• Banno
    17.9k


    Isn't it bliss?
    Don't you approve?
    One who keeps tearing around
    One who can't move
    Where are the clowns?
    Send in the clowns
  • Banno
    17.9k
    What's curious is that there is I think a much greater difference in between how we think things are than what we think ought be done.
  • Harry Hindu
    4.9k
    Seems to me you have made your position very clear, too. For you, mind is a different substance to the other things around us. That leaves wide open the problem of how mind interacts with those other substances - the basic problem for dualism.

    The alternative is that mind is not a substance, but something that substance does.
    Banno


    I would disagree with the assertion that mind is a different substance to the other things around us. I would agree with the assertion that the way the other things appear via the mind is not how they are - substance-wise. They appear as solid, physical, material objects, but that is just how they are modeled. The model is not solid, physical or material. It is informational.
  • Banno
    17.9k
    Don't bother
    They're here
  • Tom Storm
    4.6k
    What's curious is that there is I think a much greater difference in between how we think things are than what we think ought be done.Banno

    That's a juicy morsel and I think it's true. The physicalist atheist and the dedicated Jesuit often share first principles about how we should treat others. I think this is why I have avoided philosophy in the past as I am temperamentally inclined towards action over contemplation (which comes with its own problems).

    Do you have a view about why this situation arises?

    Oh, and Sondheim is one of my favorite thinkers.
  • Banno
    17.9k


    We overwhelmingly agree about the bits and pieces of the world around us. We just spend much more time discussing our disagreements than our agreements. Perhaps the level of disagreement increase with the level of abstraction.

    That would imply that our actions are not as abstract as our metaphysics.
  • Wayfarer
    16.3k
    I would disagree with the assertion that mind is a different substance to the other things around us. I would agree with the assertion that the way the other things appear via the mind is not how they are - substance-wise. They appear as solid, physical, material objects, but that is just how they are modeled. The model is not solid, physical or material. It is informational.Harry Hindu

    I find myself in the unnaccustomed position of agreeing with you. :yikes: That's the gist of the book I'm reading at this moment.

    (Also note the distinction I made earlier about the difference between the philosophical and everyday use of the term 'substance' i.e. it means something very different in philosophy than in ordinary language.)
  • Jackson
    1.8k
    The physicalist atheist and the dedicated Jesuit often share first principles about how we should treat others. I think this is why I have avoided philosophy in the past as I am temperamentally inclined towards action over contemplationTom Storm

    What are those first principles shared by physicalists and Jesuits?
  • Tom Storm
    4.6k
    No, it's not a muddled question, it is crystal clear to me. Just because you don't think in such terms, doesn't mean that it's a muddled question.Wayfarer

    It seems to me that you and @Banno are unable to start this 'debate' from the same place. Is this just a matter of holding different presuppositions rather than a question of language?

    When Banno says:

    If you are going to talk about something's being fundamental, you have to be clear about what it is you are doing. What is fundamental when designing bridges is not what is fundamental when planning birthday parties, nor to what is fundamental to doing paraconsistent logic.Banno

    You see this as being a separate matter and that it is not addressing the question of what is fundamental about the nature of reality - is that it? Are you able to summarize what you think the apple of discord is, or are you tired of it? I ask as someone interested in more fully understanding both positions. Can the difference in approaches be distilled down to one key question?
  • Tom Storm
    4.6k
    What are those first principles shared by physicalists and Jesuits?Jackson

    Human rights; refugee policy; social justice; welfare reform; drug law reform; justice for Aboriginal Australians; economic reform; housing policy reform - that kind of stuff.
  • Jackson
    1.8k
    Human rights; refugee policy; social justice; welfare reform; drug law reform; justice for Aboriginal Australians; economic reform; housing policy reform - that kind of stuff.Tom Storm

    Why would a physicalist have a policy on refugees?
  • Banno
    17.9k
    Why would a physicalist have a policy on refugees?Jackson

    Because, surprisingly, physicalists are human.
  • Jackson
    1.8k
    Because, surprisingly, physicalists are human.Banno


    wow
  • Wayfarer
    16.3k
    Banno said earlier -

    I'll note again that I do agree with Wayfarer that physics is not capable of explaining everything. I'm no keener on scientism than he is.Banno

    We agree on that much at least. From my side, Banno's main influences are Wittgenstein, Davidson, Austin et al, who are influential in analytical philosophy. You could say they're the mainstream. My influences are more counter-cultural and (I think) more existential. I did two years of undergraduate philosophy but ended up with an Hons in Comparative Religion (on the New England Transcendentalists.) I'm generally more small-t theosophical than most people here.

    On the positive side, having to respond to others for whom my views seem fundamentally mistaken is clarifying. On the negative, trying to share what strikes me as an important insight (like from the Charles Pinter book I've been talking about) to be met with :brow: is frustrating ('but', says a voice, 'serves you right for hanging around in front of your computer so much.')
  • Tom Storm
    4.6k
    Why would a physicalist have a policy on refugees?Jackson

    It's a social justice issue. Hence how we treat others. Here in Australia, we put people into detention centers for seeking asylum. Hence @Banno is correct around why this matters.
  • Tom Storm
    4.6k
    From my side, Banno's main influences are Wittgenstein, Davidson, Austin et al, who are influential in analytical philosophy. You could say they're the mainstream. My influences are more counter-cultural and (I think) more existential.Wayfarer

    I'm aware of all that, my question is more of a technical one - the nub of the problem seems to hinge on specific formulations of epistemology. And this part of the dispute is edifying. What I was asking is where is the initial point where your respective approaches separate from each other? I reread the arguments above and it seems you are both talking about separate matters. Perhaps I'm not making sense to both of you... :razz:
  • Janus
    12.6k
    A facile dismissal of the entire issue, then. Isn't there more at stake? Doesn't it really count whether you're an aggregation of physical forces, or something more than that, or other than that?Wayfarer

    Why? We are what we are and the world is what it is no matter how we might think about what constitutes us or the world in any imagined metaphysical sense. Such a metaphysical or ontological question has no necessary bearing on our ethical sensibilities. Sure, the answer they arrive at to this question might have a bearing for some individuals, but not for others, which means that it has no essential bearing.

    It's impossible to generalize. And the fact is that we don't know, anyway, and it is impossible to discursively determine an answer that any unbiased person would be compelled to accept.It may well be, as Andrew M suggests, that the question itself is malformed and mal-informed.
  • Wayfarer
    16.3k
    What I was asking is where is the initial point where your respective approaches separate from each other?Tom Storm

    As I keep saying, I'm questioning the culturally-normative sense of scientific realism. As one of the authors I like writes, 'The main problem with our usual understanding of secularity is that it is taken-for-granted, so we are not aware that it is a worldview. It is an ideology that pretends to be the everyday world we live in. Most of us assume that it is simply the way the world really is, once superstitious beliefs about it have been removed.' So it's a real basic disagreement about what is real. And they don't come a lot more basic than that.
  • Isaac
    8.2k
    As I keep saying, I'm questioning the culturally-normative sense of scientific realism. As one of the authors I like writes, 'The main problem with our usual understanding of secularity is that it is taken-for-granted, so we are not aware that it is a worldview. It is an ideology that pretends to be the everyday world we live in. Most of us assume that it is simply the way the world really is, once superstitious beliefs about it have been removed.' So it's a real basic disagreement about what is real.Wayfarer

    But the underlined is not what you've written above it at all. What you write as precursor is that you're dissatisfied with the way in which people have a arrived at their world view (by simply accepting the one they're told about). This has nothing whatsoever to do with whether that worldview is right, useful, ethical... It may be all of those things and still be just blindly accepted by most people.

    You're talking here to people with a deep layman, if not, in some cases, an actual professional, interest in philosophy. It's condescending to assume they haven't thought about it just because they haven't arrived at the same conclusions as you.

    We can have a disagreement about what is real, but to have that disagreement you need to present arguments in favour of what you think is real - you've not even answered my very simple question from pages back about what criteria you're using to judge when something is real. Very basic stuff in any discussion about what is real.
  • Banno
    17.9k
    What I was asking is where is the initial point where your respective approaches separate from each other?Tom Storm

    For me, at least in part, deciding this question is a the core of this ongoing... at least ten years... of discussion. In the process i've been able to better articulate my own position, thanks to the critique @Wayfarer offers.

    Where I think the technical difference must be placed, on my present understanding, is in the point made earlier, that for me there are things that are true, yet not known, believed, or otherwise in some positive relation to our minds. I think idealism must deny this, since it insists that mind is somehow indispensable.

    The practical difference here is negligible.

    @Wayfarer would discuss a spiritual aspect of the world, which seems to me an impossible task. It's not that I deny this sublime aspect of reality, but taking seriously that it is ineffable, and hence beyond discussion. Hence it becomes a place of disagreement.

    But we are in agreement that scientific explanations are inadequate to many tasks. While @Wayfarer bases this on a metaphysical difference, there being a material and a mental/spiritual world, I see it as distinctly different tasks within the world. It's about direction of fit, about the difference between how things are and how we want them to be, rather than metaphysics.
  • Wayfarer
    16.3k
    you've not even answered my very simple question from pages back about what criteria you're using to judge when something is real.Isaac

    That isn't a simple question. I don't recall the exchange, and I don't want to go back digging for it.

    When you look at the apple, your brain constructs a model of the apple. But that model is not what you see; it is you seeing.Banno

    'In Special Relativity, neither objects nor time have the same length for all observers. Here’s an example of how the length of the same object can be a different for two different observers. Let’s say that you’re flying in a rocket ship to Mars at a significant fraction of the speed of light. Traveling at this clip, you pass the Little Prince sitting on his little planet. Let’s say that you measure the length of your rocket ship as you fly by the Little Prince, and he does, too. You might measure it at 40 feet long. But, due to the fact that he is sitting still, the Little Prince would measure it as much longer, maybe 60 feet long.

    Special Relativity tells us that the rocket ship can be both 40 feet long to you and 60 feet long to the Little Prince. This is not a visual effect; the same object has two different physical lengths to observers who have two different speeds.'

    So what length is it really?

    The answer can only be, 'it depends'.
  • Tom Storm
    4.6k
    Wayfarer would discuss a spiritual aspect of the world, which seems to me an impossible task. It's not that I deny this sublime aspect of reality, but taking seriously that it is ineffable, and hence beyond discussion. Hence it becomes a place of disagreement.Banno

    That's helpful, thanks.

    I see it as distinctly different tasks within the world. It's about direction of fit, about the difference between how things are and how we want them to be, rather than metaphysics.Banno

    I see your perspective and I think I intuitively privilege this 'direction of fit' myself to some extent. It sounds a little like pragmatism - 'Well we don't know or have access to ultimate metaphysics (whatever that may be), so let's get on with what we can say and what we do know works.' Is that unfair?

    The answer can only be, 'it depends'.Wayfarer

    This seems to be the central theme, the potential depths of 'it depends'. Are we back at Banno's multi-functional apple?
  • Isaac
    8.2k
    That isn't a simple question.Wayfarer

    So how can we have a discussion about what is real when you've no criteria for membership of that set?
  • Banno
    17.9k
    The answer can only be, 'it depends'.Wayfarer

    But that is only part of the story. You, on your rocket to Mars, will be able to measure your space ship and then calculate the length that the Little Prince will see, using he equations Einstein developed. And he will be able to calculate the length you see. You will agree on the rest length of the ship.

    So what length is it really?Wayfarer

    Both.

    Such facts are not relative to the observer. Truth, more generally, is not always relative.


    You and the prince agree as to what each of you will see.
  • Real Gone Cat
    232


    If I may jump in, the differences in observations are a product of how reality works, not some property of the observers. It is a priori mind.
  • Wayfarer
    16.3k
    The differences in observations are a product of how reality worksReal Gone Cat

    And you know that, how? What unobserved reality can science tell us of, pray?

    Such facts are not relative to the observer.Banno

    Odd then that it's called the 'Theory of Relativity'. Perhaps the name could be improved?
  • Banno
    17.9k
    It sounds a little like pragmatism - 'Well we don't know or have access to ultimate metaphysics (whatever that may be), so let's get on with what we can say and what we do know works.' Is that unfair?Tom Storm

    It's not pragmatism, but that's yet another story.
  • Real Gone Cat
    232


    Um, Einstein predicted it based on science. Confirming observations were made after the predictions.
  • Real Gone Cat
    232


    Which part? "Theory" or "relativity"? Before answering, you might want to check what each means.
  • Banno
    17.9k
    Relativity does to show that reality is dependent on the observer.

    It is based on the converse view, that the laws of physics are the same for all observers. That reality is the same for all observers.
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