• Terrapin Station
    10.4k
    Scientists aren't saying that there are no chairs, that chairs aren't solid, etc. They're saying that chairs, from one perspective, and solidity from one perspective, is such and such collection of molecules (or atoms, or whatever microscopic level we want to focus on), arranged in this and such manner, with those and such relations, including extensional relations, etc. That contradicts nothing about ordinary conceptions of chairs. It's just another perspective, another way of describing the same thing.
  • Terrapin Station
    10.4k
    So you're saying professional philosophers agree it's not a problem and don't discuss it? Or that you have just solved it now?Marchesk

    What I said was that anyone who thinks this is a problem doesn't understand what science is doing.
  • Terrapin Station
    10.4k
    So there are two important things here. The first is that our concept of ordinary objects may not reflect what makes an ordinary object, which leaves the door open to the possibility that there are no ordinary objects.Marchesk

    Huh? What do the two have to do with each other?
  • Marchesk
    2.7k
    What I said was that anyone who thinks this is a problem doesn't understand what science is doing.Terrapin Station

    I think they understand well enough. The question is whether they properly understand what language is doing, and whether focusing on language can dissolve this inquiry.
  • Marchesk
    2.7k
    Huh? What do the two have to do with each other?Terrapin Station

    Ontology.
  • Terrapin Station
    10.4k
    I don't think it's mostly philosophers with this misunderstanding, by the way. I've mostly seen it from people online, usually people with kinda tech-oriented jobs who have some hobbyist interest in theoretical sciences, philosophy, etc., and it's usually from people who have an ulterior motive for this particular sort of misunderstanding.
  • Forgottenticket
    155
    Yeah, long before I read about p-zombies or even solipsismMarchesk

    I think anyone who has ever had a dream would be aware of zombies or solipsism. Children today play VR so they are more familiar with the concepts.

    The mind/body problem I discovered myself at a young age. I was reading the back of a science book and it was about Cajal's discoveries of the brain being contiguous rather than a complete living thing. So I was wondering how everything pieced together as one experience. Before that I believed thinking was some type of continuous electrical field.
    I can't take Ryle's stuff seriously. There is obviously a full phenomenal world with thinking that exists beyond our culture/ the way we are trained to talk about thinking.
  • Terrapin Station
    10.4k
    OntologyMarchesk

    lol - in other words, you stated it as if there's some implicational relationship, but there isn't.
  • Terrapin Station
    10.4k

    So you're claiming that this, for example, reflects the misunderstanding of thinking that scientists are saying that chairs don't really exist because they're made up of molecules/atoms/etc. with "empty space" between them, with unclear surface boundaries if you look at them on a microscopic scale, etc.?
  • Marchesk
    2.7k
    ol - in other words, you stated it as if there's some implicational relationship, but there isn't.Terrapin Station

    Let me give an example. Here is an image of ancient Hebrew cosmology:

    foundations-of-the-heavens-1.jpg

    Now given what we know from science, do the waters above the firmament exist? If human beings get things like that wrong, isn't it possible that our notion of everyday objects is also mistaken?

    Let's be clear what is being claimed. It is not that the chair-stuff doesn't exist, only that our concept of a chair does not map onto the physical reality.
  • Terrapin Station
    10.4k


    Are we changing the subtopic from whether it's philosophers who are misunderstanding what science is doing?
  • Marchesk
    2.7k
    Are we changing the subtopic from whether it's philosophers who are misunderstanding what science is doing?Terrapin Station

    The subtopic is whether philosophy questions, particularly metaphysical ones, but could also are an abuse of language.
  • Terrapin Station
    10.4k


    So you just want to drop anything but what you initially wanted to talk about now. Forget trying to support the claim that philosophers are perpetuating a particular misunderstanding of science rather than computer techs etc. who like to talk about philosophy online.
  • Terrapin Station
    10.4k
    Do you also not want to sidetrack to whether any beliefs can turn out to be wrong, now? (Re the Hebrew cosmology tangent)
  • Marchesk
    2.7k
    orget trying to support the claim that philosophers are perpetuating a particular misunderstanding of science rather than computer techs etc. who like to talk about philosophy online.Terrapin Station

    I supported the claim with links to philosophical sources, not computer techs talking about philosophy. You can do a Google search yourself if you're not satisfied.

    The issue isn't one of misunderstanding science, btw.
  • Terrapin Station
    10.4k
    I supported the claim with links to philosophical sources, jot computer techs talking about philosophy. You can do a Google search yourself if you're not satisfied.Marchesk

    I asked you "So you're claiming that this, for example, reflects the misunderstanding of thinking that scientists are saying that chairs don't really exist because they're made up of molecules/atoms/etc. with "empty space" between them, with unclear surface boundaries if you look at them on a microscopic scale, etc.? "

    Because if you're claiming that, you're wrong. That article isn't even about that.

    You ignored clarifying if you're claiming that and tried to redirect.
  • Marchesk
    2.7k
    You ignored clarifying if you're claiming that and tried to redirect.Terrapin Station

    I'm not saying anything about what scientists said. Jesus man! This is an issue in metaphysics.

    Some philosophers noticed that our concepts of ordinary objects result in paradoxes when combined with our scientific understanding, leading to a metaphysical discussion of whether ordinary objects exist as we conceive them.
  • Terrapin Station
    10.4k


    Good that you're trying to argue with me when you're not even understanding and don't particularly care about what I'm saying, haha.
  • Marchesk
    2.7k
    Good that you're trying to argue with me when you're not even understanding and don't particularly care about what I'm saying, haha.Terrapin Station

    You're an ass.
  • Terrapin Station
    10.4k


    That you feel that way is probably why you're arguing with me despite not really understanding or caring about what I'm saying. Good basis for a conversation.
  • Terrapin Station
    10.4k
    If we want to just discuss "the problem of many" that might be good to start a thread on . . . although like the sorites "paradox," I personally don't think there's much of a paradox or puzzle to it.
  • Banno
    5.6k
    We seek clarification, because it doesn't make sense without proper context.Marchesk

    So, instead someone insists it's not a real picture. We seek clarification. They say it is made up of particles and space.

    If they say it was not a real picture, it was an illusion, we could make sense of that by contrasting a real painting with an illusion - there are paintings that are real, and paintings that are illusions.

    But there are no paintings that are not made up of particles and space!

    We noted earlier that we use being real in contrast to something else - forged, imaginary, fake... In such cases there are real things, not forged, not imagined, not fake.

    That's not the case with a thing being made of particles.

    The notion of real has been misused here.
  • Marchesk
    2.7k
    The notion of real has been misused here.Banno

    However, notice the difference if someone asks whether the world consists of pictures, like we might ask whether the universe is populated by ordinary objects. In this context, the meaning of real is contrasted with that of appearance.

    When the question is asked, "Do ordinary objects like tables and chairs exist?", the question is asking whether our conception of normal objects fits with being made up of particles and space.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.1k
    Is the problem that of working out what a universal refers to? What sort of thing?

    And if so, why assume that there is some thing that each word refers to?
    Banno

    The problem is working out how universals are useful. They may or not point to a particular thing (a universal object) in the world, but it would be fair to assume there is something about individual things which allows us to universalize.

    At which point we look at the similarity among individual things and debate what that entails. Or alternatively, the similarity reflects an organizational feature of our minds.
    Marchesk

    Exactly. Ideas and mental categories are just other things that we refer to with words, and ideas can refer to things in the world, but not always. The problem is that we cant discern which of our ideas are about the world and which are just imaginings. Is the color we see an actual property of the object or of my perception of it? When you talk about objects, are talking about mental objects, or non-mental objects? Are you talking about the perception, or the cause of your perception?

    And if you're talking about your perception, can you also be talking about the object because perceptions have a property of aboutness to them. Is that a scary or taboo word around here - "aboutness". Thats a philosophical word, no?
  • fresco
    281
    I suggest the 'language on holiday' issue here applies to the word 'exist', which is itself a concept like any other. Concepts stand or fall on the basis of their functionality with respect to human planning.
    We know 'chairs exist' due to the set of interactional expectancies the word 'chair' signifies.
    It is irrelevant to then argue about 'the atomic structure of chairs', because it has no effect on the utility of 'chairs' for us (except perhaps in terms of materials science). The concept 'existence' applied to 'chairs', or 'molecules' or 'gods' implies nothing other than the functional utility of those concepts which varies according to context and user. So molecular contextual users of 'existence' have nothing to say to god contextual users of 'existence' other than to argue about utility. They are both on holiday in 'hotel existence' (probably in the bar!).
  • Banno
    5.6k
    However, notice the difference if someone asks whether the world consists of pictures, like we might ask whether the universe is populated by ordinary objects. In this context, the meaning of real is contrasted with that of appearance.Marchesk

    "The world consists of..." We are now playing a play a parlour game called "metaphysics". Why not? Let's just be sure to mark the transition.

    When the question is asked, "Do ordinary objects like tables and chairs exist?", the question is asking whether our conception of normal objects fits with being made up of particles and space.Marchesk

    When the physicist tells us that the chair is made up of particles and space, he is making a statement about the chair. So yes, our notion of normal objects fits with their being made up of particles and space.
  • Marchesk
    2.7k
    When the physicist tells us that the chair is made up of particles and space, he is making a statement about the chair. So yes, our notion of normal objects fits with their being made up of particles and space.Banno

    So then there should be no paradoxes from fitting our notion of normal objects with what the physicist tells us.
  • Banno
    5.6k
    So then there should be no paradoxes from fitting our notion of normal objects with what the physicist tells us.Marchesk

    Are there any such paradoxes?
  • Marchesk
    2.7k
    That's not the only funciton exists serves. Consider the question whether life exists elsewhere in the universe. That's not a functional question. It's asking whether we're alone.

    Anyway, I've always understood exists in ordinary language to mean whether something is real. Do dragons exist, no. Do dinosaurs? They did in the past. Elephants? Yes, today they exist. What about life on Mars? We don't know, but it's a possibility, either now or sometime in the past.
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