• Sir Philo Sophia
    189

    sure. Pattern/event/object 'A' is observed and found to occur semi-periodically; however, 'A' is not understood in any way, we can only detect its occurrence (think like a sub-atomic particle in an accelerator collision). We notice that most of the time shortly after 'A' is observed occurring a desirable, yet otherwise completely temporally unpredictable, resource/object 'B' will be available for a brief moment. Having knowledge of this causal association we prepare ourselves to take advantage of 'B', and right after detecting 'A" we were, finally, able to acquire 'B'. 'A' is like a sign, we don't have to know what the sign says or means, we just have to uniquely recognize that pattern which we don't understand (pattern matching, no comprehension needed).
  • Andrew M
    1.1k
    Thanks, but you're still talking generally. Can you give a concrete example, such as an everyday situation or a physics scenario that demonstrates your point?
  • Sir Philo Sophia
    189

    I gave you one, actually.
    see
    we can only detect its occurrence (think like a sub-atomic particle in an accelerator collision)Sir Philo Sophia

    so, we detected presence of a particle having a collision pattern like a Higgs boson would have with very high probability, so we conclude we have knowledge now that the theoretical Higgs field exists to give gravity to particles, never knowing or understanding what that Higgs particle really was, only that something having that mass/energy exists was enough it gain knowledge.

    makes sense?
  • jjAmEs
    184
    Yes, but as a hypothetical entity. We can talk about ghosts as hypothetical entities as well, but we should resist the temptation to treat them as real.Andrew M

    I don't think what the blare of a trumpet sounds like is all that comparable to a ghost. As for the word 'real,' that's a can of worms in itself. Out of all context, 'real' has no clear meaning at all. In this context, I think you inferring that the 'beetle' does not exist simply because it's 'invisible' in a certain way to language.

    I call fire engines 'red' - what do you call them?Andrew M

    As I suggested to Wayf, the sign 'red' functions because we call the same things red. That is necessary and sufficient to ground the concept, it seems. At the same time, we have the word 'quale' to point at what almost escapes the language game. Paintings, music...these aren't just what we can say about them. To be sure, it looks impossible to be objective or scientific about qualia --more or less by definition. I assume non-sociopathically that you are not a moist robot and 'experience' life, no matter the constraints of what you can fit into ideal public intelligibility.

    What you're referring to, of course, is how something appears to you. But in this case, it's more or less certain that things appear differently to each of us, at least to some degree, since a lot of things can affect that. We can appreciate this when we wear sunglasses.Andrew M

    It seems to me by the first part of your post that 'how something appears to [me]' is not supposed to exist at all (is a hypothetical entity, like a ghost.) This 'we' seems to embrace the almost automatic transcendental pretense, which is that our inner lives share in the same structure. It's hard for me to believe that you and other human beings see the redness of the rose differently than me, though I don't see any proof could ever be given for or against. I also assume that when you put on sunglasses that the world looks dimmer to you, but that is talk of ghosts!

    Yes, knowledge is not possible without intelligibility. So the point at issue is whether that's because the conditions of experience transcend the natural world or because they are immanent in it.

    For Kant, the a priori imposes controls on "the pryings of introspection". For Ryle, logical conditions are implicit in our practical experiences and observations.
    Andrew M

    I like where you are coming from here. I haven't studied Ryle, but I find something like this in my favorite thinkers. I don't think there is clean break between the mental and the physical or between the self and others.
  • Andrew M
    1.1k
    so, we detected presence of a particle having a collision pattern like a Higgs boson would have with very high probability, so we conclude we have knowledge now that the theoretical Higgs field exists to give gravity to particles, never knowing or understanding what that Higgs particle really was, only that something having that mass/energy exists was enough it gain knowledge.

    makes sense?
    Sir Philo Sophia

    Yes and that's a fair example.

    We have enough knowledge to formulate theories and make predictions even while lacking a deeper understanding about what is going on. On the other hand, the search for a theory of everything does presuppose that the world is intelligible, even if we can't make sense of it right now.
  • Andrew M
    1.1k
    I don't think what the blare of a trumpet sounds like is all that comparable to a ghost.jjAmEs

    Yes, to say that we can hear the blare of a trumpet (and compare it with other sounds) is perfectly fine. It's the positing of qualia as a mind-dependent substance or property between us and the world that's the problem. That's the ghost.

    It seems to me by the first part of your post that 'how something appears to [me]' is not supposed to exist at all (is a hypothetical entity, like a ghost.)jjAmEs

    The word "appears" is ordinarily used when we are qualifying a statement in some way. For example, that the stick appears bent (when partially submerged in water). That's consistent with the stick being straight and it doesn't imply that there are bent-stick qualia. Similarly, if I said that the rose appeared pink, I'm speaking in a qualified way that suggests that it might not be pink in normal circumstances. Otherwise I would have just said that the rose was pink.

    That's all ordinary use and perfectly fine. However in certain philosophical uses, an "appearance" becomes an entity in its own right that plays a "middleman" role in perception and experience. That's the ghost.
  • Sir Philo Sophia
    189
    On the other hand, the search for a theory of everything does presuppose that the world is intelligible, even if we can't make sense of it right nowAndrew M

    Sorry, but I would not tend to agree with that statement either. I do not think that intelligibility is primal when it comes to building knowledge. I expect utility is more primal because it requires less energy/work/knowledge to enable us to reduce/increase certain entropy as desired to achieve desired outcomes.

    For example, quantum particles and their behavior is completely intelligible to us; however, we can develop and detect statistical (math) generalizations that predict their observed behavior good enough to use them in useful devices/methods or to predict when/where they may occur with what likelihood and at what energy level, all w/ little to know understanding of what they really are about.
  • Sir Philo Sophia
    189
    I don't think there is clean break between the mental and the physical or between the self and others.jjAmEs

    I would tend to agree with that belief. In my current model, consciousness is an emergent 3rd entity that forms as a dynamic standing wave resonating with those as its boundary conditions. I am also leaning towards our internal consciousness being (maybe slightly) different than our social consciousness being (maybe slightly) different than our mind-body consciousness. So, Kant's cogito 'thinking' is far too simplistic, and misleading, to reason on what/if the internal "I" consciousness exists simply by virtue of his social consciousness questioning it, b/c they are possibly (likely) independent consciousness states, in my model. So, any reasoning applied to them might be like comparing apples to oranges to conclude bananas.
  • Andrew M
    1.1k
    I shall take that as saying we still agree language always presupposes experience.
    — Mww

    No, I don't agree with that!
    — Andrew M
    Mww

    Reading back over I see that I somehow managed to completely misread your comment. We do agree that experience always comes before language.
  • Arne
    528
    do you see the world in some other way? what other way would there be to see the world?tim wood

    I think its called "monism" as opposed to dualism.
  • Andrew M
    1.1k
    On the other hand, the search for a theory of everything does presuppose that the world is intelligible, even if we can't make sense of it right now
    — Andrew M

    Sorry, but I would not tend to agree with that statement either. I do not think that intelligibility is primal when it comes to building knowledge. I expect utility is more primal because it requires less energy/work/knowledge to enable us to reduce/increase certain entropy as desired to achieve desired outcomes.
    Sir Philo Sophia

    It may be that people are driven more by utility than understanding. But that doesn't imply that that the universe can't be understood.

    A theory of everything (TOE[1] or ToE), final theory, ultimate theory, or master theory is a hypothetical single, all-encompassing, coherent theoretical framework of physics that fully explains and links together all physical aspects of the universe.Theory of everything - Wikipedia

    Note the terms "all-encompassing" and "fully explains". The universe can only be fully explained if it is intelligible.

    For example, quantum particles and their behavior is completely intelligible to us;Sir Philo Sophia

    I assume you meant to say unintelligible there.

    however, we can develop and detect statistical (math) generalizations that predict their observed behavior good enough to use them in useful devices/methods or to predict when/where they may occur with what likelihood and at what energy level, all w/ little to know understanding of what they really are about.Sir Philo Sophia

    That's true. But note that the proliferation of quantum interpretations also shows that people seek a deeper understanding of what is going on (beyond shut-up-and-calculate). And a complete explanation would also have utility.
  • Mww
    1.8k
    Easy stuff:

    I shall take that as saying we still agree language always presupposes experience.
    — Mww

    No, I don't agree with that!
    — Andrew M

    (...) All I'm saying is that someone, somewhere, has to observe a tree (i.e., experience something) before people can meaningfully talk about trees (i.e., have language about something).
    Andrew M

    The only way we couldn’t be agreeing, is if your use of the experience of a particular object followed by meaningful talk of it, is not agreeable with my use of the universal objects of all experience followed by meaningful talk of any of them. Or, for you, observation is not connected to experience, maybe?
    ——————

    On my model, an object is something an observer can point to. So it has form in relation to an observer, it's not intrinsic or invariant. We get a sense of how things can vary for different observers from, for example, color perception studies in animalsAndrew M

    Point to....agreed, if “point to” means manually indicate a physical reality;
    Has form......ok, but in relation to an observer is too ambiguous. In relation to can mean internal relation or external relation. Because you have stipulated pointing to, which implies external to the observer, dialectical consistency suggests form is external to the observer as well.

    Is the externality of form because you speak from a doctrine of nominalism, insofar as form as a universal representation in intuition is denied? That’s fine, and because I speak from a conceptualist perspective, the root of our dissimilar epistemological metaphysics is given.
    —————-

    all human thought is singular and successive. If such should be the case, then change in subjective condition (Bob racing, Bob winning) is necessarily a process in time.
    — Mww

    I would deny that Bob racing and Bob winning are subjective conditions or thoughts at all, they instead take place in the world. Bob racing is a process that occurs over a period of time. Whereas Bob winning is a condition that obtains at a single point in time.
    Andrew M

    Then apparently, you have no reason to think Bob is thinking about racing and winning, as he goes about his worldly event, which you wouldn’t, if you deny subjective conditions. The only way to deny subjective conditions is to deny subjectivity, and by association, you must deny yourself as being a thinking subject. Hmmm.....who am I talking to, again?
    ——————

    What is a conceptual scheme?
    — Mww

    A way of thinking about the world.
    Andrew M

    Oh. Thought so, just making sure. You know.....human understanding does that all by itself, without having to create a name for it. That’s its job, after all. Synthesize certain concepts in direct relation to observations. Of course, because of experience, a horse will have four legs, and a horse of any other alternative conceptual scheme won’t be a horse.

    In science, it would include heliocentrism v. geocentrism, and classical physics v. quantum physics.Andrew M

    So theory became epistemological domain became conceptual scheme. I’m all for leaving well enough alone, myself.
    ————

    Addendum: after hitting “post comment”, I see you’ve addressed the first of my easy parts. I don’t just erase it so you know I saw the original.

    Thanks
  • Mww
    1.8k
    Fun stuff:

    understanding denotes an achievement, not a task (nor a faculty or capability).
    — Andrew M

    ......to better understand our disagreements is an achievement, which we can then say only evolves by the faculty of understanding being tasked to achieve it. Such would be a semantic quibble if it weren’t already a theoretical tenet.
    — Mww

    Sure. However the semantic quibble for me is the assigning of agency to a faculty...
    Andrew M

    I understand how assigning agency to a faculty sounds kinda hincky, but really....we only have two choices, within our current knowledge base. One is pure cognitive neuroscience, in which the brain is analyzed to a fare-thee-well but doesn’t tell us what we really want to know; the other is, we think our own cognitive, albeit speculative, metaphysics, which tells us exactly what we want to know, but has no means of empirical justification. The latter in general having been around grappling with the human experience a hellava lot longer than the former, but the former in general effecting the human experience with a hellava lot more power over a significantly lesser time than the latter, puts us into the cross-hairs of a major intellectual conundrum.

    The use personal pronouns in the content of our communications merely from the demands of language, gives no logical ground for their origin. Agency is assigned to a faculty in cognitive metaphysics for the expressed purpose of giving that logical ground for the origin of that which the pronouns represent, and that for the excruciatingly simple reason that cognitive neuroscience doesn’t have the means for it.

    Now, it is the common notion that pure empiricism is content to wait for its proper knowledge, while metaphysics creates its own, which is the kindly way of saying science is reluctant to invoke magic to get what it wants, while thumbing its collective nose at metaphysics for having no such trepidation. But what pure empiricism overlooks, is the fact that its logic is exactly the same logic employed by the speculative philosopher, and even if the empirical logic is practical, having real objects in its content, and the metaphysical logic is abstract, having merely possible objects in its content, it is still logic. So the reductionist attitude is that the scientist frowns on the metaphysician because the metaphysician can prove his theoretical tenets using a logical methodology, but the pure empiricist has nothing he can prove at all, still being stuck in the exploratory/experimental quagmire of his theoretical domain, notwithstanding his logical methodology, with respect to the assignment of agency.

    All that being said, the hinckiness is quite evident, if one is inclined to insist there actually are faculties to which assigning anything at all makes sense. We both know there is no such thing as, e.g., a real, measurable faculty of representation, or a faculty that thinks, or that reason does things for itself. These are either mere figures of speech predicated entirely on the necessity for some arbitrary form of mutual interconnectivity. Or, if you wish.....

    “....So since we could witness none of the things John Doe is doing were the required acts of having ideas, abstracting, making judgements, or passing from premise to conclusion, it would seem to be necessary to locate these actions on the boards of a stage to which only he had access. (...) The imputed episodes appeared to be impenetrably “internal” because they were genuinely unwitnessable. But they were genuinely unwitnessable because they were mythical. They were causal hypothesis substituted for functional descriptions of the elements of published theories ....”
    (Ryle, 1949, pg 318)

    Nevertheless, there are two instance where it is perfectly legitimate to insist on something, re: everybody thinks, and, no science is ever done that isn’t first thought. Put those two together, in a proper, logically consistent, theoretical system, and hinckiness disappears, justified by those very mythical, albeit quite causal, hypotheses.
    ——————-

    knowledge is not possible without intelligibility. So the point at issue is whether that's because the conditions of experience transcend the natural world or because they are immanent in it.Andrew M

    For humans anyway, to say experience transcends the natural world, is a contradiction, if it is the case that the conditions of experience are necessarily given from it. Kantian epistemology takes for granted the principles, which govern the conditions of experience, can be nothing but immanent, that is to say, strictly limited to the natural world......

    “...we shall call those principles the application of which is confined entirely within the limits of possible experience, immanent; those, on the other hand, which transgress these limits, we shall call transcendent principles....”
    (CPR, A296)

    .....for no other reason than we ourselves determine the principles and we belong to the natural world. Nature being, of course, merely the manifold of occassions from which the principles can be thought. That things happen Nature is given; how things happen in Nature is determined solely by the investigating agency, the intelligibility of the former grounded explicitly in the a priori logical functions subsisting in the latter.

    For Kant, the a priori imposes controls on "the pryings of introspection". For Ryle, logical conditions are implicit in our practical experiences and observations.Andrew M

    Why is introspection not one of those unwitnessable, imputed episodes mentioned above? That he uses it as a causal hypothetical sorta detracts from his chastisement of the “...great epistemologists Locke, Hume and Kant....”, doesn’t it? That’s fine, though; we all need words, concepts, and language to get our points across no matter the era of our theories.

    I get the gist, though. It is pure reason that imposes controls on the extravagances of private cognition, and pure reason is always a priori, so.....close enough.

    While I agree with Ryle that logical conditions are implicit in our practical experiences, the a priori has nothing to do with practical experience. I mean....that’s its distinction, having nothing to do with experience. So to reconcile, it must be that Ryle thinks logical conditions are themselves a priori, but if so, they cannot be implicit, but must be explicit. That is, logical conditions must be necessary, not just implied. We know this, because sometimes our observations contradict extant experience, and if the logical conditions weren’t already established, we wouldn’t have the means to recognize the contradiction.
    ———————

    Hume reduces thinking to constant conjunctions. In response, Kant transcendentalizes thinking. Ryle suggests instead that thinking "is saying things to [one]self with a special governing purpose". That's a natural definition that is neither reducible to just talking to oneself nor appeals to anything that transcends what is observable.Andrew M

    Thinking has a special governing purpose, but only an analytic, language, philosopher would call it saying things to oneself. While it may be a “natural” definition, it is only so for that very constant conjunction we use all the time without ever realizing that’s exactly what we DON’T do. We don’t speak when we think; we speak when we express what we think.

    “....Thought is cognition by means of conceptions...”.
    (CPR B94)

    Why does that which is unobservable have to be transcendent? If the theoretical wavefunction collapse is unobservable in and of itself, is it therefore transcendent? Seems rather intellectually inconsistent, to categorically reject the unobservable in speculative metaphysics, yet glorify it in empirical physics.
    ———————

    thinking and thinking deeply being two different things? I don’t see the theoretical benefit in that fine a distinction.
    — Mww

    No, that's not the distinction. The distinction is between thinking (e.g., about a math problem) and the conclusion one reaches as the result of thinking (e.g., that 2+2=4).
    Andrew M

    OK, sorry, but you specifically mentioned thinking and thinking deeply, so I just ran with it.

    So Alice might cognize that 2+2=4 after much cogitation. And note that she couldn't cognize that 2+2=5, since it's false - to cognize something imples that one has been successful - an achievement. Whereas Alice can nonetheless cogitate about two plus two equaling five or one hand clapping if that's her thing.Andrew M

    After much cogitation: Alice, assuming she already knows how to count, cogitates by assembling blocks by series of two’s, successfully achieves the cognizing of four by counting the totality of the series. So she couldn’t cognize five, because, according to you and Ryle, the logical conditions implicit in the observation, in this case, the counting, prevent it, but she could still cogitate it.

    Alice barely knows how to count. How does she know about logical conditions? Kant has the answer; what does Ryle say?

    Fun’s over.

    (Sigh)
  • Andrew M
    1.1k
    Easy stuff:

    On my model, an object is something an observer can point to. So it has form in relation to an observer, it's not intrinsic or invariant. We get a sense of how things can vary for different observers from, for example, color perception studies in animals
    — Andrew M

    Point to....agreed, if “point to” means manually indicate a physical reality;
    Has form......ok, but in relation to an observer is too ambiguous. In relation to can mean internal relation or external relation. Because you have stipulated pointing to, which implies external to the observer, dialectical consistency suggests form is external to the observer as well.
    Mww

    Yes it indicates a physical reality. Note that I reject an internal/external (or subject/object) dualism, so no such ambiguity arises on my model.

    Is the externality of form because you speak from a doctrine of nominalism, insofar as form as a universal representation in intuition is denied? That’s fine, and because I speak from a conceptualist perspective, the root of our dissimilar epistemological metaphysics is given.Mww

    My position on universals is Aristotle's immanent realism. As against Nominalism and Platonic Realism in which we see, as Ryle puts it, "an Occam and a Plato skid into their opposite ditches".

    I would deny that Bob racing and Bob winning are subjective conditions or thoughts at all, they instead take place in the world. Bob racing is a process that occurs over a period of time. Whereas Bob winning is a condition that obtains at a single point in time.
    — Andrew M

    Then apparently, you have no reason to think Bob is thinking about racing and winning, as he goes about his worldly event,
    Mww

    He presumably would be, but need not be. Whether Bob wins the race or not depends on whether he crosses the finish line first, not on what he's thinking about.

    which you wouldn’t, if you deny subjective conditions. The only way to deny subjective conditions is to deny subjectivity, and by association, you must deny yourself as being a thinking subject. Hmmm.....who am I talking to, again?Mww

    As I've mentioned, I reject subject/object dualism. Minds don't think, human beings do.

    To the fun stuff...
  • Andrew M
    1.1k
    Fun stuff:

    I understand how assigning agency to a faculty sounds kinda hincky, but really....we only have two choices, within our current knowledge base.Mww

    I agree with everything you say about "pure cognitive neuroscience" and "pure empiricism". You're making Ryle's point for him against the Reductionists. But, as discussed, I also reject Transcendentalism - they're two sides of the same dualist coin.

    The third choice I'm suggesting assigns agency to the human being, not to an idealist mind nor to a materialist brain. Since you mention metaphysics, note that this third approach is found not just in ordinary language but also in Aristotle where particulars are the locus of activity (and also of cause and effect). A particular is not the material object of the Reductionist (e.g., Democritus), it is a matter/form compound (per hylomorphism). That precludes the need for the idealist subject of the Transcendentalist (e.g., Plato) since the form (morphe or eidos) of every particular takes on that role. So it's a holistic approach rather than a dualistic approach.

    Per Aristotle, science investigates the nature of things. And his philosophy of nature explicates the logic of this investigation. Which also, as it happens, reflects back onto and includes the investigator (i.e., the human being themselves is a hylomorphic particular that can be investigated like any other particular).

    To reiterate, dualism maintains a separation between subject and object. Whereas with hylomorphism, form and matter are inseparable aspects of every object.

    “...we shall call those principles the application of which is confined entirely within the limits of possible experience, immanent; those, on the other hand, which transgress these limits, we shall call transcendent principles....”
    (CPR, A296)

    .....for no other reason than we ourselves determine the principles and we belong to the natural world. Nature being, of course, merely the manifold of occassions from which the principles can be thought. That things happen Nature is given; how things happen in Nature is determined solely by the investigating agency, the intelligibility of the former grounded explicitly in the a priori logical functions subsisting in the latter.
    Mww

    Just when I thought we were going to agree, Kant adds an "on the other hand"!

    This is where I say that we don't need the "on the other hand", and you will then say that things would be unintelligible (lacking the necessary resources to ground things). But Ryle discusses this:

    Our Reductionist is ex officio a zealous empiricist, whose constant complaint is that his Platonic or Cartesian or Hegelian opponent always fetches in unverifiables or unobservables to provide him with his occupational Something Else as Well. We sympathize until we find that our empiricist's own roster of observables is becoming disturbingly short, and his roster of unobservables disturbingly long. — Gilbert Ryle - Thinking and Saying

    This gets back to the earlier example of Bob winning the race. Contra both the Reductionist and the Transcendentalist, Bob winning the race is on the roster of observables.

    While I agree with Ryle that logical conditions are implicit in our practical experiences, the a priori has nothing to do with practical experience. I mean....that’s its distinction, having nothing to do with experience. So to reconcile, it must be that Ryle thinks logical conditions are themselves a priori, but if so, they cannot be implicit, but must be explicit. That is, logical conditions must be necessary, not just implied. We know this, because sometimes our observations contradict extant experience, and if the logical conditions weren’t already established, we wouldn’t have the means to recognize the contradiction.Mww

    The way I would put it is that those logical conditions are themselves discoverable (or, sometimes, negotiable). Bob might think that he has won the race, but then fails the subsequent drug test. He is disqualified even if he was unaware that that particular drug was on the ban list. So ours and his model for what it means to win the race can be subsequently revised. In which case we would retroactively change the language we use to describe Bob's race outcome - we thought he had won, but he hadn't. A metaphor here is that we are continually modifying the (logical) spectacles through which we view the world. Or, our experience of the world is like being on a boat that is continually being rebuilt while on the open sea. This applies not just to a human-created competition as is the case here, but generally to theories about the world (e.g., geocentrism / heliocentrism).

    We don’t speak when we think; we speak when we express what we think.Mww

    Ryle isn't saying that we verbally utter words when thinking. He is saying that thinking is the utilization of language (with a governing purpose). So we can certainly think without speaking. But it's also possible to speak without thinking. And to speak thoughtfully, and to think out loud. Again, just one action - two aren't necessary (though one could also think for a while, then speak).

    Why does that which is unobservable have to be transcendent?Mww

    The issue is that the unobservable is indistinguishable from a ghost. Ryle is arguing that the roster of observables is too short if it excludes thinking. We can observe that Le Penseur is thinking.

    If the theoretical wavefunction collapse is unobservable in and of itself, is it therefore transcendent? Seems rather intellectually inconsistent, to categorically reject the unobservable in speculative metaphysics, yet glorify it in empirical physics.Mww

    Some interpretations say that wavefunction collapse is an illusion, others that the wavefunction isn't real. So maybe not the best example for making your point. ;-)

    Alice barely knows how to count. How does she know about logical conditions? Kant has the answer; what does Ryle say?Mww

    The logical conditions are implicit in the language Alice uses to communicate and solve practical problems (whether in ordinary or specialized contexts). However she may not be able to explicitly articulate those logical conditions since that would require additional reflection and analysis, itself a skill.

    It is similar to being able to play tennis without necessarily being able to theoretically explain what one is doing (as a coach would be able to do).

    What was Kant's answer? That Alice automatically knows the logical conditions because they are a priori?
  • Janus
    9.3k
    No one has to know exactly what 'physical' is supposed to mean in order to employ the sign in context to get things done.jjAmEs

    But we do know what it means, just as much as we know what any category means. The usual objection
    is that we don't know what it "really" means, whatever that means.

    My point is that mental stuff is quotidian, and we deal with it in the same casual way. Science also deals with it.jjAmEs

    Science only deals with it insofar as it is believed to manifest as observable behavior or neural process, though, and that is not what we seem, by default as it were, to imagine the mental to be. We actually don't have any positive conception of the mental; it is usually defined merely apophatically (emptily) as "not physical".

    In particular, signs are not material/physical. The notion of the same word being used by different humans with different physical vocalizations is already 'immaterial.' I gave an informal argument for this above. Even just counting employs the ideal identity of different objects.jjAmEs

    Signs are always in material/physical form. We do call notions of identity "immaterial" but they are really only formal approximations; nothing is ever "really identical" to anything else.

    Our ontological prejudices (our pre-grasp of the situation) tend to understand the 'spiritual' in terms of mundane things like feelings, thoughts, myths.jjAmEs

    Yes I'd agree with you that it is only in those terms that we can have any positive conception of the so-called spiritual.

    We are basically on the same page on this particular issue. The essence seems to be that 'spirituality' is private matter. What's interesting is that such a view is public/dominant form of spirituality. Politics is applied religion, in other words, and the privatization of religion (which I am fine with) is the triumph of a particular (metaphorically) spiritual view.jjAmEs

    I'm not quite sure what you're getting at here. If you mean that although spirituality (faith) is a matter for the individual, nonetheless forms of spirituality, spiritual life, are never "private' but socially evolved, then I'd agree.
  • Mww
    1.8k


    I am very disappointed in being sent to wiki.
    ———————

    I get that hylomorphism attributes both matter and form to objects, such that form is relieved of its usefulness in minds. But I don’t get how that falsifies subject/object dualism itself. Aristotle grants that we think, for even the very opening paragraph of “Physics”, “...we do not think that we know a thing until we are acquainted with its primary conditions or first principles...”, makes human thought explicit, of whatever kind it may be. As great length has been given in “Physics” to objects, and gives authority on the primacy of being of them and the relations between constituencies in them, it follows that such ontological predicates of objects are moot, if not irrelevant, if the reality of objects, whatever their constituency, is already presupposed. But referring to the quoted assertion, still leaves “we do not think we know a thing....”, which immediately invokes a subject/object dualism, insofar as there must be he who thinks himself acquainted with conditions and principles, and that to which the conditions and principles belong. So, yes, the internal/external dualism is eliminated by attributing form to objects proper, but eliminating internal/external dualism does not eliminate the subject/object dualism.

    Of course, further examination of primary conditions and first principles, when found to be a functional acquaintance of the investigative agency himself, the necessity for subject/object dualism is given.
    —————-

    Minds don't think, human beings do.Andrew M

    No objections. Mind is nothing but an abstract placeholder, a euphemism for that which serves as the logical means for terminating the speculative tendency towards infinite regress. It’s just a common word for a transcendental idea. We could speak for hours without ever once mentioning the word, all the while having the idea as the silent ground.
    —————

    Then apparently, you have no reason to think Bob is thinking about racing and winning, as he goes about his worldly event,
    — Mww

    He presumably would be, but need not be.
    Andrew M

    Given your inclination towards intentionality, wouldn’t you agree that if Bob is in the race, then he is racing, and if he is in fact racing, he thereby intends to win? If he’s even in the race presupposes he intends to win, otherwise he’d just be a member of a group going from point A to point B, but from that alone, or that in relation to a standard of some sort, it couldn’t be said he is racing.

    So granting he is thinking about racing because he’s in the race, and he’s thinking about winning because that’s the intent of racing, then wouldn’t you also grant he has different ideas about one as opposed to the other? And if he has different ideas, he must have different thoughts, and if he has different thoughts, he must have different subjective conditions which facilitate one in succession to the other.

    No, he need not be. But not much reason to be there if he isn’t. And he is there, so.......
  • Andrew M
    1.1k
    I get that hylomorphism attributes both matter and form to objects, such that form is relieved of its usefulness in minds. But I don’t get how that falsifies subject/object dualism itself. Aristotle grants that we think, for even the very opening paragraph of “Physics”, “...we do not think that we know a thing until we are acquainted with its primary conditions or first principles...”, makes human thought explicit, of whatever kind it may be.Mww

    I'm not arguing that it falsifies it. It's a different approach that has no use for it. For Aristotle, particulars exist independently of anyone's knowledge of them.

    So, for example, the Earth orbited the Sun a billion years ago, well before life emerged to know about it. Thus there were particulars (objects) at that time, but no subjects.

    Mind is nothing but an abstract placeholder, a euphemism for that which serves as the logical means for terminating the speculative tendency towards infinite regress. It’s just a common word for a transcendental idea. We could speak for hours without ever once mentioning the word, all the while having the idea as the silent ground.Mww

    What infinite regress? Is mind required for the Earth to orbit the Sun?

    Given your inclination towards intentionality, wouldn’t you agree that if Bob is in the race, then he is racing, and if he is in fact racing, he thereby intends to win? If he’s even in the race presupposes he intends to win, otherwise he’d just be a member of a group going from point A to point B, but from that alone, or that in relation to a standard of some sort, it couldn’t be said he is racing.Mww

    It's not so simple since "race/racing" can have different senses depending on the context. In our example, Bob is ostensively in a race. But if he doesn't intend to win then, as you say, he's not really racing, he's doing something else (e.g., pretending to race).

    So, for example, Bob could have run in a race that he intentionally lost (e.g., he was being paid to lose) or unintentionally won (e.g., he was being paid to lose but the lead runner collapsed or was disqualified).

    So granting he is thinking about racing because he’s in the race, and he’s thinking about winning because that’s the intent of racing, then wouldn’t you also grant he has different ideas about one as opposed to the other? And if he has different ideas, he must have different thoughts, and if he has different thoughts, he must have different subjective conditions which facilitate one in succession to the other.Mww

    We can characterize Bob's actions in different ways, but there isn't a requirement that an action be preceded by a thought, or needs a thought at all (people sometimes do things without thinking). If there were a requirement then, since that thought is itself an action, it must be preceded by a further thought. And so on in infinite regress. As it happens, this is Ryle's regress argument. (And note Kant's anticipation of the argument.)

    Bob's intention to race is immanent in his running (form and matter are inseparable) which is, in principle, observable. His intention isn't something over and above the running itself (which would be to separate form from matter).
  • Mww
    1.8k
    I also reject Transcendentalism - they're two sides of the same dualist coin.Andrew M

    Maybe....I dunno. Each of those doctrines have so many branches, there probably are some that interact as opposites of a dualism. I do favor methodological reduction, and transcendental philosophy, but I don’t have much to do with Transcendentalism the self-contained intellectual movement, except for Emerson and Thoreau, and that mostly from our common culture.
    ——————-

    The third choice I'm suggesting assigns agency to the human being, not to an idealist mind nor to a materialist brain.Andrew M

    And if agency, that is, rationality, morality, consciousness, intellect, are all predicated on either mind or brain, how is agency accounted for if not by those?

    A particular is not the material object of the Reductionist (e.g., Democritus), it is a matter/form compound (per hylomorphism). That precludes the need for the idealist subject of the Transcendentalist (e.g., Plato) since the form (morphe or eidos) of every particular takes on that role. So it's a holistic approach rather than a dualistic approach.Andrew M

    The modern subject/object dualism does not concern itself with the dual nature of real objects in the world. In transcendental philosophy, and perhaps post-medieval systems in general, the subject is he who considers the relationship between himself and those objects. In Aristotle, subject is what is being talked about, in which case the real physical object is the subject of discussion, and he talks about object as subject in at least two different ways, one in “Categories” and the other in “Physics”. All well and good, but not the same kind of subject/object dualism of the moderns.

    For Aristotle, particulars exist independently of anyone's knowledge of them. So, for example, the Earth orbited the Sun a billion years ago, well before life emerged to know about it. Thus there were particulars (objects) at that time, but no subjects.Andrew M

    This puts the particular right back into the purview of the the moderns, insofar as particulars are real objects, whether known from experience or not, and further allocates subject as a knowing being instead of the object of discussion.

    To reiterate, dualism maintains a separation between subject and object. Whereas with hylomorphism, form and matter are inseparable aspects of every object.Andrew M

    Ok, no problem. Where is the subject in hylomorphism? If it is true Aristotle speaks of object as subject, and attributes both form and matter to the subjects he’s speaking about......where is the speaker? You said before he was treated as any other object, so it appears all those human agency predicates are merely particulars of some certain substance. Even if that gives us what they are, it does nothing to tell us how they work, and how they relate to each other in order to work together such that “agency” has any meaning.

    Yes, one kind of modern dualism does maintain a separation between subject and object, but they are in no way to be considered the same kind of thing, as hylomorphism makes of every object including the subject of modern dualism.
    ——————

    Just when I thought we were going to agree, Kant adds an "on the other hand"! (...) Contra both the Reductionist and the Transcendentalist, Bob winning the race is on the roster of observables.Andrew M

    Yes, absolutely. That isn’t the “other hand”, however, which resides in what does winning the race mean, over and above the merely empirical observation of it? As Aristotle himself says...we don’t care so much for what we know as for what we don’t. And Ryle is right that the empiricists list of observables gets smaller and smaller, winning is just one thing after all, and experiments usually give one result, yet eyeballs can see the multiplicity of observables in entire cosmological space available to it, while the rationalists list of unverifiables gets longer, which is your argument against e.g., appearances on one hand and other mythical “causal hypotheses” on the other.
    —————

    We don’t speak when we think; we speak when we express what we think.
    — Mww

    Ryle isn't saying that we verbally utter words when thinking. He is saying that thinking is the utilization of language (with a governing purpose). So we can certainly think without speaking. But it's also possible to speak without thinking. And to speak thoughtfully, and to think out loud. Again, just one action - two aren't necessary (though one could also think for a while, then speak).
    Andrew M

    I meant to speak is to use language, and the use of language does not necessarily include verbalizing. I should have said “we don’t use language when we think....”, which was implied by the CPR quote “thought is cognition by means of concepts”. As such, I reject that thinking is the utilization of language, while granting that thinking has a governing purpose, re: proper relations of concepts in order for cognitions not to contradict themselves. And even if that is an unverifiable in itself, it can manifest as an observable when we get around to actually verbalizing.

    Man, just wait til things like schema, and phenomena, and spontaneity come up........no wonder Ryle scoffs at unverifiables, huh????

    The issue is that the unobservable is indistinguishable from a ghost. Ryle is arguing that the roster of observables is too short if it excludes thinking. We can observe that Le Penseur is thinking.Andrew M

    Yeah, he got a lot of mileage out of that ghost thing, didn’t he? Sure we may observe that he is thinking. Doesn’t matter, though, really; observation of the manifestation of thought is not the thought process itself. We are still entitled to ask “why did you do that?” after observing what he did.

    I’m having trouble understanding how it is at all possible to deny the private subject of human rationality.
    ——————-

    Some interpretations say that wavefunction collapse is an illusion, others that the wavefunction isn't real. So maybe not the best example for making your point.Andrew M

    Sure it is, if the transcendent is merely the unobservable, which I got from your, “transcends what is observable...”. Being illusory or even unreal satisfies being unobservable, but is that sufficient for transcendent? Being impossible as empirical phenomena is transcendent, but that which is illusory is not so impossible. And your ol’ nemesis “appearance” certainly isn’t real, but most certainly is an empirical phenomenon, under at least one metaphysical theory. I picked the wavefunction because it is mathematically real, albeit unobservable in itself, hence questions whether or not it is transcendent.
    —————

    What infinite regress? Is mind required for the Earth to orbit the Sun?Andrew M

    Of course not. Some productive rational methodology is necessary for us to understand that and how the Earth orbits the Sun, and any other empirical observation. The mind serves to terminate infinite regress in the series of possibilities in the sphere of transcendental imaginables. Because the sphere of possible experience is immeasurable, requires us to set limits in our methods somewhere, otherwise we have no apodeictic ground for our knowledge. No matter the arbitrariness of what the kind or form the limit has, the setting of one is necessary.
    ——————

    It's not so simple since "race/racing" can have different senses depending on the context.Andrew M

    Which gets pretty close to the whole point: looking at it top down, if it is true there are many different senses of a thing, wouldn’t we seek a common ground for all of them? On the other hand, bottom up, wouldn’t we already have a common ground, in order to see the difference in senses of things? And because we can look at things either way, or rather, some things present themselves in one way or the other, wouldn’t we already have the capacity to understand them however they present themselves?

    How that all happens seems to be of much more importance than the non-duality of objects, and we shouldn’t allow our disinterest to be enable by mere unverifiables.
  • Mww
    1.8k
    What was Kant's answer? That Alice automatically knows the logical conditions because they are a priori?Andrew M

    Kant’s answer is that Alice doesn’t know a damn thing about logical conditions, as they are insinuated in Ryle. Alice’s entire cognitive faculty is absolutely predicated on them, of which she has not the slightest conscious notion.

    Idle musings:

    Odd, isn’t it? That Ryle goes to such great lengths to deny the ghost, but allows for the “silent ghostiness”?

    “...the technical trick of conducting our thinking in auditory word-images, instead of spoken words, does indeed secure secrecy for our thinking…”(1).......

    ..........although auditory word/images I would be disinclined to call a technical trick. It is, instead, exactly how the human system operates. And aligning secrecy with a ghost, or occult, that is to say, otherwise inaccessible internality, is far too pejorative a conclusion. Not to mention, the “ghost” disappears immediately upon profitable argument contra substance dualism, re: Ryle’s “category mistake”, while allowing property dualism to remain relatively unaffected. At least til them ordinary language folks latch aholta vit.

    If we grant that the supremacy of the human aptitude is for knowledge acquisition, and by that if we arrive at knowledge, we should wish our knowledge to be as certain as possible and we should wish to understand what our knowledge actually entails. The best way to arrive at knowledge certainty, and to best way to understand what our knowledge certainty means, is to base the acquisition system for it on the only conditions which grant lawful authority, which is always certain in itself......logic.

    From here it is clear that logical conditions, of which Alice has not the slightest notion, are the methodological processes of human thought, that follow a logical series. She has no notion because they all occur in the steps of the process that Ryle calls “occult”, and you have called unverifiable. While this may all be the case, nothing is taken away from the those conditions being logical, even if we are unaware of them.

    “....But modelling thinking on processes (...) which can be broken down into ingredient processes which have been coordinated in a certain way is a mistake…. “(2).

    Not sure why not. If we start with this for a fact, and if we end up with that for a fact, we have every right to suppose the excluded middle that supports the end in keeping with the beginning.

    “..."there cannot be an intermediate between contradictories, but of one subject we must either affirm or deny any one predicate" (3)

    (1) Ryle, 1949a
    (2) Ryle 1951b
    (3) Metaphysics, 4,7
  • Andrew M
    1.1k
    The third choice I'm suggesting assigns agency to the human being, not to an idealist mind nor to a materialist brain.
    — Andrew M

    And if agency, that is, rationality, morality, consciousness, intellect, are all predicated on either mind or brain, how is agency accounted for if not by those?
    Mww

    They are literally predicated on human beings. It is human beings that are rational, moral, etc., not minds or brains. A brain is a part of a human being, not the whole; a mind is an abstraction over a human being, and not concrete. Whereas a human being is a concrete particular that is the locus of agency.

    The modern subject/object dualism does not concern itself with the dual nature of real objects in the world. In transcendental philosophy, and perhaps post-medieval systems in general, the subject is he who considers the relationship between himself and those objects. In Aristotle, subject is what is being talked about, in which case the real physical object is the subject of discussion, and he talks about object as subject in at least two different ways, one in “Categories” and the other in “Physics”. All well and good, but not the same kind of subject/object dualism of the moderns.Mww

    That specific subject/object language usage is modern, yes. But the same essential dualism is found in Plato (as ideal Forms/natural world).

    Aristotle rejected that dualism and while he had his own conception of subjects and objects, they were not as duals. Instead, for Aristotle, objects were the subjects of predication (Categories) and, in the case of particulars, the subjects of change (Physics).

    For Aristotle, particulars exist independently of anyone's knowledge of them. So, for example, the Earth orbited the Sun a billion years ago, well before life emerged to know about it. Thus there were particulars (objects) at that time, but no subjects.
    — Andrew M

    This puts the particular right back into the purview of the the moderns, insofar as particulars are real objects, whether known from experience or not, and further allocates subject as a knowing being instead of the object of discussion.
    Mww

    OK. So if we were just discussing a synonym for "knowing being" (in the ordinary sense of human beings as distinguished from rocks or trees, say) then there would be no philosophical issue. But the problem is that it also brings with it the Cartesian sense of subject/object, internal/external, rational/empirical and so on.

    To reiterate, dualism maintains a separation between subject and object. Whereas with hylomorphism, form and matter are inseparable aspects of every object.
    — Andrew M

    Ok, no problem. Where is the subject in hylomorphism? If it is true Aristotle speaks of object as subject, and attributes both form and matter to the subjects he’s speaking about......where is the speaker? You said before he was treated as any other object, so it appears all those human agency predicates are merely particulars of some certain substance. Even if that gives us what they are, it does nothing to tell us how they work, and how they relate to each other in order to work together such that “agency” has any meaning.
    Mww

    In that instance, Aristotle is the speaker - a person that is a subject of predication, change and agency.

    To find out and investigate the nature of hylomorphic particulars - whether human beings, trees or rocks - is the role of the natural sciences.

    Just when I thought we were going to agree, Kant adds an "on the other hand"! (...) Contra both the Reductionist and the Transcendentalist, Bob winning the race is on the roster of observables.
    — Andrew M

    Yes, absolutely. That isn’t the “other hand”, however, which resides in what does winning the race mean, over and above the merely empirical observation of it?
    Mww

    Winning the race doesn't mean anything over and above what is entailed by the observation of it. Ryle's point is that there no empirical-observation/rational-thinking divide. Instead observation, for human beings, includes the rational. Alice sees that Bob won the race. An eagle flying overhead does not, despite having sharper eyes. Alice sees more because she is rational.

    That is what I mean by holistic. Instead of a dualistic "physical" seeing + "transcendent" rationality, it's instead just a richer form of seeing.

    I meant to speak is to use language, and the use of language does not necessarily include verbalizing. I should have said “we don’t use language when we think....”, which was implied by the CPR quote “thought is cognition by means of concepts”. As such, I reject that thinking is the utilization of language, while granting that thinking has a governing purpose, re: proper relations of concepts in order for cognitions not to contradict themselves. And even if that is an unverifiable in itself, it can manifest as an observable when we get around to actually verbalizing.Mww

    English-speakers use the word "snow" to talk about snow. German-speakers use the word "schnee" to talk about snow. So we can abstract away the language-specific words and simply talk about the (abstract) concept of snow.

    So concepts have a natural grounding in language use. Which is to say, we have the concept of snow when we are able to employ the word "snow" (or "schnee").

    On that understanding, I agree with the CPR quote.

    Man, just wait til things like schema, and phenomena, and spontaneity come up........no wonder Ryle scoffs at unverifiables, huh????Mww

    I have no problem with them, at least in their ordinary sense. Should I?

    Yeah, he got a lot of mileage out of that ghost thing, didn’t he? Sure we may observe that he is thinking. Doesn’t matter, though, really; observation of the manifestation of thought is not the thought process itself. We are still entitled to ask “why did you do that?” after observing what he did.Mww

    I fully agree. We should also expect that the answer is open to natural investigation, not dependent on a radical privacy.

    I’m having trouble understanding how it is at all possible to deny the private subject of human rationality.Mww

    OK. It's a different way of allocating the facts that has no use for a private subject. Analogous to how a heliocentrist has no use for a geocentric center, even though it seems essential under that theory.

    I picked the wavefunction because it is mathematically real, albeit unobservable in itself, hence questions whether or not it is transcendent.Mww

    As it happens, wavefunction collapse isn't mathematically well-defined. It's more of the nature of, well, we observed this electron spin here which is described by that bit of the wavefunction there, so let's just throw away those other bits of the wavefunction that don't seem to fit anymore. Except we reserve the right to put them back again if we're doing a Wigner-style experiment. You get the idea.

    So transcendent (i.e., not naturally grounded)? It would seem so.

    What infinite regress? Is mind required for the Earth to orbit the Sun?
    — Andrew M

    Of course not. Some productive rational methodology is necessary for us to understand that and how the Earth orbits the Sun, and any other empirical observation. The mind serves to terminate infinite regress in the series of possibilities in the sphere of transcendental imaginables. Because the sphere of possible experience is immeasurable, requires us to set limits in our methods somewhere, otherwise we have no apodeictic ground for our knowledge. No matter the arbitrariness of what the kind or form the limit has, the setting of one is necessary.
    Mww

    I think we start with the particulars that we ordinarily observe. We develop rules and processes as we go along. If we discover a wrong claim, we fix it and move on. If there seems to be something wrong with the rules or processes themselves, then we fix them and move on. It starts with practical concerns and builds theory around that, not the other way around - namely, building an arbitrary theory and shoehorning experience into that. The practical approach is not apodeictic (it's instead provisional), but neither is it arbitrary.

    Which gets pretty close to the whole point: looking at it top down, if it is true there are many different senses of a thing, wouldn’t we seek a common ground for all of them? On the other hand, bottom up, wouldn’t we already have a common ground, in order to see the difference in senses of things? And because we can look at things either way, or rather, some things present themselves in one way or the other, wouldn’t we already have the capacity to understand them however they present themselves?Mww

    Sure, but that common ground might be more subtle than it first appears. There might be a family resemblance between uses of a term rather than necessary and sufficient conditions. I see this as an empirical endeavor - we can have hypotheses about how language terms function and relate to other terms, and we can test those hypotheses and revise if need be. So to have the capacity to understand something doesn't mean that it will be understood the first time - it may require a lot of investigation.
  • jjAmEs
    184
    But we do know what it means, just as much as we know what any category means. The usual objection
    is that we don't know what it "really" means, whatever that means.
    Janus

    I agree that we 'don't know what we really mean' when we use the phrase 'don't know what we really mean.' The assumption I am questioning here is that 'physical' and 'mental' refer to clear concepts. That we can offer imperfect definitions is clear, but I suggest that improvising definitions is quite secondary to the use of these words in ten million contexts.

    Science only deals with it insofar as it is believed to manifest as observable behavior or neural process, though, and that is not what we seem, by default as it were, to imagine the mental to be. We actually don't have any positive conception of the mental; it is usually defined merely apophatically (emptily) as "not physical".Janus

    I like to understand science as the theory of technology that works whether one believes in it or not.

    And then science depends on ordinary language, so science deals with the mental in a quotidian way at the sub-scientific level so that the scientific level is possible. Bohr saw this. Husserl focused on it.

    I don't think that the mental is defined as you say except perhaps by certain philosophers in a metaphysical mode. Let's check the dictionary.

    mental : relating to the mind.

    mind : the element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought.

    physical :relating to the body as opposed to the mind.
    relating to things perceived through the senses as opposed to the mind; tangible or concrete.

    So it's actually physical that's defined as the negative here, perhaps because human conversation prioritizes the social.

    Yes I'd agree with you that it is only in those terms that we can have any positive conception of the so-called spiritual.Janus

    This is an important thing for us to agree on. Our dispute on secondary matters is perhaps the narcissism of small differences.

    If you mean that although spirituality (faith) is a matter for the individual, nonetheless forms of spirituality, spiritual life, are never "private' but socially evolved, then I'd agree.Janus

    I agree that faith is a matter for the individual, but I'm stressing that that principle itself involves a faith that does not understand itself as a private issue. People with many different faiths can share this faith that religion is a private matter and go to war to keep it that way (against a tyranny of this or that religion imposed as a public religion.)

    It's easy to overlook that the faith in faith being a private matter is itself a dominant public matter, which is to say a kind of meta-religion that is enforced by the government of a 'free' people. For instance, I expect the state to defend me against religious fanatics who violate my rights for should-be-private religious reasons. As a rough approximation, I'm suggesting that living religion is potentially violent. That religion is something we shouldn't fight about is a meta-religion that we have fought and will continue to fight about.

    This blends with your second point. This meta-religion of religious freedom has evolved socially, just like all the traditional religions that it dominates in certain places and times.
  • Andrew M
    1.1k
    What was Kant's answer? That Alice automatically knows the logical conditions because they are a priori?
    — Andrew M

    Kant’s answer is that Alice doesn’t know a damn thing about logical conditions, as they are insinuated in Ryle. Alice’s entire cognitive faculty is absolutely predicated on them, of which she has not the slightest conscious notion.
    Mww

    Thanks!

    Idle musings:

    Odd, isn’t it? That Ryle goes to such great lengths to deny the ghost, but allows for the “silent ghostiness”?

    “...the technical trick of conducting our thinking in auditory word-images, instead of spoken words, does indeed secure secrecy for our thinking…”(1).......
    Mww

    Le Penseur's thinking is private in a mundane sense and remains open to natural investigation. The ghost only makes an appearance when that privacy is separated out from the natural world (whether in a transcendent realm per Plato or in a substantial mind per Descartes).

    ..........although auditory word/images I would be disinclined to call a technical trick. It is, instead, exactly how the human system operates. And aligning secrecy with a ghost, or occult, that is to say, otherwise inaccessible internality, is far too pejorative a conclusion. Not to mention, the “ghost” disappears immediately upon profitable argument contra substance dualism, re: Ryle’s “category mistake”, while allowing property dualism to remain relatively unaffected. At least til them ordinary language folks latch aholta vit.Mww

    Property dualism still retains mental phenomena, mental causation, and radical privacy. So it's subject to the same criticisms made by Ryle and others.

    If we grant that the supremacy of the human aptitude is for knowledge acquisition, and by that if we arrive at knowledge, we should wish our knowledge to be as certain as possible and we should wish to understand what our knowledge actually entails. The best way to arrive at knowledge certainty, and to best way to understand what our knowledge certainty means, is to base the acquisition system for it on the only conditions which grant lawful authority, which is always certain in itself......logic.Mww

    It's worth noting that Aristotle purposed logic in a different manner to modern logic. For Aristotle, logic concerns entities (onta) that are the subject of predication, not simply formal sentences. Since the most fundamental entitities for Aristotle were observable concrete particulars such as human beings or trees (those things that aren't predicated of anything else), and those things are also subjects of change, contingency is unavoidably present from the beginning.

    From here it is clear that logical conditions, of which Alice has not the slightest notion, are the methodological processes of human thought, that follow a logical series. She has no notion because they all occur in the steps of the process that Ryle calls “occult”, and you have called unverifiable. While this may all be the case, nothing is taken away from the those conditions being logical, even if we are unaware of them.Mww

    So as suggested above, that is also contested since Aristotle applied logic on the basis of observable distinctions, not idealizations. My outline of concepts in my previous post would be an example of that approach (which starts from what is observed - in this instance, people using language).

    “....But modelling thinking on processes (...) which can be broken down into ingredient processes which have been coordinated in a certain way is a mistake…. “(2).

    Not sure why not. If we start with this for a fact, and if we end up with that for a fact, we have every right to suppose the excluded middle that supports the end in keeping with the beginning.

    “..."there cannot be an intermediate between contradictories, but of one subject we must either affirm or deny any one predicate" (3)
    Mww

    So as I see it, that would be shoehorning what is observed into what is theorized - in effect, it's the template or mold. That is, if one defines what thought or rationality is up front and in an idealized/transcendent sense, then that frames the way that everything else is understood. So substance or property dualism is the "necessary" consequence. No surprises there.

    Whereas Aristotle starts from what is observed and develops logical principles and theory around that (including the law of non-contradiction and the law of the excluded middle that you appeal to).
  • Janus
    9.3k
    The assumption I am questioning here is that 'physical' and 'mental' refer to clear concepts.jjAmEs

    I think "physical" is a clear concept, though. It is "what can be sensed, detected by instruments, and measured".

    I like to understand science as the theory of technology that works whether one believes in it or not.

    And then science depends on ordinary language, so science deals with the mental in a quotidian way at the sub-scientific level so that the scientific level is possible. Bohr saw this. Husserl focused on it.
    jjAmEs

    I think science is much more than that. I think it is the best method for understanding how things work and are.

    Science doesn't deal directly with the mental, as I see it, (unless you count psychoanalysis and phenomenology as sciences).

    mental : relating to the mind.

    mind : the element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought.

    physical :relating to the body as opposed to the mind.
    relating to things perceived through the senses as opposed to the mind; tangible or concrete.

    So it's actually physical that's defined as the negative here, perhaps because human conversation prioritizes the social.
    jjAmEs


    Yes, but what is the mind? According to science the mind is a function of the brain; so we are back to physical investigations in order to understand anything definite about the mind. This is not to say we cannot have, for example, metaphorical or poetic understandings of the mind (or even the brain) but they do not yeild the same kind of knowledge as physical investigations can.

    I agree that, in the context of so-called "folk" understandings of the mind, the physical is "defined in the negative" or more accurately as derivative of the mind; insofar as it is defined as "what can be sensed and measured" and it is understood under that paradigm that it is always a mind which measures. But we can equally say that it is the body/brain which measures; that it is something physical which measures something physical, and there is no contradiction in that. If it were really something non-physical doing the measuring then that would be dualism.

    I agree that faith is a matter for the individual, but I'm stressing that that principle itself involves a faith that does not understand itself as a private issue. People with many different faiths can share this faith that religion is a private matter and go to war to keep it that way (against a tyranny of this or that religion imposed as a public religion.)jjAmEs

    I agree that the emphasis on the sovereignty of the individual is a relatively modern phenomenon, and as such it is a public, socially mediated phenomenon. But there is also no purely rational justification for any institution's right to enforce, or even coerce, individual's beliefs and allegiances when it comes to matters of faith.

    .
  • Mww
    1.8k
    Thanks for the thoughtful, and interesting, reply. I look forward to them, even while voicing opposition where I find it. As you are welcome to do as well.

    And if agency, that is, rationality, morality, consciousness, intellect, are all predicated on either mind or brain, how is agency accounted for if not by those?
    — Mww

    They are literally predicated on human beings. It is human beings that are rational, moral, etc., not minds or brains.
    Andrew M

    Yeah, but Abbooootttt!!! You can’t have agency without the human, true enough, but you can have the human without agency, so one is different than the other. Besides, we were asking after the necessary accountability of agency, under the assumption of its presence, not the merely sufficient conditions in the form of a physical vessel in which its presence is not absolutely given.

    “...Yet to say that it is the soul which is angry is as inexact as it would be to say that it is the soul that weaves webs or builds houses. It is doubtless better to avoid saying that the soul pities or learns or thinks and rather to say that it is the man who does this with his soul. The case of mind is different; it seems to be an independent substance implanted within the soul and to be incapable of being destroyed...”(1)

    We don’t really care that a human is rational or moral, insofar as those are reasonable expectations pursuant to his kind of creature; we want to know how he got that way. Or better yet....how he didn’t.
    ——————

    OK. So if we were just discussing a synonym for "knowing being" (in the ordinary sense of human beings as distinguished from rocks or trees, say) then there would be no philosophical issue. But the problem is that it also brings with it the Cartesian sense of subject/object, internal/external, rational/empirical and so on.Andrew M

    But Aristotle doesn’t seem to differentiate “knowing being” from plain ol’ objects, in that he treats them all alike, insofar as they are all conditioned by the same set of predicates. Re: the same, e.g., category “substance” of things being the same “substance” of soul, along with “movement” and “essence”. So there wouldn’t be a philosophical issue under those conditions. Problem is, we have the capacity to ask why we are actually NOT exactly like all other objects, which is the issue Descartes brought to the table....

    “....The absolute distinction of mind and body is, besides, confirmed in this Second Meditation, by showing that we cannot conceive body unless as divisible; while, on the other hand, mind cannot be conceived unless as indivisible....”(2)

    ....and is best exemplified in Kant....

    “...This relation, then, does not exist because I accompany every representation with consciousness, but because I join one representation to another, and am conscious of the synthesis of them. Consequently, only because I can connect a variety of given representations in one consciousness, is it possible that I can represent to myself the identity of consciousness in these representations....”(3)

    ....where “this relation” is intended, within the context of the entire section therein, as the absolute and altogether necessary distinction between the subject (conscious that) and object (conscious of), which is the ground of the difference between us and other objects. In effect, Aristotle denies a distinction, Descartes warrants the distinction, Kant identifies the distinction.

    Done deal!!!!!
    ——————

    Ryle's point is that there no empirical-observation/rational-thinking divide. (...) Alice sees more because she is rational.Andrew M

    Do you see the contradiction? If there is no observational/rational divide, how does Alice see more than she merely observes?

    It’s not difficult, actually. The proposition “Bob is running in a race” is a synthetic judgement, insofar as the conception of running and racing does not contain the conception of winning, for, as you have already noted, the race may not end or all the racers may be disqualified, ad infinitum. Therefore, there absolutely is an observational/rational divide, as soon as it is recognized that additional conceptions are required for additional understandings of any given empirical occasion. In order to understand winning, one must have already understood the race to be over. Therefore, the former is conditioned by the latter, which is an a priori rational judgement of an empirical occassion.

    Think of it this way: in principle you cannot get to 10, when all you have is a 4 on one hand and a 6 on the other, with nothing else given whatsoever.

    That is what I mean by holistic. Instead of a dualistic "physical" seeing + "transcendent" rationality, it's instead just a richer form of seeing.Andrew M

    Which I understand, but at the same time consider to be a categorical error, in that a richer form of seeing is better known as understanding. And understanding is certainly not seeing in any sense, regardless of how convention wishes upon us the less philosophically taxing.
    —————-

    So concepts have a natural grounding in language use. Which is to say, we have the concept of snow when we are able to employ the word "snow" (or "schnee").Andrew M

    Yes, but that natural ground is properly called understanding, in which the conception is already given. I understand what you mean when you pick up a handful of schnee because I already know what snow is, and you are showing me exactly the same thing in your hand. But I don’t understand schnee because of the word “schnee”; I understand it from the extant conception that schnee represents.

    I would rather think language use has its natural ground in the commonality of conceptions. Conceptions are always antecedent to talk of them. Right? I mean......how can we talk of that which we have not yet conceived?
    ——————

    I think we start with the particulars that we ordinarily observe. We develop rules and processes as we go along. If we discover a wrong claim, we fix it and move on.Andrew M

    Oh absolutely. The scientific method writ large.

    The practical approach is not apodeictic (it's instead provisional), but neither is it arbitrary.Andrew M

    Yep. No objections there. There are, however, things that are not provisional, that are apodeictic. Because there are two of those kinds of knowing things, the provisional and the certain.....how do we assure ourselves we aren’t confusing one of them for the other? If the answer to that is to start over, first we have to realize a manifest false knowledge, then we have to determine where to start over from. Then we have to determine why starting over from here is more or better justified then starting over from there. How do we stop this potential infinite regress? Because we are certain we know some things, the infinite regress must have its termination.

    In addition, you said the observational approach is provisional, which is irrefutably correct given the principle of induction for empirical conditions, then it follows that the apodeictic cannot be empirical given the principle of contradiction, re: that which is provisional cannot be at the same time be certain.
    That which is not empirical is necessarily rational or transcendent. That which is transcendent can have no empirical proofs, but that which is rational, may be susceptible to empirical proofs, depending on its content.

    The empirical/rational duality is inescapable with respect to the human cognitive system.

    (1) On The Soul, I,4 in Smith, Oxford, 1931
    (2) Meditations, Synopsis, in Veitch, St. Andrews, ca. 1854 (MIT, 1901)
    (3) CPR B133 in Kemp Smith, 1929
  • Mww
    1.8k
    “...the technical trick of conducting our thinking in auditory word-images, instead of spoken words, does indeed secure secrecy for our thinking…”(1).......
    — Mww

    Le Penseur's thinking is private in a mundane sense and remains open to natural investigation.
    Andrew M

    I am not aware of any natural investigation, or, which is the same thing, investigation using natural means, that has any chance of showing our private thinking. That our experimental equipment cannot show the word-images used for our thought, and our word-images are never given in terms of elementary particles, suggests natural investigation is very far removed from internal privacy.

    I suppose philosophy is a natural investigation, and our private thinking is certain open to that. As long as we expect no empirical proofs from such philosophy, we should be ok.

    The ghost only makes an appearance when that privacy is separated out from the natural world (whether in a transcendent realm per Plato or in a substantial mind per Descartes).Andrew M

    Cool. So I don’t have to worry about it; I make no attempt to isolate my private thinking from the natural world. I understand there are, or at least were, a multitude of those holding with subjectivity as sufficient causality for the world. I say...a viral POX on them!!!
    ——————-

    So as I see it, that would be shoehorning what is observed into what is theorized - in effect, it's the template or mold. That is, if one defines what thought or rationality is up front and in an idealized/transcendent sense, then that frames the way that everything else is understood.Andrew M

    That would be the case, except that’s not quite the system I advocate. I start with the observed up front, then theorize to an end in which the observed is understood. The theory includes definitions of thought and rationality and all that, but it isn’t up front. It isn’t the starting point. If anything, I’d be shoehorning the theory between the observation and its end. Still, the theory would be a template, I’ll give you that, and it certainly attempts to frame everything in relation to the observation itself, and at the same time serves as warrant for property dualism, not as a consequence, but as a necessary antecedent condition.

    Jusqu’à la prochaine fois.....
  • Janus
    9.3k
    There are, however, things that are not provisional, that are apodeictic.Mww

    Things that are certain are so only by definition, as I see it, which is obviously a matter of language.
  • Mww
    1.8k


    What prevents me from attempting to put A and B in the same place at the same time, then discovering the impossibility of it?

    I might need language to present the scenario to you, but I don’t need definitions or language for the doing of it.

    Yes? No? Maybe?
  • Janus
    9.3k
    We know from experience that two things cannot be in the same place at the same time. Although even that fact is conceptually and/or linguistically mediated. For example you might say that we could have a configuration of particles, a configuration of cells and a human being all in the same place at the same time. Of course those can also be said to be different descriptions of the one thing.
  • Mww
    1.8k
    We know from experience that two things cannot be in the same place at the same time.Janus

    Actually, all I know from experience, is that if I try to put some A and some B in the same place at the same time, either A will displace B or B will displace A. The apodeictic certainty of an intrinsic impossibility, within the existential confines of the induction principle, such that no A and no B can ever be in the same place at the same time, is only given a priori, hence sans linguistic appeal.

    I grant conceptual appeal, or mediation if you wish, for human thought is impossible without it, even if such conceptual appeal is merely to the pure categories. I don’t need appeal to the conception of particular objects for the conception of a supposed universal principle, even if I do need appeal to particular conceptions to prove it.
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