• macrosoft
    511
    Yes, ideas are particular brain states.Terrapin Station

    But surely most don't mean the same thing by 'ideas' and 'particular brain states.' Most would probably grant some kind of important relationship, but to say that ideas are brain states seems like a bold assertion. The natural question is how are ideas brain states? Because we have weird feedback here: the idea that ideas are brain states is just a brain state.

    Also the idea of the brain is itself...just a brain state.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k
    But surely most don't mean the same thing by 'ideas' and 'particular brain states.'macrosoft

    I'm not speaking for most people. Most people believe that a God exists, too. Most people are wrong about some things.

    It might seem like a bold assertion to you, but to me it seems incredibly obvious. Wanting a schematic of it doesn't impact that. We want a schematic of just what dark matter is, too, but that we don't have that yet doesn't lead to us positing that it's some mysterious nonphysical or supernatural we-don't-know-what, exactly.
  • macrosoft
    511
    It might seem like a bold assertion to you, but to me it seems incredibly obvious.Terrapin Station

    I find it hard to parse this. If you are only saying that ideas are caused by or related to or dependent upon brain states, then sure, nothing controversial.

    I'm assuming though that you are thinking of brain states in terms of 'mind independent reality,' the kind of thing accessible by scientific instruments. And then I think you 'believe' in something that people call the mental. For instance, the experience of a scientist reading the output of one of her machines. Or the experience of the 'meaning' of your own assertion. How are we to understand that these things are the same and not just predictably related?
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k


    Mentality is what particular brain states are like when you are the brain in question. It's what the properties are like when you are those properties. That's different than what brains are like from a third-person perspective.

    It's actually the case for everything in the world that properties are different from different perspectives.
  • macrosoft
    511
    It's what the properties are like when you are those properties. That's different than what brains are like from a third-person perspective.Terrapin Station

    OK. I agree. From my point of view you are making a similar distinction in a different terminology. So your idea about ideas 'being' brain states would be the what-it-is-like-to-be of a particular brain state, which makes sense to me. I just think we need some kind of distinction like that to account for what is called the subjective (and I'm not allergic to the dependence of the subjective on the objective in the usual sense: a world 'out there' was here first and will outlast us).
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k


    Yeah, that's all I'm saying, really. Subjectivity then is all of those brain states from the first-person perspective. Objectivity is the complement.
  • DiegoT
    76
    you are a lucky man, becouse such evidence exist. Please do your own research about what neuroscience and psychology have learnt on this very issue. In fact, the current debate is about whether conscious processes play any active role in thinking, or act merely as witnesses to what the subconscious imagines and thinks.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k


    Yeah, it's definitely just that I'm not familiar with the arguments for it. Good work. :roll:
  • DiegoT
    76
    I have a personal rule of thumb to understand subjective vs objective. I replace "objective" by "shared" and everything makes more sense. For example, Science is about building shared knowledge, that is, knowledge that can be reached by experiences people can have in common and make sense of through a common language (logic and mathematics).
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k
    . I replace "objective" by "shared" and everything makes more senseDiegoT

    That would be a bad move because subjective/objective don't imply or in any way map to anything about agreement or "shared."

    Also, argumentum ad populums remain fallacies.
  • macrosoft
    511
    Yeah, that's all I'm saying, really. Subjectivity then is all of those brain states from the first-person perspective. Objectivity is the complement.Terrapin Station

    Thanks for clarifying. That seems very reasonable. Perhaps we can explore this idea: clearly we use some of our subjectivity to mode objectivity or mind-independent stuff, but subjectivity (or our experience) is much richer than this modelling. It includes much more than this one kind of modelling. And subjectivity includes models of itself, of its own modeling, for instance, and models of that modelling. We might ask what makes these models 'true' or 'false' or better or worse.

    For instance, you idea of the relationship between brain states and what-it-is-like-to-be-brain-states would seem to be a modelling of this wider context, since it relates the non-objective to the objective.
    Would you say that your model of the situation is simply the one you currently find most appropriate? Or is it more certain and grounded than that? If so, by what?
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k


    Most of that would be misleading in my view. I use "subjective" simply as a label for "anything mental." I don't think it's a good idea to attach any normatives to it*, to talk about it as more or less "rich" or anything like that.

    Ultimately I see it as a term simply picking out a location. An analogy I often use is that it would be like having a term for "inside a refrigerator."

    There are upshots to noting that things occur in the one location versus other locations, but the term is only a locational term in my view.

    * I'm not at all a fan of normatives in general, by the way.
  • macrosoft
    511
    I use "subjective" simply as a label for "anything mental." I don't think it's a good idea to attach any normatives to it*, to talk about it as more or less "rich" or anything like that.Terrapin Station

    Fair enough. I'm not big on normative either. Or at least I like putting one my amoral theorist hat and talking about what is. There are more than enough people out there doing the easier thing of talking about what merely ought to be. [Hegel expresses a contempt for the merely-ought-to-be in terms of it being too weak to even exist and not worth talking about.]

    So let's abandon rich. My point is that subjectivity contains far more than modelling of the non-mental. We might even say that it mostly models itself --and the relation of itself to models of the non-mental. It seems to me that philosophy is largely a thinking of thinking, operating at a very high level. It, among other things, models the modelling of the modelling, etc.

    So maybe I can rephrase my question: what grounds or makes true theories about the relation of the mental to the non-mental? I understand that the non-mental can ground or be said to ground statements about the non-mental. But when we include the mental in our models, it becomes less obvious what makes them true --unless we rank the existence of the mental and the non-mental similarly, etc.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k
    My point is that subjectivity contains far more than modelling of the non-mentalmacrosoft

    Yeah, I definitely agree with that.

    Re truth theory, its easiest if I copy/paste a summary of my view, but I need to do it in a bit. I'm on a mobile at the moment.
  • macrosoft
    511


    OK, sounds good. And I should actually do some work that pays the bills.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k
    Okay, my truth theory in a nutshell:

    ‘P’ is true for S iff S judges ‘P’ to have relation R to either S’s phenomenal P, and/or S’s stock of previously adjudged true propositions, depending on the relation R. Relation R is whatever truth theory relation S feels is the appropriate one(s)—correspondence, coherence, consensus, pragmatic, etc.

    So in other words, what it is for some proposition, 'P' (quotation marks denoting the proposition literally as a sentence), to be true to some individual, some S, is for the proposition to have the relation R to S's phenomenal P (their phenomenal perception etc. of some state of affairs) or their stock of previously adjudged true propositions, in S's judgment.
  • macrosoft
    511


    I like the flexibility of the relation R. It responds to issue-appropriate uses of the word 'true.' While you gave a few good examples, I suppose we could plausibly differentiate them further. For instance, an individual is likely to have an idiosyncratic, history-dependent assimilation of the coherence theory or the correspondence theory. So we could start by thinking of a slightly different set of relations in each individual, classified by family resemblance. As you might guess, I would just move from the discrete to the continuous. Admittedly it's hard to work with a continuum without discrete categories. I think we maybe move our bodies in the world or play music more or less with a continuous understanding, but language forces us to categorize.

    Do you find it plausible that instead of a few separate relations that we have in practice something more like a continuum? That we clarify 'true' in a sentence by mostly imperfectly categorizing that relation?
  • DiegoT
    76
    are you sure? What is objective then in philosophy? This is my understanding of the word: Objective seems to refer to objects of our mind, images we focus on to manage our behaviour in the world by bearing in mind certain patterns and becoming oblivious to the rest. Therefore, objects of knowledge, action, desire. When two or more people talk about these objects, they need to develop a common language based on experiences that are available to all parties, just to make sure their respective mental objects are similar enough to disregard the differences in each individual mind. Hence, objective knowledge, knowledge shared.
  • DiegoT
    76
    I don´t see why you use "subjective" as synonym with "mental". Mental contents have a degree of objectivity, the part of them that is shared or shareable with other people. For example, my image of what a car is, is subjective; however, my subjective picture shares characteristics with the image of many other people, and these coincidences are derived from shared, social experiences. Maybe you do this identification, to stress that subjective contents are representations, or secundary realities, produced by a mind as opposed to primary realities that exist aside of our mental activity.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k
    That we clarify 'true' in a sentence by mostly imperfectly categorizing that relation?macrosoft

    I wouldn't say that "perfectly"/"imperfectly" makes much sense here. It's rather a matter of how individuals think about it, however they're applying meanings, assessing the relation between a proposition and whatever else they're using in a given instance as the truthmaker, etc.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k
    are you sure? What is objective then in philosophy? This is my understanding of the word: Objective seems to refer to objects of our mind,DiegoT

    "Objective" has been used that way, especially by idealists, but it's more common in contemporary philosophy (where idealism isn't near as common as it was at some points in the past) to use "objective" to refer to "mind-independent." Of course, objective in the mind-independent sense is going to be useless to someone who rejects realism, because they either don't believe that anything is objective then (if they're ontological realists) or they at least believe that we can't know anything objective (if they're epistemological idealists)

    .
    When two or more people talk about these objects, they need to develop a common language based on experiences that are available to all parties, just to make sure their respective mental objects are similar enough to disregard the differences in each individual mind.DiegoT

    Which is mostly a nonsensical idea in my view.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k
    I don´t see why you use "subjective" as synonym with "mental".DiegoT

    Because that's a common definition of that term. Subjective refers to things that are mind-dependent.

    Mental contents have a degree of objectivity,

    Not when we're using "subjective" in the sense of mental phenomena or mind-dependence. When we use that definition, mental contents can not have a degree of objectivity by definition. On this definition, the subjective/objective distinction has nothing to do with whether anything is shared, whether there is any agreement, etc.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k
    Objective seems to refer to objects of our mind, images we focus on to manage our behaviour in the world by bearing in mind certain patterns and becoming oblivious to the rest.DiegoT

    On that definition, by the way, (a) what mental phenomenon wouldn't be objective? and (b) what would "subjective" refer to?

    Re (a) anything you think is an "object of the mind," no? It's something you focus on mentally/consciously, simply by virtue of it being whatever your thought is of.
  • macrosoft
    511
    I wouldn't say that "perfectly"/"imperfectly" makes much sense here. It's rather a matter of how individuals think about it, however they're applying meanings, assessing the relation between a proposition and whatever else they're using in a given instance as the truthmaker, etc.Terrapin Station

    What I had in mind is that we are giving up a certain amount of complexity or detail as we categorize. For instance, we don't switch between our theories (plural) of truth as we change gears on a bicycle. The connectedness of mental life is smoother than that IMV.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k


    Yeah, I didn't mean to suggest hard-edged divisions between them, necessarily. The idea is simply to make it more of a meta-theory that fits whatever relations (between propositions and whatever else) you're using, however fuzzily you might be thinking about them.
  • hks
    91
    My own subconscious mind gives me nightmares about horrifying things that have happened to me.

    So there is no doubt to me that the subconscious exists.

    Depending on the horror, the nightmares linger or else go away eventually. Some take longer than others.

    This is not conscious on my part. If it were I would make then go away immediately. It is subconscious.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k


    I would say that's your consciousness doing that, hks. Otherwise you wouldn't be aware of it.
  • Pattern-chaser
    549
    is there anyone here who does not believe in the subconscious limen?Ranger

    I don't think there is anything here to believe, only a definition to be understood. There are things we know that we do that we have no awareness of. Like when you drive home with no memory of doing so, or when the solution to a problem suddenly emerges in your mind, with no awareness of how it got there. We describe these things as "subconscious" (although I prefer Guy Claxton's term, "undermind" ).
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k
    Like when you drive home with no memory of doing so, or when the solution to a problem suddenly emerges in your mind, with no awareness of how it got there. We describe these things as "subconscious"Pattern-chaser

    The question there is whether there's any evidence of mental content that we're not aware of (and how there could be (any evidence of mental content that we're not aware of) if we're claiming there is) in either of those situations.

    With the driving example, one thing that's important to point out is that we're not talking about propositional knowledge there, we're talking about "how to" knowledge at best--in other words, the ability to do something. In that scenario, by saying that it's evidence of subconscious mental content, you're ruling out that it can simply be akin to "muscle memory," and you're saying that it's necessary to think about it in some sense, just where you're not aware that you're thinking about it. So in the face of a challenge about that, we'd need to be able to provide evidence that there's necessarily something mental about it.

    Re the solution to the problem, we'd have to explain why we'd believe that there's something like thought occurring (whether a thought of the solution itself or thinking that amounts to something like rationally working ona solution) where we're not aware of that mental content, rather than the simple possibility that once mental content occurs, it's a solution to the problem at hand.
  • Pattern-chaser
    549
    believing in the subconscious is something powerful but remember the subconscious does not pick up information because it is not fully aware of anythingWhiteNightScales

    I think you have misunderstood the idea of the subconscious. The word, and its intended meaning, stem from the fact that our conscious minds are unaware of what the subconscious gets up to. We don't really know what the subconscious might be aware of, if it is aware at all, or the nature of this awareness if there is one.
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