• An analysis of the shadows

    He's often misinterpreted, which is quite strange given that he was a very clear and fantastic writer. I mean sure, you can interpret him a few ways, but not nearly as many ways as, say, Kant.

    You know already about his affinities with the Upanishads, he reached similar conclusions in a different manner, which is always fascinating. But yes, he was very much interested in and tried to clarify the mystical aspects of life.
  • An analysis of the shadows
    By this, Schopenhauer doesn't seem to account for the fact that most religious people have been born and raised into their religion. Being born and raised that way makes religiosity one's default, not a matter of choice. So I think his analysis of religious people does not apply.baker

    To be fair, he says:

    "It is indeed a ticklish business to force on man through early impression weak and untenable notions in this important respect, and thus to render him for ever incapable of adopting more correct and stable views... Thus if with a mature mind and with the appearance of reflection the untenable nature of such doctrines forces itself on him, he has nothing better to put in their place; in fact, he is no longer capable of understanding anything better, and in this way is deprived of the consolation that nature had provided for him as compensation for the certainty of death."

    So I think he considers the point you are making here.
  • Receiving help from those who do not care
    My background, amongst other things, is in suicide intervention, post incident trauma support and alcohol and drug counselling and psycho-social services management.Tom Storm

    Jeez man, that must be tough.

    I wonder what goes through your head, after dealing with people who want to kill themselves, when you bump into threads discussing pessimism. That would be so weird to me.
  • Who needs a soul when you can have a life?
    I lost interest in my thread, sorry. :pray:Wheatley

  • Epistemic Responsibility

    Obviously the point is profit. But an "externality", as it were, is to make even more people aware that there's a problem with climate, which is being recognized by more and more people. It's a kind of disingenuous epistemic model, but not totally absent in content.

    Heck, if there were a law that forced, say 10% of profits of big companies, to go directly to climate issues, instead of very marginally (sometimes) useful charity work, this would pave the way for new technology to come along and absorb emissions, which would be good.

    But without inter-nation state cooperation, this just won't be possible, I don't think. But how to get the science through to people who are skeptical - not even considering deniers - is quite the challenge.
  • Can we live in doubt

    Peirce speaks about this quite interestingly.

    "Doubt is an uneasy and dissatisfied state from which we struggle to free ourselves and pass into the state of belief; while the latter is a calm and satisfactory state which we do not wish to avoid, or to change to a belief in anything else. On the contrary, we cling tenaciously, not merely to believing, but to believing just what we do believe. Thus, both doubt and belief have positive effects upon us, though very different ones. Belief does not make us act at once, but puts us into such a condition that we shall behave in some certain way, when the occasion arises. Doubt has not the least effect of this sort, but stimulates us to action until it is destroyed."

    Obviously much more to this. But if all we had were doubts, we couldn't even more at all.
  • Epistemic Responsibility
    Hmmm. Man, the more I read about climate change and realistic (meaning now, not in 5 years) solutions, the more complicated it is. It's very hard. Not that we can't find areas in the economy that need to stay underground (literally) or that we can't isolate areas of major concern, we can.

    There's too many pieces: how do you deal with people in developing countries, such as were I am at, while telling them that "personal responsibility" is important for climate change? It is but it is not. If we ALL stopped using plastic and oil, then yes, we will reduce emissions. But on a person to person basis, the way a part of environmental movement is moving (mostly, though not exclusively, the corporate sector), does virtually nothing.

    Big changes have to come from the top, forced by people. It will be resisted and implementing these changes is a phenomenal challenge. But I don't know how to tell a poor person that they can't eventually live a semi-decent life, because we can't use oil anymore. Yes, in a couple of decades, life will be insanely hard to live in, some places being unlivable. But what matters for them is now.

    So yes, there are solutions. But even among the people there are so many "guilt shaming" or whatever, that makes this even harder: "You eat meat!" "You don't drive an electric car!" "You came by airplane" "You're using too much AC", etc.

    Not to mention the need for technology which captures emissions, it no longer suffices to stop extracting, we need to remove this from the atmosphere.

  • The Problem of Resemblences

    Very good post. :up:

    Yeah, there's something about sight in combination with our sense of direction and other factors, that permits us to create a model, some of which may map to the external world.

    So is it just sight's ability to affix objects remotely and precisely in space that is what's being discussed here? Analogous to how a flower should look like what it is, shouldn't it also "echo-locate" like what it is to entities that use high precision echo-location?InPitzotl

    That's one very important aspect. If we had different sensory modalities, such as echo-location, sophisticated enough to a certain point, it may well be the sense that gives us most depth of understanding.

    It seems that the concept of "resemblance" follows sight most closely. Which is why the other senses can be more puzzling, whereas, at least in my case, I don't ask why does the flower look the way it does.
  • The Problem of Resemblences


    As to your question, no idea. Somehow we are creatures for which sight not only saved us from predators, it also allowed us to see certain aspects of physics.
  • The Problem of Resemblences

    I'll have to read him again, since it's been a while since I read what I linked. He believes that many of these aspects sounds, tastes and the like, are something the mind produces which are inexplicable.

    Locke said that colours are secondary qualities, not essential to the object itself but instead an effect we feel when confronted with the object. Reid seems to saying that Locke is wrong in this respect, that colours are in the objects. As are other sensations too, but that we have no idea how objects cause these effects in us.

    Well, think of it this way. We've advanced so much in physics because of the way light works. It's been vision - sight - that's allowed us to progress in physics. If we were blind creatures, we would not have modern physics. Math, yes. So sight does give us a unique avenue into the nature of the world, somehow. The other senses much less so.

    there doesn't seem to be any good reason why the sound of a horse wagon should resemble a horse wagon.TheMadFool

    I agree with this. But again, I may be either misleading myself or misreading Reid's point.

    But what it got me into thinking (for some reason) is that sight is rather special for insight. Which is strange.
  • Alien Sonar Mary

    If you consider gravity physical - which Newton did not, incidentally - but we do, I don't see why we can't say that the same "substance" which causes gravity also causes experience. If not, then we'd have to have different substances for each phenomena in nature. I don't see what is gained by doing this.

    Yes, it could be neutral monism, it could be mental and it could be panpsychic. I don't quibble much with neutral monism, it's fine.

    I'm a huge fan of the mental, but I don't see any reasons for believing phenomena which provide no evidence of mental processes should be thought to be inherently mental. Same for panpsychism.

    This is not to say that the view which states that the world is a construction of our minds on the occasion of sense data, is false. On the contrary, I believe it to be true. But I don't think anything mental underlies nature.
  • Alien Sonar Mary

    I'll have to quote Joseph Priestley again, who was working off of Locke's philosophy. He said this in 1777:

    "It is said that we can have no conception how sensation or thought can arise from matter, they being things so very different from it, and bearing no sort of resemblance to anything like figure or motion ; which is all that can result from any modification of matter, or any operation upon it.…[T]his is an argument which derives all its force from our ignorance. Different as are the properties of sensation and thought, from such as are usually ascribed to matter, they may, nevertheless, inhere in the same substance, unless we can shew them to be absolutely incompatible with one another."

    Bolds and italics mine.

    With regards to mind:

    "I... admit of no argument for the spirituality of the soul, from the consideration of the exquisiteness, subtlety, or complexness of the mental powers, on which much stress has been laid by some; there being in matter a capacity for affections as subtle and complex as any thing that we can affirm concerning those that have hitherto been called mental affections"

    I think he was correct.
  • Alien Sonar Mary
    Isn't that a problem for physicalism?Marchesk

    Well, another organism with a different nervous system could well have different faculties which we lack and couldn't even imagine. The nervous system and the processed sense-data received from our interaction in the world would all be physical, the world and the brain's resulting mental process.

    We just can't imagine how some of these sensations would be like. But I don't see the problem in principle, nor do I see how this is an attack on physicalism.
  • Alien Sonar Mary


    And you say that "these kids gazing at there navel", that was great stuff. :up:

    Welcome to the club.
  • Alien Sonar Mary

    That's fine. I mean, yes this is debated, I don't know why, but to insist that the colour experience red or the word "red" is 620 to 750 nanometers is simply a category mistake.

    Just Google "red" an click on "images", and look. That's red.

    Those are not numbers. Yes, somehow the wavelength of red and the numbers involved are important for astronomy and physics but it doesn't tell you anything about the experience.

    It's not too hard.
  • Mary vs physicalism
    You're taking up residence in a future that we're probably all headed toward, but some of us haven't made it there yet, I think mostly for emotional reasons.

    But as long as I understand what you mean, we're good

    Sure, no problem. :up:
  • Mary vs physicalism

    It's an expression of monism, yes. It's implying that everything is a configuration of physical stuff. I say "physical" and not "ideal" because I don't think the external world is completely mind-depedent, I want to say there's something "out there", independent of us.

    If we want to say something "non physical" exists, or that there is "physical-mental" problem, as highlighted by Jackson, then you're going to have to articulate why there isn't a "physical-gravity" problem or a "physical-liquidity" problem or even a "sound-mind" problem, or anything else.

    It would be problematic to create a separate ontology for all our senses, one ontology for hearing, one for vision, etc. It's makes more sense to say that we are studying different aspects of the same thing.

    But "physical" here could be replaced by almost any word: "neutral", "natural", "insubstantial", "substantial", etc.

    It's more convenient to use "physical", I think, but what matters is that the whole world is encapsulated by the use of the word.

    That is, unless someone can give a good argument why experience (or gravity and other phenomena) cannot be compatible with physical stuff (natural stuff, neutral stuff, and so on.).
  • Mary vs physicalism
    the knowledge of color was not complete without (before) seeing color. Jackson's thought-experiment fails because of this incoherent premise and therefore implies nothing about physicalism.180 Proof


  • Mary vs physicalism
    because the scientific facts do not straight forwardly match on to color.Marchesk

    Yes, there is a massive gap between out scientific knowledge of colours and colour experience.

    For another, how do the colors "get into" the brain?Marchesk

    No idea. Unless the colour experience is already in the brain and experience triggers that qualia. Still doesn't explain it though.

    If not, what makes visible light special?Marchesk

    It's a good question. A bit similar to asking how do sounds arranged in a certain way sound like music to us?

    I don't know how much science can say about these things.
  • The Problem of Resemblences
    causes, as something it sort of does, but we don't think this way about how the flower looks. When we see the flower, we see it, not something it causes (its "appearance") or something it does.Srap Tasmaner

    That's exactly what I caught my attention. What other possible way could a flower look like except the way it looks like? There are different flowers of course, which look differently from each other, but I don't question that this flower could look other than how it does. But I can perfectly image a flower smelling completely different, like ocean water or wood.

    But now I think there's something to it. We do seem to think of seeing things as more directly grasping them as what they are than hearing them or smelling them, which feel like they're one step away from the actual thing.Srap Tasmaner

    That's what Reid seems to point out. He was saying all these curious things about all other senses, but when it came to colour he was saying something like the colour just is what it looks like in the object. Which is strange, but true, at least in ordinary experience, putting science aside.

    And it could be that the feel of a surface or the resistance we feel when hefting an object, maybe these are a bit too narrow an experience of the object and so, in a way, generic, realizable in many different objects.Srap Tasmaner

    Yes. This are a bit more problematic than smelling or hearing. I suppose I can say that if I look at an apple, I could not know before hand that it could taste as it does. For all I know it could taste like meat. I think touch is probably the hardest one, outside of sight. Perhaps wooden tables might not be so surprising. But then I think of water as in the beach or a river. Could it be thicker than what it looks like, as in swimming in glue? I'm not sure.

    Which brings us right back to your original version of the puzzle, that there's a potential for being surprised by perhaps any sensible aspect of an object except its appearance.

    If true, that's very curious indeed.
    Srap Tasmaner

    I'm glad one other person caught my surprise. Permit me to link you to what Reid book I was looking at, you might find it further fuels your imagination:

    I stopped at page 66, when he gets to math, as I prefer to look into more modern views on this subject, like Russell. But the rest is quite good, look at the table of contents and you'll be directed to whatever sense you want to look at in more detail.

    Just by searching the word "resemble", there's plenty of good stuff you might like.
  • Mary vs physicalism


    The differences concern epistemology, not ontology.Manuel
  • Mary vs physicalism
    You're assuming physicalism is true. If dualism is true, then Mary could know everything about the physical aspects of sight and not know what the experience of colour is.RogueAI

    Yes. I only stress that I think consciousness is what we are best acquainted with out of everything we know. I'm saying it's physical.

    But it's an assumption, your absolutely correct.

    If dualism is true then we can have the argument your presenting, which is more clear to me.
  • Mary vs physicalism

    I'm using Strawson's definition of the term, "(real) materialism", which says that everything that exists is physical. Though I've been debating if it merits replacing by "naturalism", but these terms tend to have this scientistic implications. But I don't like the term idealism either as is used today. It's a monist claim, in any case.

    The differences concern epistemology, not ontology.

    I think my claim is modest, what I'm saying is that science so far, says nothing about colour experience, or if does say something about it, it's dubious sounding to me, as when its claimed that "red" is association with love and that "blue" is associated with depression, etc.

    Science has scope and limits. I think some things might be outside its purview. Otherwise, why bother with literature, philosophy or the arts? Science will eventually tell you all about it. I'm skeptical.

    But I could be wrong.
  • Mary vs physicalism

    Good terminology now.

    If she knew "everything about the physical aspects of sight", that would have to include colour experience.

    But she is not having colour experience, so she does not know all the physical aspects of sight.

    I think the argument is better thought as as an argument against scientism more than against physicalism, but I'm in the minority here. It is an interesting argument though.
  • Mary vs physicalism
    It's an attack on physicalism. Why are we debating that?frank

    Because it states experience isn't physical. But nevermind.

    To get to the learning something new part: Mary has colour experience which she lacked. So it is new, compared to the knowledge she had previously, which was colourless.
  • Mary vs physicalism
    Jackson created the argument as an attack on physicalism. Are you saying it fails so spectacularly that we need not even address Jackson's point?frank

    I'm saying that the term "physicalism" as generally used is misleading. Chomsky discusses it quite well, I think:

    Jackson's argument is dualist: it's saying that science and experience aren't compatible. But you can't do science without experience. What you're lacking in this experiment is colour experience.

    I'm saying that experience is physical, like magnetism or gravity is physical.

    The new aspect experienced belongs to the way we experience the world. There's only one world, with various aspects. Science attempts to study mind independent entities revealed by experience, otherwise we couldn't do science. Unless someone thinks we literally are computers.
  • Mary vs physicalism

    I don't think the topic hinges on this despite the title, it's a misleading way to think about the problem. It's essentially asking if Mary knows the scientific facts concerning vision, will she learn something new when she experiences colour for the first time?

    The problem from my perspective, is that by calling this "physicalism", it excludes visual experience. But why isn't visual experience physical? Eyes are physical, brains are physical, mental phenomena is physical. These things are made of physical stuff.

    The difference is between scientific knowledge and physical stuff. The latter is much broader than the former, in my view.
  • Mary vs physicalism
    Physicalism means whatever people who use that term intend it to mean. But there isn't one agreed upon opinion about the term.

    Some people, like Rosenberg, take it to mean essentially physicSalism, implying that everything can be reduced to the level of particles. Yeah, ok. Others use the term in a somewhat slippery manner, trying to get rid of, or minimize consciousness by calling it epiphenomenal or "bad theorizing" or stimulus-reacting illusions. But they can't get rid of it.

    The one I think is sensible is Strawson's definition of the term, which is that everything that exists is physical, including consciousness as the fact of which we are best acquainted out of everything.

    On this last view, one is simply stressing that physical stuff is much stranger than what we initially take it to be. But it's mostly terminological, not too substantive, in my opinion. What's of substance in this debate is monism vs pluralism.

    What Mary learns, assuming her sight and brain are fine, is one important aspect of experience, namely visual experience. But physicalism or idealism per se, are not relevant here.
  • How do we know that our choices make sense?

    Because we could be wrong in our beliefs and attitudes. It's better to recognize this than to become dogmatic, in as much as is possible.
  • How do we know that our choices make sense?

    Well, I can't avoid cliché's here:

    "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

    Constant questioning, but mild confidence in what you're doing is likely the best you can do. Unless you are totally nuts and need a therapist. :)
  • How do we know that our choices make sense?

    We don't.

    All we can do is do what we think is best, given the circumstances we are in. If we are on the right path, so to speak, we will feel good and satisfied, some of the time anyway. If we are going the wrong way, it'll likely feel bad after a certain amount of time.

    But there are no guarantees and we could be fooling ourselves.
  • How would a Pragmatist Approach The Abortion Debate?
    From James' pragmatism, which seems to me to be rather broader than Peirce's idea of it, it depends on what the abortion would imply for the person involved.

    Assuming it's an unwanted baby, which would be raised in circumstances which are far from ideal, then it would lead to living a normal life.

    If it's because of some potential health consequences, then you save a life.

    If it's done last minute, say, 8 months in, things are quite murky.
  • Simulation reality
    I think we do - endlessly repeated phrases - 'it's only a movie' or 'it's just a video game' spring to mind, which I believe stands for 'it's phoney'. The person who can't tell the difference between the fake worlds there ends up as Mark Chapman.Tom Storm

    Depends on the context. I only say this because many people have been moved or inspired by movies. Even if they do know it is not "real life", the genuineness of the feeling makes it more difficult for me to say "it's phoney". So there's an element in these things that goes beyond pixels or actors on a screen, for some people anyway.

    But yes, for literal use of the word, someone who confuses these is having problems.

    It seems to me that if reality is a simulation, we have no alternative but accept that this 'external world' is real and carry on accordingly (all mysticism and religious posturing aside).Tom Storm

    Pretty much.
  • Simulation reality

    I mean, there's no proof that we live in a simulation at all. Sure we have The Matrix or Brain in Vats as a movie and an illustration respectively, that can serve as interesting thought experiments, but they shouldn't be taken literally.

    But to entertain your argument, lets admit that we are in a simulation. In what possible manner would a simulation differ from reality? If there is no way to tell in principle how these things are to be distinguished, then it is irrelevant for everyday life. However, if someone can provide evidence, or give a good argument as to why we are in a simulation, then that might be worth considering.

    In any case, I don't see why a simulation should be considered fake as opposed to reality, because what would the difference be?

    Do we say movies are fake or video games? You can say these things don't happen outside the context they are given in, but that doesn't mean movies, videos games, etc. are fake.
  • Epistemic Responsibility

    It has to do with the fact that they shout in public people who wear masks, have pride in not being vaccinated, risk others by not taking them into account (if you don't want to get vaccinated, fine, but keep to you and yours and leave other people alone), harass parents kids for wearing masks or being vaccinated, and on and on.

    Also, these Trump supporters share a similar ideology to the people that stormed the capitol in January 6. So not only are they misinformed (as I think they are), they are dangerous.

    How many of them still support Trump is not clear, but the beliefs now shared by "far right" grew out of this phenomenon.

    This is an interesting article on the topic:

    But, as you imply, there are other reasons and other parts of the population who don't get vaccinated for other reasons. And not every reason given is silly or not rational. It has become an overtly political topic.
  • Epistemic Responsibility

    No. There are various sources and many views on the topic.

    But the ones I mentioned reach a lot of people, so they have broad reach, especially Fox, now that Trump can't use social media anymore. These people are the type of people who should cause most concern, in my view.
  • Epistemic Responsibility

    Hand-waving wasn't a complaint actually. The "good reason" part can be debated, but I can see how people come around into believing these things. It's been developing particularly in the Republican party for some time. Democrats aren't exempt either.

    And yet you want to claim that a theory that the world's richest man can (and would) influence the current state of affairs, is so utterly inconceivable that the only possible explanation for anyone believing it is insanity?Isaac

    When did I say it was the only explanation? I think it's pretty wild that given that the whole world is going through the same problem with the pandemic and people next to you are dying and doctors are telling you that you have Covid, but you don't believe so is quite something. Me saying "insane" is not a clinical diagnosis, but if you prefer I don't have problems saying that this kind of behavior is "reckless" or "irrational".

    Yes Bill Gates has some power. But to think he could influence the world to this degree is several steps too far.

    Of course we can't trust the pharmaceuticals - they're organisations with criminal convictions for lying. Of course we can't trust the FDA - they have a well known revolving door with the companies they're supposed to check, their former head is now at Pfizer, for God's sake. Of course we can't trust our governments - that politicians lie is such a truism it's a standing joke. And of course we can't trust our academic institutions - most are funded if not directly employed by industry and the replication rate in the medical sciences is less than half.Isaac

    Sure. I can see that.

    On the other hand: Of course we can trust Trump he's anti establishment (even though he is not), of course let's trust alternative medicine (because these people aren't making a killing), of course let's trust Tucker Carlson (because he isn't an elite who hasn't gotten vaccinated), of course we can trust the internet (because that did not come from the Pentagon).

    The point is that if you are dying of Covid and you tell your doctor that you're not is still pretty mad.

    equally ludicrous idea that our institutions are simply so noble and incorruptible that such a set of events need not even be considered and everything they say can be treated as gospel truth.Isaac

    I haven't said such a thing. If you look at my original post from where you quoted me, I said the whole process is rather complex. Again, I can see the train of thinking that leads one down the rabbit hole. It's a dangerous path to go down.
  • What's the reason most people have difficulty engaging with ideas that challange their views?

    They can always double down or enter into denialism or maybe regret it.

    But as you say, a top-tier shrink is needed to explain this shit and I doubt we'd understand it even then.
  • Epistemic Responsibility

    These comments are from different threads.

    Having said that, for me and you on this topic, yes.

    To them, no, assuming you are referring here to people who died while denying they had Covid. They can "obviously" say that the evidence is "propaganda" or caused by Bill Gates or whatever. So, what to do?

    I don't know.