## Is Idealism Irrefutable?

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• 6.7k
You are right about that formal structure. What is fascinating is the attempt to capture flow in that formal structure.

Yeah, it's interesting to think of the different ways in which painting, for example, can capture flow; life, movement, intensity; very different than mathematics!

I think you are missing my point. I'm not talking about feelings. I am talking about intuitions of 'pure form.' Or rather intuitions of almost pure form, since there is still some drag in material. We need the visual prop.

OK, I'm not sure what you are going for then. You mean generalized forms likes cones, cubes, spheres and so on; or something else?
• 674
Yeah, it's interesting to think of the different ways in which painting, for example, can capture flow; life, movement, intensity; very different than mathematics!

Indeed. We have this theme of becoming in philosophy, mathematics, painting, music. Music is maybe supreme at this.

OK, I'm not sure what you are going for then. You mean generalized forms likes cones, cubes, spheres and so on; or something else?

Sure, those are good geometric examples. We grasp what a perfect circle is, never having seen one. And there are also the intuitions that ground arithmetic. Let's get primitive (Hilbert and others did) and think of tally marks. I, II, III, IIII, IIIII, .... We happen to use a verticle line there, but we know that more than that is intended. We could also use o , oo, ooo, oooo, ... We have a basic grasp of 'pure unity,' of a kind of pure object that is nothing but this unity. Some mathematicians start from these tallies and try to catch the continuum by building the rationals and then the real numbers, the 'continuous' numbers. Others do it with set theory, so that one builds at an even lower level using the idea that one thing is contained in another (the bubbleverse.)
• 6.7k
Music is maybe supreme at this.

Music (as performed) is an essentially dynamic form, whereas as painting, for example, is not. Having said that there is a dynamic performance in the reading of poetry (even silently to oneself) or the looking at painting, (and no doing in the doing of mathematics!).

We have a basic grasp of 'pure unity,' of a kind of pure object that is nothing but this unity.

Yes, though in way I think this notion of 'identity pure and simple' is the very exemplar of the reduction of dynamis to stasis. All very essential to intellectual grasping; something whole and complete to hold (yet it keeps slipping from the grasp, nonetheless!).
• 674
Yes, though in way I think this notion of 'identity pure and simple' is the very exemplar of the reduction of dynamis to stasis. All very essential to intellectual grasping; something whole and complete to hold (yet it keeps slipping from the grasp, nonetheless!)

Indeed. That is part of what is so fascinating about pre-rigorous calculus. The 'infinitesimal' was a philosophically problematic grasp at pure becoming. And as you hint at, much of our discourse seems to be trying to grasp becoming in terms of being.

Music (as performed) is an essentially dynamic form, whereas as painting, for example, is not.

I agree that painting isn't dynamic in the same way. I suppose one could think of the eye scanning this and then that. But for me the strong analogy would be between music and the movement of concepts.
• 44

While I don't disagree with you that idealism constitutes a valid view of the world, it must also allow that within the world of ideas there is also the one that an external reality does exist.
• 4.6k
the idealist's claim (original post) that the existence of the external world cannot be proved is irrefutable.

No it's not. The idealist's claim is thought/belief based. Thought/belief requires an external world. The idealist employs a misconception of thought/belief by virtue if conflating rather complex thought/belief with one element therein...

Perception...

That notion(the idealist notion of "perception") is the only problem.
• 929
the idealist's claim (original post) that the existence of the external world cannot be proved is irrefutable.
— philosophy

No it's not

Agree. Define the mind as the conscious thread of activity plus memory only. Then when in a conversation with another, you can extend "I think therefore I am' to 'You think therefore you are'. That proves the existence of separate consciousnesses; IE separate minds as I defined them.

I suppose you could counter argue that all the minds are physically colocated.
• 199
Whatever I experience I experience as an idea in my mind

Even if we took this for granted, it does not mean that idealism must be true- perhaps some form of dualism is true.

it is impossible to perceive an unperceived object by definition.

Even we took this for granted, it only reveals an epistemic limitation of what we know.

belief in the external world, i.e. a world independent of my experience of it, cannot be based on reason but on faith.

I am certain that some philosopher might agree with you, but not from the two points you made.
Do you think such a view can be refuted?

The better question is what good reason is there to believe in X?
Think about the claims made by people who say they were abducted by aliens; they are typically unfalsifiable, but there is no good reason to believe them.
• 9
it's irrefutable because knowing the thing-in-itself is impossible, we know things in relation to something, our senses, our understanding, our reason, etc. so yes, also, is kind of arrogant assuming that we humans know how things are, obviously a mole don't sense the same world, and things of perception are different in a lot of animals, we can understand that if i cover something with a blanket, the thing didn't dissapear, not every animal can understand this, and babys also can't.
• 9
the problem here is not if it is or isn't falsifiable, we know that we sense things through our body, we know that our brain makes us understand things in some particular manner (seeing only somebody's head cause he is covered doesn't mean we think he is a floating head), basically, we can't know what things look like in themselves, because we sense them in relation to something, we understand them in relation to something.
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My point is that just because x is irrefutable, it does not mean we should believe it.
• 9
no, i understand, but i'm saying we have a lot of evidence that shows difference in perception of the things on a really interesting level, not just seeing colors differently, my point, is that thinking we humans are sensing "the truth", it's really human-centric (i hate talkin about x-centric, but in this case i think it makes more sense) but yes, it's not like we can prove it just because of that, i agree with you, but for what i exposed, i think is not that crazy of a position being a radical idealist.
• 317
As long as we accept the Cartesian premise that we can rely on our thoughts and self-knowledge and as long as we don't press Berkeley on his metaphysics of God, his argument is at least as strong as Locke's. I am more interested if his thesis of immateriality is better than Locke's thesis of materialism. He seems to rest his arguments on the same premises he attacks Locke for using. In which case is he just exchanging the terms 'material object' and 'substratum' with Ides and minds?
• 7.8k
i understand, but i'm saying we have a lot of evidence that shows difference in perception of the things on a really interesting level, not just seeing colors differently,

The problem that underscores is not a problem with the notion of realism per se but the wonky, completely unsupported and kinda dumb notion of the world "being just one way," or there being some preferred perspective/reference point. The world is reference-point relative, perspectival (in a figurative as well as literal sense). The differences are real. The world is not identical from any two different reference points.
• 0

Imagine if you were a musician and you were to go into a recording studio, and anytime you try to talk about or work on anything in that situation, one guy in the band were to only talk about how soundwaves travel through the air, how they work as electrical signals in cables, the mixing board, etc.

That's fine and it's certainly a factor that everyone is aware of to some extent, but if that guy seems to ONLY be able to talk about that, he'd drive you crazy--you'd think something is wrong with him, in some sort of weird OCD or autistic/Aspie/"idiot savant" way, and it would be frustrating in that you'd not be able to work on anything with him, because he just constantly obsesses on soundwaves and how electrical signals in cables amount to sound transmission.

That's what it's like when people keep obsessing on epistemology, semantics/semiotics, etc. regardless of what topic you're talking about.

I mean this is a forum about idealism.

But there is a practical point in putting forward these kinds of views. For example, I might think that creating art is the supreme purpose of life and is more important than, say, science. Or I might think that there is a God. There's only a point in pointing out that all of these things; logic, mathematics, ethics are reducible to a subjective viewpoint if someone is trying to tell me that I'm objectively wrong.

And I think the prevalent, accepted view of our times is that science is the supreme authority on everything. We have a kind of reverence for the scientific method. We believe in pursuing a constant search for scientific 'truth' regardless of whether it has any agreed-upon usefulness.
Insofar as we can all agree that it's on our side there's no reason to question it: we're all agreeing to take the same leap of faith. But, in cases where it isn't, it's necessary to take it down a peg or two by reminding everyone that it has no more objective truth to it than any other ridiculous worldview.

I particularly think this when I see scientists scoffing at religion. (I'm not religious, by the way, I don't have a horse in this race.)
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