• creativesoul
    6k
    Information is proof of meaning...

    All information is meaningful. Here we agree.

    We disagree upon what information consists of, and thus what it is -itself- existentially dependent upon. Information is existentially dependent upon meaning. So, when we posit a scenario/circumstance/situation that is devoid of all thinking/believing creatures, and further claim that the situation has meaning or is proof of meaning, we also bear the burden of proof and/or justification for such claims.

    To whom or what is the situation meaningful? To whom or what is an unknown/unobserved interaction between a leaf and the wind meaningful, and how is it so?
  • creativesoul
    6k
    So when there is words arranged in a particular array on the page, it is correct to say that there is meaning there.Metaphysician Undercover

    The same way?

    :brow:
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.8k
    I keep saying elicit. You aim them at a chair or a person who only speaks Tagalog and they elicit nothing.Coben

    No, of course not. :wink: But, if we assume the humans in question all speak and use the same language, as is usually the case? :smile:

    The originator has some meaning in her head, and wishes to pass it on. So she encodes the meaning into words, and speaks those words to her audience. Those who hear the words decode them, and the meaning is discovered.

    Sadly, as we all know, the encoding and decoding processes are ... less than precise, so misunderstandings can occur. And so it will remain, unless we discover how to be telepathic.... :chin:
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.8k
    If you ascribe meaning to things then aren't you saying that meaning is in the thing?Metaphysician Undercover

    On the contrary, I'm saying that I ascribe meaning to the thing. I associate the meaning with that thing. The act of association, and of remembering the meaning I assigned to the thing, is mine. The thing becomes almost a mnemonic for the meaning. [No, the thing itself is in no way changed, diminished or forgotten because we 'label' it with a meaning.]
  • Coben
    832
    The originator has some meaning in her head, and wishes to pass it on. So she encodes the meaning into words, and speaks those words to her audience. Those who hear the words decode them, and the meaning is discovered.Pattern-chaser
    But there is nothing different 'in' the words than in what would be spewed out from a random sentence generator. What is this meaning made of when it is in the words? And why isn't it there, in the words, if it is put in the words by someone speaking to the Tagalog native, without realizing there was a problem? Are we saying something is in there but it simply can't be decoded by that person? What is it that is in there? And then if there is a short sentence made in the dust on the surface of a comet, what is different between that message and the same one written in dust on a windshield to someone parked wrong? What is actually in the words that is different? It seems to me that it is everything outside the words that makes one a communicative moment and one that is not. The meaning is outside the words,if anywhere.
  • Dijitol
    2
    If we're fed we also forget about the rabbit and fish. It's never ending.
    Fortunately we think words do a fairly decent job until we attempt to "trap" LOVE or "snare" TRUTH .
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    6k
    On the contrary, I'm saying that I ascribe meaning to the thing. I associate the meaning with that thing. The act of association, and of remembering the meaning I assigned to the thing, is mine. The thing becomes almost a mnemonic for the meaning. [No, the thing itself is in no way changed, diminished or forgotten because we 'label' it with a meaning.]Pattern-chaser

    To ascribe meaning to something is to attribute meaning to it, which is to say that meaning is a property of that thing. How is ascribing colour to an object different from ascribing meaning to it. Sure it takes an intelligent being to apprehend the meaning that the thing has, just like it takes a sensing being to perceive the colour an object has, but this does not mean that the meaning, or the colour is not in the object. Neither does it change the object to say that it has colour, so the saying that the object has meaning is irrelevant to whether or not it has meaning. What is said could be a falsity.

    If we distinguish between actually having meaning, and the act of associating or assigning meaning, then this act of assigning is irrelevant to whether or not the thing has meaning. And if meaning is in the act of assigning, and not in the thing itself, then to say "I am assigning meaning to that object" is a false expression" because that is not what you are really doing, you are creating meaning independent of the object. So which do you believe is the case, are you creating meaning, independent of the object, or are you assigning meaning to the object (implying that the object has meaning independent of your assignment).
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.8k
    To ascribe meaning to something is to attribute meaning to it, which is to say that meaning is a property of that thing. How is ascribing colour to an object different from ascribing meaning to it?Metaphysician Undercover

    We recognise colour; we assign/ascribe meaning.

    Neither does it change the object to say that it has colour, so the saying that the object has meaning is irrelevant to whether or not it has meaning. What is said could be a falsity.Metaphysician Undercover

    The thing has meaning because we say it does, and we have ascribed that meaning to it. But this topic is not about meaning and things, but meaning and words. The association between meaning and words is quite different: we use words to carry our meanings from one to another, imperfectly (as we all know).

    If we distinguish between actually having meaning, and the act of associating or assigning meaning, then this act of assigning is irrelevant to whether or not the thing has meaning.Metaphysician Undercover

    Something has meaning because we assign that meaning. This act of assigning is not irrelevant, it's what gives the thing its meaning. If there were no humans, the thing would have no meaning, or maybe a different meaning. It would be surprising indeed if the thing proved to have the same meaning in our presence and in our absence. But that is, and must be, speculation. When we're gone, we won't be here to see what changes. So that avenue of enquiry is pointless.

    So which do you believe is the case, are you creating meaning, independent of the object, or are you assigning meaning to the object (implying that the object has meaning independent of your assignment).Metaphysician Undercover

    Both, as I've said. I'm first creating the meaning, then assigning it to the thing.
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.8k
    But there is nothing different 'in' the words than in what would be spewed out from a random sentence generator.Coben

    Of course there is! When I choose the words to carry my meaning(s), I don't choose them randomly. I choose them according to the simpler meanings each word is used to represent, and I combine them to represent a more complex meaning.

    What is this meaning made of when it is in the words? And why isn't it there, in the words, if it is put in the words by someone speaking to the Tagalog native, without realizing there was a problem?Coben

    Because mistakes happen. If the Tagalog native doesn't understand the words I use, and we have no common language, communication between us becomes difficult, if not impossible.
  • Coben
    832
    Of course there is! When I choose the words to carry my meaning(s), I don't choose them randomly. I choose them according to the simpler meanings each word is used to represent, and I combine them to represent a more complex meaning.Pattern-chaser
    Sure, what I meant was, if the random sentence generator (which had grammar rules) spat out, alone, in a basement, say, one of your sentences, it wouldn't have any meaning in it. It might elicit meaning when a human encountered it. But no meaning was encoded into it. And if no one reads it, it ain't there-
    Because mistakes happen. If the Tagalog native doesn't understand the words I use, and we have no common language, communication between us becomes difficult, if not impossible.Pattern-chaser

    I was presuming that, I was just wondering if the words had the meaning in them, anyway.
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.8k
    Sure, what I meant was, if the random sentence generator (which had grammar rules) spat out, alone, in a basement, say, one of your sentences, it wouldn't have any meaning in it. It might elicit meaning when a human encountered it. But no meaning was encoded into it. And if no one reads it, it ain't thereCoben

    I think I agree. Assuming the program wasn't written to try to instill meaning into words (and the very prospect makes me shiver :wink: ) then its output will surely not contain or encode meaning, except by accident/coincidence. Words are a human invention, and we invented them to carry meaning between ourselves.

    "And if no one reads it, it ain't there." Just as, if a tree falls, and there's no-one there to...? :wink: :smile:
  • Possibility
    498
    At the most rudimentary level(the one set out by the universal minimalist criterion I've already offered), the creature attributing meaning is doing so by virtue of drawing correlations, associations, and/or connections between different things. These correlations are being drawn - again, on the most rudimentary level - completely unbeknownst to the creature itself.creativesoul

    Thank you for clarifying. The level of awareness you’re describing here (the creature’s, not yours) is much more basic than I had thought. Where I’m at is more rudimentary again, where the correlation is drawn (again, completely unbeknownst to the observer) between the observer and something other than itself. And when I say ‘itself’, I’m not referring to an awareness of ‘self’ as such, but to a system capable of interacting and acquiring information at the most rudimentary level, without any awareness other than ‘more’.

    How is it helpful to talk about yourself as a system? It seems to me to be unnecessarily complicated and as such only serves to confuse. If you have information about something else, then that information is meaningful.creativesoul

    The term ‘self’ is even less helpful and more confusing here, in my opinion. By referring to ‘the system’ instead of ‘myself’ or ‘itself’, I’m trying to keep the notion of self-awareness out of the discussion, while keeping the observer IN the discussion. If I have information about something else, then that information is meaningful to me - not in a personal way, but in a systematic way. I may not be aware that I have the information, even as it affects the way I interact with the world.

    I want to point out that, in my view, of the three positions in this process of correlation you’re describing - the two things being correlated and the creature (observer) itself - the observer is the key. When the creature draws correlations between these two different things, it can only do so in relation to itself (the system) as observer. This means that correlations must be drawn between itself and thing A, and between itself and thing B, before it can draw correlations between correlation A and correlation B.

    We can’t forget the role of the observer as a third ‘object’ in the correlation. Call it a proto-correlation, if you like - but I think it’s important to point out that we’re referring to the same process of establishing a relationship between two things, just at different levels.

    Not all interactions are meaningful.creativesoul

    I disagree, and you repeating it isn’t going to convince me that it’s true. The way I see it, an interaction is meaningful to those systems that interact. It results in information, whether or not they’re aware of anything except a connection to more. If it weren’t meaningful, there wouldn’t be an interaction.

    Interaction requires a plurality. What that something more is, in-as-much-as saying that it's meaningful(information) has not been shown/proven(although at the molecular level the other thing is observable). At a subatomic particle level, it's evidence that something more is going on, but it is not evidence that that something more is a correlation, association, and/or connection being drawn between different things. It's not evidence of the existence of meaningful information.creativesoul

    That the interaction is evidence of more IS a bare minimum association between the particle and something else.

    Can we just say that it is impossible to encapsulate(exhaust) all the meaningful correlations, associations, and/or connections we've already drawn about 'X' in a simple statement or set thereof?creativesoul

    Not really, no. Because its impossibility is tied to language use as a process of collapsing a dimensional aspect of meaning.

    I recognise that this is not the conventional way of looking at these relationships, nor is it the simplest. What I’m working on is a theory that demonstrates a comprehensive ‘evolution’ of consciousness - this necessarily involves a paradigm shift in how we look at the world, and in the language we use that compartmentalises our understanding. This makes the language I use seem unnecessarily complicated at times when talking about experiences we take for granted. For me, it’s important not only to recognise meaning in all interactions, but to illustrate the six-dimensional aspect of meaning, and how it relates to the other dimensions.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    6k
    We recognise colour; we assign/ascribe meaning.Pattern-chaser

    That's an arbitrary distinction. I can just as easily say that I recognize meaning, and I assign colour (red, green, or blue for example) to objects.

    The thing has meaning because we say it does, and we have ascribed that meaning to it. But this topic is not about meaning and things, but meaning and words. The association between meaning and words is quite different: we use words to carry our meanings from one to another, imperfectly (as we all know).Pattern-chaser

    I don't agree. A word is just a thing, though a special type of artificial thing with specialized meaning, it is still a thing. So we have a specialized type of thing, a word, which is known to have a precise type of meaning, and you are saying that we are not talking about things having meaning. How does that make sense?

    This act of assigning is not irrelevant, it's what gives the thing its meaning.Pattern-chaser

    This is what I'm disagreeing with. It is the act of creating the sentence, speaking it or writing it which gives meaning to the words, as meaning is what is meant. It's not the person who happens to hear the words and say "those words have meaning" who gives meaning to the words, it is the author of the speech, who writes the words and speaks the words who gives the words meaning. That's why some authors (Shakespeare for example) reach higher fame than others, they are better at giving meaning to words than others.
  • creativesoul
    6k
    At the most rudimentary level(the one set out by the universal minimalist criterion I've already offered), the creature attributing meaning is doing so by virtue of drawing correlations, associations, and/or connections between different things. These correlations are being drawn - again, on the most rudimentary level - completely unbeknownst to the creature itself.
    — creativesoul

    Thank you for clarifying. The level of awareness you’re describing here (the creature’s, not yours) is much more basic than I had thought. Where I’m at is more rudimentary again, where the correlation is drawn (again, completely unbeknownst to the observer) between the observer and something other than itself. And when I say ‘itself’, I’m not referring to an awareness of ‘self’ as such, but to a system capable of interacting and acquiring information at the most rudimentary level, without any awareness other than ‘more’.
    Possibility

    You're more than welcome. I want to say thank you for being patient with me. I am painfully aware that my approach is one of unrelenting critical analysis. If it means anything to you, the standards I use to critique other work are the same ones I use to critique my own. Enough of the pleasantries...

    It seems that we're actually much closer than it may have seemed. You've expressed some of the very same concerns that I've long since had.

    Regarding the above, I want to simply note that the differences in "awareness levels" mentioned above is imperative to keep in mind. Kudos. I too have written that a simple minded creature draws correlations between different things and/or 'itself'. The scarequotes are always intentional and further qualified with the same caution you've suggested above. Not all creatures capable of attributing meaning have a 'sense of self'. They still draw correlations between other things and themselves nonetheless. Pain, fear, hunger, etc. These are all parts of correlations drawn by such simpleminded creatures. I suspect we're in agreement here, as indicated by some of what you've written that is copied below.


    How is it helpful to talk about yourself as a system? It seems to me to be unnecessarily complicated and as such only serves to confuse. If you have information about something else, then that information is meaningful.
    — creativesoul

    The term ‘self’ is even less helpful and more confusing here, in my opinion. By referring to ‘the system’ instead of ‘myself’ or ‘itself’, I’m trying to keep the notion of self-awareness out of the discussion, while keeping the observer IN the discussion. If I have information about something else, then that information is meaningful to me - not in a personal way, but in a systematic way. I may not be aware that I have the information, even as it affects the way I interact with the world.
    Possibility

    That bit reeks of problems, and unnecessary ones at that. To be clear. It is far too ambivalent a direction when precision is needed. Perhaps we could get it to it further, but for now, I'll say this much. Self awareness - on my view - must be adequately accounted for within any and all reports of the evolutionary progression of consciousness. Intentionally avoiding talking about self-awareness is to intentionally avoid a very important facet of consciousness. The inevitable result of which is an inadequate account thereof.


    I want to point out that, in my view, of the three positions in this process of correlation you’re describing - the two things being correlated and the creature (observer) itself - the observer is the key. When the creature draws correlations between these two different things, it can only do so in relation to itself (the system) as observer. This means that correlations must be drawn between itself and thing A, and between itself and thing B, before it can draw correlations between correlation A and correlation B.

    We can’t forget the role of the observer as a third ‘object’ in the correlation. Call it a proto-correlation, if you like - but I think it’s important to point out that we’re referring to the same process of establishing a relationship between two things, just at different levels.

    We're in much agreement here, as indicated at the beginning of this post. I cringe a bit at some of the language you've chosen, but it seems that all in all there's more agreement than disagreement.


    Not all interactions are meaningful.
    — creativesoul

    I disagree, and you repeating it isn’t going to convince me that it’s true. The way I see it, an interaction is meaningful to those systems that interact. It results in information, whether or not they’re aware of anything except a connection to more. If it weren’t meaningful, there wouldn’t be an interaction.
    Possibility

    This marks the disagreement well. Whether or not all interactions are meaningful is precisely what needs to be argued for/justified/warranted. The same holds good for whether or not all interactions result in information. It would follow from what you've written that a subatomic particle is somehow 'aware' of a connection to more as a result of being a part of an interaction. That's unacceptable justification/warrant on my view. Logical possibility alone does not warrant assent to belief. That's all an unfounded assumption warrants. What supporting arguments and/or explanations do you have for holding the belief that all interactions are meaningful?

    I'm curious. No personal judgment and/or sarcasm will come.

    Are you a theist?



    Interaction requires a plurality. What that something more is, in-as-much-as saying that it's meaningful(information) has not been shown/proven(although at the molecular level the other thing is observable). At a subatomic particle level, it's evidence that something more is going on, but it is not evidence that that something more is a correlation, association, and/or connection being drawn between different things. It's not evidence of the existence of meaningful information.
    — creativesoul

    That the interaction is evidence of more IS a bare minimum association between the particle and something else.
    Possibility

    Remember earlier above, when we noted the actual difference between our awareness and the candidate under consideration?

    This is a prima facie example of conflating those two things. A subatomic interaction is evidence of more only to a creature capable of knowing that an interaction requires a plurality. That association between the particle and something else IS NOT an association that is drawn by the particle, my friend. Particles have no such capability. Rather, it's been drawn by us.



    Can we just say that it is impossible to encapsulate(exhaust) all the meaningful correlations, associations, and/or connections we've already drawn about 'X' in a simple statement or set thereof?
    — creativesoul

    Not really, no. Because its impossibility is tied to language use as a process of collapsing a dimensional aspect of meaning.

    I recognise that this is not the conventional way of looking at these relationships, nor is it the simplest. What I’m working on is a theory that demonstrates a comprehensive ‘evolution’ of consciousness - this necessarily involves a paradigm shift in how we look at the world, and in the language we use that compartmentalises our understanding. This makes the language I use seem unnecessarily complicated at times when talking about experiences we take for granted. For me, it’s important not only to recognise meaning in all interactions, but to illustrate the six-dimensional aspect of meaning, and how it relates to the other dimensions.
    Possibility

    I agree that a paradigm shift is long overdue in philosophy, particularly philosophy of mind. I have no qualms with a viewpoint that rejects current convention. Unfortunately, semiotics has done more harm than good. At least, that's the way that I see it.

    The one part above that is extremely troublesome to me is probably no mystery at this point in our conversation. In order to "recognize meaning in all interactions", each and every interaction must already be meaningful. Saying that all interactions, including some of the very first ones, are meaningful does not make it so. That is precisely the fundamental assumption that is in question here. It needs argued for.

    What do all meaningful things have in common that - solely by virtue of having - make them meaningful things? <---------- that's the argument required here. Where is the adequate, and therefore acceptable explanation of what all meaning has in common that makes it what it is?

    That's exactly that's missing - thus far - from your account. So far, you're simple assuming/presupposing that all interactions are meaningful. You're quite wrong on that part. I'm trying to help you sharpen what you've got(as well as what I've got). Some of it is quite good. Impressive.
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.8k
    So we have a specialized type of thing, a word, which is known to have a precise type of meaning...Metaphysician Undercover

    It is? :chin: Individual words have simple meanings, but we weave them together to represent and carry more complex meanings. This is what's special about words: we invented them to use to carry meaning; we gave these words the meanings they individually carry, then we assemble them into complex arrangements to represent complex meanings. Oh, and many words carry only general meaning, which is intentionally and usefully vague, maybe representing the lack of precision in what is being described?
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.8k
    It's not the person who happens to hear the words and say "those words have meaning" who gives meaning to the words, it is the author of the speech, who writes the words and speaks the words who gives the words meaning.Metaphysician Undercover

    This is an incomplete analysis. The meaning begins with the speaker (or writer), and ends with the hearer (or reader). Both are participants in the process of communication. Both contribute to the interchange of meaning.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    6k
    Individual words have simple meanings, but we weave them together to represent and carry more complex meanings.Pattern-chaser

    Again, you are agreeing with me that the person weaving the words together is creating complex meaning. This implies that meaning is given to the words by this act of weaving, not by the act of reading or hearing the words. Therefore the words must have meaning without being observed. It is given to the words by the act which weaves them together, and remains within them regardless of whether the words are heard.

    This is what's special about words: we invented them to use to carry meaning; we gave these words the meanings they individually carry, then we assemble them into complex arrangements to represent complex meanings.Pattern-chaser

    How could words "carry meaning" unless the meaning is in the words? Where else could the meaning be, if the words are carrying the meaning, but it's not in the words?

    This is an incomplete analysis. The meaning begins with the speaker (or writer), and ends with the hearer (or reader). Both are participants in the process of communication. Both contribute to the interchange of meaning.Pattern-chaser

    OK, so it seems very clear that you are saying that the meaning is in the words. When people communicate, what is interchanged is words. If you say that this is an interchange of meaning, then the meaning must be interchanged within the words. How could you disagree?
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.8k
    Again, you are agreeing with me that the person weaving the words together is creating complex meaning. This implies that meaning is given to the words by this act of weaving, not by the act of reading or hearing the words. Therefore the words must have meaning without being observed. It is given to the words by the act which weaves them together, and remains within them regardless of whether the words are heard.Metaphysician Undercover

    Not at all. And it turns out that weaving is a good analogy. The words we create are the threads, and they are pre-dyed in various colours (meanings; simple ones). The weaver creates the pattern - the more complex meaning - by combining threads of different colours to produce a pattern. This pattern is the essay that conveys the author's intended meaning.

    We give the colour to the threads, just as we give the meaning to the words. Then we use those threads (words) like simple lego bricks, to assemble the more complex construction we envisage. The meaning comes from us; it's placed into the words we create, in a simple form, so that we can combine them - they don't combine themselves! - to carry complex meaning.
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.8k
    When people communicate, what is interchanged is words. If you say that this is an interchange of meaning, then the meaning must be interchanged within the words. How could you disagree?Metaphysician Undercover

    Ideally, we would use some form of telepathy, to accurately communicate our intended meaning. Because telepathy is not widely available, we use words instead. They are labels, just like names are, they are not the thing itself. We assign meaning to words. There are rules, so that readers can understand what writers have written. But the words are an imperfect form of meaning transference; they're just the best we've got. It's meaning that is interchanged, via the highly imperfect medium of words. The lego-brick words carry our meanings, meanings that we assigned.
  • Possibility
    498
    I am painfully aware that my approach is one of unrelenting critical analysis. If it means anything to you, the standards I use to critique other work are the same ones I use to critique my own.creativesoul

    It is your critical analysis that I find most helpful at this point, so do carry on.

    I cringe a bit at some of the language you've chosen, but it seems that all in all there's more agreement than disagreement.creativesoul

    Please feel free to suggest alternative words where you find it cringeworthy - perhaps I will use them instead. How the words relate to the meaning structures in my mind are based on my limited experience. I’ve learned not to be so precious about the words when it’s the shared meaning we’re striving for - like the Zhuangzhi quote.

    Self awareness - on my view - must be adequately accounted for within any and all reports of the evolutionary progression of consciousness. Intentionally avoiding talking about self-awareness is to intentionally avoid a very important facet of consciousness. The inevitable result of which is an inadequate account thereof.creativesoul

    I agree with you here, and rest assured that the development of self awareness is adequately accounted for in this theory. I was leaving it out of this particular part of the discussion because we were using examples of humans (you and I) having ‘information’ to discuss the process as it occurs at a much simpler level of awareness, well below any notion of ‘self’. My self awareness in the example, then, is completely irrelevant to the discussion, and at the time I felt it was simpler to use Rovelli’s fundamental Information Theory reference to ‘the system’ having information, than to explain the difference I see between a human having information and a molecule having information. That may not have been necessary here. But if I use language that can be applied to all six dimensions of information, then I don’t have to keep explaining what I mean everytime we shift to discussing a different dimensional level of awareness. I just have to relate the creature/observer you recognise at each level as ‘the system’. This is how I’m attempting to get around the problem of semiotics.

    It would follow from what you've written that a subatomic particle is somehow 'aware' of a connection to more as a result of being a part of an interaction. That's unacceptable justification/warrant on my view. Logical possibility alone does not warrant assent to belief. That's all an unfounded assumption warrants. What supporting arguments and/or explanations do you have for holding the belief that all interactions are meaningful?creativesoul

    This is where I acknowledge that a lot of speculative philosophy is going on, and I’m bringing together stuff that I don’t fully understand at the level that may prove sufficiently convincing. I feel like I’ve already made the paradigm shift and now I’m trying to draw a map - but you’re all coming from different directions. So I apologise for not showing my working. I’m not trying to be mysterious about it - I’m still trying to put it into words that make sense to someone other than myself.

    I'm curious. No personal judgment and/or sarcasm will come.

    Are you a theist?
    creativesoul

    Funny you should ask. No, technically I’m not a theist. But, full disclosure, I used to be not so long ago (raised RC), and I remain deeply sympathetic, so much of my perspective probably stems from this background. For me, ‘God’ is not a being as distinct from the universe, certainly not something or someone we should pray to, worship or make friends with, as such. I think it’s a useful concept that potentially enables us to deepen our understanding of the universe well beyond our own physical existence. I think if we’re genuinely done with ‘God’ (whether thinking of, talking to or arguing about) then we’ve closed our minds to anything beyond our current understanding of what exists.

    This is a prima facie example of conflating those two things. A subatomic interaction is evidence of more only to a creature capable of knowing that an interaction requires a plurality. That association between the particle and something else IS NOT an association that is drawn by the particle, my friend. Particles have no such capability. Rather, it's been drawn by us.creativesoul

    I want to be clear here, first of all, that I don’t believe the particle retains this awareness of more beyond the moment of interaction. In a temporal sense, this barely even registers as a moment. The particle also doesn’t retain the information as information - rather, it embodies or integrates it immediately into the system itself. In the four-dimensional aspect of the universe, it’s only causality, as you say. But what I’m looking for here is not really something I can measure - it’s the really bare minimum of how an awareness of anything at all emerges or develops from these most basic interactions that you believe have not even the barest hint of meaning.

    Understanding the meaning in these interactions requires me to relate information theory and quantum mechanics to the notion of a fifth-dimensional aspect to the universe. I’m getting there - I just have to find the right words...bear with me...
  • Possibility
    498
    I don't see how you give to a word, an existence other than the existence of an object. A word is spoken, and exists as a particular sound (object), or it is written and exists as a visible symbol (object). I can't relate to any 5D existence of an object.

    When you say that we recognize "the same word", this is not really the same word, according to a strict adherence to the law of identity. Two distinct instances of what we might call 'the same word", are really two distinct words, which we recognize as very similar. But since they exist in different sets of circumstances, different contexts, we cannot even say that the two instances have the same meaning, so that they are called "the same word" is just metaphore.
    Metaphysician Undercover

    This is where you’re confusing existence of the actual word as object (3D) with the instance of the symbolic word as event (4D) and the assigned value of the word as experience (5D). All three of these exist, but meaning (6D) relates to each of these differently, transcending them all.

    When an author writes an actual word, they start with meaning relative to their own subjective experiences, and select relevant, closely approximating symbols according to the language and value systems within which they operate, creating an instance of the symbol in a written word object or spoken sound object.

    When I read an actual word in a text, the act of reading it as symbol is an event, and recognising that symbol as being assigned a particular value/significance is a subjective experience that has meaning for me. I can assume that this meaning is the same as the author’s meaning, or I can recognise that our subjective experiences are not the same, and then strive to relate them to each other in order to arrive at something resembling a shared meaning.

    Sometimes it’s possible to relate to the author’s subjective experiences by speaking directly with them (keeping in mind that the words they speak are assigned significance in the same imperfect way); sometimes we need to relate to how others express their experience of the same event differently, as a way of arriving at a shared meaning that may be more ‘objective’ than ours alone.

    Either way, the word (as object, event or experience) cannot not fully contain the meaning as it exists for the author. Even the author may struggle to recognise the original meaning in the word they used when it is experienced at a different time.
  • creativesoul
    6k
    I am painfully aware that my approach is one of unrelenting critical analysis. If it means anything to you, the standards I use to critique other work are the same ones I use to critique my own.
    — creativesoul

    It is your critical analysis that I find most helpful at this point, so do carry on.
    Possibility

    Nice show of appreciation. Know it is shared.



    I cringe a bit at some of the language you've chosen, but it seems that all in all there's more agreement than disagreement.
    — creativesoul

    Please feel free to suggest alternative words where you find it cringeworthy - perhaps I will use them instead.
    Possibility

    Using them instead of mentioning them performs double duty. It's amazing - it has been to me at least - what using certain terms to mean certain things can do when it comes to understanding all the different things that we talk about.



    How the words relate to the meaning structures in my mind are based on my limited experience.Possibility

    "Meaning structures"...

    What sorts of things are those? What do they all have in common that makes them what they are?



    I learned not to be so precious about the words when it’s the shared meaning we’re striving for - like the Zhuangzhi quote.Possibility

    Shared meaning is a notion worthy of exploring further. Shared meaning is what happens when a plurality of creatures draws correlations between the same sorts of things. For example, when learning how to use the word "tree", a tree is somehow simultaneously shown. At the moment the learner makes the connection between the use and the tree, meaning is shared. Common language is borne from these sorts of situations/scenarios.

    All meaning is existentially dependent upon something to become sign/symbol, something to become significant/symbolized, and a creature capable of drawing correlations between different things. Fear and a dog. A dog and a name. A dog, a name, and feelings of contentment.

    There is no language required in order for a creature to draw a correlation between fear and another animal's presence and/or specific behaviour. The other animal's presence and/or behaviour becomes significant to the creature solely by virtue of drawing the correlations.

    Some meaning is prior to common language. Some is not.

    Some shared meaning is prior to common language as well, although we cannot say, on my view, that any of the creatures within such situations know that. Rather, with such creatures... the correlations are being drawn in the moment, and on an individual level. They are all thinking about the other animal. They are not thinking about their own thought/belief, even in the cases where they are drawing correlations between the same things.

    Rudimentary level thought/belief formation - which is what all correlation is - begins autonomously and without subsequent consideration. The creatures do not know that they have and/or are currently drawing correlations between the same things. They do not know that they are thinking about anything at all. They are fully engrossed in the experience of doing so. They do it(draw correlations between different things) nonetheless, and this is easily proven beyond all reasonable doubt.

    In order to exist in it's entirety prior to our report, the thing under our careful consideration(information, meaning, interactions, thought/belief, etc) cannot consist of common language. If some meaning exists prior to our first report, then it cannot consist entirely of common language. That which exists prior to common language is not existentially dependent upon common language. If some meaning exists prior to common language, then it cannot consist in/of language at all. Such non-lingual meaning does not - cannot - consist of language.

    Meaning that is existentially dependent upon common language and meaning that is not have different elemental constitutions. Both share a common core of elements, such that whenever any and all candidates satisfy this minimal criterion, if the criterion holds good, it is of no negative consequence to say that that particular candidate is an example of meaning.




    It would follow from what you've written that a subatomic particle is somehow 'aware' of a connection to more as a result of being a part of an interaction. That's unacceptable justification/warrant on my view. Logical possibility alone does not warrant assent to belief. That's all an unfounded assumption warrants. What supporting arguments and/or explanations do you have for holding the belief that all interactions are meaningful?
    — creativesoul

    This is where I acknowledge that a lot of speculative philosophy is going on, and I’m bringing together stuff that I don’t fully understand at the level that may prove sufficiently convincing. I feel like I’ve already made the paradigm shift and now I’m trying to draw a map - but you’re all coming from different directions. So I apologise for not showing my working. I’m not trying to be mysterious about it - I’m still trying to put it into words that make sense to someone other than myself.
    Possibility

    I have learned from others how to go about deciding whether or not to believe something or other. There's quite a bit involved for me. I've been fortunate enough to have crossed paths with many a good teacher. Many just think I'm insane. Too 'cerebral'.

    :snicker:



    This is a prima facie example of conflating those two things. A subatomic interaction is evidence of more only to a creature capable of knowing that an interaction requires a plurality. That association between the particle and something else IS NOT an association that is drawn by the particle, my friend. Particles have no such capability. Rather, it's been drawn by us.
    — creativesoul

    I want to be clear here, first of all, that I don’t believe the particle retains this awareness of more beyond the moment of interaction.
    Possibility

    I am curious regarding what grounds the conclusion - what line of thinking leads you to assert - that a sub-atomic particle has awareness(is aware) to begin with?

    It certainly does not have what it takes in order to be so on my view. All things that are undeniably aware share a common set of elemental constituents. We may not be able to name everything that all aware things have in common, but we can certainly name many. Then we can proceed to use that group of common denominators as a measuring device/guide to be rightfully applied to any and all candidates of our choosing. If the candidate does not consist of the same core elements, if there is one or more of these elements missing, then there is no ground for saying that that candidate is aware. It does not have what it takes to be undeniable, like all the other examples.

    Nervous systems replete with physiological sensory perception. Brains. Etc.

    It takes these sorts of pre-requisites/preconditions to even be able to draw correlations between different things. All uncontentious, undeniable examples of meaning consist - in part - of physiological sensory perception and brains. That's the sort of creatures that even the sensible, reasonable skeptic has a very hard time denying.

    Here, on the rudimentary non-linguistic level, there is a need to be able to directly perceive that which becomes sign/symbol. There is also a need to be able to directly perceive what becomes significant/symbolized. And accompanying these needs is another; there's the need to be able to draw a correlation and/or association between these things. We do this... as do all the other uncontentious examples with our brains(in part of course). Brains alone are inadequate. Brains in vats are dead. Dead things do not think.

    The things that are being thought about by non linguistic creatures must exist in their entirety prior to becoming part of the correlation/association(prior to being thought about). Such meaningful pre and/or non-linguistic thought/belief is always about that which is directly perceptible.






    ...what I’m looking for here is not really something I can measure - it’s the really bare minimum of how an awareness of anything at all emerges or develops from these most basic interactions that you believe have not even the barest hint of meaning.Possibility

    In short...

    All awareness consists - in large part at least - of thought/belief about something or other(whatever it is that one is aware of and/or perhaps becoming aware of). All thought/belief is meaningful to the thinking/believing creature. All meaning is existentially dependent upon drawing mental correlations between different things(as argued for heretofore). All meaningful correlations drawn between different things are thought/belief(thinking about the content of the correlations; the different things). All thought/belief consists entirely of correlations drawn between different things. None are immune, and there are no exceptions.




    Understanding the meaning in these interactions requires me to relate information theory and quantum mechanics to the notion of a fifth-dimensional aspect to the universe. I’m getting there - I just have to find the right words...bear with me...Possibility

    The different "dimensions" would require a very thorough explanation/description. That description would need to be able bear a very heavy burden.

    I've issue with the same underlying presupposition(core assumption) you're working from that all interactions are meaningful. That remains unsupported to my satisfaction.

    Understanding the meaning within subatomic interactions requires meaning to be there. I've no reason whatsoever to conclude that meaning is and/or can be anywhere. Meaning does not have a spatiotemporal location. I've several good reasons to deny that it's even possible for meaning to be in anything at all, sub-atomic interactions notwithstanding. I've just mentioned the main one.
  • Possibility
    498
    "Meaning structures"...

    What sorts of things are those? What do they all have in common that makes them what they are?
    creativesoul

    For want of a more accurate description, they are metaphysical connections - but please understand that I am always reluctant to use the term ‘metaphysical’, because the general understanding of the term draws an unhelpful line. ‘Meta-‘ is supposed to refer to something added to, in order to complete it. In that sense, physical/metaphysical, in my understanding, are simply placeholder terms for something that encompasses both.

    I currently have no satisfactory way of describing the sorts of relationships that exist between a subjective experience of, say, eating an apple, and everything that particular experience means that goes beyond what we can put into words or symbolic expressions. T Clark uses the term ‘nebulous’ to describe the 5D structure of our Body of Knowledge that is the way we organise and access our subjective experiences regardless of spacetime. Meaning is a more complex structure entirely.

    The way I see it, meaning is pure relationship: what a connection is irrespective of value, time, space, distance or even ‘other’-ness. But I’m reluctant to use absolute terms here - I can’t be certain that ‘meaning’ is all there is to reality, because we’ve thought that about reality before... and been so very wrong. And while this perspective of meaning lends itself to spirituality in a general sense, in my view it renders all religions both relevant (as value structures) and also mostly misguided or distorted.

    So where does that leave me on this question? Meaning structures relate...everything that matters. They are how we feel about the world we experience at every level. If there is any connection between two things, there is meaning.

    Shared meaning is a notion worthy of exploring further. Shared meaning is what happens when a plurality of creatures draws correlations between the same sorts of things. For example, when learning how to use the word "tree", a tree is somehow simultaneously shown. At the moment the learner makes the connection between the use and the tree, meaning is shared. Common language is borne from these sorts of situations/scenarios.

    All meaning is existentially dependent upon something to become sign/symbol, something to become significant/symbolized, and a creature capable of drawing correlations between different things.
    creativesoul

    I agree that these three things are required in order to share meaning. But the process is rarely as straight-forward as you describe. One of my daughter’s first words was ‘bah’. I remember one day in the car, she kept pointing out the window and saying ‘bah’. After some confusion, we noticed the rain puddles on the side of the road, and realised that she was using the word in reference to these. Did she think the puddle was a bath? Or was she drawing much more complex correlations between her experiences - the sharing of which was severely limited by the symbols she had available?

    There is no language required in order for a creature to draw a correlation between fear and another animal's presence and/or specific behaviour. The other animal's presence and/or behaviour becomes significant to the creature solely by virtue of drawing the correlations.creativesoul

    The symbol is not required here for meaning, only for significance. Would you agree that the correlation first matters, and then becomes significant in the ‘thought/belief’? Even here, the creature must first have drawn a correlation between itself and ‘fear’ as something that matters (has meaning), before another animal’s presence/behaviour matters and then becomes significant in relation to that fear. This initial correlation doesn’t require thought/belief - it only requires a relationship to be established between the creature and its ‘fear’ responses. Fear has no significance at this level of awareness - like a transfer of energy to a molecule, the information is immediately integrated in the system, and so is meaningful to the creature.

    The same process of meaning operates well below the capacity for thought/belief, without significance. A chemical reaction is a meaningful interaction between molecules in that information is integrated into each system. If a different molecule interacts while that reaction is taking place, the reacting molecules may simply interact with it individually in their usual way. But this interaction may also alter the chemical reaction in some way. So the effect is that the reacting molecules can be informed of a third player in the momentary, one-dimensional awareness of more, but ALSO within the duration of the chemical reaction (a prolonged awareness of more) as a two-dimensional awareness of something else.
  • creativesoul
    6k
    What sorts of things are those[meaning structures]? What do they all have in common that makes them what they are?
    — creativesoul

    For want of a more accurate description, they are metaphysical connections - but please understand that I am always reluctant to use the term ‘metaphysical’...
    Possibility

    Generally when one is confident in calling a description "more accurate" they do not continue on by reluctantly invoking talk about and/or in terms of metaphysics. If it means anything, I reject many a dichotomy. Talking about metaphysics is talking about what counts as such.

    Doing it isn't always so dreadful.



    ...because the general understanding of the term draws an unhelpful line. ‘Meta-‘ is supposed to refer to something added to, in order to complete it. In that sense, physical/metaphysical, in my understanding, are simply placeholder terms for something that encompasses both.Possibility

    I think we may have been better off to stop prior to further accounting for words that we are reluctantly using to begin with.



    ...I currently have no satisfactory way of describing the sorts of relationships that exist between a subjective experience of, say, eating an apple, and everything that particular experience means...Possibility

    No better reason to talk about things a bit differently. Right?



    What it meant then...

    ...was always and will always be determined completely by the correlations drawn by the creature eating the apple at that time.



    What it means now...

    ...was and will always be determined completely by the lasting impressions resulting from both the orignal experience and all subsequent reports.

    Simply put...

    That experience meant exactly what it meant at the time. What it means now can, and arguably always does, differ... tremendously from what it meant then. Focusing upon such a comparison can yield some progress.

    Talking about what eating the apple meant while it was happening compared to what eating the apple means now misses the mark completely however.

    We're looking for the origen of meaning.

    There is talk about eating the apple and there is talk about reporting upon eating the apple. Set each out paying particular attention to what each is existentially dependent upon. What does each consist of? What makes all apple eating the same? What makes all reporting upon apple eating the same?

    Then make a comparison between the two.

    Reporting upon apple eating is existentially dependent upon apple eating. Apple eating is not existentially dependent upon either being reported upon, or the author thereof. All apple eating is meaningful to the apple eater by virtue of and solely as a result of the apple eater drawing correlations between different things. Apple eating is meaningful to apple eaters capable of doing so. Apple eating is meaningless to all things incapable of doing so.

    With a language less apple eater, all thought/belief content(all things being connected) are directly perceptible things. With a well spoken apple eater, only some of are.

    So, clearly there is a difference between the complexity of the meaning(in conjunction with the complexity of the correlational content) between apple eaters that talk about it and apple eaters that do not. Tying it all back together...

    All experience is existentially dependent upon meaning, but meaning alone is inadequate for experience. Make no mistake, whenever there is meaning, there is also a thinking/believing creature. Wherever there is experience, there is also a thinking/believing creature.



    ...meaning is pure relationship: what a connection is irrespective of value, time, space, distance or even ‘other’-ness. But I’m reluctant to use absolute terms here - I can’t be certain that ‘meaning’ is all there is to reality, because we’ve thought that about reality before... and been so very wrong. And while this perspective of meaning lends itself to spirituality in a general sense, in my view it renders all religions both relevant (as value structures) and also mostly misguided or distorted.

    So where does that leave me on this question? Meaning structures relate...everything that matters. They are how we feel about the world we experience at every level. If there is any connection between two things, there is meaning.
    Possibility

    A dewdrop is connected to a new shoot. There is no meaning necessary here. Dewdrops are collections of molecules. A result of what happened prior to. The result of a very long causal chain of events.

    Do not conflate what a report of dewdrops takes with what dewdrops take.

    "Pure"?

    All meaning is attributed exactly as I've set out. It is all existentially dependent upon the same things. There is a simple process at the heart. Drawing correlations.

    Some things exist in their entirety prior to our report. Rudimentary meaning is one. Some things exist prior to being thought about. Rudimentary meaning is one. Some things exist prior to all thought/belief. Meaning is not one.
  • creativesoul
    6k
    Shared meaning is a notion worthy of exploring further. Shared meaning is what happens when a plurality of creatures draws correlations between the same sorts of things. For example, when learning how to use the word "tree", a tree is somehow simultaneously shown. At the moment the learner makes the connection between the use and the tree, meaning is shared. Common language is borne from these sorts of situations/scenarios.

    All meaning is existentially dependent upon something to become sign/symbol, something to become significant/symbolized, and a creature capable of drawing correlations between different things.
    — creativesoul

    I agree that these three things are required in order to share meaning. But the process is rarely as straight-forward as you describe.
    Possibility

    A common process, one which results in the formation of meaningful thought/belief, is exactly as straight forward as I described it. Diagnosing situations(in the wild) by using a straight forward criterion requires a straightforward approach and yields a straightforward diagnosis. Where ya end up depends largely upon where ya start.


    One of my daughter’s first words was ‘bah’. I remember one day in the car, she kept pointing out the window and saying ‘bah’. After some confusion, we noticed the rain puddles on the side of the road, and realised that she was using the word in reference to these. Did she think the puddle was a bath? Or was she drawing much more complex correlations between her experiences - the sharing of which was severely limited by the symbols she had available?Possibility

    Naming practices require drawing correlations between the thing being named and the name.

    How did you arrive at the conclusion that she was using 'bah' to name the rain puddles?
  • creativesoul
    6k
    All meaning is existentially dependent upon something to become sign/symbol, something to become significant/symbolized, and a creature capable of drawing correlations between different things.
    — creativesoul

    I agree that these three things are required in order to share meaning.
    Possibility

    Those three things are not only required to share meaning. They are required for all correlation, association, and/or mental connection.

    They are not required for all relationships.
  • creativesoul
    6k
    There is no language required in order for a creature to draw a correlation between fear and another animal's presence and/or specific behaviour. The other animal's presence and/or behaviour becomes significant to the creature solely by virtue of drawing the correlations.
    — creativesoul

    The symbol is not required here for meaning, only for significance.
    Possibility

    :brow:



    Would you agree that the correlation first matters, and then becomes significant in the ‘thought/belief’?

    All meaningful thought/belief consists entirely of such correlations. There are no exceptions. The correlation is thought/belief.





    Even here, the creature must first have drawn a correlation between itself and ‘fear’ as something that matters (has meaning), before another animal’s presence/behaviour matters and then becomes significant in relation to that fear.

    This makes no sense. The "itself" part is the fear. The experience of fear is nothing more and nothing less than being fearful. In this example, the animal feared the other by drawing a correlation between it's own fear and the other animal. That correlation is thought/belief. It is meaningful to the creature.

    The creature doesn't know all this. Rather, it just fears... by virtue of doing exactly what's been set out here.
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