• Marchesk
    2.8k
    Sometimes we say that we're cold, meaning we feel cold. Other times we say it's cold, meaning that something feels cold. This can vary from individual to individual. Three people are in the same room. One says it's hot, another that it feels cold, and a third that it's just fine. And this can vary for an individual. You got outside into the hot sun and then come back into the room, and now it feels cool when it was warm before.

    This sort of perceptual relativity was one of the things that motivated the ancient skeptics. If you taste the wine and it's a "rich smoky coffee bean, blackberry and summer plums wrapped in a totally silky texture", but I taste the wine and it shows "hints of tar and asphalt and rustiness among the sturdy fruit", then who is to say that taste is a property of the wine itself? Because if taste were a property of wine, how could it vary between us? And how could we tell who is tasting it correctly?

    Instead, one could adopt the language of I'm cold, and say I'm sweetened upon eating a ripe orange, or I'm reddened upon seeing a red apple. This emphasizes that the it is the perceiver who creates the feeling of temperature, taste or color, and thus we cannot say anything about the objects themselves.

    There was a stoic rebuttal to this. Upon seeing a horse, it does not make any sense to say I'm horsed. We do not become the shape of the horse, nor do we assume it's biology. What this shows us is that we do know properties of things themselves. Not everything depends on the perceiver.

    We have devices which measure temperature. 4 degrees might feel cold to you and average for me, but the thermometer gives us the same value. A pond freezes at 0 degrees celsius, regardless of how the water feels. And an apple rots, regardless of how it tastes. The horse also goes on being a horse.

    Thus we have a means for dividing the perceiver-dependent qualities from the object-dependent ones. Now you might ask, why suppose there is any division? Don't you know this will lead to all sorts of philosophical problems we've been debating since way back then?

    There is a division because human beings are not the world. You're not a horse, or a rock or the sun. And you're not another person. But you do experience the world via a body of certain kind of animal. This was also something noted by the ancient skeptics. Animal senses differ from our own.

    But notice that the skeptics have to admit to knowing that animal senses differ, and that there is perceptual relativity among humans to an extent. This implies that there is a world we do know something about. And so a division is made between the experience of the individual, and the world, of which the individual is part, but can not experience exactly as it is.

    This is why the subjective-objective divide exists, whatever conclusions we draw from such a division. I feel cold, you feel warm, but the thermometer says it's the same temperature. This eventually leads to a scientific understanding of temperature as the amount of energy the particles in a volume of space have. Cold and hot are only relative to absolute zero and minimum entropy, which is far beyond the range at which we can experience temperature.

    And the horse has nothing to say about the taste of the wine.
  • god must be atheist
    506
    I really wanted to contribute to this topic. I tried my best, but I could not.

    What's wrong with me? It's the first time in my life I wanted to voice my opinion and I was not able to. Due to lack of opinion.

    But I read the OP! I am entitled, or rather, promised, by the type of webpage this is, to be able to give an opinion after reading the opening post.

    I feel like I am cheated. The ground pulled out from under me. No leg to stand on. Biting into a ripe, fresh orange, only to realize I bit into thin air.
  • Marchesk
    2.8k
    Are you a bot? If so, can you describe your subjective experiences, if you have any?
  • Harry Hindu
    2.2k
    There is a division because human beings are not the world. You're not a horse, or a rock or the sun. And you're not another person. But you do experience the world via a body of certain kind of animal. This was also something noted by the ancient skeptics. Animal senses differ from our own.Marchesk
    They don't differ so much that we call them different names. Dogs, horses, sharks, and lizards all have noses and eyes and nervous systems. They differ only in complexity.

    But notice that the skeptics have to admit to knowing that animal senses differ, and that there is perceptual relativity among humans to an extent. This implies that there is a world we do know something about. And so a division is made between the experience of the individual, and the world, of which the individual is part, but can not experience exactly as it is.Marchesk
    What would be the difference in "experiencing" something exactly as it is and "experiencing" the aboutness of how something is?

    Can't you "experience" your mind exactly as it is?

    This is why the subjective-objective divide exists, whatever conclusions we draw from such a division. I feel cold, you feel warm, but the thermometer says it's the same temperature. This eventually leads to a scientific understanding of temperature as the amount of energy the particles in a volume of space have. Cold and hot are only relative to absolute zero and minimum entropy, which is far beyond the range at which we can experience temperature.Marchesk
    Just as I can point to the thermometer and say it is cold, I can point to your shivering body and say that you are cold. Your "subjective" notions are part of the world itself, and something you can get at directly, and then communicate to others using the objects as the medium of communication that you say we can't "experience" as they truly are. Then how is it that I'm able even understand any of the scribbles you put up on my computer screen?

    And the horse has nothing to say about the taste of the wine.Marchesk
    Saying anything is a type of behavior. Saying, "the wine is good." is the same as seeing someone enjoy the wine. If the horse laps up the wine and begs for more, then that is the horse saying, "the wine is good". Body language is a type of language, or communication.
  • Marchesk
    2.8k
    They don't differ so much that we call them different names. Dogs, horses, sharks, and lizards all have noses and eyes and nervous systems. They differ only in complexity.Harry Hindu

    They differ in ability and range. Also, some animals have eyes that see more than three primary colors. And some senses that humans lack, such as sonar or detecting the Earth's magnetic field.

    What would be the difference in "experiencing" something exactly as it is and "experiencing" the aboutness of how something is?Harry Hindu

    If we experienced things exactly as they are, there would be no skepticism, and we wouldn't need science. We would just know things as they are. This is the naive view people have before they're exposed to science or philosophy, or start questioning appearances.

    Just as I can point to the thermometer and say it is cold, I can point to your shivering body and say that you are cold.Harry Hindu

    Not always. People can feel cold without shivering. They can feel pain without jumping around and hollering. We can't always tell what someone is experiencing. Reading body language has its limits. Language also has it's limits and doesn't always tell us exactly what people feel. Sometimes they struggle to put it into words. And sometimes they don't want to tell us the truth.
    Then how is it that I'm able even understand any of the scribbles you put up on my computer screen?Harry Hindu

    You're a human being and are part of the same language community.

    Saying anything is a type of behavior. Saying, "the wine is good." is the same as seeing someone enjoy the wine.Harry Hindu

    It's really not.

    If the horse laps up the wine and begs for more,Harry Hindu

    Horses probably don't deceive. But like other animals, they can be stubborn, and we don't always know why. People do deceive and can pretend to like your terrible cooking and may even beg for more, if they feel like they really need to sell it.

    Or you're put on trial for a crime you may have committed. Question is, can the jury tell whether you're being truthful? How good is your lawyer? Will the judge allow the results of the lie detector test into the trial that you failed three times? Is the jury influenced by the prosecutor painting you as a misogynist, homophobic racist who hates mankind and supports anti-natalism?

    Point is, we struggle to really know what other people think and experience, and we're not always sure how much they're telling us the truth. There is a division between us and others.

    You can lead a horse to wine, but it might not drink it. Maybe it's not thirsty. Maybe it doesn't like the smell of the wine. Or maybe it's distracted by your body language.
  • T Clark
    3.8k
    Sometimes we say that we're cold, meaning we feel cold. Other times we say it's cold, meaning that something feels cold. This can vary from individual to individual. Three people are in the same room. One says it's hot, another that it feels cold, and a third that it's just fine. And this can vary for an individual. You got outside into the hot sun and then come back into the room, and now it feels cool when it was warm before.

    This sort of perceptual relativity was one of the things that motivated the ancient skeptics.
    Marchesk

    Is this really the source of any confusion? If I say "I'm cold." You generally know I mean "I feel cold." If I pick up a beer or if I'm outside and say "It's cold, I generally mean the temperature of the beer or the air is below about 40 degrees F. Just because there's a lot of play about whether to use 40 degrees F or 32 degrees F, doesn't mean there's really any confusion. People in Florida may think it's cold when it's 50 degrees while people in Alaska are running around in short sleeves when it's 35.

    Instead, one could adopt the language of I'm cold, and say I'm sweetened upon eating a ripe orange, or I'm reddened upon seeing a red apple.Marchesk

    I'm not sweet, the orange is. I don't feel sweet, I taste something sweet. I'm not red, the apple is. I don't feel red, I see something red. I guess I don't get the point you're trying to get across.
  • Marchesk
    2.8k
    'm not sweet, the orange is. I don't feel sweet, I taste something sweet. I'm not red, the apple is. I don't feel red, I see something red. I guess I don't get the point you're trying to get across.T Clark

    What's the difference between feeling cold and tasting sweet or seeing red? You have those experiences because of the kind of animal you are. The point of the ancient skeptics was that those properties couldn't be objective properties of things themselves because they vary and depend on the kind of perceivers we are.

    s this really the source of any confusion? If I say "I'm cold." You generally know I mean "I feel cold." If I pick up a beer or if I'm outside and say "It's cold, I generally mean the temperature of the beer or the air is below about 40 degrees F. Just because there's a lot of play about whether to use 40 degrees F or 32 degrees F, doesn't mean there's really any confusion.T Clark

    It means that our feeling of cold is due to the kind of bodies we have, not the temperature itself. Feeling cold isn't a property of the air or whatever object we're touching.

    That's why science ends up with explanations such as temperature as energy of the particles making up the air or object, and not how we experience temperature.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.2k
    If we experienced things exactly as they are, there would be no skepticism, and we wouldn't need science. We would just know things as they are. This is the naive view people have before they're exposed to science or philosophy, or start questioning appearances.Marchesk

    Skepticism would still exist even if we experienced things as they are, for how would we know if we experience things as they are? What would it mean to experience you, or the apple, as you are?

    Again, are you not experiencing your mind as it truly is?

    If you can experience things as they are indirectly, what more would experiencing them as they are provide? Isnt that what perception is - indirect access to how something really is?
  • Marchesk
    2.8k
    Skepticism would still exist even if we experienced things as they are, for how would we know if we experience things as they are? What would it mean to experience you, or the apple, as you are?Harry Hindu

    Skepticism only becomes an option when we notice a discrepancy between how things appear and how they are. Or when we can't tell the difference between an appearance and reality, such as during a dream.

    Again, are you not experiencing your mind as it truly is?Harry Hindu

    No, our first person access is imperfect and error prone.

    f you can experience things as they are indirectly,Harry Hindu

    We don't experience things as they are, directly or indirectly. We experience them in a limited fashion, imperfectly based on the kind of senses and brains we have.
  • Moliere
    1.7k
    This is why the subjective-objective divide exists, whatever conclusions we draw from such a division. I feel cold, you feel warm, but the thermometer says it's the same temperature. This eventually leads to a scientific understanding of temperature as the amount of energy the particles in a volume of space have. Cold and hot are only relative to absolute zero and minimum entropy, which is far beyond the range at which we can experience temperature.Marchesk

    This is the paragraph where I begin to lose the plot.

    I gather that the first line of the quoted paragraph is the conclusion you are arguing for. Am I reading you right here?

    If so, then I'd have to say that everything that precedes your conclusion does not imply your conclusion. Maybe I'm being a bit pernickety in my reading but I don't think I'd go so far as to say the subjective-objective divide exists.

    We can have a means (a method?) for dividing perceiver-dependent qualities from object-dependent ones. So we have a thermometer, as in your example, which reads the object-dependent quality whereas you or I may say the water is cold or warm depending on whether we came from a hot or cold room prior, which we would say is the perceiver-dependent quality. In one case we call those qualities which we use an instrument that reads the same for ourselves the object-dependent qualities, and in the other case we just state how we feel to designate the perceiver-dependent qualities.

    I can go along with this kind of category. But I don't know how that leads to a belief in some kind of divide which exists. That strikes me as a hypostatization.

    I'd just say that it's a way of talking with one another, rather than something which exists.
  • Marchesk
    2.8k
    In one case we call those qualities which we use an instrument that reads the same for ourselves the object-dependent qualities, and in the other case we just state how we feel to designate the perceiver-dependent qualities.Moliere

    Yes, the feeling of cold/heat cannot be the temperature the thermometer measures because the feeling varies between individuals and even the same individual when the thermometer does not.

    I'd just say that it's a way of talking with one another, rather than something which exists.Moliere

    I don't see how that's possible. Language doesn't make us feel cold or hot. Animals and babies feel heat. It's biological. And language doesn't make a thermometer work the way it does. That's physics.

    Physics gives us an explanation which doesn't depend on feeling at all. It says temperature is the result of kinetic energy of particles.

    Thus we have an appearance of heat/cold that's biologically based, and we have the temperature reading, which is physics based. The feeling didn't tell our ancestors what temperature was, only that we should avoid things that were too cold or hot for us, and that certain things happened when it was hot (fire starting) or cold enough (water freezing). But they didn't know why.

    The skeptics thought we couldn't know, but the stoic retort, "I'm horsed", shows why it is possible to know.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.2k
    Skepticism only becomes an option when we notice a discrepancy between how things appear and how they are. Or when we can't tell the difference between an appearance and reality, such as during a dream.Marchesk
    So we can only be skeptical if we actually had access to both how they appear and how they are? But you keep saying that we never have access to how they are - only how they appear - so then why are we skeptical?

    Maybe during the dream we can't tell the difference, but afterwards we can - after we experience the world and not a dream.

    Sensory illusions are not our senses being wrong. They are our mind's wrong interpretations of our sensory impressions. When we understand the ALL of the causes that are behind the sensory impression, we will be able to tell the difference between what parts are about the object, the light and our visual/nervous system.

    No, our first person access is imperfect and error prone.Marchesk
    I have no idea what you mean here. Do you question the existence of your mind - or that something exists at all?


    We don't experience things as they are, directly or indirectly. We experience them in a limited fashion, imperfectly based on the kind of senses and brains we have.Marchesk
    If we don't experience things directly or indirectly, then how do we experience things at all - even imperfectly? Do you experience your mind directly? Is your mind part of the world? What do you mean by "experience"?


    In one case we call those qualities which we use an instrument that reads the same for ourselves the object-dependent qualities, and in the other case we just state how we feel to designate the perceiver-dependent qualities.Moliere

    Yes, the feeling of cold/heat cannot be the temperature the thermometer measures because the feeling varies between individuals and even the same individual when the thermometer does not.Marchesk

    The thermometer is measuring something different than what your feeling of being cold and warm is about. The thermometer is measuring the outside temperature. We could use the thermometer to measure your temperature too. When we do, we would notice a pattern between how you feel and the difference between your temperature and the outside temperature.

    If we subtract your temperature from the outside temperature and get a negative number, then you will feel cold. If we get a positive number, you will feel hot. The closer to 0, the more comfortable you will feel. So your feeling of coldness or warmness isn't JUST about the outside temperature, or JUST your temperature. It is about the relationship between the two.
  • leo
    573
    the thermometer gives us the same valueMarchesk
    the thermometer says it's the same temperatureMarchesk

    Actually I would even doubt that. What if I'm blind, or I can't read numbers, or I can't understand how to read a thermometer? You may brush it off as me being disabled or stupid, and say that for any abled and sensible person, the thermometer gives the same value. But then why can't I just say that if you don't feel cold when I feel cold it's because you're disabled or stupid? Why do we have to agree that feeling cold is relative and not that what the thermometer says to us is relative?

    I would argue that even what a thermometer says or what we call a horse is relative. And then we don't need to force a subjective-objective divide.
  • Marchesk
    2.8k
    Actually I would even doubt that. What if I'm blindleo

    Someone can tell you the temperature. There's probably thermostats that read off the temperature.

    or I can't understand how to read a thermometer?leo

    When you learn to read it, you will get the same value as the rest of us.

    But then why can't I just say that if you don't feel cold when I feel cold it's because you're disabled or stupid?leo

    Because all humans can feel cold or hot at different times.

    Why do we have to agree that feeling cold is relative and not that what the thermometer says to us is relative?leo

    Because we can agree on the thermometer. It gives us an objective standard.

    I would argue that even what a thermometer says or what we call a horse is relative. And then we don't need to force a subjective-objective divide.leo

    Sure you can do that, if you don't mind everything being relative, and there being no facts anyone agrees on. Meanwhile, the rest of us will be disagreeing with you.
  • Marchesk
    2.8k
    So we can only be skeptical if we actually had access to both how they appear and how they are? But you keep saying that we never have access to how they are - only how they appear - so then why are we skeptical?Harry Hindu

    Actually, I said we do have some access to how things are because "I'm horsed" doesn't make any sense. So we can conclude that perceiving a horse has some objective properties not dependent on use perceiving it.

    have no idea what you mean here. Do you question the existence of your mind - or that something exists at all?Harry Hindu

    No, only questioning that I have perfect knowledge of my experiences or thoughts.

    If we don't experience things directly or indirectly, then how do we experience things at all - even imperfectly?Harry Hindu

    We don't experience things directly or indirectly as they are. We only experience them in a limited fashion as human beings.

    Do you experience your mind directly?Harry Hindu

    More so than other people do, but I'm a bit leery of using the word direct in this context. I'm not experiencing the mechanisms my brain uses to produce mental states.

    What do you mean by "experience"?Harry Hindu

    Subjectivity.
  • Marchesk
    2.8k
    So your feeling of coldness or warmness isn't JUST about the outside temperature, or JUST your temperature. It is about the relationship between the two.Harry Hindu

    Sure, but it's still a sensation and not what the thermometer is measuring.
  • leo
    573
    Someone can tell you the temperature.Marchesk

    Someone can tell you it's cold or hot too, that doesn't mean you will agree.

    When you learn to read it, you will get the same value as the rest of us.Marchesk

    What if I can't learn to read it? What you're saying boils down to: if you learn to agree with us, then you'll agree with us.

    Because all humans can feel cold or hot at different times.Marchesk

    No, there are some people who can't feel temperature.

    Because we can agree on the thermometer. It gives us an objective standard.Marchesk

    As I mentioned, some people don't agree on the thermometer.

    Sure you can do that, if you don't mind everything being relative, and there being no facts anyone agrees on.Marchesk

    You say feeling cold is relative, does that imply no one agrees that it's cold? No. Some people agree with one another.

    Meanwhile, the rest of us will be disagreeing with you.Marchesk

    There are some people who agree with me.
  • Marchesk
    2.8k
    There are some people who agree with me.leo

    Consider the implications for engineering or even meeting people at a certain time and location if we can't agree on facts.

    Everything is relative to the individual is insanity. We wouldn't even be able to communicate.
  • leo
    573
    Consider the implications for engineering or even meeting people at a certain time and location if we can't agree on facts.

    Everything is relative to the individual is insanity. We wouldn't even be able to communicate.
    Marchesk

    As I said, you believe that feeling cold is relative, does that imply that no one agrees it's cold? No. Plenty of people agree on plenty of things.

    You have noticed that not everyone agrees on some things. You can go a step further and notice that there is seemingly nothing everyone agrees on, including that statement. Maybe you could kill everyone who disagrees with you and your buddies, and then you would get a world where there are things everyone agrees on.
  • Marchesk
    2.8k
    You have noticed that not everyone agrees on some things. You can go a step further and notice that there is seemingly nothing everyone agrees on, including that statement.leo

    I notice people agreeing on facts when it's practical or important to do so, and only disagreeing when they have some other belief that's in contradiction.

    Nobody seriously disagrees over a thermometer.
  • leo
    573
    Nobody seriously disagrees over a thermometer.Marchesk

    People who are blind and don't believe what you tell them, and people who can't read a thermometer and can't learn to read one can seriously disagree with you over a thermometer and what it says.

    "Nobody seriously disagrees over ..." is the kind of justification people use to impose their world view onto others. If you silence or dismiss all those who disagree, sure you'll only be left with people who agree with you. But you feel justified in silencing or dismissing them, because you are right and they are wrong, right?
  • Marchesk
    2.8k
    because you are right and they are wrong, right?leo

    Facts aren't opinions, so yes. You haven't really thought out the implications of the radical relativism you're advocating, and how it would make life impossible.
  • leo
    573
    Facts aren't opinions, so yes. You haven't really thought out the implications of the radical relativism you're advocating, and how it would make life impossible.Marchesk

    And who says what the facts are? You?

    It wouldn't make life impossible, many people agree on plenty of things even when they aren't coerced to do so. I'm not even advocating that people should believe everything is relative, but that it isn't fine to coerce others to agree with us, or to dismiss them as irrelevant if they don't agree with us. In my view it's precisely that coercion that makes life harder for many, not the lack of it.

    Then a common criticism is that if everything is relative then to some individuals it might be a good thing to kill people, but that's already the case, some people see it as a good thing to kill others despite the best attempts to impose it as a fact that it's a bad thing. Whereas seeing things as relative doesn't mean I want to go and kill people, I can believe other people have different points of view without believing personally that it's fine to kill people.

    Another common criticism is to say that "everything is relative" is self-contradictory, but it's not because "everything is relative" is relative too since in the view of many people not everything is relative.

    And again I'm not forcing anyone to agree that everything is relative, but I don't want to be forced to agree that some things are objective for everyone, because in my view that's not the case, and I don't like to see people having their views dismissed or ridiculed simply because they don't agree with the consensus.

    Another possible criticism: if some individual wants to coerce others, and I believe it isn't fine to coerce others, then it seems either I let it happen or I coerce him to stop and contradict myself? But there is another way, in my view it's possible to persuade people without coercing them. Otherwise our fear of monsters makes us become the monsters.

    So I don't see that view as inconsistent nor how living by that view makes life impossible, on the contrary.
  • Marchesk
    2.8k
    And who says what the facts are? You?leo

    People agree on what the standards are for facts, such as using a thermostat to measure temperature.

    but that it isn't fine to coerce others to agree with us,leo

    I'm wondering why coercion is a topic in this discussion for you. Are you feeling coerced by participating in a discussion?

    nd I don't like to see people having their views dismissed or ridiculed simply because they don't agree with the consensus.leo

    Some views are ridiculous, such as the Earth is flat. It contradicts everything we know. People are free to think that way, but they're going to be criticized for holding an ignorant view.

    As the saying goes, you're free to have your own opinions, but not your own facts. Meaning that people are going to call you out if you disagree on facts.

    So I don't see that view as inconsistent nor how living by that view makes life impossible, on the contrary.leo

    Individually, you can get away with it to a point, but society needs to agree on facts so bridges can be built and meetings can take place, and that sort of thing. And if you're doing anything with other people and you decide to not agree on something as basic as temperature, you're going to have problems.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.2k
    No, only questioning that I have perfect knowledge of my experiences or thoughts.Marchesk

    So, are you saying that you have access to your mind, it's just that you don't have a good explanation of what your mind is for?

    We don't experience things directly or indirectly as they are. We only experience them in a limited fashion as human beings.Marchesk
    How would you even know this? You would have to know that there are things about some object that we aren't getting at with our senses to say that our experience is "limited". What is it that we are missing of the apple as it is when we look at the apple?

    If we can manipulate nature on such a grand scales and to actually leave our planet and land on others, then I would have to say that our access to nature is pretty good. We are aware of threats to our life's existence that other animals are oblivious to.

    Actually, I said we do have some access to how things are because "I'm horsed" doesn't make any sense. So we can conclude that perceiving a horse has some objective properties not dependent on use perceiving it.Marchesk
    What is the difference between getting at an object as it is and getting the perception of an object as it is? What information would you be missing? How do you know that you are missing information, instead of you just misinterpreting the information?
  • Marchesk
    2.8k
    So, are you saying that you have access to your mind, it's just that you don't have a good explanation of what your mind is for?Harry Hindu

    I'm just saying that introspection is limited.

    You would have to know that there are things about some object that we aren't getting at with our senses to say that our experience is "limited". What is it that we are missing of the apple as it is when we look at the apple?Harry Hindu

    Humans didn't know this at first. Chemical composition would be one thing. The rest of the EM spectrum we don't see reflecting off or passing through the apple would be another.

    What is the difference between getting at an object as it is and getting the perception of an object as it is?Harry Hindu

    It would mean experiencing everything about the object, but that's not how perception works.

    How do you know that you are missing information, instead of you just misinterpreting the information?Harry Hindu

    Science. Or careful observation before then leading to a realization that we don't know everything about objects by just seeing or tasting them.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.7k
    I don't see how it's not obvious with something like taste that (a) it's not the case that we're simply recording/reporting objective properties as if we're not also saying something about us, AND (b) it's not the case that we're simply reporting subjective properties that have nothing to do with objective stuff or where we can have no idea how they're connected to objective stuff/no idea what the subjective stuff is like.

    Why wouldn't it be obvious to anyone that what things taste like to us is a combo of the two?

    Seriously, it seems to me like people would have to basically be idiots to find this difficult to sort out.
  • leo
    573
    People agree on what the standards are for facts, such as using a thermostat to measure temperature.Marchesk

    Yea and people used to agree on many facts that are considered today as fantasies. You're saying that facts are decided through consensus, you're defining facts as what people agree on, so under your definition as soon as someone disagrees with a 'fact' then it stops being a fact. Or more likely you're defining facts as what most people agree on, but then under that definition there are plenty of examples of facts that stopped being facts, and there are probably things most people agree on that you don't agree with.

    I'm wondering why coercion is a topic in this discussion for you. Are you feeling coerced by participating in a discussion?Marchesk

    The coercion lies for instance in this:
    As the saying goes, you're free to have your own opinions, but not your own facts. Meaning that people are going to call you out if you disagree on facts.Marchesk

    Which, by the above, boils down to: you are not free to disagree with the consensus, and people are going to call you out if you do.

    Some views are ridiculous, such as the Earth is flat. It contradicts everything we know. People are free to think that way, but they're going to be criticized for holding an ignorant view.Marchesk

    See that's precisely the kind of talk that angers me, because saying "the Earth is flat" is not inconsistent with observations, all it contradicts is people who have agreed with one another that the Earth isn't flat. Calling it an ignorant view is the ignorant view.

    "The Earth is flat" cannot be falsified. Just like "The Earth is round" cannot be falsified. If you think scientific theories can be falsified, check the thread "What is a scientific attitude?". Thinking that falsification is what defines science is again an ignorant view.

    That the Earth appears round from space does not imply that it is round, whatever observation you can come up with does not imply that the Earth is round, because we don't have to assume that light travels in straight lines in empty space. The usual 'proofs' that the Earth is round rely on the assumption that light travels in straight lines in space.

    In a framework where the Earth is flat, observations are interpreted differently, explanations are different, theories are different, but the predictions we make can be as precise as in a framework where the Earth is round. Gravity would be modeled in a way that is not spherically symmetric. We could come up with a mathematical transformation that maps the two points of view. Switching to the point of view where the Earth is round could be seen as a mathematical change of coordinates that allows to make calculations simpler. Simpler doesn't mean more true. Occam's razor is a practical principle.

    Individually, you can get away with it to a point, but society needs to agree on facts so bridges can be built and meetings can take place, and that sort of thing. And if you're doing anything with other people and you decide to not agree on something as basic as temperature, you're going to have problems.Marchesk

    As I said, many people already agree on plenty of things, they build bridges and they meet. Some people don't agree that the Earth is round, which you see as a 'fact', that doesn't mean they run into problems, the only problem they have is with people who ridicule them and insult them because they dare disagree with the consensus. We could believe the Earth is flat and still make airplanes fly and send rockets into space, it's just that people who believe the Earth is flat usually don't care about making airplanes fly or sending rockets into space.

    Again, when you feel cold, why don't you just say that it's cold and that people who disagree with you hold a ridiculous and ignorant view? Because you listen to people to some extent, you realize that they don't experience the same things that you do, that there are many people who don't feel the way you do regarding "feeling cold". Now if 99.9% of people felt cold when you do, and 0.01% didn't, would you still say that feeling cold varies from individual to individual, or would you say it's a 'fact' that it's cold and the few who disagree hold a ridiculous and ignorant view or are disabled in some way?

    Because that's what you're doing with the other things you call 'fact', when most people agree on something and a few disagree, it's easier to ridicule them, to say that they're ignorant, hallucinating or imagining things, than to take their point of view into account. Whereas when many people disagree you can't impose your point of view as easily.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.2k
    I'm just saying that introspection is limited.Marchesk

    If it's limited, what is it missing? How do you know it is limited? In order to know it is limited, you'd have to know what is missing, and if you know what is missing, then you don't have a limited view, do you?


    You would have to know that there are things about some object that we aren't getting at with our senses to say that our experience is "limited". What is it that we are missing of the apple as it is when we look at the apple?Harry Hindu
    Humans didn't know this at first. Chemical composition would be one thing.Marchesk
    Then how did humans come to know chemical composition of an apple? Did our senses change? Why do we now get at the chemical composition of an apple, whereas before we could not? And if we know the apple's chemical composition, then what is missing from our perception of the apple?


    The rest of the EM spectrum we don't see reflecting off or passing through the apple would be another.Marchesk
    :roll: You are now talking about the light not the apple. I asked what we were missing about the apple.


    What is the difference between getting at an object as it is and getting the perception of an object as it is?Harry Hindu
    It would mean experiencing everything about the object, but that's not how perception works.Marchesk
    How do you know that's not how perception works, unless you had access to what perception really is?

    You keep contradicting yourself in claiming that we can never experience things as they are, yet you make all these claims about things as they are.

    Experiences of objects are about those objects. We experience the objects as they are. Saying we experience something is saying that there is an aboutness - that our experiences inform us of what objects are like.


    How do you know that you are missing information, instead of you just misinterpreting the information?Harry Hindu
    Science. Or careful observation before then leading to a realization that we don't know everything about objects by just seeing or tasting them.Marchesk
    How does observation lead us to realize that we don't know everything about objects, if observing is what leaves out information? In order to know that information is missing, we'd have to know what information is missing, and how would we know that if not by using the very same senses that you say are flawed, or miss information?
  • Harry Hindu
    2.2k
    Maybe we should take a look at the very question of asking what something is. To say what something is is to say what it's relationships are. Your perception of the apple is a relationship between the apple, light, and your body. The apple is a relationship between certain molecules, which are themselves relationships between various atoms, and so on - relationships all the way down.

    A mind is a relationship between a body and its environment. The objects of perception aren't just about the object as it is. It is about the object AND the body. The errors come about when we think that the perception is only about the object, and not about both the body and object.
  • Marchesk
    2.8k
    "The Earth is flat" cannot be falsified. Just like "The Earth is round" cannot be falsified. If you think scientific theories can be falsified, check the thread "What is a scientific attitude?". Thinking that falsification is what defines science is again an ignorant view.leo

    There's no point in continuing if you're going to argue for the sake of arguing.
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