• The Hard Problem of Consciousness & the Fundamental Abstraction

    As I argued in my article, there is no reason to think that physics has no intentional effects.Dfpolis
    I mistyped. I meant. "As I argued in my article, there is no reason to think physics has intentional effects."
  • The Hard Problem of Consciousness & the Fundamental Abstraction
    Does agent-intellect have three essential functions? Are they: entanglement, causation, over-arching cognition?ucarr
    As Aristotle defined it, the agent intellect has one function: to make intelligibility actually known. I am identifying this with the act of awareness, by which neurally encoded contents are recognized.
  • How should we define 'knowledge'?
    Again, this begs the question. If you assume the possibility, you are not investigating it, you're simply declaring it.Isaac
    Not at all. I am articulating a common and accepted view, viz. that people are capable of self-deception. Cf. Zengdan Jian, Wenjie Zhang, Ling Tian, Wei Fan and Yiping Zhong, "Self-Deception Reduces Cognitive Load: The Role of Involuntary Conscious Memory Impairment," Frontiers of Psychology 10 (30 July 2019)
    People often hear classic allusions such as plugging one’s ears while stealing a bell, pointing to a deer and calling it a horse, drawing cakes to satisfy one’s hunger, and the emperor’s new clothes. These allusions reflect the principle that people believe in nonexistent phenomena to satisfy their desires. This is called “self-deception.” Self-deception is a personality trait and an independent mental state, it involves a combination of a conscious motivational false belief and a contradictory unconscious real belief. — Jain et al. (2019)
    What they are calling "a contradictory unconscious real belief" I am calling "knowledge."

    Further references:
    Z. Chance, M. I. Norton, F. Gino, and D. Ariely (2011). "Temporal view of the costs and benefits of self-deception." Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 108, 15655–15659.
    W. Hippel and R. Trivers(2011). "The evolution and psychology of self-deception," Behav. Brain Sci. 34, 1–56.
    J. Liu, W. Zhang, Y. Zhan, L. Song, P. Guan, D. Kang, et al. (2019). "The effect of negative feedback on positive beliefs in self-deception," Front. Psychol. 10, 702–713.
    M. Ren, B. Zhong, W. Fan, H. Dai, B. Yang, W. Zhang, et al. (2018). "The influence of self-control and social status on self-deception," Front. Psychol. 9, 1256–1267.
    I could go on, but this should suffice.

    There's obviously a difference between mere belief and actual knowledge, but that difference is not sufficient to justify a claim that people believe something despite knowing its opposite.Isaac
    I am not saying it is sufficient. I am saying that it is an accepted psychological fact that some people self-deceive as described by Jain et al. above.

    people acting as if p is not an indicator that they believe p, it is an indicator that they believe acting as if p is in their best interests.Isaac
    I would say that it could indicate either. I only claimed that acting on a belief was a sign of commitment, not that it necessarily entailed commitment. Smoke is a sign of fire, but that does not mean that every instance of spoke entails an instance of fire.

    stuff you believe is true is not necessarily true.Isaac
    We agree entirely on this.

    Just because you personally believe Trump didn't have the largest crowds, doesn't mean he didn't. you didn't personally count them, you didn't personally see them.Isaac
    I saw the picture of his crowd next to the picture of Obama's crowd. You could pettifog with various objections, but that is a rational basis for my conclusion on crowd size.

    It is perfectly rational behaviour to not trust those othersIsaac
    Hardly! It is paranoid behavior unless one has specific sound reasons for distrusting. I suggest you consult DSM 5.
    PPD (Paranoid Personality Disorder) is a DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition), diagnosis assigned to individuals who have a pervasive, persistent, and enduring mistrust of others, and a profoundly cynical view of others and the world.American Psychiatric Association, 2013

    Case in point. who told you he told over 13,000 lies?Isaac
    Pettifogging. You are creating a diversion instead of addressing my point that no rational follower of D.T. could fail to notice many of his lies.

    That may well be true, but you haven't demonstrated that he, at the same time, knows it to be true that his crowds were smaller.Isaac
    I am not seeking metaphysical certitude with my examples. I am merely suggesting directions to look in order to see what I see. So, raising possible alternatives in specific cases misses the point. The point is that this type of behavior occurs, and it is useful to reflect upon it. It is not that my example is infallibly a case of such behavior. I am morally certain it is -- certain beyond a reasonable doubt. Aides normally inform presidents of such things. I am not metaphysically certain that it is -- my conclusion lacks absolute necessity.

    I'm arguing that there is no ground for saying that external objects (with properties consistent to that object) exist outside of our definition of them.Isaac
    "No ground"? In that case, you have a long way to go. It seems clear to me that many of our perceptions have specific, enduring sources, and that specificity grounds our property concepts.

    no grounds for assuming that it could not have been otherwise.Isaac
    I agree that sensible objects have no intrinsic necessity. They are metaphysically contingent. Beyond that, I have no idea what you mean by thinking it could have been otherwise. Do you mean that ants might not have evolved? Or that we might not have noticed that ants are organic unities, and so might not have formed the concept <ant>? Or that we could have evolved without giving "privilege" to sensations of organisms? Or what?

    Like the constellation Orion. It definitely is in the shape of a man with a belt and a bow. We're not making that up. But it is also in the shape of dozens of other things we've chosen to ignore.Isaac
    Quite true, but, I think, entirely irrelevant. In thinking of an ant, we are not saying this little six-legged thing in the sugar bowl is like something else. We are saying it is an ant. It is also like many other things -- say, a moving speck of pepper -- but that likeness is irrelevant to calling it "an ant." We call it "an ant" because it has the objective capacity to elicit our concept <ant> -- not because it is like a moving pepper speck. Orion does not have the objective capacity to elicit the notes of comprehension in our concept <a man with a belt and a bow>.
  • The Hard Problem of Consciousness & the Fundamental Abstraction
    What degree of variation or change in an ordered sequence crosses the threshold dividing integral change from entropic breakdown? Entropy, a thermodynamic measurement essential to systems theory feels to me like a suitable context in which to pursue a contemporary and useful definition of order.ucarr
    In statistical mechanics, entropy measures how many microscopic states could underlie a macroscopic state. It is only defined for closed systems. For example, in a box filled with a gas, many microscopic states could underlie a uniform temperature. Vastly fewer microscopic states have high temperature at one end and low temperature at the other. We can conclude that random motion is far more likely to produce one of the many uniform temperature macroscopic states than one of the few large temperature difference macroscopic states. Still, there is a theorem that says, if you wait long enough, the system will get as close as you like to any distribution you choose. Sadly, the wait times are large compared to the age of the universe.

    The question is, how do we connect this relation between the macroscopic and the microscopic to order as a philosophical concept? Do we really want to define philosophic order in terms of the number of its possible microscopic realizations? I think such a definition would miss the point entirely. It seems to me that the idea of order is related to unity and intelligibility, rather than microscopic realizations, which were never thought of by classic authors. We see things as ordered, for example, when they are directed to a single end -- e.g., the parts of an organism being ordered to sustaining its life or propagating its species.
  • The Hard Problem of Consciousness & the Fundamental Abstraction
    I do not think that this could be the case, because the growing seed is subjected to external forces, these are accidents, and the way that the growing form responds produces a unique order.Metaphysician Undercover
    That was the reason for my hesitation.

    This is why evolution is possible, and consequently a reality.Metaphysician Undercover
    That was Lamarck's theory. It is not the current view.

    This provides for the reality of a being with free will, the form in the mind must be created from within, rather than determined by the external accidents.Metaphysician Undercover
    As I argued in my article, there is no reason to think that physics has no intentional effects. So, how could physcal interactions produce free will?
  • How should we define 'knowledge'?
    Well, no. Atheists believe there is no God, or theists believe there is a God. Will has little to do with it.Banno
    They both cannot know what they claim, so what kind of act do you see engendering belief? And, when they each believe what they believe, is that not the same as being committed to that position?

    Why? As in, why must there be a commitment?Banno
    If you engaged in a discussion of God's existence, you would quickly find that theists and atheists are strongly committed to their positions. So, it is a contingent fact that firm belief is inseparable from firm commitment.

    And when you take this far enough, will becomes no more than intentionality - directedness.Banno
    Almost. It is the cause of intentionality in the sense of directedness.
  • How should we define 'knowledge'?
    One might will oneself to believe Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs will win against the Sharks, but one does not will oneself to believe that this text is in English.Banno
    Perhaps not, but either atheists will themselves to believe there is no God, or theists will themselves to believe there is a God. Both cannot know the truth of the matter, despite claiming that they do. So, there must be another source of their commitment. I claim that it is will.

    While one might be said to will oneself to act in a certain way based on one's beliefs, one does not in every case will oneself to believe this or that.Banno
    I agree that generally these acts are spontaneous rather than the consequence of deep reflection. I do not think that willing requires such reflection. I think that in most cases it is a spontaneous and unreflective valuing.

    Returning to your example, it takes no "will power" a la William James to commit to the truth of "This text is in English." We spontaneously value (are drawn to the goodness) of truth, and that valuing results in commitment. So, believing what we know is the normal response.
  • The Hard Problem of Consciousness & the Fundamental Abstraction
    n other words, do we have distinct properties that are inseparable?ucarr
    I suspect so, but we need a good definition of order to do the analysis.

    Please assess the following conjecture: An apple is an ordered state of being of an existing thing. By definition, its order is active, not potential*.ucarr
    Again, I think this is putting the cart before the horse. We need to go through the Socratic exercise of finding a good definition. I think we can agree that where order occurs, it is actual, not potential.

    About the seed: I wonder if it does not already have all the order that the mature tree will have, but packed tighter. If not, where would the tree's order originate? I am reminded of St. Augustine's idea of rationes seminales, which were supposed to contain all the information needed for future creatures.
  • How should we define 'knowledge'?
    I'd characterise this differently. The child, ex hypothesi, believes they only want to complain; they do not believe they are hungry, and hence can not know that they are hungry.Banno
    The problem with this is that the sequence begins by the child knowing they are hungry. Being convinced they are not is an abusive consequence of that.

    Believing it adds a commitment to its truth. — Dfpolis

    I think that wording is misleading. You'r over egging the cake.
    I think the difficulty is that in common use, believing and knowing are often used interchangeably. The question is, is there a difference between being aware of a state and being willing to act (even mentally) on the fact of that state. I am saying there is.

    here's a difference between something's being believed because one wills it and someone willing some act as a consequence of their belief.Banno
    I would say that if you claim to believe something, and are unwilling to act on that "belief," you do not really believe it.
  • How should we define 'knowledge'?
    In your example, lying about the crowd size is 'acting as if it were bigger'. It's acting entirely consistently with two other beliefs. 1) the crowd size was smaller, and 2) if I say it was bigger nonetheless, some people might believe me and I might be more popular. It Trump believed (1) and (2), he would act as he did. His 'commitment' to those two beliefs would be demonstrated in his claiming "the crowds were the biggest".Isaac
    I agree that this is possible and likely. Still, the possibility that Trump may have convinced even himself (self-deluded) is all that I need to show that knowledge is not a species of belief. In that case, he may well have seen the pictures comparing his to the Obama inauguration crowds, found them so distasteful that he put them out of his mind, and comforted himself with the belief that his was crowd was bigger.

    It's perfectly rational to construct a system of beliefs where one cannot trust the media representationsIsaac
    The question is not if it is rational, but if it is possible, to construct beliefs. One cannot construct knowledge out of whole cloth, only make explicit what was only implicit in what we already know. One might construct a belief that was adequate to reality, but unless it was informed by the reality it was about, it would not be knowledge. Its adequacy would be accidental -- a coincidence.

    Given that such a construct is a true belief, adding rational justification cannot convert it into knowledge, unless that justification is being aware of the relevant intelligibility. This is the same point made in a different way by Al Goldman's response to the Gettier problem (“A Causal Theory of Knowing,” Journal of Philosophy (1967), 64, 357-72.) Knowledge, in the strictest sense, requires a causal chain of action linking object to subject in which the former informs the latter. This is not to deny that in both common and technical use, what is called "knowledge" turns out to be "justified" belief -- for example, the "knowledge" that the world is determined by Newtonian mechanics. This was simply an over-commitment to a theory with a limited range of application, i.e. believing in Newtonian mechanism.

    Suppose I am lied to by a usually reliable source. I am morally justified in believing what I am told, but the belief is false. (The justification is surely moral, rather than logical, because it is based on an estimation of character.) On the other hand, if my source is reporting what actually she actually experienced, there is a line of action from the objective event to my information-bearing neural state. So, I know (by my definition). This leaves us with no infallible test for knowing, vs. merely believing, p, but there is no reason why we should have such a test. We can only know and believe as humans do, i.e. fallibly.

    We can only act on rational beliefs, but now we are talking about the basis of action, not simple knowledge. Our willingness to act on p is what I am calling commitment to the truth of p or believing p. It is different from knowing it is the case that p. We can know p, but lack the confidence to commit to the truth of p, and act on it.

    Aquinas offers a related insight in the Summa Theologiae in discussing commitment to God as our end, which he calls "intentionality toward God." He writes that we know we are committed to an end when we will the means to that end. In other words, when we "walk the walk" instead of merely "talking the talk." That is why I offer action premised on p as a sign of commitment to the truth of p.

    there's nothing in such a belief system which is contrary to that same person's knowledge.Isaac
    I would suggest that with over 13,000 lies in office, it is virtually impossible to follow Trump and not to know he routinely lies.

    You call the awareness of their state "believing." I find that confusing because people also believe things they have no knowledge of. — Dfpolis

    That's begging the question.
    How can being confused be begging the question? My only assertion was that "people ... believe things they have no knowledge of." Are you denying that?

    Nothing in the actions you describe requires p to be true.Isaac
    Again, it need not be true in every case. If there is one case in which a rational actor knows p is false and acts based on the belief that p is true, by the modus tollens, knowledge is not a species of belief.

    he's committing to it being false and acting to cover up that fact.Isaac
    It is my opinion, based on listening to Mary Trump, Donald's niece and a clinical psychologist, that Donald could never commit to his crowd size being less than that of an African American. He would see it as being utterly demeaning and so impossible.

    o. The information from assumed external states effects the changes described. All external states.Isaac
    Information is an abstraction, not encountered in a disembodied form. Rather, there are informing actions: sending a message, forming an image on the retina, causing cochlear cilia to vibrate, etc. Sensible objects are agents that effect changes in sense organs, and it is those changes, specified jointly by the nature of the object and of the organ, that embodies information.

    Claude Shannon defined information as a reduction in possibility. Of all the possible ways in which the sense organ could be affected, it is affected in a way specified by the action of the sensible object. The object's essence is the specification of its possible actions. So, the actual action of the object on the organ informs us about the object's essence/specification -- the way it acts on us is one of the ways it can act.

    External states are not "assumed." They are consequent on how we structure our experience. In other words, "external states" is the name we give to the source of certain experiential contents, as "internal states" is the name given to the source of other contents or aspects of contents. You can deny that experienced contents have a source, but if you do, you are a solipsist, and we have no basis for further communication as, in your view, I may not be real.

    The entirely of the heterogeneous soup of data states that the hypothesise as being external to our system.Isaac
    This is not a sentence.

    No 'objects' are defined prior to our defining them.Isaac
    I find this unintelligible until you define "'objects.'" There are sensible existents with organic unity prior to being perceived. I could argue this, but the burden is on you to clarify and possibly justify your claim.

    Very different groups of people have different rules of distinction. Take colour, for example. There are several different ways of dividing up colour responses in different culture. the evidence seems, rather, to point in the direction of language and culture being at least substantially, if not mainly, responsible for the 'dividing up' of our sensory inputs into objects.Isaac

    I have no problem with projecting experience into different conceptual spaces. I raised the issue in my first (Metaphilosophy) paper and discussed it in my last three articles. However, the existence of diverse conceptual spaces does not entail the non-existence of organic unities, aka organisms. Further, your dismissal of my evolutionary explanation suggests that you not only reject organisms, but the modern evolutionary synthesis that explains their genesis.

    I note that language expresses thought, making thought ontologically prior to language. We often struggle to find le mot juste to express our thought, showing that thought is not totally dependent upon language.

    I agree that culture can and does shape our conceptual space, but it typically does so through the medium of language. Since language does not preclude thought that cannot be linguistically expressed, there is no reason to think that culture is the only source of one's conceptual space. In confirmation of this, we see that new concepts constantly come into being.

    This would be to privilege one neural response above others. without begging the question, you've no grounds on which to do thatIsaac
    Of course, I do. Experiments show that some stimuli activate specific neural net nodes while others do not. Those that activate nodes might be called "privileged" (your term, not mine).

    None of these responses is the 'real' one (with others being merely peripheral). Only our culturally embedded values can determine such a thing. Scientifically, they're all just equally valid responses of a system to stimuli.Isaac
    You are mischaracterizing my position. I do not deny that any neural response is real. Still, some activate nodes formed by prior experience, and some do not. Those that do not lack discernible immediate consequences. They may not even activate the next neuron.

    So, our evolution and experience make certain stimuli "privileged" in your jargon. Evolution plays a role because other organisms can be predators, sources of nourishment, and/or otherwise dangerous or useful -- making it advantageous for them to be "privileged." Thus, there is good reason to think that nature rather than nurture makes ostensible unities (Aristotle's tode ti = this something) "privileged." We relate to the world precisely as humans, and not as abstract data processors. Still, we would not have adapted to privilege organisms were there no organisms to privilege.

    And no neural structures correspond with 'tree' either (or at least not consistently).Isaac
    I am not a metaphysical naturalist, but I think this claim is unsupportable. The neural net model seems a reasonable first approximation to how information is categorized. If so, there ought to be nodes assocated with each sortal in our conceptual space and activated by its instances. Thus, there ought to be a "tree" node, which is activated by encountering trees. Further, its activation should be consistent, though not infallible. If not, we would have great difficulty in predicating "tree" of an oak we have encountered.

    Scientifically, they're all just equally valid responses of a system to stimuli.Isaac
    I am not sure what you mean by "valid" here. Are all responses equally logical? No. Equally adaptive? No. Equally effective in activating sortal nodes? No. They are only equal in all existing. That does not make them "valid" in any sense I can think of.

    It's not 'pathological'. We hallucinate, for example, the content of a scene which is behind our punctum caecum. We hallucinate a stable scene despite regular changes in the angle of perception.Isaac
    To hallucionate is to "experience an apparent sensory perception of something that is not actually present." I am discussing the case where an object is actually present. Thus, what you are describing does not meet the defintion of a hallucination.

    Still, I agree: we fill in data. I discuss filling in motion between cinema frames in my book. Neural data processing is an adaptive resonse to the action of the object. Just to be clear, I am not claiming that the "image" we see in our minds corresponds one-to-one with the object seen. It does not.

    My claim is that our intellect being informed by the intelligible object is identically the intelligible object informing our intellect. That claim is incontrovertible, as it merely identifies alternate formulations of a single event. It also implies that knowing is not purely objective, as some believe, but a subject-object relation. Thus, it is as inescapably subjective as it is inescapably objective.

    None of the filling-in of data we are discussing would or could occur were there not objective information to supplement in what has proven to be a normally adaptive response -- and there is no response without something to respond to.
  • How should we define 'knowledge'?
    What makes you think he committed to that? He said it. He probably lied.Isaac
    He certainly lied. The sign of commitment is subsequent behavior, not a clear conscience. I could distinguish sincere and insincere commitment, and say that the intentional state we call belief requires sincere commitment. I am unsure precisely how to define sincere commitment. Using behavior as a criterion is pretty clear-cut. Suggestions?

    What do you mean 'no basis'? Trump said it. That's basis for someone who trusts Trump.Isaac
    I mean no basis in reality, of course.

    Again, this doesn't mean they believe they have sufficient funds, it just means they're going to do it anyway.Isaac
    We are saying the same thing in different ways. You call the awareness of their state "believing." I find that confusing because people also believe things they have no knowledge of. So, I choose to call awareness of reality "knowing." Further, if you are going to do something that rationally requires p to be true, I call that committing to the truth of p -- and we agree that people do that knowing that p is false.

    Without actually asking you just come across a really arrogant, assuming you know what's going on in other people's minds.Isaac
    If I accused a particular person, that would be arrogant and presumptuous. To say that it happens without accusing a specific person is not. It is a generalization based on experience.

    nowhere in it does the object even make an appearance.Isaac
    Of course, it does. The action of the object on the sensing subject effects the changes described.

    "the Tree" hasn't even got in there yet, nor will it until much after the visual cortex has finished with the processing.Isaac
    You are confusing having sense data, with the classification of sense data. To apply the term "the tree" we need to classify the "this something" (Aristotle's tode ti), a particular sensory complex, as an instance of a sortal. That comes later. The perceived interacts with its environment in specific ways, one of which is to scatter light capable of being focused into a retinal image into our eyes. That image, together with data from other sensory modalities (perhaps the smell of pine or of orange blossoms), combines into what Aristotle called the phantasm (cf. the binding problem), which we now know to be a modification of our neural state.

    We identify organic unities because it was evolutionarily advantageous to do so. If it were not, we might well model the world differently. If "this something," the preceived unity, turns out to be a tree, it will be because it has an organic unity and function that qualifies it as an instance of the sortal or universal concept <tree>.

    Once we have a sensory "representation," Humean association comes into play. I think of it in terms of the activation of specific nodes in our neural net. An "image" of the setting sun may activate nodes representing other experiences of the sun, together with those of beach balls, golden orbs, etc. None of these associations is a classifying judgement. They are merely candidates for comparison. Still, their activation is the result of the sun's action on, the sun's dynamic presence in, the sensing subject. This is not to deny that they are also the inheritance of prior experience.

    In fact, nothing we could call "the Tree" arrives in the whole process until at least the inferotemporal cortex near the end of the ventral stream.Until that point, the photons from beside the tree and the photons from the tree are processed exactly the same way, no distinction is made.Isaac
    While it is of great neurophysiological import where and when various stages of sensory processing occur, it is really of little philosophical interest. What is of interest is that they do occur, and occur in and can be explained by, our neurophysiology.

    However, I think we still need to be careful in identifying the experience as (as opposed to associating it with) a tree. As Paul M. Churchland notes, no neural structures correspond to propositional attitudes ("Eliminative materialism and the propositional attitudes," The Journal of
    (1981) 78, pp. 67-90.)

    The idea that objects are recognised as a result of some unique 'signal' sent from them is not supported by the science on the matter.Isaac
    I do not recall asserting this. In a recent article, I argued the opposite ( p. 855 in discussing the definition of man).

    without the action of the object, none of the consequent changes of neural state, which are our visual representation of the object, would exist. — Dfpolis

    This is also untrue. Hallucinations are an obvious example of objects having the appropriate neural state associated with their presence being created, without their actually being there.
    You are mixing cases. I am speaking of the normal perception of an existing sense object. I am not discussing pathological conditions. Please deal with the case at hand. In the case you describe, there is no sensed object, only a neural disturbance.

    In normal sensation, the sensible object informing our nervous system is identically our nervous system being informed by the sensible object. These are alternate formulations of one and the same process.
  • How should we define 'knowledge'?
    By 'further specifying the "attitude" as commitment'.Banno
    I do not understand the contradiction.

    But "taking p to be true" is not the same as "willing P to be true".Banno
    Of course, it is not. We do not will p to be true. We will to act as if p is true (or false). While commitment is an intentional act, it has behavioral consequences. (See my response to Ludwig V above.)

    I am glad we agree.
  • How should we define 'knowledge'?
    First, some options are imagined. — Dfpolis

    Could you clarify whether this is an action and, if so, a rational action?
    Ludwig V
    Yes, generating initial options for consideration is an action, but it need not be rational in the sense that the options result from judgement. Judgements come later, after there are options to judge. I see it as akin to Humean association, which results from neural net activation processes.

    I would agree. But I would not believe that I chose to focus my attention elsewhere.Ludwig V
    Choices need not require long reflection. I have not been in battle, but I have been in life and death situations, and I know I chose my responses in under a second. Teachers of meditative practice train their disciples to focus their minds, excluding distractions from the chosen object. In my paper, I cite numerous philosophers' examples of consciousness focusing on one thing, while generating complex neurophysical behavior or responses to unrelated stimuli.

    The point is that physical stimuli cannot make themselves known. We must choose to attend to them. How conscious that choice is varies among individuals. By default, we choose to attend to our body as presented by sensation, perhaps unaware that other options are available.

    How does doubt affect our commitment to the truth of what we know if it does not undermine it.?Ludwig V
    It does not. The truth is unaffected, which is why the Cartesian meditation does not undermine cognition. What is affected is our commitment to the unaffected truth. Our commitments are reflected in our willingness to act on the truth we know. The abused child who has been told she is not really hungry, but only seeking attention, may cease asking for food and feel guilty about seeking attention -- all the while knowing she is truly hungry. When asked if she is hungry, she says, "No, sir" instead of "Please, sir, more gruel."

    We have the power to value and to choose. Why do you posit anything over and above those powers?Ludwig V
    Did I? I only named that power "will."
  • How should we define 'knowledge'?
    When philosophers talk about belief, they are talking about the attitude we have towards something such that we take it to be the case, to be true, and that is all.Banno
    How does that contradict what I said? I am simply further specifying the "attitude" as commitment. Isn't "taking" p to be true the same as committing to the truth of p?

    The sense of belief in JTB does not involve commitment.Banno
    I beg to differ. Commitment is indicated by consequent behavior. If A believes p, then when asked "is p is true?" A will say, "Yes." That verbal behavior signifies commitment.

    I'm sugesting that the way you are using belief is somewhat different to the way it is used by epistemologists in general.Banno
    I agree. I do not see it as a genus in which knowledge is a species. This is because I take a narrower view of what constitutes knowing.
  • How should we define 'knowledge'?
    That's right. And so is believing that your are hungry.Banno
    Believing it adds a commitment to its truth. Suppose a child is hungry and says so. An abusive parent says, "You're not hungry, you just want to complain." The child might believe this, even though she continues to know she is hungry.

    How does what you are calling "will" differ from what philosophers call "intentionality"? Or does your theory not make such a distinction?Banno
    Will is a power that allows us to value and so choose. Intentionality is not a power, but a property of certain acts, in virtue of which they point beyond their own existence. E.g. we do not just know, we know something. The same for hoping, fearing, loving, hating and so on. This is often described as possessing "aboutness." Valuing and choosing are instances of intentionality, as there is no valuing or choosing without something valued or chosen.

    I can believe that I am hungry yet muse about not being hungry, without contradiction. No contradiction is involved. And thinking about what I might do were I not hungry is not the same as believing that I am not hungry when I am.Banno
    Musing is not doubting. It is imagining. Doubting questions our commitment to a proposition. Musing does not.
  • How should we define 'knowledge'?
    Could you please explain how that the requirement of a specific kind of intentional act before any action doesn't give rise to an infinite regress?Ludwig V
    Sure. The need is to reduce the many potential plans contemplated to one line of action. The act doing this is not the result of contemplating its own meta-options, but of relating to the same options differently.

    First, some options are imagined. This is the generate portion of generate and test. Second, we judge which are in our power. This is a recursive process, Aristotle's proairesis, in which we work from high level ends to lower level goals considered as means to those ends until we come to means in our immediate power. This winnows the imagined plans down to possible plans. The final step, that involving will, is valuing the plans. As Aquinas noted, the intellect is directed to truth, and the will to good. So, while many plans may be feasible, only one is most valued and therefore implemented. Since valuing is not judging feasibility, no regress is involved.

    The above is somewhat simplified, as valuing also occurs in the proairetic process of working out the structure of intermediate means and ends.

    But I also think that sometimes we do not. When I burn my fingers on a hot stove, I do not choose to attend to the pain.Ludwig V
    I am not sure that you did not, at least implicitly. Far greater wounds are suffered in battle and may pass unnoticed because attention is not focused on one's body, but on something else. So, I would say that by not fixing on another focus, we default to focusing on our body state.

    Doubts question his commitment to the truth of what he continues to know and believe. — Dfpolis

    Ah, so knowledge does also require commitment. Thank you for clearing that up.
    Ludwig V
    That is not what I said. I said doubt can affect commitment. I did not say that commitments can change what we know. Doubts can only affect our commitment to the truth of what we continue to know. Of course, we can refuse to look, but that is a different issue.

    Do you really mean to say that one knows something that one doubts?Ludwig V
    I mean that if one really knows, doubts cannot change that knowledge to ignorance. They can only lead us to suspend our commitment to the truth of what we know. This can happen as the result of social pressure or brainwashing. Discrimination can convince people who know their self-worth to doubt it.
  • How should we define 'knowledge'?
    Your belief that all actions of whatever kind stem from a single power is a distortion through over-simplification. Your description of how we need to balance our values shows that there are different kinds of action which stem from different needs and wants and desires - and habits and customs.Ludwig V
    I thought I dispensed with that misunderstanding. I pointed to multiple motivating factors from which action stems. Still, given multiple conceptual possibilities (lines of action), one needs to be actualized. That actualization is a specific kind of intentional act. Do you disagree? It would violate the principle of parsimony to posit multiple powers doing the same sort of actualization (committing to a line of action).

    Also, since a power is not a thing, but a capability, either humans have the capability of actualizing one to the lines of action we contemplate, or we don't. If we don't, we could never pass from the contemplation of diverse plans to the implementation of one. So, we have the power I am calling "will."

    Your description of how we need to balance our values shows that there are different kinds of action which stem from different needs and wants and desires - and habits and customs.Ludwig V
    I already said that.

    I find it hard to see why you want to call something a presentation when it is never presented to anyone or anything.Ludwig V
    Because objects act on the senses to inform the nervous system, thereby presenting themselves for possible attention. When we choose to attend (focus awareness on) to them, we actualize their intelligibility, knowing them.

    The actions by which they inform our senses are not the only ones they are capable of. As a result, our knowledge is partial, not exhaustive. Still, we know that they can act as they do act on us.

    If Descartes thought he might not be in his chamber writing, one might have expected him to be rather alarmed and to stop writing while he worked where he was and what he was doing. But he never stops believing that he is in his chamber writing.Ludwig V
    Thinking he was not would be alarming. Thinking he might not be -- not so much.

    He tells us he has doubts. Doubts question his commitment to the truth of what he continues to know and believe. If the doubts prevail, he will continue to perceive, and so know, that he is in his chamber, but he will no longer be committed to the truth of what he knows. So, there is a difference between knowing and believing as I have defined them.
  • How should we define 'knowledge'?
    I’m not a fan of the concept of “the will”. I don’t understand what it means. It seems to be an attempt to sweep up into one category all the various beginnings of action. But our actions are very various and have many different beginnings. Moreover, while it seems reasonable to suppose there is a beginning to most beliefs, it isn’t clear to me that that all actions have the same beginning or that the beginning can be called an action of the same kind as cooking a meal or starting the car.Ludwig V
    Thank you for commenting.

    I do not see will as the beginning of action. Physical action can be traced back to the Big Bang, and if multiverse theories are true, perhaps prior to that. More proximately human, humans are psychophysical organisms and have multiple, incommensurate needs. Some, like breathing, are normally dealt with automatically, others, like that for social relationships, require thought. Employing the strategy that AI researchers call "generate and test," we imagine several possible, but mutually incompatible, lines of action to meet our needs. These we subject to conscious reflection.

    Because our needs are incommensurate (e.g., we cannot trade off between our need for oxygen and our need for calories or vitamin C), we cannot decide on the plan to be implemented based on the maximization of some utility (as utilitarians believe).

    Metaphysical naturalists (who are not naturalists, but physicalists who seem to believe that intentional acts are un- or supernatural) would have us believe that this intentional issue is resolved by a purely physical process. I pointed out in my recent JCER paper ( that physical operations have physical, not intentional, effects. Committing to a line of action is an intentional act in Franz Brentano's sense, because we do not simply commit, we commit to something. So, commitments exhibit aboutness.

    So, we are left with multiple possibilities and the need to actualize one in light of conscious reflection by an intentional act. Since we resolve such issues daily, we have the power to make such commitments. I am calling this power (which is not a thing) "will." It is different from our capacity to know (the "intellect") as we can know without committing.

    Coming to believe that p is often simply accepting or recognizing that p is true.Ludwig V
    I distinguish accepting from recognizing. Acceptance is the result of a choice, in which not accepting is a possible result. In recognition, there is no alternative. There may be a prior choice to attend to or ignore information, but once we attend to it, we are aware of it, which is no different from recognizing it. So, if you say that believing is accepting, we agree. If you say it is recognizing, you are speaking of what I am calling "knowing."

    But you are taking a partial view here. There are also many examples of people accepting a situation that they very much do not want to be true.Ludwig V
    Advancing evidence that supports a conclusion is not taking a partial view, unless one ignores evidence against the conclusion. I agree: many people align their beliefs with their knowledge, however painful they may find it.

    “Deciding to believe” would be a misdescription when I find out that p or notice that q.Ludwig V
    Yes, because such acts describe knowing p or q. Suppose that I find out that the perihelion of Mercury precesses at a rate that is incompatible with Newtonian mechanics. I can decide to maintain a prior belief in Newtonian mechanics, or say it is inadequate. My commitment will affect my subsequent acts. Some may be private, in how I think about nature. Some may be public, in my teaching or work.

    Descartes is astonishingly casual in introducing his suspension of belief, and I’m not at all sure that I really understand it. Clearly, he did not suspend his belief that he was holding a pen and writing on paper. We have the evidence of the text he wrote.Ludwig V
    My distinction between knowing and believing allows us to understand what he did. He knew he was in his chamber, writing, but chose to believe he might not be. The same applies to what you describe in your next paragraph.

    No brain state is our visual representation of the object. We can't see it, and if we did, we would not know what we are looking at.Ludwig V
    I make this very point in my paper in discussing David M. Armstrong's proprioception theory of consciousness (p. 98). Still, I hope to be forgiven for using conventional language in order to simplfy the discussion. I cannot address every point in a single post, a single article, or even a single book.

    My preferred language is to call the neural modification induced by the action of the object on our senses a "presentation." A re-presentation occurs when we recall the experience. It is "enhanced"/modified by the memory and recall process. Neither is a representation in the sense that a picture or a text is. They are instrumental signs, which must be recognized to be what they are before they can signify. Our neural encoding need not to recognized to be neural connections and/or activation rates before it can signify. Nor is its whole existence (all that it can and does do) to be a sign, as would be the case if it were a formal sign. So, it is sui generis.

    Suspending belief isn't the same as ceasing belief. I'm required to suspend disbelief while hearing or reading or watching a fictional story.Ludwig V
    You are quite right. I overreached for another example.

    Still, it shows that beliefs are commitments with behavioral consequences that bare knowledge does not have. It is because of the suspension of belief that we can respond emotionally to a story. Commitments have behavioral consequences knowledge does not have.
  • How should we define 'knowledge'?
    Belief is an act of will: committing to the truth of some proposition. — Dfpolis

    Hmm. That's a pretty broad notion of "will", there. I believe I'm a tad hungry, but I'm not willing myself to be hungry. Quite the opposite, since i need to drop a kilo or so.

    To make a commitment is to will. In choosing, we are not merely more motivated toward one alternative than another, we commit to a line of action. We know there is a commitment when we act on the false belief as though it were true. We buy things we cannot afford or commit to the idea that a politician is really a moral person and so vote, when we know he or she is not.

    Being hungry is not a commitment. It is a physiological state, and perhaps our awareness of that state. If will enters, it is only in choosing to attend to or ignore the neurally encoded information informing us of this state. Choosing how to respond to this information is the province of will.

    Nor is an act of will involved in my committing to the proposition "I am hungry". It's more a recognition of a fact.Banno
    But, it is. I may pretend, to myself, that I am not hungry, even though I know that I am. Such a pretense is committing to, believing, the false proposition that I am not really hungry.

    It appears to be contradictory to say "I know such-and-such, but I don't believe it".Banno
    As I have defined these acts, no contradiction is involved. Descartes knew he was in his chamber, but chose to suspend his belief in it. In watching a movie or play, we enter a state aptly described as "a willing suspension of disbelief."

    I agree that people often use "know" and "believe" interchangeably. I have given technical definitions to distinguish my use of the terms in this discussion from their common use. Clearly, those to propose to define knowledge as "justified true belief," or "causally justified true belief" must mean something different by "knowledge" and "belief." If they did not, the definition would be circular. Such a definition assumes that there can be false beliefs that are not knowledge. There is no reason that knowledge and a commitment to a contradiction of knowledge cannot co-exist.

    When one suspends belief, as in the Descartes example you give, one does not thereby commit to the alternative being true.Banno
    Agreed. But, if knowledge were a type of belief, we could not know without believing. Believing would be a necessary condition to have knowledge. That we can continue to know while suspending belief shows that belief is not a necessary condition for knowing.

    And Present ineligibility looks a but fraught. I know stuff that is not present to me... that Paris is in France, for example which is on the other side of the world from here.Banno
    If you think about it, this knowledge depends on a chain of action that can be traced back to the city acting on a subject's senses. If your knowledge is true, that sort of action is in you indirectly. If that action were not in you, at least indirectly, you might have an unjustified belief, but it would not be knowledge.

    This means that we cannot always know that we know. This is not problematic, because we know we can be and have been deceived.
  • How should we define 'knowledge'?
    Let's have a few then...Isaac
    Donald Trump in his claims that he had the largest crowd at his inauguration and that he won the 2020 election. Also, all who chose to believe him, knowing that there was no basis for doing so other than their own desire that it be so. People who know, but will not believe, that they have insufficient funds to buy what they want, and act on this commitment by buying it because they want it.

    How does that work? Take me through the neurological processes you envisage bringing this about. Let's say you see a tree. We have some photons hitting the retina...what then?Isaac
    The object acts to scatter light into our eyes, activating its rods and cones. Some of these activate the optic nerves which convey the information through the ganglion axons to the optic chiasm where information from both eyes is combined. The signals then pass to the lateral geniculate thalami. Other neurons connect to primary visual cortex for processing, extracting features such as edges and colors. Thence, information is conveyed to the visual association cortex for integration with prior experience.

    This complexity of visual precessing does not change the fact that without the action of the object, none of the consequent changes of neural state, which are our visual representation of the object, would exist. So, again, the action of the sensed object on our nervous system (as complex as it is) is identically our neural representation of the object.
  • Time and Boundaries
    "We have stated, then, that time exists and what it is, and in how many senses we speak of the 'now', and what 'at some time', 'lately', 'presently' or 'just', 'long ago', and 'suddenly' mean."Metaphysician Undercover
    Yes, time exists, but as a measure number, a being of reason.

    Notice that all these terms, all these ways of speaking, are grounded in time being something real.Metaphysician Undercover
    No, they are grounded in the reality of change.

    Aristotle was a student, of Plato, and numbers were considered to be existent things, as well as the symbols we use to count things.Metaphysician Undercover
    Yes, Aristotle was a student of Plato. He went on to reject his theory that ideas and numbers are substantial.

    Sure, but don't you see that in order for "before and after" to have any meaning, there must be time which is something real in natureMetaphysician Undercover
    No, the potential and the actualized ground before and after.

    I don't get this at all , maybe you could explain.Metaphysician Undercover
    Change is measurable according to before and after, say in the movement of clock hands. The act of measuring this produces time as a measure number.

    How could one measure the potential passing of time?Metaphysician Undercover
    It is not the potential passing of time, but the passing of potential time, stages in the process of change, that is measured.

    In our minds, in theory, we can work with all sorts of time intervals, and time durations, these mental constructions we might call "time potentially".Metaphysician Undercover
    No, what is imaginary is not potential. Potencies are grounded in actual states of nature, not the mind.

    I do not intend to continue explaining this to you.
  • How should we define 'knowledge'?
    Belief is an act of will: committing to the truth of some proposition. Sadly, what we know does not always elicit belief. There are many examples of people committing to what they want to be true, rather than what they know to be true. If you can know a proposition p, and not believe p, then knowledge cannot be a species of belief. Additionally, belief can be suspended. Descartes tells us he was in his chamber when he was writing, showing he knew the facts of his situation, but chose to suspend belief in those facts. His suspension of belief in no way affected what he knew for a fact.

    A much better definition is awareness of present intelligibility. To know something, it must be able to be known, aka intelligible. Objects typically make themselves present by acting on our senses. It frequently passes without notice that a sensed object modifying our neural state is (identically) our neural state being modified by the sensed object. In other words, our neural representation of an object is its action on us. It is by this action that the object makes itself present in us, awaiting our awareness. When we become aware of the neurally encoded information, we know it. Such awareness is knowledge as acquaintance.

    As I explain in my recent article (discussed in a different thread) propositional knowledge derives from knowledge by acquaintance via abstraction and recombination.

    Scientific knowledge is partly observational and so a case of sense based knowledge, or it is hypothetical, and so not knowledge as defined above. Still, "knowledge" is analogously predicated when we assert that well-confirmed theory as knowledge. (A is analogous to B if A is partly the same as, and partly different from B.) It is partly the same because it is founded in, and descriptive of, a broad range of sensory experience. It is partly different because it is not based on sufficient experience to preclude the need for further refinement or correction.
  • Time and Boundaries
    That would be "Physics" Bk 4, Ch 11-14.Metaphysician Undercover
    The discussion of time begins in ch. 10. There he notes that "no part of it is" (218a6). So, we need to be aware that while it is convenient to speak of beings of reason (ens rationis) as though they exist simpliciter, they do not. Time, as a measure number, exists only in the minds contemplating it. So, you need to distinguish between what is a convenient way of speaking, and Aristotle's doctrine.

    Then, in ch. 11, he says, "Time then is a kind of number. [Emphasis mine] Number, we must note, is used in two ways—both of what is counted or countable and also of that with which we count. Time, then, is what is counted, not that with which we count: these are different kinds of thing." (219b6-9) As a number, it is not something existing in nature, but a mental entity resulting from a numbering operation. We can only number something which can be numbered, ie. change, which he has already argued time depends upon. This is entirely compatible with the classic definition of time as the measure of change according to before and after.

    There is no point in continuing to pile quotation on quotation. You are misinterpreting the text.

    The explicit equivocation is that "time" refers to both the thing measured, and what is produced by the measurement.Metaphysician Undercover
    There is no equivocation. What is measured is time potentially. The result is time actually.

    That sure looks like inconsistency to me. If one way of measuring time results in a reversal of before and after, in comparison with another, and time is defined with reference to before and after, then there is inconsistency within the way that time is measured.Metaphysician Undercover
    I suggest you read about simultaneity, and the difference between the time-like and space-like separation of events in special relativity. It would take too much of my time for me to explain to you.
  • The Hard Problem of Consciousness & the Fundamental Abstraction
    the law exists with or without our perception and inferences.Relativist
    Of course.

    have you read Thomas Nagel's "Mind and Cosmos"?Relativist
    No, I have not read it. You might take a look at this review:
  • The Hard Problem of Consciousness & the Fundamental Abstraction
    It seems superfluous to try and construe order as an intrinsic property, because laws of nature fully account for the perceived order.Relativist
    An effect (order) is distinct from its cause (the operation of the laws). Looked at differently, order is evidence for a source of order.
  • The Hard Problem of Consciousness & the Fundamental Abstraction
    It seems to me, the reason we can sometimes perceive order is because the laws of nature result in patterns and order. Conceivably, there are laws of nature that we we may never become aware of, and thus a sort of "order" we can never perceive. More importantly, I think "order" is too fuzzy (and subjective) to treat as an intrinsic property of a state of affairs, whereas the perception of order is explainable with laws of nature- which do seem to reflect something intrinsic.Relativist
    I agree with you for the most part. Order is a result of the laws of nature, which are not the same as our descriptions of them, because they act to determine the outcome of physical (vs. intentional) processes. I also said, "order is one of those things which we may know when we see it, but does not have an agreed upon definition." So, whether it is an intrinsic property cannot be determined until a definition is agreed upon.
  • Time and Boundaries
    He also says, that in another sense "time" is what is measured.Metaphysician Undercover

    "Time" as that which is measured, is completely different from "time" as "the measure of...". One's the territory, the other the map, so to speak.Metaphysician Undercover
    In Aristotle's definition, the territory is the changing world. Time is a coordinate we place on its map.

    This means that we must refer to an apprehended "before and after" to be able to employ time as a measure of change.Metaphysician Undercover
    Yes. We do this in light of the echos physical events leave in our memory. We remember what happened before now, not what will happen after now. We also see that our willed commitments can affect the future, but not the past.

    we ought to start with the other definition, that time is what is measured.Metaphysician Undercover
    That is not a definition because it is implicitly circular. The result of measurement is time. So, by your definition, time is both the source and result of measurement, which leaves us completely in the dark about what we are measuring. A's definition makes clear what we are measuring, viz. change, which he defines with no reference to time as "the actualization of a potency insofar as it is still in potency."

    And, we can say deficiencies in the way that time is measured creates the appearance of inconsistency in before and after.Metaphysician Undercover
    No, it does not. It allows us to eliminate misconceptions about spatially separate events. Some events are before or after a given event, no matter how we measure time. Others are not. If we fix upon a single place, the sequence of events is never in doubt.

    That time is what is measured is more consistent with our wider range of experience with the concept of "time" anyway. For example, when someone says what time it is.Metaphysician Undercover
    I look at a changing clock to see what the measure number is. If the clock does not change, I don't trust it to indicate the time.

    And when we see the problems of measurement exposed by the relativity of simultaneity, we can start to apprehend the need for more than one dimension of time, in order to give us precise measurement.Metaphysician Undercover
    You seem not to understand relativity. It is all about how we measure things. As a result, Aristotle's concept of time is compatible with it, while Newton's concept of absolute time (which seems to be yours) is incompatible with it.
  • The Hard Problem of Consciousness & the Fundamental Abstraction
    Intelligibility has existence independent of the perception and comprehension of agent intellect?ucarr
    It has actual existence as what it is, say an apple, but is potential with respect to our perception (sensibility) and comprehension (intelligibility).

    Asking this another way, when a tree falls in the forest sans observer, is this event nonetheless an intelligible phenomenon?ucarr
    Yes, the event is intrinsically comprehensible, but the extrinsic conditions required to actualize that potential are missing.

    Asking it obversely, does intelligibility propagate only in direct connection to the comprehension of the agent intellect (of the sentient being)?ucarr
    What propagates is a physical action that can inform sense organs (the Scholastics called this the sensible species). This is because the object is acting on its environment, say by scattering light, emitting sound or pushing back when touched. Without this sort of action, there would be no sensation. After that, it is up to the subject to attend to the sensation or not. Attending is the act of the agent intellect, and deciding to attend is an act of will.

    Does intelligibility persist in the absence of sentience?ucarr
    The simple answer would have been: "As long as the intelligible object does. Not as a stand-alone entity." We now aware that objects are surrounded by a radiance of action (or sensible species) that may persist long after the core object has ceased to be. For example, a star may be long gone before we perceive and comprehend it.

    Aristotle held that action is an accident inhering in the substance, even though its effect is spatially outside the substance. (The house being built is outside the builder building it.) In this view, which I think we should adopt, substances are not confined by the spatio-temporal boundaries we perceive, but also include their radiance of action. There is no text saying this, but it follows from what the texts say, and helps clarify issues of delayed perception. It makes sense of us saying "I see that star," when the core object may be long gone.

    Consider: Intelligibility ≡ Order
    The above statement is true?
    Well, order is intelligible.

    I see two problems which make me hesitate to agree. The first is conceptual. Assuming that order and intelligibility are coextensive, they still differ in definition. "Order" names an intrinsic property, while "intelligibility" points to a possible relation -- the possibility of being an object in the subject-object relation of knowledge.

    The second problem is that order is one of those things which we may know when we see it, but does not have an agreed upon definition. The definition in the Cambridge Dictionary online is: "the way in which people or things are arranged, either in relation to one another or according to a particular characteristic." This does not seem to capture the philosophical idea of order, for the arrangement may be quite disorderly. If you want to add that the arrangement has to be according to some intelligible principle, then we come close to what you are saying -- but I think metaphysical naturalists might object to such a definition as it implicates a source of intelligibility. Another problem with this definition is that we might want to say that unity is a form of order, and maybe even the highest form of order, and unity is not an arrangement of parts.

    So, I cannot agree, not because I disagree with the insight, but because I do not see the connection clearly enough to commit to it.

    Obversely, does non-teleological evolution preclude all linkage between intelligibility and order?ucarr
    I think "non-teleological evolution" is an oxymoron. Natural selection is selection by the laws of nature, which act to determinate ends.

    Can there be unintelligible order?ucarr
    To judge that a system has order, it has to be capable of eliciting the concept <order>, which means that order is, by definition, intelligible. How can something unintelligible elicit any concept?

    If not, must we conclude there can be no non-teleological evolution?ucarr
    That has long been my position for many theoretical and empirical reasons. See my "Mind or Randomness in Evolution" Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies 22 (1-2):32-66 (2010) (

    If so, must we conclude mind takes the sensory input of the proto-order of the objective world and converts it into the following block chain: intelligibility_perception_memory-processing-comprehension_selfucarr
    I would start with sensibility, but I agree that we come to know our self, not a priori, but by reflecting on what we do -- both physically and intentionally.

    Using the above statements, can I deduce agent intellect is ontologically present and active within the mind of humans?ucarr
    Yes. The historical question was whether it was a human or a divine power. I think that idenitifying it with awareness allows us to settle the question in favor of a human power. If it were a divine power, we would be aware of everything.

    Moreover, can I conclude agent intellect lies somewhere between hard dualism at one end and hard reduction at the other end?ucarr
    The agent intellect is an essential part of a theory that stands between them.
  • The Hard Problem of Consciousness & the Fundamental Abstraction
    thanks for the stimulating conversation.Metaphysician Undercover
    You are welcome.
  • The Hard Problem of Consciousness & the Fundamental Abstraction
    Is this form a logical entity emergent from the neuronal processes of the brain?ucarr
    Philosophically, I can only say that what the agent intellect does cannot be deduced from physical considerations. So, it is ontologically emergent. When we cannot work out the dynamics, saying "from x" could be no more than a guess.

    Is this form a logical entity emergent from the neuronal processes of the brain?ucarr
    Its ontological status is not logical (it really operates), nor is it an independent being. It is a power of a rational being.

    Logical emergence is one type of category, neuronal grounding of same is another type of category?ucarr
    If we can show how it is grounded, that would mean that it is not ontologically emergent.

    Are you looking to current philosophical inquiry for answers to these questions?ucarr
    No, I am looking for a better integration of the contingent facts of physical and intentional reality.
  • The Hard Problem of Consciousness & the Fundamental Abstraction

    I regret that I cannot continue this exchange. Responding to you is very time-consuming, and not enlightening as we go over the same points repeatedly. So, there is no sign that we are approaching agreement.

    Wishing you well, Dennis
  • The Hard Problem of Consciousness & the Fundamental Abstraction
    To make a judgement is a type of experienceMetaphysician Undercover
    You are conflating sense experience, which is how we know intrinsic properties, with the experience of mental processes, such as judging. It is not that judging is a type of experience, but that we experience judging.

    it implies that the person's experience of judging was erroneous.Metaphysician Undercover
    Again, this is confused. The judgement is wrong, not the experience of making a wrong judgement.

    "Mistake" is best understood as a wrong choice,Metaphysician Undercover
    Associations are not choices, either.
    So the majority of errors which human beings make cannot even be classed as errors by your restrictions.Metaphysician Undercover
    I am concentrating on truth and falsity because we are not discussing error in general, but having a false idea of an object's intrinsic properties. Other kinds of errors are irrelevant to that.

    How do you think it is the case that some parts of the form are sensed, but not others, unless there is some type of selection going on?Metaphysician Undercover
    Because we inherit our sensory capabilities. We do not select them.

    What do you believe, that the senses are programmed like a computer, or some other piece of machinery to respond automatically to specified stimuli? Who do you think does the programming?Metaphysician Undercover
    I base my claim based on the physics and neurophysiology of sensation. If you want to see this as programming, then the author of the laws of nature and the initial state of the cosmos would be the programmer.

    So you agree that the object exists as a multitude of possibilities.Metaphysician Undercover
    No, I agree that the object has a number of possible ways in which it could be sensed. The object is actual, its sensibility (possible informing interactions with sense organs) is potential.

    Do you not understand that when a specific set of possibilities is actualized out of a multitude of possibilities, it is necessary to assume that something selects which possibilities will be actualized?Metaphysician Undercover
    I agree that many possibilities are reduced to one actuality. I do not agree that the sensing subject has to choose what is sensed. Actual sensation is normally determined by the physical situation and the laws of nature.

    if it was just a matter of determinist causation, then we could not truthfully say that there were any possibilities in the first place.Metaphysician Undercover
    Yes, we could. Potency alone does not entail free will. It just means that a change is possible.

    Are you saying that it's a fact that we sense some things but not others, yet philosophers ought not ask why this is the case, because that's a question for neurophysiology?Metaphysician Undercover
    Philosophers can ask what they like. They do not have the means, as philosophers, to answer all the questions they ask.

    Neurophysiology intends to explain how the senses work, it does not question why the eyes are designed to interact with light, and why the ears are designed to interact with sounds, and why there are some things which we cannot sense at all.Metaphysician Undercover
    In explaining how they work, we can see why they are limited as they are -- e.g. why the eye cannot respond to radio or sound waves. Evolution can also help explain why vision evolved to see the wave lengths we do -- they are the ones that penetrate water, where vertebrates evolved.

    Also, philosophers cannot say why the eyes see, etc. Any attempt to do so would presume to know the mind of God.

    This is completely unAristotelian. Essence is form, actuality. Essence does not specify possibilities. Possibilities are derived in another way.Metaphysician Undercover
    First, this confuses the first actuality of essence with the second actuality of the acts flowing out of a thing's essence. Second, the essence of sensible bodies is not simply their form. It also includes their matter, for if it did not, they would be essentially immaterial. Finally, if the acts of substances were determined solely by their essences, they could not interact with other things and would be monads.

    matter must be understood as the essence of such objects.Metaphysician Undercover
    No, as I just wrote, their essences include both matter and form.

    And since form is what is intelligible to us, this implies that we cannot know the essence of sensible objects.Metaphysician Undercover
    Not quite. We can know their essences, but not exhaustively.

    Knowledge of a substance's accidental forms in no way implies knowledge of it substantial form, unless the principles required to bridge this gap (metaphysical principles) are produced.Metaphysician Undercover
    The principle is that accidents are aspects of the substance, inhering in it, not distinct entities. The more aspects we know, the more we know of the whole.

    I believe you have already demonstrated that you misinterpret Aristotle.Metaphysician Undercover
    What follows is based on your misunderstanding of first and second act.

    But what I also said was that the intellect is passive in relation to the soul, which is the source of actuality of the agent intellect.Metaphysician Undercover
    The soul is the actuality of the organism. That actuality includes the power of awareness, aka the agent intellect. So, the soul includes the agent as an aspect, specifically, as a power. Since it is not separate, it cannot be actualized by the soul, for then the soul would be actualizing itself.

    How can you claim consistency between "the agent intellect is an efficient cause", and, "starting in the physical modification of the sense organ by the sensible object, and terminating in awareness"?Metaphysician Undercover
    I can because the process begins with physical operations, subject to physical analysis, and ends in an intentional operation, subject to intentional analysis.

    How can the efficient cause (as the agent intellect) be at the end point as well as the beginning point in a chain of efficient causation?Metaphysician Undercover
    I did not say that the agent intellect was involved in physical stage of the process. It is only involved at the end in making the intelligibility carried by the phantasm or neural encoding actually understood.

    An expression of the soul is an act of the soul.Metaphysician Undercover
    No. The soul is not a Cartesian res. It is the first actuality of a body. What acts is the whole -- the living organism, not some aspect of it. You are committing the mereological fallacy here.

    What I am trying to impress on you is the priority of final cause over efficient cause, within the acts of the living being.Metaphysician Undercover
    I have no problem with this principle. My problem is with how you are applying it. The end of organic activity is the good of the organism = its self realization. The application to sensing and knowing is that information contributes to more effective living -- living better suited to our self-realization. Sensing and knowing could not do this unless they informed us of reality -- of the things we interact with as we interact with them. I am arguing that they do, and showing how they do.

    you claim that judgements can only be of truth or falsity.Metaphysician Undercover
    That is not my claim. My claim is that only judgements can be true or false, because only they make assertions about reality. Experience, concepts, associations -- none of them claim anything about reality. So, none of them can be true or false.

    There are all sorts of different types of judgementsMetaphysician Undercover
    I agree. For example, there can be practical judgements -- about what should be done -- or judgements of taste -- what we prefer and what we have no interest in. Still, this does not bear on whether we can know intrinsic properties.
  • The Hard Problem of Consciousness & the Fundamental Abstraction
    But I appreciate the aspect where we see sensation from a similar point of view.Paine
    Thank you
  • The Hard Problem of Consciousness & the Fundamental Abstraction

    No, Aristotle does not think in terms of representations. They appeared in the Muslim commentators and then in Aquinas (that is part of the paper I am writing) as the intelligible species. The presentation/re-presentation language is mine.

    I do not know or think Aristotle held it, but I think that the passive intellect is the phantasm or neurally encoded contents as understood. So, concepts are not a new representations, but the neural presentation/intelligibility actualized.
  • The Hard Problem of Consciousness & the Fundamental Abstraction
    I think part of the problem with theories of intellection is confusing presentations, which are direct acts of the intelligible object, with re-presentations, which are not.
  • The Hard Problem of Consciousness & the Fundamental Abstraction
    The activity of the perceptible object, however, and of the perceptual capacity is one and the same (although the being for them is not the same). I mean, for example, the active sound and the active hearing. For it is possible to have hearing and not to hear, and what has a sound is not always making a sound. But when what can hear is active and what can make a sound is making a sound, then |425b30| the active hearing comes about at the same time as the active sound, and we might say that the one is an act of hearing and the other a making of a sound. — De Anima, 425b20, translated by CDC Reeve.[Aristotle]Paine

    This is what I have been saying. One event actualized two potentials: that of the sensible to be perceived (of the sounding to be heard) and of the organ to sense (of the ear to hear).

    To really see the passivity, you have to read the account of sensation in light of the discussion of action and passion in Physics III, 4. I it quoted a few days ago.
  • The Hard Problem of Consciousness & the Fundamental Abstraction
    I gave you an example of error in sensation, when you cannot distinguish what you are seeing.Metaphysician Undercover
    That is not an error. Being unable to "distinguish what" means we did not sense enough to elicit a prior concept. It does not mean that we did not experience what we experienced. It is impossible not to experience what we experience.

    If you want to make sensation something other than this to support your erroneous definition of judgement, and your proposed faulty way of separating sense acts from mental acts, then so be it.Metaphysician Undercover
    There is no error in defining terms unless the definitions are circular or self-contradictory. You have not shown that my definitions are either.

    What is your argument now, that "association" (which my dictionary defines as "connect in the mind") is an aspect of sensation, but judgement is not? This is all becoming very incoherent to me.Metaphysician Undercover
    Neither is an aspect of sensation. Either or both may follow sensation.

    How do you think that association occurs without the use of memory?Metaphysician Undercover
    I made not such claim.

    why would you think that associations cannot be erroneous.Metaphysician Undercover
    I did not say that they cannot be, but, since you bring it up, they cannot be because associations are not assertions that could be true or false.

    If the association made is not conducive to the desired end which caused it to be made, then it is erroneous.Metaphysician Undercover
    Baloney! Ends do not cause associations except indirectly.

    Or is it your intent to remove final causation from "association", leaving no principle by which it may be judged as useful or not?Metaphysician Undercover
    Not being useful does not imply being erroneous. Also, a process can be useful without every result of the process being useful.

    If so, then all associations would be random and this could not provide any foundation for any knowledge to be built upon.Metaphysician Undercover
    Association is not the foundation of knowledge. Sensation is.

    your conception of "judgement' is leaving it without any real instances to correspond with.Metaphysician Undercover
    <This rod is wood> is an instance of a judgement.

    This is what happened to Socrates and Theaetetus in the dialogue with that name.Metaphysician Undercover
    I am not responsible for Plato's errors.

    you exclude the use of logic as not a form of judgementMetaphysician Undercover
    Logic is not a form of judgement, but the science of connecting judgements in a truth-preserving way. Judgements are its material. So, some judgements must be prior to logic, even though others may result from its use.

    Can you give an example of judgement which would not be a matter of association nor a matter of applying logic?Metaphysician Undercover
    See above. I did not deny that association may lead to judgement. I said associations are not judgements. Associations activate contents for review. They do not judge them. I may associate the setting sun with an orange beach ball or a romantic interlude, but I would not judge it to be either.

    to me classification is just a form of associationMetaphysician Undercover
    Philosophical discourse requires precision. I might associate a spider with insects, but that is not the same as judging it to be an insect. Again, association raises possibilities, but it does not classify. Judgement does.

    Clearly there are "aspects" of the form which the sensing being senses. The being does not sense the entirety of the form.Metaphysician Undercover
    We agree.

    The issue of "selection" is the question of how does the being select which aspects of the object's form will interact with it.Metaphysician Undercover
    I have not talked about selection in reference to sensing, but clearly we can choose to look at an object, or avert our eyes. The selection I was discussing was our choice to attend to some aspects of what is sensed, and not others. It does not select our physical interaction, but our mental response. We do this all the time. In racial profiling, police focus on a person's appearance instead of their behavior. We may be interested in the time displayed instead of a clock's mechanism (or vice versa).

    From the perspective of the being, the object exists as a multitude of possibilities for interaction.Metaphysician Undercover

    Therefore the being must somehow "select" from those possibilities. That is the issue of "selection" which I was talking about.Metaphysician Undercover
    I have already said that we do not sense all the possible modes of interaction, and, as a result, our knowledge is limited rather than exhaustive. Still, there is no active selection by sense organs. They respond automatically, in a way specified by their intrinsic nature and current state.

    The question is why does a sense organ respond to only a specific kind of stimuli, and not to other stimuli. This is a matter of "selection".Metaphysician Undercover
    This is not a philosophical question. It is a question for a neurophysiologist or an evolutionary biologist. From a philosophical perspective, it is a contingent fact that we can sense some forms of interaction and not others, and, as a consequence, our experiential knowledge is limited.

    Now you need to acknowledge that what underlies "as they relate to us" is "as we select", in this matter.Metaphysician Undercover
    No. Our nature, which specifies our sensory range, is an ontological given, not something we select. Rarely, we choose to close our eyes or put our hands over our ears, but that is not the normal case. We can choose to correct some sensory defects, or to augment our range of exploration by inventing instruments, but neither changes our basic sensory modalities. Even if we could add a new sensory modality, say bat-like echo location, by some new technology, that would not change our fundamental relation to reality. We would still relate to it as it relates to us.

    deficiencies in our selective processes leave us unable to know objects exhaustively.Metaphysician Undercover
    That is not the basic reason we cannot know essences exhaustively. The basic reason is that essences specify a substance's possible acts, not just its actual acts. Even if we could sense every interaction it has, that would not tell us every interaction it could have. So we would have only a partial knowledge of its essence. Further, once we become a sensing party to (say) a binary interaction, it ceases to be a binary interaction, for now three relata are involved. So, we are not sensing the possible binary interaction, but an actual tertiary interaction. This is a fundamental problem in social fieldwork.

    the fact remains that the form of the object which exists in the mind of the knower is not the same as the form of the object known, and this is very evident in what you say about Aquinas.Metaphysician Undercover
    I have no problem with this. In Scholastic language, you are saying that we do not know fully know substantial forms. That does not mean that we do not know accidental forms, which is all that I claim that we know.

    In reflecting on this, you need to realize that accidents are not separate from substances, but aspects of them. So, a growing knowledge of a substance's accidental forms is a growing knowledge of its substantial form.

    Now, can you take the next step, and grasp the reality that if the object exists as potential to the sensing subject, there must be a process of selection which determines which potentials will be actualized?Metaphysician Undercover
    Again, "selection" is the wrong word. It has connotations of willed agency.

    There is a specification, as there always is in actualizing a potential. Potentials are not "pure," not the possibility for any kind of actualization, but the basis for a limited range of actualities. (You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.) So, the sensed object acting on a sense can only produce a limited range of sensations.

    And, this selection is caused, and that type of causation is what is known as final cause?Metaphysician Undercover
    This is confused. Sensing has all four kinds of cause. The final cause of sensation is to inform the organism of its environment so that it may respond in furtherance of its good (aka self-realization). The efficient cause is the sensible object acting on the sense organ. The material cause is the organ's receptivity to that kind of stimulation. The formal cause is the sensory information.

    You keep refusing to recognize that the act of sensation is an act of the sensing being.Metaphysician Undercover
    That is because it is the passion of the sensing subject. In seeing a setting sun, I am not the agent specifying sun-information, the sun is. It acts on me to inform me. It emits light that enters my eyes and modifies my retinal state, and so my neural state.

    You know that the soul is active, actual.Metaphysician Undercover
    Again, this is confused. The soul (psyche) is not a thing as Descartes imagined, but the actuality of a thing (here a human being). Being the actuality of something is not actually being something. The psyche is the being alive of an organism. It is not "being alive" that acts, but the organism that is alive.

    the object sensed exists as potential, from the perspective of the active soulMetaphysician Undercover
    This is also confused. The object is actual, not potential. Founded in that actual object (as any potential must be) is the potential to be sensed, aka sensibility. That is a potential, not of the object to exist, but of the object to affect sense organs -- which it could not do unless it already existed.

    See, you even talk about this "actual sensing", as if the organism is carrying out the act, "sensing".Metaphysician Undercover
    No, I am calling the event "actually sensing" and explicitly saying it is the action of the sensible object and the passion of the sense. Aristotle is quite clear in De Anima, that the sense organ changes in sensation. Being changed is undergoing passion.

    You are completely ignoring Aristotle's designation of the soul as the first actuality of the living body, and the very fact that "living" is an activity.Metaphysician Undercover
    No, I am not. I am saying that actual things can be modified by other actual things. That is what happens in sensation. We are informed by the sensed object.

    This means that in relation to the soul, the intellect exists as potential, passive, to be actualized by the soul. And when it is actualized by the soul it is the active intellect.Metaphysician Undercover
    You need to reread De Anima III. The role of the agent intellect is to make intelligiblity actually understood. The actualization of potential information (intelligibility) requires an agent in act, viz. the agent intellect.

    So you do not recognize that in Aristotle's conceptual space, the act of sensing is an act of the immaterial soul, through the operation of the sense organs, rather than a physical process.Metaphysician Undercover
    There are two issues at stake here. (1) What did Aristotle mean? (2) What is an adequate account?

    With regard to (1) I think Aristotle thought of sensation holistically, starting in the physical modification of the sense organ by the sensible object, and terminating in awareness, which is an intentional process. So, I half agree with you: immateral operations are involved in his model, and in them (but not in the physical operation of the sense organ) the agent intellect is an efficient cause. However, Aristotle did not see the operation of the agent intellect in awareness of sense data. He belived its proper object was universal knowledge. That was an error on his part.

    With regard to (2) we need to correct Aristotle's error and assert that the agent intellect acts any time we are aware of anything -- singular or universal. There is a difference between data that is automatically processed (e.g. driving safeley while thinking of someting else), and sense data we are aware of, and that difference is the operation of the agent intellect to produce awareness of sensory contents.

    No, you are misrepresenting, "sensation" in an unAristotelian way, as a physical process, instead of as an act of the soul.Metaphysician Undercover
    Being physical does not mean that it is not an act of the organism and so an expression of (not an act of) the soul as the actuality of the organism. Remember, even tunips have a psyche. The soul does not act because it is not a thing or a being.

    Here, you recognize that being a living organism is a type of act, but you refuse to recognize that the things which living organism do are also acts.Metaphysician Undercover
    No, I do not. If I see a spider, it is acting on me. All I am doing is recognizing that we not only act, we are also acted upon (aka suffer passion). Interaction involves both acting and being acted upon.

    The Republic, Bk 6, specifically 508bMetaphysician Undercover
    My sincere thanks. It has been 65 years since I read the Republic.

    Why do you say "no" here? It appears like you are saying the same thing as me, but in a different way. If the will is drawn towards the good, and also directs the agent intellect, then if the agent intellect judges, this is done in the direction of "the good".Metaphysician Undercover
    I am trying to assign operations to the proper powers, but the result is as you say.

    I really do not understand your way of conceiving judgement. it appears like you want to make judgement distinct from choice and selection, but why?Metaphysician Undercover

    My way of defining judgement is pretty standard among Thomists and neo-Aristotlelians. You might look at Jacque Maritain's Degrees of Knowledge or Henry Veatch's Intentional Logic. My views on ideogenesis and judging are close to theirs. I suspect that they dervive from João Poinsot's Ars Logica which is partially translated as The Material Logic of John of St. Thomas. (Material logic deals with the insturments of thought (concepts, judgements and arguments) rather than the valid forms of thought). The insight that only judgements can be true or false is central to Aquinas' theory of truth.
  • Time and Boundaries
    I, being lazy, use "time" to signify: What flows is the sequence of events that change produces....ucarr
    I have no problem with figures of speech that are recognized to such.
  • The Hard Problem of Consciousness & the Fundamental Abstraction
    You are confusing "error" with "falsity". I already explained this to you, error does not necessarily mean false, it simply means mistaken, and this is "unsuccessful". It is very clear that "Knowledge as acquaintance" is very susceptible to error, poor memory, poor recognition, etc..Metaphysician Undercover
    We are not talking about memory, but sensation. The "recognition" that is subject to error is judgement. You have provided no example of an error in experience per se. Again, we experience whatever we experience. There can be no error at this point. Further, if the result is not falsity, whatever you are calling "error" is irrelevant to our being acquainted with intrinsic properties.

    something within the experiencing subject must select from that experience the aspects of it which will be remembered, and how they will be remembered etc.Metaphysician Undercover
    Again, we are not discussing memory, but sensation.

    Sorry df, this nonsense has no sway over me.Metaphysician Undercover
    I do not expect to "sway" you. I answer your arguments to prevent others from being deceived.

    The processes which occur without this form of judgement are much more riddled with error.Metaphysician Undercover
    Of course, judgement is superior to mere association. Still, a judgement not rooted in a knowledge of reality is baseless. What makes judgements superior is their ability to reflect reality.

    How can it consist of intelligible forms?Metaphysician Undercover
    I have already explained this a number of times. I refer you to my previous responses.

    what is the point of judgement?Metaphysician Undercover
    The point of judgement as classification is to reduce the footprint of knowledge. It takes fewer neural resources to think in terms of a few abstractions than many individual instances.

    the ones which get rejected in judgementMetaphysician Undercover
    I have no idea what you are talking about. Judgement is not a process that rejects notes of intelligibility. Abstraction selects some notes, but it does not reject the others. It just leaves unattended notes alone for the present.

    So we have the issue of "selection" here, which I've been mentioning and you have not been addressing.Metaphysician Undercover
    No. We do not. The object does not typically select anything, as most objects have no will by which they could select. They simply interact with their environment, including organisms capable of sensing some forms of interaction. We are one of those organisms.

    Since there is a need for judgement, we must assume that the content of awareness contains many aspects which are unintelligible, illogical or nonsensicalMetaphysician Undercover
    Non sequitur. To be contents in the sense I am using is to be intelligible.

    Don't you think that there must be selective mechanisms built right into the sense organs, and the neurological system?Metaphysician Undercover
    You are confusing "selection" with specific responsiveness. Sense organs respond to specific kinds of stimuli, but they do not select what they respond to. Their response is automatic, not by choice. Consequently, we cannot and do not know objects exhaustively, but only as they relate to us. I have said this a number of times. This is what Aquinas means when he says that we do not know essences directly, but only via accidents.

    how can you say that they are accidental causesMetaphysician Undercover
    I did not say they were accidental causes. I said action is an accident inhering in the agent in the scheme of Aristotelian categories.

    things caused for a purpose are not accidentalMetaphysician Undercover
    You are equivocating on "accidental." I made no claim that sensation was purposeless.

    However, we still have to address the selective process which is inherent and intrinsic within the sensing subjectMetaphysician Undercover
    I discussed this above.

    the object's actuality consists of possibilities, potentials, from the true perspective of the sensing subjectMetaphysician Undercover
    Tada!! YES. That is why I keep saying that the object is sensible.

    This would mean that the sense organs are not receiving forms from the sense object, but matter (potential) from the sense object.Metaphysician Undercover
    No! Because what is merely potential cannot act, and, in particular, cannot act on the sense organ. What Aristotle pointed out, and I keep repeating, is that one and the same event (actually sensing) actualizes two potentials: (1) the object's potential to be sensed (its sensibility) and (2) the subject's capacity to sense. The sensing event is an action of the object and a passion of the subject. Both action and passion are Aristotelian accidents, and so inherent in the object and subject respectively. Since the action and passion are the same event, differently conceived, we have one event inherent in two substances -- a case of shared existence and the identity involved in sensation.

    This is not material causality on the part of the object because the object is an agent acting to modify the state of the sense organ. So, objects are efficient causes in sensation, and the specification of a substance's causal power is its first actuality or form.

    As I explained, in awareness, the neurally encoded content is the material, not the efficient, cause of knowing. — Dfpolis

    This is consistent with what I just wrote above. However, if we take this approach we cannot say that the sensing subject receives the form from the sense object, because within the neurological system there is only the material content, rather than the form.
    Metaphysician Undercover
    You are confusing sensation as a physical process with awareness, which is an intentional process. In sensing, the object is an efficient cause. In awareness, it is a material cause.

    Matter cannot be the "intelligible form", that is contradictory.Metaphysician Undercover
    Matter (hyle) is a potential principle. The same thing can be actual in one respect, say being a living organism, while being potential in different respects, being sensible and intelligible.

    So the good (the end) is the cause of the intelligible object in the sense that it is what makes it intelligibleMetaphysician Undercover
    Do you have a citation in Plato for this? I would like the reference to compare Plato's with Aristotle's doctrine.

    if the agent intellect has this selective capacity, then what is selected from must be possibilities, potential, therefore material.Metaphysician Undercover
    Finally! That is why I said intelligible contents are the material cause of awareness.

    And, the agent intellect selects on the basis of "the good", or "the end", not on the basis of intelligibility.Metaphysician Undercover
    No. The will, which does the selection and directs the agent intellect, is drawn to the good.

    Final cause and selection are prior to "intelligible properties".Metaphysician Undercover

    Yes, the Unmoved Mover is prior to all else, but it is not a proximate cause of empirical knowledge.
  • Time and Boundaries
    Does your statement above describe a situation containing two temporal progressionsucarr
    We need to define time in order to avoid confusion. Aristotle's defines time as "the measure of change according to before and after." If we accept this definition, then time is not a thing, but a measure number specified by both the change measured (say, the number of cycles of some process) and the details of the measuring process. We see this in special relativity, where time measure numbers depend on the frame of reference used in measuring change.

    Given this definition, it is difficult to see how there could be more than one time dimension. Possibly a physical state could change along one time-like axis and while no change would be perceptible along another. So, we would have a universe in which different, independent, kinds of change occurred -- a continuous sequence of universes orthogonal to the base universe and its "normal" time.

    Such a second time dimension might have its own laws of motion and a reason that we could not experience it. But, if we could not experience it, it would not be parsimonious to propose it.

    Of course, you could change the definition of time, but then you would need to ensure that it agreed with our normal time when the new definition reduced to that case.

    Also, time does not flow, because it does not exist independently of being measured. What flows is the sequence of events that change produces, and that we use to produce a time measure number.