Comments

  • A Theory of Information
    Let's try to see where we agree or disagree on the Intuition vs Reason debate. Which of the following definitions would characterize your understanding : "Reasoning is rational thinking using logic, while Intuition is unconscious, A> a paranormal gift, B> a magical awareness not accessible for normal humans, or C> a connectivity to an all knowing esoteric field." Or does your Fifth Dimension theory provide another option?Gnomon

    None of the above. Reasoning is understanding something via conscious thought processes, and need not use only logic. Intuition is defined as “the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning”, with instinct defined as “an innate, typically fixed pattern of behaviour in animals in response to certain stimuli”. Intuition refers to unexplained means by which we find that we understand something, but there need be nothing magical, paranormal or esoteric about it. The only real difference between intuition and reasoning is that one is an explainable process (even if determined after the fact), and the other isn’t.

    Of course. That's the distinction between Subjective knowing (I feel angry) and Objective knowledge (I sense an increase of adrenaline). It's the mystery of Consciousness that I can't know directly what's in your mind. Which is why rational humans, and not intuitive animals, have developed methods for objectifying their thoughts in conventional words and concepts. Some animals, such as ants, communicate their feelings about factual information (e.g. a source of food) via chemicals. Dolphins communicate their emotional states, and some factual information, via squeaks and body language. Do you suppose they have a deeper (or higher) understanding of the world than the founders of religions (holistic, oceanic oneness) , or empirical scientists (reductive, particular details), who communicate their feelings and facts via language and mathematics? Can we humans have the best of both worlds, higher and deeper?Gnomon

    Animals don’t have a deeper or higher understanding of the world. Ants aren’t aware of any feelings about factual information - rather they instinctively embody what this chemical information means for the colony in terms of their particular distribution of effort and attention in spacetime. We interpret this behaviour as evidence of ‘their feelings about factual information’, but the colony has no awareness of ‘feelings’ as anything distinct from the ‘factual information’. It’s more likely that dolphins may be vaguely aware of another’s emotional state as information distinct from where the fish are, for instance - but they’re unlikely to recognise an emotional state in themselves.

    I think as humans we need to recognise that there are reasoning-type processes our brain undertakes unconsciously, not necessarily because they’re beyond our awareness, but because we’ve operated more efficiently or economically this way in terms of effort and attention requirements. Given that we rarely need to be so economical these days, we should at least recognise and challenge our untapped capacity to increase awareness, connection and collaboration with the world beyond simply surviving, dominating and procreating ourselves.

    Some neuro-biologists like to think they can trace all mental activity back to neuronal functions. But a few neuroscientists, such as Christof Koch, are beginning to take a more holistic approach to understanding the mysteries of Consciousness. The physical functions of brains are not fully understood, but the correlations between measurable brain activity and felt mental concepts are undeniable. So, it behooves us find the link (or common denominator) between brain and mind. In my thesis, that common measure (both physical and metaphysical) is universal Information.

    The Feeling of Consciousness : Koch notes that, “much ink has been spilled over arguments that quantum mechanics is the secret to consciousness”. However, after years of research, he saw “no need to invoke exotic physics to understand consciousness”.
    http://bothandblog6.enformationism.info/page18.html

    Note : the names of metaphysical Feelings are metaphors based on physical sensations, such as touch, vision, smell.
    Gnomon

    It’s been some time since I read ‘The Feeling of Life Itself’ - Koch introduced me to Integrated Information Theory. Other than that I don’t remember much of it, although I’m guessing many of my ideas about consciousness could be traced back to that book.

    My biggest problem with IIT is that it fails to account for, and so practically ignores, quantum mechanics. While I will say that there is no need to invoke any physics at all to ‘understand’ consciousness as a mental process, that doesn’t allow for integration of such an understanding with that of the physical world. As promising as much of the theory is, in my view IIT continues to fall short of this. I believe that Feldman Barrett picks up where Koch leaves off: at the dual aspect of interior/exterior, and explores the connection between them in relation to the neuroscience of emotional states. Her Concept Cascades theory builds a convincing explanation of how mental states and brain states interact and how we learn the simplest to the most complex concepts and apply them in our organic interactions with reality.
  • Objective truth and certainty
    When the potential is infinite, our investigation is not aimed at objective truth, which is absolute, but probability. You have the potential to become the king of France, but it’s extremely improbable; a chance of one in a trillion or whatever. A measure of probability is the only scientific goal when attempting to predict the future or looking to understand the meaning of the potentials we observe. When rolling a die there’s a sixth of a chance to get a six, but what does that mean in terms of truth? It means that the die is cubed, and one side has six dots. Since it’s completely symmetrical, none of the sides is physically favored. That’s the whole truth.
    The oil prices have been low this year. That fact in isolation favors low prices next year. That’s the actuality that has a truth value.
    Congau

    A quantitative measure of probability in relation to an isolated future event is all a physicist can hope to achieve with any degree of certainty, while continuing to claim objectivity. But this is a narrow perspective of potential in relation to objective truth.

    “When rolling a die” assumes the existence (and uniformity) of a die to be rolled, a means of rolling it and a surface to roll on, even the value or significance of rolling a six, but all of this is potential information. The die is not currently rolling - we are describing a potential event. Because of this, we can isolate a measure of probability, or even a description of the die, as if it constituted the ‘whole truth’. But in relation to objective truth, there is more potential information we have excluded here, or assumed to be uniform. Granted, very little of it may change the probability of rolling a six (unless the die is weighted), but it can change the potential of what this roll of the die means in terms of truth.

    Let’s try a different example. Some hydrangeas have pink flowers, and some have blue. Given this information, the probability of an isolated event of a hydrangea seed developing blue flowers could be roughly 0.5. But I can test the pH level of soil in order to predict the colour of hydrangea flowers from a seed planted in that location. And I can then add lime to that soil in order to increase the potential of those future flowers being blue. So is the potential for blue flowers actually present in the hydrangea seed, in the soil’s pH or in the lime? Or is it in my mind as a relational structure of potential information? The truth regarding the potential blueness of future hydrangea flowers is theoretically ‘actual’ - ie. I can act on the information - even when the probability of a plant growing and flowering remains uncertain (as I have yet to decide whether to plant the seed or destroy it, let alone whether I want blue flowers or pink). But all that potential information as an incomplete relational structure is not present anywhere except in my mind.

    When we say that a potential is limited, we mean that something has inside itself the possibility to reach this far but not farther.
    “His potential as a footballer is limited.” He may get to play for a decent team, but he’ll never play in the premier league; the probability for that to happen is considered to be zero.
    The potential for what I can write in the next sentence is unlimited, although a certain content is definitely favored.
    Potentiality is only relevant to truth when referring to actuality.
    Congau

    You’re not stating a fact, but a perspective. His potential as a footballer, or as anything, is ultimately limited by time, effort and attention, but I don’t believe all this limitation or potentiality is necessarily inside of him, and I don’t believe it is static. So much of our potential comes down to our interaction with others. If it weren’t for someone else believing in my vision, giving me a chance, showing an interest, or sharing their experience, I may never have become the person I am today.

    The possibilities of what to write in the next sentence are unlimited. The potential for what I can write is limited only by time, effort and attention; but the potential of what I can write in the next sentence is limited as much by the words I currently have in my vocabulary as what matters to me. Nevertheless, this potential appears to me unlimited, because I can’t perceive what I can’t perceive.

    Potentiality appears to us only relevant to truth when it refers to the actuality of our perspective. Objectively speaking, however, potentiality and its limitations are always relevant to truth. They’re information about our subjective position in relation to objective truth. I can relate to (ie. imagine) the unlimited possibilities of what to write beyond what I know, and in that relation, catch a glimpse of the current limitations of my own potential as an opportunity to increase awareness, connection and collaboration beyond them. This is a truth we don’t get when referring to actuality, when perceiving our own potential as unlimited: it’s the truth we have yet to understand about the world.
  • Why are we here?
    Should maybe the disgression about Gnomon's philosophy be split into its own thread since some people are still coming to this thread to talk about the original question too?

    @StreetlightX I think you've helped with things like this before?
    Pfhorrest

    Can you do that? I was reluctant to enter into an in-depth discussion here, but felt I needed to respond to repeated accusation of being ‘evasive’. I apologise for hijacking your thread.
  • A Theory of Information
    The problem with discussing this only in relation to ‘intuition’ and ‘reason’ is that we don’t really understand or agree on what these concepts are or how they operate objectively in relation to science. I cannot expect your experience of knowing ‘intuitively’ to be the same as mine, in the same way that there is no such thing as a universally recognised instance of ‘anger’.

    The reason I refer to neuroscience and quantum mechanics to describe how mental processes relate to physical processes is because we cannot keep pretending that concepts such as ‘intuition’, ‘reason’ or ‘emotion’ always refer to measurably identical physical instances instead of amorphous mental structures of pattern recognition that vary according to subjective past interactions. To switch from talking about physical processes to metaphysical processes as if they relate, without an understanding of how they relate, is an exercise in cognitive dissonance, often concealed behind unexplained metaphorical language. It’s fine to talk about intuition, reason and emotion as metaphysical concepts - just not in the same discussion as objectively measurable/observable action in spacetime. And we need to recognise that we could very well be referring to two quite different patterns of experience, and therefore different conceptual structures, while using the same word.

    Intuition gives us a quick overview of possible outcomes --- like watching a movie in fast forward --- from which we select what seems to be the best path to a desirable future state. Therefore, we "direct our attention" to that optimum path, and ignore the ones that seem to be less profitable. However, in some cases, the situation is so complex that Intuition is a poor guide to action. So, we slow down the movie and examine it frame-by-frame, by Reasoning, to see if we missed any important details that may affect the overall meaning of the movie.

    Most human behavior is more or less successfully guided by Intuition, but our innate ability to judge probabilities (statistics) is poor. We tend to be more confident of our intuitions than is warranted. That's why modern scientists rely on computers to fact check their original estimates. Unfortunately, while computers are good at predicting Effects, they are poor at anticipating Affects (how it will make me feel). So, the method of Bayesian Statistics was developed to take advantage of human intuition for subjective affective evaluations.

    Intuitive statistics were not derived from our understanding of quantum randomness, but of our self-correcting procedures to improve first guesses with more information. However, Rational computer statistics could, in theory, make use of wavefunction calculations to sharpen their ability to predict future states. I'm just riffing here. So this little diversion may have missed the point of the quote above. And I still don't know what it has to do with "five dimensional reality". :joke:
    Gnomon

    What you’re describing here - mental relations irrespective of temporal or spatial relevance - all refer to five-dimensional reality. The ability to play with the timing of the ‘movie’, to isolate elements from their temporal and spatial context, and to consider them in terms of value and significance such as profit, desire, potentiality and future probability is how we interact with five dimensional aspects of reality. Some of these relations we have the luxury of processing in time through conscious thought, reasoning, critical introspection, imaginative simulation and abstract discussion. Others are limited by time, energy and attention constraints before action is required, and so they are often processed instantly and unconsciously according to existing conceptual structures that bypass or shortcut the thinking process.

    Bayesian Statistics is a simplified description of the structural relation in which we continually adjust our conceptual structures (beliefs), and the resulting probabilistic predictions, according to new information. Like most maths and logic, the human brain was doing Bayesian statistics long before Bayes wrote down his formula to describe it. Similarly, quantum mechanics is just a way of describing the structural relations of what already occurs. Quantum physicists would agree that we don’t have to understand conceptually how it works or what it means in order for it to work, and for us to achieve things with it. Where intuitive statistics describe cognitive processes by which we can adjust and improve a probabilistic prediction, quantum mechanics can be seen to describe the process by which we convert that prediction into action. I’m not suggesting that the wavefunction is a useful tool in predicting future states - I’m suggesting that its probabilistic nature provides a useful analogy to describe the existing structural relation between belief and action.
  • Why are we here?
    May I ask, why do you live?Becky

    In a nutshell: to increase awareness, connection and collaboration.
  • A Theory of Information
    Is it the "dimension" of Intuition? Do intuitive people, such as artists, have access to a source of information that is hidden from more rational folks? Do they "measure" that alternate "reality" in terms of feelings instead of math or logic?Gnomon

    It isn’t a matter of either/or in terms of feelings or intuition INSTEAD of math or logic, but rather BOTH/AND. It is the unique way we each construct our value systems based on past experiences, concepts, knowledge, beliefs, logic, language, etc that determines how we continually reduce all potential information to affect, which determines our thoughts, words and actions in time. Even those who consider themselves ‘more rational’ will act according to this dual measure of affect. It is the extent to which they struggle to integrate the aspect of valence (pleasant or unpleasant feeling) into their justification after the fact that defines them as ‘more rational folk’. The information isn’t hidden from them, it’s dismissed by them as irrelevant, illogical, impossible, meaningless or simply uncertain. They don’t recognise how they apply feeling to a predictive distribution of attention/awareness that determines their thoughts, words and actions. On the other hand, those who consider themselves more ‘intuitive’ tend to struggle with integrating the quantitative specifics of their actions into a later explanation. It isn’t that they don’t apply logic and math, they just don’t really understand how they apply it to a predictive distribution of energy in space-time to determine their actions.

    Having said that, there are many of us who at least vaguely recognise the duality of affect, even if we struggle to express it in relation to language or logic. Many artists, for instance, are adept at applying math and spatial logic to the canvas, but struggle with the language to identify it as such. Likewise, many ‘rational folk’ have a strongly intuitive social sense, even though they’re vocally dismissive of feelings as valid information.
  • A Theory of Information
    I'm sorry if my thick skull frustrates you, but I still have no idea what you are talking about. Can you translate the quote above into words a non-specialist can understand? The technical terms bolded are not in my everyday vocabulary. Although I can look up the individual definitions, the whole sentence still doesn't mean much to me (me no Grok).

    Are you saying that Quantum Uncertainty is "the fifth dimensional aspect of reality"? If so, what difference does that make to me? Is it the "dimension" of Intuition? Do intuitive people, such as artists, have access to a source of information that is hidden from more rational folks? Do they "measure" that alternate "reality" in terms of feelings instead of math or logic? :chin:
    Gnomon

    There’s no need to apologise for not understanding - the onus is on me to present it in a way that makes sense to you. To that end, I appreciate your genuine attempt to make sense of it - it helps me to see more clearly where my explanation is failing. Simply saying “it makes no sense to me” doesn’t help me improve.

    The wavefunction of a quantum system is a mathematical equation that determines the probability of a property of the system having a particular measurement value: that is, the chances of an electron being in a particular position around the nucleus at a particular time, for instance, as a prediction of how to direct our efforts in ‘looking’ for that electron. We can’t actually observe an electron, so the only way to interact directly with it is to trust the probabilistic results of the calculation, and to determine any action based on that.

    My view is that the human organism acts similar to a quantum system, determining all action based on trusting a probabilistic prediction (analogous to a wavefunction) not just of how to direct its efforts - in terms of quantitative energy relative to spacetime - but also how to direct its attention, as in qualitative awareness, connection and collaboration. Neuroscience refers to this dual-aspect prediction as affect, a structure of valence (positive-negative feeling) and arousal (high-low) in relation to an ongoing event of the organism ‘being’ in time. It’s often used to describe what’s left when we extract the quantitative prediction of effort - which can be verified by ‘math or logic’ - by which we determine and initiate action. But affect in neuroscience is inclusive of both qualitative and quantitative potential. The classic assumption is that the rational, logical mind battles to overcome the emotional, intuitive body. Neuroscience is finding, however, that this is a misunderstanding of how we operate, particularly in relation to emotion.

    The term interoception refers to the fact that this prediction isn’t directly informed by external reality, but is based on an internally conceived reality (concepts) constructed from all past interactions. The brain, locked inside the skull, relies on only a relatively small amount of external stimuli, from sensory systems directed by the prediction itself on how, where and when to ‘look’, and interpreted eventually into affect, to verify or adjust this ongoing prediction in relation to external reality.

    I think quantum uncertainty fairly closely describes the nature of five-dimensional reality, but it still fails to fully account for qualia in the existence and evolution of our universe.
  • Objective truth and certainty
    I agree that an infinite potential as sheer possibility is meaningless, OR infinitely meaningful, which is the same thing, really.

    I have not suggested here that we have the capacity to know ‘objective truth’, that it exists as a ‘fact’ of the world, nor that it should make sense to talk about objective truth as if it were something actual. I consider the notion of objective truth to be this sheer possibility, meaningless in itself and yet filled with infinite potentiality, from which we then distinguish all possibility of meaning - limited by a perspective of what could matter in our relation to the world.

    It is possible that you could write anything in your next sentence, but your potential to write anything is limited by your perception of what could possibly matter, what you understand and value (in terms of language, knowledge, beliefs, etc), and by what you feel is worth your effort and attention to write in this moment, whether or not you are conscious of that affect. This, I consider to be objectively true, even as I recognise that my expression of this truth is limited by my own perspective of what could possibly be true, what I understand and value, etc.
  • A Theory of Information
    Because you blatantly dismiss anything I attempt to put into my own words, I’ll start with some quotes from the Wikipedia entry on ‘Measurement’:

    Information theory recognises that all data are inexact and statistical in nature. Thus the definition of measurement is: "A set of observations that reduce uncertainty where the result is expressed as a quantity." This definition is implied in what scientists actually do when they measure something and report both the mean and statistics of the measurements. In practical terms, one begins with an initial guess as to the expected value of a quantity, and then, using various methods and instruments, reduces the uncertainty in the value. Note that in this view...all measurements are uncertain, so instead of assigning one value, a range of values is assigned to a measurement. This also implies that there is not a clear or neat distinction between estimation and measurement.

    In quantum mechanics, a measurement is an action that determines a particular property (position, momentum, energy, etc.) of a quantum system. Before a measurement is made, a quantum system is simultaneously described by all values in a range of possible values, where the probability of measuring each value is determined by the wavefunction of the system. When a measurement is performed, the wavefunction of the quantum system "collapses" to a single, definite value.

    Qualitative (rather than quantitative) measurement looks for patterns in non-numerical data, allowing the brain to construct concepts such as colour, taste, emotion, etc. The way I see it, we continually structure, test and restructure this non-numerical data with uncertain quantitative data (as described above) in the mind, reducing into a dual ‘wavefunction’ - what we call a neural interoception of affect: a probabilistic prediction of effort (quantitative) and attention (qualitative) requirements for the organism, which then determines and initiates the observable/measurable actions (thoughts, words, movement, etc) of the quantum system (ie. the organism) in relation to other systems.

    The way I see it, it’s the way these concepts are structured from uncertain quantitative and qualitative data according to ranges of possible and expected values, reducing to this dual ‘wavefunction’ of affect in each organism and relating to other quantum systems without ‘collapse’, that together constitutes what I refer to as the fifth dimensional aspect of reality. It is the qualitative part of this that lacks explanation - partly because our understanding of dimensions has always been described only in relation to spatial and quantitative data. There is nothing necessarily ‘mystical’ about this dimension, just a whole lot of uncertainty and speculation, based not on faith but on information theory, quantum mechanics and neuroscience, as well as philosophy, metaphysics and subjective experience. It’s an interpretation, sure - but one that isn’t content with expression as unexplained metaphorical relations and deism. Still, each to their own, I suppose.

    As for Kastrup, his book sounds interesting, and relevant to a discussion I’m having with Congau on a thread I created regarding the notion of ‘objective truth’ sans certainty. I may need to read it after I finish with Deacon’s book. I personally tend not to refer to ‘mystical and transcendent realms’ because it gets difficult to keep the discussion coming back to empirical reality. When discussing intuition and emotional symbols in relation to reason, I think it helps to also understand the relation of emotional concepts to current work in neuroscience, which is where Lisa Feldman Barrett’s book may once again prove informative, without getting too technical.

    At the beginning of this thread, I took the posts of Possibility seriously, assuming that the invisible transcendent dimensions referred to, would eventually be related back to the visible mundane world of physical senses, and the "obfuscated mind". But eventually, I began to wonder if I was being punked. Whenever, I requested specific information, all I got was assurances that the vaguely defined Higher Dimensions actually exist in some sense. But I remain none the wiser for all my efforts to understand what the mysterious Referent of "Higher Dimensions" might be. Is that failure due to my bad faith or to that of the proponents of invisible parallel worlds?Gnomon

    Can I just clear up that I have made no reference to ‘invisible parallel worlds’ (they’re your words), and that I have continually referred back to empirical reality, but apparently not in a manner that satisfies you, although you won’t clarify in what way it fails to make sense in your mind - you just ignore my explanations, or dismiss references to dimensions in relation to quantum mechanics as ‘uninteresting’ for you. I get the sense that you’re after a neatly packaged expression you can critique without understanding anything about how it relates to science, or that you can borrow from heavily in terms of neologisms and metaphorical language (again, without understanding the analogy behind it) to bolster the credibility of this belief system you’ve concocted. I can’t help you there (or maybe I won’t, I’m not entirely sure).

    IMHO, I’m not convinced that your ‘conclusion’ is based on reason in your case (not that you’re not capable of it, just that you haven’t applied it yourself), but on expressions of reasoning described by others, their words taken as gospel. I think that you have intuitively accepted their reasoning as sound without attempting to understand why, which is probably why you struggle to engage in any critical analysis of the theories your belief system is based on. I’m thinking your recovery from fundamentalist Christianity is not yet complete - I’m challenging you to make a concerted effort to understand why their reasoning makes sense to you, and why it doesn’t make sense to other ‘reasonable’ people in the form you’ve presented. That’s all. You can continue to dismiss my efforts to be understood, but that won’t improve your argument in relation to your own ‘theory’ - or your edification, for that matter.
  • Objective truth and certainty
    I admit that there is another sense in which everything is predetermined and thereby theoretically predictable. If everything is reduced to quantum mechanics, the quantity of moving molecules is finite and constitutes an extremely complicated version of rolling billiard balls. In that case, there would be no difference between what is potential and what will be actual; there would be no potentiality that wouldn’t eventually turn into actuality. The nasturtium seed wouldn’t have the potential of becoming a nasturtium if it was destined to be destroyed before it reached that stage. That would eliminate the distinction between actual and potential, and between past and future in a truth condition.
    (If we assumed some sort of religious determinism, that would also do the same trick.)

    However, within our physical world of objects with shape and form and a diversity of kinds of events all truths can be theoretically known (although in practice we can’t know anything). If it’s possible to know that I’m now typing (which it isn’t) it is also possible to know the content of any hidden seed. If it exists as a category of our perception (in our physical world), it exists independently of the mind but can theoretically be brought into the mind.
    Congau

    I think you misunderstand the nature of quantum mechanics here (or perhaps this refers to an interpretation that I’m not familiar with). As far as I can see, there are no ‘rolling billiard balls’ in quantum mechanics. It isn’t an alternate world that doesn’t correspond to our physical world of objects, but is in fact the foundation of the physical world itself. You’ve lost me here, sorry.
  • Objective truth and certainty
    No, I’m not talking about what is just not practically possible to know about because of our human limitations. A superman or an extremely powerful computer couldn’t know it either. It’s not practically possible to know everything within an enormous pool of facts, but as long as the pool is finite, it’s theoretically possible. It’s not theoretically possible to know the future because the possible combinations of interacting facts are literally infinite. (Because they are infinite they are not objectively existent.)Congau

    A superman or extremely powerful computer still have human limitations, just not as many. Possible combinations of interacting facts are potentially uncountable, but that doesn’t make them literally infinite. They’re also potentially unknowable, but neither does this render them non-existent as objective possibilities. Objective truth has nothing to do with knowing the future. That future possibilities exist in an objective sense is not dependent on a perceived or even an imagined capacity to know them. The moment we imagine a possibility - even as we then dismiss it as ‘not theoretically possible to know’ - its existence has possible meaning beyond the existence (and current limited capacity) of the human mind. I recognise this seems pedantic, but it is this kind of impossible speculation that enables us to have conversations like these. It is the use of imaginary numbers, for instance, that enable mathematicians to carry out seemingly impossible calculations, and determine the probability of what was once deemed ‘not theoretically possible to know’.

    A potential that exists inside a thing is objective and knowable, but for that potential to develop into a future existence, combinations of factors must be realized, and those possible combinations are not present anywhere now. A can connect to B, but it can also connect to C. The seed (A) can connect to optimal conditions (B) or to my destroying it (C). B or C are not present in the seed, or anywhere in the world for that matter.Congau

    These combinations of factors that must be realised in order to develop a potential don’t need to be present now - they, too, can be perceived as potential to develop into a future existence. I can be aware of, connect and collaborate with this potential to develop the optimal conditions required for developing the potential perceived in relation to the seed, and I can simultaneously perceive my potential to destroy the seed. These optimal conditions are perceived as potential information in everything around us: available space in the garden, suitable soil, access to water and nutrients, the time of year, etc. I need not be a passive observer - I can perceive my own potential in relation to the potential of these conditions, and increase the probability of the seed developing into a future existence by determining actions to initiate both now and well in the future. This relation of potentiality is an existing truth - whether or not it changes in the future, and whether or not anyone else knows, it exists now, within me, as ‘objective and [theoretically] knowable’ as the potential inside the seed. The fact that understanding the complexity of the human brain and mind in the same way that a scientist understands the inner complexity of the seed is beyond our current capacity, doesn’t change this.

    Who says anyone needs to observe it? The potential is inside the seed whether a scientist studies it or not, just like the unobserved falling tree makes a noise.Congau

    How do you think we come to that understanding? From previous observations and experiences in relation to a potential observation of a fallen tree. We’re not talking about an actual, unobserved falling tree, but a potential one: the potential falling tree has the potential to make a potential noise. And if we come across an actual fallen tree, we relate this sensory information to the potential information we have and conclude in our minds that in some past instance of this tree falling, it made a noise. And we present that information in our words. But the potential for noise is not entirely present in the tree alone, but in the structure of potential information in our mind in relation to our interaction with the tree (ie. our observation).

    Yes, in other words we only we only register a tiny fraction of the potential information we casually encounter. We see it, but we don’t notice it or don’t make sense of it. We see the seed, but not all the data it could conveyCongau

    The possible information that seed could convey is always limited by the potential of the interaction, and is always much more than anyone can perceive.
  • Objective truth and certainty
    This seed is a potential nasturtium. It refers to something that exists inside the object now and is not really a prediction about the future. I am about to destroy this seed, so I know for sure that it will never become a nasturtium, but still, it is a potential nasturtium.Congau

    What actuality of the seed is its potential? A biologist can look at its shape and size, but that tells you nothing unless you already know the relation of shape and size, etc to a seed’s possible future. She can even look at the DNA, but again this tells you nothing without a conceptual relation to genetics. There is nothing existing materially inside the object now whereby anyone simply observing it (without knowledge) would see the nasturtium it can become. It is the potential information we have as observers that renders the seed’s potential perceivable and meaningful as information. Objectively speaking, it’s all noise, but that noise is the reality from which we construct our perception of truth.

    By “perception” I meant simple sense-perception or “what the body senses”. (I should have said that instead.) Our bodily senses inform us about the past only and provided we can trust our them, they give us the truth. We are still likely to be mistaken, though, since we make faulty judgments, drawing conclusions from a combination of sensual inputs.Congau

    Fair enough. But the errors we make in judgement come from the fact that our body’s externally informed senses are limited by energy, attention and time constraints, so they contribute only a very small proportion of the information we are using at any one time in our perception of the world (and by ‘perception’ here I mean what the mind ‘sees’). If we consider only this external sensory information to be the truth, then we would be in a state that Feldman Barrett refers to as ‘experiential blindness’, with the brain struggling to make sense of the noise. It is our conceptual (predictive) systems that enable the brain to construct a perception of truth from the fuzzy and incomplete potential information gained from the senses in relation to ALL our experiences so far.

    In theory we can have knowledge about what actually exists. If our bodily senses don’t deceive us and we follow a valid deductive procedure we will grasp the truth (without really knowing that we know, of course). But about the future it is not even possible to have knowledge even in theory because our bodily senses can never register all signals that might be relevant./quote]

    What exists materially is in a constant temporal flux, and it isn’t possible to register all relevant information at any one time in order to even theoretically grasp the truth of the moment before it changes again. What we colloquially refer to as ‘actually’ existing is inclusive of potential information relevant to predicting the truth of the moment in which we would act. In other words, it’s subjective, which might be fine in other discussions, but we have deliberately put aside certainty here in order to discuss objective truth, and so, for consistency of language and to avoid confusion, we should also attempt to frame an understanding of actuality in this objective context, independent of our limited capacity.
    Congau
    What we can not have knowledge about even theoretically, can not be the truth. It may be true that this is a seed, true that it is a nasturtium seed, true that it is a potential nasturtium, but neither true nor false that it will become a nasturtium.Congau

    Do you recognise the subjective expression of these statements? You are limiting truth to what we can theoretically have knowledge of as human beings, rather than what exists objectively, independent of the mind.
  • A Theory of Information
    Flippant? There’s an understatement. I don’t think you’re sorry at all. There’s no point in having a discussion with you, if you’re going to ignore and misrepresent everything I’ve attempted to explain by carrying on about the occult, superpowers and magic. More strawmen...

    but if it’s your attempt to come across as knowledgeable on the subject of dimensions, then I’ll just applaud you and be done with it.
    — Possibility
    So, is this a kiss-off?
    Gnomon

    I’ll take that as confirmation of your intent.
  • Objective truth and certainty
    Our perception is based purely on actual information, what is there at the moment of perception. I see a rock and think it is an elephant, but still my visual perception is based on information that is actually there, that greyish thing.Congau

    No, our perception is a process based on only a small amount of potential (incomplete) sensory information from the past - the rest of it is your mind predicting what is there by piecing it together with potential information already integrated into your conceptual system. What your body senses in the next moment then verifies or adjusts this visual perception after your brain’s prediction produces the initial thought. So, in fact, you perceived it was an elephant, then think it is an elephant as you perceived it was a rock, and then you see a rock.

    Our action and words are a different matter. They are in addition based on our judgment and implications of our judgment of what we perceive. We start putting meaning into the object of perception the moment we have perceived it. (It may happen at the same time, but conceptually it’s a sequence). You see someone catching a ball, conclude that your team has won the game and then rejoice realizing what is in it for you (potential). Sure, all of that is included in what you take away from that simple event that would be a simple ball catching for another person, but even for you, what you have actually perceived is just the catching.Congau

    But thoughts are also temporal events, so they work the same way as some actions and words. The difference is that some of our actions and words are based on conscious judgement driven by thought, while others are more like thoughts in that the ‘judgement’ is made in the affective prediction that then produces both thought and action/expression. In many cases, your brain predicts that the ball will be caught, meaning that your team wins the game and so your body is already poised to rejoice, having perceived the ball being caught, before the moment that the ball is actually caught. This is why, when that ball is dropped in the last second, you see team members awkwardly having to conceal a premature celebratory action already halfway through...

    Everything we do is directed at the future, (if only the next moment in time) and everything we say is anticipating a response, but everything we have ever perceived belongs to the past.Congau

    Everything the body senses belongs to the past, but perception is a process whereby the brain relates that past potentiality to an atemporal conceptual structure, creating an ongoing ‘present’ experience of consciousness or affect: a prediction of effort and attention requirements for the organism going forward.

    A potential x is something that may become an x in the future but is not an x now. Potential information is something that may become information in the future but is not information now.
    Whatever is, is actual. Information about a potential, is actual.
    Congau

    Not quite. A potential x is not temporally located - this x exists not necessarily in the future but possibly in the past or the present, or all three. Its relational structure is uncertain. Information about a potential also points to the uncertainty or incompleteness of the relational structure - its lack of observable actuality or spatio-temporal location. Information about the seed’s actuality (it is a particular size and has a round shape) relates to information about the seed’s potential (the plant will become a nasturtium), but they are not the same information. “This is a nasturtium seed” seems like a statement of actuality, but the use of ‘nasturtium’ to describe the seed refers to its potentiality.
  • Objective truth and certainty
    Plastic exists independently whereas a bottle is dependent on the human mind to exist, but not on any specific mind. Anyone I asked above the age of three would probably identify this thing as a bottle, so that is also an objective truth. I thought this distinction might be relevant to your scheme, but maybe it isn’t.Congau

    ‘Bottle’ and ‘plastic’ exist as conceptual structures in the human mind. Objective truth is not the concepts, but the reality these conceptual structures refer to, including the relation between a particular instance of the concept and all past instances in your experience and in mine, as well as the relation between your experience and mine. What exists independent of the mind would exist independent of language, which makes it difficult to clarify what I mean here. Our reliance on language to construct truth, and the reification of conceptual structures this leads to, limits our capacity to grasp elements of the truth that transcend language in experience.

    Even though I see what you mean when you say that the dog may use the bottle as a piece of information indicating it will soon be taken for a walk, and you call this information potential truth, I don’t think it’s necessary (or even right) to separate potentiality from actuality in a question of truth. Potentiality exists as actuality. In a seed, the plant it might become, the potential of becoming a nasturtium, is now actually present in that seed. The information is actual, and a biologist could ascertain that under a microscope. The bottle on my desk is actually there, and that is the actual truth that the dog uses to make its inference. Your “potential truth” may or may not become an actual truth, so it is not the truth now, which means that it’s not the truth at all. On the other hand, potentiality existing as actuality, is now the truth, that is truth proper. Potentiality is certainly important, and we are always on the lookout for potentiality in things in order to predict the future, but the truth that we see is in what is actual.Congau

    This is another example of reifying concepts. If we can conceptualise it, then it’s real, but does that make it actual to anyone but us? Language doesn’t help us here, because the meaning of ‘actual’ crosses key dimensional divides between what is temporally located (3D), what has temporal duration (4D) and what exists only in its relation to time (5D). I’ve been using the term to refer to what at least has temporal duration, in that it has the capacity to act independent of awareness. But you use the term to refer to what exists for us to act on, which is inclusive of atemporal concepts such as plastic, bottle or the plant that a seed might become.

    Potentiality exists in relation to actuality, and as such appears as actual by those who perceive it. A biologist observing a seed under a microscope is not looking at potential information existing in the seed as actuality, but conceptualising potential information in relation to predicting a future actuality, based on the relation between this particular instance of seed, and all past instances of seed in her experience. She can use language to transfer that potential information as a conceptual structure to another mind, and she can integrate the potential information in determining her own actions in a way that contributes to its actualisation.

    Potential information is not inherent in the actual seed, then, but in the relation between the seed’s actuality and the capacity of the observer to perceive the potential for meaning in it. Otherwise it’s just noise. The truth that we see is what is actual - what we can act on - but objective truth is what is possible - what could be acted on, objectively speaking - even if it seems meaningless to us.
  • A Theory of Information
    If I am so arrogant & ignorant, why do you care what my opinion of your Multidimensional Reality might be? From your early posts I began to entertain the possibility that you may know something that would add more "dimensions" to my personal worldview, and to my understanding of reality. But I'm still waiting for that revelation. With my references to abstruse scientific theories, I may have given the impression that I am a part of that exotic academic world. I'm merely an onlooker, not a participant.Gnomon

    First of all, I’ve suggested that your responses demonstrate an arrogance and a refusal to learn - I’m still hoping they’re an inaccurate portrayal, and that you are in fact open to information (not from me, but in general) that could be useful in refining your theory. Secondly, I haven’t asked for your opinion. My own worldview of multi-dimensional reality is a work in progress, patchy at best, and I’m not in a position to defend it in full at this stage.

    On the other hand, you have presented something akin to a thesis, which you are attempting to defend. I’m suggesting information that I think will improve the accuracy of this presented worldview, and you’re doing everything you can to avoid, exclude or dismiss the possibility that what you’ve presented might be inaccurate or need refining in any way. You offer these scientific theories as supporting evidence, but you don’t seem to understand them enough to defend their relevance beyond a claim of ‘metaphorical’ significance. This seems more like apologetics for a belief system, not a thesis, and not a ToE. There’s nothing wrong with that - my own worldview can at best be called a belief system, as well - but I’m not here trying to defend mine, but rather to test and refine it in the hope of working towards a ToE eventually. I’m a long way off. And I made no assumption that you were part of the academic world, but your reference to these theories did lead me to believe you understood them enough to discuss them to some extent. Seems both Praxis and I were wrong there.

    Your Multidimensional Theory is not the only one I've investigated, and then "excluded" from my personal worldview because they are not relevant to my interests. Even if there are 11 spatial dimensions in String Theory, what difference does it make to me, here locked into the 4D reality of my physical senses? I am aware that many people believe in invisible dimensions that only the elect are aware of. For example, Muslims are told that there is a seventh heaven, which is a realm of intense happiness and bliss, that only the faithful will ever experience. If so, it behooves me to accept God's Final Prophet and bow to his revelation. I'm not sure what the dimensional number is, but potential Islamic Martyrs are assured that there is an invisible Paradise, with 72 beautiful virgins to please every adolescent male sexual fantasy. But, those extra dimensions have no relevance to my non-Islamic belief system. And I'm no longer a hormone intoxicated teenager.Gnomon

    Strawmen and more strawmen... none of this is relevant to the information I’ve given you in other threads regarding my worldview. You haven’t investigated it at all. All you’ve heard is the word ‘dimension’ and you’re looking for ways to discredit what doesn’t ‘interest’ you enough to try and understand. The dimensions I’m referring to are non-spatial, and we interact across them every day, through language, mathematics, science, art, literature, religion, etc. Our brains make sense of the world, determining and initiating actions from an ongoing prediction of the future as effort (quanta) and attention (qualia) requirements for the organism. How the mind structures our systems of value, significance and potentiality of information to ‘collapse’ constitutes a fifth dimension or relational aspect of reality, which incorporates and transcends the four dimensions of spacetime.

    I googled "Quantum Potentiality", and found a few returns, mostly referring to some of Heisenberg's mathematical musings about the significance of superposition. But I'm not able to follow his math. Another site may be closer to what you are talking about on EscadelicNet. It seems to deal with some of the same scientific & philosophical topics that I link to in the Enformationism thesis. And it also uses the Matrix movie as a metaphor for the Mind/Body paradox. As I get time, I'll look around the site. But at first glance, it seems to require much more formal training in quantum theory and higher math than I bring to the table. I'm not qualified to critique the criticisms of the Standard Theory, much less the theory of the Syntellect Hypothesis. :cool:Gnomon

    I’m not asking you to critique some random website theory you found. You won’t find anything on the internet regarding my particular worldview, except for what you might find here on this forum, because I haven’t written anything on it yet. If you’re interested in trying to grasp quantum theory, though, I can recommend the book ‘Quantum Enigma’ by Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner. It gave me an understanding of quantum theory that was more suited to my Arts background. But I’m guessing you’ll only skim it for sections that ‘interest’ you (ie. agree with your belief system) rather than attempt to understand why the success of QM, despite being fundamentally misunderstood and open to a variety of interpretations, is vital to any ToE.
  • Is time a physical quality of the universe or a conscious tool to understand it?
    Time directionality is not necessary for genes to make a cat. Just probability of all being lumped together as one particular individual.Benj96

    Not to make a potential cat, no. But time directionality is required for genes to make an actual cat. Language and probability make no distinction between potentiality and actuality. Reality does.
  • A Theory of Information
    Sorry, I'm neither a string theorist, nor a mathematician, nor an academic philosopher --- nor an esoteric Theosophist. So deconstructing, or meta-analysing, exotic metaphors is not my thing. I'm not motivated to seek a "deeper understanding" of invisible un-imaginable dimensions of hyperspace or astral planes. I guess I'll have to stick to mundane metaphors that I actually know something about, and that relate to the real sensible world.Gnomon

    Neither am I, so no need to apologise. But your resistance to even attempting to understand how your belief system relates to quantum potentiality is coming across as blatant ignorance and exclusion, NOT a lack of intelligence. You make no reference to any explanations I’ve offered, except to throw up strawmen such as ‘hyperspace or astral planes’ and get defensive about my perception of your intelligence, as if I’m trying to attack it. All this does is confirm your arrogance. If your aim is to stick to metaphors you know something about, and you’re not willing to increase your knowledge, then you might want to leave quantum physics alone - but I think that will seriously hamper your attempts at a ToE.

    If you don’t understand what I’ve written, that’s probably my fault - I encourage you to make an attempt and then point out where you’re not following, and I’ll try to explain where I’m coming from. I’m honestly not trying to prove myself more intelligent, because I’m pretty sure that I have neither the experience nor the education to do so. I perceive the world differently to most people that I’ve met, and I’ve spent years trying to make sense of that distinction. My advantage is that my husband is a specialist math teacher, who can patiently explain the mathematical part of quantum physics to me when I get stuck (which is often). I don’t always do his explanations or my understanding of it justice here, which is my problem, not yours. But if you’re just going to just dismiss the whole thing as ‘meaningless’ to you, then I can’t improve my attempts, and there’s not much point in a discussion, is there?

    I did read Carlo Rovelli's book, but just skimmed over any references to dimensions that are meaningless to me. I'm also familiar with Rob Bryanton's Imagining the Tenth Dimension website and book. But it's all Greek to me. I'm still waiting for you to dumb it down for me. Is that something you can do? Or are you content to just belittle my intelligence? :cool:Gnomon

    I haven’t read Bryanton at all, so I can’t comment on how his work relates to my ideas at this stage. If you genuinely think it’s relevant, then I will try to read it after Deacon, but if it’s your attempt to come across as knowledgeable on the subject of dimensions, then I’ll just applaud you and be done with it. Personally, I don’t think it’s a matter of ‘dumbing’ it down, just explaining it differently. Your intelligence is not in question here, only your willingness to increase awareness of information relevant to your belief system. I’m starting to think you only skimmed Deacon’s work, too - which appears to be much denser in relation to biology (at least early on) than Rovelli’s is in relation to dimensions. Yet you’re content to borrow heavily from his terminology to bolster your own ‘theory’. FWIW, I needed help to get my head around Rovelli’s explanation of dimensions, but it was worth the effort. I’m not sure that I have the skills to make it clearer for you, but I’m willing to try if you’re willing to be patient and honest with me about my progress.

    It seems to me that you’re a little too precious about elements of your belief system to be open to constructive criticism of it as a ToE. I’m happy to back off, if that’s the case.
  • Objective truth and certainty
    I have a plastic bottle on my desk. I think that is objectively true since I believe most people would identify it as such. The fact that it is made of plastic or some plastic-like material is the most basic (actual?) information. Even a dog would recognize the characteristic of this material, perhaps without putting much meaning into it beyond that. For the dog it is what it is, so to speak, a lump of plastic. For us it is also a bottle, that is a cultural artifice, but there is nothing about the object itself that makes it such a thing. An alien wouldn’t see a bottle, but maybe it would remind him of some object known in his world. Would this “bottle” then have the potential of being something else, of having another meaning?Congau

    What is not dependent on the mind for existence? I understand why you’re saying that the most basic information is the plastic-like substance, its actuality. That seems to be the truth of the object that exists regardless of what you or I think about it. Even if the dog was able (or cared enough) to argue with you, he couldn’t deny that it’s made of plastic. I’m not saying that this isn’t objectively true - I’m arguing that this is not the sum of objective truth.

    A dog doesn’t know (or care) what the bottle is made of. From the dog’s perspective, the truth of the object is what it might hold for him (water) or the potential it has to inform him in terms of his relationship to you (relative to other information, it could mean that you’re about to go to work or take him for a walk, or that you’ll be spending more/less time at this desk). All of this is potentially related to objective truth. Other than that, it’s likely the bottle is just noise, or useless information.

    So while you can confidently say it is objectively true that you have a plastic bottle on your desk, very little of that information means anything to your dog. Which is fine, as long as you don’t care how your dog relates to the world. And the fact that he doesn’t care about particular information renders him ignorant from your perspective - even though the potential truth he gets from perceiving the bottle on your desk may be more than you realise, and even more than you may get from the same experience.

    The objective truth is that something exists. That is what I see as the most basic information. The next most basic information is what matters, objectively speaking. From there, the truth is that we each perceive the potential information of any experience differently, and therefore make different predictions about reality, according to the unique actuality of our own existence.

    The reason I prefer to conceptualise from the top (possibility) rather than the bottom (actuality), is because I’m less likely to miss potential information this way that may enable me to interact with the world more objectively. I realise that we can confidently build a concept of truth from our reduction of information to a common actuality (in a classical sense). The thing is that we don’t interact with or determine our actions (and words) based on the actuality of the world, but ALWAYS on our concept of its future potential. Conceptualising truth as actuality renders us ignorant of the wealth of potential information that contributes to our predictions, whether or not we’re consciously aware of it doing so. It is only when other perspectives conflict directly with our concept of truth, threatening prediction error (suffering), that we may recognise that one of us is inaccurately perceiving and predicting the truth.

    If we argue that our perception - and therefore our actions and words - are based purely on actual information as ‘objective truth’, then we’re being dishonest (or at least ignorant). Because the truth of our experience, objectively speaking, is that we always act on uncertain future predictions of what is true. So we cannot even be certain that the ‘logical’, ‘emotional’ or ‘moral’ reasoning we give for our actions or statements is the truth independent of our limited conscious experience of it.

    But the more aware we are of all this potential information - its unavoidable uncertainty, the many ways we can structure it and how that changes our interactions - the more we can improve the accuracy of our predictions, reducing prediction error and thereby increasing our capacity to interact with the world with minimal actual suffering. And if we’re also aware that there is information of which we cannot even perceive its potential to inform, then we are open to at least relating to the notion of objective truth, no matter how remote the possibility.
  • A Theory of Information
    That sounds similar to the way I conceive of Energy (EnFormAction), which is the potential for creating and destroying structure. For example, physicists metaphorize light energy as a spray of photons, like a machine gun. Yet, the Light we see is just a fraction of the whole spectrum of energy throughout the universe. Universal Energy is, not a material thing, but a metaphysical oscillation between max & minimum potential. Expressed in 1s and 0s, it's a creation code. That concept is hard to describe & to grasp, and is far outside my field of competence. But it's a consequence of my metaphorical understanding of what Energy and Information actually consist of : mathematical (mental) relationships.

    Anyway, I imagine Energy as an alternation between Enfernity (unbounded potential -- infinite possibilities), and Nothingness (zero potential). In the graph below, positive creative potential is at the peak of the wave, and negative destructive potential is at the trough of the wave. But the neutral baseline down the center is Zero potential. As the wave oscillates, it creates space, and as it advances from peak to peak, it creates time. Thus, plenipotential metaphysical Energy (creative potential) constructs the physical space-time reality that we experience via our senses.

    Ironically, the potential (power) of Energy consists of Information in the form of mathematical ratios (1/0; 1 : 2; this compared to that). "Relational structures" that can be expressed as percentages of the Whole. The best book on this topic, that I'm familiar with, is Into the Cool : Energy Flow, Thermodynamics, and Life, by Eric Schneider and Dorian Sagan. But I'm not interested so much in the physics of Energy, as in the Metaphysics : the Qualia. Even there I'm dabbling in ideas that are above my pay grade. And my understanding is still incomplete. But it gives some meaningful foundational structure to my Enformationism worldview. :nerd:
    Gnomon

    You seem to be using metaphors from these theories to bolster your own, without any deeper understanding of how the analogies are applied. This seems to be the case not just in relation to the oscillating wave and potentiality, but also in relation to the ideality and embodiment of Forms. I agree that these theories DO relate to your own, but I think you’ve fallen short of plausible explanations as to how they relate. To be taken seriously in your reference to these theories, I think you need to be able to deconstruct the many metaphors we use to understand what each of these relational structures are like in order to more clearly conceptualise how they fit together. This is particularly important with quantum mechanics because the analogies are mathematically applied, isolating the relational structure from its context in reality.

    For instance, the oscillating wave is itself a metaphor, describing the relational structure of potentiality as analogous to a wave of light/energy, but they’re referring to different dimensional structures. The potentiality ‘waves’ of quantum fields don’t peak and trough over time - there is no distinction of ‘time’ at the quantum level. Rather, they peak and trough (in a three-dimensional, non-spatio-temporal sense) across whatever abstract value the particular field refers to. It is the relation between these various mathematical fields that manifest the two-dimensional oscillation of energy/light over time to which the diagram refers.

    Take a look at Carlo Rovelli’s ‘The Order of Time’ for an example of multi-dimensional deconstruction of relations between time and quantum mechanics; and Lisa Feldman Barrett’s ‘How Emotions Are Made’ for a theory that describes the relational structure between ideal and embodied forms in relation to neuroscience, particularly with reference to qualia. They’re both written for lay readers, and I think will help to add meat to your theory.
  • Objective truth and certainty
    For me, I can believe it to be objective truth only if it appears filled with possibility.
    — Possibility
    And again, why is that? Why isn’t any utterly useless information about something existing just as true as something heavily pregnant with significance? There aren’t any degrees of truth; something is either true or not true. Either A or not A.

    I’m not saying that you are not onto something important, though. Of course, you don’t bother to argue for the truth of some ridiculous detail that wouldn’t expand our knowledge of the universe anyway.
    Congau

    This statement of mine was describing the limitation of my perception, as I see it. But possibility is not necessarily significance - there is no ‘utterly useless information’, objectively speaking. Information is, by nature of the term, that which informs. Nevertheless, there is plenty of information out there which would be considered useless to humans, as far as its capacity to inform is currently beyond our capacity (or willingness) to be informed by its existence.

    In our discussion I have made sure to call it “objective truth” to avoid any doubt about where I stand on the issue: Truth is always objective. For me, therefore the qualifier “objective” is redundant, but that’s not the case for you, is it? By ”objective” I think you mean something like ‘that which can be included in our common understanding of reality’ or at least ‘that which can be included in my systematic understanding of the relationship between things’. Scattered details, though true, you don’t call objective if they remain isolated. Am I right?Congau

    I do understand that the qualifier ‘objective’ is redundant in relation to truth. But I also recognise that when people make a claim to truth, the ‘truth’ they’re claiming is not objective, but a limited perspective of what is true. What we might consider to be ‘utterly useless information’ is still true - we’re just uncertain of how to relate to this truth.

    I do consider ‘scattered’ details to contribute to objectivity, but so long as how they contribute is uncertain, this is possible information. Consider the infernal ‘buzzing’ noise that led scientists to discover CMB radiation as remnant of the Big Bang in the 1960s. Interestingly, such ‘white noise’ is now automatically corrected for in digital signals, excluded as ‘useless’ information.

    This definition wouldn’t neatly fit in with the dictionary definition, as we have already suggested. Then why don’t you instead try to find another word for the idea you’re trying to get across to avoid confusion?Congau

    Because I still consider ‘objective’ to be that which is “not dependent on the mind for existence” - I just think that ‘actual’ is a limited understanding of what this can be.
  • Objective truth and certainty
    Our conception of objects are based on two elements: perception and judgment. The judgment we both call subjective, but you want to call individual perception objective since other individuals would have perceived exactly the same if they had had the exact same background experience. My only candidate for objectivity, on the other hand, is what might be called the thing in itself - independent of an observer, but that leaves it open what to do with perception as opposed to judgment. Well, the two can’t really be separated and even two individuals imagined to have lived the exact same life would judge their experiences differently. You may be imagining an observer stripped of subjective judgments, something like a machine, a camera or a robot, or a human being as a mere thought experiment. The moment a person left out his judgment (if that were possible) he would see the world “objectively” in your sense of the term, even though that vision would still be unique to him and could not be copied by anyone else. Is that so?Congau

    Yes. I agree that two individuals imagined to have lived the exact same life would have the capacity to ‘judge’ their experiences differently within the exact same potentiality. To that end, I believe that we express this objectively irreducible potentiality using language, mathematics, logic, morality, etc (even quantum mechanics and art) - as a broad limitation of possibilities.

    Judgement (thank you, by the way, for pointing out the distinction) is inclusive of meaning, though - and it is here that a challenge arises to withhold ‘judgement’ (as the reductive process) for one further stretch of the mind towards objectivity as the possibility of what is real and true in itself, independent of experience. Because the truth of language is not in the instance of the word or the statement, but in its reference to a relation of meaning.

    Meaning (as I see it) is how something matters or informs. Not necessarily how much it matters or why, or even in what way (although that is all part of it, as potentiality). And not necessarily knowing how, or being able to define how, either. Before I reduce all potential information I have to something useful, I recognise that there exists possible information in the objective reality surrounding all experience that matters and informs the world beyond my own perception of it. Even if I cannot perceive how it matters to me or to humanity or to the universe as I understand it, it still matters objectively in some way. From that understanding, the possibility that my perception (as well as yours) is limited in some way in relation to objectivity enables us to discuss truth, reality and meaning as possibilities independent of our own perception and judgement.

    Whether or not it’s possible for a person to ‘leave out’ their judgement, I think we can be aware of it, allow for and even adjust for it in discussions in such a way that we recognise it as a limitation of our existence in relation to objectivity.
  • A Theory of Information
    I'm afraid I don't know what kind of "structure" you are looking for : something material & physical instead of mental & metaphysical? Please give me an example of a structural definition of the metaphors of "quantum fields" and "information fields". Actually, there are no things in the field, only structural relationships.Gnomon

    ‘Quantum field’ is a structural metaphor, but the analogy on which it is based is backed by complex mathematical formulas which demonstrate the relational structure’s resemblance to an endless, oscillating field. The metaphor isn’t to enable scientists to understand the virtual particles themselves, but rather the structural relation of the ‘field’ analogy. The virtual particles are quanta of information, differentiated from each other across a dimensional ‘field’ of mathematical value. If you understood what the analogy refers to, then you’d also understand why it’s unnecessary to imagine your own ‘Enfernal quantum field with Platonic forms’ to describe the creation of the Big Bang. The structural relation is already there in the physics - ‘quantum fields’ refer to field-like structures of potential information as quanta. You only need to reconstruct the established analogy, and then show that what’s particularly missing from the physics here is an understanding (or even recognition) of qualia. That’s the challenging bit.

    Metaphors deny distinctions between things: problems often arise from taking structural metaphors too literally. Because unexamined metaphors lead us to assume the identity of unidentical things, conflicts arise which can only be resolved by understanding the metaphor (which requires its recognition as such), which means reconstructing the analogy on which it is based. Teachers will often cease to use terms metaphorically, or be conscious of the distinction when their concept is an expanded one, but this will not mirror the situation in most of their students’ minds. — David Pimm, ‘Metaphor and Analogy in Mathematics’
  • Objective truth and certainty
    This is not your mistake since you believe in objective truth, but your notion of truth is somehow multiple, depending on the infinite number of different angles from which we can be hit by potential information and create our vision of reality. Is it objective just because anyone in the same position would have reached the same conclusion?Congau

    In a way, yes. But I’m not just talking about the same physical position, but to have occupied the same position over the entire course of their life: if they had experienced the same birth, childhood and sum total of intimate interactions or concrete experiences, then yes, they would judge the world in the same way. It does make the theoretical possibility of an objective truth much more remote than most are willing to admit, but nevertheless possible.

    I think I can follow how, from your perspective, my notion of truth does seem to be multiple. There is a sense that truth or reality is the world in which we act and speak, but not the world in which we think and imagine. In that sense, truth is only what everyone can share, and is therefore limited to the proposition, duration or proven actuality of that relation: ie. an observable/measurable connection or interaction. So to posit an ‘objective’ truth as inclusive of what everyone thinks or imagines is to suggest a multi-faceted notion of such truth that doesn’t correspond to what we understand to be an ‘interaction’ as such - even though it is a relation, nonetheless.

    Think of it as relating to something from the inside, as if you were trying to ascertain the three-dimensional structure of a building only by photos of its interior. It isn’t easy, but it’s still possible if you have enough different photos and enough points of reference that overlap - ideally you can then turn that construct inside out by recognising how the way you see the interior information presented in 2D corresponds to an overall 3D shape. It’s a process of trial and error, because it can be difficult to recognise when you have enough different perspectives to faithfully render the entire structure. But if your own perspective was limited to one room, then surely all those photos would together constitute a more objective view of the building?

    I’ve deliberately removed the notion of uncertainty, here. So is objectivity, in this analogy, only the interior doors, passageways and shared walls that connect these photos to your own perspective, or is it a 3D rendering of all the other information in the photos with regard to the rest of the building? I agree that the former is necessary to begin the process, but the latter is required if you hope to complete it, no matter how remote that possibility.
  • Objective truth and certainty
    One can be certain that there is a cup in the cupboard without any further consideration whatsoever regarding the possibility of being mistaken or another's perspective(belief). One can be certain that that was true when spoken/considered by looking.creativesoul

    Right - “without any further consideration whatsoever regarding the possibility” - that is, excluding the possibility. I could say ignorant, but most people don’t respond well to that word.
  • Objective truth and certainty
    This is confused, and unnecessarily so. My typing is an event, an occurrence. That's what's happened and/or is happening. The report thereof is what was/is true. Of that much I can be absolutely certain, and very well ought be.

    Personally I reject the objective/subjective dichotomy, but for far different reasons than are being discussed here.

    We can be absolutely certain about what sorts of things can be true and what makes them so. That is the basic point of our disagreement.
    creativesoul

    You can be certain of the truth of your report only by excluding the possibility that you may be mistaken; and that yours is not the only valid perspective. There’s nothing wrong with that - it enables you to act and communicate with confidence - it’s just not an objective sense of truth.

    I don’t see objective/subjective as a dichotomy. I think that’s a limited understanding of a dynamic that extends across multiple levels of awareness.

    We can construct a value system - individually or collectively - about what sorts of things can be true and what makes them so, within a limited perspective. Our certainty with regard to that relational structure and that truth depends on excluding the possibility or validity of alternative perspectives.
  • Objective truth and certainty
    We will likely never agree on this entirely, which I will always find intriguing.

    I think that certainty is not something we can possess or claim without excluding the possibility of truth existing in any objective sense. You and I have been content to limit this need for certainty, enabling us to discuss objectivity in relation to truth. There are those claiming here that they are certain of something and imply that everyone else must be certain of it, also - or risk flights of fancy and wild imaginings in a bid to dislodge their claim. At the same time, they insist on doing away with terms such as ‘objective’ or ‘absolute’ as unnecessary in a discussion of truth.

    Always adding another perspective and including different points of view will not automatically increase objectivity.Congau

    That depends on what you mean by ‘adding’ and ‘including’. I don’t believe that we can ever express objectivity as such - the author of an apparently ‘objective’ article has taken pains to conceal the subjectivity and/or uncertainty in their statements, but has otherwise taken into account as many different perspectives of the subject matter as they can before presenting what is essentially the extent of their subjective ‘knowledge’. The absence of any specific viewpoints is an indication of writing style, not awareness. It can be seen as an exclusion of information (pertaining to the subjectivity and/or uncertainty of statements), rather than a progression towards truth in an objective sense. An expression that claims to be objective is an exercise in clarity, not truth.

    However, this objectivity is not the same as objective truth. It may very well be that one subjective opinion is the objective truth, unknown to everyone including the person holding this opinion. In fact, every time I argue for something, I think that is the objective truth (that’s why I bother to argue) and I think it’s the same for you and anyone else (unless they argue just for sports like sophists).Congau

    When I argue for something, I think that is the truth as far as my limited perspective allows me. If I am certain enough to bother arguing my point, then I expect there will be some element of truth to a dissenting perspective that I may struggle to understand. For me, I can believe it to be objective truth only if it appears filled with possibility.

    The ultimate objective truth would not be expressed in an objective and detached way.Congau

    I agree. The ultimate expression of objective truth is all of reality.
  • Objective truth and certainty
    It is true that I am currently typing on my computer keyboard. I can be absolutely certain that true.creativesoul

    You can be subjectively certain that it is true. But you cannot be certain of eliminating the remote possibility that you could be hallucinating, and therefore, you cannot be absolutely certain that you typing on your computer keyboard is what is true in an objective sense.

    So, the primary premiss is false.creativesoul

    It’s not a logical premise. Perhaps ‘given’ was the wrong choice. It’s a parameter for this particular question about the notion of ‘objective truth’. I’m not necessarily stating that we can never be absolutely certain about anything. I’m saying that uncertainty is necessary to discussions about ‘objective truth’. If you limit the need for ‘objectivity’, then truth can be discussed with certainty. If you limit the need for ‘certainty’, then truth can be discussed objectively. But we can neither be objective about certainty, nor certain about objectivity.

    We cannot be certain about everything. It quite simply does not necessarily follow that we ought not be certain about anything.creativesoul

    I agree - who said anything about ought?
  • Objective truth and certainty
    I would think that neuroscience - if it shows anything - would show that we do both.creativesoul

    We have reflexes, involuntary actions in our peripheral nervous system, where there is a direct link between sensory and motor neurons, sure. I’m referring to those connecting to and from the brain in particular.
  • Objective truth and certainty
    You get input from somewhere, a real elephant, a picture, a story or from some other untraceable memory and mix it with your energy or however you would like to express it, it doesn’t really matter. I don’t really have a problem with this (apart from some of your confusing word choices like “potential information” but I guess we have already more or less cleared that up.)Congau

    This is the interesting thing, because (while it may not matter how I express it) it does matter where the ‘input’ comes from. First of all, if the memory is untraceable, then its uncertainty is more pronounced than if we could pinpoint the surrounding conditions of the potential information. A real elephant standing in front of us enables us to verify the surrounding conditions without being subject to the uncertainty with which our memory has been structured. A picture or story also relies on how we evaluate the certainty of someone else’s perspective.

    Because of this, how you think about an elephant is going to differ in many ways from how I think about an elephant, whether we are both looking at the same photograph or the same animal in the wild. So, even if we both can say ‘I’m thinking that’s an elephant’, the thoughts will be different and affect the world differently as they each come into existence, despite the same language being used to express the event. A claim to certainty in stating ‘that’s an elephant’ is a reduction of all the information integrated from thought - excluding any of the incomplete or potential information which would improve objectivity, yet undermines the certainty in our perspective of truth.

    It belongs to the future in the sense that I am receiving information right now, then I process it and create a new state of reality. There is a time aspect of input > processing > output, even when it happens very fast. There exists an objective state of the world that is unalterable because it has already occurred, for example the world as it was on May 12, 2020 at 7pm GMT. That includes my own mental state at that point in time. Whatever I can make of it and use to change the state of the world, will occur after this point, that is in the future.Congau

    This is where the way we expect information processing to work (ie. like a computer) should be pointed out as inaccurate with respect to human beings, at least. Neuroscience shows that we continually predict our future interactions with the world, rather than simply responding to stimuli as it occurs. To do this, the brain needs to act now on what potential information it has about the future, and then keep adjusting for accuracy as the moment of interaction draws closer. So I am anticipating a future state of reality (including my mental state) based on available potential information, and the actions I’m carrying out now are based on predictions made by my brain’s interoceptive network moments before. The state of the world includes me, and I am continually changed by potential information I integrate about the future. This fascinating temporal shift in consciousness messes with our understanding of ‘an objective state of the world’ in relation to our own mental state. It also raises the profile of potential information, bringing its impact firmly into the present.

    The subjective part of our interpretation of the world is not really found in our perceptive organs, which would be equivalent to a camera (a machine) reproducing an image. Let’s imagine we all had the same eyesight and there was no color blindness and other confusing idiosyncrasies. We would get the same imprint on our retina, but that wouldn’t make our impression any less subjective. follow later Subjectivity follows when the actual interpretation happens (I’m looking at a rock, no, wait, it’s an elephant!). The mind as an interpreting entity is not yet active at the first visual impression, so there’s no reason to talk about subjectivity. Similarly, subjectivity is not really about our looking at objects from different perspectives and angles. If it were, all it would take would be for you to step into the spot where I’m currently standing, and you would see the world from my perspective. But you would still interpret this same visual impression differently, and that is subjectivity in the proper sense. Therefore the analogy with photography doesn’t capture the concept of subjectivity.Congau

    I recognise this difference, but what I’m saying is that the distinction is one of dimensional aspect. The structural shift is the same. It’s pointless for me to try to illustrate the structural shift between subjectivity and objectivity at the five-dimensional level of human experience using an analogy at the same level of awareness, because there is no existing understanding of structural relations at this level. Analogy is not a claim to conceptual equivalence in every sense. I’m saying that the structural shift works the same way, just with an additional dimensional aspect. The relational structure of information between a photograph and a model shifts from two-dimensional to three-dimensional, inclusive of spatial information; likewise between the model and a working replica the structure shifts from three-dimensional information to four-dimensional, including a replication of temporal states. In the same way, the relational structure of information between a working replica (p-zombie) and human experience would need to shift from four-dimensional information to a five-dimensional structural relation, including a replication of atemporal intention, or integrated potential information.

    Fruitful discussions are not about reaching an agreement. It’s about achieving more clarity about one’s position, whether or not it is moved, while learning about other possible views.Congau

    We are in agreement here. :grin:
  • Objective truth and certainty
    It doesn’t come into existence from nothing. The point is that the thought, as it comes into being, doesn’t affect its source. (Sure, it may result in action which may later affect the material world, but that belongs to the future.)Congau

    The source of a thought about an elephant isn’t the elephant. There is no actual elephant involved in thinking about an elephant. The way I see it, a thought is an energy event, a manifest interaction between potential information accessible to the system. The potential energy for that event comes from you, as the system. It is you who is affected by a thought as it comes into being, whether you entertain it or reject it.

    A thought is a source of new potential information for the system, which then interacts with other potential information to manifest more thoughts. Each thought draws on the potential energy of the system itself for its existence, and any new potential information from that thought can be temporarily available to the system as possible ‘food for thought’ (to interact with other accessible potential information, manifesting more thoughts), or integrated by correlation with the memories, knowledge and beliefs of your unique conceptual system - necessarily affecting it/you. This amorphous structure of interrelated potential information informs and is informed by your interoceptive neural network as it also accesses new potential information from internal and external sensory systems, and makes continual predictions regarding the system’s potential energy and attention requirements (including thinking), thereby determining and initiating all your thoughts, words and actions.

    So, the way I see it, all of this potential information is part of who you are, affecting you as an element of the material world. It doesn’t just belong to the future.

    A particular camera is designed to absorb light in one specific way and render colors according to one method. Two photographs taken by the same camera will truthfully copy two instances of reality according to the same standard. A human looking at two objects may interpret one of them correctly and the other incorrectly even according to his own standard.Congau

    That standard constitutes the limits of a camera’s capacity to interpret light. The photograph is then a limited perspective of truth (ie. subjective), just as a human looking at an object renders a limited perspective of truth. The camera has no awareness of its standard. A human, however, may be aware of a standard, but that may not be the standard by which they actually determine and initiate thoughts, words and actions.

    In philosophy the certainty of a definition is of utmost importance and many a philosophical discussion fails because the substance of the matter slips away, and the opponents keep talking about different things. In daily life exact definitions are of much less importance as we generally know what the other person is talking about and if we don’t, the consequences are usually rather small.
    What is the difference between a shoe and a boot, for example? How high around the ankle does the shoe need to be to become a boot? No one knows exactly, and it usually doesn’t matter, but if you run a shoe store, you may want to decide on an artificial distinction to conveniently classify your merchandise.
    Similarly in philosophy, you may argue that the colloquial definition of “objective” is not watertight, but in that case you’ll have to decide on one that is, and then why not choose the dictionary definition as it is more likely to be recognized by the person you are talking to. As it now is, I have no way of knowing what you really mean by “objective” since you have admitted that you are working with an open-ended definition which as such cannot be clear even to yourself.
    Congau

    I recognise your need for certainty, but we’re discussing ‘objective truth’, of which we can be far from certain. As I mentioned to creativesoul, there is reason to consider objectivity and certainty as a conjugate pairing. In reference to the uncertainty principle, Einstein disagreed with Heisenberg’s interpretation, believing that particles had an ‘objectively true’ momentum and position at all times, even if both could not be measured. In the end, what either believed in relation to meaning is irrelevant to its functionality - Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle stands and is yet to be violated, regardless of interpretation. I think this is the case here. Unlike Heisenberg, I’m not going to abandon the existence of reality or in this case truth, because I believe its existence in principle as a possibility - of which we may either be objectively uncertain or subjectively certain but never objectively certain - is a necessary relation for all existence.

    In philosophical discussion, it is our attempts to maintain both certainty and objectivity that contribute to the failure of discussions, particularly when the topic extends beyond our capacity for direct observation/measurement or proven fact. At some point, I think we need to recognise that any definition of ‘objective’ will always be uncertain, just as any definition of ‘certainty’ will always be subjective. It complicates discussion, sure, but I think that human communication and interaction are particularly suited to discussions about objectivity sans certainty.

    This is where patience, integrity and self-awareness play an important role, and where humility, lack of information and error are experiences we can embrace as opportunities to learn. I want to thank you, in particular, @Congau, for your generosity, kindness and gentleness throughout our lengthy discussion on this topic. We see the world so differently, and I am learning so much from how patiently you articulate your perspective of truth.
  • Why are we here?
    I can’t speak for concrescence, but prehension and epochal make perfect sense to me without having heard them before, just based on their roots.Pfhorrest

    They make sense to me, too. But I’m thinking we’re already on the other side of the paradigm shift in many ways. To many readers, Whitehead’s philosophy feels like they have to learn a new language before they can follow his thinking, because the language he uses reflects his shifted perspective, rather than explaining how he got there. It loses touch with the old paradigm, which I’ve found is surprisingly easy to do.

    Imagine being at the edge of a dark expanse, and someone’s calling to you from the darkness. They’re telling you all the reasons why you’re on the wrong side, but you can’t see where they are or how they got across. Do you follow the voice into the darkness, or ask for more information? If you can’t understand what their instructions mean from where you are, does it matter whether or not you agree that you’re on the wrong side? Do you move forward, stay where you are, or ignore them and try to find your own way across?
  • Objective truth and certainty
    In that case it’s just not possible to communicate your thoughts to others. We are dependent on a common definition to be able to communicate. However, it’s not our definition because it is written down in a dictionary, but the other way around. Dictionaries only reflect our shared understanding of a word.Congau

    Yes - they only reflect our shared understanding - they are not equal to it. I’m not dismissing the dictionary definition, I’m pointing out its limitations in relation to the possibility of a shared understanding that extends beyond the subjectivity that contributed to it. It helps to begin with a common definition, sure. But we need not be constrained by it in relation to reality, just for the sake of certainty. Your understanding of the potential and meaning of the word extends beyond the stated definition, as does mine. You’re just not willing to let go of the sense of certainty that a written definition offers.
  • Objective truth and certainty
    No, that’s not what I mean. I’m just saying that a thought is one addition to reality. Reality consists of stones, houses, nail polish, thoughts etc.
    “I am now thinking about x.” That immediately adds one item to reality, this thought of mine, but it does nothing to x.
    “I’m thinking about an elephant.” The elephant is not affected.
    “I’m thinking about a unicorn.” The unicorn didn’t come into existence, even though my thought did.
    Congau

    So, given that you can spontaneously bring a thought into existence from nothing, how would you describe the relation between your existence and that of your thought?

    A photograph is objective. It makes a copy of exactly how the object looks from a particular angle (including the degree of light/darkness and haze). It doesn’t make any interpretations, what it “sees” is what a human would have seen if we had been able to leave our biased impressions aside.

    A photograph (or a human replica) makes no claim to be saying anything about the human experience. An objective understanding of the, or rather a, human experience would be the same as telepathy.
    Congau

    A photograph was engineered to replicate the human experience of visual interaction as an isolated capacity. It makes a single interpretation of the light that most closely matches the human visual perspective, including many limitations, and then adjusts for certainty. The ‘truth’ of a photograph is then evaluated within the subjectivity of the broader human experience.

    Anything made or conceived by humanity communicates something about the human experience in general, in particular about its capacity and limitations in relation to a more objective sense of truth.
  • Objective truth and certainty
    Given that we can never be absolutely certain of what is true...
    — Possibility

    That's not a given. There is all sorts of stuff that we can be certain is true. The term "absolutely" doesn't add anything here either. Drop it altogether.

    Are you certain that what you say is true... that we cannot be certain that anything is true?
    creativesoul

    I’ll assume you haven’t read the rest of the thread, but I suggest you do. I’ve stated it as a given for the purpose of this discussion because no, I cannot be certain that what I say is true for everyone else in the same way that it is for me.

    I might claim certainty, but I would do so by ignoring, isolating or excluding the possibility of alternative perspectives, which can’t then be a claim to objectivity. I’m suggesting that objectivity and certainty can be considered a conjugate pairing.
  • A Theory of Information
    This link says that, "Cross-Dimensional Awareness is an ability that senses and can often travel between parallel universes (alternate universes) or other planes of existence". That sounds like the New Age notion of the Astral Planes, which is completely ignored by the Enformationism thesis. It also seems popular with video gamers, as fodder for their imagination. But I have no personal experience with either the multiple dimensions String Theory, or the Higher Planes of mystical religions. How do you become aware of those Parallel Universes : by meditation, drugs, gnostic revelation? Even string theorists admit that their 10 or 11 dimensions may exist only as mathematical abstractions, that humans have no direct experience of, and have no empirical evidence. So, they are accused of Mysticism, by more pragmatic scientists.
    https://evolutionactivated.fandom.com/wiki/Cross_Dimensional_Awareness
    Gnomon

    Strawman. Dimensional aspects of reality are not necessarily spatial - any New Age mumbo-jumbo about astral planes or parallel universes has nothing to do with my theory. My reference to dimensions has to do with structural relations, and merely explains and extends our existing dimensional structure using the mental (potential) rather than strictly physical nature of information (quanta and qualia) as ‘building blocks’. It then takes this structure a step further to propose an underlying creative impetus of pure relation/possibility - inclusive of existence and what Deacon refers to as ‘absential’ phenomenon - as the dynamic foundation of reality.
  • A Theory of Information
    There may be holes in the thesis, but I am still in the process of filling them, in part by getting critiques on this forum. See if the link below will fill your "hole" with understanding of how those conflicting worldviews can be reconciled, via the concept of Monism/Holism, as opposed to the dualistic view of Descartes. See the Materialism link below, for my consilience between those antagonistic old domains.

    You seem to be responding to the very narrowly focused posts on this forum. I have repeatedly provided links to my own reasoning, and that of other philosophers & scientists. Ironically there seem to be more scientists than philosophers thinking along the same lines of the ubiquity of Information. i]Enformationism[/i] is not a typical academic thesis paper, written on an obscure arcane topic. It is, instead, a scientific and philosophical and religious Theory of Everything. History will decide which new paradigm will replace the ancient notions of Materialism (atoms & void) and Spiritualsm (body & soul), which were, in their day, theories of everything.
    Gnomon

    You’re right - I have responded here primarily to your attitude towards posters on this forum. But I have also said that I agree with much of what I’ve read of your work, and I stand by my comments. I’m not expecting a typical academic thesis paper (I’m unlikely to read it). You’ve directed your blog at the lay reader, which I think is actually a better fit for those on this forum. I recognise and support your efforts to formulate a ToE, and I was under the impression I was offering constructive criticism. I could be mistaken - I’m not accustomed to doing so. I may come across more forceful in challenging your work because I agree with your position, and think I see where it can go from here. Try not to to see it as an attack.

    I enjoyed reading Blogs 76-77. My view seems to have many similarities to Deacon - and I’m particularly interested in the main differences you’ve pointed out between his work and yours. I will need to read up on his work and get back to you. You mentioned in 74 the need to come up with a “modern metaphor that explains both matter/energy and life/mind”, which your theory presents as information/enformation. I’m already there with you at the metaphorical level, but my point continues to be that metaphor is only a suggestion of structure. It isn’t structure. You seem to still be trying to convince readers to abandon their strictly materialist/spiritualist views, but offer little substance in your thesis for those of us who already have, and nothing convincing for those who haven’t.

    I’m done trying to reassure you that I agree with your position. The main issues that I think @praxis might have with your theory (and I don’t want to assume here, only attempt to translate into something less personal) may have to do with the gap in your explanation at this level, which I’m afraid isn’t convincingly ‘filled’ for me, even by Blog 74. You’re suggesting how these views could be reconciled (and I agree with your belief that they are indeed reconcilable), but for anyone looking to be convinced, you’re giving them nothing except ‘look at all these puzzle pieces, isn’t it obvious?’. And by the same token, you’re giving me little to hang my hat on but metaphor.

    So I can’t really defend your theory at this level, only because I’m finding little there to defend. That’s not to say you’re wrong - there’s just not enough meat where I’m looking for answers. I will need to take a closer look at your thesis, but what I think you may be presenting at this stage is more of a belief system than a ToE. It’s one I agree with on principle, but I’m past the point of needing someone else to provide a belief system for me - I’m working towards a conceptual structure that is ultimately testable.
  • Objective truth and certainty
    A lot of our disagreement, as is often the case in philosophical debate, is actually about linguistics and how to define terms.

    Of course I agree that we use input from the world to draw conclusions about it and make conjectures about what the future might look like. This perpetual human interaction creates individual and collective understanding and does constitute a reality of its own. Cultural and intersubjective beliefs are existing entities (and as such objective in my understanding of the term) but I don’t understand why you insist on calling such ideas objective. When the dictionary clearly states that “objective” means “not dependent on the mind” why is it necessary to push that dictionary definition? Couldn’t you get your point across by using other words? In the beginning of our discussion I was pleased to learn that you acknowledged the existence of objective truth, but then I realized that your understanding of “objective” was different from mine. Isn’t a debate about mere words really an unnecessary confusion (although a very common one)?
    Congau

    What do you mean by ‘a reality of its own’? Are you maintaining a dual sense of reality, as in mental vs physical? You agree that beliefs are objectively real and yet don’t understand why I include them in an objective sense of reality. I recognise that each of these beliefs are subjective, but together they contribute to a conceptual structure of truth that is in itself more objective than what is merely actual.

    Any object can be viewed from an infinite number of perspectives, which would make an infinite number of objective truths and that is rather a characteristic of what is subjective. Why not call it subjective then?Congau

    A photograph of an object is subjective, because it displays only one limited view out of many, and offers no reason to suggest that another perspective is possible (even though we ‘know’ that many exist). A visual model of the object is more objective than the photograph, because it is inclusive of all visual perspectives. But it is also subjective in relation to a working replica of the object, which would be inclusive of information regarding an internal aspect: how the object is constructed and what it does in a temporal sense. This seems to be as far as your sense of objectivity stretches.

    But if that object is a human being, then we understand that any ‘working replica’ of the object would still fall short of reality. This suggests that there is at least another aspect to the human experience, of which a p-zombie (as a full ‘working replica’ of a human being, inclusive of your sense of ‘objective’ understanding) gives no indication, like the photograph or the model. This renders the p-zombie a subjective view of humanity in relation to reality. A more objective understanding of the truth of human experience would then need to be inclusive of all experiential perspectives, such as cultural and intersubjective beliefs, conclusions and conjectures, about what the future might look like, etc.

    I guess I’m not one to work only within the actual constraints of a dictionary definition simply because it’s written down as such. Definition is a reduction of knowledge, which is a reduction of meaning, after all.
  • Pain and suffering in survival dynamics
    Pain is an unpleasant sensation or thought evoked by certain noxious physical or mental stimuli. In general, such stimuli evoke a relieve-avoid-prevent response from the subject.

    Biologically, pain plays an important role in our welfare and survival. Homeostasis refers to the biochemical equilibrium necessary for life to sustain itself. All living things are in homeostasis so long as it is alive and well. Injury, physical, chemical, etc. threatens this equilibrium and can cause death.

    Pain is a detector of sorts that alerts living things of potentially life-threatening stimuli. This pain detecting mechanism is wired to responses that aim to relieve/avoid/prevent pain; ultimately saving the organism from grievous injury and death. We could, in a way, say that pain is necessary for survival.

    To make my point clearer consider people who can't feel pain e.g. diabetics with neuropathy and Leprosy patients. Their inability to feel pain (due to nerve damage) makes them highly susceptible to severe injuries, ultimately resulting in disfigurement and death. So, pain plays a critical role in survival.

    Given the above is true what can we say about suffering? Suffering seems to be a higher-order pain since it includes mental anguish too. However, consider the causes of mental anguish from failing in exams to losing in love - they're all critical aspects of social survival. We can literally see the similarity between physical and mental pain at a very fundamental level - SURVIVAL, either as an individual or as a member of society.

    Therefore, suffering is necessary to the wellbeing of individuals alone and as members of a society.

    What kind of ramifications would this realization have?

    For one, we can do away with pessimistic philosophies that have, well, misunderstood the whole point of suffering. They think suffering shouldn't exist, implying that it is unnecessary, which I've shown is actually necessary for survival.

    Also this view of suffering solves the problem of evil vis-a-vis god.
    TheMadFool

    While I agree that the existence of suffering (experiencing pain, humiliation, loss/lack) is necessary for survival, I disagree that survival is necessary to existence.

    When we die, we don’t cease to exist, we simply cease to survive. The false equivalence of survival (a duration of physicality) and existence leads to the inaccurate conclusion that avoiding suffering is essential to our existence, as much as this equally inaccurate conclusion (disputed by anti-natalists) that the experience of suffering is essential to existence.
  • Why are we here?
    I’m only superficially familiar with with Whitehead. What neologisms did he coin?Pfhorrest

    ‘Concrescence’, ‘epochal process’, and ‘prehension’ were all terms coined by Whitehead which, to my knowledge, were not previously used in the sense that he employed them. Concrescence is a biological term referring to teeth, prehension is another biological term referring to the grasping capacity of the thumb and forefinger, and epochal refers to distinguishably large periods of history. Like Gnomon’s writing, I agree with many of the ideas behind Whitehead’s process philosophy. I think it’s a shame the neologisms have prevented a wider reading of his work.