• Are there any ideas that can't possibly be expressed using language.
    From a humorous point of view, I find this topic very similar to this one, that is about knowledge rather than language.
    In both cases, a thought comes to my mind: so you think that human language (or knowledge) is now so advanced, so great, so powerful, so perfect, that now the problem is not about finding its possibilities, but about finding its impossibilities! So, now our difficulty is about finding what is not perfect in our language or knowledge. We have serious difficulties at finding limits in our language and knowledge! In other words, we are discovering that we are gods and now, just out of curiosity, we would like to see if there is something able to show that we are not exactly 100% gods!
  • Are there any ideas that can't possibly be expressed using language.

    Epistemology includes criticism about the limits of our scientific knowledge and it warns us against the idea that we can get ultimately objective knowledge. So what does it mean "epistemically objective"?
  • Are there any ideas that can't possibly be expressed using language.
    Actually, from what I said, we can deduce that nothing can be expressed by language. When I say "your subjectivity", I guess and hope that you will be able to find in yourself what I mean. Actually this happens continuously whenever we communicate and use language, even when we communicate with ourselves, which is when we just think.
  • Are there any ideas that can't possibly be expressed using language.
    I think that the idea that, by definition, you cannot express by language, is your subjectivity. When we express things by language, we objectify them. That's why we can talk about subjectivity in general: because we objectify it. But your specific subjectivity cannot be expressed. If we try, we are objectifying it, it isn't anymore your subjectivity. This also means, of course, that by saying "your subjecivity" I cannot know what I am talking about. What I am talking about is actually my hope that you will find inside yourself something similar to what I consider "my specific subjectivity".
  • The New York Declaration on Animal Consciousness
    The example of Daniel Dennett shows that we don't need to be believers to be human. It's the same debate when atheists show that they are able to have humanity, sensitivity, empathy, without needing a religion or a metaphysical morality. I agree with them. When I say that, once we limit ourselves to objectivity, nobody is suffering when someone is tortured, I don't imply that attention to our inexpressible subjectivity is necessary to be human. This would mean posing subjectivity as the basis for a new dogmatic religion. Rather, I think that attention to subjectivity should be considered like art. If someone doesn't have the spirit of a musician, or can't see anything interesting in Van Gogh or Shakespeare, it doesn't mean that that person is a beast ready to kill and torture anybody. Attention to subjectivity is not something that we need, it's not the salvation of humanity. It is just something that some people talk about, refer to.
    In this context I think we should acknowledge that there is no way to definitely, strongly, ban violence from human behaviour. This is the confusion contained in the New York declaration. They want to define a scientific ground to ban violence from humanity, but violence is subjective, you cannot avoid it by taking science as your weapon against violence. Dennett was a good hearted person, he didn't need to add anything to his objectivistic mind to be a generous heart, but that's all. The New York declaration is an attempt to go beyond this: they try to turn science into the necessary thing that religions and morality have been revealed unable to be.
    This is, I think, where attention to subjectivity can not only do something, but especially show the correct methodology: the correct methodology is integrating in a dialog acceptance of unprovable arguments, of which subjectivity is the main one, and science.
    The mixture, the messing up of references to subjectivity and objectivity in the New York declaration is not a completely bad thing: attention to subjectivity and objectivity need to go together, but in a clear dialog, aware of their different characteristics, rather than just in a confused mix, where science is surreptitiously tempted to fill the place that has been left empty by the deconstruction of religions.
  • The New York Declaration on Animal Consciousness

    Thank you very much for this information. I think that the attempt of these scientists is remarkable, especially because they compromise their seriousness by involving themselves in a field that is extremely important, but also very confused and exposed to criticism. I think it is an important sign of a cultural sensitivity that we are getting more and more in last decades.

    I believe it would be useful to clarify the points that can cause confusion.

    The core basis of the declaration is in the few lines paragraph that starts with “What is consciousness?”:

    What is consciousness? The term has a variety of meanings. The New York Declaration on Animal Consciousness focuses on one important meaning, sometimes called “phenomenal consciousness” or “sentience.” The question here is which animals can have subjective experiences. This can include sensory experiences (say, the experience of a particular touch, taste, sight, or smell) as well as experiences that feel good or bad (say, the experience of pleasure, pain, hope, or fear). This sense of the term “consciousness” is what Thomas Nagel had in mind when he famously asked “What is it like to be a bat?”.

    Essentially they say that what consciousness is is completely unclear. Their ultimate reference point is Nagel’s famous article, which doesn’t clarify anything, remains ambiguous, so that, at the end, these scientists have no idea of what they are talking about in their declaration. I am saying this not to ridiculise these scientists, but, on the contrary, to point out their courage, as I said.

    I think that the essential reference point in talking about consciousness is the dialectic relationship between objectivity and subjectivity. This is what is never clarified by Nagel, nor by these scientists, nor by anybody else, as far as I know in my quite limited bunch of information on the topic.

    The paragraph I mentioned “What is consciousness?” is confused exactly because it mixes and messes up references to objectivity and subjectivity in trying to explain what consciousness is.

    If consciousness is an objective phenomenon, it coincides with Chalmer’s “easy problem of consciousness”. As a consequence of this, suffering does not exist, since it is just a series of physical and chemical reactions happening in our body, that has been programmed by nature to favour our survival. This means, for example, that, when a human is tortured, nobody is suffering, what we have is just a series of objective, mechanical, material, measurable phenomenons, the same way when you hit a computer that has been programmed to show signs of suffering, actually nobody is really suffering, despite whatever that computer has been made able to show: it is just a “show”, there is not any actual “somebody” suffering inside that computer. This means that, even when I feel bad, I feel pain, I must interpret it the same way: I am just a theatre where a show happens. Any feelings, pain, suffering, desperation of mine, has to be considered by myself just as mechanical phenomenons. When I am suffering, actually nobody is suffering. This coincides with certain metaphysical constructions that we can find in spiritualities and religions, where everything is explained in terms of a system that works as a whole, despite its complex, diversified or even conflicting and opposing components.

    For some unexplained and inexplicable reason, we humans talk also about subjectivity, which coincides with Chalmer’s “hard problem of consciousness”. To the extent that it is exactly “subjectivity”, it cannot be explained and it has to be impossible to explain it. When we explain something, even when I explain something to myself, we can’t escape using shared concepts and reference points. To the extent that they are shared, they are not entirely subjective anymore. This means that, whenever we talk about subjectivity, we cannot escape turning it automatically into an objective concept made and expressed by objective and shared reference points, so that what we are talking about is not anymore the subjectivity we wanted to explain. This meets Wittgestein’s statement “What can be said at all can be said clearly, and whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent”. According to Wittgestein and to what I said, we must give up any attempt to talk about subjectivity. I disagree with this, because language is not exclusively objective and shared, otherwise art wouldn’t exist, it wouldn’t make sense. Actually there are people who think that art can be entirely reduced to objective phenomenons. This coincides with people who answered Chalmers that a “hard problem of consciousness” does not exist. The same way it is not possible to give evidence of the existence of consciousness meant as subjectivity: if such evidence exists, as those scientists agree in the declaration, then it is not subjectivity anymore, it is objectivity.

    I don’t think we can build any morality, as the declaration tries to do, basing on an objectivistic interpretation of consciousness. They wrote

    “Third, when there is a realistic possibility of conscious experience in an animal, it is irresponsible to ignore that possibility in decisions affecting that animal”.

    Why is it irresponsible? In a mentality that relies on objectivity, a stone that has been broken into small pieces is not something worse than when it was intact, just in one whole piece. The same way an animal, or a human, or a plant, that has been torn in pieces, it doesn’t matter how much “suffering” has been caused, is not something worse than a living being happily enjoying their life. At the end, this is what our cruel universe shows us, not caring at all if our minuscule planet Earth exists or not.

    At the end, we can see that the declaration, by talking about “irresponsibility”, tries to create a scientific basis upon which to build some kind of morality, which is destined to failure, because morality, by definition, cannot be scientific.

    Fortunately the declaration is confused, because it contains references to subjectivity as well. They just don’t realize that subjectivity cannot and mustn’t be proved. As I said, if we prove it, then it is not subjectivity.

    I think that, if we want to include references to subjectivity in our minds, talks, discussions, mentalities, we need to stop with Wittgestein’s mentality and accept that language and philosophy have to accept and welcome their ability to refer to unprovable things and concepts. We need to welcome the methods and styles that are typical of art, poetry, music, and accept the fact that frequently, when somebody asks us to give evidence and clarity of what we are talking about, we cannot give it, they cannot claim evidence and clarity as something always essential, always required and necessary.

    In other words, we need to integrate analytical philosophy, which wants clarity and objectivity, with continental philosophy, that accepts to venture into unprovable concepts.
  • Is there a limit to human knowledge?

    This is like the joke of those who lost their keys in a dark place, but decided to look for them in another place, because in the other place the was light. You can’t solve problems by ignoring them just because they are uncomfortable. If you see that your car is going towards a wall, the solution is not to close your eyes.
    Philosophy shows us that everything can be criticized. The very concept of knowledge can be criticized. This can be uncomfortable and depressing to those who don’t like to explore different ways of thinking. If you don’t like to explore different ways of thinking, what is the point of doing philosophy?
  • Is there a limit to human knowledge?

    You have already mentioned what we can never find out: what is the physical universe? Whatever you answer will just move the question to the concepts you used in your answer. So, at the end, what we can never find out is the meaning of your question itself. Is there anything in this world that we have been able to understand in a definitive way? Is knowledge possible? What is knowledge?
  • Epistemology – Anthropic Relativism
    If there is no other 'world' for us, then there is nothing behind this world of ours, so there is no meta-physicsWolfgang
    Metaphysics in philosophy is not when you refer to some other world; you can be fully metaphysical even without any reference to any other world.
    Therefore I think my question is still without an answer. We can refer it to your latest message: what is supposed to make it non metaphysical? Are you able to say something that is obviously non metaphysical and not just because you say that it is non metaphysical?
  • Epistemology – Anthropic Relativism

    What is supposed to be non metaphysical in your reasoning, what makes it non metaphysical? Saying that you don't want to be metaphysical, or that you want to criticize metaphysics, doesn't make it automatically non metaphysical.
  • Epistemology – Anthropic Relativism

    It depends on your definition of metaphysics. There isn't a simple and universally agreed definition, so I will give you my definition: metaphysics is whenever we build a system of ideas. As a consequence, we cannot escape doing metaphysics, because, as soon as we think, we automatically build some organisation of ideas, so we do metaphysics. What can make a difference is how we deal with it. If we consider our constructions of idea as just hypotheses, acknowledging that they can never be true, then it's fine, we are recognising our human limits. The problem is when we think that our construction is true or might be true. Then we are putting ourselves in an anthropocentric mentality, thinking that reality is, or at least might be, the way we imagine it.
    I agree that this scheme subjectivity/objectivity needs to be criticized, but how? What I see is just people building and rebuilding new or more complex metaphysics, pretending that this way they have done something different, something beyond. But I can't see where the difference is.
  • Epistemology – Anthropic Relativism
    Every existent is instantiated in the world with its modality and interacts with it by means of this modalityWolfgang
    This is a metaphysical statement. As such, it is exposed to the problems and criticism that metaphysics is exposed to.
  • Epistemology – Anthropic Relativism
    World 1 is the world that exists independently of humans, World 2 is the anthropic worldWolfgang
    You cannot escape metaphysics, with all of its problems, just by acknowledging an unknown World 1. You have already built a metaphysical view, because you have built a system of ideas. As such, it is exposed to all criticism that metaphysics is exposed to.
  • Lost in transition – from our minds to an external world…
    So, that's not my brain doing anythingAmadeusD
    On the contrary, your brain is doing everything: it interprets the presence of the eggs, it counts them, it calculates them, draws conclusions and, finally, you used it to write your message. This is actually the essential problem of realists: they decide to ignore their involvement in whatever they think and say, as if what they think and say was something fallen from the heavens and they were invisible and non-existent. This is also the essence of all tricks made by magicians: they try to convince you that what you are seeing is just reality, without any interference of them.
    The same way, like a magician, you are trying to convince me that, in calculating that the eggs are four, your brain has done nothing! Who decided that they are four then?
  • Lost in transition – from our minds to an external world…
    Logic, is not an opinionAmadeusD
    Who establishes that it is not an opinion?
    Saying that logic is not an opinion implies that you can validate its correctness without using your brain. Can you do this? Can you give evidence that 2+2=4 without using your brain? Even if you use any kind of external instruments to get evidence of it, at the end of any validation process there is your brain drawing the conclusion “...then 2+2=4 is correct”. Who guarantees that the final conclusion made by our brain is correct?
  • Lost in transition – from our minds to an external world…

    The psychologist's perspective is limited inside the field of science. Philosophy wants to understand ultimate questions: that's why philosophy tries to criticize knowledge itself and even criticism itself. Science is unable to transcend its own level, because doing this is not a purpose of science. Philosophy tries to transcend systems, to be able to criticize them from a wider and wider perspective. Science cannot go wider than its own field, because science is a closed system, limited by what can be measured, repeated, expressed with maths. Philosophy is not limited to this, philosophy wants to criticize any system, including science. In this perspective, it doesn't matter if science is supported by experiments: philosophy wants to go beyond what can be supported by experiments.
    In this context, thinking that psychologists can solve the problems of philosophy doesn't make sense. Actually, this is not even an intention of psychologists. On the contrary, they have respect for philosophy, because they know that philosophy studies things at a different level.
  • Lost in transition – from our minds to an external world…
    Logic, being (in the context Im taking it) a closed system, doesn't need to be 'checked'. Its either accepted or notAmadeusD
    If accepting logic is ultimately up to you, then logic is just an opinion. Since you get from logic the hypothesis of the existence of an external world, then that hypothesis is an opinion as well.
    This seems to confirm my idea that philosophy is, or should be, art. An artist doesn't claim that things are the way they conceive them; rather, an artist just shares their opinions, emotions, subjectivity, feelings. This way logic is just a particular way of expressing and sharing our subjective, artistic, emotions and feelings.
  • Lost in transition – from our minds to an external world…
    unless im being dishonestAmadeusD
    You don't need to be dishonest to mistrust reason and logic. The problem is that the only way we have to check the reliability of reason and logic is to use them on themselves. How can we trust reason and logic, given that we have no way to assess them without using them again? How can I trust my brain, since I have no way to assess it without making itself in charge of making the assessment, without giving it the responsibility of assessing itself?
  • Lost in transition – from our minds to an external world…
    using reason and logicAmadeusD

    What makes you trust reason and logic?
  • Lost in transition – from our minds to an external world…
    This last option is from Berkeley?Joshs
    Yes, it is very similar to Berkeley.

    It would seem to just reverse the roles that subject and object play in a realist account, by placing an idealist subject in the position of the really real object. What you left out is a relativism which eliminates the distinction between reality and appearance. This allows for the existence of that which is outside of or other than the subject without claiming any foundational status for what appears.Joshs
    I think that your point shows again the essential importance of taking perspectives into account.
    I agree that, until what I said, we have just replaced the external reality with our subjectivity. We can call it solipsism.
    But we need to go further.
    Once we realize that the very idea of “reality” is a creation of our mind, it needs just a step forward to realize that anything we think is a product of our mind. This means that the very idea of being and any logic that we use to structure our thoughts cannot be trusted, because they are products of our mind. The conclusion is that, at the end, we can never know what we are talking about, we have no idea of what the verb “to be” means and we even have no idea about what “having no idea” means.
    At this point, many people object that, this way, philosophy itself becomes simply impossible, because we never know what we are talking about. This objection is, essentially, what produced the creation of analytic philosophy. Analytic philosophers say something like this: “In the middle of the great confusion of perspectives, criticism, interpretations, let’s concentrate on making clarity, precision”.
    I would notice that, when those people say that “this way philosophy itself becomes simply impossible”, it is not philosophy that becomes impossible, but what they think philosophy is, or must be, that becomes impossible.
    They keep an essential idea of philosophy as “understanding”, or “finding truth”. I think that, for any philosopher, it should be obvious to ask “who established or establishes what philosophy is or must be?”.
    At the end, the remedies and objections of realists and analytics seem to be very similar to the funny story where some people lost their keys in a dark place, but they look for them in another place, because in the other place there is light.
    If our research takes us into difficult and uncomfortable places, what is the point of rejecting our research just because it makes us uncomfortable?
    My conclusion is that we are forced to accept that philosophy needs to consider a concept of itself as art, rather than as science. If this makes difficult to understand each other and to distinguish serious research from rubbish, we just need to have patience and to work on the problem, rather than reject it.
    Actually, if the objection about understanding each other and about rubbish was serious, how is that art is possible? Is art itself entirely just a lot of rubbish, confusion and misunderstanding?
    I think this is what makes some philosophers adopt sorts of middle ways, by saying that external reality might exist and so on.
    I think that the hypothesis that external reality might exist is a nonsense: the hypothesis that reality might exists ignores that this hypothesys conceives reality in a subjective way, of course. So, what’s the point of supposing that reality might exist the way we imagine it? It cannot be the way we imagine it, because any imagination is a mirror and any mirror can never be the reality it mirrors: it is always a distortion of what we call “reality”. This means that we have no idea about reality, mirrors, mirroring, being; we have no idea about anything and we cannot escape this conclusion.
  • Lost in transition – from our minds to an external world…

    I don’t think so: I think that, at that point, an infinite number of questions, perspectives, horizons, hypotheses, come up, waiting for us to explore them.
  • Lost in transition – from our minds to an external world…
    For if one is unable to know anything about the external world, then one can not make any claims about it at all – even claiming that knowledge about it is impossible, because that too is knowing something about the external world – namely, that it is unknowableThales
    I think that you are right from your own perspective.
    Actually, what makes a lot of confusion in these discussions about external reality, metaphysics, truth, and so on, is the fact that perspectives are ignored. Instead, perspectives, and the way how they develop and interact in the debate, are essential.
    Let’s try to clarify this question.
    Let’s start from realists’ perspective. They say “Reality, meant as an external world that exists independently from our subjectivity, exists”.
    Non-realists’ perspective starts from agreeing with realists. Non-realists say “Let’s agree. Let’s think that reality exists”.
    Next step taken by non-realists is to aknowledge the existence of subjectivity: whatever we say about reality comes from our subjectivity.
    Until this point, the two perspectives coincide.

    Now let’s go forward: if everything we say about reality comes from our subjectivity, we have no way to have any contact with reality.

    Last paragraph, that I have highlighted in italics, is where you find the logical inconsistency. The inconsistency is produced because this point forces us to create a new perspective, that is the non-realist perspective. At this point we have an inconsistency because the new perspective is actually not fully created yet: we realize that we don’t have contact with reality, but we are still thinking in a mentality that assumes the existence of reality, or, at least, assumes it as possible.

    In order to solve the problem of this inconsistency, we need to complete the creation of the non-realist perspective. To make it complete, we need to realize that, given the described situation, we not only don’t have any contact with reality, but actually, as a consequence, we have absolutely no idea about what the word “reality” means. We need to realize that thinking that it is possible to think of the concept of “reality” is an illusion. If whatever we think comes exclusively from a contact with our own subjectivity, then the very idea of “reality” is an illusion. It is like those who have been born blind and, nonetheless, that try to figure some ideas about what colors are. They do it, they say that they have tried and they have been able to produce some ideas, but it is clear that, whatever idea they have been able to produce inside themselves, it can only be an illusion.

    At this point we can reinterpret and make clear what non-realists say to realists: they actually say “What you call reality must be considered something we cannot have any contact with”. To make it better, they should say “What you call reality is just an illusion produced by imagination”.

    Now you can see that there isn’t inconsistency anymore, because we have clearly separated the two perspectives. We don’t say “Reality cannot be reached”, but “What you call reality cannot be reached”.
  • Meaning of Life
    You have touched such a lot of the deepest questions that have been faced for thousands of years by all human beings. The specialists in these questions habe been essentially philosophy and religion.
    So, first thing first: you are not the first one person in the world raising these questions. People have spent lives, energies, every kind of resources to deal with these questions. Their results can help you a lot, but you cannot understand anything if you want get quick answers: this would be the marketing mentality, of getting things easily, quickly, simply. The problem with this mentality is that it, because of this way of proceeding, says implicitly, and contradictorily, that these questions are not important. I am not saying that this is your mentality: it is just a risk, if you don’t have the patience of dedicating to your questions an appropriate amount of time and study.
    After making your list of questions, I would suggest you to put them in order, any order, whatever order seems best to you. Then start from the first one and start doing some research. At the same time, try to organize your familiarity with philosophy, by organizing a path of study of it.
    This way you will have taken your questions seriously and you will show yourself continuously that you are taking them seriously.
    On the contrary, if you will get randomly distracted by one random question, random discussions, random everything, you will enter the contradiction I referred to: you are giving importance to your questions now, but the way you will end up dealing with them might tell that actually you aren’t.
  • How May the Nature and Experience of Emotions Be Considered Philosophically?
    One of the main latest phenomenons in philosophy has been the distinction between “continental” and “analytical” philosophy. More specifically, I think that continental philosophy has become essentially postmodern philosophy, while we know that analytical philosophy is essentially philosophy of language.

    Postmodern philosophy has ended up realizing that we cannot talk about truth, reality, objectivity as if they were free from the relativization coming from subjectivity, that is present whenever we think and talk.

    It looks like analytical philosophy didn’t like this final result, because it attacks radically our human pride of being able to get in control of everything. As a result, analytical philosophers decided to reveal (I am saying this intentionally: they decided what to reveal before finding what would have been revealed) that whatever we think is managed by language, including whatever we think about subjectivity. This way they have felt like they recovered philosophy to its pride of being in control of everything.

    On the other side, postmoderns can still object that, while studying language, analytical philosophers cannot avoid to do this from inside it, so that the philosophical study of language cannot make any claim of being objective. To the degree that it is objective, it is not philosophy, it is just science. In all aspects where it is not objective, it falls, despite its intentions, into the category of postmodernism, that is, subjectivity.

    You can see that this story, behind the external line, is a story of emotions: the human desire to get in control, get power, understanding, knowing what we are doing. Another side of emotions, instead, likes to dive into them, not to get in control, but to listen and enjoy them; this swimming inside can reveal to us what we are, much more than the method of gaining control can.

    We might say that the whole history of philosophy is an emotional history. When we discuss if reality exists, what being is, whatever line we follow, our decision about our choice on the direction to follow is largely dictated by our emotions. Afterwards, we make all efforts to tell others and ourselves that our choices are a product of logic and reasoning, because admitting that they come just from emotions and desire would make them weak in a debate.

    That said, I think that today a good philosophical way of appreciating emotions is to cultivate the awareness that, whatever we talk about, we are always under its influence, we talk from inside it. Even if I talk about a tree in the forest, I am talking from inside it, because, as soon as I start thinking about it, my emotions and my thoughts are already influenced by it.

    Facing this awareness, we can decide if we want to enjoy the pleasure of swimming inside what we are talking about, welcoming the awareness of our weakness as human beings, or if we still want to behave like immature children, who want control, power, domination. Science is, to a certain degree, on this side, but science does this from inside its well limited framework, science doesn’t make claims of ultimate and universal understanding, that is instead what has made and makes a lot of philosophy childish, immature, psychopathic: wanting total power, universal power.

    Philosophy can dialogue with science, but, if it wants to be philosophy, rather than an immature child who pretends to make science behind the mask of a philosopher, I think it should explore this experience of swimming inside emotions, concepts, logics, reasonings and openly admit it.

    Those monks and so called spiritual masters who cultivate control of emotions do it always from inside a specific understanding of what emotions are, what the world is, what we are, otherwise they wouldn’t have any reason why they should control emotions. At the end, they are still inside this immature will of power, that is raised in our emotional world whenever we try to build metaphysics. It is clear that, according to what they do, they consider emotions as something negative, that needs to be put under control. But how can you know yourself if you embrace the road of metaphysics, framing your mind inside a castle of ideas, wanting to master and to understand, rejecting the way of listening, of weakness, of diving in, swimming, admitting your subjectivity, enjoying your humanity from the inside where you already are?

    These are the ways I see about philosophy and emotions:

    1) let’s leave to science any work that is inspired by control, maths, measurement, power;

    2) let’s be philosophers and do philosophy with the essential awareness of being inside our humanity, weakness, subjectivity; there is a lot, an infinite world to explore from this perspective, because it involves our entire existence;

    3) let’s cultivate a dialogue with science without pretending to go beyond its limits by trying to build confuse, ambiguous, not so honest mixtures of science and metaphysics.
  • The Adelson Checker Shadow Illusion and implications
    Conclude that not everything is relative?Banno

    We cannot conclude that not everything is relative, because this actually brings us to the contradictory consequence that everything is relative. Let me show the process. The starting point is

    1) something is non relative.

    But from here we have these consequences:

    2) non relative means universal, that is, same for all subjectivities, able to take into consideration all subjectivities.

    3) As a consequence, "universal" means able to take into consideration the subjectivity of those who say that something is universal.

    4) If we consider that, whenever someone thinks that something is universal, this is always conditioned by their subjectivity, we have the consequence that the idea of "non relative" is always relative, which is equivalent to say that

    5) everything is relative.

    If we think that 5), as a consequence of itself, is relative and this takes us to the conclusion that something is non relative, we are taken back to point 1). But we have seen that point 1) has, as a consequence, its opposite, that is, point 5). Moreover, as I said before, we cannot apply point 5) to itself, because this would mean adopting a logic that it shows as being unreliable, because it is relative, as point 5) says.

    In this situation, I think the best thing is to adopt point 5), but not considering it as an absolute statement, which would take us to point 1). Rather, we should consider the statement in point 5) as just the best we can conceive, the best way we have, as humans, of thinking about everything. This way we can adopt point 5) without considering it an absolute.
  • The Adelson Checker Shadow Illusion and implications

    I know this objection. I'm going to explain you the question.

    If we say that everything is relative, we are forced, by the content of the statement, to apply it to itself: if everything is relative, it follows that the statement itself must be considered part of everything, so that it is to be considered relative. As a consequence, we are forced to conclude that it is impossible to say that everything is relative, because this statement makes itself relative. Actually, we can reveal a trick in this conclusion, because it chooses to accept and adopt a logic that has to be considered relative, that is, unreliable. Let’s see in detail how the trick works. What follows is the first sight, apparently correct and complete, of the reasoning:

    1) we say that everything is relative;
    2) we apply the content of the statement to the statement itself;
    3) we conclude that the statement itself is relative.

    Now let’s reveal and show the steps that are actually hidden and ignored in this reasoning.

    1) We say that everything is relative.

    1a) Hidden step. We accept and adopt the logic that allows to formulate the statement, in order to deduce its consequences.
    2) We apply the content of the statement to the statement itself.

    3) We conclude that the statement itself is relative.

    3a) Ignored step. If the statement is relative, its logic cannot be adopted, because relative means unreliable.
    3b) Ignored step. If its logic can’t be adopted, we must nullify point number 2).
    3c) Ignored step. As a consequence, the statement “everything is relative” can’t be criticized, because, in order to criticize it, we need to make use of its logic, but we have seen that adopting its logic brings to negate its logic itself.

    As is shown, once we have realized that everything is relative, we can’t carry on by applying the statement to itself. If we want to carry on with something, we need to adopt different logics, different structures, different languages and ways of reasoning.

    If we think that, since its logic is invalid, then even point 1 must be negated, this conclusion, actually, doesn't take us to any better situation: we will have to face even more difficulties and contradictions.
  • The Adelson Checker Shadow Illusion and implications

    My conclusion is that, since we cannot think without using our mind, therefore whatever we think cannot claim any truth, any reality, any objectivity.
  • The Adelson Checker Shadow Illusion and implications

    It is, but I cannot understand how you get the conclusion "therefore one cannot think".
  • The Adelson Checker Shadow Illusion and implications

    Can you give any evidence that in what you said there is anything, even just a tiny bit, free from any conditioning of your mind?
  • The Adelson Checker Shadow Illusion and implications

    I cannot know why I am barking loud: it is like wanting to explain why we do philosophy. We just do it, we don’t know the reason. We don’t even know what “reason” means, so how can we know the reason?
    You cannot believe me, because we believe what we think is truth, but I am not saying truth, I just bark.
  • The Adelson Checker Shadow Illusion and implications
    It cannot work. Thinking that it works, even just a little, means that we have some ability get access to the truth, to reality, to how the world really is. This is what some philosophers do, trying to save metaphysics, at least just a bit, seeing that metaphysics doesn’t work. But this isn’t so correct intellectually: metaphysics is not about a degree of validity. If one tiny bit of metaphysics works, it just means that metaphysics works, it doesn’t matter how much. But the problem with metaphysics is total, just because metaphysics itself is about the total, the universal. It is the very concept of truth itself that is pretentious, it is an attempt to definitely master the world, even if a specific philosopher can have a very humble heart and doesn’t realize how much will of power is contained in concept of “truth”.
    Metaphysics cannot work because it is contradictory. Once we realize this, it means that every bit of it is contradictory, it doesn’t matter how tiny this bit is.
  • The Adelson Checker Shadow Illusion and implications
    You do not directly experience even your mind, because even the very concepts of “direct”, “experience” and “mind” are all constructions of our mind. We can go further, to a meta-level, and realize that even the conclusion that everything is a construction of our mind must be, of course, a construction of our mind. We might conclude that we never know what we are talking about, what we are perceiving, what we are thinking. Everything is filtered, contaminated, polluted, distorted, changed, and even by writing this very line I cannot say that I know what I am saying, what I am talking about.
    All of this is just fine: it is just a result of the roughness of philosophy, despite our idea that philosophy is something very clever, very refined. It is just a very rough and weird playing with words, ideas, concepts, that were born to manage our existence in this world, to chase animals, to manage our social relationships. Imagine a dog who decides to elaborate his production of different ways of barking, feelings, reacting, to build a whole system that is supposed to get him an intellectual mastering about how the world is, how things work. This is philosophy. Obviously, an organized system of barking will never be able to master an understanding of the world. Curiosly, humans think they can, and then they are even surprised seeing that it doesn’t work.
  • What characterizes the mindset associated with honesty?
    Honesty does not exist, it never existed.

    Let’s go to the very roots of the question.

    Maths is not honest when it tells you that 2+2=4, because that moment Maths is hiding from you all the contradictions and absurdities that it contains, such as imaginary and irrational numbers. If Maths, that we assume as the most elementary base that we can conceive at the roots of the world, is dishonest and contradictory, if nature itself is dishonest, how can we be honest? This means that the very concept of honesty is just a product of our creative imagination, like winged horses.

    We can try to be honest, because we need to criticize the metaphysics of Maths, but we can only proceed in a very humble way, by vague, weak and generic attempts, referring to our creativity, poetry, humanity, making use of a lot of criticism and self-criticism, nothing more precise or definite than this.
  • What is love?
    I think most philosophers failed in dealing with the topic of love, either by ignoring it or by dealing with it in a wrong way, like the examples you referred to, because they have been, and still are, conditioned by an idea of doing philosophy that is meant as power over concepts, grasping, defining, mastering, controlling, dominating. This mentality contradicts radically the topic it wants to deal with: an essential aspect of love is vulnerability, that is, you choose to lower many of your protective defenses, walls, barriers, screens, you choose to expose yourself to the other person to help contact, communication, understanding, as much as possible, as directly as possible, you accept to be deeply questioned.

    In this context we should try to avoid falling exactly in the same mistake in this very discussion, wanting to get a strong understanding, a mastering definition, of what love is.

    Once we have realized this, the question becomes: why do we want to define love? Why do we want to understand it? Are our reasons equal to the topic we dare to deal with? Is the very concept of “understanding” equal enough to the topic of “love”?

    That said, it seems to me that all definitions referring to the concept of “union” fail to say anything meaningful about love. They are just metaphysical stratagems used by metaphysical mentalities who want to dominate love, which is an hypocritical oxymoron, hiding our lack of humility. You can easily realize that you can love without union and you can be united with somebody without love. Union is nothing about love, it is just an abstract metaphysical concept that winks at some emotional involvement.

    Once we have made clear that metaphysics (that is wanting to understand what, how, why, things are) is irrelevant about the topic of love, we need an alternative ground to start from.

    My alternative ground is the mentality of becoming, that is connected to relativism, postmodernism, subjectivity, self-criticism.

    This makes me define love as a set of three essential elements, each of them necessary for love to exist, and all of them suffient, that is, if all of them are there, then love is there for sure. They are:

    1) growing
    2) helping to grow
    3) emotional involvement.

    “Growing” means that you want to improve, question, self-criticize yourself for all of your life, about any aspect of you; you never take for granted that you are right, that you have got the truth. This guides you to expose, to a certain degree, your vulnerability to the other person, depending on the different situations.

    Helping to grow means that you want to be active to do the best you can to help the other person to grow; in this context you need to consider both what growing means to the other person and what it means to you. Both perspectives might be right or wrong, what is important and overcomes any problem is doing it in the context of point 1: I want to help you to grow in a context of questioning what growing means to you and what it means to me.

    All of this work about growing would be not so human, not so fully involving, if it doesn’t involve emotions. This has an important role in making the different kinds of love: the different kinds of emotional and bodily involvement make an essential difference between love for your children, love for you partner, love for your preferred hobby and so on.

    Once you make clear these three points, you can easily realize that you don’t need metaphysics of what “union” or “person” is; such metaphysics are useless and totally exposed to criticism.

    If you are practicing the three things I said, you are loving already and you are already on a path of growing and improving your love. You don’t need anything else, you don’t need to wonder if there is union between you and the other person, you don’t need to have clear metaphysical, philosophical concepts. I think this can help people to grow in their ability to love, rather than reflecting about their union with other people, with the world or with other things.
  • Why is rational agreement so elusive?
    As a postmodern, as a follower of Vattimo’s weak thought, I see all of this as the nth temptation of philosophy to establish a good ground to support dictatorship.

    We can even interpret the whole world, nature itself, as something fortunately based on contradiction and disagreement. I agree that contradiction and disagreement cause suffering, but this suffering is much less than suffering caused by dictatorship. Think of Hitler: he is the reference point of the attempt of our minds to get agreement from other people. Fortunately nature continuously disagrees with itself. This confuses us, our human nature needs a degree of agreement, comfort, love, support, but what we need is not agreement as a fundamental philosophical category. The fundamental philosophical category should be the opposite: disagreement, progress, research, looking for new and different things. The mentality that looks for agreement prepares racism, so that those who have different cultures, different mentalities, are seen as a problem rather than as a resource to make us and the world rich of variety and difference. Disagreement is the treasure that we should be looking for every day and every moment, more precious than gold and diamonds.
    As I said, we are humans, we need degrees of comfort. For this reason we should be careful not to turn disagreement into a new metaphysics, a new system.

    it can puzzle and distress individual philosophersJ
    If disagreement puzzles and distresses any philosophers, this tells me that they are far from being good philosophers, they are just aspiring dictators that don’t like to be contradicted.

    high hopes for something like a scientific philosophical methodJ
    Let’s leave science to scientists and philosophy to philosophers. Philosophy can dialogue with science, of course, but a philosophy that wants to be science is just disguised dictatorship.

    What can we discover in the history and practice of philosophy that might account for such widespread inability to converge on a consensus?J
    This inability to converge on a consensus is exactly what has made philosophy productive, a way for growth, discovery, progress, in any epoch.

    Now you might answer: “Well, I disagree totally with you and, as a consequence, you should be very happy about this”. :grin: This would be just a trick, because disagreement from love for disagreement means wanting, at the end, and environment where disagreement is discouraged. So, in that case you would disagree with me, not because you want to encourage disagreement, but for the opposite. In other words, the disagreement of Hitler with Hebrews is much different from the disagreement of Hebrews with Hitler, they are the opposite of each other in their final result.

    You can notice that my disagreement from you is an encouragement to discuss, explore different perspectives, enlarge our horizons; your disagreement from me would mean, instead, discouragement of plurality, invitation to close our minds and our horizons inside some kind of cage.
  • Why is rational agreement so elusive?
    A philosopher is free to recommend other approachesJ

    So, why do you see disagreement as a problem? Why should philosophers agree about something?
  • Why is rational agreement so elusive?
    It looks like you identify philosophy with rationality, but they are not the same thing.
  • Argument for deterministic free will

    You can't say anything about the nature of the world, because in that case you are just making metaphysics, which is self contradictory, because metaphysics claims to be able to embrace all perspectives, while actually it ignores that itself belongs to a limited perspective.
    So, you can't say that the world is systematic, because in that case you are just generalising a concept that actually belongs to your specific perspective.
  • The Mind-Created World
    one cannot argue seriously for the impossibility of the conditions of an argument being meaningfulplaque flag

    Haven't you said this from your own perspective?
  • The Mind-Created World
    perspective can't really be avoidedWayfarer

    I agree, but we should be careful not to turn perspectives into objective realities. This mistake can be avoided by considering that, by talking about perspectives, we, as a consequence, need to apply the relativity of everything to the idea of perspectives as well, so that, at the end, we need to admit that, ultimately, we don't know what we are talking about.

Angelo Cannata

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