Comments

  • Evolution and awareness
    Again, you are begging the question throughout by just helping yourself to the idea of a representation, when what it takes for something successfully to represent is precisely what's at issue.
  • Evolution and awareness
    I can perhaps make the point in another way. Imagine I want to convey to you what your cat's weight is (and I do know this). I am, however, thousands of miles away and have no clue where you are. Nevertheless, I write your cat's weight on a piece of paper and make it into a little paper plane and throw it out of the window. By purest fluke, it manages to find its way to your window and to land on your table. YOu read the note, which says 'your cat weighs 15 stone'. Is that a representation? Yes. Is information from me being conveyed to you? Yes. Yet the mechanism I have employed is about as unreliable as it is possible to be.

    Now go back to my leaf. The leaf floated in through the window, and by purest fluke its markings cause you to believe that you are being told that your cat's weight is 15 stone. You are not being told that. You are not being told anything. It's just a leaf.

    Now imagine that the connection between the leaf coming through the window and your cat's weight is very tight, such that if your cat did not weigh 15 stone it would not have come through the window.

    That's not going to make a difference, is it? For to think it would, is to think the tightness of the connection between the apparent representative contents and its object is the crucial matter. But if that was the crucial matter, then my paper-plane case should be one in which it is clear that the note lacks representative contents. Yet the opposite is true.
  • Evolution and awareness
    No, you're just crowing in a pathetic attempt to gaslight me.InPitzotl

    Not sure what that means, but I am just pointing out that to be aware of something essentially requires you to be in a mental state with representative contents, whatever else it may involve. It isn't up for negotiation. There are issues over whether we are directly or indirectly aware of what such states make us aware of (when they make us aware of something). But those are beside the current point, which is to do with how something gets to have representative contents.

    Words aren't concepts.InPitzotl

    Erm, yes. I didn't say otherwise. Cows aren't tables. So there.

    The symbols "15" represents the weight of my cat. My cat's weight was conveyed to me.InPitzotl

    Question begging. See OP and other representations of the argument above.

    There's an infinite number of imagined scenarios where I can see the symbols 15 in such a way that they have no bearing on the weight of my cat. But they have no bearing on the fact that the scale's display showing 15 means my cat weighs 15.InPitzotl

    You've missed the point.

    Your leaf example is superfluous. You already have a pie in the oven, and it doesn't refute my cat's weighing 15. A leaf with a 15 stamp isn't going to help you.InPitzotl

    I think you meant 'super' not 'superfluous'. It isn't superfluous because although I have other examples that illustrate the same point, they don't seem to have conveyed it to you, and thus I keep coming up with variations in the hope that by about example 7 or 8 you might get the point. Which is that despite you acquiring a true belief via these mechanisms, the leaf, or clouds, or squiggles or whatever, do not have any representative contents until or unless an agent gets involved.
    The leaf is 'apparently' making a representation, but isn't actually. And no amount of tightening the causal relation between what it appears to be making a representation of and the truth-maker of your belief is going magically to make it start representing successfully.
  • Evolution and awareness
    First, perception goes by way of mental states with representative contents. You say you're willing to grant this, like there's an option to deny it. No, they're essential.
    — Bartricks
    You're just playing games. How you define a word is arbitrary. If I want to say a brainless creature with nerves perceives something, I might want a weaker definition.
    InPitzotl

    No, you are just showing that you don't really know your stuff. You can't perceive something absent a mental state with representative content. They're essential. Not wordplay, it's just about grasping the concept.

    Second, 'conveying' information - as opposed just to acquiring a true belief - requires an information giver and an information receiver.
    — Bartricks
    And yet, my cat weighs 15. There's no information giver here. So either this is a lingual quibble or it's wrong.
    InPitzotl

    Once more, you have acquired a true belief. But no information was conveyed to you. For no representation was made.

    Imagine a leaf floats in through the window and the markings on the leaf look like the number 15. You form the belief that your cat weighs 15 stone on that basis. Your belief is true - your cat really is 15 stone - yet no one conveyed this information to you.

    You are begging the question horribly or not really understanding the argument I am making.

    Mental states with representative contents are essential to perception. So, in their absence, we do not perceive anything.

    For a mental state to have representative contents (and this is a vulgar way to speak, of course, for no mental state itself represents anything to be the case) it needs to be being used by an agent for the purposes of representing those contents to its bearer.

    The leaf that floated in through the window with 15 on it, was not telling you anything about anything, even though you took it to be. If someone knew of this leaf's existence and loaded it into a set of scales such that if anything weighing 15 stone sat on it this leaf would be emitted, then - then - you are being told something about your cat's weight. Otherwise not.
  • The choice of one's philosophy seems to be more a matter of taste than of truth.
    I just find your viewpoint to be incomprehensible. You're going to ignore reasoned arguments whenever doing so is needed to preserve your viewpoint. So, really what you're engaging in is a kind of expressivism, not a search for truth. I think that's a waste of time.
  • Evolution and awareness
    You are the one who is begging the question, not me.

    First, perception goes by way of mental states with representative contents. You say you're willing to grant this, like there's an option to deny it. No, they're essential.

    Second, 'conveying' information - as opposed just to acquiring a true belief - requires an information giver and an information receiver. And in the case where the sky writing - or 'writing' - is the product of blind natural forces, no information is conveyed, even though you form the true belief that there is a pie in the oven.

    You then proceed to beg the question by supposing that it is somehow the squiggles that are doing the representing. No, they're not. Minds represent 'by' using squiggles to convey something to another.

    That's what perception does. There's an image on your retina. Something happens, and lo and behold... some mental state is formed about something that is a mental state such that you tend to have it if there were a cat there and not have it if there were no cat there. That is a mental state of "seeing a cat".InPitzotl

    Flagrantly question begging. You need to show there to be something wrong with my case before you can just assert such things.
  • Belief in god is necessary for being good.
    So you can't offer a proof. Thanks for letting me know.khaled

    Again with the comprehension skills. I can, it's easy. But I don't see the point, given that you'll rewrite everything I say and say "so you think this - that's stupid" and then I'll just have tediously to tell you that's not what I said. Like this.
  • Belief in god is necessary for being good.
    Why? You don't know what a proof is. I might as well do a sea shanty and post it up here and offer that as my proof for all the careful rational scrutiny you'll give it.

    Challenge a premise in my argument or go away.
  • Belief in god is necessary for being good.
    Say which premise you're challenging and provide a deductively valid argument that has its negation as a conclusion and we'll take it from there.
  • The choice of one's philosophy seems to be more a matter of taste than of truth.
    I didn’t say ‘God’ was a language - I’m saying that you have a particular perspective of Reason as an experience of mind from eternity - one that infinitely prefers logic. I’m arguing that a philosophical understanding of reason would transcend this preference for logic that you attribute to your description. I’m saying that God/Reason as a personality or mind is only one aspect of potentiality.Possibility

    Gibberish.

    As for Reason having a flesh and bone body, or wishing anything - while I’m not disputing a relational structure between reason, intentionality and flesh, I will argue that bias or affect does come into this at some point. I’m wondering where you think that point is, and how it arises. I don’t see a clear relational structure here that follows from logic to flesh - not without affect.Possibility

    More gibberish.

    Sure, ‘good’ by your limited understanding of reason. This is what I mean about interpreting my words and actions as if my relative position is against reason, just because it doesn’t align with your perspective. I’m not against reason - I’m wary of the inaccuracy of reason bound by logic. I place ‘follow reason’ in inverted commas because I disagree with your limited perspective of reason as bound by logic. I do the same with those who profess to ‘follow God’ by rejecting gender diversity, for instance. It’s just an interpretation of what it means to ‘follow God/reason’ that’s biased against an aspect we both recognise as existing. I don’t believe that reason necessarily excludes the illogical. You do.Possibility

    Gibber. Rish.

    You do know there’s a difference between reason and logic, right?Possibility

    Oh do enlighten me.
  • Belief in god is necessary for being good.
    You are really confused.

    Ah careful. Reasons to believe things =/= Imperatives to believe things. As I already said, faculties don't give imperatives. This is the part that's beyond dispute. Does your sense of sight itself tell you to do something? No that's ridiculous.khaled

    Show me saying that faculties issue imperatives.

    OUr faculty of reason is the faculty by means of which we gain an awareness of reasons to do and believe things, including imperatives of Reason. That is not - if one understands English - the same as saying that our faculty of reason issues the instruction.

    Now, you reason really badly. I have provided a proof that Reason is God. Either challenge a premise or go away.
  • Evolution and awareness
    Do you know what a 'state with representative contents' is?
    — Bartricks

    Yes.

    Perception happens by means of them.
    — Bartricks

    Are you sure about that,
    Sir2u

    Yes, as you would be if your first answer was correct. It is not in dispute that we perceive things by way of mental states with representative contents.

    if it is not evolution that has made it possible for us to perceive, what is the agent that is sending it to us?Sir2u

    An agent. Do you mean who? Not sure. God probably.
  • Belief in god is necessary for being good.
    Ah so I didn't hear them or take the input in through any sensory channels but my faculty of reason detected a command to not believe a proposition to be true and false at the same time.... somehow.khaled

    Yes, that's what possessing a faculty of reason involves. Having one gives one some awareness - in your case, scant and very foggy awareness - of reasons to do and believe things, including imperatives to do and believe things. That's why it is called our 'faculty of reason'. Stupid people have a poorly operating one; clever people are well-operating one.

    This is all very basic stuff that isn't seriously in dispute. It is also irrelevant, as you need to refute the proof I gave.

    Right but I must at least remember getting issued them.khaled

    Er, why? Is that what your reason tells you - does your reason give you the impression that it is an imperative of Reason that if you are aware of an imperative, you must remember someone having issued the imperative to you? Weird. Like I say, your faculty is really ropey.

    For example, my argument proves that imperatives of Reason are the imperatives of God. Now, to your mind this means that we have to be aware that they are imperatives of God and must remember encountering God and God telling us them. That's just bonkers. That is, like I say, as stupid as thinking that if someone demonstrates that water is made of tiny molecules, then you can refute them by just saying "no, water is NOT made of tiny molecules, because I am not aware it is. If it was made of tiny molecules I'd have to be aware of it. Indeed, someone would have had to show me each molecule and I'd have to see them gradually becoming a bit of water. I don't remember seeing any molecules coming out the tap last time I turned it on; I don't remember seeing any molecules in the river or the lake." That's you - that's how you reason. It's terrible.

    The evidence that imperatives of Reason are imperatives of God is.....the argument. The proof. Not 'the fact you remember meeting God and him issuing imperatives to you'. Jeez. What is the point in arguing with people like you - I'm charitably assuming that you're actively going out of your way to misunderstand everything.
  • Evolution and awareness
    Okaaay, whatever. Buddhist.
  • Evolution and awareness
    Er, yes. A justified true belief is still a true belief. So your 'no' was incorrect.
    — Bartricks
    JTB's are TB's, but TB's aren't necessarily JTB's, so:
    You acquire a true belief about your cat's weight, that's all.
    — Bartricks
    ...my no correctly refutes that wrong part.
    InPitzotl

    No, because in the scenario described all we have reason to think you have acquired is a true belief. Whether it is justified or not is left open. So, all you have shown is something I already pointed out in the OP, namely that you can acquire true beliefs by means of mechanisms that were not intended to furnish you with them - indeed, mechanisms that were not intended to furnish anyone with anything.
  • Belief in god is necessary for being good.
    Yes, quite. I learn from the sign in the park that someone doesn't want me to walk on the grass. I don't have to know that it is Mr Brown whose attitude it expresses, or know that Mr Brown is the world's best chess player, even though those things are true and can, with dedication, be discovered.
  • Belief in god is necessary for being good.
    I was guessing, not reportingpraxis

    I think it is fair to say that Russell would agree that just as one should not trust a stupid man's report of what a clever man has said, one should not trust a stupid man's guess about the matter either. (I can't remember, but I don't think the next line in the relevant passage was "But as for guessing..."
  • Evolution and awareness
    I think you misunderstand my argument. In order to be able to perceive a world one needs to be subject to mental states with representative contents, yes?

    The point of my thought experiments was to show that in order for a mental state to be said (vulgarly) to 'represent' something to be the case, there would need to be an agent who is doing the representing in question. The mental state itself does not do any representing. That's as foolish as thinking that the note I wrote on is telling you about the cat. The note is not telling you anything; I am telling you about the cat via the note.

    What you are doing, it seems to me, is focussing on the fact that we can nevertheless acquire accurate and justified beliefs about the world via various mechanisms that are expressing no attitudes of an agent. And I clearly agree with that. That's not the issue. My point is that something - be it some squiggles on a piece of paper or a mental state - does not itself 'represent' anything to be the case (and pointing out that we can acquire accurate information by such means is beside the point - one can acquire accurate information from dreams, that doesn't mean one is perceiving things in them). The representing is done via them, but not by them. They have to be being used - used by an agent - for that purpose or a sufficiently closely related one before they can be said to be 'representing' something to be the case (and again, even then, this is loose talk, for the state itself does not do any representing).

    So we can have two states that are introspectively indiscernible, and one can be representing something to be the case, and the other not. In order for us to be perceiving a world, our mental states - some of them - need to be representing there to be a world. It is not sufficient that they be introspectively indiscernible from such states. They need actually to be representing something to be the case. And they will not be doing this unless an agent got them to arise in us for that very purpose. If that is not the case - if our faculties have been forged by unguided natural forces - then although we will still acquire true beliefs about the world we are living in from them, we will not be perceiving the world, even though our situation would be introspectively indiscernible from what would be the case if we were.

    Demonstrating that some E can produce x that isn't y cannot reasonably be a demonstration that E cannot produce y. "E can produce x" is a capability. "E cannot produce y" is a limitation. x not being y is nowhere close to demonstrating said capability implies said limitation.InPitzotl

    This I do not understand - that is, I do not understand how what you're saying here relates to anything I have argued.

    The alleged argument for this premise is about the capability of unguided evolutionary forces providing things that don't convey information to us. What has that argument to do with that premise?InPitzotl

    That's just a mistaken interpretation on your part. I have not argued that blind natural forces cannot cause us to acquire true beliefs about the world. I said the precise opposite of that. They can. Obviously. The point is that they will do this by causing the beliefs in us, not by representing anything to be the case.

    I should add, that if our belief forming mechanisms are also wholly the product of unguided forces, then the same would apply to our beliefs - or 'beliefs'. They would not in fact be beliefs, though we would be unable to distinguish them from the real deal.

    The point is that nothing in principle stops an unguided mechanism from creating in us an accurate belief, provided we have a belief-forming mechanism already in place.
  • Evolution and awareness
    I do have some sympathy for your frustrations.Foghorn

    I am not frustrated. I already explained: arguing with numskulls can be very philosophically fruitful. (Any apparent frustration is an act).

    The following theory might help?

    The more insightful an idea, the smaller the audience.
    Foghorn

    No, because the theory is false. I prefer this:

    You are brilliant and everyone else is stupid.Foghorn
  • Belief in god is necessary for being good.
    Maybe I can answer for you. You’re not religious because you have no faith in any religious doctrine or religious authorities that you know of.praxis

    One of my favourite quotes is from Bertrand Russell: never trust a stupid man's report of what a clever man has said.
  • Belief in god is necessary for being good.
    ↪Bartricks
    If a proposition is true, do not believe that it is also false.
    — Bartricks

    And you have memory of God saying this to you?
    khaled

    I take it you accept that this is indeed an imperative of Reason and thus you accept that premise 1 is true.

    You are now changing the topic and wondering how we learn about the existence of these imperatives, yes? And you are thinking, with all the sophistication of a child, that if they are imperatives of God, then you must have met God on a cloud when he told you these things, right?

    You have a faculty of reason - in your case an extremely ropey one - and it is via that faculty that you gain an awareness of these imperatives.

    You do not have to know that it is God who is issuing them. That is as unbelievably stupid as thinking that water is not made of tiny molecules because you just drank some water and you don't recall drinking any molecules.
  • Belief in god is necessary for being good.
    I told you umpteen times I am not religious and that I believe in God. This must puzzle you enormously because you keep asking me the same question over and over. I can only imagine that you must have superb instincts as otherwise I find it hard to see how you could navigate yourself around the world with so easily confounded a faculty of reason.
  • Belief in god is necessary for being good.
    If a proposition is true, do not believe that it is also false.
  • Belief in god is necessary for being good.
    Er, no. There are imperatives of Reason and those are imperatives that have a single existent mind as their source. Just follow the argument.

    You keep asking what an imperative of reason is - why? The argument shows you.

    Are you, perhaps, trying to deny that there are any, but just using the wrong words to do it?

    Or are you asking me to provide you with the content of one?
  • Belief in god is necessary for being good.
    Because I am not religious. Why would I be? Presumably you think that if someone reasons to the conclusion God exists, they will then think 'well, I better go join a religion'. Why would I do that? How does one get from 'God exists' to 'the bible is correct about everything' or 'the Koran is correct about everything'?? Maybe they are or one of them is - but it is not implied by the argument on whose basis I believe in God.
  • Belief in god is necessary for being good.
    The argument tells you: imperatives a single existent mind is issuing.
  • Belief in god is necessary for being good.
    The mind described in 5 will be God. That is, it will be omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent. No point wasting time explaining why that will be to someone who doesn't understand how arguments work.

    That argument proves God. It proves God because the mind in 5 is God. I don't have to show that for it to be true (you think otherwise, but that'sbecause you learnt to reason from russell brand). I can show it. But I don't have to. It proves God regardless of whether I take the trouble to explain to you why that mind will have the omni properties.
  • Belief in god is necessary for being good.
    Which premise are you trying to challenge?
  • Evolution and awareness
    You get it do you? This is a playground and the level of philosophical sophistication here is somewhat low. So I expect few will get it. But explaining subtle ideas to total numskulls can be surprisingly useful philosophically, as their utterly bizarre 'criticisms' can make one think in novel ways.
  • Evolution and awareness
    Thank you for your condescension. But it is fine as it is. If one is writing a discussion post one should not make it too long and dense. Thus there will be many points that require development - one leaves that to the discussion. Why don't you start your own discussion and show us how it is done.
  • Belief in god is necessary for being good.
    Because I'm not religious. I believe in God. I am not religious. Not hard to understand (unless you're creativesoul, in which case I just said I am an onion and the number 8).

    And faith isn't necessary to be religious. Perhaps this claim confuses you and sounds like it might contradict my claim not to be religious - it would sound like that to the dumb. There are people of faith who are religious and there are people who believe in God on rational grounds who are religious, and some may have started out one kind and become the other. But me? I believe in God on rational ground and I am not religious.
  • Belief in god is necessary for being good.
    I presented the argument (which I knew would be a waste of time). You don't know how to argue well. You learnt your skills from Russell Brand - that's what you said, yes? You said 4 asserted that God exists, which it doesn't as anyone who can read can know.
  • Evolution and awareness
    Er, yes. A justified true belief is still a true belief. So your 'no' was incorrect. And yes, the belief is justified. Relevance? Do weight machines greet you now?
  • Belief in god is necessary for being good.
    Yes, the one I provided and that you don't understand.

    Waiter: yes, you can't drink chicken pie. The point is that you ordered chicken pie, not a pint of beer

    Let's start over.

    Ok. What would you like?

    A chicken pie.

    Er, are you sure? You sure you don't want a pint of beer?

    Chicken pie!!

    Well, er, I just brought you one - it's in front of you.

    But I wanted a pint of beer.
  • Belief in god is necessary for being good.
    And I just told you my answer.

    Shall I help you understand it?

    Those moral norms that are imperatives are imperatives of Reason.

    Those moral norms that are not imperatives but something else - urgings or recommendations, perhaps - are the urgings or recommendations of Reason.

    This isn't hard.
  • Evolution and awareness
    it doesn't represent the weight of your cat, for the reasons just given (stop begging the question). You acquire a true belief about your cat's weight, that's all. And if you are not a philosopher you will also say that it told you your cat's weight. But it didn't, because it doesn't 'tell'you anything. When it says 'good morning' it's not greeting you.
  • Belief in god is necessary for being good.
    A value isn't an imperative, so no. All moral norms are imperatives of Reason if one means by a norm 'an imperative'
    And Reason is God. That's what the argument demonstrated.