• Terrapin Station
    8.4k
    Why "sufficiently complex" here? How is the meaning of a word being held in an AI any different from the colour blue?Isaac

    "Sufficiently complex" because quarks, hydrogen atoms, etc. don't appear to have minds. It appears to require more complexity than that. So there is going to be some minimum level of complexity required for mental properties, although complexity wouldn't be the only requirement.

    Re the second question there, it doesn't make any sense to me. No meaning is the same as a color.

    Re the color property question, I'd rather save that for a different discussion, as it has nothing to do with meaning in my view. (I don't want to sidetrack to a big tangent that has nothing to do with what I've (or for that matter what S has) been talking about in this thread . . . I also don't want to do multiple topics per post, really--and we already have two topics above this paragraph)
  • Theorem
    50
    Look, if you guys know of a place where Kant specifically argues his concept of representation, then fine. I'm well aware that Kant presented lot's of arguments for his positions, but to my knowledge he simply assumes that representation contains essentially nothing of what it represents (hence the unknowability noumena).

    My original point was that despite all of Kant's subtlety much of his system rests on a dubious concept of representation that he inherited from Locke. This is in contrast to the ancient and medieval conception of representation in which the mind is understood as receiving and abstracting the very form of the object of perception. In later medeival thought this was understood to occur through the action of signs (an idea subsequently developed by C. S. Peirce) which "transparently" represent the object to the mind.
  • Terrapin Station
    8.4k
    I believe Kant's arguments for noumena were purely logical, or formal, not causal. Something along the lines that 'if there are appearances then logically there must be something which appears'.Janus

    It would be, "If there are appearances then there must be something creating or causing the appearances"

    Re his formal comment, he's talking about, for example, the spatiotemporal form of the appearances in question.
  • Mww
    657
    He did argue that insofar as sensible intuitions are appearances they must correspond to something else which they are appearances of. This he calls noumena.Theorem

    This is patently false, on two accounts. Intuitions are representations, not appearances, and, appearances correspond to real physical objects presented to sense before any treatment by reason. And they are NOT noumena.

    But, in all fairness because you said “This he calls noumena”, if you could refer me to the text where I can read that, I shall be forced to reconsider.
  • Terrapin Station
    8.4k
    Intuitions are representations, not appearancesMww

    In Kant, what is the distinction there with respect to sensible intuitions?
  • Theorem
    50
    it also follows naturally from the concept of an appearance in general that something must correspond to it which is not in itself appearance, for appearance can be nothing for itself and outside of our kind of representation; thus, if there is not to be a constant circle, the word "appearance" must already indicate a relation to something the immediate representation of which is, to be sure, sensible, but which in itself, without this constitution of our sensibility (on which the form of our intuition is grounded), must be something, i.e., an object independent of sensibility. Now from this arises the concept of a noumenon, which, however, is not at all positive and does not signify a determinate cognition of something in general, in which I abstract from all form of sensible intuition. (A251–2) — Kant CPR
  • Isaac
    579
    Re the color property question, I'd rather save that for a different discussion, as it has nothing to do with meaning in my view. (I don't want to sidetrack to a big tangent that has nothing to do with what I've (or for that matter what S has) been talking about in this threadTerrapin Station

    But it has everything to do with it. The whole question is about where the property of meaning resides. You claim it does not reside in the object producing the raw data, but in the object responding to it. I hear the sound "dog", but the response (thinking of a dog) takes place in my mind, therefore the meaning (image of a dog) is a property of my mind.

    Yet exactly the same is happening to the blue cup. It is merely existing with its molecules arranged a certain way (in the same way as "dog" has a certain pattern of sound waves). When light hits it, some is absorbed, some reflected, but none of this means anything unless that reflected light hits something (a spectrometer) which then interprets the wavelength as being that of the colour blue. Yet you claim here that blue is a property of the cup (the thing emitting the data) whereas with words (patterns of sound waves) the property belongs to the receiver of the data.

    I just can't see why you would be making this distinction.
  • Terrapin Station
    8.4k


    I'm neither saying that patterns of sound waves do not occur in the sounds themselves nor that the meaning of blue (you say "but none of this means anything") occurs in the cup.

    Meaning is something different than other phenomena. Meaning isn't identical to color phenomena. It's also not identical to soundwave phenomena. And soundwave phenomena are not identical to color phenomena.
  • Isaac
    579


    I feel like we're having the same conversation in two different places.

    I'm not talking here about the meaning of blue. I'm talking about blue, the wavelength. In order to say the cup is blue (blueness is a property of the cup) it is sufficient in your view, that it emits a wavelength which any intercepting object capable of recognising it would register as blue. An incorrectly tuned spectrometer may register it as red, but it would be wrong.

    The word "dog" (as a collection of sound waves) emits these sound waves which, upon being intercepted by anything correctly calibrated to recognise them, would produce the image of a dog.

    Yet the cup's ability to make capable recipients register 'blue' is a property of he cup, yet the word "dog"'s ability to make capable recipients conjure the image of a dog is not a property of the word, but of the capable recipient.
  • S
    9.7k
    What's the ontology of unexpressed meaning?Michael

    Good question. Maybe it's a goat like everything else.

    At least in the case of potatoes and oranges we can say that they exist as physical objects even when not being mashed or juiced, but in what sense does meaning exist when words aren't being spoken?Michael

    But do you not think before you speak? And are your thoughts not meaningful? If meaning did not exist prior to being spoken, then how would you plausibly explain what goes on prior to the act of speaking? It doesn't make sense to me that meaning would just blurt out with our speech simultaneously, and then disappear along with it the very second that we'd stopped talking. That sucks as an explanation.

    So it makes sense to think that it exists prior to speech, and independently of it, but I'm not sure what it exists as. I'm not sure what kind of thing it is. That was the whole point of my other discussion.

    It is what it is, I guess. :grin:
  • S
    9.7k
    It may make sense but many idealists will claim it to be false. There isn't an orange and then also its experience, just as there isn't fear and then also its experience. Fear just is the experience and an orange just is the experience.Michael

    They may claim it to be false, but if my account makes sense and their's doesn't, then they haven't got a leg to stand on.

    Fear isn't much like an orange.

    It's not that you eat the experience of an orange but that you experience eating an orange.Michael

    Experience eating a what, though? What's an orange to them? An experience? If so, then I'm eating an experience.

    Your account of idealism tries to combine the idealist's account of an orange with the materialist's account of eating, which isn't a view that anybody I know of supports.Michael

    How do they explain what it is that I'm eating then?
  • S
    9.7k
    The modern idealist will say this is backwards. That which is named is always first an undefined appearance susceptible to naming.Mww

    How can it be an appearance if it isn't appearing to anyone, like the orange in my cupboard?

    This is how that same modern idealist thinks. An orange, as any real physical object, just *is* the experience *because* it has already been named, or which is the same thing, cognized as meeting the criteria for “orange”. Experience is just another word for empirical knowledge.Mww

    The modern idealist makes very little sense, and if they put what you say into practice, then they would have trouble understanding people all the time, since people mean two different things when they talk about the orange and the experience of it. There's a reason why we use different words to describe the one and the other. The modern idealist would have to ignore or disregard this. The modern idealist is a naive idealist.
  • Terrapin Station
    8.4k
    The word "dog" (as a collection of sound waves) emits these sound waves which, upon being intercepted by anything correctly calibrated to recognise them, would produce the image of a dog.Isaac

    You could program a machine to do that, sure. The problem is that it's something different than meaning. And the machine isn't even making an association. We'd be interpreting it that way (and programming it in a way that's consistent with what we're interpreting).
  • Mww
    657


    Basically, in the cognitive chain, appearances come first, as an un-named object called a phenomenon, occurring immediately upon perception. Empirical intuitions, which are concepts already resident a priori but derived from extant experience, relate to appearances via imagination by which phenomena are then represented, and if understanding judges the positive fitness of such relation we have cognition hence knowledge, if negative fitness we don’t, but we still have the experience of sensing something we don’t understand. It’s major importance arises from perception of objects or physical conditions yet unknown to us, or the understanding of merely possible objects.

    In short, it’s a theoretical exposition of how we learn.
  • Terrapin Station
    8.4k


    So we experience the phenomenon and then afterwards we experience the representation?
  • Mww
    657


    Understood.

    In CPR 1787 of course, he deleted that whole synopsis given in CPR 1781 you referenced as being incoherent. In B, noumena are give a whole lot less import, and stand as Janus contributed, as merely a logical complement to phenomena and of the form of mere “intellectual existence”. They are not intuited hence are unknowable, which led to the confusion of calling them “things-in-themselves”.

    He had to do this, because if noumena are said to have a overt cognitive function we are then required to incorporate two separate and distinct representational functionalities, which the human mind does not have.
  • Terrapin Station
    8.4k
    In CPR 1787 of course, he deleted that whole synopsis given in CPR 1781 as being incoherent.Mww

    I like that even Kant himself thought that he was writing incoherent stuff.
  • Mww
    657


    It can be viewed that way, insofar as your order, or sequence, is correct. Nevertheless, when questions are asked about how it all happens, it becomes obscure because of the terminology specific to the theory. In other words, if the logical sequence leads to a certain conclusion, the wording of the conclusion cannot be used beforehand. This means we don’t experience phenomena or representation because phenomena occur in a series of steps before representation and representation occurs just fewer steps before we can call it an experience. Between is understanding, judgement, cognition, knowledge, then finally, experience.

    Thing is, nobody questions reason in common everyday living. When you sense a touch, you immediately experience what reason has only allowed as phenomenon whether you know what touched you or not. By the same token, you do know what touch entails because you have been touched before, so you have extant a priori experience of being touched, hence intuitions of things that can touch, even if you do not immediately know what touched you this time. This is of course, more commonly referred to as just plain ol’ memory.

    Another problem with this kind of idealism is that much liberty is given to the enunciation of “faculty”. In one place Kant will call representation a faculty but in another he’ll lead one to think of it as an object of some other faculty. Intuitions are representations but reside in consciousness, which really cannot be a faculty of representation because there are notions and ideas also resident in consciousness which cannot have representation, re: infinity, space, time, and other supersensible conceptions, including those cursed noumena.

    Kant also acknowledges the theory is quite incomprehensible to those who do not wish to understand it. But if it is understood, it should be found sensible, intelligible, indeed logically possible, but nonetheless no ways near apodectically certain. It is, after all, just a theory.
  • Mww
    657


    Do not confuse the appearing of physical manifestation of reflected light, with the conceptual appearing of the effect of reflected light. The eyes mediate the former into the latter and science agrees with the transformation of one kind of energy into another.

    I have no experience of oranges in cupboards. My immediate cognition would be empty for lack of understanding. If you tell me there is an orange behind the cupboard door, I’ll say....ok, take you’re word for it. But no such knowledge of fact is available to me. Still, because I know “orange” and I know “cupboard”, I know a priori the possibility of oranges in cupboards is not self contradictory and is at the same time quite possible. Just like those stupid f’ing rocks.
    ———————————

    people mean two different things when they talk about the orange and the experience of it.S

    No, actually, they do not. The orange *talked about* IS the orange of experience, and similarly the orange merely thought is the orange of possible experience. The former is certain, the latter is not. The orange you ate is certainly a orange, the orange in the cupboard is possibly an orange.
    ———————————

    No matter the assignment of naitivity to this particular theoretical epistemology, it is complete. Any question asked of it is answered by it, according to its author. Whether it is appreciated or not is entirely irrelevant; it has yet to be successfully falsified or replaced. And even if science proves the physical mechanisms of the brain sufficient to account for subjective predicates, humans will still think as if it never did, and will continue to act as their own subjects.
  • Michael
    7.7k
    But do you not think before you speak? And are your thoughts not meaningful? If meaning did not exist prior to being spoken, then how would you plausibly explain what goes on prior to the act of speaking? It doesn't make sense to me that meaning would just blurt out with our speech simultaneously, and then disappear along with it the very second that we'd stopped talking. That sucks as an explanation.

    So it makes sense to think that it exists prior to speech, and independently of it, but I'm not sure what it exists as. I'm not sure what kind of thing it is. That was the whole point of my other discussion.

    It is what it is, I guess.
    S

    So there’s meaning when there’s thinking. Is there meaning when there isn’t thinking (or speaking)?
  • Michael
    7.7k
    Experience eating a what, though? What's an orange to them? An experience? If so, then I'm eating an experience.S

    There’s a painting of a man eating an orange. What is the nature of the orange? It’s paint. But the painting isn’t a painting of a man eating paint; it’s a painting of a man eating an orange.

    I dream of eating an orange. What is the nature of the orange? It’s a dream. But I’m not dreaming of eating a dream; I’m dreaming of eating an orange.

    Your description of idealism still seems to mix ontologies by assuming a materialist understanding of eating.
  • S
    9.7k
    I mean - they would mean what they say. I don't know how else to meet a 'nuh uh' but with a 'yes huh'.csalisbury

    Then how are they idealists and not realists? An object, at least in the context of things such as oranges, doesn't ordinarily mean an appearance or an idea or an experience. That's like defining black as white, and then when someone clocks on and says something like that's not what black is, but you just insist that it is, knowing full well that you mean something else and that you're going by an usual definition. In this situation, you would basically be a sophist. How can they be saying the same thing as me, and mean the same thing as me, yet I'm a realist and they're an idealist? You have some serious explaining to do.

    I'm guessing you actually knew what I meant when I said that they don't mean what they say. You're just point scoring again.

    Alright, but if that's what it comes down to, why bother with the 'olp' stuff? The irony here is that this 'olp' routine- 'what would people at work say' etc - is being used in order to defend...well, I invite you to explain the OP to people at work:

    'What are you talking about, man? Potatoes? Orange juice? Rules are just the things written down in, like, the employee handbook or, like, the rulebook in monopoly. There's no mystery. '
    csalisbury

    It's not very difficult to explain what an analogy is, and what language rules are, even to a layperson. I guarantee you, they would get what I mean, and they would see where I'm coming from, and they would agree.

    Now try that with idealist nonsense and see where it gets you!
  • S
    9.7k
    Much as I agree with you, you're never going to win this argument. For the idealist, to be is to be an object of experience. Arguing about the nature of oranges won't get you anywhere, because the sophisticated idealist is happy to grant that oranges are physical objects. It's just that all physical objects also happen to be objects of experience!

    There's no way to refute this, not empirically, not philosophically, not logically. It might be fun to discuss at first, but once the novelty wears off it's better to just shake your head and ignore it.
    Theorem

    So, to be is be an object of experience. Except that this falls flat on it's face when it comes to rocks on distant galaxies that no one has ever experienced. They either have to implausibly deny that they exist, or twist the meaning of what's being said beyond good sense.

    This is far from being irrefutable. This is lose-lose.
  • S
    9.7k
    Ignoring it then leaves one with rationality in general and humanity in particular irreducible to a non-contradictory fundamental condition, because the only other possible methodology, empirical science, cannot provide one. Yet. So far.Mww

    Saying this is one thing. Demonstrating it with a sound argument is another.

    All physical objects also happen to be objects of experience OR POSSIBLE experience.Mww

    That's compatible with realism. The irony is that you kept calling me an idealist. No, you're a realist.

    Even those rocks on distant galaxies are possible, in principle, to experience. Even if in practice, we never end up doing so, no matter how hard we try. But accepting that they exist is to accept realism. Realism is just that they don't actually need anyone there experiencing them at the time in order for them to exist. You don't actually seem to understand realism.

    It could also be re-written as, all KNOWN physical objects also happen to be objects of experience. Not even science can deny that.Mww

    Ambiguous and misleading. The rocks on distant galaxies aren't objects of experience in my sense, yet I know that they exist, and I know things about them; and my sense makes sense. It makes sense, if that's denied, to then ask, "Well who's experiencing them, then?".

    But it appears that you mean something else entirely, and you're just not being as clear as you should be about it.
  • Theorem
    50
    They either have to implausibly deny that they exist, or twist the meaning of what's being said beyond good sense.S

    Exactly. Unfortunately, the bottom line is that "plausibility" and "good sense" are all you have to fall back on in your war against the idealists. But that won't bother the idealist one bit because they know that sometimes what seems plausible or sensible to the majority is nothing more than ignorance. You see, the idealist is one of an enlightened few and has seen through the smokescreen of naive realism and has grasped the Truth!

    Besides, there's all sorts of ways to get around these kinds of objections. We could posit God, the World Spirit, the Absolute, the Will or anything else we can dream up to account for the fact that things continue to exist even when you and I are not experiencing them.
  • S
    9.7k
    If we try to imagine an apple, but leave out perspective and a subjective sense of time, we cannot do so.csalisbury

    Oh god, not this again. Just because I can't imagine something, like an apple, without imagining it, that doesn't mean that it can't exist without my imagination. That's a really bad argument.

    The only thing left is to accept that there is a mystery at the heart of it, something that we cannot understand through philosophy or thinking alone, maybe cannot understand at all.csalisbury

    No, no, no. Thinking that it's a mystery is precisely the problem. There is no big mystery to the fact that stars were there before us and our experience, and stars will be there afterwards. What do you think we're made of? This anthropocentrism is sheer folly in the guise of wise and insightful philosophy.

    But the proper use of the gem, imo, is to show us that whatever there is, beyond our thought and experience, it is confused to think of it as something that's basically like how we experience the apple, only unexperienced. That in itself is a kind of idealism, only one that isn't self-aware.csalisbury

    It's not a "whatever it is", it's an apple. If it was an apple before, then it's an apple after. Things don't change their nature in line with our perception of them. That's anthropocentricism again. That wouldn't make you Copernicus, it would make you Ptolemy.
  • Mww
    657


    Of course I’m a realist. How foolish to suppose there aren’t real things in the real world. Besides, I couldn’t explain my very own self if I denied objective reality. And if I acknowledge objective reality as not only reasonable, but absolutely necessary, I cannot then deny that same objective reality, and by association its contents, as present when I am not.

    I call anyone an idealist if they are rational thinkers. Whether or not those anyone’s agree is nothing to me; it’s just what the name implies.
  • S
    9.7k
    Are we really to understand that this is the epitome of modern wisdom?Theorem

    No, it's a deception.

    Sure, transcendental idealists are ostensibly more sophisticated than that, but are they really?Theorem

    No.
  • Mww
    657
    the idealist is one of an enlightened few and has seen through the smokescreen of naive realism and has grasped the Truth!Theorem

    LOL. There’s hope for you yet!!!! Forsake the LOOOSSERRR side and join the chosen. I’ll show the nudgenudgewinkwink secret handshake.

    Drop that capitol T truth, though. Haven’t got that far.
  • S
    9.7k
    They went too far down the rabbit hole.ZhouBoTong

    :100:

    Someone needs to break the spell that they're under.
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