• Terrapin Station
    4.4k
    Yes. I would have thought that that would follow from ''All of my knowledge consists of perceptions.''philosophy

    No, that doesn't follow. You could define knowledge as something broader, yet you could claim that all knowledge happens to have property p."

    Okay, so this argument amounts to simply saying that x is not K just in case x has property b, because we've defined K as that which doesn't have property b.

    Now, we could simply define K another way--K is any x with property p or property b, no?
  • philosophy
    28
    I've got to go for now but I will respond when I'm back.
  • Michael
    7.4k
    Otherwise, how could you be born or die?Marchesk

    Why is there something rather than nothing? I don’t see why it makes more sense to say that first there was matter and then there was consciousness than to just say that first there was consciousness.

    Unless you want to argue for an eternal past (a problematic notion) something just had to have come into existence apropos of nothing. Why not mind rather than matter?

    There seems to be this implicit assumption that consciousness cannot be “free-floating” but that matter can. What’s the reasoning behind this that doesn’t just assume that external world realism is the case (i.e asserting that every case of consciousness we know of is “carried” by matter)?
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k
    I don’t see why it makes more sense to say that first there was matter and then there was consciousnessMichael

    Because that's what our observations/science have determined. Could that be wrong? Sure. It wouldn't be science if it couldn't be wrong, but to believe that it's wrong, we'd better have a good reason for it.

    There seems to be this implicit assumption that consciousness cannot be “free-floating” but that matter can.Michael

    Again, based on observations/science. It's not as if there is no neuroscience.
  • Marchesk
    2.3k
    Why is there something rather than nothing? I don’t see why it makes more sense to say that first there was matter and then there was consciousness than to just say that first there was consciousness.Michael

    Because all of our scientific and everyday knowledge tells us otherwise. People are born and they die. Humans evolved. The geological and astronomical records indicate great age. And so on for almost everything we care to investigate.
  • Michael
    7.4k
    Because that's what our observations/science have determined.Terrapin Station

    That may be the external world realist’s interpretation of their observations but if idealism is the case then the interpretation is wrong. Is there something to suggest that this interpretation is more reasonable than an alternative?

    Unless you have a good reason to believe that an idealist world would look different then your answer doesn’t work.
  • macrosoft
    511
    Realism is refutable in that it commits one to a contradictory term, ''unperceived object''.philosophy

    So what kind of reality are we talking about when we say that realism is refutable [in that reality]. Is our solipsist just deciding that realism is refutable in his lonely mind? In most cases, philosophers are trying to bring important truths to others, which assumes a shared reality that grounds those truths as true-for-us and not just true-for-me. This notion of the ground of true-for-us seems fundamental. I write it under erasure because it seems pre-conceptual. We can argue about whatever this ground is, but we argue from the very beginning in terms of this elusive ground. Merely bothering to argue with a particular notion in mind already grants the fundamental point, that there is such a notion.

    So arguments about whether there is an external world or whether there is a 'real' argument for or against this external world already presume this ground, which we might call the 'real' or 'primordial' external world, except that 'social' might be better than 'external' here.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k


    Idealism seeming like a pretty retarded belief that people seem to buy to try to justify stupid religious beliefs seems like a good reason to me.

    It's basically the philosophical equivalent of a toddler thinking that mom disappears when the toddler puts a blanket over their head. Some people mentally don't move past that stage. Things like autism and extreme self-centeredness are probably factors in the belief persisting in adults, too.
  • Michael
    7.4k
    That isn’t a good reason, even if you think otherwise.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k


    Obviously it's subjective.
  • Marchesk
    2.3k
    That may be the external world realist’s interpretation of their observations but if idealism is the case then the interpretation is wrong.Michael

    Right, but if idealism is the case, then the world as it appears to us is massively misleading. One has to wonder why the world is experienced as if it's material/physical, and as if it's much more than what we perceive. Why the appearance of billions of years of matter prior to consciousness, if that's not the case? Why the experience of needing a physical body that requires nourishment, air, water, etc in order to stay conscious?
  • Michael
    7.4k
    What does it mean for reasoning to be objective or subjective? And what about objective reasoning requires external world realism to be the case? I don’t think logic depends on the existence of inanimate matter.

    Your flippant attempt to ridicule idealism is a terribly weak strawman.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k


    Who said there was such a thing as "objective reasoning"?

    Your flippant attempt to ridicule idealism is a terribly weak strawman.Michael

    I was just being honest. Would you prefer I be dishonest?
  • Michael
    7.4k
    Nobody. I read between the lines.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k


    Ah. Well, I wouldn't say that there is any "objective reasoning." That's an oxymoron rather.
  • Michael
    7.4k
    My apologies. I thought you were being sarcastic. But I see that you mean it.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k
    You don't think that anything is objective if you're an idealist.
  • macrosoft
    511
    It's basically the philosophical equivalent of a toddler thinking that mom disappears when the toddler puts a blanket over their head. Some people mentally don't move past that stage.Terrapin Station

    I think it's more about scientism. Doubt is perceived as 'scientific.' It's an asceticism in terms of belief. The less you believe, the better you are. Faith is the basic sin. But of course it ignores our practical situation, which makes it a kind of theological scientism, 'reason' gone wild, getting tangled up in language out for a smoke break.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k
    I think it's more about scientism. Doubt is perceived as 'scientific.' It's an asceticism in terms of belief. The less you believe, the better you are. Faith is the basic sin. But of course it ignores our practical situation, which makes it a kind of theological scientism, 'reason' gone wild, getting tangled up in language out for a smoke break.macrosoft

    The only thing is that contingently, I almost always see it wrapped up with religious beliefs.

    What you're saying would make sense otherwise, though. It's kind of one of those, ". . . Hence we don't exist" moments where you should do a big "Oops! We must have royally f-ed up somewhere!"

    Unfortunately there are a lot of currently in-vogue scientific ideas in that vein, although I excuse that just as much to the widespread love of kind of fantastical SciFi among current generations of scientists.
  • Michael
    7.4k
    That’s the strawman. Take mathematics as an example. Both the idealist and the external world realist can believe that whether or not 1 + 1 = 2 is “objective” and not just a matter of personal opinion. I don’t see why this belief requires also believing in the existence of physical matter.
  • macrosoft
    511
    The only thing is that contingently, I almost always see it wrapped up with religious beliefs.Terrapin Station

    I guess what you mention is common enough. Perhaps we both noticed one of two or more common games being played.
  • macrosoft
    511
    Both the idealist and the external world realist can believe that whether or not 1 + 1 = 2 is “objective” and not just a matter of personal opinion.Michael

    It seems to me that the real issue is the thing that can make opinions not just opinions. When people argue whether there is matter, they clearly are concerned with something that makes their opinion not just an opinion. Those who deny matter or the certainty of matter are still relying on something that makes their idea true for others. Logic is part of that, and some sense of a shared world seems to be part of that. It's as if our 'sense' of there being others is 'deeper' than any explicit conceptualization of this sense (about which we could argue endlessly with others, who are there prior to this elaboration and for this elaboration. )
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k


    It's a straw man to say that I mean "personal opinion" by "subjective."

    Ontological idealists believe that only mind(s) exists. What I mean by the term "subjective" is mental phenomena. If only mind(s) exists, there is only mental phenomena.
  • Michael
    7.4k
    When people argue whether there is matter, they clearly are concerned with something that makes their opinion not just an opinion. Those who deny matter or the certainty of matter are still relying on something that makes their idea true for others. Logic is part of thamacrosoft

    Does the materialist argue that matter is what makes mathematical or logical statements true? Does the fact that 1 + 1 = 2 and that ¬(A & ¬A) depend on the existence of some configuration of atoms?

    I suppose you can be strict about it, like Terrapin, and argue that they must to be consistent, but then I'm more relaxed in my interpretation of these positions and think that the issue of mathematical realism is independent of the idealist vs dualist vs materialist argument.
  • macrosoft
    511
    Does the materialist argue that matter is what makes mathematical or logical statements true?Michael

    Maybe not. I probably had the wrong kind of materialist in mind and am derailing your point.

    the issue of mathematical realism is independent of the idealist vs dualist vs materialist argument.Michael

    I think I see what you mean, and I agree. I guess my focus is on what we mean by 'real.' What is the thing that makes something real? Or not-just-for-me or not-just-opinion? When people debate about this 'thing' earnestly (with a sense that their own position is not-just-opinion), are they even appealing to the ground they are arguing for ? If someone says that mathematical entities are real and another disagrees, how are the numbers supposed to be present or absent? There is already some grasp of the entities in the first place, else there could be no semi-intelligible debate about whether these entities had a 'further' or 'official' kind of existence. [Forgive me if this is too much of a digression.]
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k
    Does the materialist argue that matter is what makes mathematical or logical statements true? Does the fact that 1 + 1 = 2 and that ¬(A & ¬A) depend on the existence of some configuration of atoms?Michael

    Logic and mathematics are ways that we think and talk about the world--namely, a way that we think and talk about relations. At a very basic level, we're reasoning about relations we observe (though it still inherently depends on how we think about those relations, abstractions we make, etc.). A lot of the content of logic and mathematics is an extrapolation that doesn't correlate to observations, however.

    The relations in question are material things, yes. And the thinking about it is also a material thing--it's brain function.
  • Valentinus
    71

    Where is this mind you speak of? Is it located only inside your skull? How can you tell if you know so little of what is outside of you?
    If you are able to provide a proof that the mind is only inside you, what difference does it make from not being able to? I understand that a map differs from the territory. But why bother with making maps if they are never engaged with the territory?
    I suggest reading this essay by Gregory Bateson: Form, Substance, and Difference. It puts the uses of reason in a context.
  • Wayfarer
    6.8k
    All that exists is mental, i.e. exists in (a/my/some/the) mind.philosophy

    Agree that the world is in some basic sense mind-created. But the way I now put it, is that there is an irreducibly subjective pole, or to put it another way, that there are no ultimately-existing objects. After all, physics was supposed to arrive at a supposedly ultimately real object, but despite the construction of the largest apparatus in history, it has been unable to do so. This has lead at least some physicists to posit that the observing consciousness is indeed fundamental.
  • Marchesk
    2.3k
    In the old days, a good idealism debate would run 100 pages minimum, with much discussion of apples and mountain tops. Also chairs at the end of the universe.

    Color me disappointed in this paltry showing.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k


    Probably helps if those of us who arent idealists think it's worth "taking seriously."

    I have to be dishonest to treat it as if I don't think it's basically sophomoric trolling.
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.