• jjAmEs
    184
    If you mean "Is breaking your toe painful?" then, yes, it is. If you mean "Do we have radically private, immaterial experiences?" then, no, we don't.Andrew M

    While I think we mostly agree, I can't quite fit this outright denial of 'private, immaterial experiences' into my perspective. I think the phrase does serve a purpose. I believe in a redness that I can't compare with the rednesses of others. I experience something that I am tempted to call 'meaning' as I read a book.

    At the same time this 'private' experience can't ground social practice, and it's social practice that makes it possible for us to talk even with ourselves about an infinitely private experience of redness. In short, the folk metaphysics of dualism seems to be not absurd but only blissfully unaware of how the beetle in the box cannot ground the talk about the beetle. Perhaps denying the beetle is also saying too much?
  • jjAmEs
    184
    The really hard problems are the problems the scientists are dealing with. [...] The philosophical problem, like all philosophical problems, is a confusion in the conceptual scheme."Peter Hacker - Hard problem of consciousness (other views) - Wikipedia

    Is Hacker right? I'm sympathetic to where he's coming from, but perhaps the perspective matters. Metaphysically the hard problem is just a sub-problem of 'why is there is anything at all'? Certain philosophers gesture at the limitations of explanatory discourse. That there is a world in the first place cannot be explained as a matter of principle. Does this make the question 'why is there something?' grand or pointless? The philosopher offers a profound freakout for those who will follow his argument. The scientist is concerned with questions that can be answered (partially) increased conceptual organization, prediction, and control. (Or that's my read of the situation.)
  • Wayfarer
    10.1k
    My interpretation (of 'the hard problem'):

    It's the inability to explain how and why humans experience pain, etc., that constitutes "the hard problem".

    Do you agree with that characterization of the problem?
    Andrew M

    It's rather glib, don't you think? Chalmers' opening paragraph:

    Consciousness poses the most baffling problems in the science of the mind. There is nothing that we know more intimately than conscious experience, but there is nothing that is harder to explain. All sorts of mental phenomena have yielded to scientific investigation in recent years, but consciousness has stubbornly resisted. Many have tried to explain it, but the explanations always seem to fall short of the target. Some have been led to suppose that the problem is intractable, and that no good explanation can be given.

    I'm wary of your dismissal of the problem as being either 'terminological confusion' or 'a category mistake' (and yes, I have studied Ryle). It seems to me the motivation for such dismissals amounts to a refusal to acknowledge that there is a problem at all (per Dennett).

    But I see Chalmers as articulating a very real and profound philosophical problem, which is that no matter how much knowledge we accumulate about the objective domain - and after all, this is what science is in the business of - that the nature of the knowing subject will always elude this analysis.

    It's not a problem in the sense that the person in the street is going to be bothered by it (although it might affect him in ways she's not likely to understand). But it's a problem for science when it confronts the question of the nature of consciousness (or even just 'mind'). And understanding why it's a problem and what kind of problem it is, is indeed difficult.

    What is an explanation? How can that which is not observable or comparable by definition by integrated within an objective causal nexus? What can be dealt with is sentences and other signs of consciousness. Does anesthesia work? We think so, and we can give reasons without ever having been put under. From an instrumentalist point of view, we have already made progress on the hard problem.jjAmEs

    Scientific hypotheses have two sides. The left-hand side is the equation, hypothesis, theory, or what have you. The right-hand side is the result or prediction. Water boils at 100 degrees, lead at 374, and so on. So a scientific explanation ties together predictions which have been tested against results - left hand and right hand side. That is what a scientific explanation is, in a very general sense.

    But the philosophical issue is that, in the case of understanding consciousness, we are what we seek to know; we are both object and subject. That's why, for instance, Daniel Dennett has to claim that humans are merely and purely objects ('moist robots' he says, semi-humorously); because if the human subject is real, then his project (which is based on positivism and behaviourism) is stymied. And why? Because the mind is real but not objective.

    Dennett asks us to turn our backs on what is glaringly obvious—that in consciousness we are immediately aware of real subjective experiences of color, flavor, sound, touch, etc. that cannot be fully described in neural terms even though they have a neural cause (or perhaps have neural as well as experiential aspects). And he asks us to do this because the reality of such phenomena is incompatible with the scientific materialism that in his view sets the outer bounds of reality. He is, in Aristotle’s words, “maintaining a thesis at all costs.” — Thomas Nagel

    Is Consciousness an Illusion?

    On the other hand:

    The man who believes himself endowed with an autonomous will thus places himself in another order of things and relates himself to determining grounds of an entirely different sort from when he perceives himself as a phenomenon in the sense-world and subordinates his causality to external determination under natural laws. The fact that he has to represent and think everything in this twofold way is not at all contradictory, for it rests in the first place on his consciousness of himself as an object affected by the senses, in the second on the consciousness of himself as intelligence, that is, as an active subject who, in using reason, is freed from any passive attachment to sensory impressions. — Ernst Cassirer

    Quoted in Pollok, Konstantin Kant's Theory of Normativity: Exploring the Space of Reason (Kindle Locations 68-74). Cambridge University Press. Kindle Edition.
  • Mww
    1.8k
    I reject radical privacy, but not mind-related terminology.Andrew M

    Understood. One can’t reject mind-related terminology yet still talk about mind-like things. Still, because minds, in and of themselves, would seem to be irrefutably private, it seems odd...or self-contradictory....to reject radical privacy in the mental sense, which is what we’re discussing here.
    —————-

    On “Thinking and Saying”:

    I understand you to be countering the predicates my continental transcendentalism with it, but I’m not seeing how that gets accomplished. Rather than dissect it ad nauseam, I’ll just bring forth one item I noticed, abruptly, so to speak, and that comes from.....

    “.....This notion of thinking is that of pondering or trying to solve a problem, not that of believing or feeling sure, which unfortunately goes by the same English name of "Thinking." I am interested in cogitation, not credence; in perplexity, not unperplexity. Our specimen thinker is going to be the stilI baffled Penseur, not the man who, having reached conviction, has stopped struggling to reach it....”

    .....which is found in the first paragraph after the topic break on p5. The “man who, having reached conviction...” has cognized that which he was beforehand thinking. To say interest in cogitation, not credence: is self-defeating, for credence IS cogitation, as opposed to arriving at cogitation, by means of “pondering or trying to solve a problem”, which is, of course, what le penseur is actually doing when he thinks.

    “.....To think an object and to cognize an object are by no means the same thing. In cognition there are two elements: firstly, the conception, whereby an object is thought (the category); and, secondly, the intuition, whereby the object is given. For supposing that to the conception a corresponding intuition could not be given, it would still be a thought as regards its form, but without any object, and no cognition of anything would be possible by means of it, inasmuch as, so far as I knew, there existed and could exist nothing to which my thought could be applied....”
    (B147)

    Now, one may perhaps interject that Ryles is not talking about cognition when he uses the term cogitation. If that is the case.....I give up. Anybody can say whatever they want if they also invent the terms to justify it. Just going to be mighty difficult to find common ground, though.

    “....What is the point of the under-breath muttering which the thinker really is very often doing when thinking? What is the heuristic use of soliloquizing? There is no one-strand answer.....

    (Of course there is: understanding)

    ......The still baffled Pythagoras, in again and again muttering a geometrical phrase to himself, may be intending, by way of rehearsal, to fix it in his memory; or in discontent with its slack phrasing, he may be intending, if he can, to stiffen it; or he may be meaning to re-savour the thrill of a recent discovery...”

    ....all possible, yet all reducible to........go ahead, take a guess.

    Now, about these under-breath mutterings. Ever read a book that thoroughly enthralled you? I mean...took you away and put you right where the author wanted you to be. For me, it was Stephen King, and I’m here to tell ya I never saw the words he wrote, and I never muttered a damn thing. All that says, is that it is entirely possible to have mental activity without the slightest internal muttering, which makes explicit there are certain mental activities in which language has no play. If there are some mental activities in which language has no play, yet mental activities are completely comprehensible, the whole intentionality thing is rather worthless, at least from a radical private perspective.

    Anyway, thanks for the reference showing me the ground of your arguments so far. Rest assured I don’t necessarily disagree with them entirely, even if I find such grounding both insufficient for theoretical completeness, and misguided in theoretical derivation.

    Ok, fine. Two items. Pg7:

    “...Our Reductionist had begun by assailing Cartesian and Platonic extravagances on the basis of what can be, in an ordinary way, observed. But now he reduces, in its turn, observation itself to Nothing But some oddly stingy minimum. However, this stinginess of the empiricist must not soften us towards the lavishness of the transcendentalist. For though he properly acknowledges the differences between kicking and scoring, or between just presenting arms and obeying the order to present arms, yet he goes on to make these differences occult ones. For since they are not to be the earthly or muscular differences demanded in vain by the empiricist, they will have instead to be unearthly, nonmuscular differences that transcend the referee's and the sergeant's powers of perception...”

    In the immortal words of Herr Pauli......That is not only not right, it is not even wrong! One has no business qualifying the transcendental with the transcendent, and neither are necessarily occult in nature. Ryles may have been nodding toward Steiner, re: “The Outline of Occult Science”, 1909, but Steiner was no proper transcendentalist, but rather a mere mystic, or spiritualist, a la Swedenborg.
    ——————

    On my model, when Alice looks at the tree, she is not looking at a photograph of the territory (since there is no photograph), she is looking at the territory which has a specific form in relation to her. Her beliefs about the territory are her map (e.g., that the tree has green leaves).

    Whereas on your (Kantian) model, Alice is looking at a photograph (the territory in sense) of the territory-in-itself. Her beliefs about the photograph are her map (e.g., that the tree has green leaves). Whereas the territory-in-itself remains unknowable.

    Does that capture your model, on your view?
    Andrew M

    My model: as you put it, is pretty much the case, yes. I balk at “her beliefs”, however, because if she knows the object as a tree, she has no need to merely believe in the properties that cause it to be a tree in the first place. This is a reflection on my thesis that we attribute properties to objects, as opposed to your thesis that objects are necessarily in possession of intrinsic properties belonging to them irrespective of the perception of them.
    ———————

    You asked about how the first person bootstraps their knowledge on my model. The answer is that they try something and, if that doesn't work out, they try something else (assuming they survive long enough to do so). And language builds up around those experiences.Andrew M

    Ok, fine. I shall take that as saying we still agree language always presupposes experience.

    Later he happens to pull the stick out and realizes it is straight. He makes a mental note of the implications of this discovery for future reference. And so knowledge and language accrete in tandem with practical experience.Andrew M

    Robbie can certainly pull and realize simultaneously. Or, if he happens to be on a tide flat and perceives the exposure of rocks, he can realize without any pulling. But mental note-taking is precisely the other part of the dualism being discussed. And in no case is it possible for Robbie to realize something before his experience of it. He can think it, but thinking is not realizing.

    That is, he did not "physically" pull the stick out and, as a separate action, "mentally" realize that it was straight. Instead his realization that it was straight was part-and-parcel of pulling the stick out - a single action (which we can then go on to separate in an abstract sense for analysis).Andrew M

    Even if it be granted the action of pulling and the action of realizing are part-and-parcel of each other, simply from their simultaneity, they are still parts. Besides, realization can be considered really nothing other than a change in subjective condition, and all change takes time, so......

    I know what you’re trying to say, and at first glimpse there is force to the argument. But the argument doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, because no explanation sufficient to facilitate it has as much power as an explanation that refutes it. The only reasonable recourse such argument has going for it, is to deny the theoretical reality of what Ryles calls “....any catalogue of simple qualities and simple relations, whether rude or refined...”. Which is tantamount to denying reason itself, because reason is exactly that catalogue.
    ——————

    The model says that on the condition that Alice has identified a tree, she has acquired knowledge.
    — Andrew M

    Not my model. My model says on the condition that Alice has knowledge, she has thereby acquired the means to identify an object in the world. Whether or not the object is a tree depends on something else.
    — Mww

    Do you mean that if she has knowledge of the appearance (the photo in my illustration), she can then go on to identify an object such as a tree? Also, what does "whether or not the object is a tree" depend on?
    Andrew M

    No. Forget appearances, they are subconscious, theory-specific hypotheticals. Technically, they are means to an end, but a relatively minor one. I meant by my model, re: on the condition that Alice has knowledge, that given a series of mental activities, pursuant to a perception of sense, knowledge of what that perception entails, is given.

    Whether or not the perception entails the conception of a particular object, depends exclusively on extant experience. After learning the identity of some particular object....

    (Dad, what is this thing? Son, that’s what we call a fork. Oh. Ok)

    .......every subsequent perception of a similar object will, all else being equal, be identified as that kind of object....

    (SON!! Use your fork, not your fingers!! Oh. Ok.)

    Before learning the identity of a particular kind of object, a perception will entail an unknown something in general, which is thereby left open to any non-contradictory judgement the perceiver’s naming method permits.

    (What the hell is THAT?? Damned if I know...call it a ______ )

    We understand this, because the very first instance of naming anything, is never conditioned by what the object is, but only as how we wish to know it.

    (electrostatic discharges of black-body radiation are not fire arrows of the gods; the fundamental constituency of hadrons are not colored)

    Til next time......
  • jjAmEs
    184
    That's why, for instance, Daniel Dennett has to claim that humans are merely and purely objects ('moist robots' he says, semi-humorously); because if the human subject is real, then his project (which is based on positivism and behaviourism) is stymied. And why? Because the mind is real but not objective.Wayfarer

    I'm not defending Dennett, since I don't think consciousness is an illusion.

    But I don't think that one can say that the mind is not objective. This is the general idea of a 'publicly traded' concept. It functions socially. It's supposed to refer to lots of individual minds. Yet some would have these minds be so private that they are utterly incomparable.

    I don't know the quale that you call 'red.' I only trust that we both know that the prototypical rose is red. Indeed, the moist robot metaphor is made possible in the first place by the notion of the radically private mind. While only a sociopath doubts that others have feelings 'behind' their behavior, the notion of the private mind creates an infinite chasm one mind and another. A sophisticated enough moist robot would presumably fool us into caring about it, perhaps electing it to lead us. On the other hand, how do we know that a coffee cup isn't conscious? If a lion coffee cup could speak, we wouldn't understand it. Language depends on social practice.

    I know more or less what you mean by the mind is real but not objective. But I also gave the example of anesthesia for surgery. The technician definitely wants to keep the patient from feeling the surgery. But the technician can't directly mind-melt with the patient to guarantee unconsciousness. Clearly there are signs of consciousness, and these signs are part of the public concept of consciousness. In terms of prediction and control, we are already chipping away at the hard problem. If we abandon prediction and control, then what kind of explanation do we want? A poem that satisfies intuition? The story of God breathing life into Adam?

    The world as a whole can't be explained. So I'm not bothered by the radical version of the hard problem. But that radical version is framed to be insoluble.
  • Wayfarer
    10.1k
    I also gave the example of anesthesia for surgery.jjAmEs

    Ever heard of Wilder Penfield? He was a Canadian neurosurgeon and a pioneer of modern neurosurgery. Among the curious facts about neurosurgery is that the brain doesn't have pain receptors, so he was able to carry out surgery on conscious patients as a matter of routine. He found that he could elicit very detailed memories by stimulating areas of the brains of patients under surgery - so detailed that the patients could literally 'smell the coffee' (to give one example). But the point which intrigued him is that the subjects always knew when it was something that was being done from them, and could distinguish it from something they themselves were doing. On this basis, he (somewhat reluctantly) adopted a dualist philosophy, which became subject of a well-known popular book by him, Mysteries of the Mind.

    It's also interesting to note that Australian neurosurgeon, Sir John Eccles, likewise developed a dualist view of mind and brain (and in fact co-authored a book with Karl Popper on this subject.)

    Of course all of this is subject to dispute. However I'm inclined towards a form of dualism. But the crucial mistake since Descartes is to view 'res cogitans' as something objectively real (or conversely not objectively real); a literal substance, a thinking thing (which is the literal meaning of 'res cogitans'). There is no 'thinking thing' but the fact that there is not, is the denial of something which never existed in the first place. It's a false conceptualisation, in which sense I agree with Ryle's criticism of it, but I draw radically different conclusions from that.

    But I don't think that one can say that the mind is not objective.jjAmEs

    Mind is not an object - this is an empirical statement. There are billions of things that are objects - but 'mind' is not among them. The fact that 'it functions socially' is only a statement of something everyone supposes to be true. In fact, the mind is a mystery in the midst of being - that is why materialists feel such a sense of urgency in denying it! If you admit the reality of mind, then materialism is unsustainable.

    I'm not defending Dennett, since I don't think consciousness is an illusion.jjAmEs

    The reason I keep referring to Dennett is that he is a textbook materialist; if you want to understand what that theory means, then he's the go-to. So he's not a straw man, he's the genuine article. If you want to criticize materialist philosophy of mind, then look no further.

    While only a sociopath doubts that others have feelings 'behind' their behavior, the notion of the private mind creates an infinite chasm one mind and another.jjAmEs

    But that's not the point at issue. The 'hard problem of consciousness' is that, no matter how complete a functionalist theory of mind is, there is always going to be an explanatory gap. It wouldn't be a problem, were it not for those who say 'what "gap"?' 'What is left out?' Because when you can't answer the question in their terms - that is, objectively - they say: "aha! It's nothing, see!" That's because, as I say, it's not an objective reality; rather it is that which the whole concept of objectivity is founded on. But 'the subject forgets himself' - as Schopenhauer puts it. Or as Jacques Maritain says:

    [There is] an inevitable confusion and inconsistency even in what [the Empiricist] says: for what the Empiricist speaks of and describes as sense-knowledge is not exactly sense-knowledge, but sense-knowledge plus unconsciously introduced intellective ingredients -- sense-knowledge in which he has made room for reason without recognizing it. [This describes Dennett.] A confusion which comes about all the more easily because, on the one hand, the senses are, in actual fact, more or less permeated with reason in man, and, on the other, the merely sensory psychology of animals, especially of the higher vertebrates, goes very far in its own realm and imitates intellectual knowledge to a considerable extent.


    If we abandon prediction and control, then what kind of explanation do we want?jjAmEs

    The kind that that is the subject of philosophy as distinct from science.
  • Isaac
    3k
    the point which intrigued him is that the subjects always knew when it was something that was being done from them, and could distinguish it from something they themselves were doing.Wayfarer

    The paracingulate sulcus differentially marks reports of sensory stimulation from the specific brain regions responsible for sensory processing depending on their correspondence with other somatic input. It's just science, we don't have to invoke some magical woo every time we don't know how something works.
  • Wayfarer
    10.1k
    The 'magical woo' involved is simply that of interpreting signs and signals, without which no discoveries of the kind you mention would ever have been made. Such discoveries depend on reason, but the ability to reason doesn't depend on such discoveries. Probably you call it 'woo' because you're unclear about what 'reason' is.

    I should also add, Penfield was a rigorous scientist and surgeon, and came to his conclusions on the basis of many hundreds or even thousands of observations. The only 'woo' involved was his observation that the subject was always aware of the distinction between being manipulated by the surgeon and his or her own volitional actions. I would be interested to know how that subjectively-observed difference could be validated with respect to neural data.
  • StreetlightX
    6.3k
    Yeah nah definately woo invoked by our resident woo oil salesman.
  • Isaac
    3k


    Reason is simply a method of thinking. One which has proven remarkably successful for understanding the world. One key tenet in this method is not inventing new structures until it is clear existing ones do not suffice. To see such a difference as Penfield did and formulate a hypothesis not that some other part of the brain he's looking at must perform this function (as it turned out was the case) but to instead invent an entirely fabricated realm of existence for which we have no empirical evidence at all, is not 'reason'.

    It's the equivalent of me inventing an invisible race of key-eating aliens every time I lose my keys rather than the simpler explanation that I've simply forgotten where I put them.
  • Wayfarer
    10.1k
    It was definitely the aliens. I've had that problem also. Although it's also interesting to note what makes the dogs bark.
  • christian2017
    1.4k


    I think the man is absolutely brilliant and any short comings can be made up for the fact that we are all standing on his foundation in some sense. I couldn't find out if he was a Christian but i know he believe in a God/god.
  • Isaac
    3k
    The only 'woo' involved was his observation that the subject was always aware of the distinction between being manipulated by the surgeon and his or her own volitional actions.Wayfarer

    Any scientist worth their salt would have followed established principles of scientific investigation and looked for the simplest explanation provided within theories which already have good foundational support. If a subject is aware of something, that awareness is most likely provided by a region of the brain. We know this because thus far we've been able to correlate awareness with brain activity in every case we've tested.

    So if a patient is aware of some distinction (between externally and internally invoked sensation), then the simplest explanation is that some region of the brain is providing this awareness. It's no surprise at all then, that this turned out to be the case.

    It also opened up some incredibly useful avenues of treatment for paranoid schizophrenia (whose sufferers seem to have diminished paracingulate suculi). What use has your dualistic answer been?

    I would be interested to know how that subjectively-observed difference could be validated with respect to neural data.Wayfarer

    It's complicated, obviously, but a simple summary is that the brain has suppressive, backward acting neural signals which suppress output from neural collections on the basis of higher brain activity. The network makes a prediction about the source of stimulation, updates that prediction on the basis of other forward-acting signals, and then suppresses contrary signals to yield a consistent model.
  • Mww
    1.8k
    Reason is simply a method of thinking.Isaac

    Elsewhere you asserted logic is simply a method of thinking.

    Are there more?
  • Isaac
    3k
    Elsewhere you asserted logic is simply a method of thinking.

    Are there more?
    Mww

    Well, yes. Depends on the purpose of the categorisation. Some psychologists distinguish between intuitive and reasoned thinking, others between emotive and rational. Some consider reflex a kind of thinking. It's not like there's a laid out taxonomy or anything, it depends on the field of enquiry as to what categorisation might be most useful.
  • jjAmEs
    184
    Mind is not an object - this is an empirical statement. There are billions of things that are objects - but 'mind' is not among them. The fact that 'it functions socially' is only a statement of something everyone supposes to be true. In fact, the mind is a mystery in the midst of being - that is why materialists feel such a sense of urgency in denying it! If you admit the reality of mind, then materialism is unsustainable.Wayfarer

    I think you are missing my point. I'm not saying that minds are objects like balloons or clouds. I'm saying that 'the mind' is a publicly tradable concept. Their are more and less intelligible ways to employ this word. I don't legislate the language. It is given like the law. To deny this is to implicitly confirm it.
    Any denial is only intelligible in the first place in terms of social conventions.

    Also lots of classic materialists were something like dualists.

    Concerning the Thoughts of man, I will consider them first Singly, and afterwards in Trayne, or dependance upon one another. Singly, they are every one a Representation or Apparence, of some quality, or other Accident of a body without us; which is commonly called an Object. Which Object worketh on the Eyes, Eares, and other parts of mans body; and by diversity of working, produceth diversity of Apparences.

    The Originall of them all, is that which we call Sense; (For there is no conception in a mans mind, which hath not at first, totally, or by parts, been begotten upon the organs of Sense.) The rest are derived from that originall.
    ...
    The cause of Sense, is the Externall Body, or Object, which presseth the organ proper to each Sense...
    — Hobbes

    Then, more generally,
    According to philosophical materialism, mind and consciousness are by-products or epiphenomena of material processes (such as the biochemistry of the human brain and nervous system), without which they cannot exist. — Wiki

    To me the essence of materialism is something like a taking of the physical substratum seriously. It's not a denial of sensation or thought but a belief in some kind of substratum or matrix/matter with a controlling influence on 'mind.' Democritus theorized atoms that were too small for human eyes to see. The substratum (in this case atoms and void) had to be approached indirectly. Another crucial aspect of materialism (according to Lange) is that this 'matter' is subject to simple human-indifferent laws: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Materialism_and_Critique_of_Its_Present_Importance

    In short, I don't associate philosophical materialism with the denial of what we aim at with 'mind.' I'm a materialist, yet I feel no need to deny mind. Nor am I afraid to admit the necessity of contingency (that the world as a whole is inexplicable and hence mysterious). I'm also more of an instrumentalist than a realist when it comes to theories about the substratum, yet:

    More recently, Stein (1989) has argued that the dispute between realism and instrumentalism is not well joined: once realism has been sophisticated (as he suggests it must be) to give up its pretensions to metaphysically transcendent theorizing, to eschew aspirations to noumenal truth and reference, and to abandon the idea that a property of a theory might somehow explain its success in a way that does not simply point out the use that has been made of the theory, and once instrumentalism has been sophisticated (as he suggests it must be) to recognize the scope of a theory’s role as an instrument to include not just calculating experimental outcomes, but also adequately representing phenomena in detail across the entire domain of nature and providing resources for further inquiry, there remains no appreciable difference (or no difference that makes a difference) between the two positions. — link
    https://faculty.sites.uci.edu/pkylestanford/files/2016/10/InstrumentalismRoutledge.pdf
  • Mww
    1.8k


    If method is a systematic procedure according to rules, then reason should be readily granted as the method of (human) thinking. But I’m reluctant to admit we have methods of thinking corresponding to the plethora of subjects being thought about.

    I’m not going to argue against your expertise in psychology, obviously; just looking for a little clarity.
  • jjAmEs
    184
    The reason I keep referring to Dennett is that he is a textbook materialist; if you want to understand what that theory means, then he's the go-to. So he's not a straw man, he's the genuine article. If you want to criticize materialist philosophy of mind, then look no further.Wayfarer

    Perhaps someone will speak up for Dennett. If not, then he's a strawman in this context.

    The 'hard problem of consciousness' is that, no matter how complete a functionalist theory of mind is, there is always going to be an explanatory gap. It wouldn't be a problem, were it not for those who say 'what "gap"?' 'What is left out?' Because when you can't answer the question in their terms - that is, objectively - they say: "aha! It's nothing, see!" That's because, as I say, it's not an objective reality; rather it is that which the whole concept of objectivity is founded on. But 'the subject forgets himself' - as Schopenhauer puts it.Wayfarer

    The kind that that is the subject of philosophy as distinct from science.Wayfarer

    I ask again what kind of explanation is sought? I accept the necessary contingency of the world as a whole. So I'm not anti-mystery. If the explanatory gap is just that again, then OK. But what is philosophical explanation? If not prediction and control, then perhaps it's conceptual coherence or an emotionally satisfying narrative about how things hang together.

    I mentioned anesthesia because we do indeed have practical theories about consciousness that allow for prediction and control.

    If others object to the 'explanatory gap,' I'm guessing that they do so because they expect this 'gap' to be filled nevertheless with a metaphysical or religious explanation. Some might just be anti-mystery. Others are just OK with the mystery but more interested in useful & illuminating theories (conquering ignorance and impotence ).
  • Isaac
    3k
    I’m reluctant to admit we have methods of thinking corresponding to the plethora of subjects being thought about.Mww

    Why? A soldier at war demonstrably thinks differently to a mathematician working on a problem. People even think differently depending on whether or not they're too hot or cold. We can see the different areas of the brain involved, we can judge by the results of problem solving exercises and confirm by subjective self-reporting. The evidence is quite compelling that both sensory inputs and recalled data are processed differently given different contexts. I just wonder why you'd have some reluctance to this idea, does it conflict with some other, equally compelling view?
  • jjAmEs
    184
    he 'magical woo' involved is simply that of interpreting signs and signals, without which no discoveries of the kind you mention would ever have been made. Such discoveries depend on reason, but the ability to reason doesn't depend on such discoveries.Wayfarer

    I agree that we have to already share a lifeworld and a language before we can do science. As Bohr put it:

    1. The interpretation of a physical theory has to rely on an experimental practice.

    2. The experimental practice presupposes a certain pre-scientific practice of description, which establishes the norm for experimental measurement apparatus, and consequently what counts as scientific experience.

    3. Our pre-scientific practice of understanding our environment is an adaptation to the sense experience of separation, orientation, identification and reidentification over time of physical objects.

    4. This pre-scientific experience is grasped in terms of common categories like thing’s position and change of position, duration and change of duration, and the relation of cause and effect, terms and principles that are now parts of our common language.

    5. These common categories yield the preconditions for objective knowledge, and any description of nature has to use these concepts to be objective.

    6. The concepts of classical physics are merely exact specifications of the above categories.
    The classical concepts—and not classical physics itself—are therefore necessary in any description of physical experience in order to understand what we are doing and to be able to communicate our results to others, in particular in the description of quantum phenomena as they present themselves in experiments.
    — summary by link of Bohr

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qm-copenhagen/

    We also find something like this in Husserl's Crisis. I understand as a kind of socialized less rigid Kantianism.

    [In] my naive self-consciousness as a human being knowing himself to be living in the world, for whom the world is the totality of what for him is valid and existing, I am blind to the immense transcendental dimension of problems … I am completely … bound by interests and tasks … [and] a certain habitual one-sidedness of self interest … I can, however, carry out the transcendental re-orientation in which … I now have, as a new horizon of interest … a new, infinite scientific realm—if I engage in the appropriate systematic work …

    [One] kind of thinking … tries to bring ‘original intuition’ to the fore—that is, the pre- and extrascientific lifeworld … The proper return to the naïveté of life—but in a reflection that rises above this naiveté—is the only way to overcome [this] … naiveté …

    In science we measure the lifeworld … for a well-fitting garb of ideas … It is … a method which is designed for progressively improving … through ‘scientific’ predictions, those rough predictions which are the only ones that are possible within the sphere of what is actually experienced and experienceable in the lifeworld …

    Considering ourselves … as scientists … the manner of scientific thinking puts questions and answers them theoretically in relation to the world … Cofunctioning here are the other scientists who, united with us in a community of theory, acquire and have the same truths or … are united with us in a critical transaction aimed at critical agreement …

    For the human being in his surrounding world there are many types of praxis, and among them is this peculiar … one, theoretical praxis. It has its own professional methods; it is the art of … discovering and securing truths with a certain new ideal sense which is foreign to [extra]scientific life, the sense of a certain ‘final validity’ …
    — Husserl
    https://newlearningonline.com/new-learning/chapter-7/husserl-on-the-task-of-science-in-and-of-the-lifeworld


    For me the problem is ignoring that concept is social rather than private.
  • Mww
    1.8k


    Equally compelling views is a relative quality, but still, the enabling parameters for neural networks corresponding to war being different than enabling parameters for neural networks corresponding to peace remain enabled neural networks nonetheless.

    From a more esoteric domain, it is unarguable that the human doesn’t think in terms of neural networks, even if neural networks are the physical mechanisms for it. If the brain operates under a strict, singular, mechanically deterministic method, however complex it may be, why wouldn’t the merely philosophical operate under some method as singular, strict and logically deterministic, with some arbitrary corresponding complexity?

    Either way, the conditions under which a method operates, shouldn’t determine the rules of the method.
  • Wayfarer
    10.1k
    . I'm saying that 'the mind' is a publicly tradable concept.jjAmEs

    Sure.

    — HobbesjjAmEs

    There's nothing dualist about it - concepts are the simple residuum of the effects of sensations.

    To me the essence of materialism is something like a taking of the physical substratum seriously. It's not a denial of sensation or thought but a belief in some kind of substratum or matrix/matter with a controlling influence on 'mind.'jjAmEs

    That's completely accurate. I did an essay on Lucretius under Keith Campbell in his Philosophy of Matter class. Mind is the product of matter - that's really all there is to it.

    I ask again what kind of explanation is sought?jjAmEs

    That it's not!

    I very much like Husserl. Sorry I can't respond in greater detail, duty calls. Back later.
  • Isaac
    3k
    If the brain operates under a strict, singular, mechanically deterministic method, however complex it may be, why wouldn’t the merely philosophical operate under some method as singular, strict and logically deterministic, with some arbitrary corresponding complexity?Mww

    The brain almost certainly isn't a strict singular mechanically deterministic system. Neural signals are rapid stocatto outputs and trace complex routes, they are inhibited by incoming signals which are also rapidly intermittent. This creates a stochastic, probabilistic system because small changes in the route taken by the outgoing signal determines whether it comes before or after the suppressing one. I won't go on, I'm not a neuroscientist myself so this is second hand knowledge, suffice to say the brain is probabilistic... Probably.

    the conditions under which a method operates, shouldn’t determine the rules of the method.Mww

    'Shouldn't' in what sense? As in you don't think it ought to, or as in there's some law of thought preventing it? If the former, then tough, it does. So you'll just have to live with that. If the latter (and you're not denying the evidence I've alluded to) then you're simply extending the definition of rational thought to cover all thought. Not only is this contrary to most use, but it renders the term useless. We can suffice with just 'thought'.
  • Mww
    1.8k


    You used system in regard to a strict, singular, deterministic; I used method. The method is the rules, the system is the use of the rules. No matter the particulars, the brain (the system) obeys the laws attributed to natural forces (the method).

    Shouldn’t in the sense that should would be destructive, insofar as if the conditions under which the method is used determine the method, the method is no longer rule-based, therefore not a proper method.

    If we can suffice with just “thought”, which I advocate as being the case, why do we need more than one method for it?
  • jjAmEs
    184
    There's nothing dualist about it - concepts are the simple residuum of the effects of sensations.Wayfarer

    I guess it depends on what one means by dualism. I had something in mind like indirect realism. The quoted article explores how indirect realism clashes with elimination materialism.

    Sense data are seen as inner objects, objects that among other things are colored. Such entities, however, are incompatible with a materialist view of the mind. When I look at the coffee cup there is not a material candidate for the yellow object at which I am looking. Crudely: there is nothing in the brain that is yellow. Sense data, then, do not seem to be acceptable on a materialist account of the mind, and thus, the yellow object that I am now perceiving must be located not in the material world but in the immaterial mind. Indirect realism is committed to a dualist picture within which there is an ontology of non-physical objects alongside that of the physical. — link
    https://www.iep.utm.edu/perc-obj/#H2

    Hobbes definitely sounds like an indirect realist at the beginning of Leviathan.
    And this Seeming, or Fancy, is that which men call sense; and consisteth, as to the Eye, in a Light, or Colour Figured; To the Eare, in a Sound; To the Nostrill, in an Odour; To the Tongue and Palat, in a Savour; and to the rest of the body, in Heat, Cold, Hardnesse, Softnesse, and such other qualities, as we discern by Feeling. All which qualities called Sensible, are in the object that causeth them, but so many several motions of the matter, by which it presseth our organs diversly. Neither in us that are pressed, are they anything els, but divers motions; (for motion, produceth nothing but motion.) But their apparence to us is Fancy, the same waking, that dreaming. And as pressing, rubbing, or striking the Eye, makes us fancy a light; and pressing the Eare, produceth a dinne; so do the bodies also we see, or hear, produce the same by their strong, though unobserved action, For if those Colours, and Sounds, were in the Bodies, or Objects that cause them, they could not bee severed from them, as by glasses, and in Ecchoes by reflection, wee see they are; where we know the thing we see, is in one place; the apparence, in another. And though at some certain distance, the reall, and very object seem invested with the fancy it begets in us; Yet still the object is one thing, the image or fancy is another. So that Sense in all cases, is nothing els but originall fancy, caused (as I have said) by the pressure, that is, by the motion, of externall things upon our Eyes, Eares, and other organs thereunto ordained. — Hobbes

    The object is one thing and the image of the object is another. This is the object-in-itself and the object-for-us, matter and mind.


    Below is a great slice of Hobbes that shows to what degree he was an armchair scientist of the soul, a folk psychologist knee deep in the 'transcendental pretense' mentioned earlier. To know others we must know ourselves, for others have reasons to conceal from us what we don't necessarily conceal from ourselves. His book appeals to the soul-searching of its readers.

    Concerning the first, there is a saying much usurped of late, That Wisedome is acquired, not by reading of Books, but of Men. Consequently whereunto, those persons, that for the most part can give no other proof of being wise, take great delight to shew what they think they have read in men, by uncharitable censures of one another behind their backs. But there is another saying not of late understood, by which they might learn truly to read one another, if they would take the pains; and that is, Nosce Teipsum, Read Thy Self: which was not meant, as it is now used, to countenance, either the barbarous state of men in power, towards their inferiors; or to encourage men of low degree, to a sawcie behaviour towards their betters; But to teach us, that for the similitude of the thoughts, and Passions of one man, to the thoughts, and Passions of another, whosoever looketh into himselfe, and considereth what he doth, when he does Think, Opine, Reason, Hope, Feare, &c, and upon what grounds; he shall thereby read and know, what are the thoughts, and Passions of all other men, upon the like occasions. I say the similitude of Passions, which are the same in all men, Desire, Feare, Hope, &c; not the similitude or The Objects of the Passions, which are the things Desired, Feared, Hoped, &c: for these the constitution individuall, and particular education do so vary, and they are so easie to be kept from our knowledge, that the characters of mans heart, blotted and confounded as they are, with dissembling, lying, counterfeiting, and erroneous doctrines, are legible onely to him that searcheth hearts. And though by mens actions wee do discover their designee sometimes; yet to do it without comparing them with our own, and distinguishing all circumstances, by which the case may come to be altered, is to decypher without a key, and be for the most part deceived, by too much trust, or by too much diffidence; as he that reads, is himselfe a good or evill man.

    But let one man read another by his actions never so perfectly, it serves him onely with his acquaintance, which are but few. He that is to govern a whole Nation, must read in himselfe, not this, or that particular man; but Man-kind; which though it be hard to do, harder than to learn any Language, or Science; yet, when I shall have set down my own reading orderly, and perspicuously, the pains left another, will be onely to consider, if he also find not the same in himselfe. For this kind of Doctrine, admitteth no other Demonstration.
    — Hobbes
    https://www.gutenberg.org/files/3207/3207-h/3207-h.htm
  • Wayfarer
    10.1k
    I guess it depends on what one means by dualism. I had something in mind like indirect realism.jjAmEs

    Strictly speaking it means mind and matter are different substances - in the philosophical sense, not the everyday sense, which is radically different. But this is where Cartesian dualism departed radically from scholastic dualism (i.e. hylomorphism). It's a deep subject, that book I mentioned by Pollok has a whole chapter on Kant and hylomorphism. But hylomorphism is 'matter-form' dualism, which is very different to Descartes' 'matter-mind' dualism. The problem with Cartesianism is that it posits 'res cogitans;' as a literal substance in an objective sense - something which objectively exists. And that leads to the intractable problem of how this 'ghost in the machine' can pull levers or do anything (which is Ryle's criticism).

    My approach is 'mind is that which grasps meaning'. And the reason we can't say what mind really is, is because of the reflexive problem of consciousness, i.e. that 'the eye cannot see itself, the hand cannot grasp itself.' That's why I say mind is not an objective reality - it is that which 'objective reality' depends on. Whereas materialism inverts this, and says that the mind is dependent on its own objects. This is the realisation that prompted Schopenhauer's remark about the 'Olympian laughter':

    [Materialism] seeks the primary and most simple state of matter, and then tries to develop all the others from it; ascending from mere mechanism, to chemistry, to polarity, to the vegetable and to the animal kingdom. And if we suppose this to have been done, the last link in the chain would be animal sensibility - that is knowledge - which would consequently now appear as a mere modification or state of matter produced by causality. Now if we had followed materialism thus far with clear ideas, when we reached its highest point we would suddenly be seized with a fit of the inextinguishable laughter of the Olympians. As if waking from a dream, we would all at once become aware that its final result - knowledge, which it reached so laboriously - was presupposed as the indispensable condition of its very starting-point, mere matter; and when we imagined that we thought "matter", we really thought only "the subject that perceives matter; the eye that sees it, the hand that feels it, the understanding that knows it". Thus the tremendous petitio principii reveals itself unexpectedly.”

    My point exactly.

    Hobbes is just the kind of target Kant had in mind when he criticized empiricism. I won't try and re-state all the details, but suffice to say everything Hobbes writes about the mind, is subject to the criticism 'percepts without concepts are blind'.
  • jjAmEs
    184
    . I'm saying that 'the mind' is a publicly tradable concept.
    — jjAmEs
    Wayfarer

    Sure.Wayfarer

    I'm thinking you still don't see what I mean by that. There's a certain overlap in our positions, which is something like: Concepts are important. They exist. Perceptions are concept rich, but just stupid sensations. We need language/thinking even to absurdly deny the existence of language and thinking. We need linguistic conventions for denying the centrality of such conventions.


    In dualism, ‘mind’ is contrasted with ‘body’, but at different times, different aspects of the mind have been the centre of attention. In the classical and mediaeval periods, it was the intellect that was thought to be most obviously resistant to a materialistic account: from Descartes on, the main stumbling block to materialist monism was supposed to be ‘consciousness’, of which phenomenal consciousness or sensation came to be considered as the paradigm instance.

    The classical emphasis originates in Plato's Phaedo. Plato believed that the true substances are not physical bodies, which are ephemeral, but the eternal Forms of which bodies are imperfect copies. These Forms not only make the world possible, they also make it intelligible, because they perform the role of universals, or what Frege called ‘concepts'. It is their connection with intelligibility that is relevant to the philosophy of mind. Because Forms are the grounds of intelligibility, they are what the intellect must grasp in the process of understanding. In Phaedo Plato presents a variety of arguments for the immortality of the soul, but the one that is relevant for our purposes is that the intellect is immaterial because Forms are immaterial and intellect must have an affinity with the Forms it apprehends (78b4–84b8). This affinity is so strong that the soul strives to leave the body in which it is imprisoned and to dwell in the realm of Forms.
    — link
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/dualism/#MinBodHisDua


    What Freud, Saussure and Durkheim seem to have recognized is that social sciences could make little progress until society was considered a reality in itself: a set of institutions or systems which are more than the contingent manifestations of the spirit or the sum of individual activities. It is as though they had asked: “what makes individual experience possible? what enables men to perceive not just physical objects but objects with a meaning? what enables them to communicate and act meaningfully?” And the answer which they postulated was social institutions which, though formed by human activities, are the conditions of experience. To understand individual experience one must study the social norms which make it possible. — Culler

    The notion of value... shows us that it is a great mistake to consider a sign as nothing more than the combination of a certain sound and a certain concept. To think of a sign as nothing more would be to isolate it from the system to which it belongs. It would be to suppose that a start could be made with individual signs, and a system constructed by putting them together. On the contrary, the system as a united whole is the starting point, from which it becomes possible, by a process of analysis, to identify its constituent elements. — Saussure


    The arbitrariness principle can be applied not only to the sign, but to the whole sign-system. The fundamental arbitrariness of language is apparent from the observation that each language involves different distinctions between one signifier and another (e.g. 'tree' and 'free') and between one signified and another (e.g. 'tree' and 'bush'). The signified is clearly arbitrary if reality is perceived as a seamless continuum (which is how Saussure sees the initially undifferentiated realms of both thought and sound): where, for example, does a 'corner' end? Commonsense suggests that the existence of things in the world preceded our apparently simple application of 'labels' to them (a 'nomenclaturist' notion which Saussure rejected and to which we will return in due course). Saussure noted that 'if words had the job of representing concepts fixed in advance, one would be able to find exact equivalents for them as between one language and another. But this is not the case' (Saussure 1983, 114-115; Saussure 1974, 116). Reality is divided up into arbitrary categories by every language and the conceptual world with which each of us is familiar could have been divided up very differently. Indeed, no two languages categorize reality in the same way. As John Passmore puts it, 'Languages differ by differentiating differently' (cited in Sturrock 1986, 17). Linguistic categories are not simply a consequence of some predefined structure in the world. There are no 'natural' concepts or categories which are simply 'reflected' in language. Language plays a crucial role in 'constructing reality'. — Chandler on Saussure
    https://www.cs.princeton.edu/~chazelle/courses/BIB/semio2.htm


    What I make of this is that we are trained as children to employ a system of signs in the context of a social life which is largely non-linguistic. This system of signs is also a taken-for-granted lens on the world. It makes philosophy and science possible. It is their 'ground.' And yet philosophy and science seek out the ground of this ground (metaphysical or physical substratum). The Mobius strip comes to mind.

    Derrida's concept of iterability is attempt to make sense of the realm of the ideal, the realm of Forms. What is this human passion to dwell in the realm of the forms? To escape time, decay, vulnerability, confusion... I share this passion. We want to add to the Book, live in the Book.
  • Isaac
    3k
    You used system in regard to a strict, singular, deterministic; I used method. The method is the rules, the system is the use of the rules. No matter the particulars, the brain (the system) obeys the laws attributed to natural forces (the method).Mww

    Maybe, but if the deterministic natural forces are expressed through a stochastic system then there's no reason at all to suppose a deterministic method will result.

    should would be destructive, insofar as if the conditions under which the method is used determine the method, the method is no longer rule-based, therefore not a proper method.Mww

    I'm really not sure what you're trying to say here, but at a guess, you seem to be hinting at the idea that rules determine which set of rules to use. That may be (although see above as to the underlying uncertainty in the system), but again, you're defining away rational thought. If rational thought is not a type of thought then the word 'rational' is pointless.

    If we can suffice with just “thought”, which I advocate as being the case, why do we need more than one method for it?Mww

    We don't have more than one method because we need to. We simply observe thinking strategies and decide we're going to gives different names to some of the differences we see. We could not do that, and just call it all 'thought'. We could divide it into a hundred different types based on every tiny difference we observe. It's just a matter of utility.
  • Wayfarer
    10.1k
    . I'm saying that 'the mind' is a publicly tradable concept.
    — jjAmEs
    — Wayfarer

    Sure.
    — Wayfarer

    I'm thinking you still don't see what I mean by that.
    jjAmEs

    But remember why I was making this point. The discussion is about 'objects and subjects' and by implication, the role of 'the objective sciences' in regards to this question.

    So in saying that 'the mind is not objective', I'm not saying that it's not possible to discuss the nature of mind, or that the concept is not meaningful in various domains of discourse. The reason I'm saying that mind is not objective, is to undercut the presumption that it is a subject for the objective sciences at all. And the reason I refer to Dennett, is because his attitude of 'eliminativism' recognizes this fact. (IN that, it's very similar to, and maybe descended from, behaviourism).

    But what eliminative materialism wants to eliminate or deny or describe as 'folk psychology' is in fact the fundamental nature of being itself. TO which the materialist reply is invariably: TOSH. There is no such 'fundamental nature'. If there were, you would be able to demonstrate it empirically'.

    Do you see my point?
  • jjAmEs
    184
    My approach is 'mind is that which grasps meaning'. And the reason we can say what it is, is because of the reflexive problem of consciousness, i.e. 'the eye cannot see itself, the hand cannot grasp itself.' That's why I say mind is not an objective reality - it is that which 'objective reality' depends on.Wayfarer

    But isn't your description precisely the eye seeing itself? The hand grasping itself? The mind is the meaning-grasper, the meaning-hand. Or the mind is sense organ for the otherwise invisible conceptual realm. The mind is a special kind of hand or a special kind of eye. Both metaphors are great.

    For me objective just means 'expressing or dealing with facts or conditions as perceived without distortion by personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations.' It's not about objects, though everyday objects are usually admitted without controversy or bias and therefore naturally come to mind.

    I do understand that sans consciousness there would be no there there. Consciousness and being have an intimate if complicated relationship. Yet some kind of substratum that survives the coming and going of individual consciousnesses is just as intuitive as consciousness grounding being. We read the traces of dead philosophers and repeat (we hope) their cognitive leaps. They etched something in/on the realm of forms.

    The problem with Cartesianism is that it posits 'res cogitans;' as a literal substance in an objective sense - something which objectively exists. And that leads to the intractable problem of how this 'ghost in the machine' can pull levers or do anything (which is Ryle's criticism).Wayfarer

    Perhaps you can expand on your distance from this Cartesianism.

    Whereas materialism inverts this, and says that the mind is dependent on its own objects. (This is the realisation that prompted Schopenhauer's remark about the 'olympian laughter':

    [Materialism] seeks the primary and most simple state of matter, and then tries to develop all the others from it; ascending from mere mechanism, to chemistry, to polarity, to the vegetable and to the animal kingdom. And if we suppose this to have been done, the last link in the chain would be animal sensibility - that is knowledge - which would consequently now appear as a mere modification or state of matter produced by causality. Now if we had followed materialism thus far with clear ideas, when we reached its highest point we would suddenly be seized with a fit of the inextinguishable laughter of the Olympians. As if waking from a dream, we would all at once become aware that its final result - knowledge, which it reached so laboriously - was presupposed as the indispensable condition of its very starting-point, mere matter; and when we imagined that we thought "matter", we really thought only "the subject that perceives matter; the eye that sees it, the hand that feels it, the understanding that knows it". Thus the tremendous petitio principii reveals itself unexpectedly.”
    Wayfarer

    I agree with you and Schopenhauer that a certain kind of materialism is the just target of Olympian laughter. I don't gel with Dennett, for instance. But if we leave metaphysics and just think of technology, then it makes good sense to see how we can construct the complex from the simple. In my view, 'matter' is just as problematic as 'mind.' The mind-matter distinction is useful in many contexts but doesn't work as a crisp and final metaphysics. 'Matter' is something like an old stand-in for the 'thing in itself' or the substratum. My own position is something like a generalized instrumentalism, but that's largely an attitude. To me most of the 'great' philosophers got something right, were illuminating.

    Hobbes is just the kind of target Kant had in mind when he criticized empiricism. I won't try and re-state all the details, but suffice to say everything Hobbes writes about the mind, is subject to the criticism 'percepts without concepts are blind'.Wayfarer

    I know. Of course Kant made important advances on Hobbes. I'm hardly suggesting that Hobbes is up-to-date and hot off the press. But, as others have noted, Kant's theory is only intelligible against the background of Hobbes and Locke.
    https://sites.google.com/site/diogenesphil/lk


    These correspondences between Kant’s and Locke’s frameworks point up some character differences between their corresponding elements. One such difference is that between ‘things themselves’ and ‘things in themselves’. As already mentioned, Locke’s ‘things themselves’ are single corpuscles or aggregates of corpuscles that possess only primary qualities (and powers based on them). They affect our sense organs qua aggregates of corpuscles, and accordingly a sort of motion is communicated to the brain. As a result, sensible ideas are produced in the mind. By contrast, in Kant’s case, ‘things in themselves’ are not known to us, and since space is a form of our sensibility, the idea that things in themselves are in space does not make sense.
    ...
    Now it will be seen that behind Kant’s positing unknowable ‘things in themselves’ and reinterpreting the ordinary external things in space as internal representations, the naturalistic logic of the seventeenth century theories of ideas is tacitly operating. If this were not the case, he would have no reason for regarding the objects of our experience as internal from the start and for grasping them as appearances in contrast to things in themselves. Further, the view that things in themselves ‘affect’ our senses would not make sense without our ordinary experience concerning the causal process of sense perception (or some physical view framed by sophisticating it). That is, it seems that the very framework of Kant’s transcendental idealism could not be established if it were not based on our ordinary experience or more sophisticated physical view.
    — link

    One great thing about Kant is that he opens up the possibility of thinking the-world-as-it-really is without the assumption of 3 spatial dimensions. All kinds of new models become acceptable. Maybe we are 'really' in Flatland or Lineland or -land. To me such theories are 'just' instruments, but still he drops the assumption that space is really there. Was he the first? If so, that's impressive indeed. I agree that intutions without concepts are blind, and that's why I make so much of language/community and speak of a socialized neo-Kantianism. While mind depends in one sense on the individual brain, it depends in another sense (just as important for human beings) on learning to speak among others.

    The temptation is to emphasize the isolation of our minds as an echo of the physical distance between our brains. But this is to ignore the point of brains, which is to be networked. It's like only understanding the internet from the perspective of individual chromebooks. The chomebooks are for the internet, and the internet depends on chromebooks. A sane human being is plugged in to a language and various social norms. His internal monologue occurs in linguistic conventions he received like the law. And metaphysical versions of mind and matter seem parasitical upon pre-understandings of either in ordinary language.
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