• Metaphysician Undercover
    4k
    People are uncomfortable with the notion of the universe as just a bunch of gray clouds of electrons (let us give them at least a minimal visualization) floating around and bumping into each other.Arne

    To put it more succinctly, the question would be whether there are any electrons there, or just clouds, without the human act of individuation, which distinguishes individual electrons.

    Why do you assume that I buy into your talk about boundaries?Janus

    You are the one claiming individuals, and individuation. I know that there cannot be an individual without a boundary which separates it from everything else. If you think that you know of a way that individuals could exist without such a boundary, then please explain.

    Imagine a virtual field of fluctuating intensities (that would seem to be the most minimal determinate model we can imagine); unless the intensities of all the fluctuations are exactly the same, then there are individual differences between the fluctuations. In fact no two fluctuations would ever be exactly the same.Janus

    What are you talking about? Intensities of what? Unless you specify what it is which is more or less intense, you're speaking nonsense. You have no example.

    Your example with numbers should have alerted you to the fact that although there is the same difference between many pairs of numbers there are also many (infinitely many) different numerical values between sets of numbers, so the infinitely many individual numbers represent infinitely many individual differences.Janus

    Sure, there are many different differences, but your claim was that it is impossible for two instances of difference to be the same. My example of number showed that your claim is false. And this is even more evident with time. The difference of five minutes is the same whether it is yesterday, the day before, five years ago, or whenever, it is the same difference.

    You need to explain how there could be actual difference without there being actual differences, unless there be only one actual difference; which, again, is nonsense.Janus

    No, I don't need to show any such thing. You are the one claiming that there are individual differences, without a human mind individuating them, so the onus is on you to demonstrate this.

    That there is difference between then and now demonstrates the existence of difference. What exists at the two times, then and now, is not the same, therefore there is difference. That is my claim. So my claim is backed up by empirical observation, there is difference. You are claiming that this difference consists of individual differences, which exist without being individuated by a mind. So you need to justify this, demonstrate the truth of this claim. How will you proceed?
  • Arne
    295
    To put it more succinctly, the question would be whether there are any electrons there, or just clouds, without the human act of individuation, which distinguishes individual electrons.Metaphysician Undercover

    Or even clouds.
  • Janus
    5.2k


    The differences between any two sets of times may be the same or different in a purely temporal sense. In a material sense no two differences can be the same. Anyway keep up the sophistry, it's a good way to continue failing to find your way out of the bubble of bullshit.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4k
    The differences between any two sets of times may be the same or different in a purely temporal sense.Janus

    So they are the same difference, just like the difference between 3 and 5, and 7 and 9, is the same difference, 2. I take it you are giving up on your argument that no differences are the same, accepting the reality that this is a false premise.

    In a material sense no two differences can be the same.Janus

    That's nonsense and you know it. You're just making up an arbitrary qualification, "material sense" for the sake of excluding all the difference that are the same. So any example I give you of differences which are the same,, you will insist that they are not material differences, and therefore somehow don't count as differences. Sorry to have to disillusion you, but all differences are formal differences, and "matter" is the underlying thing which remains the same, unchanged, so there is no such thing as a material difference. You're blowing smoke.

    Anyway keep up the sophistry, it's a good way to continue failing to find your way out of the bubble of bullshit.Janus

    Ha, ha, thanks for the laugh. You ought to try philosophizing, thinking about what you are saying, rather than just repeating the same boring (and false) assertion over and over again, while rejecting the overwhelming logic against your position as "sophistry".
  • Janus
    5.2k
    I take it you are giving up on your argument that no differences are the same, accepting the reality that this is a false premise.Metaphysician Undercover

    No, even though you would obviously like to think so. I already admitted that differences can be the same, but only in the general sense. They can also be different in a general sense, as the differences between 1 and 2 and 1 and any other number attest. My main point all along has been that no two material differences can ever be the same.

    You're blowing smoke.Metaphysician Undercover

    And you're full of shit. Give me one example of two materials differences that are the same. I can give you countless examples of materials differences that are different. (Just in case you misunderstand, material differences are differences between sensible phenomena).
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4k
    My main point all along has been that no two material differences can ever be the same.Janus

    There's no such thing as "material difference", that would contradict the concept of "matter". All differences are formal.
  • Janus
    5.2k


    Material differences are perceptual differences; they are essential to the recognition of objects. Every human face, for example, is different than every other human face and is different in different ways in each case. The differences are not merely formal. Sure you can generalize and say that 'nose is bigger than the other', and this general difference will obtain between any pair of noses (since no two noses will be precisely the same size) but the precise size differences in each case will be unique to each case. And then you have shape, skin colour, skin texture, nostril size...the list is endless and these are all material differences.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4k
    Material differences are perceptual differences; they are essential to the recognition of objects.Janus

    What we perceive are forms, so perceptual differences are formal differences. "Material differences" makes no sense, as matter is by definition that which stays the same, does not change.

    Are now agreeing with me though, that differences are a product of perception?

    Every human face, for example, is different than every other human face and is different in different ways in each case. The differences are not merely formal.Janus

    Of course the differences are formal, they are differences in form. The subject matter, "the human face" is the same in each case. What differs from one person to another is the form of the face,

    And then you have shape, skin colour, skin texture, nostril size...the list is endless and these are all material differences.Janus

    All these are differences of form, formal differences. As I said, there is no such thing as material difference, this would be contradictory to the concept of matter.
  • Janus
    5.2k
    Of course the differences are formal, they are differences in form. The subject matter, "the human face" is the same in each case. What differs from one person to another is the form of the face,Metaphysician Undercover

    Sure, but there is no separation between form and matter, so they are as much material differences as they are formal differences. Also, when you say that they are formal differences, it makes it sound like you think that the differences are merely conceptual, but they are not; they are perceptual differences that may be conceptualized (and only up to a point at that).

    The other point is that, to return to the 'nose' example, differences in skin colour and texture are not perceived as differences in shape, and shape is the usual way that the idea of form is parsed. To anticipate an objection you might say that there is no skin colour without a shape (in this case, the nose) which is coloured, and I would agree with you, but when we perceive differences in colour the shape or form of the coloured areas becomes irrelevant.

    This might be contradictory to your concept of matter, but I cannot help it if your concept of matter is inadequate. There is no formless matter or matterless form, so such a dichotomy cannot be metaphysically robust.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4k
    Sure, but there is no separation between form and matter, so they are as much material differences as they are formal differences.Janus

    The whole point of distinguishing matter from form is to distinguish between that which is responsible for differences, form, and that which is responsible for sameness, matter. If you are just going to deny this distinction, then your use of "material" is meaningless. So either way, your talk of "material differences" is nonsense.

    Either you use "material" in the accepted way, in which case it is contradictory to speak of material differences, or you use it in some other, arbitrary way, in which case you are just making up terms to try and support your position. Clearly it is the latter, so I take "material differences" as random nonsense, a term made up to support your position, pure sophistry..

    This might be contradictory to your concept of matter, but I cannot help it if your concept of matter is inadequate.Janus

    If you're not adhering to the accepted concept of matter, then you'd better define your terms, or else your term "material differences" is just random nonsense. Since you've denied a separation between matter and form, it is quite clear that you now have no basis for your category of "material differences", in comparison to other types of differences.. So my examples serve to refute your claim that material differences cannot be the same. I have given you examples of differences which are the same, and your use of "material" doesn't amount to any type categorization of differences.

    What do you mean by "perceptual differences"? Aren't these differences which are identified through perception? If these are material differences, then even material difference require a sentient being. So how does this get you anywhere in your argument that differences can exist without a sentient being?
  • Janus
    5.2k
    What do you mean by "perceptual differences"?Metaphysician Undercover

    Differences that are perceived, obviously. My idea of matter is not unconventional. Matter is what is perceived. It is not precisely the same idea as 'the physical'. Are you claiming that there is formless matter or matterless form?

    How do you deal with colour differences when they are not differences of form?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4k
    Differences that are perceived, obviously.Janus

    So if individual differences are perceived, doesn't this require a mind to perceive them? Aren't you just confirming what I've been arguing? The mind individuates these differences in the act of perception.

    My idea of matter is not unconventional. Matter is what is perceived.Janus

    No, matter is not what is perceived. We perceive the form that the matter has, shape, size, colour, etc.. These are properties, qualities. We assume matter as an ontological principle to support the notion that what we perceive is based in something real. To give our perceptions substance, we assume that there is matter underlying, supporting the things we perceive.. So matter is assumed, it is not perceived. If matter were perceived, you would be able to say what it looks like, tastes like, smells like, sounds like, or feels like. But we cannot say this about matter, because we do not perceive its existence, we just assume its existence.

    Are you claiming that there is formless matter or matterless form?Janus

    No, I'm not saying that.

    How do you deal with colour differences when they are not differences of form?Janus

    What do you mean? Colour is a property, therefore it is formal. We see colour differences, just like we see differences of shape, and even distances, size. The eyes are very useful, having many capacities, and capable of distinguishing different aspects of the form. Colour is just one aspect of the form of a thing. I think that if anyone tried to deny that differences of colour are differences of form, then that person would have a problem dealing with colour, not vise versa.
  • Janus
    5.2k


    Colour is dependent on the nature of a material (and the ambient light), not on the form it has. But then of course you could say the nature of the material is its form. And then we will just go around and around the boring circle of ambiguous definitions again.

    Form and material are inseparable, so we must perceive both material and form. The important point is that we recognize individual differences, and if we didn't we would not be able to tell one thing from another. Those differences or individual things that we are all recognizing all the time are not dependent on your mind or my mind, otherwise there would be no shared world unless our minds were connected in some telepathic way.

    If you can't see this, then we will have to agree to disagree because I have said as much as I am going to say on it.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4k
    Colour is dependent on the nature of a material (and the ambient light), not on the form it has. But then of course you could say the nature of the material is its form. And then we will just go around and around the boring circle of ambiguous definitions again.Janus

    That's right, the nature of the material is it's form. That's why there is a difference between different molecules, and different molecules are responsible for different colours. It may appear like a case of going around and around in a boring circle, but really we're just getting to the bottom of this, and that appears to be necessary to rid you of your false beliefs.

    Form and material are inseparable, so we must perceive both material and form.Janus

    No, you're wrong here. Matter cannot exist without form, but the logic allows that form can exist without matter. So we cannot say that matter and form are inseparable, because it is quite possible, and the logic supports this, that independent form is prior to matter. When matter comes into existence, it must have a form, but this does not preclude the possibility that the form pre-exists the matter.

    When we perceive, what we perceive is the form of the thing. The matter stays with the thing, so we do not perceive it. We perceive a form. Consider seeing an object. We receive a form of the object within our minds, but the matter of the object stays with the object. We perceive a form, but we do not perceive the matter at all.

    The important point is that we recognize individual differences, and if we didn't we would not be able to tell one thing from another.Janus

    No, the important point, which you are completely missing, is that the "individual differences", are produced within the mind, they are creations of the perceiving mind. The senses are picking up information, data, or whatever you want to call it, they are sensing, and the mind is producing the "individual differences" which you claim are within the thing itself. That there are individual differences is a matter of interpretation.

    Those differences or individual things that we are all recognizing all the time are not dependent on your mind or my mind, otherwise there would be no shared world unless our minds were connected in some telepathic way.Janus

    I've explained to you already, numerous times, why this is an unsound argument. All that is required is that the mind has reason for individuating things in the way that it does, there is no need that the things of the world are actually individuated in this way. The mind often works with symbols, and the symbols represent, but the things represented do not have to be similar to the symbols. The mind understands what the word "water" means without the word being anywhere near like what water is. So the mind can individuate things in perception, and use these individuated things to understand reality, without these individuated things which are perceived (representations, images), being anything like the reality which they represent.

    If you can't see this, then we will have to agree to disagree because I have said as much as I am going to say on it.Janus

    Well I can't see it because it's an extremely unsound argument. You are arguing that if real things aren't exactly like the mind represents them, then we could not communicate. But it's very obvious that we communicate by representing things with symbols which are nothing like the things which are represented.

    So quite clearly we could very well represent the world as differences, and individuals, communicate with each other, and understand each other, and proceed toward a limited understanding of reality, when reality does not even consist of differences and individuals at all. This is evident from the fact that we can represent the world with words, communicate and understand each other, and proceed toward a limited understanding of reality, when the reality which we are describing doesn't even consist of words or anything like words at all. The thing being represented (the world) doesn't have to be anything like the representation (the symbol). So the fact that we represent the world as individual differences and we develop an understanding of the world in this way, does not necessitate that the world consists of individual differences. Otherwise you might as well argue that the world consists of words.
  • Janus
    5.2k
    All that is required is that the mind has reason for individuating things in the way that it does,Metaphysician Undercover

    How could the mind have "reasons for individuating things in the way it does" if there were no differences independent of the mind?

    So the fact that we represent the world as individual differences and we develop an understanding of the world in this way, does not necessitate that the world consists of individual differences. Otherwise you might as well argue that the world consists of words.Metaphysician Undercover

    This is nonsensical to me; perceptual differences do not consist in words. Anyway I really think this conversation has run its course. Feel free to have the last word, though. :wink:
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4k
    How could the mind have "reasons for individuating things in the way it does" if there were no differences independent of the mind?Janus

    We went through this already. The reason is not necessarily difference. There is no difference between here and there, yet we individuate these as different.
12345Next
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.