• Metaphysician Undercover
    4.2k
    This is precisely the issue in reverse though - what are the criteria for impossibility? Are we talking about physical impossibility, logical impossibility.... Each will have different criteria presumably, just like "possibility" under my contention.MetaphysicsNow

    I don't think this is the case, so long as we stick to customary definitions when determining logical impossibilities. We describe physical things with words, and our definitions are based on those descriptions. So logical impossibility, which is based in contradiction is a derivative of physical impossibility. It is one coherent set of criteria.

    When we approach from the other way, "possibility", we have all sorts of random criteria as to what constitutes possibility, allowing for infinite possibility. This is why we must approach from "impossible" rather than "possible". Do you see that one of them "impossible" is a principle of constraint, while "possible" is inherently unconstrained? The unconstrained is unintelligible, while constraints are intelligible. So we proceed in obtaining certainty in knowledge by determining what is impossible, because "possible" can't give certainty but "impossible" does.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    Do you see that one of them "impossible" is a principle of constraint,
    No, I don't see this, since as I pointed out, what is going to count as impossible is going to change depending on the circumstances just as much as what is possible.

    When we approach from the other way, "possibility", we have all sorts of random criteria as to what constitutes possibility, allowing for infinite possibility

    Firstly, the criteria I mentioned for possibility are not random in the least. One set of criteria constrains the possible within the bounds of the known laws of nature. Another set releases that restriction but applies the laws of classical logic. Those are not random criteria, but clear and precise ones.

    Secondly, nothing you say about the impossible rules out their being infinite impossibilities.

    "Possible" and "impossible" are terms that come together as a package or not at all.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.2k
    No, I don't see this, since as I pointed out, what is going to count as impossible is going to change depending on the circumstances just as much as what is possible.MetaphysicsNow

    Right, so knowing what is impossible requires knowing the circumstances. The circumstances dictate what is impossible, and knowing what is impossible allows one to say what is possible. Do you see how impossibility, according to circumstances, makes possibilities true and intelligible rather than infinite and unintelligible?

    The criteria for what is possible does not change depending on the circumstances. Nor does the criteria for what is impossible change depending on the circumstances. But particular things which are impossible are determined according to the circumstances, and by determining these impossibilities we can limit what is possible, to less than infinite. Without such limiting, possibility is just meaningless nonsense, unintelligible. So this is the point, we bring possibility into the realm of intelligibility by limiting it with "impossible".

    Firstly, the criteria I mentioned for possibility are not random in the least. One set of criteria constrains the possible within the bounds of the known laws of nature. Another set releases that restriction but applies the laws of classical logic. Those are not random criteria, but clear and precise ones.MetaphysicsNow

    Your first set of criteria restricts possibility according to "known" laws. This is ambiguous, and not a true restriction. What is "known" varies from one individual to another, such that what is possible for me is different from what is possible for you, under the same circumstances. And, what is truly possible under those circumstances is completely different from either of these, due to the failings of human knowledge in general.

    Your second set is just a more ambiguous form of the first, allowing that an individual when determining possibilities may have disregard for the laws of nature, as known by that individual, and only have respect for the fundamental laws of logic. These possibilities are likely less true than the first.

    Those two sets of criteria offer no approach to true possibility.

    Secondly, nothing you say about the impossible rules out their being infinite impossibilities.MetaphysicsNow

    I don't know what you mean by "infinite impossibilities". That is itself an unintelligible phrase. That something is impossible is a determination made by a mind, a judgement. A mind cannot make an infinite number of judgements. That is the first impossibility which we can determine. It is impossible that there are infinite impossibilities.

    Possible" and "impossible" are terms that come together as a package or not at all.MetaphysicsNow

    This is not necessarily the case. Logicians who speak of infinite possibilities necessarily imply possibility without impossibility. That is the gist of the point I am making. Possible and impossible do not necessarily come together as a package. We can premise possible without impossible, and this gives the appearance of an acceptable premise. However, it is a false premise so we must deny it and insist that possible cannot come without impossible.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    Nope, you've lost me completely - I'll have to move on to other posts.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    But I cannot resist one last parting word before moving on - I know, it's a weakness of mine:
    Consider the following schemas:
    1) It is possible that P
    2) It is impossible that P
    3) It is not possible that P
    4) It is not impossible that P

    Here P stands in for some proposition or other.
    Let's suppose for the moment that P is the proposition that "The round copula is square".
    Well, since anything that is round is not square, substituting this value for P into 1 and 4 gives you a falsehood, and into 2) and 3) gives you a truth. So, there is at least one impossibility. Here's another P = "An inedible apple is perfectly edible". So that's two impossibilities, and I've only just gotten started.
    Now let P="Some grass is red". Under this substitution 1) and 4) gives you truth, whilst 2) and 3) gives you falsehood. Another substitution with the same result: P="There are green swans". So, two possibilities, and I could keep going.
    What is the point of all this? Two things:
    1) Whatever you think of possibility or impossibility there are indefinitely many specific possibilities and impossibilities.
    2) The schemas 1 and 4 are logically equivalent, as are 2 and 3. This means we can define the possible in terms of the impossible and vice versa - the logical equivalence implies that they are two sides of one and the same coin, that coin being the concept of modality.
  • praxis
    663
    I've read that probiotics can/may be helpful, but if you feel better already, it could be coincidental or a placebo effect (placebo effects are nothing to sneeze at). Please do report back and let us know how it worked after a couple of weeks.Bitter Crank

    I remembered this and wanted to report back. It's been over thirty days and I definitely feel more relaxed and confident in social situations. Even with people who typically make me anxious and I can't avoid interacting with, like some family members and people I work with. I can't attribute this entirely to the probiotics, however, as I started a couple of other things at the same time. I've been practicing what I'll call 'non-abiding' meditation with diaphragmatic breathing for at least 45 minutes a day.

    So what I can say is that meditation with diaphragmatic breathing and high-quality probiotics is an effective treatment for social anxiety, in my experience. Regarding the placebo effect, I have some experience with hypnosis so I know the power of suggestion. Knowing this, I think it's too soon to tell if placebo is active. I wouldn't be confident it wasn't for at least a few months. We'll see.

    Things are going so well I don't want to stop the meditation to see if the probiotics are effective by themselves, but I'll probably try it eventually. That will be interesting.
  • Sum Dude
    34
    People with OCD and emotional problems in general have little to no ability to modify or moderate their moods.

    I know because I have it and deal with it on some level every day or every two or three days.

    That being said, I'm essentially cured from that, and it was more just knowing what I am internally, which is a good Human Being.

    Confidence is king, just don't go out of your way to be a dick, and if you do, learn from your mistake and move on.

    Maybe if I was a super buff stud muffin people would believe me more.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.1k
    That all sounds good. Keep it up.
  • Pattern-chaser
    199
    I vaguely resemble "patient X", and I think OCD is not quite as simple as you imagine. I carry out many obsessive routines and habits, and they can be a great help. :gasp: My short-term memory is so unreliable that I forget to do things unless I follow my obsessive habits rigorously. They can be a curse too, when they seem to take on a life of their own, and grow in complexity and detail.

    Like patient X, I find it difficult or impossible to avoid obsessive behaviour. But I recognise that patient X suffers differently to me, as your OP describes, so I can't just apply my own experience and call it an answer to your query. Is OCD as intrinsic to the sufferer as diabetes? In my view, the answer is more yes than no, but I feel the qualitative difference between OCD and diabetes leads to some of the uncertainty here.

    My own OCD-like behaviour stems from autism, a neurological difference, not a disease like diabetes. Could I learn not to behave obsessively; am I capable of doing that? I'm not sure. My best guess is no.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    Thanks for this. Although patient X is not in your category, and my experience of other cases of OCD is limited, I accept absolutely that those with OCD could have complex feelings towards their condition. I could even imagine it being possible for someone with OCD to be perfectly content with their condition in its entirety, although I should think it unlikely.
    A couple of follow up questions so I can clarify for myself your post:
    What do you mean by a condition being intrinsic to a sufferer?
    What specific qualitative differences between OCD and diabetes leads you have some doubts about it being intrinsic?
    When you say that your best guess is that you are not capable of learning not to behave obsessively, is that based on some general lack of confidence in your abilities or more based on your previous experiences of having tried?
    I'm not trying to trick you or anything - and if the questions seem insensitive, that is not my intent - I'm asking because I am genuinely interested in the philosophical implications that arise from these issues.
  • Pattern-chaser
    199
    What do you mean by a condition being intrinsic to a sufferer?MetaphysicsNow

    No easy questions, then? :wink: Diabetes (setting aside the possibility of a cure) is a degenerative condition that is just there, a sort of part of the diabetic's body. (?) In that sense it's intrinsic to the diabetic. In the same way, I might say that my leg is intrinsic to me.

    What specific qualitative differences between OCD and diabetes leads you have some doubts about it being intrinsic?MetaphysicsNow

    OCD is a neurological condition. While some neurological conditions ccan usefully be compared with a disease like diabetes, others are quite different. My own Autism Spectrum Condition is neurological, but it isn't a disease, it's a difference in the way I'm wired. I suppose it is intrinsic, in the sense I'm using it, but it feels quite wrong to me to equate it with a physical disease like diabetes (by using the same term to describe both of them). OCD likewise.

    I know I'm not making as much sense here as I would like. I'm struggling to find the most meaningful vocabulary.

    When you say that your best guess is that you are not capable of learning not to behave obsessively, is that based on some general lack of confidence in your abilities or more based on your previous experiences of having tried?MetaphysicsNow

    I think it's mostly based on my reliance on my obsessive routines, despite their downside. I would find it difficult to function without them, so I don't fancy trying! :smile:
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    I know I'm not making as much sense here as I would like. I'm struggling to find the most meaningful vocabulary.
    I think the reason why none of us perhaps make as much sense as we'd like to concerning this subject, myself included, is that in discussing mental conditions from a philosophical perspective, we come bang up against a fundamental incompatibility between two ways of viewing human action. On the one hand there is the mechanistic view which looks at human action as just so much physiological activity, and I guess that's the kind of view that lies behind your remark that OCD is a neurological condition. It is also a view that some see as gaining corroboration from the fact that drugs can "help" with mental conditions. On the other hand there is the view that looks on human action as purposive and rational, and I have a feeling that there might be something like that lying behind your expression of your reliance on performing your routines - they have a place in your life that takes them beyond the mere motion of bodily parts. There's a temptation to think that we can have it both ways ("two aspects of just one thing") but I'm inclined to suspect that the mechanistic view, taken to its consistent conclusion, just negates the rationalistic one. Eliminative materialists would say something like "too bad for the rationalistic view in that case", and what I'm struggling with is whether that is a coherent position or not.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    @Pattern-chaser Incidently, if you are interested regarding this mechanism v rationalism debate, it resurfaces in other threads. The current exchanges between Uber and Wayfarer on the The non physical thread is one example.
  • Pattern-chaser
    199
    First, a clarification. I think autists can exhibit obsessive or compulsive behaviour without it meeting all the criteria for an OCD diagnosis. Maybe this applies to me; I'm not sure. So my experience should be considered 'similar' to that which OCD might cause. I offer this in the name of accuracy, not wishing to mislead either of us, or the discussion, and also because there's too much misinformation on autism about, and I really don't want to add to it. :smile:

    Some neurological conditions are different. I have MS, which is a neurological condition. But it's just a disease, and might be compared with diabetes, or any other physical illness. But autism, and maybe other neurological conditions too, aren't simple physical illnesses. There's more to them than that, or at least there can be. This is what lead me to comment here initially.

    My own repetitive/habitual behaviour is weird (to me). I can see that I do these things. I can see that they bind me quite thoroughly. I feel inside my head that I could over-ride them ... but I never actually do. So maybe I can't. But the compulsion, if that's what it is, is not something so strong that it cannot but be obeyed, or so I feel. If I had no legs, I couldn't walk. This compulsion does not seem as powerful as that. From the inside, the control exercised by this compulsion doesn't seem absolute; from the outside, it probably seems absolute. And I can't even tell which of those two thoughts is the closest to being correct. :meh:

    Neurological conditions have the potential to adjust your thinking, at the physical level of your brain. So some of the effects they can have on you are mental or even emotional, not just physical, as most other illnesses are. I think this is the difference I have been struggling to describe.

    patient X claims that his mental illness is just like diabetes and just as diabetes cannot be cured by reason, neither can his OCD.
    My best guess is that patient X is correct, and his OCD cannot be cured by reason, if it can be cured at all. But let's remember: if the condition actually is incurable, then we could correctly observe that it cannot be cured by reason, by porridge or by Donald Trump. I'm saying this because I wonder if reason is a useful and contributing part of this discussion, or whether it's a trivial distraction, like porridge and Trump. :chin:
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