• Harry Hindu
    2.2k
    That's strange I would think that "ripeness" is a judgement made by human beings, and not a property at all. When the banana is ripe for me, it is overripe for my son. Ripeness is not a property at all, it's a judgement, just like good and bad are not properties of moral and immoral acts, they are judgements of such acts. Come to think of it, redness, big, small, hard and soft, and everything that we call "properties" are just judgements made by human beings. When we say that such and such has X property, we are just making a judgement.Metaphysician Undercover

    So, what are you saying - that there are no such things as properties - only judgments? Judgments about what?

    It seems to me that a judgment is a property of a decision, goal, or intent. What is ripe for you isn't overripe for your son. It is still in a state of ripeness that either you or your son prefer. It isn't that it is over ripe for your son, it is the same ripeness as it is for you, it's just that he prefer's his under ripe, whereas you prefer yours ripe. You aren't determining the ripeness of fruit. It is your judgment, or preference, of the current state of ripeness. Your judgment has to be about something, and it is about the current state of the fruit. You are committing a category error in projecting "good" or "bad" onto the fruit, when the fruit is only ripe, over ripe, or under ripe, not good or bad. Good and bad are properties of judgments.

    "Big", "small", "hot", "cold" are relative terms, meaning that they point to the relative properties of size and temperature when compared between two or more things.
  • Isaac
    714
    If being able to be measured, and having spatial relations with other things is having a "location in space", then the imaginary pattern has no location in space.Metaphysician Undercover

    Your syllogism is correct, but I don't agree with (nor can see any reason for) the premise. Why would our ability to measure something have anything to do with its having a location in space? Surely all our ability to measure something tells us is our current state of technology, not anything ontological?

    If you mean our ability to measure something in theory, then you're just begging the question by asserting that the pattern in the mind cannot be measured. That is the very issue at hand.

    Studies in physics demonstrate that it is difficult, if not impossible, to assign spatial locations to parts (particles) within objects. So I think that my position is much more realistic than yours.Metaphysician Undercover

    I don't understand this connection. It is difficult to determine the spatial location of quantum particles, but as soon as they become physical objects their spatial location is not at all difficult to determine. It seems strange, if not even a little contrived, for you to use the uncertainty in particle physics to support your dualism, but allow no such uncertainty in neuroscience "we can't currently measure it, therefore it's unmeasurable". Let's either use science we know and understand (which would exclude all the 'spooky stuff' from quantum physics which has yet to be understood), or let's allow for uncertainty and progress in scientific understanding (which would not rule out a direct mind-brain correlation just because we have yet to fully explain it). Let's not pick ambiguity in one and certainty in another to support our preferred positions.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    The threads are physical things which we can sense, and spatial and temporal relations are not sensible so they are non-physical.Metaphysician Undercover

    Not that "physical" is defined by "what we can sense," but you can't sense that something is, say, a meter to the left of something else? How do you figure out that something is a meter to the left of something else if you don't sense that?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.9k
    So, what are you saying - that there are no such things as properties - only judgments? Judgments about what?Harry Hindu

    We make judgements about anything. Do you recognize the difference between the thing and what is attributed to the thing (a property)? Or, the difference between the subject and the predicate? To say that something has a specific property does not mean that the thing actually has that property, the statement is a reflection of a judgement. It means that the thing has been judged to have that property.

    What is ripe for you isn't overripe for your son. It is still in a state of ripeness that either you or your son prefer. It isn't that it is over ripe for your son, it is the same ripeness as it is for you, it's just that he prefer's his under ripe, whereas you prefer yours ripe. You aren't determining the ripeness of fruit. It is your judgment, or preference, of the current state of ripeness. Your judgment has to be about something, and it is about the current state of the fruit. You are committing a category error in projecting "good" or "bad" onto the fruit, when the fruit is only ripe, over ripe, or under ripe, not good or bad. Good and bad are properties of judgments.Harry Hindu

    That's nonsense. If it isn't a judgement which determines whether the fruit is ripe or not then how is the ripeness determined? Do you not see that there needs to be criteria as to what constitutes "ripe" and, that there needs to be a comparison of the fruit in relation to this criteria, in order for the fruit to be determined as ripe or not? If this comparison is not a judgement, then what is it?

    This is the case when any properties are attributed to anything, it is a matter of judgement.

    Your syllogism is correct, but I don't agree with (nor can see any reason for) the premise. Why would our ability to measure something have anything to do with its having a location in space? Surely all our ability to measure something tells us is our current state of technology, not anything ontological?

    If you mean our ability to measure something in theory, then you're just begging the question by asserting that the pattern in the mind cannot be measured. That is the very issue at hand.
    Isaac

    Ok, you obviously do not like my claim that the imaginary pattern has no location in space, being imaginary. So perhaps you can offer a description or definition of what you mean by "location in space" which would allow that the imaginary pattern has a location in space. To say that the pattern has a spatial location inside a brain is really nonsense because the neurosurgeon will find neurons, synapses, and things like that, but not the pattern which is being imagined.

    It is difficult to determine the spatial location of quantum particles, but as soon as they become physical objects their spatial location is not at all difficult to determine.Isaac

    So you believe that there is a time when a quantum particle is not a physical object? I suppose therefore, that at this time it is non-physical. If you accept that the quantum particle is at some times physical and at other times non-physical, then why would you have a problem with a physical/non-physical dualism? It seems like you accept dualism in the principles of physics, but not in ontology of the human being. Isn't this the type of nonsense which the op refers to? Dualism in physics is conventional, but the physicalist doesn't allow dualism in ontology. What's with that?

    Not that "physical" is defined by "what we can sense," but you can't sense that something is, say, a meter to the left of something else? How do you figure out that something is a meter to the left of something else if you don't sense that?Terrapin Station

    No I can't sense that one thing is a metre to the left of another, that must be measured or in some other way judged. Senses don't make judgements, minds do.
  • Andrew M
    694
    If you mean, do I think there is in principle an explanation for scientific laws, the answer is: I don't think there isWayfarer

    OK, thanks! However given what you go on to say, it seems you rule out a physical explanation for physical laws but not a philosophical (or theological) explanation.

    I think that raises the question of what demarcates physics from metaphysics. Is it a difference in kind or a difference in focus? As I see it, philosophy goes meta by focusing natural investigation onto itself. That is, it is the investigation of investigation.
  • thedeadidea
    98
    If your naturalism wants a reductionism of substance that corresponds to principles of understanding physicalism is incompatible namely because the principles will eventually become mathematical abstraction and mathematics.

    I think physicalism or material reductionism is best considered an educational tool, organization/contextualization... It is infintely important to have an educated public that knows for instance the cell, DNA and genes are basic units and concepts that relate to biology and know what the are.
    In terms of the grand philosophy I think as we move forward we will be looking at more computational/information based theories because it actually reflects our understanding and practice. In particular synthetic biology is much more focused and defined as a methodological approach to biology understanding and utilizing it as a technology than it is any overarching concerns like the origin or meaning of life...
  • Isaac
    714
    To say that the pattern has a spatial location inside a brain is really nonsense because the neurosurgeon will find neurons, synapses, and things like that, but not the pattern which is being imagined.Metaphysician Undercover

    How are you determining that the "neurons, synapses, and things like that" are not the pattern? Again, you're begging the question. You're assuming 'the pattern' is some existant thing (such that you can say that a collection of neurons aren't it) in a discussion about whether a pattern is an existant thing.

    So you believe that there is a time when a quantum particle is not a physical object? I suppose therefore, that at this time it is non-physical.Metaphysician Undercover

    No. Not a physical object, and not physical at all are two different things. Energy is physical, but it is not a physical object. I'm not in any way an expert in physics, so my terminology might be all wrong, apologies if it is, but the difference I'm trying to capture is only that between energy and matter, which I understand are somehow convertible from/to one another.

    It seems like you accept dualism in the principles of physics, but not in ontology of the human being. Isn't this the type of nonsense which the op refers to? Dualism in physics is conventional, but the physicalist doesn't allow dualism in ontology. What's with that?Metaphysician Undercover

    Yes, that's pretty much true in essence. I don't think physicists would use the term' dualism', but it certainly seems as though some very 'spooky' stuff is going on at the quantum scale. But it's not 'nonsense' at all to dismiss it at the human level. There is sound empirical and mathematical evidence for the 'spooky stuff' going on at the quantum level. There is none whatsoever for it going on at the human level. We do not require a 'realm of thought' to create useful models of the world (yet), so why invent one?
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    No I can't sense that one thing is a metre to the left of another, that must be measured or in some other way judged. Senses don't make judgements, minds do.Metaphysician Undercover

    Can you sense the measurement?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.9k
    How are you determining that the "neurons, synapses, and things like that" are not the pattern? Again, you're begging the question. You're assuming 'the pattern' is some existant thing (such that you can say that a collection of neurons aren't it) in a discussion about whether a pattern is an existant thing.Isaac

    As I said before, if the pattern which we are talking about is not an existent thing, then what are we talking about, and why are we having this conversation at all? We've already agreed that it is a pattern. We agreed that there is one pattern on the shirt, and one pattern in the imagination, two distinct patterns, that are somehow similar. Now you want to rescind that agreement and go back to where you were before that, claiming the imaginary pattern is non-existent, nothing. This is not progress. You agree on a proposition and then it leads you toward a conclusion which you dislike, so you withdraw the agreement.

    No. Not a physical object, and not physical at all are two different things. Energy is physical, but it is not a physical object.Isaac

    Energy is not a physical object, it is an attribute, a property of moving objects, the capacity to do work. It is "physical" only in the sense that it is something attributed to an object. Energy is a property of an object. The problem here is that some people assign "existence" to properties without having any physical object to assign these attributes to and then they create the illusion that the attribute has existence all on its own. In this case someone would say that energy exists as something physical, independent of any object. But of course that's nonsensical to say that there is a property existing independently of all objects, unless we look at that property as a concept, then it is an abstraction, in the mind.

    I'm starting to see a pattern now in your thinking. It appears like you want to say that the non-physical is real, so long as it is not consider to exist as physical objects. The imaginary pattern is real, but not an existing physical object, energy is real but not an existing physical object. For you, these things are real, and they are not physical objects. However, instead of recognizing that "not physical objects" means that they are "non-physical" you want to make the incoherent move of disassociating "physical" from "object", to say that these things are physical but not objects. Do you understand that "physical" is defined as "of the body"? This is why your move to disassociate "physical" from "object", allowing that things like energy, and imaginary patterns, are physical but not objects is incoherent, because it renders the term "physical" as incoherent and self-contradictory. There are things of the body (physical) without a body (object)

    Yes, that's pretty much true in essence. I don't think physicists would use the term' dualism', but it certainly seems as though some very 'spooky' stuff is going on at the quantum scale. But it's not 'nonsense' at all to dismiss it at the human level. There is sound empirical and mathematical evidence for the 'spooky stuff' going on at the quantum level. There is none whatsoever for it going on at the human level. We do not require a 'realm of thought' to create useful models of the world (yet), so why invent one?Isaac

    Oh come on Isaac. Do you truly believe that there is no quantum activity in the human nervous system? Biologists have determined that the molecular structure of living cells is extremely complex. And these molecules are very active, so I would say that they are most definitely making use of quantum activity. Why would you say that there is "spooky stuff" going on at the quantum level, but no "spooky stuff" going on in the human cells.

    Can you sense the measurement?Terrapin Station

    Of course not, the measurement is a judgement, in my mind. It is a comparison between the thing measured and the devise, or standard used for measuring. How would I sense the inside of my mind?
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    It is a comparison between the thing measured and the devise, or standard used for measuring.Metaphysician Undercover

    So say that you have two rocks and a tape measure. You put one end of the tape measure on one rock, and stretch it out to the other rock. You don't actually sense the tape measure where it meets the other rock, you don't sense what the tape measure reads at the other rock, etc. Is that right?
  • Wayfarer
    8k
    I think that raises the question of what demarcates physics from metaphysics. Is it a difference in kind or a difference in focus? As I see it, philosophy goes meta by focusing natural investigation onto itself. That is, it is the investigation of investigation.Andrew M

    Physics is derived from the Greek 'study of nature', conventionally distinguished from metaphysics. So I would say, different in kind. Post Galilean science concentrates on what is quantifiable, first and foremost. The primary or measurable qualities or attributes of any subject are just those factors which can be precisely described in such terms. So the natural sciences likewise are conceived in mainly quantitative terms which is why physics is the paradigmatic science of modernity. But as the OP points out, in fact the ontological status equations, algorithms, and mathematical theorems, are themselves not something which can be located in the physical domain. So, yes, agree with you that metaphysics is in some fundamental way thinking about the nature of knowledge itself, about what it means to know. That is mostly shoved aside or ignored or taken for granted in a lot of analytical philosophy.
  • Isaac
    714
    As I said before, if the pattern which we are talking about is not an existent thing, then what are we talking about,Metaphysician Undercover

    I'm talking about "exists" in the sense in which one would answer "no" to the question "do unicorns exist". Not in the sense in which one would answer "well, if they don't exist, what are we talking about".

    We agreed that there is one pattern on the shirt, and one pattern in the imagination,Metaphysician Undercover

    Not sure I did, but I may have been careless with my language I suppose. I don't agree that there "is" a pattern on the shirt and one in the imagination (where 'is' is being used to convey existence). I think we can talk about the pattern of the shirt, and we can talk about the pattern of the imagination, but neither exist outside of what they both physically are (shirt and brain).

    Energy is not a physical object, it is an attribute, a property of moving objects, the capacity to do work.Metaphysician Undercover

    I am very much out of my depth with the correct terminology within fundamental physics, so you'll have to forgive the occasional fumble over terms. What I'm trying to capture is whatever physicists would call something like a neutrino, or a beam of light, or gamma radiation. My limited understanding is that these things exist in their own right (a beam of light still exists after the star which made it has gone) but are not objects, nor properties of objects. I gather one can think of a beam of light as a stream of tiny particles, but that this is only symbolic as they are also waves.

    Do you truly believe that there is no quantum activity in the human nervous system?Metaphysician Undercover

    No, and I'm not sure where you might have got that impression from. My understanding of the physics is that the theories at a quantum scale do not apply to objects at a non-quantum level (which neurons certainly would be), that the uncertainties resolve as soon as physical mass is obtained. We might have the particle which mysteriously changes properties depending on whether it is observed, but we do not have any objects which behave this way.
  • KazimKara
    2
    How are you determining that the "neurons, synapses, and things like that" are not the pattern? Again, you're begging the question. You're assuming 'the pattern' is some existant thing (such that you can say that a collection of neurons aren't it) in a discussion about whether a pattern is an existant thing.Isaac

    No. Not a physical object, and not physical at all are two different things. Energy is physical, but it is not a physical object. I'm not in any way an expert in physics, so my terminology might be all wrong, apologies if it is, but the difference I'm trying to capture is only that between energy and matter, which I understand are somehow convertible from/to one another.Isaac

    There's something energy thing; energy not a physic thing oh no; philosophy is covers physic then must know physic and philosophy; covers all thing philosophy because think is everything; energy is a material but think is everything I think...
  • thedeadidea
    98
    Quick question to the thread some time a go I watched something on TED (link below) where someone with a phantom limb had an augmentation that preserved the nerve of the severed limb. When they added the prosthesis that essentially mimics what would be a natural foot he could stand up almost immediately.

    So my question is does the immaterial phantom limbs count as evidence for conscious illusion for physicalism? or did the old phantom limb is an illusion count as evidence for physicalism?

    Because I could run this case used to argue the irreducibility argument of consciousness too... I am unsure if it has already been used to do so as the only thing I need to prove in my mind the reducibility of consciousness to being based in a physical phenomenon is how lobotomy, dementia, brain injury and dementia clearly makes you significantly less or detectably non-conscious.

    https://www.ted.com/talks/hugh_herr_how_we_ll_become_cyborgs_and_extend_human_potential#t-518741
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.9k
    you don't sense what the tape measure reads at the other rock, etc. Is that right?Terrapin Station

    That's right, the tape measure doesn't read, I read the tape measure, and reading is a mental activity. I read the tape with my mind, not with my eyes.

    Not sure I did, but I may have been careless with my language I suppose. I don't agree that there "is" a pattern on the shirt and one in the imagination (where 'is' is being used to convey existence). I think we can talk about the pattern of the shirt, and we can talk about the pattern of the imagination, but neither exist outside of what they both physically are (shirt and brain).Isaac

    Here's the problem right here. You seem to have agreed that we can talk about patterns without any judgement about whether or not these patterns exist. We'll just talk about patterns, and whether or not the patterns exist is irrelevant. So why do you want to make assertions about where they physically are? If the existence of the pattern is irrelevant to our discussion of it, then it doesn't make sense to make assertions about where it is, don't you think? Can we adhere to this? We'll just talk about various different patterns, acknowledging that where these patterns are, if they are anywhere, is irrelevant.

    Have we identified two distinct types of patterns, imaginary patterns, and non-imaginary patterns?

    No, and I'm not sure where you might have got that impression from. My understanding of the physics is that the theories at a quantum scale do not apply to objects at a non-quantum level (which neurons certainly would be), that the uncertainties resolve as soon as physical mass is obtained. We might have the particle which mysteriously changes properties depending on whether it is observed, but we do not have any objects which behave this way.Isaac

    What do you mean by "physical mass"? Do you believe that particles without mass are non-physical? There are such particles within, and interacting with the physical mass of the human being, so how can you deny the non-physical aspect of the human being?
  • Isaac
    714
    I read the tape with my mind, not with my eyes.Metaphysician Undercover

    Woah, cool. You're a psychic!

    You seem to have agreed that we can talk about patterns without any judgement about whether or not these patterns exist.Metaphysician Undercover

    Yes. We can talk about unicorns without establishing whether they exist too.

    So why do you want to make assertions about where they physically are?Metaphysician Undercover

    I don't. I suppose I would be asserting where the origin of the pattern I'm talking about (which, as above, does not 'exist') physically is. Like a painting of a unicorn. I might say "the unicorn in that painting has black fur, that's unusual for a unicorn, and it looks like it's angry about something". Of course, the unicorn in question does not exist, neither do any of the unicorns I'm comparing it to in establishing it uniqueness, but that doesn't mean it's not relevant where the origin of my abstraction is located. Its about a presumption of shared experience. I see a shirt reflecting partly black, partly white light. I abstract from those light signals a pattern, as set of instructions (black....move an inch...white). I point out the origin of that abstraction, and even talk colloquially about its "being on the shirt" because I presume your mind is sufficiently like mine that you will form a similar abstraction.

    But you might not. And that's the important point. There's no rule forcing you to abstract the same idea from the shirt as I do, so there's no generalised idea that exists independently of those two ideas in our minds. It's simply a convenience, given the likelihood that our two abstractions will be very similar, to talk about them as if they were one thing.

    As so often happens in philosophy, what we can successfully talk about has been confused with what we can actually demonstrate to be ontologically the case.
  • I like sushi
    1.2k
    If you didn’t understand that the mathematics derives from measuring physical phenomenon then you’d likely make the faulty assumption you have in the OP.

    So, the laws of physics are observed and measured (meaning not measuring some imaginary event!) and mathematical abstractions are then created - thought up - in order to make useful and applicable predictions about how experienced phenomena relate - or don’t relate!

    From this the world of Pure Mathematics has branched off into its own little field of play and on occasions what we deem as “physics” meets up with “pure maths”. Really they are both extension of the same principle - that is to measure, by some given arbitrary units, events and to put these read measurements to use in order to theorise what has, will and is happening.

    If abstract concepts cannot be related to physical phenomenon then they are useless to physics. Once they are discovered to relate to physical phenomenon then they are obviously no longer ‘useless’.

    Where’s the confusion?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.9k
    Woah, cool. You're a psychic!Isaac

    I see with my eyes and read with my mind. If that's what you call being a psychic, then I'm beginning to understand why you have so much difficulty understanding the non-physical. You appear to have a very narrow mind, if you class reading as not the type of thing which your mind does.

    I don't. I suppose I would be asserting where the origin of the pattern I'm talking about (which, as above, does not 'exist') physically is. Like a painting of a unicorn. I might say "the unicorn in that painting has black fur, that's unusual for a unicorn, and it looks like it's angry about something". Of course, the unicorn in question does not exist, neither do any of the unicorns I'm comparing it to in establishing it uniqueness, but that doesn't mean it's not relevant where the origin of my abstraction is located. Its about a presumption of shared experience. I see a shirt reflecting partly black, partly white light. I abstract from those light signals a pattern, as set of instructions (black....move an inch...white). I point out the origin of that abstraction, and even talk colloquially about its "being on the shirt" because I presume your mind is sufficiently like mine that you will form a similar abstraction.Isaac

    I really can't understand any of this. I don't see how you can see a shirt, and abstract a set of instructions from the shirt. That makes no sense to me whatsoever. I've never abstracted instructions from a shirt, unless there was something written on the shirt. I don't see much point in continuing this discussion. As usual the person defending physicalism proceeds toward making ridiculous statements in order to defend the ontology, instead of proceeding toward understanding reality. That's not philosophy it's fanaticism

    So, the laws of physics are observed and measured (meaning not measuring some imaginary event!) and mathematical abstractions are then created - thought up - in order to make useful and applicable predictions about how experienced phenomena relate - or don’t relate!I like sushi

    That's absurd. How would one observe and measure a law of physics? An event is not a law.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.2k
    We make judgements about anything. Do you recognize the difference between the thing and what is attributed to the thing (a property)? Or, the difference between the subject and the predicate? To say that something has a specific property does not mean that the thing actually has that property, the statement is a reflection of a judgement. It means that the thing has been judged to have that property.Metaphysician Undercover
    I already explained how saying something has a specific property does not mean that the thing has that property. Like I said, "The apple is red" is making a category error in attributing redness to the apple when it is actually a property of the apple, light and your sensory system. Like I said, redness carries information about all three causes, not just the apple. Just as a doctor can test your sensory system by making you look at letters, the letters are the constant, but our sensory systems could be different and create different visual effects in our minds. We can make different judgments about the letters, but the letters don't change. In other words, the letters have properties in and of themselves that makes them letters regardless of our individual judgments. If they didn't, then how could the doctor test your vision?


    That's nonsense. If it isn't a judgement which determines whether the fruit is ripe or not then how is the ripeness determined? Do you not see that there needs to be criteria as to what constitutes "ripe" and, that there needs to be a comparison of the fruit in relation to this criteria, in order for the fruit to be determined as ripe or not? If this comparison is not a judgement, then what is it?

    This is the case when any properties are attributed to anything, it is a matter of judgement.
    Metaphysician Undercover
    I think you are confusing categorizations with judgments. Sure, humans create arbitrary categories to make sense of the world. These categories can vary from person to person and what one considers "ripe", another might consider "over ripe", but we are still both talking about the same thing - some property of the apple that we refer to as ripe. If we both weren't talking about the same apple, then we would both be talking past each other. If I was referring to the apple when using the word, "ripe", and you were referring to your judgment, then we would both be talking past each other. When I say that the apple is ripe, am I talking about the apple in your head, my head, or there on the table?

    Is thinking a property of you? Are you a thinking entity? Is your thinking a judgment of mine, or is it really a property of you - part of what it means to be you?
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.6k
    Physicalism is the idea that nothing exists except for concrete objects in the material world. But physics is the study of the mathematic principles which determine the behavior of these material objects. And these abstract principles (e.g. F=G(m1m2)/r^2) surely don't exist in the material world. You can't locate them under a microscope. So acknowledging that the laws of physics exist seems to contradict the theory of physicalism. Thoughts?Dusty of Sky

    It's much bigger than physics, I think.

    Physicalism is the idea that nothing exists except for concrete objects in the material world.Dusty of Sky

    OK.

    But science - the discipline(s) of science, not its subject matter - is not a concrete object in the material world. It's a concept, an immaterial thing. So it doesn't exist. The same applies to philosophy, for example. And religion. Oh, and politics. ... Capitalism. Greed. The American Way. Beauty. Happiness. Ambition. Joy. The list goes on and on...

    Your arguments stand, I think. I can see no justification at all for this physicalism. It is wrong because it is incomplete. There are things that exist which it denies, or cannot see.
  • I like sushi
    1.2k


    You’re being absurd if that’s what you think I meant. The relation is observed and measured. Thus ‘laws’ are established and further refined.

    I wasn’t saying anything outrageous. The OP is ridiculous.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    That's right, the tape measure doesn't read, I read the tape measure, and reading is a mental activity. I read the tape with my mind, not with my eyes.Metaphysician Undercover

    Do you sense the tape measure?
  • Andrew M
    694
    Physics is derived from the Greek 'study of nature', conventionally distinguished from metaphysics. So I would say, different in kind. Post Galilean science concentrates on what is quantifiable, first and foremost. The primary or measurable qualities or attributes of any subject are just those factors which can be precisely described in such terms. So the natural sciences likewise are conceived in mainly quantitative terms which is why physics is the paradigmatic science of modernity. But as the OP points out, in fact the ontological status equations, algorithms, and mathematical theorems, are themselves not something which can be located in the physical domain. So, yes, agree with you that metaphysics is in some fundamental way thinking about the nature of knowledge itself, about what it means to know. That is mostly shoved aside or ignored or taken for granted in a lot of analytical philosophy.Wayfarer

    OK. So as I see it, metaphysics is 'the study of the study of nature'. My observation here is that investigation begins with qualitative interactions with nature. That is, something can't be measured unless it can first be experienced, observed or otherwise interacted with. So those interactions become the material to be formalized. But that investigative process assumes observers, goals, tools and schemas.

    However those observers, goals, tools and schemas are themselves part of the natural world that, in turn, can be investigated and therefore become material that can be formalized. So the qualitative and quantitative are present in both investigative processes, the second process being meta in the sense that it is reflective and self-aware.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.9k
    Like I said, "The apple is red" is making a category error in attributing redness to the apple when it is actually a property of the apple, light and your sensory system.Harry Hindu

    My point though, is that this is all just a judgement.

    We can make different judgments about the letters, but the letters don't change. In other words, the letters have properties in and of themselves that makes them letters regardless of our individual judgments.Harry Hindu

    That there are letters in front of you is a judgement.

    If they didn't, then how could the doctor test your vision?Harry Hindu

    The doctor makes a judgement comparing what you claim to see, with a standard, the norm. Whether what is there is or is not really letters, is irrelevant, so long as what you say is consistent with the norm.

    I think you are confusing categorizations with judgments.Harry Hindu

    Categorization is clearly a form of judgement.

    These categories can vary from person to person and what one considers "ripe", another might consider "over ripe", but we are still both talking about the same thing - some property of the apple that we refer to as ripe. If we both weren't talking about the same apple, then we would both be talking past each other.Harry Hindu

    That the two different people are talking about the same thing needs to be established, that's why we have the law of identity. We identify the thing, in this case it is what we call "the apple", and we agree that this particular thing will be called "the apple". But how do we identify a property? I suggest that we do this with a definition, and this is why I say that we need to refer to some criteria (the definition), to judge whether the thing (called the apple) is ripe or not. If we do not agree on the definition of "ripe", which is often the case, then we are talking past each other.

    When I say that the apple is ripe, am I talking about the apple in your head, my head, or there on the table?Harry Hindu

    You are talking about the thing, which you have identified as "the apple". So "the apple" is the subject of discussion, and this subject is related to that object by means of identity. That it is "ripe", what you predicate of that subject, is your judgement, and this is in your mind, just like the subject, the apple, is also in your mind. So in your mind you have judged "the apple is ripe", an act of predication, and this relates to the thing you have identified, because that thing is what you call 'the apple".

    You’re being absurd if that’s what you think I meant. The relation is observed and measured. Thus ‘laws’ are established and further refined.

    I wasn’t saying anything outrageous. The OP is ridiculous.
    I like sushi

    You very clearly said, "the laws of physics are observed and measured", "and mathematical abstractions are then created". You did not say that events are observed and the laws are abstracted, you said that the laws are observed and mathematics is abstracted, which is absurd. If you did not mean what you said, you could have simply apologized for making the mistake, instead of accusing me of being absurd.

    Do you sense the tape measure?Terrapin Station

    Sure, I see something which I call a tape measure, but even in calling it a tape measure, I am making a mental judgement. I think the point is that there is no sensing without mental activity. So I think it would be incorrect to say I see this, or I see that, as an act of sensation alone, without an accompanying act of mind. Mind is required for seeing, and I believe, any type of sensing.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    Sure, I see something which I call a tape measure, but even in calling it a tape measure, I am making a mental judgement. I think the point is that there is no sensing without mental activity. So I think it would be incorrect to say I see this, or I see that, as an act of sensation alone, without an accompanying act of mind. Mind is required for seeing, and I believe, any type of sensing.Metaphysician Undercover

    I wasn't saying anything about how mind is or isn't involved. I was simply asking whether you sense the tape measure, whatever is involved with that.

    Do you sense the marking on the tape measure?
  • Harry Hindu
    2.2k
    The doctor makes a judgement comparing what you claim to see, with a standard, the norm.Metaphysician Undercover
    Is this just another judgment, or are you actually explaining what is the case - that the doctor is making a judgment? You end up with an infinite regress of judgments which just becomes incoherent. Is the universe one big judgment? Does that even make sense?

    You have to realize that judgments are about things, and it is what those judgments are about that matter. Sure, it could be that judgments is all you can do and make of the world, but the aboutness of those judgments creates a relationship that we usually refer to as "accuracy", so judgments themselves have a property of accuracy where they are more or less representative of what they are about.

    Instead of "judgment", I think I prefer "interpretation". Our senses don't lie, but we can lie to ourselves by interpreting sensory data incorrectly. In interpreting sensory data, we are attempting to determine what they are about. What they're cause is. If they have no cause, then solipsism would be the case, which is what it seems that you are ultimately arguing for.

    If they have a cause, then realism is the case and our sensory data actually has meaning in that they are the effect of prior causes - like your body interacting with the world that other minds share.

    How else can you explain similar judgments by similar minds? Think about it. If we are all separate minds without a shared world (if that makes any sense) then how is it that we came to similar judgments about our separate sensory data - like that there is an "external" world and that there are other minds, and that you are similar enough to be part of a group of similar entities called "human beings"? How is it that "norms" can even be established and referred to? How is it that language could evolve at all? There must be more to the world than just our judgments - or its solipsism, and I assure you that if solipsism is the case, then I'm the solipsist and you are just a judgment in my mind that only exists when I read your words.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.9k
    Do you sense the marking on the tape measure?Terrapin Station

    Yes, of course.

    Is this just another judgment, or are you actually explaining what is the case - that the doctor is making a judgment? You end up with an infinite regress of judgments which just becomes incoherent. Is the universe one big judgment? Does that even make sense?Harry Hindu

    I see no need to bring in an infinite regress here. Of course a regress is possible though. If someone makes a judgement, and another asks for the reasoning, or justification for that judgement, then the judgement which follows in explanation, and so on, there would be regress. The regress would not be infinite though, because we are finite beings with finite capacities, so the regress would be limited to the point where someone would break it off and the issue would be left unresolved.

    You have to realize that judgments are about things, and it is what those judgments are about that matter. Sure, it could be that judgments is all you can do and make of the world, but the aboutness of those judgments creates a relationship that we usually refer to as "accuracy", so judgments themselves have a property of accuracy where they are more or less representative of what they are about.Harry Hindu

    I would prefer to use "reliability" rather than "accuracy". Our judgements are themselves judged for reliability, but this again is a judgement.

    Instead of "judgment", I think I prefer "interpretation". Our senses don't lie, but we can lie to ourselves by interpreting sensory data incorrectly. In interpreting sensory data, we are attempting to determine what they are about. What they're cause is. If they have no cause, then solipsism would be the case, which is what it seems that you are ultimately arguing for.Harry Hindu

    "Interpretation" implies explanation, and very often we judge things without explaining them, so judgement is a far better term here. We very often judge things with little or no understanding of them, and those judgements are likely wrong, but "interpretation" implies that there is some understanding of the thing, which is not required for a judgement.

    How else can you explain similar judgments by similar minds? Think about it. If we are all separate minds without a shared world (if that makes any sense) then how is it that we came to similar judgments about our separate sensory data - like that there is an "external" world and that there are other minds, and that you are similar enough to be part of a group of similar entities called "human beings"? How is it that "norms" can even be established and referred to? How is it that language could evolve at all? There must be more to the world than just our judgments - or its solipsism, and I assure you that if solipsism is the case, then I'm the solipsist and you are just a judgment in my mind that only exists when I read your words.Harry Hindu

    Similar minds seeing things in similar ways is explained by "similar minds". I'm not denying that there is a "shared world", what I am denying is that what we (as similar minds) say of the world, is the way that the world is. Remember, I am not questioning the thing, I am questioning the properties. For instance, that the red of the apple is "a property of the apple, light and your sensory system". That is just what you say of the world, it is not necessarily reality.

    As long as an individual is judged as within the norm, then that person is correct. But correct, as the norm, does not mean that this is the way the world is. For example, we see that the sun rises and sets, and we might conclude that the sun circles the earth. This might become the norm, the sun circles the earth, and this idea could be judged as correct and be the norm. Just because it is the norm, and correct, does not mean that it is the way that things are.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k


    How about sensing the tape measure stretched between the two rocks?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.9k
    How about sensing the tape measure stretched between the two rocks?Terrapin Station

    That there is a tape measure and there are two rocks is clearly a judgement rather than a simple sensation.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k


    So you can't sense the tape measure stretched between two rocks?
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