• apokrisis
    4.1k
    Do you have an actual argument? Can you point to an error of fact or reason here? Or does your entire critique rest on the claim that my position is "so funny," You are entitled to your sense of humor, I to my facts and analysis.Dfpolis

    You don't have to try to answer the challenge I've set for your position. If you can't see the incoherence of talking about the data of self-awareness when claiming to have got beyond dualism, it's not my problem.
  • Janus
    5.6k
    Exactly right. But that is the analytic view of how to understand experience.apokrisis

    So, I'm saying that the shared experience of a common world is fundamental, which entails that there being others who experience as I do is not merely an inference from the subjectively experienced fact of my own experience, but the very condition of there being my own experience or a triadic sign relation.

    On the basis of this I reject the idea that the self and the world are socially constructed fictions, although I do acknowledge that our ideas associated with self and world are evolutionary insofar as they are mediated by social contexts and interactions, as well as all the domains of human inquiry and artifice. There must also be something fundamental to human experience which is wordless and cannot be captured in terms of signs at all. I think this, among other things, of course, is what Peirce means by 'firstness'.

    That is why I said earlier that "we the people" is as fundamental to, and implicit in all, human life as "we the baboons" is fundamental to, and implicit in all, baboon life (although in the latter case the idea obviously never becomes self-reflectively explicit, due to the baboons' lack of symbolic language).

    So, as you ask, "what do we then say about "experience" itself, now looking back from a more informed semiotic viewpoint?".

    Are you wanting to ask a kind of "chicken and egg" question? Do signs constitute experience in a kind of 'atomic' sense? Or does the holistic sign relation constitute experience? If anything I would have to say the latter, and that the evolution of the sign relation just is the evolution of experience. neither is prior to the other, in fact they are coterminous; the sign relation just is experience; although looked in the abstract as distinctly different things, they are each impossible without the other.

    Although as said above I don't think this entails that everything about our experience can be adequately captured by any form of language, the closest would be its evocation by the arts. This leaves room for the mystical; although as I said to @Dfpolis in another thread, I don't think the mystical, or the apprehension (or prehension :wink: ) of pure being, can ever become a science, due to its inadequate potential for inter-subjective corroboration.
  • apokrisis
    4.1k
    So, I'm saying that the shared experience of a common world is fundamental,Janus

    You mean "world", or unwelt? And so the noumenal - analytically - falls outside that phenomenology? It is the division that is fundamental, even if the division ain't usually experienced?

    And also, it can only be fundamental in the sense of being fundamental to a particular level of semiosis, a particular community united by a common system of sign?

    On the basis of this I reject the idea that the self and the world are socially constructed fictions,Janus

    Well, the self certainly is. A linguistic community is fundamental to the production of a linguistic self. And some kind of semiotic community is the shaper of any kind of selfhood.

    These are in fact the consequences of your own first move - the one where you say the shared is what is fundamental. The self must emerge from that, if you are correct.

    I of course make it easier by saying that co-emergent is in fact what is fundamental. It all begins with a symmetry-breaking or division. However you are taking the substantialist view that existence begins with something being already definite. You are calling that "experience" at the moment.

    There must also be something fundamental to human experience which is wordless and cannot be captured in terms of signs at all.Janus

    Sure. But your problem is that we become human through language and its narrative framing. That is how we can even get to a position to wonder what "wordless experience" would be like. By which time it is too late. And it is only going to be make worse once you start using poetical social constructs about oceanic feelings, or whatever else you have picked up in your cultural wanderings and drugged states.

    Are you wanting to ask a kind of "chicken and egg" question? Do signs constitute experience in a kind of 'atomic' sense? Or does the holistic sign relation constitute experience? If anything I would have to say the latter, and that the evolution of the sign relation just is the evolution of experience. neither is prior to the other, in fact they are coterminous; the sign relation just is experience; although looked in the abstract as distinctly different things, they are each impossible without the other.Janus

    Now you are talking of co-arising like me. There are atomistic and holistic aspects to it. And they complement each other because one constructs and the other constrains.

    But you are still trying to ontologise experience as a substance of some kind. It is the thing that evolves.

    My position is semiotic. Experience is what it is like to be modelling the world in the fashion a brain does. It doesn't need further explanation. We can just ask how could it not feel like something to be in that kind of modelling relation?

    So the focus of the explanation is the "how" of the modelling relation itself. And this is analysed as the development of systematic and purposeful habits of interpretance based on the construction of "worlds of sign", or lived umwelts. The habits and the signs co-arise as two parts of the model - exactly in the way that theory and measurement have become the epistemically formalised basis of scientific semiotic models of the world.

    Brains are already developing theories and taking measurements to generate your "brute experience". It is the same semiotic process. Just coded in genes and neurons, rather than words and numbers.

    Although as said above I don't think this entails that everything about our experience can be adequately captured by any form of language, the closest would be its evocation by the arts.Janus

    Of course. Your argument has to reach your favoured conclusion. There is little point me commenting on that. Art is just straightforwardly the social construction of selfhood. That is not even disguised.
  • Caldwell
    150
    We know, as a contingent fact, that matter exhibits an orderly dynamics, which by analogy with human ordinances, we call "obeying laws." This does not imply either awareness or choice on the part of matter. Asking how the laws work is like asking what dynamics links the dynamic of a system to the system it is the dynamics of. That kind of question misunderstands what "dynamics" means.Dfpolis

    In so far as there are some quibbling and nitpicking going on in this thread, allow me to quibble in some napoleonic way. I would avoid using the word "orderly". Organized? Yes, as in quantized outcome. Yes, as in organized chaos. Nature could change, even abruptly -- so out goes your order. But we don't suppose nature could change without organization. Dynamics is organized activity, but not necessarily orderly.
  • Galuchat
    457
    (1) In becoming aware of neurally encoded intelligibility, we have no idea at all of the neural matrix which encodes it.Dfpolis

    I define awareness as a perceptive and cognisant condition.
    So, rather than "becoming aware of neurally encoded intelligibility", I think it is more accurate to say that we:
    1) Become aware of (perceive and know) sensations (physical data).
    2) Form an idea (mental data) based on awareness, and
    3) Categorise the idea (more mental data) through the faculty of understanding (a mental function).

    Moreover, we are unaware of (don't perceive or know) "the neural matrix which encodes" physical and mental data.
  • Pattern-chaser
    199
    You misunderstand me: I am saying that according to ordinary usage "the law of gravity" applies to both the human formulation, and to the natural force. In the latter one of its senses, 'the law of gravity' is synonymous with simply 'gravity', in other words; but the addition of "the law of" signifies that gravity is a universally acting force; in other words it is understood to be "law-like" or "lawful".Janus

    I think I understand you quite well. You seek to confuse a human invention - the 'law' of gravity - with an attribute of the universe - gravity. You also seek to understand the 'law' as the master or reference, and the universe as being governed by that law. You are wrong in every respect. Gravity is only "understood to be "law-like"" by those who fail to understand the difference between the two. Gravity is not law-like. Your law is gravity-like. It is a model or description of gravity. Gravity is. It doesn't do anything; it just is what it is, and cannot be anything other than what it is. Gravity is not conscious or intentional. It's gravity. And it is not governed by any law.

    Gravity and the law of gravity are similar only in the sense that one is a model, a copy, of the other. There is no question as to which is the reference, despite your struggle to muddy the waters. Sorry.
  • Janus
    5.6k
    It's gravity. And it is not governed by any law.Pattern-chaser

    You obviously do misunderstand since I haven't stated or even suggested that gravity is "governed by any law". If gravity is indeed omnipresent, then it simply is a law. If nature must always behave in a certain way, what do you think it is that determines that invariance? Is it forces?

    If the forces always must behave the same way, then we can say the behaviour of the forces cannot be contravened, and this is what is meant by 'lawlike' or 'lawful'; and this is not necessarily to posit some other transcendental Principle that governs the forces. It is simply to say that force always acts according to a law.

    There is a difference between acting according to a law, and being governed by a law in the sense of some extra governing principle. That's why I say gravity itself is the law. I hope I have dispelled your confusion.
  • Pattern-chaser
    199
    If gravity is indeed omnipresent, then it simply is a law.Janus

    Omnipresent? Present everywhere? Who mentioned location? :chin:

    A law is created by humans.

    Gravity is a feature of the universe, and was not created by humans, it was discovered by them.

    Gravity is not a law any more than a pulsar or a mushroom is a law.

    You are trying to impose your beliefs upon reality. Good luck with that.

    We're done for now. Happy trails!
  • Dfpolis
    146
    OK, so my point is, that if the thing being described is reality, then why not call that thing being described "reality" rather than "laws of reality"? And if the thing being described is nature, then why not call that thing "nature", rather than "laws of nature".Metaphysician Undercover

    Because "reality" and "nature" are so general no one would know which aspects we are referring to.

    To say that the thing being described is "laws of nature", rather than "nature", just because the descriptions are formulated as "laws", makes no sense.Metaphysician Undercover

    Actually, the primary use of "law" in this context, (going back to Jeremiah) is to name the regularity of nature. It's derivative application (by an analogy of attribution) is to human approximate descriptions of the laws of nature. The underlying analogy is that as civil laws order social behavior, so laws of nature order natural behavior (an analogy of proportionality).

    Matter behaves in particular ways which are regular, orderly, and which we describe with laws, the laws of physics. I think we both agree on this. Where I disagree is when you jump to the conclusion that there are another type of "laws", "laws of nature", which are inherent within matter acting within matter, causing it to act in these regular, and orderly ways. I've been asking you to support this conclusion, or assumption, whatever you want to call it, but you've been beating around the bush.Metaphysician Undercover

    When you say that "Matter behaves in particular ways which are regular," you are admitting the existence of laws of nature -- unless you go on to say that the observed regularity is purely fortuitous. So, are you saying that the regularity is purely fortuitous, occurring for no reason, or are you saying that there is some aspect of nature that makes it so? I am saying the latter.

    "Laws of nature" does not name substantial things. It names the aspects of reality you are describing as regularity in behavior. So, there is no need for me to justify more than you have admitted in your first sentence above. Let me state it in the form of an identity: Laws causing the regularity of nature is identical with the regularity of nature being caused by laws. In other words, if nature is reliably orderly, whatever the explanation of that reliable order is, I am calling it "the laws of nature."

    Here's the reason why I do not agree with you. If there are such laws inherent within, and acting within, matter, then free will is impossible.Metaphysician Undercover

    I wish you'd said this earlier. When I started this discussion, I pointed out that the Fundamental Abstraction of natural science prescinds from the consideration of the knowing subject. The knowing subject is also the willing subject. So, when I am discussing the laws of physics and the laws of nature they describe, I'm not discussing reality in all of its complexity, but only the aspects of reality delimited by the Fundamental Abstraction -- which does not have the data to justify conclusions on knowing and willing -- on subjective awareness and freedom.

    To forget the self-imposed limitations of natural science is to commit Whitehead's fallacy of misplaced concreteness. We cannot assume that a science adequate to the physical world in abstraction from the knowing and willing subject is adequate to dealing with subjects knowing and willing. I began turning my attention to this yesterday in an exchange with Janus beginning with:
    I find nothing to disagree with here, unfortunately.Janus

    So, to respond to your objection, if the universal laws of nature, as described by physics, fully determined the actions of knowing subjects, then yes, free will would be of no avail. But, we have no reason to think that the laws, as described by physics, apply to more than the abstract world physicists have chosen to study. Specifically, we have no reason to think that these laws fully determine the actions of subjects, given that natural science has chosen, ab initio, to exclude subjects as such from its consideration.

    As I discussed in more detail with Janus (and in even greater detail in my book), since both the laws of nature and human commitments are intentional (species of logical propagator), it is reasonable to ask whether human intentions might not perturb (modify) the "universal" laws of nature. Experiments provide us with statistical certitude that human intentions do perturb the so-called universal laws. So, we have every reason to believe that human actions are not fully determined by the "universal" laws of nature.

    If instead, you want to continue with your position that there are real "laws of nature" acting in the universe, then you ought to place them outside of matter.Metaphysician Undercover

    Clearly, the laws of mature must act immanently to order natural processes.

    I have not suggested here that the intentional nature of the laws points to an ordering Mind (as Aquinas does in his fifth way, and I do in my book). As I have said before, I do not want to side-track the conversation by bringing up the contentious issue of the existence of God. Still, to make my position clear to you, I agree with Jeremiah in seeing the laws of nature as divine ordinances. So, theologically, we can say, with Aquinas, that "man, by reason, participates in Divine Providence." In other words, that we are granted the power to be co-creators so that our will, combined with the Divine Will, controls the course of nature. In this projection, the "universal" laws of nature are God's general will for matter and we are granted the limited power to add further specificity by making willed commitments.

    I hope that this clarifies my position for you.
  • Dfpolis
    146

    i have no problem with your formulation. Mine attempts to accommodate a neuroscientific approach to mind as much as possible.
  • Galuchat
    457
    Fair enough.

    (2) Somehow we distinguish the object modifying our senses from the modification of our senses by the object -- even though both are encoded in a single neural representation.Dfpolis

    I would say that phenomena (physical actualities) are perceived, not encoded in neural representations.
    Perception being the experience caused by sensation (sense function).
    Sense being the reception and transduction of exogenous and/or endogenous stimuli, resulting in environmental perception (exteroception) or corporeal perception (interoception).

    Therefore, what "modifies" our senses are physical stimuli originating from the environment, or from our own body.

    I think communication is a good analogy for the process which connects phenomena to awareness.

    In Shannon's Mathematical (Quantitative) Theory of (Data) Communication, it is data which is encoded, transmitted, conveyed, received, and decoded. Information (defined as a measure of improbability) is the result.

    This clearly provides an incomplete definition of information (for example, not addressing the semantics inherent in human communication), but I find the framework of communication it presents to be useful.

    Following Floridi, I prefer to define information in more general terms of data, which, in addition to mathematical information, applies to semantic, physical, and biological information (among other types).

    Noting that Floridi's description of data bears similarities to Merleau-Ponty's concept of form, I consider the two terms to be synonymous, referring to asymmetries.

    So,
    1) Information becomes: communicated data (form), and
    2) A process of physical communication provides a connection between phenomena and awareness.

    For example, in seeing an apple:
    1) Apple colour and shape are encoded into reflected light.
    2) Reflected light is transmitted from the apple surface,
    3) Conveyed through a transmission medium (e.g., air) capable of propagating energy waves,
    4) Received by an eye (Sensory Stimulation),
    5) Encoded into a neural signal (Sensory Transduction),
    6) Transmitted to the brain (Neurotransmission),
    7) Received and decoded by the brain (Sensory Processing),
    8) Received and decoded by the mind (Perception & Cognition).

    Mental representation happens at step 8. I have no idea what a neural representation is.

    In talking about the logical order, I'm discussing information. Information is the reduction of (logical) possibility and results from the actualization of intelligibility. Both physical and intentional states have an intelligibility that is prior to our knowledge of them.Dfpolis

    While information properly speaking belongs to the logical order, a state's intelligibility, as a source of information, may be called "information" by an analogy of attribution -- just as we say food is "heathy" not because it's alive and well, but because it contributes to health.Dfpolis

    So, I'm using "logical" to refer to the information (intelligibility) specifying a state, whether that state be physical or intentional. "Logical Propagators" in nature, then, transform the intelligibility of one state into that of another.Dfpolis

    For my cognitive psychology project, I have found it very useful to maintain a physical/mental distinction in conceptual analysis (as the above example demonstrates).

    That is why I would prefer to describe intentionality/logical propagation in general terms which can apply to both physical and semantic information, not exclusively in terms of the latter.
  • Pattern-chaser
    199
    The underlying analogy is that as civil laws order social behavior, so laws of nature order natural behaviorDfpolis

    No, the analogy is that, as civil laws order behaviour, natural behaviour orders human laws. :up:

    When you say that "Matter behaves in particular ways which are regular," you are admitting the existence of laws of nature -- unless you go on to say that the observed regularity is purely fortuitous.Dfpolis

    No, there is no admission of laws, and no fortuity either. Nature doesn't need either. It just is, and it does what it does without the need for any sort of support or guidance. No laws. No luck. Just reality, being real.

    Laws causing the regularity of nature is identical with the regularity of nature being caused by laws.Dfpolis

    No it isn't. In one case, the laws are the master and nature follows them; in the other, nature is the master, and the laws follow it. The latter is the truth. The former is sciencist dogma, and wrong. As you have phrased it, it's the difference between cause and effect; they aren't interchangeable, as you seem to think they are.
  • Dfpolis
    146
    (2) Somehow we distinguish the object modifying our senses from the modification of our senses by the object -- even though both are encoded in a single neural representation. — Dfpolis

    I would say that phenomena (physical actualities) are perceived, not encoded in neural representations.
    Perception being the experience caused by sensation (sense function).
    Galuchat

    I like to project reality into different conceptual spaces -- to think about the same thing from different perspectives. I think doing so, and comparing the resulting "pictures," helps me understand an issue more fully. Often features that are prominent in one projection are missing in another. Trying to understand why this is so allows us to critique the alternate approaches. On the other hand, features common to different conceptual schemes are understood with greater depth.

    Thus, I have no problem saying that we perceive physical reality (actualities), but I find it helpful to look at perception from from a neurophysical perspective as well. I third useful projection is semiotic, recognizing that neural states considered as instrumental signs are very different from concepts, which are formal signs. (A perspective gleaned from Henry Veatch's Intentional Logic: A logic based on philosophical realism.)

    The problem I am discussing in (2) comes from reflecting on an observation of neurophysiologist Anthony Damasio that our knowledge of the external world started as neural representations of body state and evolved into representations of the external world as the source of changes in our body state:
    ... to ensure body survival as effectively as possible, nature, I suggest, stumbled on a highly effective solution: representing the outside world in terms of the modifications it causes in the body proper, that is representing the environment by modifying the primordial representations of the body proper whenever an interaction between organism and environment takes place. — Damasio, Descartes‘ Error, p. 230.

    Now, for an animal merely processing data to generate adaptive responses, it makes no difference whether a neural state is conceived (by us) as representing a body state or a world state -- as an exteroception or interoception in your terminology. All that is required is that certain types of neural inputs generate corresponding adaptive outputs.

    But for humans, with our powers of abstraction and conceptual representation, there is a world of difference between exteroception and interoception. Think of seeing an apple. The image projected on our retina results in a pattern of rod and cone activation that modifies our neural state. There is no difference between the neural state that would inform us of this pattern of rod and cone activation (and so be an interoception) and the neural state that would inform us of an apple being seen (and so an exteroception). Yet, when we see an apple, we become aware of the apple and not of our retinal state. How is this possible?

    As I pointed out this distinction has no survival value, and so it is how to see how it could be selected by evolution. Further, there is no difference in the brain state encoding the exteroception and the interoception, so there can be no physical basis for the distinction. It is as if our intentionality, our interest in the apple rather than in our retina, is determinative of what we become aware of.

    Of course, there is nothing mysterious about this when we think about seeing apples in the conceptual space of traditional epistemology or psychology. There, we have sensations and, in some cases, become aware of them -- perhaps abstracting concepts. What is problematic is how to integrate this projection of perception and ideogenesis with our neurophysical understanding of sensation.

    I find the framework of communication it presents to be useful.Galuchat

    I agree both with the usefulness of the information theoretic framework and with the need to supplement it with semiotic considerations.

    Thank you for the reference to Floridi's article. I confess complete ignorance of Merleau-Ponty.

    1) Information becomes: communicated data (form), and
    2) A process of physical communication provides a connection between phenomena and awareness.
    Galuchat

    I have no problem with this schema and only one problem with the example:
    7) Received and decoded by the brain (Sensory Processing),Galuchat

    I have no idea what it means for the brain to "decode" the neural signal. It surely processes neural signals, but what difference can there be processing in which one form of neural signal is input and another form output, and "decoding" when the output is simple a neural signal?

    A nitpicking objection is that I see the brain, with its data processing capabilities, as the information processing subsystem of the mind with awareness (the agent intellect) as part of another, intentional subsystem. So I would state (8) in a slightly different way, saying that the intelligible information carried by the neural signal is actualized by our awareness (aka the agent intellect).

    I have no idea what a neural representation is.Galuchat

    A neural representation is a modification to our neural state that encodes information in the same way that an E-M signal carries a representation of transmitted information.

    For my cognitive psychology project, I have found it very useful to maintain a physical/mental distinction in conceptual analysisGaluchat

    I agree. I suggest you look at John of St. Thomas' distinction between Instrumental and formal signs, which is quite useful in articulating this. I got it from Veatch and discuss it in my book. The most convenient place to see it is in my video "#25 Mind: Ideas vs. Brain States" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMiQKYCEj14). Failing to make this distinction can lead to considerable confusion.
  • Dfpolis
    146
    It just is, and it does what it does without the need for any sort of support or guidance. No laws. No luck. Just reality, being realPattern-chaser

    Of course, it is metaphysically impossible for nature to "just be" without a concomitant cause..

    Why? Because an infallible sign of existence is the ability to act. If there is an action, then, necessarily, there is something acting. Nature changes, and its future states of nature are not actual in its present state. They are merely potential. As future states are not actual or operational, they cannot operate to make themselves actual; nonetheless, they are actualized, which is an action. So they need something else, something actual or operational to make them actual -- namely an operational cause.

    Laws causing the regularity of nature is identical with the regularity of nature being caused by laws. — Dfpolis

    No it isn't
    Pattern-chaser

    Of course it is. If A is doing B, necessarily, B is being done by A. There is no question here of master and disciple, only of different ways of stating the same reality.
    cause and effect; they aren't interchangeable, as you seem to think they are.Pattern-chaser

    I do not think cause and effect are the same. Causes operate to actualize. Effects are operated upon to be actualized.
  • Relativist
    218
    Yet, when we see an apple, we become aware of the apple and not of our retinal state. How is this possible?

    As I pointed out this distinction has no survival value, and so it is how to see how it could be selected by evolution.
    There is survival value to perceiving the world as it actually is (or at least a functionally accurate representation of it), since we have to interact with it to survive. What am I missing?
  • Dfpolis
    146
    There is survival value to perceiving the world as it actually is (or at least a functionally accurate representation of it), since we have to interact with it to survive. What am I missingRelativist

    There is survival value in generating an "appropriate response." Whether you're moving in the right way in response to data on your internal state or on the state of the world makes no difference to survival.
  • Relativist
    218

    Some forms of life went down that path (e.g. cockroaches), but that does't seem nearly as flexible as the sort of perception primates, and especially humans, have. It enables us to adapt to changing conditions.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.2k
    The underlying analogy is that as civil laws order social behavior, so laws of nature order natural behavior (an analogy of proportionality).Dfpolis

    OK, so the question is, will you adhere to the analogy? As civil laws order social behaviour through the means of the free will choices of human beings, do you assume that the laws of nature order natural behaviour through the free will choices of matter? If not, then you have no analogy. If so, I would object on the basis that matter has no soul and no free will to make such choices.

    So, to respond to your objection, if the universal laws of nature, as described by physics, fully determined the actions of knowing subjects, then yes, free will would be of no avail. But, we have no reason to think that the laws, as described by physics, apply to more than the abstract world physicists have chosen to study. Specifically, we have no reason to think that these laws fully determine the actions of subjects, given that natural science has chosen, ab initio, to exclude subjects as such from its consideration.Dfpolis

    What physicists choose to study is irrelevant, because the laws of nature, as you have described them are independent of what physicists study. The point is, that either matter is bound and determined to follow the laws of nature, as you claim, in which case there can be no free will, or matter is not determined by the laws of nature, in which case free will is possible. If the laws of nature inhere within matter as you have stated, acting to cause the activities of matter in this way, then it's irrelevant whether these laws are known to scientists or not, matter is still determined by them, and the human body being composed of matter is thus determined by the laws of nature. it is impossible that matter could behave in a way other than what is determined by these laws, and free will is impossible.

    I wish you'd said this earlier. When I started this discussion, I pointed out that the Fundamental Abstraction of natural science prescinds from the consideration of the knowing subject. The knowing subject is also the willing subject. So, when I am discussing the laws of physics and the laws of nature they describe, I'm not discussing reality in all of its complexity, but only the aspects of reality delimited by the Fundamental Abstraction -- which does not have the data to justify conclusions on knowing and willing -- on subjective awareness and freedom.

    To forget the self-imposed limitations of natural science is to commit Whitehead's fallacy of misplaced concreteness. We cannot assume that a science adequate to the physical world in abstraction from the knowing and willing subject is adequate to dealing with subjects knowing and willing. I began turning my attention to this yesterday in an exchange with Janus beginning with:
    Dfpolis

    Again, this is irrelevant, and you are only trying to create the illusion of free will. Either the activities of matter are determined by the laws of nature, or they are not, regardless of what the laws of physics say. To imply that there could be an undiscovered law of nature which allows for free will is to state a deception intended to give an illusion that free will is possible under your assumptions. However, this undiscovered law of nature would have to allow that the activity of matter is not determined by the laws of nature. And this is contradictory to your fundamental principle which holds that the laws of nature inhere within matter and therefore the activities of matter is determined by the laws of nature. The "undiscovered law" would have to be exactly contrary to your stated first principle. So it is deception, because you imply that your fundamental principle could actually allow for free will, but it would only allow for free will if there is an undiscovered natural law which contradicts your fundamental principle.

    As I discussed in more detail with Janus (and in even greater detail in my book), since both the laws of nature and human commitments are intentional (species of logical propagator), it is reasonable to ask whether human intentions might not perturb (modify) the "universal" laws of nature. Experiments provide us with statistical certitude that human intentions do perturb the so-called universal laws. So, we have every reason to believe that human actions are not fully determined by the "universal" laws of nature.Dfpolis

    No, I think it's impossible that human actions are not fully determined by the laws of nature, or that human actions could modify the laws of nature, if the laws of nature inhere within matter. A human action is an action of a material body. If a human being could act in a way which is inconsistent with the laws of nature, this would indicate that the laws of nature are not inherent within the matter of the human body, causing the activities of that matter. So it must be one or the other. What you propose would be contradictory.

    Clearly, the laws of mature must act immanently to order natural processes.Dfpolis

    I would like to know how you base this assumption that the laws of nature must act immanently. Traditionally, there is a duality between what you call "the laws of nature" (immaterial Forms), and material forms, (physical things). The Forms act to order natural processes because they are prior in time to these material processes, as God is prior to nature, being the creator. It is only when one decides to abandon this dualism that it becomes necessary to say that the laws of nature act immanently, in order to account for the fact that matter behaves in an orderly way.

    However, this move to materialism leaves intentionality unintelligible. It denies the possibility of free choice which is essential to intentionality. Without a separation between matter and that which causes matter to behave the way that it does (Forms, or laws of nature), there is no room for possibility. Matter must behave the way that it does because it has no choice as to which laws it will follow, if the laws inhere within it.
  • Dfpolis
    146


    But the question is on what physical basis can we draw the distinction?
  • Janus
    5.6k
    A law is created by humans.Pattern-chaser

    It really is nothing more than a matter of different interpretations of the ambit of a term. I really don't care if you disagree with my interpretation, and I have no investment in trying to convince you of anything; I've just been trying to explain to you how i see it. We'll have to just agree to disagree now since it seems to be bugging you.
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