• frank
    5.1k
    Probably not. But Descartes set the stage for thinkers that came after him. See, for example, the passage from Magee's book on Schopenhauer that includes, "the whole of the empirical world in space and time is the creation of our understanding". That is, the empirical world depends on its dual subject.

    (Though note Wayfarer suggests that that passage might be misleading.)
    Andrew M

    He was riffing on Kant, not Descartes. Somebody suggested that though there appears to be a multitude of electrons, there's really only one. Schopenhauer's kind of like that regarding the self, a self-wave the appears as particles here and there.

    Put differently, mind is an abstraction over a concrete particular, in this case a human being.Andrew M

    An electromagnetic dynamo is an abstraction. It's still a powerful thing. We smart humans can navigate these kinds of situations without straying into category errors.
  • frank
    5.1k
    Minds cannot think because they do not exist per se.Galuchat

    That's pretty common, yes.
  • Mww
    1.7k
    Consider the geocentrists whose a priori view was that Earth was the center of the universe and that the Sun moved across the sky. The heliocentrists replaced that with their own a priori view that it was the Earth that moved around the Sun.Andrew M

    What is it about those views that make them a priori?
    ——————

    Kant's a priori view was Euclidean. But Einstein replaced that with spacetime relativity.Andrew M

    Even in Einstein, the observer in his own reference frame is in the Kantian view of Euclidean space and time.
  • Mww
    1.7k


    Man, that’s a lot of templates. If there are an immeasurably large number of possible experiences, each one with its own template......where’d they all come from?

    Now if there were a certain number of templates to which every single possible experience must abide, that might be something to consider. Sorta like a mind saying......hey, screw this. If that which is presented to me doesn’t meet certain necessary conditions, I ain’t even going to bother trying to make something of it.

    ‘Course, still have to explain where a few necessary conditions come from, just as much as a veritable infinite number of templates. Down in the metaphysical weeds are things like innate ideas, forms, pure conceptions....all kinds weird stuff.
  • jjAmEs
    184
    yet appear to make sense by spitting out streams of words and pretending they have full control of them.I like sushi

    I agree that we don't have full control of our steams of words.

    We don’t know what time is, what gravity is, nor what a bloody chair is.I like sushi

    I agree that we don't (exactly) know WTF we are talking about when we use words like chair or gravity or time.

    Nor is the approach of Derrida much use here as he’d only mock the situation and ask ‘does existence exist?’ or some other flatulence.I like sushi

    What's strange is an attack (?) on Derrida in a post that uses one of his key ideas --that authorial intention does not control meaning. I don't ever know 'absolutely' WTF I am talking about. I drive nails somehow with the hammer of language. Somehow I bark the right-enough sounds and scratch the right-enough symbols and survive decade after decade in a high-tech society.

    For a writing to be a writing it must continue to "act" and to be readable even when what is called the author of the writing no longer answers for what he has written, for what he seems to have signed, be it because of a temporary absence, because he is dead or, more generally, because he has not employed his absolutely actual and present intention or attention, the plenitude of his desire to say what he means, in order to sustain what seems to be written "in his name. " One could repeat at this point the analysis outlined above this time with regard to the addressee. The situation of the writer and of the underwriter [du souscripteur: the signatory, trans. ] is, concerning the written text, basically the same as that of the reader. This essential drift [derive] bearing on writing as an iterative structure, cut off from all absolute responsibility, from consciousness as the ultimate authority, orphaned and separated at birth from the assistance of its father, is precisely what Plato condemns in the Phaedrus. If Plato's gesture is, as I believe, the philosophical movement par excellence, one can measure what is at stake here. — Derrida

    http://lab404.com/misc/ltdinc.pdf
  • jjAmEs
    184
    but rather by training themselves to respond to stimulation (internal and external) with appropriate activity. Most of which, in humans uniquely, involves manipulation of, or preparation to manipulate, actual, external, symbols.

    ...What we mistakenly theorise as the presence of actual, internal ones.
    bongo fury

    That sounds right. We are trained to employ the language as a whole. Afterwards we can argue about what 'subject' or 'justice' or 'being' mean. But this is us trying to make our training explicit by coughing up yet more words that aren't rigorously defined. Have we reason to think that it's a finite task? In the meantime we have to live, which means that we just rely on our training and muddle through, occasionally clarifying this or that blockage in the flow of our conversations or readings. Perhaps our training is the only foundation we can hope for.

    Derrida is on par with Zizek in my view -- a completely incoherent waste of time.Xtrix

    Hi. For you and anyone who hates Derrida's style, here's an interpreter they might find more palatable. The interpreted essay is linked in a comment above.
    http://www.colby.edu/music/nuss/mu254/articles/Culler.pdf

    I can understand the frustration with Zizek as writer, though he's great in interviews.
  • Wayfarer
    9.9k
    According to the image of a template it can be assumed either that the world is chaotic in itself and only the template provides shapes or that the template matches some shapes that are independent of it.David Mo

    I do sometimes wonder if the very idea of templates originated with the Platonic forms.The separation of form and substance seems likewise indispensable to the very idea of mass production.

    Use of the word "mind" is a convenient façon de parler (Bennett & Hacker, 2003). What it refers to is an integrated set of organism events which produce automatic and controlled acts (corporeal actions).Galuchat

    How does that account for mental arithmetic?

    Somebody suggested that though there appears to be a multitude of electrons, there's really only one.frank

    Feynman, whimsically, on the phone to Wheeler.

    On naturalism, there is no "reality of appearances". We're not trapped in Plato's cave.Andrew M

    with the caveat that:

    Naturalism doesn't confer certainty.Andrew M

    The natural claim is that we can know things as they are (from our perspective as human beings).Andrew M

    If we have to qualify it in this way, then does it really constitute 'knowing things as they are'? By conceding the perspectival nature of knowledge, you're more or less conceding Kant's point.

    [a quote about ]Schopenhauer that includes, "the whole of the empirical world in space and time is the creation of our understanding". That is, the empirical world depends on its dual subject.

    (Though note Wayfarer suggests that that passage might be misleading.)
    Andrew M

    I'm wary of the use of the word 'creation' in this context. But thinking about it some more, it's close in meaning to what Andrei Linde says in the Closer to Truth interview that I linked to. Of course it seems obviously absurd when we think of it in terms of 'the world being in the mind' - but the problem is that when we're saying this, we're trying to envisage 'the world' and 'the mind' from the outside. There's the vast universe, the whole Earth is just a minute speck in relation to that. But we can't see it 'from the outside', we can't make an object of 'me knowing that'. It's a false perspective.

    I agree that we don't (exactly) know WTF we are talking about when we use words like chair or gravity or time.jjAmEs

    The only perfectly consistent expression of 'is' is found in mathematics and logic. Otherwise it's just a useful approximation.
  • David Mo
    721
    The ‘mind’ exists just as solidly as a ‘cat’ exists. The point is they are both referential - convenient and frugal - communications of shared experience. We know they are shared because we wouldn’t be able to ‘refer’ to them otherwise. The hard physicalistic position of ‘mind’ isn’t there but brain is, is a pointless stance.I like sushi

    It doesn't seem obvious. We get the direct perception of a cat. The "mind" is an abstraction that comes partly from introspection and partly from similarity. I mainly call my own production of ideas "mind". Then I infer the mind of others by comparing my own behaviour with the behaviour of others. This comparison may not be the result of conscientious reflection, but it works this way.

    "Mind" and "cats" are very different objects. For-itself and in-itself, you know.
  • David Mo
    721
    Man, that’s a lot of templates. If there are an immeasurably large number of possible experiences, each one with its own template......where’d they all come from?Mww

    I was thinking about Kant's theory of knowledge: space, time and categories. We build objects with them. Other "templates" are more particular and a posteriori.
  • David Mo
    721
    I do sometimes wonder if the very idea of templates originated with the Platonic forms.Wayfarer

    They had something in common insofar as Plato was also anti-empiricist. But Plato thought of ideal molds for every single thing. A logical problem of infinite multiplication of forms. Kant is thinking of universal molds (if you like) limited to the main categories of thought. The rest are sensations. A heresy for Plato.
  • Wayfarer
    9.9k
    . But Plato thought of ideal molds for every single thing. A logical problem of infinite multiplication of forms.David Mo

    The notion that every shape corresponds to a different form is not necessarily what platonism entails. Form doesn't mean shape. For example, the 'form' of a wing (or 'flight') might be realised as a bat wing, aeroplane wing, and bird wing.
  • Punshhh
    2k

    I quote,

    "the rest is silence"

    If you really want answers you will have to absorb a little mysticism, Shakespeare knew that when he wrote Hamlet.
  • Galuchat
    792
    How does that account for mental arithmetic?Wayfarer

    Numeracy: ability to understand number arrangements, and perform numerical operations.
    Minds aren't numerate, brains aren't numerate, human beings are numerate.
    And so it goes with every other human "mental" condition, function, and process.
  • Galuchat
    792
    With regard to current Neurological and Psychological evidence:
    1) Body and mind are open sub-systems of (at least certain) organisms (e.g., those having a central nervous system).
    2) Body is open to mind and environment.
    3) Mind is open to body.

    So:
    1) Mind-body dualism is a non sequitur.
    2) Human substance (being) is a unity having two properties (i.e., body and mind).
  • Mww
    1.7k
    Other "templates" are more particular and a posteriori.David Mo

    Yep.

    Intuitions.
  • frank
    5.1k

    If you really want answers you will have to absorb a little mysticism, Shakespeare knew that when he wrote Hamlet.
    Punshhh

    Could you say more?
  • Punshhh
    2k
    1) Mind-body dualism is a non sequitur.
    2) Human substance (being) is a unity having two properties (i.e., body and mind).

    I would agree with this, to an extent. The extent that a human entity can be regarded as a substance, however both body and mind are foundational to the conscious being therein. So perhaps one can describe the conscious being to be found in a human, fundamentally dualistic, due to the case that consciousness of the body and the consciousness of the mind, are foundational and both are necessary for that consciousness to occur.
  • Punshhh
    2k
    Could you say more?

    Well, in essence mysticism includes an approach to knowledge which offers two other means of enquiry (there may be more). Other than the intellectual route to knowledge. An enquiry into the self and an enquiry into communion, or intuition with or aided by a real, or notional deity, of some kind.

    During this inquiry insights may occur into other areas, or ideas, different, or even orthogonal to the intellectual route to knowledge.

    For example I have realised that there is a form of knowledge, which is gathered, or achieved via acquaintance, or communion with aspects of the self, or other entities. A route in which the intellect is used only as a tool of interpretation of the experience which has become known, before the intellect became involved.
  • Andrew M
    1k
    Use of the word "mind" is a convenient façon de parler (Bennett & Hacker, 2003).Galuchat

    Thanks for that apt reference. It's well worth quoting the original passage in full.

    Talk of the mind, one might say, is merely a convenient facon de parler, a way of speaking about certain human faculties and their exercise. Of course that does not mean that people do not have minds of their own, which would be true only if they were pathologically indecisive. Nor does it mean that people are mindless, which would be true only if they were stupid or thoughtless. For a creature to have a mind is for it to have a distinctive range of capacities of intellect and will, in particular the conceptual powers of a language-user that make self-awareness and self-reflection possible. — Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience - Bennett and Hacker
  • Andrew M
    1k
    Put differently, mind is an abstraction over a concrete particular, in this case a human being.
    — Andrew M

    An electromagnetic dynamo is an abstraction. It's still a powerful thing. We smart humans can navigate these kinds of situations without straying into category errors.
    frank

    What I mean by abstraction in this context is "A particular way in which a thing exists or appears." (Lexico, form) [*]

    An electromagnetic dynamo is a thing that exists, not a particular way in which a thing exists (i.e., it's concrete, not abstract or formal).

    --

    [*] Per the surrounding discussion on Kant, it's interesting to note the Latin origin of form and its similarity to 'template' and 'mold':

    "Middle English from Old French forme (noun), fo(u)rmer (verb, from Latin formare ‘to form’), both based on Latin forma ‘a mould or form’."
  • Andrew M
    1k
    Consider the geocentrists whose a priori view was that Earth was the center of the universe and that the Sun moved across the sky. The heliocentrists replaced that with their own a priori view that it was the Earth that moved around the Sun.
    — Andrew M

    What is it about those views that make them a priori?
    Mww

    They comprise the (contingently) prior background against which observations are interpreted and judgments are made. That prior background can be represented in scientific or mathematical terms.

    To change one's view from geocentrism to heliocentrism is to change that background - a Kuhnian paradigm shift, or gestalt shift.

    Even in Einstein, the observer in his own reference frame is in the Kantian view of Euclidean space and time.Mww

    I'm not sure what you mean. An implication of the Kantian view is that two events that are simultaneous for one observer are simultaneous for all observers. But that's not the case under Einstein's relativity (see relativity of simultaneity).
  • Andrew M
    1k
    On naturalism, there is no "reality of appearances". We're not trapped in Plato's cave.
    — Andrew M

    with the caveat that:

    Naturalism doesn't confer certainty.
    — Andrew M

    The natural claim is that we can know things as they are (from our perspective as human beings).
    — Andrew M

    If we have to qualify it in this way, then does it really constitute 'knowing things as they are'? By conceding the perspectival nature of knowledge, you're more or less conceding Kant's point.
    Wayfarer

    No, because there's a key difference in how Kant construes the perspectival nature of knowledge and that is in his understanding of appearance.

    Here's an illustrative example. If we see a straight stick partly submerged in water, we notice that it appears bent. This gives rise to the natural distinction between what something is (e.g., a straight stick) and how it appears under different conditions (e.g., the stick appears bent when partly submerged in water and it's possible to mistakenly think that the stick is bent).

    On Kant's view, both scenarios constitute mere appearances (which we can know). But we can't know the thing-in-itself. Thus he has collapsed the natural distinction and created a new and artificial distinction. As Kant put it:

    And we indeed, rightly considering objects of sense as mere appearances, confess thereby that they are based upon a thing in itself, though we know not this thing as it is in itself, but only know its appearances, viz., the way in which our senses are affected by this unknown something.Prolegomena, § 32

    I'm wary of the use of the word 'creation' in this context. But thinking about it some more, it's close in meaning to what Andrei Linde says in the Closer to Truth interview that I linked to. Of course it seems obviously absurd when we think of it in terms of 'the world being in the mind' - but the problem is that when we're saying this, we're trying to envisage 'the world' and 'the mind' from the outside. There's the vast universe, the whole Earth is just a minute speck in relation to that. But we can't see it 'from the outside', we can't make an object of 'me knowing that'. It's a false perspective.Wayfarer

    There is only a problem if an object is defined in terms of outside/inside (thing-in-itself/appearance). If an object is instead defined in terms of what we observe (i.e., what we can ostensively point at) then we can know it as it is. Such as the stick from the above example.

    That is why I reject the idea of a "view from nowhere" which tacitly assumes a thing-in-itself/appearance dualism. Instead, knowledge claims are made by human beings and so presuppose a human perspective.
  • Mww
    1.7k
    the (contingently) prior backgroundAndrew M

    ...is categorically opposed to the Kantian a priori meaning, for any contingently prior background is merely another way to say “experience”.

    “....By the term "knowledge a priori," therefore, we shall in the sequel understand, not such as is independent of this or that kind of experience, but such as is absolutely so of all experience. Opposed to this is empirical knowledge, or that which is possible only a posteriori, that is, through experience...”

    Thus,.......consider the geocentrists whose a priori view was that Earth was the center of the universe, might better be said.....whose prior view.
    ——————

    An implication of the Kantian view is that two events that are simultaneous for one observer are simultaneous for all observers.Andrew M

    Two events for a guy and guy standing right beside him, will be simultaneous to both, yes. The difference between the observations will be immeasurable.

    I’m thoroughly familiar with Einstein, 1920 (English)
    —————

    On sticks in water....

    “.....It is not at present our business to treat of empirical illusory appearance (for example, optical illusion), which occurs in the empirical application of otherwise correct rules of the understanding, and in which the judgement is misled by the influence of imagination...”
  • Janus
    9.2k
    He's not saying that - but he's also questioning the (generally implicit) view that most of us have, that the world exists completely independently of our perception of it (as per scientific realism).Wayfarer

    Kant posits the "in itself" which just is the world existing "completely independently of our perception of it". Your own words "perception of it" should give you the clue; perception of the world (and the human understanding of it) is not the world, obviously, but merely a part of it.

    You've been peddling this tendentious distortion and attributing it to Kant ever since I've known you on this and the other old forums. Time to read Kant's actual works yourself; educate yourself, wake up and stop with the phoney nonsense!
  • Wayfarer
    9.9k
    You cherry-picked that point from all of the surrounding text which completely changes the intended meaning (as you generally do).
  • Wayfarer
    9.9k
    If we see a straight stick partly submerged in water, we notice that it appears bent. This gives rise to the natural distinction between what something is (e.g., a straight stick) and how it appears under different conditions (e.g., the stick appears bent when partly submerged in water and it's possible to mistakenly think that the stick is bent).Andrew M

    Even Bishop Berkeley had an answer for that!

    There is only a problem if an object is defined in terms of outside/inside (thing-in-itself/appearance). If an object is instead defined in terms of what we observe (i.e., what we can ostensively point at) then we can know it as it is. Such as the stick from the above example.Andrew M

    It really isn't so simple. Again, in physics, the question has been suggested by the conundrums sorrounding 'wave-particle' duality, for example.

    I think the key point is that if you accept naturalism simply as a methodological assumption, then there's no problem to solve (which is I think what you are suggesting.) I think Kant's argument comes into play when metaphysical conclusions are drawn on the basis of methodological axioms - in other words, when arguments are made about first philosophy on the basis of scientific naturalism.
  • creativesoul
    8.4k
    I knew this topic would eventually result in talking about minds... horribly so.

    :brow:

    The subject/object dichotomy cannot be used as a means to take proper account of thought and belief. All minds consist entirely thereof. Therefore, the subject/object dichotomy cannot be used as a means to take proper account of minds.

    :smirk:
  • creativesoul
    8.4k
    Underwriting all of this discourse are categories. Different folk employ different ones. It leads to all sorts of confusion as well... misunderstanding notwithstanding.

    This thread seems to have a plurality of different categories being employed by different participants. There's even been charges of category mistakes(categorical error in judgment, per Kant).

    The subject/object dichotomy breaks up what exactly into two, one or the other? Everything? I think not. Everything we talk about? Again, I think not. All our talk? Again... no. It fails miserably at all of these tasks...

    It's a false dichotomy. What on earth is it still being used for, and why?
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