• Harry Hindu
    3.4k

    If Alice says, "My tooth hurts" (first-person) and Bob says, "Alice's tooth hurts" (third-person), then both are describing exactly the same thing - Alice's toothache. However neither Alice's nor Bob's description of her pain is the pain itself.Andrew M

    Is Bob really speaking in the "third-person"? Isn't Bob speaking from his own perspective ("Alice" instead of "I" as having the toothache)? Is Bob talking about his perspective or about Alice's tooth? Is Bob and Alice's perspectives an objective state of affairs (they are real and exist in the world) that we can talk about just like we can talk about apples and trees? Both Alice and Bob are saying the same thing (objective) "subjectively". How about the "subjective" experience of hearing the sounds from Alice's mouth, "My tooth hurts."?

    How can Bob acquire objective information subjectively?

    Does "Alice's tooth hurts" exhaust the pain Alice feels? If we know that Alice's tooth hurts, what new information would the experience of the pain Alice experiences provide someone else about Alice's state that Alice couldn't just state with words?

    When Alice falls asleep does her tooth still hurt? Why or why not? Where does the pain go if the problem is still there and we can predict that Alice will experience her tooth hurting when she wakes up?
  • Harry Hindu
    3.4k
    The problem isn't trying to think how mind can arise from matter. The problem is thinking of the world as two different things - matter and mind. Everything is information. There is no need to explain how information arises from information. If you think that matter is something that exists and is directly opposed to mind and it's nature, then that is the problem. In all of these explanations, I have yet to see anyone explain how two opposing properties - matter and mind - interact.
  • Janus
    9.3k
    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.Mww

    But what if space were "layered" such that two or more things could be superimposed over one another at the same place and time. That would not seem to be a priori impossible, only impossible in the kind of space and time which we experience and understand.

    So, I take your point that this intuition of the impossibility of two things being in the same place at the same time could be independent of language, but I would argue that it is a habit of thought developed a posteriori from experience, no given a priori.
  • Mww
    1.8k
    But what if space were "layered"Janus

    We both know how easy it is to fulfill our possibilities merely from our imagination. Reminds me of my all time favorite truism:

    “....I can think what I please, provided only that I do not contradict myself...”
    (footnote Bxxvii)

    Thus, if space is layered, it contradicts the standing hypothesis of cosmic isomorphism, and all standing empirical science lands in the circular file.
    ————-

    habit of thought developed a posteriori from experience, not given a priori.Janus

    How Hume-ian of you!! Nothing wrong with that, don’t get me wrong; it does seem that way to us nowadays, because everybody comes by that knowledge by being taught the principle, rather than originating it for themselves. But somebody, somewhere, got the ball rolling, which serves as proof of the possibility of a priori cognitions. And proved Hume wrong.

    Compromise: mediation by linguistic appeal upon the condition of being taught; mediation by conceptual appeal alone, absent language appeal, upon the condition of original thought.
  • Mww
    1.8k


    Ok, so everything is information. What does that do for us? What are we to do with that information? Is it sufficient from the fact everything is information, that no metaphysical arguments remain?
  • Janus
    9.3k
    Thus, if space is layered, it contradicts the standing hypothesis of cosmic isomorphism, and all standing empirical science lands in the circular file.Mww

    My point was more that space could have been layered, and that our so-called a priori intuitions are based on prior experience. In other words, they would different if we happened to be experiencing a layered world.

    But somebody, somewhere, got the ball rolling, which serves as proof of the possibility of a priori cognitions.Mww

    Someone first made explicit what we all know from experience. If that is all there is to "a priori cognition", then I would agree. But I would tend to call it an a posteriori cognition, because it relies on experience and on the kind of experience, that is it relies on what is experienced.

    Compromise: mediation by linguistic appeal upon the condition of being taught; mediation by conceptual appeal alone, absent language appeal, upon the condition of original thought.Mww

    I am not sure what you mean by "original thought". If you mean merely that a thought is original if it is the first occurrence of that thought, then I agree. But if you are suggesting some unfathomable inspiration due to the nature of a transcendental ego or something like that, then no.

    .
  • jjAmEs
    184
    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.Janus

    I agree that it's useful in some contexts to think of the mind as a function of the brain. At the same time, note that you are arguing this point in language, in the mental realm. I've been stressing that the linguistic realm is a social realm. Let us consider sociology and political science. And then of course psychology explicitly deals with consciousness in its own right (excepting behaviorists who attempt a fascinating kind of ideological purity.)

    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.Janus

    Roughly I think we agree that the physical is category of especially uncontroversial phenomena, if we forget how difficult modern science is. It takes years of training to understand it, so most people just trust those associated with technology they can't deny. (No one has seen a quark. If memory serves, their discoverer/inventor was an instrumentalist about them at first but slow became more of a realist as the instrument performed well.)

    We can say that the body/brain measures, but this seems like a contortion in the name of an unnecessary physicalism. I'm questioning the project of declaring 'X is what is really there.' I do this from a position of a (necessarily) vague structural holism. I'm not against reductionism in particular contexts, but I think metaphysical reductionism doesn't serve much of a purpose now. Except maybe as a cultural marker. I'm in the awkward position of being pro-science and anti-woo and at the same time finding anti-realist arguments (as presented, for instance, in A Thing of This World) convincing.

    The idea seems to be that physics is a kind of root or ground science, and it's not an absurd idea. But physics is a historical socio-linguistic practice, an evolved system of technology ( including techniques of theory-editing and calculation) While the success of physics tempts philosophers toward a monism of the physical, physics itself is 'non-physical.' It's a realm of ghosts like 'energy' and 'force' that command our respect. Its intelligibility depends on a life-world that exceeds and includes it as one human practice among others in a complicated system. One can say that society is made of the 'physical,' but one can equally emphasize that 'physical' is one sign among others within a social system. We don't need to promote one explanatory practice to a position of ontological authority --thought perhaps 'philosophy' points better than 'physics' to our itch and attempt to do so.


    On science: my approach is a substitute for falsifiability, which sounds good at first. But one can always tweak the structure as a whole or doubt the experiment. That's why I suggest understanding science as technology works independently of one's belief in it. This excludes religion, which works only if one believes in it. It also focuses on power, which IMV more accurately captures the prestige of science as 'magic' that actually works and allows me to post this message and communicate almost instantly to many potential if not actual readers.
  • jjAmEs
    184
    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.Janus

    I agree. At the same time I'd include the notion of the 'purely rational' as itself quasi-spiritual.
  • jjAmEs
    184
    The problem isn't trying to think how mind can arise from matter. The problem is thinking of the world as two different things - matter and mind. Everything is information. There is no need to explain how information arises from information. If you think that matter is something that exists and is directly opposed to mind and it's nature, then that is the problem. In all of these explanations, I have yet to see anyone explain how two opposing properties - matter and mind - interact.Harry Hindu

    I agree with your critique of strict dualism. I suggest that some philosophers have tried to transform a casual, loose distinction into a sharp, absolute distinction. If I dream that a lion is chasing me, that is 'mind' for practical reasons. Once I wake up, I don't need to organize my life to defend against lions. But the cancer diagnosed as the doctor's office is 'matter' because it's (practically speaking) killing me whether I am thinking of it or not.

    The problems arise when we understand this (and other distinctions) as more than just historically evolved 'instruments.'

    The 'information' approach is still a little vague. If you could define what you mean by it, that would help me. If it's the stuff of information theory, then your theory sounds like a mathematical ontology.
  • Harry Hindu
    3.4k
    Ok, so everything is information. What does that do for us? What are we to do with that information? Is it sufficient from the fact everything is information, that no metaphysical arguments remain?Mww
    What does saying everything is "matter", or everything is "mind" do for us? It gives us a name to use to refer to the substance of reality so that we may communicate the idea of the substance of reality. It solves the problems of dualism - primarily the problem where dualists are unable to answer the question of how matter and mind interact.

    To say that everything is "matter" is to say that consciousness is just an arrangement of matter, but there seems to be a difference in what matter is (at least the way we perceive matter) and what mind is. How do we really know what matter is like independent of perceiving it? For example, we perceive matter as solid, but are told by scientists that it is mostly empty space.

    To say that everything is "mind" is to engage in anthropomorphic projections. Saying that reality is "mind-like" is a little better, but still hints at anthropomorphism. "Information" seems to be a better term to use to refer to the substance of reality.

    The 'information' approach is still a little vague. If you could define what you mean by it, that would help me. If it's the stuff of information theory, then your theory sounds like a mathematical ontology.jjAmEs
    I'm talking about your mind - it's substance and arrangement. Your mind is an arrangement of information. Now, how does matter (if matter is not an arrangement of information, but of atoms) interact with that?
  • sime
    526
    Irrespective of dualism, it isn't clear in any case what is meant by physical interaction, due to conflicting opinions as to the metaphysics and existence of causality. If one goes so far as to deny the literal existence of counterfactuals then interaction isn't even a substantive concept. Therefore ontological dualism and more generally, ontological pluralism, don't necessarily imply interaction problems, but only that different descriptions of the world cannot be inter-translated.
  • Mww
    1.8k
    If you mean merely that a thought is original if it is the first occurrence of that thought, then I agree.Janus

    Yes, and from which is given, that because circumferences and diameters were already objects of experience, the relationship between them being pi does not immediately follow from them alone.
    ——————

    some unfathomable inspiration due to the nature of a transcendental ego or something like thatJanus

    Nahhh....not going there. The transcendental ego doesn’t have a nature and it doesn’t inspire. It is merely the means to identify consciousness.....make the case that we are in possession of the means to even cognize it. You are quite correct, and even more metaphysically astute, in recognizing the transcendental ego gives no manifold of representations, which makes explicit no content of thought is at all possible from it.
  • Janus
    9.3k
    I agree. At the same time I'd include the notion of the 'purely rational' as itself quasi-spiritual.jjAmEs

    You could say the notion is quasi-spiritual; but the salient point is that only the purely rational is (in principle at least) free of prejudice or bias. And to be free of prejudice and bias in dealing with other humans would seem to be the highest ideal commonly aspired to cross-culturally.

    Yes, and from which is given, that because circumferences and diameters were already objects of experience, the relationship between them being pi does not immediately follow from them alone.Mww

    That's true.It seems to follow from their nature coupled with the nature of our relationship with them, and also, obviously, the general nature of us humans.
  • Mww
    1.8k


    Does anybody these days still think everything is matter or everything is mind? Doesn’t seem all that logical to me. That is not to say dualists don’t still walk the Earth, but I rather think they are of the mind and matter kind, not one or the other.

    And the metaphysician is at no more loss to explain the interaction between mind and matter than the hard scientist, so as long as they are equal in their ignorance, no harm is done in theorizing about it. Which has been done for millennia, and even if nothing substantial has come from it, nothing particularly detrimental has either.

    Is there a reference-able standing theory in support of the notion that information is everything?
  • jjAmEs
    184
    You could say the notion is quasi-spiritual; but the salient point is that only the purely rational is (in principle at least) is free of prejudice or bias. And to be free of prejudice and bias in dealing with other humans would seem to be the highest ideal commonly aspired to cross-culturally.Janus

    To me the 'purely rational' just is the cross-cultural. This is the God's eye perspective, contingently (and accurately, perhaps) associated with Western philosophy and science. This is the 'transcendental pretense.' This is humanism. Husserl wrote some powerful passages on this.
    http://www.users.cloud9.net/~bradmcc/husserl_philcris.html

    I quote a passage that connects more with our mind and matter discussion, but the first part of the essay discusses the birth of what I call the transcendental pretense (God's eye view or idealized objective or transcultural view.) The 'transcultural' perspective is (strangely) a particular kind of culture, a piece that would dominate the whole.

    How, then, did the intoxicating success of this discovery of physical infinity affect the scientific mastery of the realm of spirit? In the focus on the environing world, a constantly objective attitude, everything spiritual appeared to be based on physical corporeality. Thus an application of the mode of thought proper to natural science was obvious. For this reason we already find in the early stages Democritean materialism and determinism.47 However, the greatest minds recoiled from this and also from any newer style of psychophysics (Psychophysik). Since Socrates, man is made thematic precisely as human, man with his spiritual life in society. Man retains an orientation to the objective world, but with the advent of Plato and Aristotle this world becomes the great theme of investigations. At this point a remarkable cleavage makes itself felt: the human belongs to the universe of objective facts, but as persons, as egos, men have goals, aims. They have norms for tradition, truth norms - eternal norms. Though the development proceeded haltingly in ancient times, still it was not lost. Let us make the leap to so-called 'modern' times. With glowing enthusiasm the infinite task of a mathematical knowledge of nature and in general of a world knowledge is undertaken. The extraordinary successes of natural knowledge are now to be extended to knowledge of the spirit. Reason had proved its power in nature. 'As the sun is one all-illuminating and warming sun, so too is reason one' (Descartes).48 The method of natural science must also embrace the mysteries of spirit. The spirit is real49 and objectively in the world, founded as such in corporeality. With this the interpretation of the world immediately takes on a predominantly dualistic, i.e., psychophysical, form. The same causality -only split in two- embraces the one world; the sense of rational explanation is everywhere the same, but in such a way that all explanation of spirit, in the only way in which it can be universal, involves the physical. There can be no pure, self-contained search for an explanation of the spiritual, no purely inneroriented psychology or theory of spirit beginning with the ego in psychical self-experience and extending to the other psyche.50 The way that must be traveled is the external one, the path of physics and chemistry. All the fond talk of common spirit, of the common will of a people, of nations' ideal political goals, and the like, are romanticism and mythology, derived from an analogous application of concepts that have a proper sense only in the individual personal sphere. Spiritual being is fragmentary. To the question regarding the source of all these difficulties the following answer is to be given: this objectivism or this psychophysical interpretation of the world, despite its seeming self-evidence, is a naïve one-sidedness that never was understood to be such. To speak of the spirit as reality (Realitat), presumably a real (realen) annex to bodies and having its supposedly spatiotemporal being within nature, is an absurdity.

    At this point, however, it is important for our problem of the crisis to show how it is that the 'modern age', that has for centuries been so proud of its successes in theory and practice, has itself finally fallen into a growing dissatisfaction and must even look upon its own situation as distressful. Want has invaded all the sciences, most recently as a want of method. Moreover, the want that grips us Europeans, even though it is not understood, involves very many persons.51

    There are all sorts of problems that stem from naïveté, according to which objectivistic science holds what it calls the objective world to be the totality of what is, without paying any attention to the fact that no objective science can do justice to the subjectivity that achieves science. One who has been trained in the natural sciences finds it self-evident that whatever is merely subjective must be eliminated and that the method of natural science, formulated according to a subjective mode of representation, is objectively determined. In the same manner he seeks what is objectively true for the psychic too. By the same token, it is taken for granted that the subjective, eliminated by the physical scientist, is, precisely as psychic, to be investigated in psychology and of course in psychophysical psychology. The investigator of nature, however, does not make it clear to himself that the constant foundation of his admittedly subjective thinking activity is the environing world of life. This latter is constantly presupposed as the basic working area, in which alone his questions and his methodology make sense. Where, at the present time, is that powerful bit of method that leads from the intuitive environing world to the idealizing of mathematics and its interpretation as objective being, subjected to criticism and clarification? Einstein's revolutionary changes concern the formulas wherein idealized and naïvely objectivized nature (physis) is treated. But regarding the question of how formulas or mathematical objectification in general are given a sense based on life and the intuitive environing world, of this we hear nothing. Thus Einstein does nothing to reformulate the space and time in which our actual life takes place.
    — Husserl
  • Harry Hindu
    3.4k

    You're not paying attention to what I'm saying and you post is incoherent. Let's slow down a bit and start from scratch.
    Does anybody these days still think everything is matter or everything is mind? Doesn’t seem all that logical to me. That is not to say dualists don’t still walk the Earth, but I rather think they are of the mind and matter kind, not one or the other.Mww
    Anyone who thinks that everything is matter, mind or information would be a monist.

    If you think there is both matter and mind, then you'd be a dualist.

    If you think that there is both matter and mind, then you have to explain how matter and mind interact.

    If you think that that everything is matter or mind, or information then you don't have to explain how different substances interact. The same substance interacts through causation. If you are a dualist, then you have a problem explaining causation.

    So, if they are of the mind AND matter kind, then they are a dualist. If they are of the mind OR matter OR information kind, then they are a monist - get it?

    And the metaphysician is at no more loss to explain the interaction between mind and matter than the hard scientist, so as long as they are equal in their ignorance, no harm is done in theorizing about it. Which has been done for millennia, and even if nothing substantial has come from it, nothing particularly detrimental has either.Mww
    Well sure, if the hard scientist and the metaphysician is a dualist, then they are at a loss to explan the interaction between matter and mind. Ignorance is the harm. Socrates said that knowledge is the greatest good and ignorance is the greatest evil. It basically comes down to whether or not you believe that reality is composed of one substance or more than one. Then you need to explain how different substances interact.

    Take visual depth as an example. What is your visual depth composed of - neurons, atoms, mind, information, etc.? When I experience visual depth, I don't experience matter (neurons, atoms). I experience a feeling of being informed. Visual depth informs me of how the world is arranged relative to the location of my eyes.

    Does visual depth exist outside of minds? Does a tree have visual depth? Probably not because it doesn't have eyes, but is there a mind-like state-of-affairs that is what it is to be the tree? Or is the tree made of matter and there is no mind-like substance of the tree? If the latter, then how does the matter of the tree interact with the matter of the mind for you to claim that you experience a tree? When we say that we "experience" are we not really saying that we are informed?

    Is there a reference-able standing theory in support of the notion that information is everything?Mww
    Why do so many people on this forum plead to some authority? Was there a reference-able standing theory when Darwin proposed his theory of natural selection? No, his theory was the basis of a new idea that had no reference-able prior theories. It was based on his own observations of nature over several years. Instead of worrying about what some other human (who is in no better a situation than you or I in figuring out the relationship between mind and matter) thinks, focus on what I am saying.
  • Andrew M
    1.1k
    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.Mww

    Thanks! I'm likewise enjoying the exchange of ideas.

    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.Mww

    So a general account would presumably be a question for the natural sciences. For example, an explanation of the evolution of (rational) human beings from earlier non-rational animals.

    But it seems you're instead asking the conditions under which a person is rational, or moral, etc., since a human need not always act in those ways. Which brings us to the Aristotle quote...

    “...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...” [On The Soul, I,4 in Smith, Oxford, 1931]Mww

    So an initial observation: nous is the Greek term translated as mind there, which is also often translated as intellect. It should be understood to name an activity, not a Cartesian-style mind:

    Joe Sachs, in his introduction to Aristotle's On the Soul, 33, says, negating any Cartesian notion of mind in regard to Aristotle, that 'never does Aristotle construe the noun or verb [nous and its verb noein] as naming anything but an activity[;] ... even when Aristotle speaks of the intellect as passive, indeed as pure and unmixed passivity, he is still speaking of a high level of concentrated activity; in no way compatible with any notion of a mind stored with ideas.'Maggie Ross

    To continue the quote:

    The case of mind is different; it seems to be an independent substance implanted within the soul and to be incapable of being destroyed. If it could be destroyed at all, it would be under the blunting influence of old age. What really happens in respect of mind in old age is, however, exactly parallel to what happens in the case of the sense organs; if the old man could recover the proper kind of eye, he would see just as well as the young man. The incapacity of old age is due to an affection not of the soul but of its vehicle, as occurs in drunkenness or disease. Thus it is that in old age the activity of mind or intellectual apprehension declines only through the decay of some other inward part; mind itself is impassible. Thinking, loving, and hating are affections not of mind, but of that which has mind, so far as it has it. That is why, when this vehicle decays, memory and love cease; they were activities not of mind, but of the composite which has perished; mind is, no doubt, something more divine and impassible. That the soul cannot be moved is therefore clear from what we have said, and if it cannot be moved at all, manifestly it cannot be moved by itself.On the Soul, Book I, Part 4 (Smith)

    Note the implied sense of Aristotle's Unmoved Mover there.

    So going back to the concrete example from earlier, Alice perceiving that Bob won the race was an intelligent act - she perceived something that the sharp-eyed eagle flying overhead was incapable of perceiving. Similarly, a young child at the event may not yet have learned about competitive racing, thus would also not perceive that Bob had won. Nor, as indicated by the quote above, an old man whose eyes or intellectual apprehension had sufficiently declined.

    So Alice's understanding depended on her perceptual capabilities and experience. But those specific dependencies can also be abstracted away. Anyone with eyes (or ears) and the intellectual capability could understand what Alice understood - that Bob won the race. In this way, Alice (and anyone else so situated) is thinking of things just as the Unmoved Mover would think them, i.e., as they are, eternally.

    But note that there is no transcendent understanding implied here. Just the everyday kind requiring experience and observation. So Aristotle's Unmoved Mover can be understood as immanent in intelligent activity (which human beings exercise, at least sometimes), not transcendent to or separated from it.

    [BTW, note that Aristotle's Unmoved Mover and its connection to the active intellect (if any) is an area of active research and controversy in Aristotelian interpretation.]

    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.Mww

    That's right. For Aristotle, a knowing being is an object or being (that can't be predicated of anything else), just as a tree is. They are not duals.

    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!!!!!
    Mww

    Just to clarify, Aristotle is not denying subjects as conscious objects (say). He's denying that subjects (as conscious objects) and objects are duals. For example, for Aristotle human beings are rational animals. The "rational" predicate distinguishes us from other (non-rational) animals, but we remain a kind of animal. So the way to think of it is that humans are a more developed animal, not a being with an animal aspect and a rational aspect.

    So that's how Aristotle and Descartes differ here. And what Kant is following up on.

    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?
    Mww

    She doesn't. Separating sensory perception and rationality is an abstract and after-the-fact exercise. Alice didn't observe something and then infer that Bob won the race - she simply observed that he won the race (contra both the Reductionist and Duplicationist who wrongly think the same thing has been observed regardless of whether Bob won or not).

    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.
    Mww

    Racing does contain the conception of winning - it's the governing purpose. But there may be defeaters, as you note, that would preclude an event from being a race.

    Running does not contain a conception of winning. But it contains other conditions whose absence would preclude the event from being a run. Or preclude the scenario from even being an event. And we could similarly go through any term used to describe the scenario and note its conditions (assuming we could do so accurately). But if Alice had to make separate judgments about all of this, as opposed to just observing things (with the option of retroactively changing her representation of things if need be), it would lead to infinite regress.

    Which is to say, we can get to 10. But our hypothesis for how we got there might be a work in progress.

    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.
    Mww

    Language enables us to think about and understand things that we haven't directly seen. But language use itself is an acquired skill that depends on sensory perception and practical experience. There's no view from nowhere, so to speak.

    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?
    Mww

    People don't always know what they're talking about. But when they do, it's normally the thing (snow) that is being talked about, not the concept (of snow). Per the anti-Duplicationist theme, a concept isn't separate from talk of the thing, although we can distinguish them in an abstract sense. Put differently, to be able to talk competently about snow just is to have the concept of snow.

    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.
    Mww

    What would some examples be?

    As far as I can tell, the apodeictic are formalisms (from math or logic, say) that we apply in specific circumstances. But whether they usefully apply or not in a given circumstance is a contingent matter.

    It seems to me that what matters is not that things are apodeictic, but that they are applicable to the problems at hand.

    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.
    Mww

    As I see it, things we might call certain are themselves empirical. Even the law of non-contradiction had to be discovered/posited and used before becoming conventional (and it still is disputed in some applications, such as with paraconsistent logics, so the arguments for and against are still being made).

    Also I'm not clear on why there would be an infinite regress. As I see it, we make provisional claims and hypotheses (which can include formal specifications). If there is a mismatch between hypothesis and experiment, then we have learnt something new which then feeds back into our hypotheses and experiments.

    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.
    Mww

    Well we can always ask a person what they're thinking if we need to. That seems a natural approach. But we don't have to have to regard their reports as certain. People can sometimes lie, be mistaken, be inarticulate, confused or delusional, exaggerate, etc. And we can test these things.

    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!!!
    Mww

    OK! We agree!
  • David Mo
    845
    What is your conclusion then: there is no hard problem, there is no qualia, or what?Zelebg
    My proposal is that meanings are behaviors or ways of doing things. We don't need the qualia/sensations to mean. The qualia/sensations are experienced and expressed, not said. But that does not solve the object-subject relationship. It's just about relating my feelings or senses to what I do. And so I become meaningful. But I don't dissolve my problem of the relationship of my consciousness with what I signify and the world. I just transfer it to the problem of meaning.

    Note: if you start with Derrida, I'm out. He's a words imbrogiatore.
  • Mww
    1.8k
    Page 1:

    But it seems you're instead asking the conditions under which a person is rational, or moral, etc., since a human need not always act in those ways.Andrew M

    I rather think rationality and morality are the two outstanding hallmarks of the human animal, or, the two conditions under which animals in general are reducible to the human animal. From here, however a human acts always presupposes the condition under which such act is given. In other words, because one is human, he is necessarily rational and moral, the manifestations of it being given merely from the subjectivity of the individual. It is clear from that, that irrational or immoral is nothing but a relative judgement between agent and observer of the agent. So, yes and no....I ask after the principles underlaying the executive authority these human conditions enable, but not why a human acts as he does, for a valid logical theory of the former sufficiently explains the latter.

    Which brings us to the Aristotle quote...

    “...It is doubtless better to avoid saying that the soul pities or learns or thinks and ...” [On The Soul, I,4 in Smith, Oxford, 1931]
    Andrew M

    With a less antiquated substitution, in that man does this with his reason, it can still be better to avoid saying reason pities or learns or thinks, but still leaves unexplained how a man does his pitying or learning or thinking, as manifest in his rationality and morality, by means of his reason. It would seem agency is going to have to be assigned somewhere in a dedicated system, whether in soul or reason, and it seems it will necessarily either be an active faculty in itself, re: personality, or at least ground the validity of positing the notion of one, re: understanding, in order to give the very necessary human conditions we started with, any real meaning.
    ——————

    nous is the Greek term translated as mind there, which is also often translated as intellect. It should be understood to name an activity, not a Cartesian-style mind:Andrew M

    The case of mind is different; it seems to be an independent substance implanted within the soul and to be incapable of being destroyed...” [On The Soul, I,4 in Smith, Oxford, 1931]Mww

    So here we have two things you’ve denied: assigning agency to a faculty, and using Aristotle to refute the Cartesian mind. In the first, correct me if I’m wrong, but you objected to my assertion that understanding is the named thinking faculty, yet here you seem to grant that the intellect names a mental activity. So either intellect is not a faculty or thinking is not an activity. And in the second, Aristotle himself asserts mind as substance, just as Descartes. So either Descartes is talking about mind as indivisible matter (which he isn’t) or they are employing the conception of substance differently. But substance is fundamental for both, Aristotle as a category, Descartes as a continuance, hence refutation, of Aristotle’s final cause.

    Besides, it is really confusing: mind (intellect) implanted within the soul makes the soul of higher rank in the mental echelon, but it has already been said it is better not to let soul do anything important in the human animal. All this just doesn’t work at all for me, which is why I favor a metaphysics which attributes to man that which Aristotle doesn't develop for him, and that which Descartes develops, but seriously misfigures.
    ———————

    Me: 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.

    You: That's right. For Aristotle, a knowing being is an object or being (that can't be predicated of anything else), just as a tree is. They are not duals. Just to clarify, Aristotle is not denying subjects as conscious objects (say). He's denying that subjects (as conscious objects) and objects are duals.

    Subjects as conscious objects.....
    I can only get to subject as conscious object if I think an object that is then the subject of my thought. That of which I think is the subject of my thought. And the subject of which I am consciously thinking is the object I’m thinking about. Apparently, the thing of my perception is both conscious object and extant object, one mental in my head and the very same as physical in the world. If this is the case, then optical illusions are necessarily impossible, yet they are not. An irreconcilable contradiction. So...subjects as conscious objects must have some other meaning that has escaped me.

    Subjects (as conscious objects).......
    I suppose this to mean the current notion of knowing being, similar to the Descartes’ ”cogito”, refined by the Kantian “unity of apperception” which is represented by the equivalent of Descartes’ ”cogito”, re: the thinking subject.

    Can’t be predicated of anything else......
    As in the proposition, “this object is a tree”, tree cannot be a predicate of anything but object? So “this river is a tree” is false, “this dump truck is a tree” is false.....like that? OK, I can live with that. But “this pine is a tree”, “this maple is a tree”....are not false propositions, even if tree is the predicate of subjects that is not “object”. So how do we get from a universal propositional subject (“object”) to particular propositional subjects (“river”, dump truck”, “pine”, “oak”) such that “tree” can be a valid predicate of all of them? Well, ok, fine. Aristotle treats them all alike, insofar as they are all conditioned by the same set of predicates: all objects are substance, all objects are extended....so “river”, “dump truck”, “pine”, “oak” are equal as subjects in a proposition, to which tree cannot be predicate of anything but them all alike, and then of course, with the further conceptual additions given from experience, we know some propositional subjects, re” “river”, etc., make the proposition false, while maintaining the non-dualism of tree and river both being conscious objects.

    A knowing being is an object or being that cannot be predicated of anything else.......
    Putting all these together, I get that the knowing being can be a subject (as conscious object), cannot be predicated of anything else, and is not in itself a dual.

    “....The thought, "These representations given in intuition belong all of them to me," is accordingly just the same as, "I unite them in one self-consciousness, or can at least so unite them"; and although this thought is not itself the consciousness of the synthesis of representations, it presupposes the possibility of it; that is to say, for the reason alone that I can comprehend the variety of my representations in one consciousness, do I call them my representations, for otherwise I must have as many-coloured and various a self as are the representations of which I am conscious. Synthetical unity of the manifold in intuitions, as given a priori, is therefore the foundation of the identity of apperception itself, which antecedes a priori all determinate thought. But the conjunction of representations into a conception is not to be found in objects themselves, nor can it be, as it were, borrowed from them and taken up into the understanding by perception, but it is on the contrary an operation of the understanding itself, which is nothing more than the faculty of conjoining a priori and of bringing the variety of given representations under the unity of apperception. This principle is the highest in all human cognition...”
    (1787, B134-5)

    All that being said, it doesn’t make much sense to affiliate the thinking subject with subject (as conscious object), because we, as everyday, individual, conscious humans, don’t have a notion of ourselves as an object of which we are conscious. When we think, that’s all we’re doing, meaning we don’t associate the thinking immediately with the thinker. We only do that in a post hoc discussion about what we’re doing when we think. Thus, we see it is quite reasonable to distinguish the thinking subject from the thought object: we think about something, but it isn’t ourselves, so it absolutely must be something not ourselves, which is the same as the object of our thinking. This also shows that Aristotle’s treating the thinking subject as an object, isn’t sufficient to explain the human system.

    And....added bonus.....we are now capable of articulating “....(rather that) it is the man who does this with his soul...”, again, substituting reason for soul.

    Disclaimer: I don’t claim intimate knowledge of Aristotle, so......patience?
  • Mww
    1.8k
    Page 2:

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

    how does Alice see more than she merely observes?
    — Mww

    She doesn't. Separating sensory perception and rationality is an abstract and after-the-fact exercise.
    Andrew M

    My point was that Alice doesn’t see anything because she is rational; she sees because she has eyes. If Alice sees more because she is rational, what she sees must be other than what she observes. But then you say she doesn’t see more than she observes, which begs the question.....what more can she see just but being rational? And even if there is no empirical/rational divide, what was Ryle’s point?

    Alice didn't observe something and then infer that Bob won the race - she simply observed that he won the race (contra both the Reductionist and Duplicationist who wrongly think the same thing has been observed regardless of whether Bob won or not).Andrew M

    So is this the point Ryle is making? That Alice makes no inference connecting winning and running? Does anyone actually hold with that? Ya know, doncha.......if Alice makes no inference, that is the same as denying Alice her rational capacity for judgement? Does anyone think Alice makes no judgements?
    ——————-

    Racing does contain the conception of winning - it's the governing purpose.Andrew M

    I’d go with competition as the governing purpose, hence the conception of performance is contained in the conception of racing. In this way, one could, say, race against a clock. And in the case of a personal best, there isn’t a winner, while there is still performance.

    Running does not contain a conception of winning.Andrew M

    Agreed. And whether one is running solo along the side of the road, or one happens to be running in an organized event along with other like-runners......he’s only putting one foot in front of the other.

    Which is to say, we can get to 10. But our hypothesis for how we got there might be a work in progress.Andrew M

    Sure...a work in progress, which is what synthetic propositions indicate, but not a hypothetical. We can get to 10 by simply counting, or, we can get to ten by synthesizing the 4 and the 6 we started with. The point being, it is the same rational procedure as racing/winning. Just as 10 is not contained by a 4 and a 6, winning is not contained by racing.
    ———————

    Put differently, to be able to talk competently about snow just is to have the concept of snow.Andrew M

    Agreed. Another way to put it is, the definition satisfies the validity of the conception. To talk competently about snow presupposes the conception of it, and the manner in which understanding thinks a particular phenomenon, is its definition from which the conception follows as a judgement. In this way, no matter the language, the conceptions are all identical across the human rational spectrum.
    ———————

    Well we can always ask a person what they're thinking if we need to. That seems a natural approach. But we don't have to have to regard their reports as certain. People can sometimes lie, be mistaken, be inarticulate, confused or delusional, exaggerate, etc. And we can test these things.Andrew M

    Agreed, but the only way to test is to already know what the differences in the test results mean, which presupposes a set of criteria. If we want our criteria to set some standard, we need some certainty from it. Because there is no apodeictic certainty under empirical conditions, we are left with what form certainty would have if we could find it in the empirical world. And where does the form of certainty live? In pure logic. And where does pure logic live? In human judgement, which is itself the conclusion of reason.
    ——————-

    As I see it, things we might call certain are themselves empirical.Andrew M

    Maybe things we might call certain are empirical, but if I’m interested in that which I know to be universally and necessarily certain, I won’t look to things that might be called certain.

    There are, however, things that are not provisional, that are apodeictic.
    — Mww

    What would some examples be?
    Andrew M

    Different spaces are coexistent but never successive; different times are successive but never coexistent; space and time are not conceptions, but are intuitions; existence has no object; there are no empirical proofs via induction; every change must have a cause; human error is in judgement of sensations, never in the receptivity of them; moral judgement presupposes an autonomous will.
    ——————-

    OK! We agree!Andrew M

    We agree philosophy is a great mental exercise, and we agree philosophy is generally as diverse as those who partake in it. I’m withholding agreement with respect to Ryle, analytic arguments and every language philosopher ever born or ever to be born.
  • Andrew M
    1.1k
    In other words, because one is human, he is necessarily rational and moral, the manifestations of it being given merely from the subjectivity of the individual. It is clear from that, that irrational or immoral is nothing but a relative judgement between agent and observer of the agent.Mww

    That doesn't seem right. While human beings have a general capacity to be rational and moral, people can fail to act rationally or morally in some situations, even by their own standards.

    So here we have two things you’ve denied: assigning agency to a faculty, and using Aristotle to refute the Cartesian mind. In the first, correct me if I’m wrong, but you objected to my assertion that understanding is the named thinking faculty, yet here you seem to grant that the intellect names a mental activity. So either intellect is not a faculty or thinking is not an activity.Mww

    Thinking is an activity. But, as with any activity, it is the human being that thinks, not a faculty.

    And in the second, Aristotle himself asserts mind as substance, just as Descartes. So either Descartes is talking about mind as indivisible matter (which he isn’t) or they are employing the conception of substance differently. But substance is fundamental for both, Aristotle as a category, Descartes as a continuance, hence refutation, of Aristotle’s final cause.Mww

    They are employing the conception of substance differently. See below.

    Besides, it is really confusing: mind (intellect) implanted within the soul makes the soul of higher rank in the mental echelon, but it has already been said it is better not to let soul do anything important in the human animal.Mww

    Part of the interpretive problem is that Aristotle uses language terms for thinking (and related activities) that are distinct from the modern philosophical use of the word "mind". In the context of the passage we're looking at, Aristotle distinguishes between discursive thinking (dianoia which Joe Sachs translates as "thinking things through") and contemplative thinking (noesis). As Sachs puts it:

    This twofoldness within the meaning of thinking causes an unavoidable confusion, which can be compounded by translations that are not attentive to the difficulty. In particular, the use of the word "mind" can muddle things beyond repair. The idea of mind is an orphan left behind by the Cartesian shift in the conception of body. The mind is a kind of container, isolated and self-enclosed, in which thoughts, desires, and feelings - all the remnants unconnected with extended body - are found. The closest thing to it in classical philosophy is the birdcage in Plato's Theatetus (197A - 200D), but that image is a parody meant to expose the absurdity of considering knowledge a stock of possessions rather than a living activity. — Joe Sachs - On the Soul

    He then goes on to say:

    The confusion that is not a product of translation has to do with whether there is an intellect at the foundation of the world, as well as an intellect that is part of the soul. Three times Aristotle refers to "what is called intellect". Once this is in relation to the assertion in Plato's Timeaus that there is a soul of the world; Aristotle claims that the functions given there to a world-soul really belong to what is called intellect (407a 4). A second time, it is connected with Anaxagoras's positing of an intellect that rules all things; in this case Aristotle adopts the word and the argument made about it, but applies them to something within our souls (429a 22). The third time, the phrase is equated with the reasoning part of the soul (432b 26).

    The twofoldness described above, of discursive and contemplative thinking, is, for Aristotle, inseparable from the distinction between an intellect and an intellect on which the world as a whole is founded. Aristotle never doubts that the discursive intellect that thinks things through belongs to the embodied soul, and decays and dies along with it (408b 25-29). But the discursive intellect is bound up with a contemplative intellect that must be in us but not of us. If it were not somehow in us, our thinking would not be what it is; if it were wholly within us and subject to our limitations, no thinking would be possible at all. This is the claim made in Book III, Chapter 5.
    — Joe Sachs - On the Soul

    So, for Aristotle, one aspect of the intellect (nous) is thinking things through (dianoia). An example might be solving a jigsaw puzzle. That is an intellectual human activity that involves motion and change. Another aspect of the intellect is contemplation (noesis), which here would be thinking of the jigsaw puzzle as a completed whole. This latter aspect is the governing purpose that isn't tied to this or that contingent person or process. So the first aspect of thinking progresses in time (which Aristotle associates with the human soul or psyche), while the second aspect of thinking is restful and unchanging (which Aristotle associates with the world-soul or divinity). A point to note is that, for Aristotle, this contemplative state is something that humans can achieve at times. Whereas the Unmoved Mover is permanently in this state.

    Putting all these together, I get that the knowing being can be a subject (as conscious object), cannot be predicated of anything else, and is not in itself a dual.Mww

    Just to clarify, I should have said that a particular, substantial being cannot be predicated of anything else. For example, neither Socrates nor the specific tree I'm currently pointing at. These kinds of beings were the most fundamental for Aristotle, and what he sought to explain.

    I think my trying to explain this using subject/object language, given modern philosophical associations, isn't working very well. So I will instead say that both Socrates and the tree are beings. Each are inseparable form/matter composites (per hylomorphism). Now the form of Socrates is very different to the form of a tree. But in neither case should form be equated with mind nor understood in a dualist subject/object sense. Instead the nature of each being should be investigated on its own terms.

    But the conjunction of representations into a conception is not to be found in objects themselves, nor can it be, as it were, borrowed from them and taken up into the understanding by perception, but it is on the contrary an operation of the understanding itself, which is nothing more than the faculty of conjoining a priori and of bringing the variety of given representations under the unity of apperception. This principle is the highest in all human cognition...”
    (1787, B134-5)
    Mww

    So it seems to me that Kant is doing here just what Aristotle is doing with the Unmoved Mover (and active intellect). However instead of assuming a separate subject and object in a Cartesian sense, Aristotle conceptualizes a universal being that subsumes the beings we perceive (including trees and human beings). So the "conjunction of representations into a conception" describes the universal being and can, in principle, be understood by human beings (per metaphysics). The way to get to this understanding is by abstracting from perception (i.e., the universal is abstracted from the particular).

    ___

    Alice didn't observe something and then infer that Bob won the race - she simply observed that he won the race (contra both the Reductionist and Duplicationist who wrongly think the same thing has been observed regardless of whether Bob won or not).
    — Andrew M

    So is this the point Ryle is making? That Alice makes no inference connecting winning and running? Does anyone actually hold with that? Ya know, doncha.......if Alice makes no inference, that is the same as denying Alice her rational capacity for judgement? Does anyone think Alice makes no judgements?
    Mww

    Yes, Alice makes judgments, but an observation need not require a further judgment. With experience, higher-level observations become automatic. It's a bit like memorizing one's times tables. You just give an answer, you don't perform a calculation every time. Similarly Alice sees that Bob wins the race, she doesn't have to think about it.

    This also relates back to the twofoldness of thinking that Sachs described earlier (and even Kahneman's fast thinking/slow thinking). Instead of a process in time in which Alice thinks things through to arrive at a conclusion, she simply observes things as they are (at least in this race example). Of course, just as with the times tables recall, Alice's brain is active. But that lower-level brain description is a matter for science, Alice herself is not making an inference, even if we can construct a post hoc chain of inferences ourselves to explain Alice's behavior.

    Agreed, but the only way to test is to already know what the differences in the test results mean, which presupposes a set of criteria. If we want our criteria to set some standard, we need some certainty from it. Because there is no apodeictic certainty under empirical conditions, we are left with what form certainty would have if we could find it in the empirical world. And where does the form of certainty live? In pure logic. And where does pure logic live? In human judgement, which is itself the conclusion of reason.Mww

    I agree that our tests presuppose a set of criteria. But the test criteria itself might be flawed and need changing. So deciding on test criteria is itself an empirical and experiential endeavor. For Aristotle, logic itself was an empirical matter, the rules for which emerge from our interactions and experiences in the world.

    Thanks for your comments regarding apodeictic certainty, understood.
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