• frank
    2.8k
    Positing a relationship between me and other stuff already posits a separation between me and other stuff.Banno

    So there's no separation between you and other stuff?
  • Banno
    5.6k
    So there's no separation between you and other stuff?frank

    That's not what I said.

    The relationship between you and other stuff is what you choose.
  • Banno
    5.6k
    Because the answer to philosophical issues is often found in language.
  • frank
    2.8k
    The relationship between you and other stuff is what you choose.Banno

    I've chosen to be the King of the Universe. Something's not working.
  • Banno
    5.6k
    That's how you can be certain that there is other stuff. It limits what you can choose.

    It's working perfectly.
  • creativesoul
    5.6k
    One ought take care not to portray the senses as a diode, passing information in one direction only. There is feedback here, and hence complexity. Complexity occurs when small variations in the initial conditions are fed back into the system to be magnified and become great influences on the later conditions.

    One sees, reaches out, touches, holds, puts down. One is not situated passively, doomed only to absorb information.

    Better to think of oneself as embedded in the world.

    One does not sit inside one's body, looking at mere phenomena and reacting to them. One is not separate from one's sensations and acts - far from it. One's sensations and acts are constitutive of what one is.

    One does not build meaning inside one's head and then transmit it. Building meaning is part of the complex interaction one has with the world. Hence language is not mere communication. It is an integral part of the self-referential complexity that creates oneself, the other, and the various things in our world.

    This looping is not simple; it is strange. It traverses from level to level, between syntax, semantics, and pragmatics unexcused. It provides the illusion of free will. It is not limited to the self, nor the mind, nor the body, nor the various items that together make up the physical world.
    Banno

    I would not disagree with any of that; the complexity of the correlations.
  • creativesoul
    5.6k
    I want to see true premises, and valid logic, to support your claim that agency in DNA replication is unwarranted, not arbitrary definitions to support a faulty assumption.Metaphysician Undercover

    This is just wrong on so many levels...

    I've already argued for an earlier premiss. You've a habit of calling premisses assumptions. I could argue for that one as well, but won't. All you'll do is continue to deny what doesn't fit into your own preconceptions here, and continue to say that this or that is false, and ask me to argue for the next premiss, ad infinitum.

    I'll shorten the journey.

    At conception, there is no thought/belief. All agency requires thought/belief. That's the basis of it.

    The second premiss above is what you're currently denying. That's fine. Here's the bigger problem. You've taken the weakest of stances against anything and everything I've offered. Hand waving. "Nuh uh!". That's all you've done. You've yet to have offered a single argument. The irony is that you're the one presupposing agency where none is warranted. You're the one with the burden to bear, but don't/won't.

    You actually want others to think/believe and/or agree with you that inanimate matter - rocks nonetheless - have agency? Theists might, I mean after-all God has to fit into the story somehow. I'm not.

    Now, you could surely - being as clever as you are - come up with an argument for that. The problem is that inanimate matter does not have agency. Agency requires thought/belief. Inanimate matter has none.

    Think/believe what you want. Seems pretty clear to me that I'm on the right side of this fence. There's no need to posit agency at the level of cell and/or DNA replication. It's a causal process, and one we're continually learning more about.
  • creativesoul
    5.6k
    As a process, correlation is not dependent on thought/belief, language or self-awareness. It only requires the capacity to integrate information, and so it can occur at every level of awareness, to varying degrees. This, I think, is where we differ. That being said, it is a key component in the more complex and multi-dimensional process by which humans attribute and construct meaning.

    Correlation is the building block of the universe - without it, all we have is potential.
    Possibility

    Yeah we certainly disagree here. You're neglecting the difference between relationships, of which not all require thought/belief, and drawing correlations between different things... which are thought/belief.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.8k
    You've a habit of calling premisses assumptions.creativesoul

    Yes, many premises are assumptions. And since you have yet to provide any support for that premise, it appears I am most likely correct in calling it an assumption.

    You've take a strong stance against anything and everything I've offered. Hand waving. That's all you've donecreativesoul

    Actually, I've offered definitions and explanations. You've given me only hand waving, asserting over and over again that agency requires complex thought/belief, without any evidence or argument to support this premise.

    You want others to think/believe and/or agree with you that inanimate matter - rocks nonetheless - have agency.creativesoul

    There are many inanimate agents. Have you no education in chemistry? There are reducing agents, oxidizing agents, catalysts are agents, etc.. And "agency" is the act of an agent.

    Agency requires thought/belief. Inanimate matter has none.creativesoul

    There you go again, repeating your assertion, without argument. However, as I've explained, agency does not require thought/belief, that's something you've just made up, as a premise to support some sort of argument. Of course it's a very unsound argument you have there, because your premise is very false.
  • creativesoul
    5.6k
    There are reducing agents, oxidizing agents, catalysts are agents, etc.. And "agency" is the act of an agent.Metaphysician Undercover

    :roll:

    You win, Meta. You win. The Ajax(a household cleaning agent) that I clean my toilet with has agency. The cleaning is the agency. Perfectly reasonable talk in this context. Fer fuck's sake.
  • Possibility
    279
    Yeah we certainly disagree here. You're neglecting the difference between relationships, of which not all require thought/belief, and drawing correlations between different things... which are thought/belief.creativesoul

    One is establishing a relationship between two events, and the other is being aware of the relationship established as an event/entity, in relation to other relationships. Calling it ‘thought/belief’ only distinguishes it from the same process at a lower level of awareness.
  • creativesoul
    5.6k
    One is establishing a relationship between two events..Possibility

    I take it that this one to which you refer is mental correlation? I do not disagree. However, that barely scratches the surface. That's not the only thing done with thought/belief(drawing and/or previously drawn correlations between different things).

    So, in agreement...

    Sometimes we establish relationships between events.

    To add...

    Sometimes we establish relationships between other things(other than events). Sometimes we correctly identify relationships(some between events) that already existed prior to our account of them. Sometimes some of us can get both wrong. Some relationships are between language use and something else. These are the kind that some of us can have wrong if those relationships are still being forged through language use. All of us can get them wrong if that language is dead, in the sense of all of it's users have died.



    ...and the other is being aware of the relationship established as an event/entity, in relation to other relationships.Possibility

    That is to think about thought/belief.

    There are relationships that exist prior to the very first account of them. Those are the ones that all of us can get wrong. Those are not relationships that are existentially dependent upon language use.

    There are also correlations drawn between different things by language-less creatures. Some of these correlations foster true belief.

    So, while I agree that there is a difference between establishing a relationship between two events and being aware of the relationship established as an event/entity, in relation to other relationships...

    ...that's too incomplete a basis for any robust explanation of thought/belief and all that that includes/exhausts. I won't use "entails" due to my rejection of those so-called 'logical' rules.
  • creativesoul
    5.6k
    Calling it ‘thought/belief’ only distinguishes it from the same process at a lower level of awareness.Possibility

    Maybe this helps...

    Calling mental correlations between different things "thought/belief" is a practice I've arrived at by virtue of taking proper account of what all statements of thought/belief have in common that makes them what they are. I determined what they consisted in/of, and then further discriminated between the individuals within that group of basic elemental constituents in terms of whether or not non-linguistic thought/belief could consist in/of the same.

    It's a simple vein.

    Some common denominators had to be set aside. Language, for instance, cannot be an elemental constituent of non linguistic thought/belief. Being a social creature can. Having physiological sensory perception and a complex nervous system can.

    So...

    The quote above has the wrong target.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.8k
    You win, Meta. You win. The Ajax(a household cleaning agent) that I clean my toilet with has agency. The cleaning is the agency. Perfectly reasonable talk in this context. Fer fuck's sake.creativesoul

    The point being, if you propose that there is a special sort of thing, called "agency", which only beings with complex thought/belief have, i.e. that complex thought/belief is required for "agency", then you need to describe what "agency" refers to, in order to distinguish this special type of "agency" from the type of agency that things like household cleaning agents have.

    If you distinguish this special type of "agency", by saying that the agent acts for a purpose (final cause), as I proposed, then the actions of DNA replication fall into the same category as the actions of a being with complex thought/belief, acting for a purpose.

    But you claim that there is a distinction to be made between the activities of DNA replication, and the activities of a being with complex thought/belief. On what principle do you base such a distinction? Is it the principle of moral, or legal responsibility? Beings with complex thought/belief can be held morally and legally responsible, while other beings cannot. If so, how would this support your claim that there is no information in DNA, and no meaning in the activity of DNA replication? Why would meaning and information be confined to the communion of beings with moral and legal responsibility and denied from the communion of cells with DNA?

    .
  • Terrapin Station
    10.4k
    Because the answer to philosophical issues is often found in language.Banno

    That wouldn't be the answer to where anything is located or what substance it's a phenomenon of, because it's not a location, and it's rather itself a phenomenon of substances.
  • creativesoul
    5.6k
    The point being, if you propose that there is a special sort of thing, called "agency", which only beings with complex thought/belief have, i.e. that complex thought/belief is required for "agency", then you need to describe what "agency" refers to, in order to distinguish this special type of "agency" from the type of agency that things like household cleaning agents have.Metaphysician Undercover

    You rejected that in lieu of Ajax and rocks. There's nothing left for me to say here. You've proven exactly what I stated earlier regarding sneaking agency into the back door(where it is not yet warranted) via use of "information"...
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.8k

    Until you say what you think "agency" is, then your use of the term in any argument is not warranted. I said what agency is, and distinguished two forms, and "agency" in DNA replication is warranted according to that definition. You reject my definitions and seem to have some delusion about some form of "agency" which only beings with complex thought/belief can have, but until you describe what this "agency" is, you're just blowing smoke
  • creativesoul
    5.6k
    You're defining agency in such a way that Ajax toilet bowl cleaner and rocks have it.
  • creativesoul
    5.6k
    This is more along the lines of what's appropriate here.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.8k

    Right, I see your reference supports my description very well. The introduction provides an almost exact rendition of what I said:.
    In a very broad sense, agency is virtually everywhere. Whenever entities enter into causal relationships, they can be said to act on each other and interact with each other, bringing about changes in each other. In this very broad sense, it is possible to identify agents and agency, and patients and patiency, virtually everywhere.[1] Usually, though, the term ‘agency’ is used in a much narrower sense to denote the performance of intentional actions. This way of thinking about agency has a long history in philosophy and it can be traced back to Hume and Aristotle, among other historical figures. — Stanford

    Notice, the "very broad sense", in which the toilet bowl cleaner is an agent, an entity interacting with other entities. Then there is the distinction which I made, which gives us the "narrower sense".

    The only difference, is that in describing the "narrower" use of the term, Stanford uses the term "intentional", whereas I used "purposeful". By what reasoning do you insist that the actions which constitute DNA replication are not intentional, or purposeful? I think it is quite clear that these actions must be intentional. These are very complex interactions which are capable of producing two extremely similar copies of DNA from one, and consistently do, with an incredibly high degree of accuracy, there is virtually no mistake. How could such extremely complex interactions be simply random interactions of inanimate agents, like toilet bowl cleaner, producing copies of DNA? Don't you think that these actions must be purposeful, or intentional?

    According to the common definition, an intentional act is one carried out for a purpose. So, taking the evidence, that the actions which replicate DNA, are extremely precise and consistent, in producing the replication with virtually no mistake, along with the additional premise, that when an extremely complex set of actions is repeated over and over, to produce the same result, those actions are carried out for the purpose of producing that result, we can conclude that these actions are carried out for that purpose, or "intention". On what basis would one argue that the actions which lead to the replication of DNA are not carried out for the purpose of replicating the DNA?

    It appears to me, like you have adopted the false assumption that only beings with complex thought/belief may carry out intentional actions, and this has skewed your way of looking at things. But in reality, we see purposeful (intentional) acts throughout the realm of living beings, as well as within the various parts of living beings. Intention pervades all the activities within a living body, as these acts are carried out for their various purposes, including maintaining the existence of the body. When we see that a living being such as a human being, as a whole, a unit, acts with intention, this is just a reflection of the intention which exits within the living being, by which all the various parts of the being act with purpose or intention.
  • creativesoul
    5.6k


    You should read it through a bit more carefully. There are those, like yourself, who want/desire to say that things like bacteria have agency. They are in the minority, but there. I'm charging those people(and you) with conflating goal oriented behaviour with causality, based upon what having a goal requires.

    What is the goal of DNA replication, and who's goal is it?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.8k
    What is the goal of DNA replication, and who's goal is it?creativesoul

    The goal of that activity, which is commonly called DNA replication, is to produce two sets of DNA from one. Is that not obvious to you? There is activity, and the goal of that activity is DNA replication. I couldn't say who's goal it is, but that's the way goal oriented behaviour is. It's common that we cannot say who's goal it is in many cases of intentional activity. People often work together in groups, and the goal is communal. Who's goal is a communal goal? I couldn't tell you who's goal it is for me to follow the laws of the state, and various ethical rules. Nor can the RNA and proteins tell you who's goal it is for them to carry out the actions required to produce the replica DNA. But there's no doubt that this is goal oriented activity, because it is repeated over and over again, like a machine, consistently, with the same results, with very little if any mistake..

    Just because we cannot identify the agent does not mean that there was not agency. When we come across physical evidence which indicates that an action was carried out with intention, for a purpose, and the agent is nowhere to be found, we do not conclude that the action was not carried out with intention, just because we cannot identify the agent. Agents are often stealthy in their actions. And, when we come across machinery in action, we can know that it was set up with intention, regardless of whether the agent that built the machinery is present.
  • creativesoul
    5.6k


    And there you have it... exactly as I initially charged. Talk of information at the level of DNA presupposes agency where none is warranted.

    The idea of making a mistake also presupposes agency/intention. In addition, the only way that you can know that a mistake has not been made is if you know both, the intended outcome and the actual. So, that doesn't help your case either.
  • MrCrowley
    6
    Language is the framework or matrix upon which ideas can be transferred, but language itself is also comprised of information, simply a less complex type information. Just like computer languages are themselves blocks of information(code) to be interpreted by a cpu into a command, so does language run through the human brain to form an idea.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.8k
    And there you have it... exactly as I initially charged. Talk of information at the level of DNA presupposes agency where none is warranted.creativesoul

    Clearly, agency is warranted, as there is purposeful action, and you've regressed back to your gratuitous assertions.. If you think that the activity which results in DNA replication is not carried out for that purpose, then you ought to be able to show this, with an argument, otherwise you are just making "gratuitous assertions" to support an unfounded assumption.

    The idea of making a mistake also presupposes agency/intention.creativesoul

    Huh! Is this your argument? Purposeful acts may be mistaken, therefore acts which are not mistaken are not purposeful. Sorry, but you'll have to do better than that if you really want to demonstrate that the actions which replicate DNA are not intended for that purpose.

    In addition, the only way that you can know that a mistake has not been made is if you know both, the intended outcome and the actual. So, that doesn't help your case either.creativesoul

    Actually, I believe that when actions are carried out, producing the same sort of object over and over again, as if by a template, we can conclude by inductive reasoning that these actions were carried out for that purpose. It's an inductive conclusion, because every time that we find such activity, such as machinery on a production line, there is intention involved. In no case do we find such activity without purpose.

    And to take activity such as DNA replication, and argue that this is an example of such an activity without intention, would be simply begging the question, insisting that the inductive conclusion is not true in this case, for the sake of invalidating that inductive conclusion. In other words, it's just an unsupported assertion which is designed to undermine the inductive logic. So all you are doing is asserting that this case (DNA replication) is an exception to the rule, for the sake of invalidating the rule, such that the rule cannot be applied universally, and your case (DNA replication) may be accepted as an exception to the rule. Perhaps you might have some other examples which would back up your assumption that the rule might not apply universally?
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.4k
    Language, on the other hand, builds or constructs or sets up information...Banno

    ...and then communicates it? :chin:
  • creativesoul
    5.6k
    Clearly, agency is warranted, as there is purposeful action, and you've regressed back to your gratuitous assertions.Metaphysician Undercover

    The irony...
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