• Metaphysician Undercover
    4.3k
    Well, in that case, you simply can't have any two contiguous things no matter what. You could only have one contiguous thing . . . although I don't think that makes any sense at all with respect to the word "contiguous." Contiguity is a relation. And while I wouldn't say that we can't have a relation of a thing to itself, I'm not sure if I'd agree that you can have any relation of a thing to itself other than identity, and even that's really just a way of speaking/thinking insofar as it being a relation goes.Terrapin Station

    There is an issue with contiguity and identity in relation to a thing's existence in time. We assume that the same identified thing exists through a period of time despite some minor changes to that thing. This is the principle of identity as presented by Aristotle, the identity of the thing is within the material thing itself, not the form of the thing, which may be changing. So the identified thing exists through a duration of time.

    Now if the thing is changing, we can say that at one moment it exist with that form, and at a later moment it has this, slightly different form. Aletheist has been arguing that these two distinct forms must be temporally contiguous, that at one moment the thing has one form, and at the very next moment it has the other form. However, this position is what creates the absurdity pointed out by Aristotle. It leaves no time for the change from the first form to the second form, to have actually occurred. Therefore under this perspective "activity" is impossible. So we must be prepared to accept that such moments in time are not contiguous. But this lack of contiguity threatens the integrity of the thing's identity which is based in the assumed continuity of existence of the thing.
  • Terrapin Station
    3.7k
    There is an issue with contiguity and identity in relation to a thing's existence in time. We assume that the same identified thing exists through a period of time despite some minor changes to that thing.Metaphysician Undercover

    You might remember from other discussions (although not with you) that I don't buy identity through time. In my view saying that the same thing persists through time is just a convenient abstraction--convenient because it's far easier to think and talk about things that way than as if we just have changing-but-developmentally-related things from moment to moment.

    This is the principle of identity as presented by Aristotle, the identity of the thing is within the material thing itself, not the form of the thing, which may be changing.Metaphysician Undercover

    Which is one of the many, many stances that I disagree with Aristotle on. In my view, there is no thing that's separate from form.

    Aletheist has been arguing that these two distinct forms must be temporally contiguous, tMetaphysician Undercover

    I thought he was actually arguing the opposite of that.

    However, this position is what creates the absurdity pointed out by Aristotle. It leaves no time for the change from the first form to the second form, to have actually occurred.Metaphysician Undercover

    On my view, time IS change, so it makes no sense to say that "there is no time for (a) change to have occurred."
  • aletheist
    771
    If something changes from not-Y to Y, then if we adhere to the law of excluded middle, there is no time in between, when the thing is changing, or "becoming" Y.Metaphysician Undercover

    Correct, but @Terrapin Station defines time as the series of changes itself, so of course he holds that there is no time in between. He explains this by claiming that the changes are contiguous, while I do not see how they can be anything but discrete (in his model).

    Aletheist has been arguing that these two distinct forms must be temporally contiguous, that at one moment the thing has one form, and at the very next moment it has the other form.Metaphysician Undercover

    That is not what I have been arguing at all, since I have not said anything whatsoever about "forms." We have been talking about gaining or losing a (non-essential) property. If we were using Aristotle's framework and terminology - which we are not - then this would be accidental change, rather than substantial change. Furthermore, if there really is a "very next moment," then I have been arguing that time is discrete rather than continuous.
  • Janus
    5.7k


    It would be nice if you would make the effort to identify and answer the actual questions being asked of you.

    Unfortunately this just muddies the waters, and muddles the whole question up, by introducing further unnecessary complexity. My question was about your claim that there is a present experience about which we cannot be mistaken. The problem is that experiences take time, which means that the past (retention) and the future (protention) are always integral parts of all experience. And since we can never be absolutely certain about something remembered (however recent) or something anticipated (however imminent) it seems obvious that we can certainly be mistaken about our experiences.

    You seem to be trying to obfuscate the issue in order to hang on to your precious, and yet obviously inconsistent, belief that we cannot be mistaken about a purely present experience, a purely present experience which, however, simply does not exist, according to your very own admissions.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.3k
    You might remember from other discussions (although not with you) that I don't buy identity through time. In my view saying that the same thing persists through time is just a convenient abstraction--convenient because it's far easier to think and talk about things that way than as if we just have changing-but-developmentally-related things from moment to moment.Terrapin Station

    So do you think that my chair is not the same chair that it was yesterday because it's gotten a bit worn from me sitting on it? Are you saying that there is no continuity of existence of this entity, the chair, it's just convenient for talking about things, but there's no real continuity of that entity, the chair? That seems rather absurd to me. Do you think that at every moment of passing time, when a molecule, or even an electron of the chair changes, the hand of God is actually replacing the chair which was there, with a completely new chair? Is this what you believe, entities are continuously being replaced with a new entity at each passing moment?

    On my view, time IS change, so it makes no sense to say that "there is no time for (a) change to have occurred."Terrapin Station

    Correct, but Terrapin Station defines time as the series of changes itself, so of course he holds that there is no time in between. He explains this by claiming that the changes are contiguous, while I do not see how they can be anything but discrete (in his model).aletheist

    I haven't been able to make any sense of Terrapin's notion of time. I've completely given up on that. I'm now trying to make sense of Terrapin's notion of the existence of an object, and so far it appears unintelligible as well.

    That is not what I have been arguing at all, since I have not said anything whatsoever about "forms." We have been talking about gaining or losing a (non-essential) property. If we were using Aristotle's framework and terminology - which we are not - then this would be accidental change, rather than substantial change. Furthermore, if there really is a "very next moment," then I have been arguing that time is discrete rather than continuous.aletheist

    It is in the last passage I quoted from you. Here, something like this:

    By the laws of non-contradiction and excluded middle, X is never both Y and not-Y at the same time, and X is always either Y or not-Y at any assignable time. Suppose that X is Y at time T1 and not-Y at time T2; i.e., X changes from Y to not-Y sometime between T1 and T2. There can be no particular instant of time between T1 and T2 when X is changing from Y to not-Y; it is always either one or the other, and never both. Hence if everything is particular, including time, then there is no "present" at which changes "are occurring," just discrete instants before and after each change.aletheist

    Do you deny that everything is always - i.e., at all times - either P or not-P, where P is some particular property?aletheist

    X is P before the change, and X is not-P after the change, but there is no time in between when X is changing from P to not-P.aletheist

    See, you are saying that X has one particular static form (state) at one moment (before the change), and another particular state at the next moment (after the change), but there is no time in between, during which the change occurs. So you have denied the possibility of real activity. All there is, is one particular state (static form), then the next particular state, and so on, each state being temporally contiguous, such that there is no time in between these states during which real activity could be occurring.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.3k
    Good luck on that John. If you read the earlier posts, I already went through that very issue with Terrapin Station. I do believe we'll be at the third time around the circle soon.
  • aletheist
    771
    See, you are saying that X has one particular static form (state) at one moment (before the change), and another particular state at the next moment (after the change), but there is no time in between, during which the change occurs. So you have denied the possibility of real activity. All there is, is one particular state (static form), then the next particular state, and so on, each state being temporally contiguous, such that there is no time in between these states during which real activity could be occurring.Metaphysician Undercover

    Please read the exchange more carefully. I was saying that this is what @Terrapin Station's view entails, not that it is my own view.
  • Janus
    5.7k


    Haha, surprise, surprise! Well, it's not really a surprise; I've seen it over and over with Terrapin. When the inconsistencies in his position are exposed by others, he doesn't acknowledge them, but withdraws his head into its protective shell and refuses to answer the salient questions straightforwardly. Terrapin indeed!
  • Terrapin Station
    3.7k


    How about we try something simpler: give me a hypothetical example of a present phenomenal experience qua that present phenomenal experience that one could be mistaken about.
  • Janus
    5.7k


    What do you mean by "present phenomenal experience qua present phenomenal experience"? How about you give an example of that, so that I know what kind of thing you are asking for?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.3k
    Please read the exchange more carefully. I was saying that this is what Terrapin Station's view entails, not that it is my own view.aletheist

    But Terrapin was arguing for an active present, "changes are occurring" at the present. It was only you who brought up the laws of non-contradiction and excluded middle. As I mentioned earlier, Aristotle demonstrated why change, "becoming" as it is commonly called, requires an exception to the law of excluded middle, in order to maintain the law of non-contradiction, and some form of intelligibility. Terrapin has opted for that exception to the law of excluded middle by describing the present as "changes occurring". So your insistence on these logical laws is not representative of Terrapin's position at all.
  • Terrapin Station
    3.7k
    So do you think that my chair is not the same chair that it was yesterday because it's gotten a bit worn from me sitting on it?Metaphysician Undercover

    It's not logically identical to the chair it was yesterday because it's not the same in every detail, in every aspect. That it's worn a bit is part of it. It's molecules have also shifted position in countless ways, it's lost and gained molecules, and so on.

    Are you saying that there is no continuity of existence of this entity, the chair, it's just convenient for talking about things, but there's no real continuity of that entity, the chair? That seems rather absurd to me. Do you think that at every moment of passing time, when a molecule, or even an electron of the chair changes, the hand of God is actually replacing the chair which was there, with a completely new chair?Metaphysician Undercover

    Whether there's any "continuity of existence" depends on whether you mean by that that the chair is logically identical at T1 and T2. If so, then there's no "continuity of existence." This doesn't imply that the chair at T2 has no connection to the chair at T1. They're developmentally, causally, continuously related.

    See, you are saying that X has one particular static form (state) at one moment (before the change), and another particular state at the next moment (after the change), but there is no time in between, during which the change occurs. So you have denied the possibility of real activity. All there is, is one particular state (static form), then the next particular state, and so on, each state being temporally contiguous, such that there is no time in between these states during which real activity could be occurring.Metaphysician Undercover

    Re aletheist saying that's my view, it isn't. I'm not positing any static states whatsoever. However, there is definitely no time "between" changes, because time is change.
  • Terrapin Station
    3.7k


    Sure, an example: I see a pink elephant.
  • aletheist
    771
    So your insistence on these logical laws is not representative of Terrapin's position at all.Metaphysician Undercover

    Oh, good grief. My point was not to "represent" @Terrapin Station's position, but to draw out some consequences that I saw as entailed by his position. He disagrees with me about some (maybe all) of those implications. You are the only one who has introduced any talk of "forms" and "static states," so when you do so, you are not referring to the views of anyone in the conversation except yourself.
  • Janus
    5.7k


    So, what makes you think you cannot be mistaken when you say you see a pink elephant? I would say it is highly likely you are mistaken.

    Also, do you not see that by the time you have told yourself you are seeing a pink elephant you are referring not to the present but to a moment ago; a moment about which you could be mistaken if your memory is faulty?
  • Terrapin Station
    3.7k


    When I have the phenomenal experience of seeing a pink elephant, how can I be mistaken that I'm having the phenomenal experience of seeing a pink elephant?
  • Janus
    5.7k


    It's plainly obvious that by definition you're not mistaken about thinking you are having the experience when you are having the experience. But how do you know you are having the experience?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.3k
    It's not logically identical to the chair it was yesterday because it's not the same in every detail, in every aspect. That it's worn a bit is part of it. It's molecules have also shifted position in countless ways, it's lost and gained molecules, and so on.Terrapin Station

    I'm not asking if you think that the chair today is logically identical to the chair it was yesterday. In fact, I described it as being somewhat different, for the very reason that you would know that I wasn't asking you this. What I was asking you, is if you think it is still the same chair as it was yesterday. This is Aristotle's principle of identity, it allows that a thing can change, and therefore be not logically identical to the thing which it was before, yet still be the same thing. What he said is that a thing is identical to itself. This means that a thing's identity is according to the thing that it is, not according to a statement of what the thing is. So it doesn't matter that a thing is changing, it continues to be the thing that it is by virtue of being the thing that it is, not by virtue of what it is, because precisely what it is is always changing, while the thing continues to be the same thing.

    Whether there's any "continuity of existence" depends on whether you mean by that that the chair is logically identical at T1 and T2. If so, then there's no "continuity of existence." This doesn't imply that the chair at T2 has no connection to the chair at T1. They're developmentally, causally, continuously related.Terrapin Station

    Why don't you just confirm what we all know, and commonly say, that the chair at T2 is the same chair as the chair at T1, instead of some convoluted statement ("they're developmentally, causally, continuously related)? By saying "they're related", you imply that the chair at T1 and the chair at T2 are two different chairs. But they're not really two different chairs are they? No, they are the same chair at two different times. It's just the natural effect of passing time (what you call change), that the very same thing will not be logically identical at two different times. How could they be logically identical if the passing of time is change? But this doesn't mean that it's not the same thing, just because it's changed.
  • javra
    589
    No, they are the same chair at two different times. It's just the natural effect of passing time (what you call change), that the very same thing will not be logically identical at two different times. How could they be logically identical if the passing of time is change? But this doesn't mean that it's not the same thing, just because it's changed.Metaphysician Undercover

    My own argument would be that, as with the Ship of Theseus problem, the parts of the chair can change but as long as the whole, the gestalt, remains unchanged in form and/or functionality, it remains the same chair. Darn it though, this gets into issues of identity and change. ... But I too am an curious to see what Terrapin has to say.

    Whether there's any "continuity of existence" depends on whether you mean by that that the chair is logically identical at T1 and T2. If so, then there's no "continuity of existence." This doesn't imply that the chair at T2 has no connection to the chair at T1. They're developmentally, causally, continuously related.Terrapin Station

    In trying to understand this better, you’re saying that there’s no continuity to some perfectly static existent between T1 and T2, right? Not that there’s no continuity to a given we can all discern as having remained the same …

    --------

    Terrapin, I’d like to see how you—and others—might disagree with this:

    T1, T2, T3, etc. is an abstraction of time wherein the observer is no longer present. I’ll call it “observer-devoid time”. Observer-devoid time is typically applied to the past by all of us (unless our memories are of former personal experiences which we relive) and, when further abstracted, can then result in the notion of B-series time (objective time being a changeless, tenseless time).

    Time you term the present phenomenal experience, however, holds within it the extremities of past and future in a manner parallel to observer-relative spatial dimensions. For simplicity, we can solely appraise the dimension of up and down as always relative to our personal spatial location as observers: There is no absolute top and absolute bottom to space; there are only relations to ourselves as observers; as we change our spatial positions relative to each other and to an inanimate context, so too changes what is up and what is down relative to us. Placing a whole bunch of us together in the same interactive space further stabilizes up and down for the cohort. As with observer-relative spatial dimensions, so too is past and future a temporal dimension held within awareness relative to that which is the experienced present duration … with there being no clear threshold between memory and forethought that takes place in the present experience. This then results in A-series time (tensed time)—or, “observer-endowed time”.

    In B-series time before and after is always relative to abstract events from which the observer is removed—and, as previously stated, an observer-devoid time is typically applied to the past, especially when cognized in the third-person. In A-series time before and after is always relative to the concrete reality of a present phenomenal experience.

    One can build on this, but I’m curious to see if there’s any significant disagreement with what was just stated.

    If there’s no significant disagreement, then a lot of the former arguments I've read have been about equating apples with oranges … this by overlapping or else mistaking A-series time to B-series time.
  • Terrapin Station
    3.7k
    It's plainly obvious that by definition you're not mistaken about having the experience when you are having the experience.John

    Well, that's all I'm saying.

    Yet, people are arguing with me about it.

    But how do you know you are having the experience?John

    It's simply a matter of having it when you do.
  • Terrapin Station
    3.7k
    This is Aristotle's principle of identity, it allows that a thing can change, and therefore be not logically identical to the thing which it was before, yet still be the same thing.Metaphysician Undercover

    There's only (a) logical identity, and (b) whether we call something "the same x" by virtue of the necessary and sufficient conditions we construct via our concepts. There is no other sort of identity on my view. Re (a) it's not the same chair. Re (b) it can be, depending on your conceptual abstractions relative to the chair.
  • Terrapin Station
    3.7k
    B-series time (objective time being a changeless, tenseless time).javra

    The problem with that on my view is that "changeless time" is a contradiction.
  • javra
    589
    The problem with that on my view is that "changeless time" is a contradiction.Terrapin Station

    Hey, I’m all about Heraclitus’ flux. So I don’t subscribe to B-series time either. Nevertheless, when we address past, we all use the notion of changelessness as it pertains to events gone by. It’s why I improvised the term, “observer-devoid time”: not exactly B-series time but it’s yet applicable to our cognizance of the past … a temporal duration where things no longer change (at the very least in terms of how we conceptualize the past).

    To me it seems like the simple dichotomy between A-series and B-series is overly simplified.

    All the same, how would you demarcate the past if not for it being a "changeless time(span)"?
  • Rich
    3.2k
    t

    It appears to me that the past is constantly changing. In fact, it is the only thing that is changing as it evolves into a new past.
  • Janus
    5.7k
    It's plainly obvious that by definition you're not mistaken about thinking you are (I had edited this, but you responded before I did apparently. But I don't think it really makes any difference to the sense) having the experience when you are having the experience.John

    Well, that's all I'm saying.Terrapin Station

    It's simply a matter of having it when you do.Terrapin Station

    No, it's a matter of knowing you are having it when you do! That is the actual point at issue.
  • Janus
    5.7k


    It is more accurate to say that the already established past does not change but it is constantly being added to. So, yeah, the past only changes insofar as new events are constantly being added.
  • javra
    589
    It appears to me that the past is constantly changing. In fact, it is the only thing that is changing as it evolves into a new past.Rich

    Please expand on this if I’ve misconstrued you.

    My position is that within nitty-gritty metaphysical analysis (or, alternatively, in contemplating some interpretations of QM) maybe some aspects of the past can change. But things such as our birthdays when we first came into this world yet remain static in the past. It’s just that the past keeps on expanding with every present moment that goes by.

    I’m so far inclined to think that we agree on this.
  • Rich
    3.2k


    I do not hold the view that a past can be more than how it is remembered.

    Yes, a photo can remind someone of a past event, but it doesn't become part of the past until it becomes part of one's experience in one's memory. Of course, a memory of that experience could already exist and may change (evolve) because of photo. The photo itself is merely another experience within memory.

    The fundamental question is whether the past exists outside of memory. It all depends upon ones's personal ontology I guess. My view of memory is very expansive and probably to much off the track to get into now. Suffice to say I lean toward Bohm'/Bergson holomovent view of memory and information which has been amplified by subsequent authors.
  • Rich
    3.2k


    It is a sharp point that you bring up.

    My birthday is a certain date as I remember it. I find a birth certificate which changes that memory that I have. The date and the birth certificate are now part of my memory as well as my original memory of what I thought was my birthday. In totality my past has evolved and changed quite a bit. Now suppose someone come along and tells me the birth certificate was wrong and I was correct with my original memory. Now my memory of my past has changed once again. It is constantly evolving as is everything else.
  • Janus
    5.7k
    I do not hold the view that a past can be more than how it is remembered.Rich

    Surely, the past is more than merely what is remembered. What tiny fraction of all past events is enshrined within our documented histories?
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