• Marty
    193
    The one I gave using Kant is pretty sufficent!
  • Possibility
    1.1k
    We can’t measure them - we can subjectively relate to possibilities, and perceive the potential manifested from this interaction.
    To observe is to look at theevidence in time, the thing or event.
    — Possibility
    "Subjectively relate to possibilities" sounds like extrasensory perception, or simple imagination. If the "evidence" is invisible --- "But they are not observed, nor do they happen" --- how can we "look" at it, and how could we "perceive potential manifestations"? To me, "potential" is un-manifested. So, again the notion of multi-Dimensional Awareness does not compute for my puny 4-dimensional brain. :brow:
    Gnomon

    Imagination - yes. Perception is subjective, ‘seeing’ with the mind or understanding. Your mind is not only four-dimensional - if you’re capable of communicating conceptually and imagining pink elephants, then you’re already perceiving potential. There is no actual pink elephant, only a potential one, in your mind and in mine. They’re potentially the same one. But they have no four-dimensional existence. These words I’ve typed here point to (or manifest) the potential existence of a pink elephant by relating two concepts and integrating the difference in potential. Now you have the opportunity to perceive the pink elephant’s potential, too - as ‘minor’ as it is. Of course, you can choose to exclude it as ‘impossible’, or you can allow your mind to relate to the possibilities... in collaboration with, say, a tin of paint...:wink:

    So relational structure is how one integrates information from increasing awareness, connection and collaboration at each dimensional level
    — Possibility
    Sounds like "raising consciousness" by "opening the third eye". Does that kind of dimensional "enlightenment" come from deep mindless meditation, or can it be achieved by mindful reasoning? :nerd:
    Gnomon

    This is what we do everyday. It’s just a different way of describing it. The reason I use this language is because it enables me to interrelate one through to six dimensional relations without having to switch discourse. I’ve noticed that it can be difficult for someone to follow if they need to keep translating every time they relate on a different dimensional level. We tend to see the first three dimensions simply as ‘space’, for instance, and then relate objects in that space to time as universal ‘spacetime’. What we perceive outside of that is separated as ‘mental’. But from my perspective, it’s important to understand how each dimensional structure of relations manifests reality and also relates to the dimensional levels of awareness, connection and collaboration above and below, so to speak. I think the gaps in our understanding of quantum mechanics, abiogenesis and consciousness illustrate how important these dimensional awareness shifts are in how we understand reality as a whole. I’m trying to articulate a conceptual structure that enables us to bridge those gaps and navigate all six dimensions at once, but to do that we need to be prepared to deconstruct current concepts into an alternative discursive structure. Your approach is to develop new words, but I think it’s the same challenge we’re facing.

    I don’t see it as a ‘third eye’ or ‘higher consciousness’ thing - for me, it’s a recognition that interacting mindfully ‘outside the box’ and finding a way to integrate that information into our conceptualisation of ‘reality’ is what drives our understanding of the universe.
  • Possibility
    1.1k
    That would only be true for extrinsic teleology, not intrinsic.Marty

    Extrinsic teleology is imparting a teleology through the intention of an artisan onto an artifact. It's direction is proportional to the concept that's implanted by the artisan. The purpose of a factory and how it functions is derived from the extrinsic concept of a designer.

    Intrinsic teleology is one in which the telos is immanent to the organism and it's form. An example might be the offspring's inheritance in DNA (it's form) is going to not be imparted but passed on from the parent. Generally, an organism doesn't have a form of extrinsic teleology that establishes its causal functions derivatively.
    Marty

    How is ‘passed on’ not the same as ‘imparted’ in relation to DNA information? What’s the difference?
  • Possibility
    1.1k
    They don't "come" from anything. They are constitutive of the object/process/state of things. Perhaps those things come from something else, but that doesn't make them ateleological.Marty

    So, what you’re saying is that it’s ‘teleological’ if you ignore the causal conditions contributing to the object/process/state of things? Isn’t that like saying the billiard ball has a mind of its own?
  • Possibility
    1.1k
    Teleological explanations don't work this way. Because teleological explanations don't have the premise located in the conclusion like this. That is, the ball having telos to be orientated towards falling down (due to a slope) because it's falling down. Teleological explainations (at least the ones I'm talking about) are dispositional qualities intrinsic to the organisms.Marty

    My point is that teleological explanations necessarily isolate an interaction from the conditions in which it occurs. It sounds ridiculous when you try to identify telos here because to do so, you would need to isolate the action of falling down the slope from the conditions of moving forward on the cue’s impact, or vice versa. The ball curves to the left as it moves forward from the cue’s impact due to a slope in the table.

    ‘Dispositional’ refers to arrangement, particularly in relation to other things. You can try to isolate these qualities from the relational structures that determine them, but again you’re ignoring the causal conditions in which this particular arrangement occurs in the organism.
  • Marty
    193


    My point is that teleological explanations necessarily isolate an interaction from the conditions in which it occurs. It sounds ridiculous when you try to identify telos here because to do so, you would need to isolate the action of falling down the slope from the conditions of moving forward on the cue’s impact, or vice versa. The ball curves to the left as it moves forward from the cue’s impact due to a slope in the table.

    ‘Dispositional’ refers to arrangement, particularly in relation to other things. You can try to isolate these qualities from the relational structures that determine them, but again you’re ignoring the causal conditions in which this particular arrangement occurs in the organism.

    I think that's a reasonable concern. However, you don't have to isolate them, actually. You can see how identities (subjects, objects, processes, etc) are relative towards the surrounding context and it's dynamic relationship to others objects (or processes, whatever). I generally think that the inner is described through the outer, and outer defined through the inner. However, that dynamic relationship still manages to build an identity, and what we would consider a relative form of teleology. That's why the teleology can change based on the surrounding contexts. However, changing the surroundings contexts slightly doesn't generally seem to eliminate the dispositional (and teleological) qualities intrinsic to the organism generally — the organism dispositions 'resists' against environmental changes, and preserve its own homeostatic nature. And it can only do this dynamically. So, the metabolic structure of an animal in a harsh environment won't stop functioning. It will stop functioning if you place that animal in space or something. So I'm not an absolutist about natures, or teleology. They are hypothetical necessities generally. But I don't think anyone (including Aristotle) would deny this.

    I think if you accept that things function dynamically, you won't believe in discrete causal activity, but start working more top-down. Which, imho, is teleological.
  • Marty
    193


    How is ‘passed on’ not the same as ‘imparted’ in relation to DNA information? What’s the difference?

    I'm not sure I see the difference. Unless you're suggesting the word "imparted" is an external relationship that does not pass down a form, but just explains some sort of kinematics. The word 'information', however, suggests conceptual content, however. Some conceptual form that instructs how an organism will operate underneath. That is, the concept subsumes it's parts towards a functional end.

    So, what you’re saying is that it’s ‘teleological’ if you ignore the causal conditions contributing to the object/process/state of things? Isn’t that like saying the billiard ball has a mind of its own?

    It doesn't ignore the causal conditions, it asks why are the causal conditions constituted the way they are. Teleological explanations aren't incompatible with other forms of causation. If we examine early notions of teleology we find that explanations in nature are just incomplete until we have all four forms of causation that Aristotle postulated. Teleological explanations would now be known as epistemic explanations. However, if you're conceptual realist.... then... well... these explanations inhere in the world too.

    I believe it's okay to ascribe a minimal force of agency to any object in the universe. As long as we recognize that this form of "intention" is not conscious intention but just goal-orientated activity. I'm not a panpsychist.
  • Possibility
    1.1k
    I'm not sure I see the difference.Marty

    That’s interesting, because you did distinguish between extrinsic and intrinsic teleology with this example:

    the offspring's inheritance in DNA (it's form) is going to not be imparted but passed on from the parentMarty

    I agree that there is no difference, and therefore no distinction. I just wanted to clear that up before we continued.

    I think that's a reasonable concern. However, you don't have to isolate them, actually. You can see how identities (subjects, objects, processes, etc) are relative towards the surrounding context and it's dynamic relationship to others objects (or processes, whatever). I generally think that the inner is described through the outer, and outer defined through the inner. However, that dynamic relationship still manages to build an identity, and what we would consider a relative form of teleology. That's why the teleology can change based on the surrounding contexts. However, changing the surroundings contexts slightly doesn't generally seem to eliminate the dispositional (and teleological) qualities intrinsic to the organism generally — the organism dispositions 'resists' against environmental changes, and preserve its own homeostatic nature. And it can only do this dynamically. So, the metabolic structure of an animal in a harsh environment won't stop functioning. It will stop functioning if you place that animal in space or something. So I'm not an absolutist about natures, or teleology. They are hypothetical necessities generally. But I don't think anyone (including Aristotle) would deny this.

    I think if you accept that things function dynamically, you won't believe in discrete causal activity, but start working more top-down. Which, imho, is teleological.
    Marty

    All teleology IS relative - it comes and goes depending on your perspective of the situation - in particular on your awareness of, connection to and collaboration with dimensional aspects of reality. The more you increase awareness of this inner arrangement to a subject, object or process, and the dynamic relationships that build this identity, the less teleological it appears to be, because everything is interrelated.

    Which then brings us to the teleological explanation of ‘top-down’ meaning/purpose. This is where our perspective of intention skips a dimensional aspect again, and suggests that everything and everyone has a specific purpose intended for us, our awareness of which often conflicts with the individual will of the organism. My problem with this perspective is that it ignores the distinction between value/potential and meaning/purpose. The teleology comes from assuming value or perceived potential is equal to the end-goal or purpose.
  • christian2017
    1.2k
    Also, if we're going to commit shoddy errors of reasoning perhaps we can at least get the geneaological facts straight - Linnaeus dubbed us homo sapiens not because we have the exclusive capacity of thought - he was not so arrogant as to believe this - but for the far more humbling fact that he could not distinguish for us any defining charcateristics other than the circular fact that humans are those who recognize themselves as such - hence the single, pithy, Socratic line that he scribbed next to Homo Sapiens in the Systema Naturae: nosce te ipsum, know theyself. As he asked elsewhere of a critic: "I ask you and the entire world to show me a generic difference between ape and man which is consistent with the principles of natural history. I most certainly do not know of any".StreetlightX

    Humans might not be intelligent but we are the most intelligent and with abstract thought comes serious depression. Typically animals that are capable of abstract thought are more likely to commit suicide.

    On a side note there are alternatives to suicide #Shark_Fighter_Nation or fight a rattle snake with a pair of garden shears or go join the Peace Corp.

    Anyway Noah Harrari wrote a book called Sapiens and it basically says humans can coordinate among millions (as opposed to the Ape's 150 ape groups) because we believe fiction and this fiction allows us to coordinate. He basically says humans are wise because we allow ourselves to collectively believe lies.

    I do believe there is a possibility this is 100% (rather than 80%) true.
  • christian2017
    1.2k
    Piaget wrote that the nature of nature was to overcome itself, the point being that from Piaget's point of view there is no dichotomy between the aims of humanity and those of nature. There is no divide at all. We are nothihg but a further development of the aims of nature itself as self-transformation. Nature is artifice through and through.Joshs

    I'm not going to go into why i disagree with you on alot of this (you can probably figure it out). However as far as the OP is concerned, this answer is completely sufficiient without delving into my favorite "religion".
  • Marty
    193


    That’s interesting, because you did distinguish between extrinsic and intrinsic teleology with this example:

    Ah, okay. Well, when the artisan 'imparts' his concept onto the work of art, the art doesn't take on the inherent form of the artisan. All it does it take on the concept of the artisan. Whereas, in parent-offspring relationships, the form is passed on, inherited. That is, the organism is the cause and effect of the organism — reproduces itself as a species.

    All teleology IS relative - it comes and goes depending on your perspective of the situation - in particular on your awareness of, connection to and collaboration with dimensional aspects of reality. The more you increase awareness of this inner arrangement to a subject, object or process, and the dynamic relationships that build this identity, the less teleological it appears to be, because everything is interrelated.

    So you agree in teleology then?

    Interrelation and dynamism is indicative of teleological systems, though. And why can't there be a dynamic system within the entire cosmos? You just take the dynamism to the whole.

    Which then brings us to the teleological explanation of ‘top-down’ meaning/purpose. This is where our perspective of intention skips a dimensional aspect again, and suggests that everything and everyone has a specific purpose intended for us, our awareness of which often conflicts with the individual will of the organism. My problem with this perspective is that it ignores the distinction between value/potential and meaning/purpose. The teleology comes from assuming value or perceived potential is equal to the end-goal or purpose.

    Who said anything about purposes being tailored towards us? Their purpose isn't internal to the subject. If it was, then it is only a regulative teleology.

    And I'm not sure why it does that? The hypothetical necessity shows that the potential is going to occur unless there is something that stops it. Are you denying dispositional potentials?
  • Possibility
    1.1k
    Ah, okay. Well, when the artisan 'imparts' his concept onto the work of art, the art doesn't take on the inherent form of the artisan. All it does it take on the concept of the artisan. Whereas, in parent-offspring relationships, the form is passed on, inherited. That is, the organism is the cause and effect of the organism — reproduces itself as a species.Marty

    The entire form is not normally passed on, though. The offspring takes on only the concept of the species, just like the art. What is passed on is information regarding the form of the parent, but that information is both incomplete and altered by the interaction of both the parent and the information itself with the environment. Again, you’re ignoring the other causal conditions that contribute to ‘reproduction’. The parent organism only contributes to the cause and effect of its offspring - it does not fully reproduce itself, but rather connects and collaborates - often with an available sexual partner, with the protein and other material available to construct the DNA, and with additional information regarding the potential of the offspring, integrated from their own interactions with the world (For example, there is a particular ‘switch’ in our DNA that the parent switches ‘on’ during prolonged famine conditions, which alters the way their offspring’s metabolism will operate).

    So, too, the artisan contributes to the cause and effect of the art, in collaboration with the material, the environment and tools they have available, and the concept of potentiality constructed in their mind from their own interactions with the world.

    The difference here is only in the ignorance of contributing causal conditions.
  • Marty
    193


    No causal action is done in isolation. When we say phrases like, "This causes that" we're talking about relatively localized events, states which have some self spatial containment and like-partedness — the more you deviate from those the more you lose sight of the identity. So when we are talking about human agents, we are obviously not including the ecosystem around them that preserve their bodies literally at all times. It certainly doesn't seem like we can't talk about the identity of the person — we do it all the time. We see that, despite their interdependence with the ecosystem there's still an inner identity (some determinate form that resists being homogenized with the rest of the world). Identities that are based, in part, on things like our immunity system, our metabolic structure, etc — all locally contained, and attributed to some like-partedness. So when I say that organisms have an offspring that passes on it's form, I just mean that there is something about the form of the offspring that is inherited and identical, or passed on. I certainly don't see how this is identical to the same type of imposition of a form that an artisan gives to a painting. A purpose being based on a concept that an artisan intended seems distinct from a form that is inherited.

    Also, alteration does not mean destruction. Alteration, akin to change, presupposes something in a temporal sequence that was not fully eliminated — presumably something in the organisms form that was inherited and then expressed differently with the surrounding context. Otherwise we would assume nothing was inherited. I'm not arguing for biological determinism, or some causa-sui being.

    I am also not sure how any of this denies teleology. At best you're now arguing against our knoweldge of cosmic teleology.
  • Possibility
    1.1k
    The hypothetical necessity shows that the potential is going to occur unless there is something that stops it. Are you denying dispositional potentials?Marty

    No - I’m saying that the manifestation of dispositional potential is limited by the interacting perspective. There is more dispositional potential to an object than one can observe/measure. The dispositional potential of an acorn, for instance, is for greater than becoming an oak tree. And it isn’t that the acorn is going to become an oak tree unless there is something that stops it, either. Becoming an oak tree is not necessarily the purpose of an acorn, just as becoming a chicken is not necessarily the purpose of an egg.

    So you agree in teleology then?

    Interrelation and dynamism is indicative of teleological systems, though. And why can't there be a dynamic system within the entire cosmos? You just take the dynamism to the whole.
    Marty

    Teleology I have no problem with - it’s the explanations I disagree with, so my approach to it is always one of caution. Interrelation and dynamism is indicative of Darwinian evolutionary theory, for example - but I have serious problems with its interpretation in relation to explanations of purpose. Natural selection need not be explained as ‘survival of the fittest’, and the purpose of life is NOT to maximise survival, dominance and proliferation of the species. These teleological explanations (like most) are ignorant of contributing causal conditions and dimensional aspects of reality that point to a MUCH broader and more relative dispositional potential (and therefore purpose) than our limited perspective assumes.

    My view of purpose vs cause is one of BOTH/AND: for me, the impetus underlying the cosmos is both teleological and random, and it is our limited perspective that determines our intentional capacity. What matters to the whole is awareness/ignorance, connection/isolation and collaboration/exclusion.

    I see the ultimate purpose AND cause of the cosmos as maximising awareness, connection and collaboration. It is the value attributed to preserving identity which limits this capacity - whether at the level of atoms, molecules, objects, events, organisms, persons, ideologies, etc. In order to change, we must let go of this fear of losing an identity constructed entirely of ongoing relationships whose potential is limited only by ignorance, isolation and exclusion. It is this courage that has inspired the Big Bang, chemical reaction, the origin of life, consciousness, curiosity and love.

    I certainly don't see how this is identical to the same type of imposition of a form that an artisan gives to a painting.Marty

    From an outsider’s observation of an artist, it looks like imposition. But the artist would understand that the creative process is the same - that they impart something of themselves into the work.
  • Marty
    193


    Look, if there's conceptual content, if there's dynamic, interrelation, holism, if things are operating towards ends... What the hell is purpose if not that? I'm not presupposing a personal God here. It's like I'm making a pizza with pepperoni, dough, ketchup, and you tell me, "Why are you calling that a pizza!?"

    I was reading your post and I can't see what I actually disagree with. So it just leads me to believe you don't really disagree with me.
  • Possibility
    1.1k
    Look, if there's conceptual content, if there's dynamic, interrelation, holism, if things are operating towards ends... What the hell is purpose if not that? I'm not presupposing a personal God here. It's like I'm making a pizza with pepperoni, dough, ketchup, and you tell me, "Why are you calling that a pizza!?"Marty

    But ‘things’ are not operating towards ends that can be objectively defined. There is purpose, sure - but what we understand of that purpose is relative to perceived potential. It’s not like a pizza, which is a particular arrangement of potential in pepperoni, dough and ketchup. Purpose refers to every possible way of combining pepperoni, dough and ketchup. Just because the only way you can perceive to combine them is as a pizza, does not make ‘pizza’ into ‘purpose’.

    I was reading your post and I can't see what I actually disagree with. So it just leads me to believe you don't really disagree with me.Marty

    Let me clarify: arguments against teleology are not necessarily denying teleology. They do, however, highlight the limitations of employing teleology as an explanation. I have yet to come across another ‘teleological explanation’ that isn’t ignorant of or deliberately excluding causal conditions and/or dimensional aspects.

    So, let’s go back to the OP:

    How is it that an object, a human, every part of which has purpose, itself as a whole, lacks purpose or, more accurately, if a human has purpose, why hasn't it been discovered?TheMadFool

    Because each of us determines ‘purpose’ relative to perceived potential. We tend to think they are one and the same, but they’re not. So our concept of ‘purpose’ is limited, because we fail to distinguish between purpose and perceived potential, which in my view is a distinction of dimensional aspect.
  • TheMadFool
    5.4k
    Because each of us determines ‘purpose’ relative to perceived potential. We tend to think they are one and the same, but they’re not. So our concept of ‘purpose’ is limited, because we fail to distinguish between purpose and perceived potential, which in my view is a distinction of dimensional aspect.Possibility

    I sense a difference between potential, understood as a talent that could be developed and purpose, umderstood as the reason why someone was born. I can't think of someone off the top of my hat but I hear stories of people with the potential to do something but their purpose was something else entirely. Here's one:

    In my OP it seems I tried to align potential with purpose which now seems incorrect insofar that they may not point in the same direction. The best that can be said perhaps is that since potential is something that one naturally likes to fulfill and purpose lacks this feature in that you may not like your purpose, it follows that if our potential is our purpose it would be most desirable.
  • Possibility
    1.1k
    I sense a difference between potential, understood as a talent that could be developed and purpose, umderstood as the reason why someone was born. I can't think of someone off the top of my hat but I hear stories of people with the potential to do something but their purpose was something else entirely. Here's one:

    In my OP it seems I tried to align potential with purpose which now seems incorrect insofar that they may not point in the same direction. The best that can be said perhaps is that since potential is something that one naturally likes to fulfill and purpose lacks this feature in that you may not like your purpose, it follows that if our potential is our purpose it would be most desirable.
    TheMadFool

    It’s not so much that they point in different directions. This is a misunderstanding that stems from thinking of purpose at a reduced level of awareness. There is a tendency to think of purpose only in terms of what we believe we can or should accomplish: excluding illogical, irrational, immoral and improbable possibilities - but this isn’t purpose, it’s potential/value.

    Our purpose is inclusive of but also extends beyond what we think we are capable of, or what we think we might like. This is why people sometimes demonstrate potential in one area, only to discover a sense of purpose in doing something they never expected. It isn’t that their purpose previously lacked value - they simply lacked awareness of that value.

    Sometimes this happens when, say, a star footballer sustains a permanent injury, and is forced to rediscover their potential and value in an alternative, initially undesirable career - one that turns out to be ultimately more rewarding in terms of interrelated potential and value. They may not make the same money or be perceived as a purely physical asset, but rather perceive their value and potential in terms of social, ethical or intellectual capacity and contribution.
  • Marty
    193


    I don't understand.Just because you can change ends, or the potential can change, it doesn't mean that things aren't working dynamically towards ends. And of course acorns are going to become tree unless they are inhibited. This is demonstrated in the case that no oak trees came from elephants, whales, humans, dandelions, etc. There is something that rationally constrains the modality of acorns. Notice all oak tress came from an acorn. Wild!

    Teleology I have no problem with - it’s the explanations I disagree with, so my approach to it is always one of caution. Interrelation and dynamism is indicative of Darwinian evolutionary theory, for example - but I have serious problems with its interpretation in relation to explanations of purpose. Natural selection need not be explained as ‘survival of the fittest’, and the purpose of life is NOT to maximise survival, dominance and proliferation of the species. These teleological explanations (like most) are ignorant of contributing causal conditions and dimensional aspects of reality that point to a MUCH broader and more relative dispositional potential (and therefore purpose) than our limited perspective assumes.

    My view of purpose vs cause is one of BOTH/AND: for me, the impetus underlying the cosmos is both teleological and random, and it is our limited perspective that determines our intentional capacity. What matters to the whole is awareness/ignorance, connection/isolation and collaboration/exclusion.

    I see the ultimate purpose AND cause of the cosmos as maximising awareness, connection and collaboration. It is the value attributed to preserving identity which limits this capacity - whether at the level of atoms, molecules, objects, events, organisms, persons, ideologies, etc. In order to change, we must let go of this fear of losing an identity constructed entirely of ongoing relationships whose potential is limited only by ignorance, isolation and exclusion. It is this courage that has inspired the Big Bang, chemical reaction, the origin of life, consciousness, curiosity and love.

    To be honest, I have no idea how to make sense of natural selection without teleology. For the reasons Jerry Fodor gives in What Darwin Got Wrong. There's also plenty of philosopher of biology who show it's compatible with purposefulness.

    I'm not suggesting a teleology that is the same as some form of biological determinism. I think there's freedom in life, if that's what you're advocating for, but nonetheless relative direction. You can include all the causal contingencies in the world and still work your way completely top-down and see all the process/parts are moving relative to the whole. But, again, unless you're saying we can't make identities at all, then I don't see a problem with showing how there are dispositional qualities to organisms. The organism itself isn't a by-product of just external factors, it participates with its outside — co-determines it's own trajectory.
  • Marty
    193
    Again: You got dynamism, conceptual content, said conceptual content constraints what the properties of any object is (through physical mutual incompatibility). If said concepts determine how that object functions and determines it's nature — regardless of it having a dynamic property related to other objects — doesn't mean we eliminate said properties, nor its telos.
  • Possibility
    1.1k
    I don't understand.Just because you can change ends, or the potential can change, it doesn't mean that things aren't working dynamically towards ends. And of course acorns are going to become tree unless they are inhibited. This is demonstrated in the case that no oak trees came from elephants, whales, humans, dandelions, etc. There is something that rationally constrains the modality of acorns. Notice all oak tress came from an acorn. Wild!Marty

    Things are working dynamically, but not necessarily towards ends - this remains debatable, particularly when you look closely at what it is that changes. An acorn is going to more readily become food for squirrels or compost than an oak tree - that’s not a failure or inhibition, it’s an alternatively perceived potential or value. Yes, only an acorn can become an oak tree, but becoming an oak tree is not an acorn’s sole purpose, and to perceive it as such is to limit your perception of its potential and value.

    The end itself is not changing here: the acorn’s ‘purpose’ is manifest relative to perceived potential or value, and subsequent awareness, connection and collaboration on the part of contributors to the process. Without an opportunity for water to be aware of, connected to and collaborating with this acorn’s potential at a sufficient level, for instance, it will not become an oak tree. Rationality only enters this relationship if I consciously interact with either or both the water and/or the acorn to facilitate their interaction with each other. In this process I am aware of, connected to and collaborating with what I perceive of the relative and interacting potential and value of the acorn, the water and myself. I haven’t changed ‘ends’ here, only realised a certain potential. Who’s to say the acorn cannot become anything except an oak tree?

    I don’t believe the modality of acorns is rationally constrained - at least, not from the top down. The structure of an acorn constrains its modality, but not to the extent that it is destined only to become an oak tree. There is potential to an acorn that is yet to be realised - not to become a whale or a dandelion, but in the same way that we eventually realised potential and value in mould and bacteria. We may never realise additional potential in an acorn, whatever it is, but it remains an unknown element to the purpose of an acorn.

    So you can talk about ‘purpose’ or telos, but in truth it will always be open-ended, and any attempt to define ‘purpose’ is necessarily limited by the relativity of perspective. That’s okay - as long as you recognise it as such. It isn’t a purpose you’re referring to - it’s perceived potential or value.
  • Marty
    193
    But you changed the investigation I brought up. It's not that acorns will become oak trees, it's that all oak trees were acorns. Why?

    And what is the whole (universe) relative to?

    I don’t believe the modality of acorns is rationally constrained - at least, not from the top down.

    Doesn't work. You said these structure of the parts are dynamically built. So you're going up (relationally), not down (through discrete parts making the whole).

    You also can't generate any normativity this way — never form a belief which can be in accordance with what a thing is.

    define ‘purpose’ is necessarily limited by the relativity of perspective.

    Why is it that, despite organisms being a dynamic process, they have at least a relatively fixed process? That is, I can change some of the environmental pressures and the organism remains intact in some ways. What is this regulation or maintenance of its parts if not at least a relative telos? Why does the inner seem preserved? And if there is some level of preservation, does this not at least show a inner-outer distinction to some extent?

    I haven’t changed ‘ends’ here, only realised a certain potential

    What is a rational constrain if not related to potential forms? Unless you're saying that things can become anything and everything, then you're already saying they are constrained.
  • Possibility
    1.1k
    But you changed the investigation I brought up. It's not that acorns will become oak trees, it's that all oak trees were acorns. Why?Marty

    Because this particular potential (among others) was realised by an acorn’s interaction with the world.

    I don’t believe the modality of acorns is rationally constrained - at least, not from the top down.

    Doesn't work. You said these structure of the parts are dynamically built. So you're going up (relationally), not down (through discrete parts making the whole).
    Marty

    It does work - you’re just not accustomed to looking at the universe as a dynamically built relational structure. It’s a paradigm shift. The ‘whole’ is the origin - the ‘parts’ are only perceived as discrete in ignorance of this relational ‘whole’. So it’s not so much discrete parts making the whole, but rather the whole increasing awareness, connection and collaboration with itself through dynamic structural relations.

    So the modality of acorns is constrained by ignorance - in the dynamic structure of interacting ‘parts’ - of the relational ‘whole’.

    You also can't generate any normativity this way — never form a belief which can be in accordance with what a thing is.Marty

    Normativity is just perceived value/potential as a prediction for future interactions based on information from past interactions. Beliefs are not formed according to what a thing IS, but always according to this perceived potential, which is necessarily uncertain and subjective.

    define ‘purpose’ is necessarily limited by the relativity of perspective.

    Why is it that, despite organisms being a dynamic process, they have at least a relatively fixed process? That is, I can change some of the environmental pressures and the organism remains intact in some ways. What is this regulation or maintenance of its parts if not at least a relative telos? Why does the inner seem preserved? And if there is some level of preservation, does this not at least show a inner-outer distinction to some extent?
    Marty

    What you call ‘relative telos’, I’m calling perceived potential - the semantic difference is one of perspective. Telos assumes objective knowledge, but it is this ‘objectivity’ that is unknown as such. Your term is as useful as ‘relative truth’ or ‘relative infinity’.

    The inner is not ‘preserved’ - it is sustained as a dynamic relational structure. Inner-outer distinction is each system striving to sustain the current structure by ignoring, isolating or excluding new information on the relational whole. This occurs to some extent all the way down to basic atomic structure. In self-aware organisms it manifests as fear, but the process is the same. This is what constrains forms, and it isn’t rational at all.
  • Marty
    193
    Because this particular potential (among others) was realised by an acorn’s interaction with the world.

    But particular thing doing other particular things isn't saying anything more than "things happen". That doesn't have any explanatory power. Why does that happen to be the way it is as oppose to it not being that way? It doesn't seem like a coincidence to me that oak trees don't come from whales. Nor am I going to accept a full on rejection of the question of "Why?"

    Clearly trees come from a particular set of properties, but that's true of anything. It's not interesting.

    One way or another when you're endorsing certain claims, you're endorsing it because there's a rational constraint or a type of ontological normativity in the world that presses itself on you, and make you responsibility to get it right. If there wasn't, then there's nothing to distinguish anything.

    It does work - you’re just not accustomed to looking at the universe as a dynamically built relational structure. It’s a paradigm shift. The ‘whole’ is the origin - the ‘parts’ are only perceived as discrete in ignorance of this relational ‘whole’. So it’s not so much discrete parts making the whole, but rather the whole increasing awareness, connection and collaboration with itself through dynamic structural relations.

    So the modality of acorns is constrained by ignorance - in the dynamic structure of interacting ‘parts’ - of the relational ‘whole’.

    Sure I am. I'm a process ontologist. I don't think non-dynamic relationships exist. I'm completely convinced that things work relationally, dynamically, continuously, and processual. I haven't denied that from the beginning.

    That also doesn't answer the question.

    Normativity is just perceived value/potential as a prediction for future interactions based on information from past interactions. Beliefs are not formed according to what a thing IS, but always according to this perceived potential, which is necessarily uncertain and subjective.

    No, I'm not talking about perceived normativity. I'm talking about the ontological normativity. Even if there was a distinction between our beliefs and how things are, that doesn't mean that things aren't a certain way relative to others things.

    What you call ‘relative telos’, I’m calling perceived potential - the semantic difference is one of perspective. Telos assumes objective knowledge, but it is this ‘objectivity’ that is unknown as such. Your term is as useful as ‘relative truth’ or ‘relative infinity’.

    The inner is not ‘preserved’ - it is sustained as a dynamic relational structure
    Possibility

    I don't see the difference. Why is it sustained? And again, don't tell me because of particular events.

    This occurs to some extent all the way down to basic atomic structure. In self-aware organisms it manifests as fear, but the process is the same. This is what constrains forms, and it isn’t rational at all.

    You're misunderstanding what I mean by rational here. I'm saying that nothing can fill in for distinguishing things from other things in the first place, because what makes distinction possible is a conceptual distinction — a material incompatibility (though rationally structured) between two things.
  • Possibility
    1.1k
    A lot of what you’re saying is not making complete sense to me in relation to what I’ve written. I will do what I can to clarify from my end.

    But particular thing doing other particular things isn't saying anything more than "things happen". That doesn't have any explanatory power. Why does that happen to be the way it is as oppose to it not being that way? It doesn't seem like a coincidence to me that oak trees don't come from whales. Nor am I going to accept a full on rejection of the question of "Why?"

    Clearly trees come from a particular set of properties, but that's true of anything. It's not interesting.

    One way or another when you're endorsing certain claims, you're endorsing it because there's a rational constraint or a type of ontological normativity in the world that presses itself on you, and make you responsibility to get it right. If there wasn't, then there's nothing to distinguish anything.
    Marty

    There IS nothing to distinguish anything - except awareness/ignorance, connection/isolation and collaboration/exclusion at every dimensional level of existence. It’s not rational constraint or ontological normativity. There is no pressure or responsibility to get it ‘right’, except what is imposed as a result of efforts to ignore, isolate and exclude.

    When you look back and ask why things happened this way and not that way, such as an oak tree coming from an acorn and not a whale, the explanation is necessarily deterministic. There is no need for an alternative to cause and effect or basic science, here. What we’re looking for is a worldview that supports and verifies not only this deterministic explanation of history, but also an intentional or ‘free will’ approach to potential future interactions. The idea that it must be an overarching, rational constraint rather than an underlying impetus (say, love) comes from fear, mostly.

    I don't see the difference. Why is it sustained? And again, don't tell me because of particular events.Marty

    Why not? Because it isn’t interesting? The difference between sustain and preserve isn’t obvious at most levels of awareness. Preserve implies an external dynamic and awareness, sustain an internal one, regardless of awareness. This seems to be a pattern of difference between our views. At the level of human experience, both seem to make sense. But at another level, while it is the relative potential energy of particles sustaining an atomic structure, for instance, I’m not sure what you think preserves it.

    I don’t imagine we’re going to get very far in this discussion, but I’m happy to continue. You seem convinced that ‘relative telos’ is an explanation, but it’s just another term for ‘God’, which ultimately explains nothing. It’s a comfort, really.
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