• Terrapin Station
    3.7k


    Right--you're supposed to explain how. The pink elephant phenomenal experience is present. So you could be mistaken that that experience is present because?
  • Janus
    3.8k


    You could be mistaken in thinking it is present when it is not.
  • Terrapin Station
    3.7k


    That's your explanation how that could be the case?
  • Janus
    3.8k


    If you're just trying to say that you cannot be mistaken about the fact that whatever you think you are is experiencing is what you think you are experiencing, then you have been arguing all along for a mere tautology. But the OP is about what you are experiencing and being mistaken about that, it is not about the possibility of being mistaken that what you think you are experiencing is what you think you are experiencing, which would obviously be a ridiculous proposition.
  • Terrapin Station
    3.7k


    The topic is whether we can be mistaken about our own experiences. I gave an example of a class of experiences that we can't be mistaken about--and indeed, that's because this is tautologous. Your present phenomenal experience, AS your present phenomenal experience, is something you can't be mistaken about. Yet, here are a bunch of folks arguing with me about that, unsurprisingly enough. Again--because this is the Internet, and the whole objective apparently is to argue with others and not allow agreement on anything, no matter how simple. I could say "Your username on this board is John," and you'd probably argue with me that it's not John, just because you need to argue with me.
  • Janus
    3.8k


    No, you are just mistaken about the sense of the OP, in my opinion. What would be the point of arguing for a tautology, as you admit you have been? It is not a "class of experiences that we can't be mistaken about" at all, it is merely that, by definition, what we think is what we think.

    In any case, we actually could be mistaken about what we thought, even if it was only a moment ago. When we are thinking, we are not at the same time considering whether we are mistaken about what we are thinking. So all assessments of what we have been thinking are necessarily after the fact, and thus could be mistaken.
  • Terrapin Station
    3.7k
    No, you are just mistaken about the sense of the OP, in my opinionJohn

    Yeah, you could argue with me about what I should have posted about instead. That's one way to keep arguing instead of agreeing on anything.
  • Janus
    3.8k


    No, I have already agreed that what you have been arguing is tautologically true; I just don't agree that it is of any significance to the thrust of the OP. If you think I disagree just for the sake of it then you are sadly mistaken.
  • Terrapin Station
    3.7k
    No, I have already agreed that what you have been arguing is tautologically true; I just don't agree that it is of any significance to the thrust of the OP. If you think I disagree just for the sake of it then you are sadly mistaken.John

    I wasn't disagreeing with anything. I was just giving an example of a type of experience that we couldn't be mistaken about. Other folks started to argue with me. They could have simply read and understood what I wrote and left it alone.
  • anonymous66
    546
    I didn't read all 12 pages... but, my gut response to the question "can you be wrong about experience?" is no. I suppose you could see a dog and think it was a cat..., but you did experience seeing a cat.... you can't be wrong when saying "I saw a cat". But, perhaps you should say, "I thought I saw a cat." And hopefully, if presented with evidence it was actually a dog, you'd be open to that possibility.

    But consider the case of hallucination. Can you hallucinate a dog and think it was a cat? I don't think so. Or consider the case of phantom limb pain. If you were a victim, could you think you were cured, and later find out you were still in pain? or If you underwent treatment for phantom limb pain, and were told by the doctor you were cured... would you believe the doctor, or the pain you felt?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    2.7k
    Ontologically it's not. I already specified a reason for this--all of the molecules that make up the chair (and all of the atoms that make up all of those molecules, and all of the electrons in those atoms, and so on) are constantly in motion, constantly changing relations with respect to each other, and so on.Terrapin Station

    Actually, I think ontologically the chair is mostly the same. All those molecules you refer to are still the same molecules, that they change some relations with each other over time, is really a minor factor.

    No one is claiming anything like that.Terrapin Station
    Well, either it's correct to say that it is the same chair, or it's not. You say that it is not. That means that the old chair must be replaced by a new chair. If you do not think that the old chair is replaced by a new chair, why not just accept that it's the same chair, as most normal people do? Clearly it is perfectly acceptable to say that it is the same chair with minor changes. Why do you need to insist that it's not the same chair, while not being prepared to follow through with the logical consequences of this claim? Those consequences are that the old chair must be replaced with a new chair if it does not continue to be the same chair.

    Which do you prefer? Is it really the same chair, despite going through some changes, or is the old chair replaced with a new chair each time it changes, such that it's really not the same chair?



    .
  • Terrapin Station
    3.7k
    Well, either it's correct to say that it is the same chair, or it's not.Metaphysician Undercover

    My view is that re (a)--logical identity, that is, it's incorrect to say that something is logically identical at two different times. You agreed with this earlier.

    Re (b)--which is basicallty how someone uses/thinks about concepts, on my view, it is not correct or incorrect to say that something is the same x.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    2.7k
    Suppose Theseus takes his ship (ship A) and uses its material to build himself a cabin. It’s the same material but no longer a ship, so the identity of that addressed has changed. A week following, Theseus changes his mind and uses the same material, now a cabin, to rebuild the same ship he had before (ship B). It becomes Theseus’s ship again. Complexities could ensue as regards identity, but to the extent ship A and ship B are the same ship (as would uphold someone off for the month in which it was rebuilt in to a cabin and back), it would be the same ship for what reason? Neither due to logical nor material identity—the latter, on its own, would make the cabin identical to the ship.javra

    I think you're falling for the same mistake here. You're calling it a "ship", and a "cabin", while "ship" and "cabin" have particular formal connotations. The point is that we just name the material "A". Then the material continues to just be "A" no matter which form it has, the ship, the cabin, or the other ship, it is always just A. It's when the name "ship" for example has a meaning, which we conform to, to believe that the material must have a specific form to be a ship, that there is a problem. So consider that there is no particular form which constitutes a ship. We point to the item and say "that is Theseus' ship". Then even when it's taken to make a cabin it is still Theseus' ship, as long as we point to it and identify it, and when it is rebuilt, it is still Theseus' ship. The problem is when we think that the name is more than just a name, when we think that the name must refer to a particular type of thing. But this is not indicated in the so-called paradox. The item is just named as a ship, but it is not indicated that any item must have a particular form to be called a ship.

    The real problem with material identity is in deciding what does and does not constitute the material of the entity. So if a part is taken off, and replaced by a new part, or just if a new part is added, what determines how the old part ceases to be, or the new part becomes, part of the material entity? Like when you eat, and defecate, how is it possible that you gain material, and lose material, yet you maintain the same material identity. So "change" is like a coin, we look at it from two sides, form, and matter, but both sides give us difficulty.

    .
  • Janus
    3.8k


    Yes, well I don't see it as an experience but as a thought about experience. And all it says is basically 'what I think is what I think'. True by definition.

    I don't think it was that perfectlynclear at first that you were merely presenting such a tautology, and if it had been I doubt others would have bothered to argue to the degree they did. I am not convinced that you realised it was a mere tautology, otherwise why would you bother to present it?
  • Terrapin Station
    3.7k
    I am not convinced that you realised it was a mere tautology, otherwise why would you bother to present it?John

    Again, because it's the category of experience that we can't be mistaken about.

    Re you not considering it experience, I'm just curious what your narrower definition of experience is.

    I consider all mental phenomena phenomenal experience, obviously, but other people can have different definitions of experience, of course.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    2.7k
    My view is that re (a)--logical identity, that is, it's incorrect to say that something is logically identical at two different times. You agreed with this earlier.

    Re (b)--which is basicallty how someone uses/thinks about concepts, on my view, it is not correct or incorrect to say that something is the same x.
    Terrapin Station

    Ok, so if I understand, it is illogical to say that the chair now is the "same" chair as it was yesterday. And it makes no difference whether someone sat and watched the chair for that entire time period to make sure that it wasn't switched, the fact is that imperceptible changes occurred, so logically the chair is no longer the same chair.

    Let me rephrase the question, because you seem to be avoiding it. We say that the chair is the same chair. That's common, acceptable use of language. So, what logic tells us, and what common language use tells us, are two distinct things, which are directly opposed. Logic says that it is not the same chair, common language use says that it is the same chair. I've asked you which do you think is correct, and you first replied that you believe that the logic is correct, and it is really not the same chair. But when I described to you the consequences of this assumption, (that it is not the same chair), you switched back, to try and say that somehow it neither correct nor incorrect. So what I am asking, is what do you truly believe? Do you think that the logic is telling us what is really the case, or do you think that common language is telling us what is really the case. If you think that it is neither, then perhaps you could outline some resolution which is not actually a disguised version of one or the other.

    Let me remind you of the consequences of the logical assumption that it is not the same chair. If it is not the same chair, we must provide for the conclusion that at every moment of change, an old chair is being removed and being replaced by a new chair. I'm ready to accept this, after all, the old chair is always disappearing into the past, all we need to do is find out where the new chair comes from. Are you ready to accept this, or do you think that the logic, which says that it is not the same chair, is wrong, and common language use, which says that it is the same chair, is right?
  • Terrapin Station
    3.7k


    There are two ways to look at it, and I don't think that one way versus the other is the right way to look at it. One way to look at it is per logical identity. Per logical identity, it's incorrect to say that the chair is logically identical at time T1 and T2.

    The other way to look at it is what you're calling "common language." Per my views, what's going on there is what I described above: it's a matter of how an individual partitions their concepts with respect to the necessary and sufficient criteria to call some x (some particular existent) an F (some type/universal name). There aren't correct or incorrect answers in this realm.

    Again, I'm not saying that one of the ways of looking at it is correct and the other is incorrect.

    And I'm sorry if that's too nuanced/not black & white enough for you, but I'm not going to say something that I think is wrong (that there's a correct way to look at this) just because you want a black & white, easy-to-sum-up response.
  • javra
    296
    The point is that we just name the material "A". Then the material continues to just be "A" no matter which form it has, the ship, the cabin, or the other ship, it is always just A.Metaphysician Undercover

    Unless one endorses substance pluralism, wouldn’t everything then hold the material identity of A? This then would make individuality indiscernible.

    The real problem with material identity is in deciding what does and does not constitute the material of the entity. So if a part is taken off, and replaced by a new part, or just if a new part is added, what determines how the old part ceases to be, or the new part becomes, part of the material entity? Like when you eat, and defecate, how is it possible that you gain material, and lose material, yet you maintain the same material identity. So "change" is like a coin, we look at it from two sides, form, and matter, but both sides give us difficulty.Metaphysician Undercover

    The contents of the digestive tract in vertebrates don’t to me seem a good example. The contents are not part of the physical being … only when some of it at the molecular level enters the bloodstream to feed the individual somatic cells of the body can it become argued part of the physical being. But, even then, contentions could be raised in terms of—by analogy—a fire being other than that which fuels it. To say this more simply, we are not that which we eat; we assimilate portions of that which we eat into ourselves. The contents of the digestive tract—wherever found—will hold a different identity from that which it is digested by.

    Is it due to disagreement that you’ve bypassed my argument for identity resulting, in part, from purpose/functionality?

    I’ll provide another example. Take something organic like the flower of a fruiting plant. We could give it any other name but it will still be that which it is. At which point in the bud phase does it become a flower? And, how many petals must wilt off before it ceases to be a flower? My argument is that it is a flower between a young bud and before the beginnings of it being a fruit (if pollinated and if of a fruiting plant) due to its functions/purpose as a flower. This both conceptually and physically.

    Logical identity taken to its extreme will not apply. Neither will identity via material content—for the flower, being organic, undergoes a perpetual change of material content. Yet it will nevertheless be a flower somewhere between being a bud and a fruit. How so if its functionality is considered completely irrelevant or nonexistent?

    Again I don’t maintain that purpose is the only element to identity; rather that it is an integral element of identity among others.

    This same argument for the functionality of that considered then would also apply to the identity of a physical being as addressed by you in your example of digestion.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    2.7k
    The other way to look at it is what you're calling "common language." Per my views, what's going on there is what I described above: it's a matter of how an individual partitions their concepts with respect to the necessary and sufficient criteria to call some x (some particular existent) an F (some type/universal name). There aren't correct or incorrect answers in this realm.Terrapin Station

    But I'm not talking about the necessary and sufficient conditions for calling some existent an F. I'm asking you if the existent continues to be the same existent through a duration of time, despite some minor changes to it. I'm not talking about whether we should call the item a chair or not, I'm talking about whether the thing which has been called a chair continues to be the same chair even after the upholstery gets torn, or even some minor molecular change which is imperceptible to us.

    Logic says that it is not "the same" chair, but common language use says that it is the same chair. I have driven the same car for years despite the fact that it's starting to fall apart. I am asking you which one do you believe. I am not asking about the necessary and sufficient conditions for calling some x an F, I am asking about the conditions for identifying a thing as being the same thing, one unique thing with temporal duration.

    Unless one endorses substance pluralism, wouldn’t everything then hold the material identity of A? This then would make individuality indiscernible.javra

    Yes I believe that may be the case, but it just demonstrates that dualism is necessary in order to properly understand the existence of individual entities.

    Is it due to disagreement that you’ve bypassed my argument for identity resulting, in part, from purpose/functionality?javra
    I have to admit that I didn't understand your argument for identity from purpose.

    I’ll provide another example. Take something organic like the flower of a fruiting plant. We could give it any other name but it will still be that which it is. At which point in the bud phase does it become a flower? And, how many petals must wilt off before it ceases to be a flower? My argument is that it is a flower between a young bud and before the beginnings of it being a fruit (if pollinated and if of a fruiting plant) due to its functions/purpose as a flower. This both conceptually and physically.javra

    I don't see this as an argument for identity, I see it as a way of defining a term. You say that an object must fulfill certain conditions before it can be called a flower, so this is to define what it means to be a flower. But I understand the act of identifying to be the inverse of this. Rather than saying what it means to be a flower (that is defining rather than identifying), we take a particular object and say what the object is, that is identifying.

    Again I don’t maintain that purpose is the only element to identity; rather that it is an integral element of identity among others.javra

    I definitely see your point, that purpose is an important thing to consider when identifying objects, especially in some instances, as many things, especially tools are defined by their purpose. But what I am getting at here is what constitutes an object having an identity. If we cannot determine how it is that an object actually has an identity, then all of our efforts to identify are subjective, grounded in arbitrary designations. So from my perspective, why do you think that your definition of "flower" is more "real", or states more precisely what a flower really is than another definition? If objects don't have a real identity which is proper to themselves, how is our naming of them anything more than arbitrary?
  • Terrapin Station
    3.7k
    I'm asking you if the existent continues to be the same existent through a duration of time, despite some minor changes to it. I'm not talking about whether we should call the item a chair or not, I'm talking about whether the thing which has been called a chair continues to be the same chair even after the upholstery gets torn, or even some minor molecular change which is imperceptible to us.Metaphysician Undercover

    But that's what I'm answering! What makes it the same chair is simply whether we (individually) consider it the same chair per our concepts. In other words, in my view, that's all there is to this.
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