what?...a concept? A mental thing?
    As to what it is, yes.

    Aristotle's matter and form....
    I do not agree with Aristotle's "matter and form", mainly because I don't buy universals or essences as real (in terms of realism). For me, "matter" is identical to "form". In other words, "matter" is synonymous with "form".
    I wasn't aware we were discussing your opinions of Aristotle's ideas. In any case with respect to the context, your remark is at best a non sequitor.
  • Noble Dust
    1.5k
    Which is why I've been interested in finding out what "beauty" is ontologically for you. It seems that to you beauty is both subjective and objective. Well, what is objective beauty, ontologically? Is it the actual properties of things that we perceive? So objective beauty (external-to-mind beauty) exists in the objects themselves independent of any observer? Or is it a mixture all at once between subjective and objective beauty?numberjohnny5

    It's hard to parse through, but I do think of it as both subjective and objective because that dichotomy tends to be misleading. The fact that beauty is a subjective experience and that we all have disagreements about what's beautiful is just one aspect of a unified whole; after all, many experiences of beauty are shared, even deeply personal ones. As an example, I remember my aesthetics prof reading a paper written by a student (he would ask for permission to anonymously read papers in class that he really liked). It described the student's experience of re-visiting the church he grew up in; the student was no longer a Christian. But tactile, sensual sensations of being in the same building again, combined with the nostalgia connected with all sorts of memories, caused him to feel a deep sense of beauty, despite still having no religious interest anymore. Our prof choked up and had a hard time reading through the paper; it clearly resonated with him as well, as he was also a former Christian. I was a Christian at the time, but as a former Christian now, the experience has a deeper meaning for me too, and even at the time I felt that I was experiencing the same thing as the two of them. Then, something that elicited the same feeling in me years later was this quote from the American composer Charles Ives:

    "In the early morning of a Memorial Day, a boy is awaked by martial music--a village band is marching down the street--and as the strains of Reeves majestic Seventh Regiment March come nearer and nearer--he seems of a sudden translated--a moment of vivid power comes, a consciousness of material nobility--an exultant something gleaming with the possibilities of this life--an assurance that nothing is impossible, and that the whole world lies at his feet. But, as the band turns the corner, at the soldier's monument, and the march steps of the Grand Army become fainter and fainter, the boy's vision slowly vanishes-his 'world' becomes less and less probable-but the experience ever lies within him in its reality.

    Later in life, the same boy hears the Sabbath morning bell ringing out from the white steeple at the 'Center,' and as it draws him to it, through the autumn fields of sumach and asters, a Gospel hymn of simple devotion comes out to him--'There's a wideness in God's mercy'--an instant suggestion of that Memorial Day morning comes--but the moment is of deeper import--there is no personal exultation--no intimate world vision--no magnified personal hope--and in their place a profound sense of spiritual truth--a sin within reach of forgiveness. And as the hymn voice dies away, there lies at his feet--not the world, but the figure of the Saviour--he sees an unfathomable courage--an immortality for the lowest--the vastness in humility, the kindness of the human heart, man's noblest strength--and he knows that God is nothing--nothing--but love!"

    I was brought to tears reading this, as my prof was when reading the student's paper. And having a knowledge and understanding of Ive's music certainly helps, as it gives context to what he's describing (the quote is very clearly a personal anecdote couched in a third-person perspective). These experiences are all subjective, and yet, through the experience itself, the possibility of something objective being experienced through the lens of subjectivity becomes apparent. Your abstract reasoning won't bring you to this conclusion, so if you rely solely on that faculty, you won't arrive at the same conclusion. The experience of beauty is like mysticism, or sex, or grand cru Burgundy; you have to experience it to know.
  • Noble Dust
    1.5k
    Hmmm it seems you are introducing the concept of overarching narrative into the procedings.Jake Tarragon

    How is that a narrative? Because it's not strictly logical? I'll take a narrative over banal logic any day.

    The mega-meta narrative bothers me.Jake Tarragon

    What is the mega-meta narrative? Why does it bother you?
  • numberjohnny5
    78
    As with gold. What is its intrinsic value as a precious metal? As the "precious" suggests, it requires someone to think it precious. Without that, its "precious" value is nil.tim wood

    It's not clear to me whether you're (a) saying that objects don't have intrinsic value, or (b) you're saying that gold has intrinsic value, and this intrinsic value we/minds value as "precious". Which in other words means there exists both instrinsic (objective) and subjective value.

    Careful here. It's hard to defend the notions that any thing has qualities in and of itself, or that a quality (value) itself has qualities.tim wood

    I view qualities as phenomenal properties of some x that the mind experiences. Essentially, I buy quale.

    I'm not conflating "quality" with "value", btw. "Value" is the meaning-of-worth/importance/significance/etc. one assigns to something.

    I wasn't aware we were discussing your opinions of Aristotle's ideas.tim wood

    You brought up Aristotle's matter and form as (probably) being different than my concept of matter and form. I intended to clarify my position to help clear things up.

    In any case with respect to the context, your remark is at best a non sequitor.tim wood

    Ok, could you explain how it's a non-sequitur?
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