• aporiap
    66
    Something I really find perplexing is this whole idea of object apprehension. (I'm referring to object in the most general sense of the term -- i.e. any 'thing').

    If you just take raw experience -- devoid of concept filters or object categories -- what presents is a continuous field of sensation. Taking just the visual field of experience, what presents is a continuous field of incongruous color. Each discernible intensity of color is spatially positioned with respect to other color-intensities (**color is also an object category, but I use it to just denote the raw sensation/raw quality of visual experience). Sharp contrast in color-intensity delineates boundaries. When a given color-contrast is arranged such that it forms an enclosure -- we perceive a shape. That perception-- i.e. that perception of a shape-- would be considered an example of a gestalt. A gestalt being a singular, discrete 'whole' or object. Enclosure/closure is one of many principles used to apprehend wholes.

    The question I have is with respect to these principles. It seems like they're serving as (biologically encoded?) inference rules. I.e. we're using them to infer the existence of objects: e.g. if some set of free-standing features in our field of vision is arranged in a certain way, that set presents as a singular, whole object.

    My question is what substantiates these inference rules. And I'm using this word - 'substantiate'- in two ways. The first being 'epistemically' -- i.e. What justifies the legitimacy of these rules? Considering that raw experience consists in a continuous field of relatively-positioned, free standing incongruities, why assume that reality contains anything more than that? The second being 'semantically'. Clearly the rules ascribe meaningfulness to certain arrangements of features? But is that 'meaningfulness' intrinsic to reality itself? Or is it just something that carries meaning only in reference to minds?

    Third question. It looks like there can be two different varieties of realism.. One that is with respect to objects and the other that is with respect to just raw experience. On a realist view of objects, these gestalt principles allow us to recognize objects 'out there'. In other words, undifferentiated, shapes are actually 'there', in reality. And they correspond to physical objects. On a realist view of 'raw experience', that uncharacterized, continuous field of sensation is what's 'actually there' and objects would be derivative and the product of mental process. Which do you take to be legitimate?
  • Wayfarer
    6.2k
    If you just take raw experience -- devoid of concept filters or object categories -- what presents is a continuous field of sensation. Taking just the visual field of experience, what presents is a continuous field of incongruous color. Each discernible intensity of color is spatially positioned with respect to other color-intensities (**color is also an object category, but I use it to just denote the raw sensation/raw quality of visual experience). Sharp contrast in color-intensity delineates boundaries. When a given color-contrast is arranged such that it forms an enclosure -- we perceive a shape. That perception-- i.e. that perception of a shape-- would be considered an example of a gestalt.aporiap

    Very good observation. But I think the technical term for that step is actually 'apperception' which is 'the process by which new experience is assimilated to and transformed by the residuum of past experience of an individual to form a new whole.' I think the principle of gestalt involves rather more than that - a gestalt is not only 'seeing a whole' but also making an interpretive judgement about it; which is why a 'gestalt shift' can be a profound experience, insofar as it sometimes amounts to a kind of major cognitive shift or insight. I mean, the two are obviously related but I don't think they're synonymous.

    The question I have is with respect to these principles. It seems like they're serving as (biologically encoded?) inference rules.aporiap

    I think the parenthetical comment could be objected to, on the basis of it being biological reductionism. However, there's a very interesting cognitive scientist by the name of Donald Hoffman, who has studied this exact question in great detail.

    But, leaving that question aside, whatever those rules are, is very closely related to the nature of intelligence itself. I mean, to engage in a bit of amateur cognitive science, one can see how for simple organisms, an account can be provided for a great many of their behaviours in terms of stimulus and response, say involving predation and many other instinctual and habitual behaviours.

    But the additional factor with h. sapiens is, of couse, the ability to infer, speculate, theorise, and ask 'what does that thing mean? How does it fit in with the rest of what I know?' And asking what that capability is, is very close to asking for an account of how the rules of thought operate, which is close to asking about the nature of logic, language, semiotics, and so on; it's close to asking, 'what is inteligence, really?'

    My question is what substantiates these inference rules. And I'm using this word - 'substantiate'- in two ways. The first being 'epistemically' -- i.e. What justifies the legitimacy of these rules? Considering that raw experience consists in a continuous field of relatively-positioned, free standing incongruities, why assume that reality contains anything more than that? The second being 'semantically'. Clearly the rules ascribe meaningfulness to certain arrangements of features? But is that 'meaningfulness' intrinsic to reality itself? Or is it just something that carries meaning only in reference to minds?aporiap

    One would hope 'the rules of thought' are justified in terms of logic and reason. I mean, if you have to ask why 'the law of the excluded middle' holds, then you're perilously close to asking 'why does 2 plus 2 equal 4?' The answer is, that '4' is the terminus of explanation for the question. Frege said in The Basic Laws of Arithmetic that ''the laws of truth are authoritative because of their timelessness ... they are boundary stones set in an eternal foundation, which our thought can overflow, but never displace. It is because of this, that they authority for our thought if it would attain to truth."

    It is precisely because those laws are predictive that logical predictions and indeed the kinds of basic inferences made in science are possible. If we had nothing more than 'raw experience', then would we be capable of rational thought? Surely rationality is in some sense the means by which order is discovered in, and applied to, experience. And such regularities have to exist even for language to get off the ground.

    On a realist view of objects, these gestalt principles allow us to recognize objects 'out there'. In other words, undifferentiated, shapes are actually 'there', in reality. And they correspond to physical objects.aporiap

    Careful, because if you want to establish correspondence between the object and the experience, then you have to be able to differentiate them. And how could you do that? The object appears as an element of experience. One does not actually have to be a scientific realist to recognise that.

    But the other point is, I think that the kind of analysis you're engaging in, is not typical of the realist attitude from the outset. As soon as you start critically reflecting on the nature of knowledge, perception and experience in this kind of way, then I think you're already moving away from a realist attitude, which tends to take the objects of experience themselves as the primary datum, and not to ask too many questions about how experience itself relates to objects and so on.

    Overall, excellent post.
  • Terrapin Station
    3.7k
    Considering that raw experience consists in a continuous field of relatively-positioned, free standing incongruities,aporiap

    That notion doesn't seem any less theory-laden to me as the idea that we simply perceive objects.

    And I don't buy ideas such as unconscious inference rules.
  • Cavacava
    2.4k
    If you just take raw experience -- devoid of concept filters or object categories -- what presents is a continuous field of sensation.

    Only the neonatal could possibly have "raw experience" as you have described it and I think that is also somewhat doubtful. If the world has a structure, then don't we perceive that structure regardless of whether or not we understand what it is we are perceiving. Many animals have significantly keener perceptual abilities, yet their cognitive abilities are limited when compared man and some other organisms.

    Brings up Dr. Hoffman's studies and then shoots off in another direction. If I understand correctly Dr, Hoffman's work is based on the premise that perception is utility driven and the greatest utility is not always veridical (he emphasizes that they can match up, but that they need not). According to Dr. Hoffman utility is all that matters in evolution. His experiments suggest that that simple biological needs, such as the need for food, water and similar can outperform logical, synthetic inferences when it comes to survival.

    Natural selection can send perfectly, or partially, true perceptions to extinction when they compete with perceptions that use niche-specific interfaces which hide the truth in order to better represent utility. Fitness and access to truth are logically distinct properties. More truthful perceptions do not entail greater fitness.

    This suggest to me that "the structure of the world" and the structuring of the world that we construct may not correspond isomorphically, that utility may have wider part play in it.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.1k
    My question is what substantiates these inference rules. And I'm using this word - 'substantiate'- in two ways. The first being 'epistemically' -- i.e. What justifies the legitimacy of these rules? Considering that raw experience consists in a continuous field of relatively-positioned, free standing incongruities, why assume that reality contains anything more than that? The second being 'semantically'. Clearly the rules ascribe meaningfulness to certain arrangements of features? But is that 'meaningfulness' intrinsic to reality itself? Or is it just something that carries meaning only in reference to minds?aporiap

    What substantiates our assumption of the reality of objects, is the comparison between numerous different senses. You refer to the visual field, seeing different colours, and surely we perceive boundaries which separate out objects through visual perception. But we also move around, touch and feel these same differences, we even taste, smell and hear some differences. So the assumption that we apprehend individual objects is supported by more than just the sense of sight.
  • Harry Hindu
    1.2k
    **color is also an object category, but I use it to just denote the raw sensation/raw quality of visual experienceaporiap
    Exactly. So the brute distinctions of color are themselves evidence that some rules are being followed even before the rules of categorizing them. There also seems to be the raw feeling of attending to certain colors and shapes - of amplifying certain colors and shapes over others (the colors and shapes at the edges of our peripheral vision are less distinct and less focused that the ones at the center of our visual field and bringing them into focus requires moving them into the center. Many philosophers, when talking about perception, seem to gloss over attention, as if it weren't important). There seems to be this raw feeling of certain colors and shapes being more important than other colors and shapes - but why? important for what? Our goals. Our goal-oriented behavior seems to be just as raw as the shapes and colors themselves. To explain the existence of one without explaining the existence of the other seems to leave out the necessary information to explain it all. To talk about colors and shapes in some visual field without trying to explain those brute distinctions that occur before any categorizing seems to go nowhere at all. Distinctions are made subconsciously in order for the conscious to even hope to make and categorizations and groupings of similarities.
  • Moliere
    1.2k
    What justifies the legitimacy of these rules? Considering that raw experience consists in a continuous field of relatively-positioned, free standing incongruities, why assume that reality contains anything more than that?aporiap

    I suppose I would question your "considering that raw experience" line, first and foremost. But under the presumption -- I would say that epistemology differs from what I experience. Do we assume reality contains anything more than raw experience, or do we conclude that this is so? I'd gather the latter. And as knowledge is a social-product, it is neither dependent upon my mind or my experience, but rather is an entity produced through social organization.

    The second being 'semantically'. Clearly the rules ascribe meaningfulness to certain arrangements of features? But is that 'meaningfulness' intrinsic to reality itself? Or is it just something that carries meaning only in reference to minds?

    I don't think meaning is either intrinsic to reality, nor strictly mind-dependent. First, 'meaning' is a slippery word in that it means several things. This only makes 'meaningfulness' just as difficult as 'meaning'. In some sense I gather you mean -- as in intend -- that collections of experience mean -- as in indicate -- objects. But when you say 'meaningfulness' I wonder what it is you mean -- as in what is the use said word is being put to, and what is the meaning of the term with respect to your questions and thinking process.

    Second, 'intrinsic to reality' is a problematic phrase. What would it mean, for instance, for color (as one of your granted parts of reality) to be extrinsic to reality? And if that isn't well defined, then how can anything be intrinsic to reality? Or perhaps a better line of questioning -- what is the difference between something being real and something being intrinsically real (mind-dependent and mind-independent are my best guesses here)?

    Third, and this is just a bit of a guess given your use of 'raw experience' and 'only in reference to minds' -- but if we only come to know something through the mind, then there would be no way of knowing whether this or that phenomena is mind-dependent or mind-independent. At which point you could either conclude that agnosticism on the topic of meaning being a part of external reality or internal reality is the most rational position, or you could posit that there is something other than knowledge that you're making this determination on (but one which is somehow better than opinion, since clearly we can all have an opinion, but there is no sorting between opinions).

    Third question. It looks like there can be two different varieties of realism.. One that is with respect to objects and the other that is with respect to just raw experience. On a realist view of objects, these gestalt principles allow us to recognize objects 'out there'. In other words, undifferentiated, shapes are actually 'there', in reality. And they correspond to physical objects. On a realist view of 'raw experience', that uncharacterized, continuous field of sensation is what's 'actually there' and objects would be derivative and the product of mental process. Which do you take to be legitimate?aporiap

    Between the two I take the former to be more legitimate, in the usual way of disproving the opposing view -- which isn't exactly satisfactory, but I'm trying to stay within your lines of questioning, rather than introducing something new or oppositional. "Raw experience", 'uncharacterized, continuous field of sensation', and 'continuous field of incongruous color. Each discernible intensity of color is spatially positioned with respect to other color-intensities' all strike me as the products of analysis. First there's the reification of experience and then there follows the breaking experience apart into component parts. But to name 'experience' and subsequently name its component parts is to already categorize the world into objects -- perhaps not objects as we think of them, but objects in the way you're using the word 'object' -- i.e. any 'thing'. As such it seems more consistent to me to say that both views of realism believe there are objects which compose the world, they merely disagree upon which objects populate the world, and therefore the first position is more legitimate because both positions of realism are the same in that they ascribe reality to nominations.
  • wuliheron
    440
    A gestalt is merely a symbolic dialectical representation of yin-yang dynamics which, technically, are supposed to always be in motion as they transform into one another. The problem with their interpretation comes from applying dualistic dialectics to what is actually systems logic. Optical illusions where first you see something there and then you don't are a better example of yin-yang dynamics involved.

    The Pale Buddha said, "The past is only a memory, the future is only a dream" but without memories and dreams there is nothing to discuss and nothing to be done about it. Without memories, awareness is nothing more than mysticism and without awareness there is still nothing to discuss and nothing to be done about it because the lights are left on when nobody is home. Instead of object apprehension what is occurring is awareness that the greater context of the truth determines the identity of everything.
  • Ying
    174
    Something I really find perplexing is this whole idea of object apprehension. (I'm referring to object in the most general sense of the term -- i.e. any 'thing'). — aporiap

    OK.

    If you just take raw experience -- devoid of concept filters or object categories -- what presents is a continuous field of sensation.

    That's not possible. "Raw experience" as such is an abstraction, not an actual phenomenological way of experiencing. Even with the presence of some or the other form of aphasia, there still are background experiences present.

    Taking just the visual field of experience, what presents is a continuous field of incongruous color. Each discernible intensity of color is spatially positioned with respect to other color-intensities (**color is also an object category, but I use it to just denote the raw sensation/raw quality of visual experience). Sharp contrast in color-intensity delineates boundaries. When a given color-contrast is arranged such that it forms an enclosure -- we perceive a shape. That perception-- i.e. that perception of a shape-- would be considered an example of a gestalt. A gestalt being a singular, discrete 'whole' or object. Enclosure/closure is one of many principles used to apprehend wholes.

    ... Yeah, no. When I direct my gaze at an object, it becomes highlighted in the center of my vision. I'm looking at a pack of cards, right now. It's differentiated from it's local environment by being more clear in my vision than the things outside of my attention which temporarily appear more blurry. If I direct my attention towards another object on my desk, the pack of cards becomes a part of the background, while the other object becomes dynamically highlighted. In gestalt psychology, this perceptual process is called "figure-ground": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Figure%E2%80%93ground_(perception)

    Another fundamental property of perception is called "emergence". Perceptual emergence is a reflexive function where forms are apprehended as spatial wholes instead of individual elements. Emergence is easier to showcase than to explain, so here's a picture:

    18-04_dog.jpg

    Notice the dog sniffing in the foreground, and the tree in the background.
  • Wayfarer
    6.2k
    If I understand correctly Dr, Hoffman's work is based on the premise that perception is utility driven and the greatest utility is not always veridical (he emphasizes that they can match up, but that they need not). According to Dr. Hoffman utility is all that matters in evolution.Cavacava

    Correct! But I don't take the same conclusion from that as Hoffman does, because I don't believe that perception (or anything else) can be explained wholly and solely in evolutionary terms. The fact that utility is all that matters to evolution, is taken as a kind of canonical statement about the nature of life itself. As I mentioned in my reply to the OP, I think to say that amounts to biological reductionism - that human beings are 'nothing but' the product of evolutionary biology.

    I don't think that the ability to reason can be convincingly rationalised as a 'product' - in that I'm in agreement with Thomas Nagel and the other critics of evolutionary reductionism (although note I don't support or agree with any form of 'intelligent design' argument.)

    I'm very much in agreement with Hoffman's argument that what we perceive as external reality is the conditioned response of the brain, but I don't interpret that in wholly Darwinian terms.
  • aporiap
    66
    Very good observation. But I think the technical term for that step is actually 'apperception' which is 'the process by which new experience is assimilated to and transformed by the residuum of past experience of an individual to form a new whole.' I think the principle of gestalt involves rather more than that - a gestalt is not only 'seeing a whole' but also making an interpretive judgement about it; which is why a 'gestalt shift' can be a profound experience, insofar as it sometimes amounts to a kind of major cognitive shift or insight. I mean, the two are obviously related but I don't think they're synonymous.
    Based on the definition, it seems like the opposite: where apperception involves the classing of an object into a learned object category-- understanding the object within the context of this old information (e.g. all men are mortal; this new object I see is a man; therefore he must be a mortal). I always thought gestalt just involved the perception of a discrete whole -- an uncategorized whole.

    I think the parenthetical comment could be objected to, on the basis of it being biological reductionism. However, there's a very interesting cognitive scientist by the name of Donald Hoffman, who has studied this exact question in great detail.
    Thanks for mentioning him -- he definitely has an interesting perspective. I like the analogy he uses --conscious experience being analogous to a user interface. I mean the relevant learned concepts and object categories come bound up in the presented landscape-- trees, roads, computers.. It's not just shapes and colors.. so processing, object recognition, all happens in the background.

    But I do think the interface is a bit more dynamic than he makes it out to be. We're clearly capable of -at least partly- getting underneath what directly presents. Just through this sort of inquiry alone or any other empirical reasoning with respect to the nature of objects or perception, we're able to reflect, re-orient and then re-perceive the world under the light of newly salient perspectives/aspects that take into account the more invariant (veridical?) features of experience. And I think even just the simple fact that we can distinguish between raw experience (consisting in just free-standing qualia) and naiive/folk perception (i.e. conscious experience that includes our learned object-categories and concepts) seems to imply, that there's at least some capacity to intuit how the machine works.

    But, leaving that question aside, whatever those rules are, is very closely related to the nature of intelligence itself. I mean, to engage in a bit of amateur cognitive science, one can see how for simple organisms, an account can be provided for a great many of their behaviours in terms of stimulus and response, say involving predation and many other instinctual and habitual behaviours.

    But the additional factor with h. sapiens is, of couse, the ability to infer, speculate, theorise, and ask 'what does that thing mean? How does it fit in with the rest of what I know?' And asking what that capability is, is very close to asking for an account of how the rules of thought operate, which is close to asking about the nature of logic, language, semiotics, and so on; it's close to asking, 'what is inteligence, really?'
    Right I think the question for me is not necessarily how the rules operate but what their origin is. What comes to mind is the psychologism debate: While I'm just somewhat familiar with it and while I understand it to be with regard to the laws of logic, the whole question of whether those laws and others (e.g. principles of gestalt) are derivative from psychological features or independent of them is one that I find interesting.

    One would hope 'the rules of thought' are justified in terms of logic and reason. I mean, if you have to ask why 'the law of the excluded middle' holds, then you're perilously close to asking 'why does 2 plus 2 equal 4?' The answer is, that '4' is the terminus of explanation for the question. Frege said in The Basic Laws of Arithmetic that ''the laws of truth are authoritative because of their timelessness ... they are boundary stones set in an eternal foundation, which our thought can overflow, but never displace. It is because of this, that they authority for our thought if it would attain to truth."


    It is precisely because those laws are predictive that logical predictions and indeed the kinds of basic inferences made in science are possible. If we had nothing more than 'raw experience', then would we be capable of rational thought? Surely rationality is in some sense the means by which order is discovered in, and applied to, experience. And such regularities have to exist even for language to get off the ground.

    This brings me back to the issue Hoffman raised -- that at least part of what restricts our capacity to perceive reality is the fact that the perceptual system evolved not to accurately present reality but to promote survival and reproduction.If we take his idea -that it's all constructed- then there wouldn't seem to be any basis for the reliability and consistency of perception. Clearly there must be -at the very least- a consistent relation between the principles that govern perception and whatever principles govern the unfolding of reality itself -- else we'd all be fully deluded.

    Careful, because if you want to establish correspondence between the object and the experience, then you have to be able to differentiate them. And how could you do that? The object appears as an element of experience. One does not actually have to be a scientific realist to recognise that.
    Right -- I meant to say perceived shapes are identical with physical objects (as opposed to correspond with physical objects).

    But the other point is, I think that the kind of analysis you're engaging in, is not typical of the realist attitude from the outset. As soon as you start critically reflecting on the nature of knowledge, perception and experience in this kind of way, then I think you're already moving away from a realist attitude, which tends to take the objects of experience themselves as the primary datum, and not to ask too many questions about how experience itself relates to objects and so on.

    Right -- naive realism says that objects are intrinsic to reality and we directly perceive them. But I think you can conceive of direct realism in a different way. One that makes room for things like mental representations and that solely takes the most invariant features of what's experienced as what's real:

    One thing that seems clear is that objects can instantiate multiple different object categories. An example being the 'duck rabbit' illusion -- where the same whole figure or 'object' can be perceived as either a duck or a rabbit. In the case of my particular laptop, the object that instantiates it can also be conceived as a much different category of object -- say, a hat. If someone without knowledge of laptops happens upon mine and begins to use it to shade his/her head from the sun, then, for him it functions and is seen as a hat. I guess the point is that object categories (table, chair, food, so on) aren't intrinsic to 'whole figures' and so don't seem to be an essential feature of what's experienced. We can continue this kind of analysis and eliminate other non-essential features of what's experienced. Presumably by doing this, you'd get closer to the raw -- untampered with -- experience. And that raw experience, devoid of the non-essential components- if taken as directly presenting reality, seems like it could serve the basis for a direct realism.
  • aporiap
    66

    That notion doesn't seem any less theory-laden to me as the idea that we simply perceive objects.

    And I don't buy ideas such as unconscious inference rules.
    Well I think we do perceive objects, but we can intuit that objects aren't essential, invariant elements of experience. What does seem to be that way are just the raw qualities of experience.

    Also, I think you'd be able to deduce it by just using invariance as a guiding principle. Just the fact that there are phenomena like gestalt-shifts (different ways that a given physical object can present in your experience) and different frames of reference with respect to perception -- i.e. one's field of experience can be parsed in different ways depending on what relevant categories one conceives as in the field of vision or what one takes as the foreground and background) seems to imply that neither particular object categories (e.g. as in the case of the rabbit-duck illusion) nor particular object boundaries (e.g. as in the case of conceiving a whole object or a conglomerate of parts -- I can conceive the same region of my visual field as a whole or as a set of discrete parts) are necessarily perceived. And so they can't be fundamental elements of experience.

    What doesn't change when one focuses on a particular region in one's visual field is the raw quality of that region -- that it presents as a continuum of, relatively spaced, color incongruities.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.1k
    Based on the definition, it seems like the opposite: where apperception involves the classing of an object into a learned object category-- understanding the object within the context of this old information (e.g. all men are mortal; this new object I see is a man; therefore he must be a mortal). I always thought gestalt just involved the perception of a discrete whole -- an uncategorized whole.aporiap

    I am doubtful of this idea of perceiving an uncategorized whole. It may well be the case, that to perceive something as a whole, a unit, is necessarily to perceive it as something, even if it is just to categorize it as a whole. Then to perceive something as an uncategorized whole is an impossibility. To perceive something as an object may require that it be recognized, and to recognize it is to associate it with another perception, and this is to categorize it. It need not even be the case that one puts a name to the object, just to recognize it is to categorize it, and this is to see it as having a particular identity.

    The point being, that I cannot conceive of what it would mean to perceive something as "an uncategorized whole". Imagine the possibility of a perception which is completely unrecognizable. How would the unrecognizable aspect of the perception be individuated from the recognizable aspect of the perception, such that it could be assigned the status of an individuate whole, if it is completely unrecognizable?
  • wuliheron
    440
    The uncategorized whole is the greater truth which determines the identity of everything and what Socrates called the "Memory of God" that none can remember in all its glory. To argue against such a thing is to claim you can know the mind of God.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.1k
    Doesn't the opposite of what you said follow logically? If the uncategorized whole is the Memory of God, then to claim that there is such a thing is to claim to be united to God through one's memory. This would imply knowing the mind of God.
  • wuliheron
    440
    Doesn't the opposite of what you said follow logically? If the uncategorized whole is the Memory of God, then to claim that there is such a thing is to claim to be united to God through one's memory. This would imply knowing the mind of God.Metaphysician Undercover

    Even God can't see the back of his own head without using a mirror. We are using nature to study nature, while the void laughs in our faces. The only thing we can ultimately know is that we know nothing, but nothin' from nothing' ain't nothin'.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.1k
    Even God can't see the back of his own head without using a mirror.wuliheron

    That scares me.
  • wuliheron
    440
    That scares me.Metaphysician Undercover

    Would you rather that God could create rock bigger than even he can lift? Yin-yang dynamics rule existence as we know it.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.1k
    Why would I believe that God could create a rock bigger than he could lift? That sounds contradictory. Doesn't creating imply that God has lifted it, in order that it be where it is?
  • wuliheron
    440
    Why would I believe that God could create a rock bigger than he could lift? That sounds contradictory. Doesn't creating imply that God has lifted it, in order that it be where it is?Metaphysician Undercover

    If God can see the back of his own head without a mirror he can surely create a rock bigger than even he can lift, but yin-yang dynamics in a paradox of existence make it impossible to create any kind of demonstrable mystical, metaphysical, intellectual, or emotional extreme. A Goldilocks Principle applies to everything along with a paradoxical version of Occam's Razor where the simplest explanation is both true and false and all the more attractive making it all the more often either extremely productive or counterproductive.
  • aporiap
    66

    I am doubtful of this idea of perceiving an uncategorized whole. It may well be the case, that to perceive something as a whole, a unit, is necessarily to perceive it as something, even if it is just to categorize it as a whole. Then to perceive something as an uncategorized whole is an impossibility. To perceive something as an object may require that it be recognized, and to recognize it is to associate it with another perception, and this is to categorize it. It need not even be the case that one puts a name to the object, just to recognize it is to categorize it, and this is to see it as having a particular identity.

    The point being, that I cannot conceive of what it would mean to perceive something as "an uncategorized whole". Imagine the possibility of a perception which is completely unrecognizable. How would the unrecognizable aspect of the perception be individuated from the recognizable aspect of the perception, such that it could be assigned the status of an individuate whole, if it is completely unrecognizable?
    Right, I should have said 'undifferentiated' whole -- merely a whole or a 'thing' or object. But I think you can still apprehend something which is undifferentiated or ambiguous-- i.e. you perceive some arrangement as an object but it isn't classed it into a kind. Of course, the thing wouldn't be entirely ambiguous -- since you are perceiving it as anambiguous (that fact of the object is unambiguous). And that feature, the ambiguity of that whole is what distinguishes it from the surrounding backdrop that -presumably- isn't ambiguous or at least isn't amiguous in the same way as the object itself.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.