• Noble Dust
    1.5k
    I see. So what determines levels of hierarchy is priority and generation? Is generation synonymous with causation there?numberjohnny5

    Nothing determines levels of hierarchy per se; what would be the thing that actually determines them in the first place? If I said "yes, priority and generation determine hierarchy", that would assume that priority and generation have some kind of agency in the way that we anthropomorphically think about agency. But if generation has no agency, no cause, no beginning, then generation is a process without origin, per se, through which the non-physical gives birth to the physical. So there's no determinate function; there's only generation.

    So if the physical generated the non-physical, would you then say that the physical would be at the top end of the hierarchy?numberjohnny5

    No, because I'm not conflating "non-physical" with "consciousness".

    Of the mind. "Objective" or "extra-mental" would refer to everything that is not of the mind.numberjohnny5

    What is not "of the mind"?
  • Noble Dust
    1.5k
    Because your "intrinsic to our experience" isn't clear to me.numberjohnny5

    I meant something both unique to and inextricable from our experience.

    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.numberjohnny5

    The mental process is the hardware by which the software of experience is programmed. Per my view. And that is 100% a metaphor.
  • Noble Dust
    1.5k
    Is generation synonymous with causation there?numberjohnny5

    I'll tentatively say yes.
  • numberjohnny5
    78
    Thanks for sharing that stuff about your personal, meaningful experiences btw.

    It's hard to parse through, but I do think of it as both subjective and objective because that dichotomy tends to be misleading.Noble Dust

    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.Noble Dust

    How are you using "subjective" and "objective"?

    I believe that we (subjectively) experience extra-mental (objective) phenomena/things.

    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 knowNoble Dust

    That sounds like you're making the distinction between acquaintance knowledge and propositional/declarative knowledge. I agree that one cannot know a particular experience that one feels is beautiful if one does not experience it. Propositional knowledge cannot achieve this kind of aim.
  • Noble Dust
    1.5k
    Thanks for sharing that stuff about your personal, meaningful experiences btw.numberjohnny5

    No problem. I feel like philosophical discussions often get bogged down by a lack of personal experience, yet when personal experience is brought in, it's often brought in at inappropriate times, and influenced purely by emotion; there needs to be a balance that invokes all of the different human faculties; reason, emotion, intuition, imagination, etc. I was trying to use logic thus far in the discussion, and then, at that certain point, as I was re-reading your response, I felt I needed to include my personal experience. I don't say that for my own ego (for the most part), but as an example for how the balance could possibly be achieved. But yes, I'm feeling very good about myself as I write this.

    How are you using "subjective" and "objective"?numberjohnny5

    It's a tough distinction for me, because, as I said, I find it to be often an erroneous distinction. But, to me, the simplest dichotomy is this: the subject is you. You, the subject are reading this. What are you reading? Are you reading a subjective set of words? Someone else is reading them too; Tim Wood, for instance. Is he reading the same words? Presumably he's reading the same words, but he's, presumably, interpreting them not exactly the same way as you are. Now, is there an objectivity to my words? There's an objectivity to what I am trying to communicate to you. But language itself is subjective, not objective. Subjectivity, then, seems hard to get away from! But have we still sufficiently out-run it? No, we haven't. When you post on this forum, you are saying something, that to you, represents an objectivity. But the paradox and the tragedy is that you can only say it subjectively.
  • numberjohnny5
    78
    Nothing determines levels of hierarchy per se; what would be the thing that actually determines them in the first place?Noble Dust

    That's what I'm wondering about.

    If I said "yes, priority and generation determine hierarchy", that would assume that priority and generation have some kind of agency in the way that we anthropomorphically think about agency.Noble Dust

    Not necessarily. Priority and generation could just refer to facts/states of affairs without agency being involved. By "determine" I mean what establishes relative levels of hierarchy. So you could say that hierarchies are mental constructs that match the facts according to priority and generation, for example. You could also say that hierachies are mental constructs that match the facts according to non-physical and physical properties/existents; four limbs relative to two; relative velocity; relative mass, etc. One point I'm trying to make is that hierarchies are mental constructs. They don't exist apart from us thinking about them.

    But if generation has no agency, no cause, no beginning, then generation is a process without origin, per se, through which the non-physical gives birth to the physical. So there's no determinate function; there's only generation.Noble Dust

    Is that an assertion you're making?

    No, because I'm not conflating "non-physical" with "consciousness".Noble Dust

    Ok, but logically my question still stands sans consciousness: "if the physical generated the non-physical, would you then say that the physical would be at the top end of the hierarchy?" If levels of hierarchy is established/acknowledged in terms of priority and generation regarding some "kind" of x, then it wouldn't matter what that x was. That x could be anything, logically.
  • numberjohnny5
    78
    It's a tough distinction for me, because, as I said, I find it to be often an erroneous distinction.Noble Dust

    I think I can see why it's tough for you to make a clear distinction.

    The way I think about the dichotomy is like this:

    Subjectivity and objectivity both have location. Subjectivity occurs only in minds. Objectivity occurs everywhere else (everywhere that is not a mind).

    With regards to your example, two people could be reading a set of words (a set of signs and symbols as pixels on a computer monitor, for instance). Those actual words are objective: they don't exist in the mind; ontologically they are pixels. These two people would be interpreting those pixels subjectively (i.e. in their minds).

    Now, is there an objectivity to my words?Noble Dust

    Here's where what you write becomes fuzzy or muddled to me. I don't know what you mean by "my words" there, but the words as pixels aren't part of you. They are external to you (and thus, external to your mind). The words/pixels exist objectively.

    There's an objectivity to what I am trying to communicate to you.Noble Dust

    Hmm. In other words, you have (subjective) intentions that you are trying to express via technological means (i.e. a computer). The way you're expressing those intentions is via pixels on a screen. The intentions aren't identical to the expression of the intentions.

    But language itself is subjective, not objective.Noble Dust

    Just to clarify, language is a mental system of thought that can be used for communication. The expression of language via verbal sounds, non-verbal behaviour, or signs/symbols (in whatever format, e.g. paper, pixels, etc.) is objective.

    Subjectivity, then, seems hard to get away from! But have we still sufficiently out-run it? No, we haven't.Noble Dust

    We can't experience anything from non-subjective/objective frames of reference. The whole idea of "experience" is necessarily subjective. That's why I wanted to clarify what you meant by "experience". Experience is conscious and thus subjective. So it's contradictory to "out-run" subjectivity as subjects.

    Why would you want to out-run subjectivity anyway? What motivates you to want to do that?

    When you post on this forum, you are saying something, that to you, represents an objectivity.Noble Dust

    When I post on this forum I am expressing my intentions/views via pixels. The pixels are objective (non-mental), but the meaning assigned to the pixels by you or me is subjective.

    I don't know whether you mean something different by "an objectivity" compared with "objectivity" there?

    But the paradox and the tragedy is that you can only say it subjectively.Noble Dust

    I don't know why you think this is tragic.

    Btw I don't think paradoxes are anything but logical/language related. They don't obtain ontologically apart from minds.
  • Agustino
    8.7k
    Does a bird know that it's beautiful?Noble Dust
    Well, you have to specify what exactly you mean by "know"? Knowing something has a multitude of different senses, and one of the things that annoys me about even this forum, is that people talk in extremely vague ways which render the discourse effectively incomprehensible - I just cannot understand what this man is trying to tell me as Borat said...


    Let's take the example of playing tennis. Initially, when you learn to play tennis, or when you're trying to improve your hits, what you do is that you concentrate on some basic theoretical precepts which are conceived to get you to achieve whatever you're trying to achieve in the most effective manner possible given the tools that you have (ball, racket, etc.). You try to get your body and your muscles to act those principles as best as possible. However, this is not so easy. Because you have to learn to use different muscles that you were never aware of before, you have to learn to control and concentrate different subtle parts of your body at the same time and so on.

    So the practice is always an attempt to approximate the theoretical. And in some cases - if you have a particular deformity, etc. - the practice is also an attempt to refine the theoretical to your own particularities, which is a higher level of the practice - a synthesis of the theoretical-practical if you want.

    So in a sense, I know the theoretical aspects of tennis. And in another, I know to practically execute them. These are two different senses of knowledge, and I believe for example Heidegger and Aristotle both distinguish between one and the other.

    Now which of this form of knowledge is prior to the other is an interesting question. I think that Heidegger would argue contrary to the rest of the tradition that the practical know-how comes before the theoretization of it.

    There's also the difference between knowing that, and knowing how. I know that quarks are the basic building blocks of matter, I do not know how - to know how I'd have to understand how the concept of quarks was initially arrived at, ie. I need to practically travel the same path that those who discovered quarks did.

    There are also "gradations" of knowledge. All knowledge can be recaptured to a certain extent or another. I know how to solve a Rubik's cube. A few years ago, I could solve it with my eyes closed. Now I can still solve it. But not with my eyes closed, and much slower. Why? Cause I forgot the exact steps. It's like going in a labyrinth I've been in many years ago. I may have forgotten the exact steps, but I have stored into memory a few key principles from which those steps were derived and I can both retrieve other forgotten details, and recreate those that I cannot retrieve. I may not know the entire labyrth a priori as it were, but as I travel along it, I remember more and more, and as a result I'm capable to make my way through it. I can still say I know it, though I mean something quite different now.

    So 1) someone may know that they are beautiful without knowing how. 2) Someone may also be unaware that they are beautiful theoretically, but practically show a refined awareness of it.

    With regards to (1) this shows a practical or intuitive understanding of beauty without being able to specify its causes. And with regards to (2) you can take the example of a woman who is insecure about her physical look on a discursive level, but on a practical level - through the way she is flirting and using her body for example - she shows extensive awareness of her beauty.

    (figuratively in the sense that conciousness is a mirror in which we reflect on ourselves)Noble Dust
    Well, I think the bird is definitely conscious, in that it reacts to stimuli, and probably projects a world for itself the same way us humans project a world for ourselves. What I think you might mean is that a bird lacks the self-awareness of human beings, and the reflexivity of our thought. In other words, the bird does not think about what it is thinking. It does not think about why it is singing, why it is flying, etc.

    There is also the difference between subjective consciousness and objective consciousness. The bird is objectively conscious of the prey that lies before it. But it is not subjectively conscious of its own being, including how that relates to the meta-context it finds itself in.

    So a bird is not capable of, say, antinatalism, the way a human being is. A bird cannot attempt to judge the whole of its existence (or all existence as such) since its consciousness is not self-reflective as Hegel would say.

    A bird's subjective consciousness is limited to the consciousness of impulses, desires, etc. but it lacks a faculty (reason) to judge those impulses, desires, etc. It lacks what Nietzsche called that debilitating faculty of man which makes him different from the blonde beasts of prey which feast and pillage the fields.

    So a bird may be conscious objectively of its beauty when attracting a mate for example. If the bird sings to attract a mate, then it is conscious objectively that its singing is beautiful - it attracts the mate.

    So it's not consciousness itself that is the mirror, it is self-consciousness, or better said reflective consciousness and reason which permit this mirroring to take place.

    There is a sense in which both bird and man may not know of their (full) beauty - and that's in-so-far as they are unaware of how they fit into the larger picture. If you are unaware of the greater purpose, then you may not see why X Y Z happened the way they did. That's also why man's greatest happiness is knowing God.

    "But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive." Genesis 50:20.
  • DPMartin
    7
    "Does a bird know that it's beautiful?"

    It seems that the male has a sense of what the female finds as beautiful attractive an attraction. It might be that nothing knows it’s beautiful unless it experiences something else desired by it is attracted to it.
    Take the usual female teenager that doesn’t know or believe she is attractive until someone genuinely finds her attractive.
    Isn’t beauty another word for attraction or attractive?
    One isn’t attracted to what is perceived as ugly or abhorring. So, beauty is perception of the observer anyway. Some see gold bullions as beautiful some see righteousness as beautiful and the female bird sees what it’s attracted to as beautiful. And says so with its response to the show of the male. Because of the promise of fulfillment desired and or valued.
    And beautiful being affording keen pleasure to the senses generally, especially that of hearing; delightful. In modern colloquial use the word is often applied to anything that a person likes very much, e.g. ‘beautiful pears,’ ‘she makes beautiful soup,’ ‘a beautiful ride.’

    Hence the female bird is attracted finding the male beautiful, then by experience the male bird knows.
  • tim wood
    293
    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 intrinsic (objective) and subjective value.numberjohnny5
    You might pause a moment and think about just what value is. And please keep in mind my remark about this not being a discussion about practical matters thought of in a practical way. The thing can't value. Only a person can value. The person may well value something about the thing, but that is not the same as saying that the thing somehow has 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.
    All right, you choose something and list some qualities of that something, and we'll see whether or not if we can establish whether or not the things have in themselves those qualities. Or maybe better you try reading some of George Berkeley's dialogue's between Hylos and Philonous - or google them.


    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?
    11 hours ago ReplyShareFlag
    Here's the context, post on p. 2.
    Does the thing itself contain in itself that which satisfies the criteria? Think this one down and you get close to Aristotle's matter and formtim wood
    The idea is that if you try to attribute things like colour to a thing, you find you cannot (except as a practical matter). All the qualities and accidents supposedly attributable to things prove similarly problematic (see Berkeley's dialogues) . Pretty soon all you've got left is matter and form - and they're problematic in their own way. So far you're arguing (if I may call it that) by opinion and personal definition: you don't agree with Aristotle and you "view qualities as phenomenal properties of some x." You can do that, but it doesn't make for productive discussion.
  • numberjohnny5
    78
    You might pause a moment and think about just what value is.tim wood

    Why ought I to do that? What makes you think I haven't already paused for moments in the past to think about what value is already?

    And please keep in mind my remark about this not being a discussion about practical matters thought of in a practical way.tim wood

    I haven't been approaching this discussion in this way. I typically attempt to be analytical with regards to my philosophising, at least in this forum.

    The thing can't value. Only a person can value. The person may well value something about the thing, but that is not the same as saying that the thing somehow has value.tim wood

    I agree.

    All right, you choose something and list some qualities of that something, and we'll see whether or not if we can establish whether or not the things have in themselves those qualities.tim wood

    I don't think I made my view on "qualities" clear enough. I should have emphasised the subjective aspect more with regards to my comment about "quale". Let me try to make it clearer:

    There are two types of "qualities": objective qualities (extra-mental) and subjective (mental). "Objective qualities" refers to the properties of existents/objects/phenomena. (I take "qualities" or "attributes" to be synonymous with "properties".) "Subjective qualities" refers to qualia--the mind experiencing (via direct perception) the qualities of some (objective) existent/object/phenomena.

    So for example, when I view a particular bird that I think is beautiful, I am experiencing the qualities/properties of that bird interacting with my sensorial/perceptual/mental apparatus as qualia. I then have a feeling and make a judgement/evaluation that that particular bird is "beautiful".

    Or maybe better you try reading some of George Berkeley's dialogue's between Hylos and Philonous - or google them.tim wood

    What makes you think I am not familiar with Berkeley's dialogue, btw? (I haven't actually read the dialogue but am acquainted with its content. But that's not the point of my question.) And for what reason should I read Berkeley's dialogue? It seems that you think that I need to learn more due to lack of understanding about this particular issue we're discussing.

    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?
    11 hours ago ReplyShareFlag

    Here's the context, post on p. 2.

    Does the thing itself contain in itself that which satisfies the criteria? Think this one down and you get close to Aristotle's matter and form
    tim wood

    Right. I was responding specifically to this "the trouble with that is that Aristotle's understanding of matter is I am pretty sure no where near yours."

    I was attempting to clarify my position with regards to Aristotle's "matter and form" in order to confirm that my "understanding of matter" is different from his.

    The idea is that if you try to attribute things like colour to a thing, you find you cannot (except as a practical matter).tim wood

    I disagree. Colour is the interaction between the properties of some object and the (properties of the) mind via qualia.

    All the qualities and accidents supposedly attributable to things prove similarly problematic (see Berkeley's dialogues) .tim wood

    I don't find Berkeley's position convincing.

    Pretty soon all you've got left is matter and form - and they're problematic in their own way. So far you're arguing (if I may call it that) by opinion and personal definition: you don't agree with Aristotle and you "view qualities as phenomenal properties of some x." You can do that, but it doesn't make for productive discussion.tim wood

    All views and definitions are mental (because "meaning" is mental, in my view); one cannot not have personal opinions and definitions (although definitions can be objective in sense of observable text, for example).

    Anyway, I take it you mean that I'm not agreeing with a conventional or traditional definition of "matter and form".

    Why does not agreeing with a conventional or particular viewpoint not make for "productive discussion"?
  • Noble Dust
    1.5k


    It seems to come down to the fact that you're taking an analytical approach, while I'm not. I think your analysis would probably indicate that you're more correct from an analytical standpoint. But the whole concept that I presented is both aesthetic/artistic and intuitive (as well as open to analysis, as everything of course is); so the same goes for my intuitive approach; I've gone into detail about it from that angle, and you haven't responded within an intuitive approach at all, whereas I've attempted to interface with your analytical approach. My approach begins with intuition, not with analysis. Good discussion though, I'm not trying to shut it down, feel free to continue.
  • Noble Dust
    1.5k
    Well, you have to specify what exactly you mean by "know"?Agustino

    Well, you need to specify what you mean by "specify", right? :-} But in all seriousness, I stated at the beginning that it was a poetic concept; that should make clear what "know" means in that context.

    Well, I think the bird is definitely conscious, in that it reacts to stimuli, and probably projects a world for itself the same way us humans project a world for ourselves. What I think you might mean is that a bird lacks the self-awareness of human beings, and the reflexivity of our thought. In other words, the bird does not think about what it is thinking. It does not think about why it is singing, why it is flying, etc.Agustino

    Yes, I agree. Self-awareness is a better term, I think. I was unsuccessfully trying to distinguish between consciousness on the one hand, shared by all beings, and self-awareness on the other, something that seems unique to us. From there, the idea that we're the highest form of self-awareness is evident without any reflection, but upon reflection, it's possible that higher forms do exist. The higher form would look down on us as we look down on the bird. Then the concept of beauty comes in, which I've gone into at length.
  • Agustino
    8.7k
    Well, you need to specify what you mean by "specify", right? :-} But in all seriousness, I stated at the beginning that it was a poetic concept; that should make clear what "know" means in that context.Noble Dust
    Does poetic mean vacuous?

    When you're making music, don't you follow a method? Don't you think about some guiding principles? About how different sounds are interconnected? What effects minor and major scales create? etc.? Clearly you must. Any craft, even poetry, takes honing, which is done methodically and deliberately.

    The higher form would look down on us as we look down on the bird. Then the concept of beauty comes in, which I've gone into at length.Noble Dust

    There is a sense in which both bird and man may not know of their (full) beauty - and that's in-so-far as they are unaware of how they fit into the larger picture. If you are unaware of the greater purpose, then you may not see why X Y Z happened the way they did. That's also why man's greatest happiness is knowing God.

    "But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive." Genesis 50:20.
    Agustino
    Yeah, like that.
  • Noble Dust
    1.5k
    Does poetic mean vacuous?Agustino

    Give me a break. (Oh, look, a metaphor within the context of common usage! Must be vacuous.)

    When you're making music, don't you follow a method? Don't you think about some guiding principles? About how different sounds are interconnected? What effects minor and major scales create? etc.? Clearly you must. Any craft, even poetry, takes honing, which is done methodically and deliberately.Agustino

    So do you still not understand what it means, then? I'm not sure how your questions here are related to my brief explanation of what "know" meant in the OP context.

    Yeah, like that.Agustino

    Cool, so we're in agreement about the basic premise of the OP, at least.
  • Agustino
    8.7k
    Give me a break. (Oh, look, a metaphor within the context of common usage! Must be vacuous.)Noble Dust
    Yeah, a metaphor can certainly be vacuous, depending on the context.

    Now you can have your break :P
  • Noble Dust
    1.5k


    Thanks for your vacuous contributions! :-d
  • Agustino
    8.7k
    Thanks for your vacuous contributions! :-dNoble Dust
    You're welcome Noble (Y)
  • tim wood
    293
    The idea is that if you try to attribute things like colour to a thing, you find you cannot (except as a practical matter).
    — tim wood

    I disagree. Colour is the interaction between the properties of some object and the (properties of the) mind via qualia.
    numberjohnny5

    Ok. Something to chew on. First, I understand qualia as a fancy way of saying, "What kind of..." However, I see online many definitions, and that definitions have changed over time. Question: what exactly do you mean by qualia? ("What kind of..." implying something both exists and is a determinate something.)

    The book is red. Completely ordinary and unremarkable statement, but the way we're looking at it we have to question it. Where is the red? What is (the) red? There are three questions to be asked and not just the third one that you ask. Is it? What is it? And qualia, what kind is it?

    Red seems to be a something. I, myself, have no idea what. What do you say red is? The question is, is it something in itself? Does red exist? I think maybe it doesn't.

    Above you say, "Colour is...". Is what? You say an interaction of some kind. I think you must have meant something else, maybe the product of an interaction. Of course, being something and being the product of something are two different somethings.

    Moving on: "is the interaction between the properties..". Stop right there! What are properties? How do you know there are properties? Locke thought there were primary and secondary qualities - properties - primary inherent in the thing, secondary attributed by an observer. Berkeley demolished that argument. Still leaves the questions....

    "...and the mind via qualia. Let's set all the problems with this aside, reserving just the question, "Where is the red?" It appears it's in the mind. If it's in the mind, it is exactly not in or part of the book.

    Now to you. Name some - any - so-called property of the book that is immune to this kind of criticism; a property the book has in itself.

    And it doesn't do to just "disagree" with the planet's greatest thinkers. You express it this way:
    Anyway, I take it you mean that I'm not agreeing with a conventional or traditional definition of "matter and form".numberjohnny5
    No. I mean that their ideas, their arguments, have to be dealt with. If you dismiss them out-of-hand, well, you can, but your arguments can't.
  • numberjohnny5
    78
    It seems to come down to the fact that you're taking an analytical approach, while I'm not. I think your analysis would probably indicate that you're more correct from an analytical standpoint. But the whole concept that I presented is both aesthetic/artistic and intuitive (as well as open to analysis, as everything of course is); so the same goes for my intuitive approach; I've gone into detail about it from that angle, and you haven't responded within an intuitive approach at all, whereas I've attempted to interface with your analytical approach. My approach begins with intuition, not with analysis. Good discussion though, I'm not trying to shut it down, feel free to continue.Noble Dust

    Let me ask you this: would it have made any difference if I had arrived at (more or less) the same conclusions via a more intuitive route?
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.