Making iambiguous's day

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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby gib » Sun Nov 06, 2016 7:02 pm

James S Saint wrote:
gib wrote:Whatever we end up learning about the brain scientists, philosophers ought to follow.

Nullius in Verba
James S Saint wrote:
surreptitious57 wrote:
Scientific knowledge is provisional so is therefore not absolutely true

Well, it might be true, but the scientific method cannot reveal whether it is really true or merely has yet to be proven false. Science can prove some things false, but it cannot prove anything to be true (except by converse of a falsity).

I happen to know beyond all question that the conservation of energy rule is actually absolutely true. But science can't tell you that. What you should be asking is why science ever thought that it even might be true. Even scientists of today can't tell you that.

Good philosophers made good scientists back then, but it doesn't work the other way around.


Ah, true words of wisdom indeed.

In fact, the irony is, I'm writing the last of chapter of volume 3 of my book in which I explain the roll of the philosopher in society: to be the guides of thought for mankind.

In any case, my statement is that philosophy ought to follow science, not scientists. There is no shortage of scientists who over step their bounds and philosophers not only have the right to whistle blow when they are doing so, but that is one of their most vital functions in society. You mention the conservation of energy, I always bring up physicalism. Physicalism is not science, it is a philosophical extension to some of the science that has been discovered about the brain. It says that science has solved the problem of consciousness (that consciousness is just the operations of the brain). But this is a philosophical conjecture based on what, at best, is only properly interpreted as a correlation between brain states and subjective experiences. If it actually is science--i.e. what has actually been observed and measured--then I think it's a healthy thing for philosophers to keep their thoughts aligned with it, or at least not to contradict it, don't you? What my statement is really meant to admonish against is going the way of the Creationist. I don't think that philosophers ought to do that (the least of all reasons being that there are mountains of falsifying evidence against it). But if the philosopher can present a well reasoned theory that stands as an alternative to the mainstream science of the day, and it fits all the evidence so far accumulated, then apart from considerations of how healthy such a theory is for society, I see no issue with that.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby James S Saint » Sun Nov 06, 2016 7:40 pm

gib wrote:In any case, my statement is that philosophy ought to follow science, not scientists. There is no shortage of scientists who over step their bounds and philosophers not only have the right to whistle blow when they are doing so, but that is one of their most vital functions in society. You mention the conservation of energy, I always bring up physicalism. Physicalism is not science, it is a philosophical extension to some of the science that has been discovered about the brain. It says that science has solved the problem of consciousness (that consciousness is just the operations of the brain). But this is a philosophical conjecture based on what, at best, is only properly interpreted as a correlation between brain states and subjective experiences. If it actually is science--i.e. what has actually been observed and measured--then I think it's a healthy thing for philosophers to keep their thoughts aligned with it, or at least not to contradict it, don't you? What my statement is really meant to admonish against is going the way of the Creationist. I don't think that philosophers ought to do that (the least of all reasons being that there are mountains of falsifying evidence against it). But if the philosopher can present a well reasoned theory that stands as an alternative to the mainstream science of the day, and it fits all the evidence so far accumulated, then apart from considerations of how healthy such a theory is for society, I see no issue with that.

I very much agree, but there are more detailed concerns that get in the way:

Science is the Philosophy of Observational Verification. There are other forms of verification, such as the Philosophy of Logic.

The good philosophers know that verification cannot ever occur without logic. They also know that any logic should be verified as much as possible. Neither should be without the other. But observation cannot always occur, such as the Big Bang Theory. Logic forbids the theory. The BB is actually an oxymoron. But to a scientist, it seems as a possibility. Scientists are not taught thorough logic, merely math .. usually applied to prior presumptions.

    So if a scientist says that the BB is highly probable, and a philosopher says that the BB is necessarily bogus, who decides?
To a philosopher, such a question should be easy to answer. But neither the philosopher, nor the scientist have the actual authority over what is to be promoted into society and thus to their next generation peers.

    So who should have authority over when to listen to a scientist and when to listen to the philosopher?

    There are other types of philosophers for that: Philosophy of Sociology and Philosophy of Ethics. But then scientists want that authority too.
Clarify, Verify, Instill, and Reinforce the Perception of Hopes and Threats unto Anentropic Harmony :)
Else
From THIS age of sleep, Homo-sapien shall never awake.

The Wise gather together to help one another in EVERY aspect of living.

You are always more insecure than you think, just not by what you think.
The only absolute certainty is formed by the absolute lack of alternatives.
It is not merely "do what works", but "to accomplish what purpose in what time frame at what cost".
As long as the authority is secretive, the population will be subjugated.

Amid the lack of certainty, put faith in the wiser to believe.
Devil's Motto: Make it look good, safe, innocent, and wise.. until it is too late to choose otherwise.

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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby Arminius » Sun Nov 06, 2016 11:53 pm

James S Saint wrote:
gib wrote:In any case, my statement is that philosophy ought to follow science, not scientists. There is no shortage of scientists who over step their bounds and philosophers not only have the right to whistle blow when they are doing so, but that is one of their most vital functions in society. You mention the conservation of energy, I always bring up physicalism. Physicalism is not science, it is a philosophical extension to some of the science that has been discovered about the brain. It says that science has solved the problem of consciousness (that consciousness is just the operations of the brain). But this is a philosophical conjecture based on what, at best, is only properly interpreted as a correlation between brain states and subjective experiences. If it actually is science--i.e. what has actually been observed and measured--then I think it's a healthy thing for philosophers to keep their thoughts aligned with it, or at least not to contradict it, don't you? What my statement is really meant to admonish against is going the way of the Creationist. I don't think that philosophers ought to do that (the least of all reasons being that there are mountains of falsifying evidence against it). But if the philosopher can present a well reasoned theory that stands as an alternative to the mainstream science of the day, and it fits all the evidence so far accumulated, then apart from considerations of how healthy such a theory is for society, I see no issue with that.

I very much agree, but there are more detailed concerns that get in the way:

Science is the Philosophy of Observational Verification. There are other forms of verification, such as the Philosophy of Logic.

The good philosophers know that verification cannot ever occur without logic. They also know that any logic should be verified as much as possible. Neither should be without the other. But observation cannot always occur, such as the Big Bang Theory. Logic forbids the theory. The BB is actually an oxymoron. But to a scientist, it seems as a possibility. Scientists are not taught thorough logic, merely math .. usually applied to prior presumptions.

[list]So if a scientist says that the BB is highly probable, and a philosopher says that the BB is necessarily bogus, who decides?

The ruler decides via politics, corruption.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby James S Saint » Tue Nov 08, 2016 7:21 pm

James S Saint wrote:So who should have authority over when to listen to a scientist and when to listen to the philosopher?
Clarify, Verify, Instill, and Reinforce the Perception of Hopes and Threats unto Anentropic Harmony :)
Else
From THIS age of sleep, Homo-sapien shall never awake.

The Wise gather together to help one another in EVERY aspect of living.

You are always more insecure than you think, just not by what you think.
The only absolute certainty is formed by the absolute lack of alternatives.
It is not merely "do what works", but "to accomplish what purpose in what time frame at what cost".
As long as the authority is secretive, the population will be subjugated.

Amid the lack of certainty, put faith in the wiser to believe.
Devil's Motto: Make it look good, safe, innocent, and wise.. until it is too late to choose otherwise.

The Real God ≡ The reason/cause for the Universe being what it is = "The situation cannot be what it is and also remain as it is".
.
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Posts: 24658
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:05 pm

Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby iambiguous » Tue Nov 08, 2016 9:12 pm

gib wrote:
iambiguous wrote:Here I just bump into the same uncertainty. I'm not really able to comprehend how this frame of mind is applicable regarding interactions in which we must choose to do one thing rather than another. It's like trying to wrap my head around the idea of determinism. If consciousness is just mindful matter and matter [all matter] obeys immutable laws then even prong #2 issues dissolve into...inevitability?


And is this a hurdle to understanding the frame of mind itself or understanding its implications for how to act in the world?


If the framework of mind itself is such that how we interact in the world is only as we ever could have interacted, folks react to that in differenty ways. But if the reactions are in turn only as they ever could have been...

Well, how exactly does the mind wrap itself around that?

Nothing would seem to be more fundamental than finally figuring out if mind is just matter interacting...mechanically?

But how would that be accomplished if it is presumed that any efforts to establish it are themselves only as they ever could have been.

iambiguous wrote:This may well be something that I never fully understand. The preponderance of human behaviors/interactions do not involve conflicting value judges. Instead, they revolve around conscious minds choosing particular goals/objectives and then coming up with behaviors that must be chosen in order to accomplish the task.

If you are pregnant and don't want to be then you can choose to have an abortion. At least in most parts of the world. This is applicable to the conscious minds of all women in this situation. The "angst" part only comes about when others react [subjectively] to what the mind must choose in order to stop the pregnancy.


gib wrote: And usually, only for the one who's the target of these reactions. Most of us understand that these kinds of friction exist between people, but as spectators only hearing about it from afar, not really having close relations to the people involved, it's hard to feel angst.


And the implication here is that angst itself is situated existentially out in a particular world construed from a particular point of view. The philosopher might note that in reacting to the same unwanted pregnancy different individuals feel more or less angst. But: is there a way to determine the extent to which all rational men and women ought to feel angst? How is that not largely the embodiment of dasein?

iambiguous wrote: But "understanding" here pertains to either agreeing with or not agreeing with the definition and the meaning given to the words used in the analysis/argument itself.


gib wrote: Ah ha! So, for example, you wouldn't be able to begin to understand my subjectivism unless I explained to you what I mean by terms like "consciousness", "experience", "qualia", etc., and the only way to render an adequate definition of these terms is to tie them into concrete examples in the real world.


Basically, yes. Imagine following someone around who embraces subjectivism as you do. Eventually, he/she becomes entangled in a prong #2 context. It is then that I would probe the extent to which subjectivism might be construed as more or less relevant to the manner in which I react: entangled as I am in my dilemma. My frame of mind here almost always revolves around the question "how ought one to live?" when the choices being made by particular inidviduals come into conflict.

gib wrote: When it comes to my actual philosophy of consciousness, I begin by tying what we know about the brain to subjective experience. As the focus, at this point, becomes subjective experience itself, there is very little, short of its neurological counterpart, I can point to in the concrete world to say: here is an example of a subjective experience. Nevertheless, I make the assumption that when I talk about something like the taste of wine, my readers will know what I'm talking about. It's true that their experience might be different from mine, but not so different as to disagree that it tastes bitter, or that children probably wouldn't like it, or that it's similar to the taste of champagne. So I make the assumption that I can talk about our common subjective experiences to the point that I can draw some implications from the way the experience feels and people will, in general, know where I'm coming from.


My own interest here would be more in regard to the distinctions that can be made between subjective experiences that are more or less rooted objectively in a particular reality and our reactions to them which may well not be. For example, the experience of drinking a glass of wine overlaps considerably for all of us. As opposed to the experience of, say, being employed to pick the grapes to make the wine. Far fewer of us ever had that experience. But it is in this regard that prong #2 contexts emerge. And that revolves around certain political and economic prejudices regarding the wages being paid and the conditions of employment and all of the contention that swirls around immigration issues.

How then would being or not being a subjectivst come into play here?

gib wrote:But given a series of concrete examples, you can then infer the abstract or general template of his philosophy? Sort of an inductive method rather than a deductive one? No wonder you shy away from metaphysics.


iambiguous wrote:I still come back to this:

1] encompass a philosophy of mind, of consciousness, of choice, of behavior
2] note a particular context in which your mind, your consciousness, your choice, your behavior came into conflict with another
3] how are the two connected
4] how is your mind not entangled in my own dilemma above


gib wrote: I'm not sure whether this is a yes or a no to my question. Seems more like a set of instructions/questions you're asking others to observe in order to help you understand their views.


Whether we move from the general to the specific or the specific to the general there still seems to be a crucial distinction to be made between probing the reality of abortion as a medical procedure and probing it as a moral quandary. Whether in the abstract or pertaining to an actual real time abortion.

"Consciousness" either makes a smooth transition from one to the other, or mind itself is matter of a whole different sort. That's what I focus on. The difference between mind as it relates to that which we can all be in agreement about and minds that come into conflict when the parts revolving around either/ore become entangled in the parts revolving around is/ought.

gib wrote: The move from 1) to 2) seems kind of odd: it's like asking one to encompass a theory of how the body works, and then to note a time when his body came into conflict with another (say in a war, for example). How would his theory about his body change what happens when it gets shot by bullets?


It may be that a language is not available that will allow us to finally close the gap when we have disagreements regarding something as fundamental as the nature of mind itself.

As for the body in war, there are any number of things that medical science can predict/conclude pertaining to particular contexts. Again, where I reconfigure the beam is in the direction of that which is said to constitute a "just war". Ought America to have invaded Iraq? The trauma inflicted on hundreds of thousands of bodies as a result of that choice is not much in dispute. You either lose your legs to an IED or you don't.

gib wrote: I suppose you might mean to ask: how would he explain in terms of his theory what happens to his body when it gets hit by bullets, in which case I guess you're asking me to describe what happens when I enter into conflict with another in terms of my theory of consciousness. Is that what you mean?


More or less.

You came into conflict with others before you became a subjectivist.
You come into conflict with others after you became a subjectivist.

So, for all practical purposes, what's the difference?

iambiguous wrote:I'm not discouraging folks from probing into the ontological -- and, perhaps, teleological -- nature of Existence and Reality itself. Nor in exploring the part that "consciousness" plays in it. Instead, my own fascination revolves around the parts where the world of either/or becomes entangled in the world of is/ought. How ought one to live in this world?

Or is even that just another manifestation of the either/or world?


gib wrote: Would it be fair to say then that your interest in metaphysics lies along a specific branch--the metaphysics of morality and its relation to the world of either/or--but that the crux of the problem is the same as that found in all other branches of metaphysics: that finding certainty in the insights one arrives at remains indefinitely elusive? (This sounds like just another way of phrasing your dilemma.) It's just that unlike questions of consciousness, being, transcendentalism, questions of morality and how that is practiced in the world of either/or is of tantamount importance, and so it tends to compel one to take it seriously?


Here it would seem to come down to one's understanding of the word "metaphysics".

In the dictionary:

Philosophy.
1. concerned with abstract thought or subjects, as existence, causality, or truth.
2. concerned with first principles and ultimate grounds, as being, time, or substance.

In other words, with things that some speak of as "ontological" or "teleological". To wit: understanding conflicting human behaviors in the context of grasping the very nature of Reality or Existence itself.

And given that none of us really grasp this [aside from what I construe to be the intellectual/scholastic quacks like James S. Saint who more or less claim to] we are left to fend for ourselves when in fact our behaviors do come into conflict over value judgments.

gib wrote: But whether or not you understand how the dots and their connections fit into metaphysics has no bearing on the fact that other people will have their own metaphysical beliefs and values--whether you agree with them or not, whether one can be certain about them or not--and those metaphysical beliefs will determine (at least partially) their behavior--their behavior towards you when they enter into conflict with you, and what triggers them to enter into conflict with you. You don't need to know how you the dots are connected in order to investigate and understand other people's metaphysics.


Yes, that's how it works "in reality". It is what men and women believe to be true that motivates their behaviors. And it is their behaviors that have consequence. And in fact the consequences are real whether what those who precipitated them believe is true or not.

There are many who genuinely believe in Trump's political agenda. There are many who genuinely believe in Clinton's. And depending on who is elected there may well be any number of dramatic consequences. But: the consequences that some embrace others will loathe.

And they will do so without a thought being given to the dilemma that impales me.

iambiguous wrote:The individual mind of a child is fabricated to reflect the reality of the world of adults. Still, some of what the child is taught is true for all, while other things are rooted considerably more in particular moral and political narratives/agendas.

From my frame of mind, these beliefs are less false than they are not true objectively.


gib wrote: No fact of the matter, in other words. That's *something* like what I believe but not quite. My take on the invention of truths is based on relativism--it's true (there is a fact of the matter) for a particular individual.


But pertaining to particular matters there are facts applicable to all of us. And though some [as subjects] may not accept them it doesn't make the facts go away. And since there are facts there is a greater likelihood of persuading the skeptics of their existence.

With value judgments however there are merely subjective interpretations of what the facts mean vis a vis the choices we make. There do not appear to be choices able to be disclosed as in fact the obligation of all reasonal/virtuous men and women to pursue.

iambiguous wrote:Nope, I can't wrap my head around this at all. I have no idea how something like this could be anything other than an "intellectual contraption". With the God of the Christians, Moslems and Jews, I can at least imagine Him as an "entity" "up there" in "Heaven". But your God here is a complete cypher to me: "a series of well-defined steps that can be followed as a procedure."


gib wrote: My God is the universe--plain and simple--I'm a patheist. I think sans God, you would probably understand the concept of knowledge existing in the minds of intelligent beings, and that it follows from this that such knowledge also exists in the universe. So I would think the problematic part is: how is God the universe?


With Christianity [and other such denominations], God can be captured in a world of words. A scripture is concocted and God becomes the embodiment of it. And then there is the part about before and after the grave.

But how do we do the same with "the universe"? The only way that I can grapple with it is to imagine a wholly determined world in sync with the immutable laws of matter.

But then we're still stuck there with this:

* why something and not nothing at all
* why this something and not some other something

And does the "the universe" really have anything substantive to say about our moral and political agendas?

For cosmologists there is no equivalent of the 10 Commandments or of Heaven and Hell. There would seem to be just the brute facticity of it all in what may well be an essentially absurd and meaningless existence.

gib wrote: The reason this is cryptic to you is (partly) because I haven't layed out all the gory details of my philosophy, just some of the conclusions I've come to. This is why I wrote a book.


It's cryptic to me because I am not able [palpably] to grasp it relating to that which is of interest to me philosophically. And what might tempt me to read the book is something in it that persuades me otherwise.

iambiguous wrote:Then it is not likely that you will ever convey to someone like me how your conception of God is applicable to the world that we live and interact in.


iambiguous wrote:Yet I always come back to pondering what "on earth" something like this might possibly mean pertaining to a particular context out in a particular world. "Completely exposed" how?

gib wrote: That's answered in what follows: "That is, for example, when you look at an apple, not only do you see that it exists, but what you see of it (and what you experience of it in general--through sensory perception, thoughts, emotions, everything) is all there is to the apple."


Yes, and then you eat the apple and are "completely exposed" to that. But the apple was poisoned by someone who wanted you dead and you are "completely exposed" to that. The contexts here are virtually infinite. And who gets to say what it means to be "completely exposed" to something in which value judgments do come to collide. Or in probing what it means to have an identity.

How are we "completely exposed" in the voting booth when choosing between Trump and Clinton?

In other words, when do we reach the point where that cannot actually be pinned down with any precision? Where it becomes almost entirely a subjective frame of mind that "here and now" you find applicable to one and only one conscious "I"?
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby gib » Sun Nov 13, 2016 4:22 am

iambiguous wrote:If the framework of mind itself is such that how we interact in the world is only as we ever could have interacted, folks react to that in differenty ways. But if the reactions are in turn only as they ever could have been...

Well, how exactly does the mind wrap itself around that?

Well, I'll admit, that certainly is a quandary. It seems to imply that however we reason our way out of that question, it's still going to be a product of an inevitable course of events in a deterministic universe--thereby implying that though it seems reasonable in the moment, that isn't grounds for trusting in it. It may still be the ramblings of insanity. Absurdity and chaos ensues.

Do you need to get by this quandary in order to move into metaphysics?

The only thing I can suggest is that the reasonings you experience in the moment of contriving your answer to the above question is all you need. This is why my subjectivism works. <--It states that that's where our justifications are drawn. The mind cannot move forward with thought and reasoning unless it makes some semblance of sense (at least to the beholder). So though in principle determinism leaves open the possibility of insanity seeming to the beholder to make sense (at least in the moment), in practice it happens not to be true (at least according to my subjectivism).

And in any case, even if it were true, the mind goes on. It just will make sense of things (eventually). IOW, the mind just will wrap itself around that.


Nothing would seem to be more fundamental than finally figuring out if mind is just matter interacting...mechanically?

I prefer to think that matter is just mind interacting semantically.

But how would that be accomplished if it is presumed that any efforts to establish it are themselves only as they ever could have been.


That's like saying logic is groundless because it can only be as it ever could have been. I mean, it's true: if you say "All volkors are skybets, this is a volkor, therefore it is a skybet." then it appears, in the moment of thinking that, that it could not be any other way. That doesn't mean it's groundless, it means it's true. The only thing that determinism entails is the possibility in principle that our reasoning might be the ramblings of madness--I just don't think that's how it is in practice.

It's worse with physical determinism because there you're not dealing with mental subjective experience, but contingent facts of the world. <-- Here you get no reasoning, no justification, for why things are as they are. And so it becomes conceivable that there is no reasoning, that's it's all some absurd flux of chaos--though still deterministic (<-- that's possible).

iambiguous wrote:And the implication here is that angst itself is situated existentially out in a particular world construed from a particular point of view. The philosopher might note that in reacting to the same unwanted pregnancy different individuals feel more or less angst. But: is there a way to determine the extent to which all rational men and women ought to feel angst? How is that not largely the embodiment of dasein?


It is largely embodied in dasein. But since we're talking about "angst" in particular, there is an additional dimension to this discussion. It is true that some of us feel more angst over prong #2 than others, and it is true that this strongly indicates our embodiment in dasein, but it also strongly indicates a problem--a dilemma you might say--and so while I do enjoy a good philosophical discussion with my peers here at ILP, trying to figure out the puzzle of whether we should feel angst or not, I also see people in angst. My concern over whether or not you (or I) ought to feel angst is eclipsed by an impulse, when I see angst in others, to try (in whatever meager way I can) to suggest to them ways out of their angst.

iambiguous wrote:Basically, yes. <-- Thank you! I understand now. Imagine following someone around who embraces subjectivism as you do. Eventually, he/she becomes entangled in a prong #2 context. It is then that I would probe the extent to which subjectivism might be construed as more or less relevant to the manner in which I react: entangled as I am in my dilemma. My frame of mind here almost always revolves around the question "how ought one to live?" when the choices being made by particular inidviduals come into conflict.


It depends on the character of the particular prong #2 situation.

Going back to my example of drug use, for instance, let's say I was caught by the cops on the street corner for smoking marijuana (not that I'd ever do that). The last thing I'd do is try to reason my subjectivism about consciousness and being to them. What I'd actually do would probably be to try to be as polite and conciliatory as possible, maybe researching ways to get off with the least severe conviction legally allowed--IOW, I'd do what most everybody else would probably do.

On the other hand, if I were in a conflict with an anti-drug group over the internet, I *might* bring my subjectivism into use. But here's the catch--and this is something I've been trying to convey but without much success--it wouldn't be just by the traditional objectivist approach (remember that terms means: simply asserting your reasons for believing in your "ism" in the hopes of convincing the other <-- There's a definition for you). It would be this: my subjectivism has taught me to be far more mindful of other people's mental states than it has the "objective truth" as my "ism" would have it. It focuses me on other people's psychology. With that in the background of my subjectivist point of view, I more readily attempt to apply the principles of psychology to deal with others in prong #2 contexts. <-- Note that this is different from simply explaining my subjectivism to others in a prong #2 context. I offered the approach of "reverse psychology" earlier as an example (although that's kind of a mickey mouse example in my opinion). Reverse psychology *can* work as an approach to dealing with people in a prong #2 context, but it obviously is not the "traditional objectivist approach" because it is certainly not just an attempt to explain what you actually believe in the hopes of convincing the other.

I don't know if that's what you're looking for--I'm guessing it seems too "manipulative" and you'd prefer an approach that involves just "being honest" with others about what you think--even if that means risking disagreement--but an approach that leaves others powerless to contest with your impeccable reasoning. <-- Is that what you're looking for?

iambiguous wrote:My own interest here would be more in regard to the distinctions that can be made between subjective experiences that are more or less rooted objectively in a particular reality and our reactions to them which may well not be. For example, the experience of drinking a glass of wine overlaps considerably for all of us. As opposed to the experience of, say, being employed to pick the grapes to make the wine. Far fewer of us ever had that experience. But it is in this regard that prong #2 contexts emerge. And that revolves around certain political and economic prejudices regarding the wages being paid and the conditions of employment and all of the contention that swirls around immigration issues.

Well, that's an interesting point. It kind of suggests an inverse relation between the rapport between people in regards to their similar subjective experiences and the intensity of prong #2 predicaments. The more heated prong #2 conflicts are, the more it seems based on the fact that the parties involved just don't understand each others' life experiences.

How then would being or not being a subjectivst come into play here?


It wouldn't be easy--that's for sure--but as a subjectivist, my approach would be to, at first, try to keep the peace as much as possible, and for however long I can do that, try to gain experiences (which might just be limited to understanding different points of view) that help me form a rapport with the other person. This *might* result in me submitting to the other person's point of view (but at least I would be somewhat, kind of, in agreement with them at that point) but it can also supply me with plenty of cognitive/mental material with which to try to persuade (in an amicable, diplomatic manner) the other towards my point of view, or at least a peaceful settlement. The point is: with more understanding of how the world looks from the other person's perspective, the more easily one can deal with that person.

iambiguous wrote:Whether we move from the general to the specific or the specific to the general there still seems to be a crucial distinction to be made between probing the reality of abortion as a medical procedure and probing it as a moral quandary. Whether in the abstract or pertaining to an actual real time abortion.

Yes, I agree, and I understand, but aside from that, I'm trying to get a feel for how your mind works. I'm trying to figure out if you're more of an inductive thinker or a deductive thinker. This helps me to understand where you're coming from, and why we might be talking passed each other. I definitely think, at this point, our minds work very differently--we understand things in a very different manner--but I'm trying to resolve that. Knowing whether you're an inductive thinker or a deductive thinker can help (not that it's necessarily either/or, but that too is something useful to figure out).

"Consciousness" either makes a smooth transition from one to the other, or mind itself is matter of a whole different sort. That's what I focus on. The difference between mind as it relates to that which we can all be in agreement about and minds that come into conflict when the parts revolving around either/ore become entangled in the parts revolving around is/ought.


Would it be fair to paraphrase this as the question of monism vs. dualism?

iambiguous wrote:It may be that a language is not available that will allow us to finally close the gap when we have disagreements regarding something as fundamental as the nature of mind itself.

As for the body in war, there are any number of things that medical science can predict/conclude pertaining to particular contexts. Again, where I reconfigure the beam is in the direction of that which is said to constitute a "just war". Ought America to have invaded Iraq? The trauma inflicted on hundreds of thousands of bodies as a result of that choice is not much in dispute. You either lose your legs to an IED or you don't.


I know. That's my point. What happens to the body is not affected (so we would think) by that body's "ism" (the person's residing in it). You have to understand that when you ask me how my subjectivism pans out in a prong #2 situation, this sounds exactly the same to me: if I were in a situation where an angry mob of anti-drug protesters decided to gang up on me and threaten my life, I would just run and hide. And I don't think it matters what "ism" is in question here. You could talk about an angry mob of anti-abortionists ganging up on an abortion rights activist, or an angry mob of marxists ganging up on a capitalist, or an angry mob of atheists ganging up on a theists--probably, the reactions would be the same: run and hide--just like the reaction of the body to bullets would be the same regardless of the "ism" held by that body.

iambiguous wrote:More or less.

Ooooh, okay, I get it.

You came into conflict with others before you became a subjectivist.
You come into conflict with others after you became a subjectivist.

So, for all practical purposes, what's the difference?


Well, let's be clear at the start that the difference wouldn't be seen in the midst of the conflict. If I felt significantly threatened, I think I would just run and hide.

But let's say after the mob went home and I came out of my hiding place, I went home and contemplated what just happened to me. Let's say I think about it in term of my theory of consciousness.

I would say this: I have certain ideas about my rights to drug use (again, really, just alternate mental states, but whatever). The mob of anti-drug advocates also have ideas about my rights to drug use--they differ--I feel one has the right to alter one's consciousness for the sake of mental exploration, they do not. Now in the thick of conflict, what's happening, in terms of my theory of consciousness, is that their thoughts about drug use, along with their attitudes, feelings, past experience, etc., is culminating in the entailment of extraneous non-human experiences corresponding to the actions of the body--some of which manifest as speech, some of which manifest as bodily action (some of those might involve violence and even killing)--these "offenses" (let's just call them that) are material/sensory representations of those extraneous experiences that I mentioned are entailed buy their thoughts, attitudes, feelings, past experiences, etc... In other words, their bodies--whatever it is they do as a means to conflict with me (verbally, physically, whatever their bodies do) can be mapped onto subjective, qualitative, first-person experience just as much as their brain activity can. But I call the former "non-human" because it corresponds to bodily movements, not brain movements, and so even though I believe some kind of subjective experience is still being had by their bodies, it is not had by their brains specifically--what this means, in the end, is that it is experienced unconsciously (the difference between conscious experience and unconscious experience is a whole other can of worms in my philosophy--maybe we'll get to it later--suffice it to say, only specific parts of our brains have conscious subjective experiences).

In any case, those physical bodily actions give way to other physical effects--violence, say with the body's finger pulling triggers on guns, give way to bullets being fired and wounding other bodies--words, as another example, result is sound waves being emitted through the air and being detected by the ears of other bodies; all this physical activity continues to correspond to some kind of subjective experience--at this point, however, the quality of that experience is anything but human--we are not talking about brain activity anymore, but non-human physical events--but my theory says that there continues to be subjective experience nonetheless--it's just that the quality of that experience is unimaginable to us because our brains don't have the capacity to mimic the experience.

But in the end, those physical actions do end up impact our brains. Being shot by a bullet hurts--hearing offensive words from others "hurts" (our feelings). This is because all this physical activity--from the point of ideas in their (the mob's) head to the point of the physical effects of their actions impacting ideas and feelings in our heads--is one continuous seamless stream of subjective experience. It's just that at a certain point in the process (when their ideas lead to actions), these subjective experiences cease to be conscious (and imaginable), and when they become conscious and imaginable again (in virtue of impacting another's brain), they are conscious and imaginable to a different mind.

^ That's how I would explain the dynamics that go on in prong #2 contexts in terms of my theory of consciousness--I know it's a lot to chew in a few short paragraphs, but again I stress, I wrote a whole book on this so as to expand all that in palatable bites.

And I still don't think this really helps you. Though you are asking for how others would interpret the nature and dynamics of prong #2 conflicts in terms of their "ism", I think you are expecting that some may be useful to you and some may not be. I'm afraid mine probably is not helpful.

iambiguous wrote:Here it would seem to come down to one's understanding of the word "metaphysics".

In the dictionary:

Philosophy.
1. concerned with abstract thought or subjects, as existence, causality, or truth.
2. concerned with first principles and ultimate grounds, as being, time, or substance.

In other words, with things that some speak of as "ontological" or "teleological". To wit: understanding conflicting human behaviors in the context of grasping the very nature of Reality or Existence itself.

And given that none of us really grasp this [aside from what I construe to be the intellectual/scholastic quacks like James S. Saint who more or less claim to] we are left to fend for ourselves when in fact our behaviors do come into conflict over value judgments.


So you mean that metaphysics has (so far) not helped us to resolve the issues of prong #2?

But do you consider yourself to be a metaphysicist? At least of morality? Objectivity? Nihilism?

iambiguous wrote:Yes, that's how it works "in reality". It is what men and women believe to be true that motivates their behaviors. And it is their behaviors that have consequence. And in fact the consequences are real whether what those who precipitated them believe is true or not.

There are many who genuinely believe in Trump's political agenda. There are many who genuinely believe in Clinton's. And depending on who is elected there may well be any number of dramatic consequences. <-- Like mine: Have fun in the next 8 years, guys! But: the consequences that some embrace others will loathe.

And they will do so without a thought being given to the dilemma that impales me.


Well, it impales everyone, of course, but you seem to be one of the few who understand what's impaling them. Many, today on Nov. 11, 2016, will feel that Trump impales them (figuratively speaking), but you at least know that this is just a specific instance of the more general instrument of impalement, which we are calling in this thread "prong #2" (and for some, extending as far as prong #1).

iambiguous wrote:But pertaining to particular matters there are facts applicable to all of us. And though some [as subjects] may not accept them it doesn't make the facts go away. And since there are facts there is a greater likelihood of persuading the skeptics of their existence.

Yes, and translating this in term of my subjectivist theory, I would call this the "power" of particular subjective realities. Though I'm a relativist, in my view, that doesn't mean all subjective realities are equal--at least not in terms of "how real" they are. Some subjective realities are more powerful than others--and all this really means is that some subjective points of view are more convincing than others; so you might be a pro-choice advocate, and this may determine the morality in your subjective reality, but as you've pointed out many times, we are creatures of experience and such experiences change us, change our points of view--this change constitutes the "power" of different subjective realities--the persuasive "allure" or "pressure" of other points of view that, ultimately, force you to change your mind. When this happens, I call this a "reality transition". You abandon one subjective reality for another. The objective facts you mention just happen to be elements in a subjective reality that have very powerful "transitioning" influence. They tend to convince people more readily than other elements that can't really be called "objective facts", and thus have more of an ability to force people through "reality transitions". <-- This, at least, is how it would translate into the terms of my subjectivism.

With value judgments however there are merely subjective interpretations of what the facts mean vis a vis the choices we make. There do not appear to be choices able to be disclosed as in fact the obligation of all reasonal/virtuous men and women to pursue.


right, which is why with subjective interpretations, we can do whatever the hell we want with them.

iambiguous wrote:With Christianity [and other such denominations], God can be captured in a world of words. A scripture is concocted and God becomes the embodiment of it. And then there is the part about before and after the grave.

But how do we do the same with "the universe"? The only way that I can grapple with it is to imagine a wholly determined world in sync with the immutable laws of matter.

Sure, and that fits with my conception of God. But to get at the heart of the matter, you need to understand that consciousness, at least according to my theory, is not something particular to human (or animal) brains--it's something that comes with any physical activity whatsoever--obviously, with the whole universe being physical and constantly undergoing activity, this means that consciousness is everywhere--hence God. But if you recall my rendition of how the particular prong #2 scenario above translates into my theory of consciousness (with bodily movements and words turning into sound waves and bullets shot from guns) you might recall that the subjective experience I postulate to come along with all these physical effects is unconscious (<-- again, that's a whole other can of worms in my theory), and so we as individuals in the universe will very rarely feel "as one" with the rest of universal consciousness. We will only feel our conscious subjective experiences, and they will seem to us like "islands" of mind in a vast unconscious mechanical universe.

But then we're still stuck there with this:

* why something and not nothing at all
* why this something and not some other something

I believe that the answer to all questions resides in the moment of experience. But sometimes, depending on the question, it matters whose experience we're talking about. When it comes to questions like the ones you posed, I believe the answer can only lie in the experience of the universe as a whole.

If you understand what I mean when I say that subjective experience comes along with all physical activity (and therefore the universe as a whole experiences something) and that some experience, in virtue of not corresponding to our brains per se, is unconscious, then you will know that it follows that the universe as a whole has subjective experience that may constitute the answer to these questions (you don't have to believe it, just follow the logic). I personally believe that what the universe experience is just the answer to these questions. In other words, if we could experience the mind of God in a moment after we posed these questions to ourselves, we'd say "Oooh, that's why". Of course, I don't have the answer because I've never had the opportunity to peer into the mind of God (I don't know if I even want to), so I personally can't answer these questions--but it's my belief that in experience in general, the answers therein lie (and because of the link I draw between consciousness and ontology, I also believe that God's subjective experience of the answer to these questions make it real).


And does the "the universe" really have anything substantive to say about our moral and political agendas?

No... except in the sense that we have something substantive to say about our moral and political agendas... because we are a part of the universe.

For cosmologists there is no equivalent of the 10 Commandments or of Heaven and Hell. There would seem to be just the brute facticity of it all in what may well be an essentially absurd and meaningless existence.


Yes, I'm very careful in my identification of universal consciousness (as we can call it) with God--it's definitely not the Abrahamic God, which brings with it a whole mythology of 10 Commandments and Heaven and Hell. It's the universe as atheists and scientist depict it--except with conscious/subjective experience.

I will contest, however, the interpretation of it all being a meaningless existence. Conscious/subjective experience, as far as I'm concerned, is rooted in meaning--it may be absurd meaning, conflicting meaning, incomprehensible meaning, but there is meaning in everything nonetheless (as far as I'm concerned).

(It's funny, I recall a conversation with Arcturus Descending in which I tried to point out how indistinguishable a meaningless universe would be from a universe chock full of meaning that was incomprehensible.)

iambiguous wrote:It's cryptic to me because I am not able [palpably] to grasp it relating to that which is of interest to me philosophically. And what might tempt me to read the book is something in it that persuades me otherwise.


And that's fine. I'm just saying the options there for you if you want (and I'll still give it to you for free of you want). And if you're not interested, and I'm not able to persuade you, we might consider moving onto something else.

iambiguous wrote:Yes, and then you eat the apple and are "completely exposed" to that. But the apple was poisoned by someone who wanted you dead and you are "completely exposed" to that.

Yes, what you are "completely exposed" to is very much a matter of what you experience in the moment. It *might* help to bring in the concept of "reality transitions" here. In the moment when you looked at the apple and experienced it as delicious and scrumptious and most likely nutritious (good for you, not poison), that constituted reality for you in the moment--but when you were poisoned afterwards, feeling the poison course through your veins, that's what constituted reality for you in the moment--contradictory indeed! But that's why I'm a relativist. I don't believe the nature of reality is to be a constant--I believe that is just a hard wired expectation of human brains. Reality is simply determined by what we experience in the moment--and if that happens to change from one moment to another--in contradictory ways--that can be understood as a "reality transition"--you transitioned from a reality in which the apple was good for you to one in which is was poison.

The contexts here are virtually infinite. And who gets to say what it means to be "completely exposed" to something in which value judgments do come to collide. Or in probing what it means to have an identity.

How are we "completely exposed" in the voting booth when choosing between Trump and Clinton?

These are obviously far more complex, but the logic can still be worked out. The reality which is expose to each voter is simply the bundle of presumptions, prejudices, facts, values, etc. that they bring with them into the voting both--that's reality for them--and when it turns out that the candidate they voted for reneges on his or her promises, they make a reality transition into one in which their prior presumptions, prejudices, facts, values, etc. no longer hold.

In other words, when do we reach the point where that cannot actually be pinned down with any precision? Where it becomes almost entirely a subjective frame of mind that "here and now" you find applicable to one and only one conscious "I"?


Well, that might sometimes happen. Someone who suffers from delusions or hallucinations (someone like Random Factor) might be forced into the position of coming to grips with the fact that he is the only one who sees the world as he does, but given the fact that his delusions or hallucinations are persistent, he would have no choice, short of forcing upon himself with extraordinary mental effort an extreme skepticism towards his own visceral experiences, but to arrive at a point of view according to which he is the only one who sees these things.

As a relativist, this is an option to me. It's not one I'd prefer to take, but you could do it.

I think the key in these scenarios is to drop the (objectivist) assumption that reality has to be a constant--it is a changing, and sometimes paradoxical, flux. And as far as human consciousness is concerned--being evolved to perceive a single constant reality--it has no choice but to undergo reality transitions when it experiences this paradoxical flux. We are not built to process reality as a paradoxical contradictory flux, and so we must, on occasion, go through changes in our perceptions and beliefs, our values and our outlooks on life--I call these "reality transitions" but we don't experience them as reality transitions--we just call them "changing our minds".
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby iambiguous » Sun Nov 20, 2016 12:35 am

iambiguous wrote:If the framework of mind itself is such that how we interact in the world is only as we ever could have interacted, folks react to that in differenty ways. But if the reactions are in turn only as they ever could have been...

Well, how exactly does the mind wrap itself around that?


gib wrote:Well, I'll admit, that certainly is a quandary. It seems to imply that however we reason our way out of that question, it's still going to be a product of an inevitable course of events in a deterministic universe--thereby implying that though it seems reasonable in the moment, that isn't grounds for trusting in it. It may still be the ramblings of insanity. Absurdity and chaos ensues.

Do you need to get by this quandary in order to move into metaphysics?


From my frame of mind it is the fundamental question for all philosophers, scientists and theologians: do we have any capacity to freely choose what we think and feel and do?

If all that they do [that we do] is only as it ever could have been, what on earth can that possibly mean?

For example: for all practical purposes.

gib wrote: The only thing I can suggest is that the reasonings you experience in the moment of contriving your answer to the above question is all you need. This is why my subjectivism works. <--It states that that's where our justifications are drawn. The mind cannot move forward with thought and reasoning unless it makes some semblance of sense (at least to the beholder). So though in principle determinism leaves open the possibility of insanity seeming to the beholder to make sense (at least in the moment), in practice it happens not to be true (at least according to my subjectivism).


So, you tell me: were you fated by the immutable laws of matter to think this, to post this here --- or is there an aspect of human consciouness able to tweak these laws and to allow for some measure [however that might be understood] of "autonomy"?

gib wrote: I prefer to think that matter is just mind interacting semantically.


Okay, there are the signifiers -- words, signs -- and there are the things so signified. But if this relationship is autonomic how is that really any different [metaphysically or otherwise] from the mechanical relationship between the components of, say, an automobile engine?

We don't command the heart to beat or the liver to function. Is the brain itself just one more organ in that regard?

And how would we determine this independently -- independently of -- the laws of matter?

I'll be the first to admit though that the manner in which I think about this might be flawed. But then what does it really mean to articulate flawed thinking in a world that is wholly determined? What [realistically] does it mean to speak of something as inevitably flawed?

Me, I can't [realistically] even imagine how a human mind can possibly wrap itself around this. Why? Because it is the mind that is trying to discover the nature of itself.

iambiguous wrote:And the implication here is that angst itself is situated existentially out in a particular world construed from a particular point of view. The philosopher might note that in reacting to the same unwanted pregnancy different individuals feel more or less angst. But: is there a way to determine the extent to which all rational men and women ought to feel angst? How is that not largely the embodiment of dasein?


gib wrote: It is largely embodied in dasein. But since we're talking about "angst" in particular, there is an additional dimension to this discussion. It is true that some of us feel more angst over prong #2 than others, and it is true that this strongly indicates our embodiment in dasein, but it also strongly indicates a problem--a dilemma you might say--and so while I do enjoy a good philosophical discussion with my peers here at ILP, trying to figure out the puzzle of whether we should feel angst or not, I also see people in angst. My concern over whether or not you (or I) ought to feel angst is eclipsed by an impulse, when I see angst in others, to try (in whatever meager way I can) to suggest to them ways out of their angst.


Yes, this makes sense to me. Well, to the extent that I understand what you mean. There is angst as a philosophical problem and there is the actual existential angst embodied in someone that you care about. Sure, for all practical purposes, you do what you can. But [for me] the part about dasein and conflicting goods [embedded in my dilemma] is no less debilitating if, for example, the angst my friend is feeling revolves around a particular existential context like an unwanted pregnancy.

The irony here being that it was my experience with Mary and John that triggered the angst that I feel now with regard to dasein and conflicting value judgments. Always [for me] it goes back to prong #2.

In other words...

iambiguous wrote:Imagine following someone around who embraces subjectivism as you do. Eventually, he/she becomes entangled in a prong #2 context. It is then that I would probe the extent to which subjectivism might be construed as more or less relevant to the manner in which I react: entangled as I am in my dilemma. My frame of mind here almost always revolves around the question "how ought one to live?" when the choices being made by particular inidviduals come into conflict.


gib wrote: It depends on the character of the particular prong #2 situation.


But [for me] how the character of any particular context is construed is embodied in a subjective point of view embedded in dasein and conflicting goods. At least in situations where the manner in which two individuals characterize it come into conflict.

gib wrote: Going back to my example of drug use, for instance, let's say I was caught by the cops on the street corner for smoking marijuana (not that I'd ever do that). The last thing I'd do is try to reason my subjectivism about consciousness and being to them. What I'd actually do would probably be to try to be as polite and conciliatory as possible, maybe researching ways to get off with the least severe conviction legally allowed--IOW, I'd do what most everybody else would probably do.


But what is of interest to me is exploring why, if it is the last thing that you would do, why/how it has any substantial/substantive relevance at all. And what of those who argue that smoking marijuana is something that should not be illegal in the first place. That's the part where almost all of the conversations revolve. And that's the part where the components of my own philosophy [moral nihilism, ironism] pertain.

Or so it seems to me.

gib wrote: ...my subjectivism has taught me to be far more mindful of other people's mental states than it has the "objective truth" as my "ism" would have it. It focuses me on other people's psychology. With that in the background of my subjectivist point of view, I more readily attempt to apply the principles of psychology to deal with others in prong #2 contexts. <-- Note that this is different from simply explaining my subjectivism to others in a prong #2 context. I offered the approach of "reverse psychology" earlier as an example (although that's kind of a mickey mouse example in my opinion). Reverse psychology *can* work as an approach to dealing with people in a prong #2 context, but it obviously is not the "traditional objectivist approach" because it is certainly not just an attempt to explain what you actually believe in the hopes of convincing the other.

I don't know if that's what you're looking for--I'm guessing it seems too "manipulative" and you'd prefer an approach that involves just "being honest" with others about what you think--even if that means risking disagreement--but an approach that leaves others powerless to contest with your impeccable reasoning. <-- Is that what you're looking for?


I really do appreciate your attempts to communicate this to me. But try as I might I am still unable to grasp how this might be applicable to the parts of philosophy that most interest me. Though, admittedly, that may be more reflective of my own failure to comprehend what you have in fact succeeded in communicating to others. I am always intrigued more by the relationship/gap between that which we either can or cannot be honest about. Between the more or less rock-solid objective world of either/or and the far more subjective, interpersonal speculations that [to me] are built right into the world of is/ought.

iambiguous wrote:My own interest here would be more in regard to the distinctions that can be made between subjective experiences that are more or less rooted objectively in a particular reality and our reactions to them which may well not be. For example, the experience of drinking a glass of wine overlaps considerably for all of us. As opposed to the experience of, say, being employed to pick the grapes to make the wine. Far fewer of us ever had that experience. But it is in this regard that prong #2 contexts emerge. And that revolves around certain political and economic prejudices regarding the wages being paid and the conditions of employment and all of the contention that swirls around immigration issues.


gib wrote: Well, that's an interesting point. It kind of suggests an inverse relation between the rapport between people in regards to their similar subjective experiences and the intensity of prong #2 predicaments. The more heated prong #2 conflicts are, the more it seems based on the fact that the parties involved just don't understand each others' life experiences.


Yes, the parts that are intertwined in dasein and conflicting goods. And it is the objectivists here -- turd and uccisore and fixed cross leap to mind -- who basically argue that this is not the case at all. They insist that if you think like they do about right and wrong then you are able to transcend this and discover/invent the most rational and virtuous narrative of all: their own.

But: the closer they come to my own frame of mind the more they recognize it as a threat. So they put me on ignore, or refuse to discuss it or leave the forum altogether in order to avoid it. They simply have too much to lose if my point of view is seen by them to be more reasonable than their own. And I know exactly what this entails because I exhibited the same fierce resistance to nihilism myself when my own objectivist frame of mind was threatened.

gib wrote: ...as a subjectivist, my approach would be to, at first, try to keep the peace as much as possible, and for however long I can do that, try to gain experiences (which might just be limited to understanding different points of view) that help me form a rapport with the other person.


Yes, that's the part in my narrative that revolves around choosing democracy and the rule of law over might makes right and right makes might. The part that revolves around moderation, negotiation and compromise.

But unlike others who embrace this in "the best of all possible worlds" I am still plagued by this:

If I am always of the opinion that 1] my own values are rooted in dasein and 2] that there are no objective values "I" can reach, then every time I make one particular moral/political leap, I am admitting that I might have gone in the other direction...or that I might just as well have gone in the other direction. Then "I" begins to fracture and fragment to the point there is nothing able to actually keep it all together. At least not with respect to choosing sides morally and politically.

And it is this that others [even the democracy advocates] are unable to grasp in the manner in which I do. It is just too pessimistic -- even catastrophic -- to think like this about your own value judgments.

Whereas your own frame of mind [here and now] seems more in sync with this:

gib wrote: This *might* result in me submitting to the other person's point of view (but at least I would be somewhat, kind of, in agreement with them at that point) but it can also supply me with plenty of cognitive/mental material with which to try to persuade (in an amicable, diplomatic manner) the other towards my point of view, or at least a peaceful settlement. The point is: with more understanding of how the world looks from the other person's perspective, the more easily one can deal with that person.


This to me however revolves around attaining and than sustaining a political consensus. And I recognize it in turn as part and parcel of that "best of all possible worlds." But [for me] there it is: that gnawing dilemma.

iambiguous wrote:Whether we move from the general to the specific or the specific to the general there still seems to be a crucial distinction to be made between probing the reality of abortion as a medical procedure and probing it as a moral quandary. Whether in the abstract or pertaining to an actual real time abortion.


gib wrote: Yes, I agree, and I understand, but aside from that, I'm trying to get a feel for how your mind works. I'm trying to figure out if you're more of an inductive thinker or a deductive thinker. This helps me to understand where you're coming from, and why we might be talking passed each other. I definitely think, at this point, our minds work very differently--we understand things in a very different manner--but I'm trying to resolve that. Knowing whether you're an inductive thinker or a deductive thinker can help (not that it's necessarily either/or, but that too is something useful to figure out).


We perceive the world around us in a particular way embedded in a particular historical and cultural context. And from within the parameters of a particular set of personal experiences. How then are the individual variables out in this particular world -- thousands upon thousands of them that ever evolve over time and across space -- anchored to what any particular philosopher or a scientist or theologian calls "reality". Trying to untangle deduction from induction would seem to be as problematic [to me] as trying to untangle nature from nurture in exploring and explaining the behaviors that we choose. For me, there are no "smooth transitions" that a particular "consciousness" can make here. There are only existential leaps of faith to one point of view [here and now] rather than another. It's less a question of "monism" or "dualism" [for me] than of being overwhelmed by any attempts to make distinctions of this sort at all.

And in choosing objectivism as The Answer this allows the objectivists to make all of that go away. It comforts and consoles them psychologically to imagine that there is an answer. And, as luck would have it, it's their answer!

It's like the Man In Black character played by Ed Harris in Westworld. He is ever intent at getting to the bottom of this one particular reality. If he can figure out what is really going on there he will finally have solved...

...solved what exactly?

Will he have finally discovered the particular "ism" that motivated Robert Ford to create this world? And suppose he does? How would that not too be embedded in dasein, conflicting goods and political economy?

You came into conflict with others before you became a subjectivist.
You come into conflict with others after you became a subjectivist.

So, for all practical purposes, what's the difference?


gib wrote: Well, let's be clear at the start that the difference wouldn't be seen in the midst of the conflict. If I felt significantly threatened, I think I would just run and hide.

But let's say after the mob went home and I came out of my hiding place, I went home and contemplated what just happened to me. Let's say I think about it in term of my theory of consciousness.

I would say this: I have certain ideas about my rights to drug use (again, really, just alternate mental states, but whatever). The mob of anti-drug advocates also have ideas about my rights to drug use--they differ--I feel one has the right to alter one's consciousness for the sake of mental exploration, they do not.


Yes, that makes sense. But I always come back to the extent which it is even possible to achieve a level of consciousness that makes my dilemma go away. For the moral and political objectivist, the whole point here [if largely subconsciously] is to avoid my dilemma at all cost. Subjunctively, they need to believe less that they are right than that right and wrong itself exists. That's the part where I become particularly threatening.

Unless of course I'm wrong. And though many mock me for tacking that onto particular post of mine, they fail to grasp the extent to which that is in fact part and parcel of the dilemma that "I" am entangled here pertaining to the world of is/ought. The prong #2 world.

iambiguous wrote:Here it would seem to come down to one's understanding of the word "metaphysics".

In the dictionary:

Philosophy.
1. concerned with abstract thought or subjects, as existence, causality, or truth.
2. concerned with first principles and ultimate grounds, as being, time, or substance.

In other words, with things that some speak of as "ontological" or "teleological". To wit: understanding conflicting human behaviors in the context of grasping the very nature of Reality or Existence itself.

And given that none of us really grasp this [aside from what I construe to be the intellectual/scholastic quacks like James S. Saint who more or less claim to] we are left to fend for ourselves when in fact our behaviors do come into conflict over value judgments.


gib wrote: So you mean that metaphysics has (so far) not helped us to resolve the issues of prong #2?


Actually, I am utterly perplexed regarding how the conscious human mind can grapple with this at all.

It would seem that the only way to comprehend it is to conclude that we interact in a wholly determined world where even explanations themselves are only as they ever could have been.

Again, that way "metaphysics" would seem to revolve more around 1] why something and not nothing and 2] why this something and not another something instead.

But what on earth does that/can that/will that ever mean?!!

To, for example, mere mortals.

gib wrote: But do you consider yourself to be a metaphysicist? At least of morality? Objectivity? Nihilism?


I consider myself to be an infinitesimally tiny speck in an infinitesimally immense universe that may well be but an infinitesimally tiny speck in the multiverse.

In other words, to even ask such questions seems, well, ultimately senseless?

But we are hard-wired to anyway.

iambiguous wrote:Yes, that's how it works "in reality". It is what men and women believe to be true that motivates their behaviors. And it is their behaviors that have consequence. And in fact the consequences are real whether what those who precipitated them believe is true or not.

There are many who genuinely believe in Trump's political agenda. There are many who genuinely believe in Clinton's. And depending on who is elected there may well be any number of dramatic consequences. But: the consequences that some embrace others will loathe.

And they will do so without a thought being given to the dilemma that impales me.


gib wrote: Well, it impales everyone, of course, but you seem to be one of the few who understand what's impaling them.


My point is that the objectivists here have figured out a way to trick themselves into believing that my dilemma is something that I have tricked myself into believing in order to avoid admitting that their own support for Trump or Clinton reflects the obligation of all rational and virtuous men and women.

On your own thread above we clearly see this objectivist frame of mind in action. And [I speculate] it is precisely the fact that I threaten it that uccisore and his ilk avoid at all cost the sort of discussion the we are having here.

Again, they have so much to lose if they abandon their own particular ideological font. "I" is the last thing they wish to confront.
At best they can argue [as you point out] that not all subjective realities are equal. Yes, "reality transitions" are possible because there is a collection of objective facts that can be attached to any number of conflicting political prejudices.

iambiguous wrote:With Christianity [and other such denominations], God can be captured in a world of words. A scripture is concocted and God becomes the embodiment of it. And then there is the part about before and after the grave.

But how do we do the same with "the universe"? The only way that I can grapple with it is to imagine a wholly determined world in sync with the immutable laws of matter.


gib wrote: Sure, and that fits with my conception of God. But to get at the heart of the matter, you need to understand that consciousness, at least according to my theory, is not something particular to human (or animal) brains--it's something that comes with any physical activity whatsoever--obviously, with the whole universe being physical and constantly undergoing activity, this means that consciousness is everywhere--hence God.


From my perspective however this becomes the "heart of the matter" only to the extent that "in your head" you have come to believe that it is. But there does not appear to be a way in which you are able to demonstrate that other "consciousnesses" ought to think that way too. For me this is more of what I call an "intellectual contraption" in which the analysis is true only to the extent that tautologically the premises/assumptions are true.

But how to actually show that they are? How does one get past "theory" here?

And it would seem the most important factor here is the extent to which a "universal consciousness" is able to be anchored to an actual teleology rather then to the brute facticity of an essentially absurd and meaningless world.

Again though: Whatever that means.

In other words, what, "for all practical purposes" or "theoretically", does it mean to speak of "the experience of the universe as a whole". Other than the way in which any one particular individual fits all the pieces of a "reality" together "in his head". Similarly pertaining to the speculations that revolve around "the mind of God".

Again, I see your analysis here as [psychologically] an attempt to come up with something [anything] that acts as a foundation onto which you can anchor "I".

But I don't mean this as a criticism. Why? Because in my own way I am doing the same thing. I just come to different conclusions here and now.

Which [as always] takes me back to this:

...does the "the universe" really have anything substantive to say about our moral and political agendas?


gib wrote: No... except in the sense that we have something substantive to say about our moral and political agendas... because we are a part of the universe.


Then it all comes down to being or not being entangled in my dilemma. And in that respect all I can do is to explore the subjective narratives of those who argue that they are not entangled in it. While at the same time being entangled in a frame of mind that [here and now] cannot even imagine how [in a world sans God as I understand it] one cannot be.

I really don't understand how one cannot be a moral nihilist. But I also understand that far, far more aren't than are. So, one of the possibilities of course is that my thinking is flawed.

gib wrote: I will contest, however, the interpretation of it all being a meaningless existence. Conscious/subjective experience, as far as I'm concerned, is rooted in meaning--it may be absurd meaning, conflicting meaning, incomprehensible meaning, but there is meaning in everything nonetheless (as far as I'm concerned).


I don't argue that human interaction is meaningless, only that there does not appear to be an essential, objective meaning that intertwines 1] before I was born 2] my conscious existence now and 3] after I die into a single teleological truth.

gib wrote: It's funny, I recall a conversation with Arcturus Descending in which I tried to point out how indistinguishable a meaningless universe would be from a universe chock full of meaning that was incomprehensible.


But this would seem to be the case only in a context in which you die and the rest is oblivion. If that is not the case [and this is clearly assumed by millions] then the Whole Truth to you is revealed in "paradise".

That is why in my view objectivists of uccisore's ilk are intent on linking the part about before we die to the part about after. They assume that only if one thinks and feels and behaves as they do is there a chance to pass muster on Judgment Day.

Thus for folks of his ilk, Trump's political agenda is the more "Christian" of the two. And then if you point out that Donald Trump's actual life could not possibly be further removed from the life of Jesus Christ, he will come up with a rationalization to "prove" that you are wrong.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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iambiguous
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby gib » Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:52 am

iambiguous wrote:From my frame of mind it is the fundamental question for all philosophers, scientists and theologians: do we have any capacity to freely choose what we think and feel and do?

If all that they do [that we do] is only as it ever could have been, what on earth can that possibly mean?

For example: for all practical purposes.


I don't know about freedom (that's a whole other ball of wax and is highly dependent on how you define "freedom"), but I would just point out that even if we live in a deterministic universe, that doesn't mean our thoughts and our positions on things is inescapably irrational or meaningless (as in, we would think that way anyway, even if it was irrational and meaningless)--in fact, I would argue quite the opposite: that we come to the conclusions we do because of the rationality we see in them--and this is why it could not be any other way.

Though I'm not saying we are infallible logic-chopping robots--just that the physical forces that determine the things our brains do is mirrored, in the subjective experience, by a rationality that really does inhere in our thought processes. <-- This isn't always formal logic per se (as the professional logician would have it) but it is a sense that we are being rational when we think through our thoughts, which is actually there in our thoughts and is the reason why we are drawn to the conclusions we are drawn to.

In other words, the apparent rationality of our thoughts is why our brains are determined to act as they do--it is why things can't be any other way.

iambiguous wrote:So, you tell me: were you fated by the immutable laws of matter to think this, to post this here --- or is there an aspect of human consciouness able to tweak these laws and to allow for some measure [however that might be understood] of "autonomy"?


Again, this isn't really a matter of "freedom" for me, or the lack thereof--I'm not really settled on the matter of whether we are truly free or not, but that doesn't matter--my theory is certainly compatible with a strictly deterministic picture of reality: so let's assume full determinism. In that case, yes I was fated by the immutable laws of matter (or mind) to think and post everything I am saying in this thread. But again, that (to me) doesn't make any of it meaningless or irrational--on the contrary, to me it means that my reasons and my rationalizations and such are the reason why I was lead, immutably, to write these things down on this forum. In other words, the deterministic course of events finds its roots in subjective experience, and when found there, it turns out that the necessity which drives it all is "completely exposed"--you see not only that it is necessary, but why it is necessary (which is what makes it necessary).

iambiguous wrote:Okay, there are the signifiers -- words, signs -- and there are the things so signified. But if this relationship is autonomic how is that really any different [metaphysically or otherwise] from the mechanical relationship between the components of, say, an automobile engine?

Well, first of all, I take the signifier/signified relationship to be, for one example, like the relationship between an object of sensation and a thought or concept of that object. Such a relationship is different from the components of an automobile engine because the latter are based on contingency (in the Kantian sense) whereas the former are based on necessity (<-- again, not in the formal sense of logical necessity, but rather some form of beholding "why it is so").

We don't command the heart to beat or the liver to function. Is the brain itself just one more organ in that regard?

The brain is an organ just like any other organ--but in my view, it is a mistaken to think that the scientific laws that determine how the brain functions also determine how we think--rather, it is the other way around (AFAIC)--what we think determines the way the brain functions. We don't command the heart to beat or the liver to function (at least not directly), but that's because these organs have their own minds (remember, I'm a panpsychic--I believe that all physical systems have experience)--and their minds--the "logic" with which it undergoes its changes--determines its physical behavior.

And how would we determine this independently -- independently of -- the laws of matter?

My point is that by way of introspection itself, we find everything we need to determine how the brain must work: if we introspect and find a certain thought process that unfolds through logical necessity, we can infer from this that looking at the brain (via fMRI machines or other brain scanning technologies) will reveal patterns of activity, governed by laws of nature, that are totally in accordance with how such thought processes unfold--even to the point of invoking overt behavior.

I'll be the first to admit though that the manner in which I think about this might be flawed. But then what does it really mean to articulate flawed thinking in a world that is wholly determined? What [realistically] does it mean to speak of something as inevitably flawed?

It just means that you've got other experiences swimming through your mind besides just unadulterated logic. We're not all Spock. In the whole flux of thinking, there exists other kinds of experiences: emotion, desires, alterior motives, unconscious processes, and these all have an impact on how our minds, taken as a whole, unfold. All these come together to determine the course the mind takes, and so from a strictly logical point of view, one's thinking can be "flawed". But there are other forms of "necessity" (or "justification" if necessity is too strong a word) that inhere in experiences other than thought, which "compensate" for the flawed thinking that so often happens with human beings.

Me, I can't [realistically] even imagine how a human mind can possibly wrap itself around this. Why? Because it is the mind that is trying to discover the nature of itself.


Yes, that's the trap we fall into when we attempt to examine ourselves from the third-person point of view. We attempt to imagine a "self" or a "mind" or a "consciousness" as though it were there before us, ready to be studied, to be examined--scientifically, objectively--but from the first-person point of view, we examine ourselves subjectively--what that means is that we simply note what we're experiencing, we note what it feels like to be in situation X--for example, what it feels like to taste a pineapple or to listen to a particular song or what it's like to be threatened by an angry mob. Noting these things to one's self is a simple task. We simply have the experience and form a thought about how that experience feels--we don't have to turn around and look at ourselves as if to observe the experience from the third-person point of view--we simply have to have the experience and allow it to take its course (which involved, among other things, allowing it to settle into thoughts, memories, insights, etc.--all things which allow us to "understand" what we're experiencing).

In that exercise, we amass a wealth of information on what the mind (or consciousness) consists of--what subjective experience consists of--for all subjective experience amounts to is just what things feel like to us--and once we've got that, we have everything we need. There is no need to "step outside" the experience and see it from the third-person point of view because, as far as I'm concerned, there isn't such a thing--subjective experience just exists in a first-person mode of being.

Ironically, the logical conclusion to be drawn from this is: subjective experience doesn't feel mental at all. When I describe what a car looks like, for example--even though I'm describing my visual sensory experience--the rendition I'm forced to deliver is that of a car in the outer world--featuring properties belonging to the car itself--in other words, when subjective experience is laid bare--completely exposes, as it were--what you get is just the state of reality itself--hence my theory that reality and subjective experience are one and the same (essentially: idealism 101).

iambiguous wrote:Yes, this makes sense to me. Well, to the extent that I understand what you mean. There is angst as a philosophical problem and there is the actual existential angst embodied in someone that you care about. Sure, for all practical purposes, you do what you can. But [for me] the part about dasein and conflicting goods [embedded in my dilemma] is no less debilitating if, for example, the angst my friend is feeling revolves around a particular existential context like an unwanted pregnancy.

The irony here being that it was my experience with Mary and John that triggered the angst that I feel now with regard to dasein and conflicting value judgments. Always [for me] it goes back to prong #2.


So does this mean when you sympathize with others over their angst, like you do with Mary and John, you also question (philosophically) whether, as a rational human being, you ought to sympathize? Perhaps as a way of finding reason to be detached? Detachment, if taken to extremes, *might* be a way out of the prong #2 dilemma. <-- It's the whole reason Buddhist monks live in monasteries.

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote:It depends on the character of the particular prong #2 situation.


But [for me] how the character of any particular context is construed is embodied in a subjective point of view embedded in dasein and conflicting goods. At least in situations where the manner in which two individuals characterize it come into conflict.


I'm not sure I follow. Are saying that the character of the particular prong #2 situation is dependent on how the one entering into it construes that character? Well, sure! Of course! But we're talking about me, aren't we? What would I do, as a subjectivist, entering into a particular prong #2 situation? I can just tell you how I construe it. I can even give you some background experiences if you like. And I did give you two example situations: 1) being pulled over by the cops for smoking dope, and 2) getting into a heated discussion with an anti-drug group on the internet. <-- My reactions, as a subjectivist, in these two situations would be very different indeed, and only in situation #2 *might* I bring up my theory of consciousness. The fact that how I react in these two situation, and how I construe them coming into them, is rooted in dasein seems, I would think, irrelevant.

iambiguous wrote:But what is of interest to me is exploring why, if it is the last thing that you would do, why/how it has any substantial/substantive relevance at all. Are you asking what utility I see in it? I see it as a potential solution to the mind/body problem (to be contested with physicalism). I see its utility as strictly philosophical. And what of those who argue that smoking marijuana is something that should not be illegal in the first place. What about them? I don't know if I agree with them either. That's the part where almost all of the conversations revolve. And that's the part where the components of my own philosophy [moral nihilism, ironism] pertain.


But I don't think everything we believe necessarily serves some substantial purpose towards solving prong #2 dilemmas--at least not directly. Your whole approach will, when people are cooperative, lead you to other people's beliefs and values (objectivists or otherwise) but you shouldn't expect that what you find there will be obviously useful towards resolving prong #2 dilemmas. Most of the time, what you'll find is just the answers to your inquiries--you probe, they deliver; it's not fair to follow that up with: but how is that relevant to prong #2? They are merely answering your questions.

iambiguous wrote:I really do appreciate your attempts to communicate this to me. But try as I might I am still unable to grasp how this might be applicable to the parts of philosophy that most interest me. Don't try too hard--maybe it just isn't applicable. Though, admittedly, that may be more reflective of my own failure to comprehend what you have in fact succeeded in communicating to others. I am always intrigued more by the relationship/gap between that which we either can or cannot be honest about. Between the more or less rock-solid objective world of either/or and the far more subjective, interpersonal speculations that [to me] are built right into the world of is/ought.


Hmm... I find it interest how you say that we cannot be honest about the subjective world of is/ought. But in any case, I'm beginning to think that the approach I'm proposing to dealing with prong #2 situations (not solving, but dealing with)--i.e. the alternative to the "traditional objectivist approach"--is not useful to you if you say that it is not "applicable to the parts of philosophy that most interest" you. What I'm trying to propose is an approach (to dealing with prong #2 situations), which is based on a philosophy, but is not philosophy itself (although you could make it into philosophy quite easily, but not necessarily the area of philosophy you're interested in).

In a manner of speaking, what I've been trying to convey is that my own philosophy--subjectivism--has lead me to a certain psychology--a certain mode of conducting myself in life and the world that comes with a slightly different view on human psychology, including myself--and this has evolved into a practice--one that is applicable to prong #2. The problem is--it only starts with philosophy (my subjectivism), but beyond that, to really reap the benefits of it, you have to put it into practice... thus the best approach to tackling prong #2 situations (the one that works for me, at least) is not to be found merely on the level of philosophy.

You might think of it in the same vein as any philosophy might lead to a certain practice--like Pythagoreanism leading to mathematics, or Francis Bacon and Newton leading to science, or St. Augustine leading to Christianity--only mine leads one to practice eximining one's own mind and applying the principles he learns from that to others.

iambiguous wrote:Yes, the parts that are intertwined in dasein and conflicting goods. And it is the objectivists here -- turd and uccisore and fixed cross leap to mind -- <-- Well, one of them at least, for sure. who basically argue that this is not the case at all. They insist that if you think like they do about right and wrong then you are able to transcend this and discover/invent the most rational and virtuous narrative of all: their own.


Yes, I do think they confound the two--the ability to attain ultimate objective truth and that their personal beliefs are the truth.

iambiguous wrote:But: the closer they come to my own frame of mind the more they recognize it as a threat. So they put me on ignore, or refuse to discuss it or leave the forum altogether in order to avoid it. They simply have too much to lose if my point of view is seen by them to be more reasonable than their own. And I know exactly what this entails because I exhibited the same fierce resistance to nihilism myself when my own objectivist frame of mind was threatened.


I'm sure the animosity that typically arises in heated discussions has a lot to do with it as well. Disagreements between points of view often begin because you don't want to just abandon our own points of view at the drop of a hat for that being proposed by another. We arrive at our points of view as a matter of adaptation (to our environment, to our social network, to our lifestyles, etc.), so when another comes along and attempts to drive it out to make room in our minds for their own, our brains detect this as a threat--like a virus being downloaded onto a computer, even if that virus was a functional program for the computer from which it came. The initial reaction is to disagree, and when the disagreement continuously fails, aggression comes next. <-- At this point, however, the threat becomes more the person than the point of view. And when aggression fails, violence and war, and then the threat is more about death and bodily harm--simply ignoring the argument or walking away notwithstanding.

iambiguous wrote:Yes, that's the part in my narrative that revolves around choosing democracy and the rule of law over might makes right and right makes might. The part that revolves around moderation, negotiation and compromise.

But unlike others who embrace this in "the best of all possible worlds" I am still plagued by this:

If I am always of the opinion that 1] my own values are rooted in dasein and 2] that there are no objective values "I" can reach, then every time I make one particular moral/political leap, I am admitting that I might have gone in the other direction...or that I might just as well have gone in the other direction. Then "I" begins to fracture and fragment to the point there is nothing able to actually keep it all together. At least not with respect to choosing sides morally and politically.

And it is this that others [even the democracy advocates] are unable to grasp in the manner in which I do. It is just too pessimistic -- even catastrophic -- to think like this about your own value judgments.

Whereas your own frame of mind [here and now] seems more in sync with this:

gib wrote:This *might* result in me submitting to the other person's point of view (but at least I would be somewhat, kind of, in agreement with them at that point) but it can also supply me with plenty of cognitive/mental material with which to try to persuade (in an amicable, diplomatic manner) the other towards my point of view, or at least a peaceful settlement. The point is: with more understanding of how the world looks from the other person's perspective, the more easily one can deal with that person.


This to me however revolves around attaining and than sustaining a political consensus. And I recognize it in turn as part and parcel of that "best of all possible worlds." But [for me] there it is: that gnawing dilemma.


Yes, it isn't the ideal solution, just the "best" we can come up with (at least, insofar as the goal is to avoid violence and war, as opposed to finding the objective moral truth). Even in the best of all possible worlds, this approach won't always make everyone happy--for example, when fighting over scarce resources: we can negotiate and decide that we each get half the resources--but those resources are still scarce, and they will eventually run out--which means we are still worse off than we would be in a scenario in which either of us fought the other and won.

iambiguous wrote:We perceive the world around us in a particular way embedded in a particular historical and cultural context. And from within the parameters of a particular set of personal experiences. How then are the individual variables out in this particular world -- thousands upon thousands of them that ever evolve over time and across space -- anchored to what any particular philosopher or a scientist or theologian calls "reality". Trying to untangle deduction from induction would seem to be as problematic [to me] as trying to untangle nature from nurture in exploring and explaining the behaviors that we choose. For me, there are no "smooth transitions" that a particular "consciousness" can make here. There are only existential leaps of faith to one point of view [here and now] rather than another. It's less a question of "monism" or "dualism" [for me] than of being overwhelmed by any attempts to make distinctions of this sort at all.


You're right, it's probably a mix of both for all of us (but I doubt each one of us is exactly midway between the two extremes). Nevertheless, as algorithms, they are like night and day, and with algorithms, it makes no sense to talk about one that is "midway" between two alternatives. They can be both used at the same time, and I believe the brain does this, but they are most likely determined by two different neural sub-systems in the brain; what this means is that, like with any neural sub-system in the brain, one will usually be used or will be more efficient than others. I had the impression earlier in this thread that you relied on getting concrete examples from others in order to understand the main gist of their point of view, which would indicate an inductive way of thinking; I just thought maybe you were more of an inductive thinker than a deductive one (though, like with most people, you probably use a mix of both).

iambiguous wrote:And in choosing objectivism as The Answer this allows the objectivists to make all of that go away. It comforts and consoles them psychologically to imagine that there is an answer. And, as luck would have it, it's their answer!

I agree that, in a strictly logical sense, it's possible that the human brain is wired with the capacity to figure out the objective truth, but it's almost as if, with the objectivist, they think that the only reason they know this is because their brains have done it themselves (and fortuitously turned out to discover their truth).

It's like the Man In Black character played by Ed Harris in Westworld. He is ever intent at getting to the bottom of this one particular reality. If he can figure out what is really going on there he will finally have solved...

...solved what exactly?

Will he have finally discovered the particular "ism" that motivated Robert Ford to create this world? And suppose he does? How would that not too be embedded in dasein, conflicting goods and political economy?


Will have to watch that movie.

iambiguous wrote:Yes, that makes sense. But I always come back to the extent which it is even possible to achieve a level of consciousness that makes my dilemma go away. But you do understand, don't you, that this was just my answer to your question? It wasn't intended to make your dilemma go away. For the moral and political objectivist, the whole point here [if largely subconsciously] is to avoid my dilemma at all cost. Subjunctively, they need to believe less that they are right than that right and wrong itself exists. That's the part where I become particularly threatening.

Unless of course I'm wrong. And though many mock me for tacking that onto particular post of mine, they fail to grasp the extent to which that is in fact part and parcel of the dilemma that "I" am entangled here pertaining to the world of is/ought. The prong #2 world.


Right. It would be nice to be able to say: I know I'm right.

iambiguous wrote:Actually, I am utterly perplexed regarding how the conscious human mind can grapple with this at all.

It would seem that the only way to comprehend it is to conclude that we interact in a wholly determined world where even explanations themselves are only as they ever could have been.

Insofar as "explanation" means: understanding why such-and-such is necessarily so, I agree. And yes, this would apply to those very explanations (or rather inventing them).

Again, that way "metaphysics" would seem to revolve more around 1] why something and not nothing and 2] why this something and not another something instead.

Yes, insofar as metaphysics is a quest for all underlying necessities.

But what on earth does that/can that/will that ever mean?!!

To, for example, mere mortals.


Insofar as we objectify all such metaphysical explanations (i.e. think of it in 3rd person), it will always be rendered, in the final analysis, as contingent, not necessarily. Objectified explanations can easily serve to explain why some phenomenon is necessary, but not without introducing an infinite regress: why is that explanation necessary? It's like passing on the mystery of a phenomenon that at first appears to be contingent--like why do rocks exist--onto an explanation that at least functions to explain the original phenomenon as necessary but, in turn, needs another explanation to account for it--like the atomic structure of the rock, which would entail the necessity of the rock's existence along with all its particular properties, itself requiring an explanation: why do atoms exist? Why do sub-atomic particles exist?

This is an essential character of 3rd person accounts, of objectification--objects are contingent, not necessary--so long as phenomena are explained in terms of smaller, more fundamental phenomena (smaller, more fundamental objects), the contingency is only pushed further down the line.

This is why I say that necessity is to be found in subjectivity--it's the only reason the ancient Greeks discovered the utility of logic in thought--necessity is to be found in mind, not matter--which is why I believe that consciousness is the basis for everything.

iambiguous wrote:My point is that the objectivists here have figured out a way to trick themselves into believing that my dilemma is something that I have tricked myself into believing in order to avoid admitting that their own support for Trump or Clinton reflects the obligation of all rational and virtuous men and women.

We all have our particular reasons for believing what we believe--sometimes tricking ourselves, sometimes simply reporting what we experience (usually the latter involves the empirical and factual)--but I doubt anyone has any self-evident obligation to support Trump or Clinton. <-- In that respect, any support one conjures up for any politician is a form of self-trickery.

On your own thread above we clearly see this objectivist frame of mind in action. And [I speculate] it is precisely the fact that I threaten it that uccisore and his ilk avoid at all cost the sort of discussion the we are having here.

Again, they have so much to lose if they abandon their own particular ideological font. "I" is the last thing they wish to confront. At best they can argue [as you point out] that not all subjective realities are equal. Yes, "reality transitions" are possible because there is a collection of objective facts that can be attached to any number of conflicting political prejudices.


Right, and in my books, "objective facts" are simply ideas that tend to pull one in a particular direction, very rarely allowing one to return. For example, if you believe the world is flat, and then someone shows you the objective facts that prove to you the world is round, it's very hard to go back.

iamboguous wrote:From my perspective however this becomes the "heart of the matter" only to the extent that "in your head" you have come to believe that it is. Well, as the wise Dumbledore once said: Of course this is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on Earth should that mean that it is not real? But there does not appear to be a way in which you are able to demonstrate that other "consciousnesses" ought to think that way too. It is not my intention to. For me this is more of what I call an "intellectual contraption" in which the analysis is true only to the extent that tautologically the premises/assumptions are true.

It's not even that. I take a giant inductive leap in my theory: I take the principles of mind that I abstract from my own introspective experiences and apply those to the rest of matter in the universe.

But how to actually show that they are? How does one get past "theory" here?

Well, as I said, the principles of mind I abstract from my own introspective experiences show me that those principles hold for any subjective experience I am capable of having. It's not quite the same verifiable demonstration one can perform in science--for example, showing others the reading on a barometer--but I'm fairly convinced that if I report to others that my experience of pain is quite unpleasant, they will find the same description applies just as well to their experiences.

The three main principles I draw from my own experiences (the three starting premises you might say) that I believe can be generalized to all experience (<-- that's the inductive leap) are: 1) they are all defined by a unique quality, 3) they all project as a reality (they have being), and 3) they are all meaningful (or carry information). In my book, I attempt to persuade the reader of the truth of these three principles, counting on his or her own familiar acquaintance with his/her own experiences. That's how I (at least try) to get past theory and show that it's real (the inductive leap still acting as a barrier there).


And it would seem the most important factor here is the extent to which a "universal consciousness" is able to be anchored to an actual teleology rather then to the brute facticity of an essentially absurd and meaningless world.

Well, teleology entails purpose or intention. <-- That, to me, is too anthropomorphic to attribute to consciousness in general. Human beings certainly have purposes/intentions, and probably most animals do too, but I'm skeptical that it is a fundamental feature of all consciousness. Meaning, however, I believe to be fundamental (it is the third principle of mind I outlined above).

Again though: Whatever that means.

In other words, what, "for all practical purposes" or "theoretically", does it mean to speak of "the experience of the universe as a whole". Other than the way in which any one particular individual fits all the pieces of a "reality" together "in his head". Similarly pertaining to the speculations that revolve around "the mind of God".

I don't profess to know the answer to this except to say it is an experience that is 1) qualitative, 2) real, and 3) meaningful. Beyond that, it is most likely incomprehensible to human beings.

Again, I see your analysis here as [psychologically] an attempt to come up with something [anything] that acts as a foundation onto which you can anchor "I".

Hmm... well, you bring me back to my early days when I was first experimenting with psychedelic drugs. My theory was something I came up with over the years to make sense out of my very confused and, frankly, quite delusional way of thinking that the drugs induced. <-- That coupled with it being my 2nd year as a psych undergraduate first learning about the brain--and voila! I experienced it more as trying to sort out a cognitive mess, but it is true that once I had put something together, I thought it was worthy of being placed among the pantheon of other theories of consciousness, which I guess made me feel important (i.e. gave value to the 'I'). <-- These days, I still feel like it is worthy of consideration as a plausible theory of consciousness (which is why I said earlier that the utility I find in the theory is purely philosophical), and I suppose like an artist or an engineer, I take pride in my creations and feel it is something worth "showing off".

But I don't mean this as a criticism. Why? Because in my own way I am doing the same thing. I just come to different conclusions here and now.


Yes, we all are.

iambiguous wrote:Then it all comes down to being or not being entangled in my dilemma. Yes, my God makes no practical difference to the way atheists think the world works. And in that respect all I can do is to explore the subjective narratives of those who argue that they are not entangled in it. While at the same time being entangled in a frame of mind that [here and now] cannot even imagine how [in a world sans God as I understand it] one cannot be.

Well, note that I never said I wasn't entangled in prong #2--just that I'm not as bothered by it as you seem to be.

I really don't understand how one cannot be a moral nihilist. But I also understand that far, far more aren't than are. So, one of the possibilities of course is that my thinking is flawed.


It may not be a matter of flawed thinking so much as not understanding certain other perspectives according to which there can be a morality. It's like the glass is half-full/half-empty distinction--it's not like one is right and the other is wrong (in fact they're both right)--except where the two perspectives are far more complex, therefore meaning that making the switch from one to the other is far more difficult if you're used to one and have relatively little experience with the other.

iambiguous wrote:I don't argue that human interaction is meaningless, only that there does not appear to be an essential, objective meaning that intertwines 1] before I was born 2] my conscious existence now and 3] after I die into a single teleological truth.


Yep, and this is what I contest. I say it is all meaningful (given my beliefs of universal consciousness and principle #3 about meaning)--before, during, and after your short existence on this Earth.

iambiguous wrote:But this would seem to be the case only in a context in which you die and the rest is oblivion. If that is not the case [and this is clearly assumed by millions] then the Whole Truth to you is revealed in "paradise".

This is only the case according to Western religion. I do believe in a sort of "afterlife" but it is not necessarily "paradise" and it's certainly not a state in which the "Whole Truth" is revealed to you. For one thing, I believe we lose our individuality after we die--there will be no more iambiguous or gib--but simply a continuation of experience. Secondly, though this continuation of experience will certainly feature the "beholding" (for lack of a better word) of different qualities of experience (which were previously incomprehensible to us), it's a distortion at best to call it "comprehending" the "Truth" (<-- comprehension of "truth" in my view is specifically a cognitive ability, which is particular to living brains).

Besides, my point that a meaningful, but incomprehensible, universe would be indistinguishable from a meaningless universe was based on the point of view of human beings living out their short lives.


That is why in my view objectivists of uccisore's ilk are intent on linking the part about before we die to the part about after. They assume that only if one thinks and feels and behaves as they do is there a chance to pass muster on Judgment Day.

Quite possibly; the Western obsession with Truth is a remnant of the Christian imperative to know the truth (you'd better, otherwise...).

Thus for folks of his ilk, Trump's political agenda is the more "Christian" of the two. And then if you point out that Donald Trump's actual life could not possibly be further removed from the life of Jesus Christ, he will come up with a rationalization to "prove" that you are wrong.


Does he have to? It wouldn't surprise me, but it is a sign of feeling threatened when, in philosophical debates, one opts to object with one's contender over things that they don't need to. For example, I know many Christians who don't feel it is our place to even try to be more Christ-like. They feel that this is precisely what the ransom was for: as humans, we are imperfect, we faulter, and sin--it is within our nature as finite beings--so while there is a moral obligation on each of our shoulders to try to do some good in this world, it is limited to whatever extent is reasonable for human beings, and the rest can be "compensated" by the ransom--that is, by asking for forgiveness from Christ. But if you challenge certain people on the point that one, or someone they look up to, is not acting very Christ-like, and they feel threatened by this challenge, they will go to such lengths to try and prove that they or the one they look up to is acting Christ-like.

Now, I don't know if this is Ucci, or any of the other objectivists on this board, but there is certainly the type (I knew one personally in university).
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby iambiguous » Sun Dec 11, 2016 10:46 pm

gib wrote:
iambiguous wrote:From my frame of mind it is the fundamental question for all philosophers, scientists and theologians: do we have any capacity to freely choose what we think and feel and do?

If all that they do [that we do] is only as it ever could have been, what on earth can that possibly mean?

For example: for all practical purposes.


I don't know about freedom (that's a whole other ball of wax and is highly dependent on how you define "freedom"), but I would just point out that even if we live in a deterministic universe, that doesn't mean our thoughts and our positions on things is inescapably irrational or meaningless (as in, we would think that way anyway, even if it was irrational and meaningless)--in fact, I would argue quite the opposite: that we come to the conclusions we do because of the rationality we see in them--and this is why it could not be any other way.


Admittedly, in a determined universe, I have never really been able to wrap my head around "compatibilism". Assuming of course I am correctly understanding what it means.

I always come back to this: that the manner in which I understand it now is nothing other than the only manner in which I ever could have understood it.

In other words, given the manner in which I have come to understand the meaning of determinism.

Same with freedom. In a wholly determined universe, how would the definition/meaning that one gives to it be anything other than the only definition/meaning that one ever could have given to it? I just get "stuck" here all the time.

To speak of "rationality" here seems, well, problematic. It all comes back to the mystery of mind. To mindful matter.

Bottom line: We will all go to the grave thinking one way or another about it. But it does not appear possible to demonstrate that how we think about it now is how all rational men and women are obligated to think about it. And if death does equal oblivion the extent to which any particular human rendition of "reality" equals rationality seems equally moot.

In other words, while some may take a measure of psychological comfort in believing that...

gib wrote: ...the apparent rationality of our thoughts is why our brains are determined to act as they do--it is why things can't be any other way.


...it does almost nothing to comfort me. And if I do believe that "in my head" "here and now" my reaction is only as it ever could have been, well, for all practical purposes, what does that actually mean?

And that [of course] is before we get to the second prong. In a world of conflicting goods embodied subjectively in dasein, what does it mean to speak of "rationality" here?

iambiguous wrote:Okay, there are the signifiers -- words, signs -- and there are the things so signified. But if this relationship is autonomic how is that really any different [metaphysically or otherwise] from the mechanical relationship between the components of, say, an automobile engine?


gib wrote: Well, first of all, I take the signifier/signified relationship to be, for one example, like the relationship between an object of sensation and a thought or concept of that object. Such a relationship is different from the components of an automobile engine because the latter are based on contingency (in the Kantian sense) whereas the former are based on necessity (<-- again, not in the formal sense of logical necessity, but rather some form of beholding "why it is so").


From my frame of mind, it all comes down to matter interacting -- interacting necessarily -- in the only possible manner in which it can interact with other matter given the laws of matter. The matter in the mind and the matter in the engine are just different configurations of matter itself. That's always the part I can't get beyond.

Mind is matter able to invent the matter we call an "engine" but that does not make it any less matter in sync with that which matter must be: ever in accordance with it's own laws.

Therefore: who/what made the matter we call "mind". And for any possible reason and/or purpose?

You speculate that...

gib wrote: The brain is an organ just like any other organ--but in my view, it is a mistaken to think that the scientific laws that determine how the brain functions also determine how we think--rather, it is the other way around (AFAIC)--what we think determines the way the brain functions.


Well, this sounds a lot [to me] like the ghost in the machine. And how on earth would we then translate that into a context in which one mind argues for the "natural right" of the unborn to live while another mind argues for the "political right" of women to kill it?

I'll be the first to admit though that the manner in which I think about this might be flawed. But then what does it really mean to articulate flawed thinking in a world that is wholly determined? What [realistically] does it mean to speak of something as inevitably flawed?


gib wrote: It just means that you've got other experiences swimming through your mind besides just unadulterated logic. We're not all Spock. In the whole flux of thinking, there exists other kinds of experiences: emotion, desires, alterior motives, unconscious processes, and these all have an impact on how our minds, taken as a whole, unfold.


My visceral reaction: So what? All of this is no less intertwined in the fact that the brain is matter and that matter obeys a set of laws. The mystery then shifts to the origin of these laws. God, for example?

And why this set of laws and not another? Or, given the gap between what science knows now and all that would need to be known -- re QM, dark matter, dark energy, time and space, before the Big Bang etc -- how close are any of us "here and now" to grasping all this?

iambiguous wrote:There is angst as a philosophical problem and there is the actual existential angst embodied in someone that you care about. Sure, for all practical purposes, you do what you can. But [for me] the part about dasein and conflicting goods [embedded in my dilemma] is no less debilitating if, for example, the angst my friend is feeling revolves around a particular existential context like an unwanted pregnancy.

The irony here being that it was my experience with Mary and John that triggered the angst that I feel now with regard to dasein and conflicting value judgments. Always [for me] it goes back to prong #2.


gib wrote: So does this mean when you sympathize with others over their angst, like you do with Mary and John, you also question (philosophically) whether, as a rational human being, you ought to sympathize? Perhaps as a way of finding reason to be detached? Detachment, if taken to extremes, *might* be a way out of the prong #2 dilemma. <-- It's the whole reason Buddhist monks live in monasteries.


It means that I can well imagine others grasping the same situation and reacting very differently. The objectivists on the other hand will try to tell you that there are reactions here that are more or less reasonable, more or less virtuous. And yet [of course] this is all measured using their own definitions and meanings. Their own "analysis". Their own assumptions and premises.

I am "detached" only in the sense that I am not able to confidantly attach my sympathies here. I recognize the extent to which my reaction is largely an existential contraption. And it is this reaction itself that so disturbs the objectivists. It begins to dawn on them that this might well be applicable to them too.

And then, as with me, their own "I" here begins to crumble.

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote:It depends on the character of the particular prong #2 situation.


But [for me] how the character of any particular context is construed is embodied in a subjective point of view embedded in dasein and conflicting goods. At least in situations where the manner in which two individuals characterize it come into conflict.


gib wrote: I'm not sure I follow. Are [you] saying that the character of the particular prong #2 situation is dependent on how the one entering into it construes that character? Well, sure! Of course! But we're talking about me, aren't we? What would I do, as a subjectivist, entering into a particular prong #2 situation? I can just tell you how I construe it. I can even give you some background experiences if you like. And I did give you two example situations: 1) being pulled over by the cops for smoking dope, and 2) getting into a heated discussion with an anti-drug group on the internet. <-- My reactions, as a subjectivist, in these two situations would be very different indeed, and only in situation #2 *might* I bring up my theory of consciousness. The fact that how I react in these two situation, and how I construe them coming into them, is rooted in dasein seems, I would think, irrelevant.


Then we clearly have a "failure to communicate". There are the objective facts that can be ascertained regarding both contexts. And then there are the subjective/subjunctive reactions to the facts that precipitate conflicting moral/political agendas. Which precipitate behaviors that in turn come into conflict that precipitate actual consequences.

If philosophers were able to concoct an "analysis/argument" enabling both parties to concur on the optimal reaction, one party may still react to the contrary, but at least it could be demonstrated/shown that this reaction was [from the perspective of rational human beings] the wrong one. Or at least not the optimal one.

iambiguous wrote:And what of those who argue that smoking marijuana is something that should not be illegal in the first place.
gib wrote: What about them? I don't know if I agree with them either.


My point though is still the same here:

Whether you do agree with them or not is [from my point of view] no less an existential contraption rooted in dasein. Both sides make reasonable arguments: conflicting goods rooted in a conflicting set of premises.

And there does not appear to be an argument available that would enable us to grasp the "right answer". And the extent to which you [and others] don't think like this is the extent to which, unlike me, you [and others] are not entangled in this:

If I am always of the opinion that 1] my own values are rooted in dasein and 2] that there are no objective values "I" can reach, then every time I make one particular moral/political leap, I am admitting that I might have gone in the other direction...or that I might just as well have gone in the other direction. Then "I" begins to fracture and fragment to the point there is nothing able to actually keep it all together. At least not with respect to choosing sides morally and politically.

That's the part where almost all of the conversations revolve. And that's the part where the components of my own philosophy [moral nihilism, ironism] pertain.


gib wrote: But I don't think everything we believe necessarily serves some substantial purpose towards solving prong #2 dilemmas--at least not directly.


Well, that's my point: suggesting the things philosophers think that may well be [for all practical purposes] impotent regarding the world of conflicting value judgments.

gib wrote: Your whole approach will, when people are cooperative, lead you to other people's beliefs and values (objectivists or otherwise) but you shouldn't expect that what you find there will be obviously useful towards resolving prong #2 dilemmas. Most of the time, what you'll find is just the answers to your inquiries--you probe, they deliver; it's not fair to follow that up with: but how is that relevant to prong #2? They are merely answering your questions.


My reaction here is always the same though: to what extent are the answers that you give able to be demonstrated as applicable to all rational men and women; or, instead, reflect only that which you claim to know or claim believe "in your head".

gib wrote: I find it interest how you say that we cannot be honest about the subjective world of is/ought.


That's not really what I am arguing. Objectivists on both sides of the abortion wars are being honest when they argue for their own political prejudice. But they refuse to accept that their narrative/agenda is just a subjective/subjunctive prejudice rooted in dasein and conflicting goods. So my point revolves around the extent to which philosophers are able to establish where the truth lies. That way one side can still honestly argue for their own narrative but we are able to demonstrate that their honesty comes to naught in that it is not in sync with what is rational.

gib wrote: But in any case, I'm beginning to think that the approach I'm proposing to dealing with prong #2 situations (not solving, but dealing with)--i.e. the alternative to the "traditional objectivist approach"--is not useful to you if you say that it is not "applicable to the parts of philosophy that most interest" you. What I'm trying to propose is an approach (to dealing with prong #2 situations), which is based on a philosophy, but is not philosophy itself (although you could make it into philosophy quite easily, but not necessarily the area of philosophy you're interested in).


On the contrary, that's all it is to me: useful. It seems to reflect the necessity to establish a political concensus in any given community. But many who do embrace democracy as the best of all possible worlds still believe that in "moderating their views and in negotiating and compromising" with those on the other side, they are still on the side of God or on the side of Reason or on the side of Nature.

Here and now, however, that is not an option for me. Your "I" still seems considerably less fractured and fragmented than my "I" here.

The "I" in other words that the objectivists are most disturbed by.

iambiguous wrote:Yes, the parts that are intertwined in dasein and conflicting goods. And it is the objectivists here -- turd and uccisore and fixed cross leap to mind -- who basically argue that this is not the case at all. They insist that if you think like they do about right and wrong then you are able to transcend this and discover/invent the most rational and virtuous narrative of all: their own.


gib wrote: Yes, I do think they confound the two--the ability to attain ultimate objective truth and that their personal beliefs are the truth.


Here for example: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=191970

Classic objectivism. Both react to the Trump victory as they do because each is convinced that Trump comes closest to embodying their own political prejudices.

Only they are not seen as prejudices at all are they? Their own moral and political [and religious] values are construed instead as reflective of the whole, objective truth. Trump won because in a rational world he ought to have won.

But neither one of them will discuss this with me. Turd has me on ignore, and every time I broach my own narrative with Uccisore he merely scoffs and immediately falls back on defending his own ideological/objectivist agenda.

Again, both simply have too much to lose to go about this discussion as you and I are.

gib wrote:This *might* result in me submitting to the other person's point of view (but at least I would be somewhat, kind of, in agreement with them at that point) but it can also supply me with plenty of cognitive/mental material with which to try to persuade (in an amicable, diplomatic manner) the other towards my point of view, or at least a peaceful settlement. The point is: with more understanding of how the world looks from the other person's perspective, the more easily one can deal with that person.


This to me however revolves around attaining and than sustaining a political consensus. And I recognize it in turn as part and parcel of that "best of all possible worlds." But [for me] there it is: that gnawing dilemma.


gib wrote: Yes, it isn't the ideal solution, just the "best" we can come up with (at least, insofar as the goal is to avoid violence and war, as opposed to finding the objective moral truth). Even in the best of all possible worlds, this approach won't always make everyone happy--for example, when fighting over scarce resources: we can negotiate and decide that we each get half the resources--but those resources are still scarce, and they will eventually run out--which means we are still worse off than we would be in a scenario in which either of us fought the other and won.


Here though I interpret human interaction as revolving by and large around the arguments that folks like Marx and Engels made. Or as Bob Dylan once suggested:

Democracy don't rule the world/You better get that through your head/This world is ruled by violence/But I guess that's better left unsaid

That's the part where political economy comes into play. And that's the part that political idealists avoid like the plague. Why? Because that's the part about as far removed from "up in the clouds" as it gets. Well, not counting those academic Marxists who insist on taking it all back up there anyway.

iambiguous wrote:And in choosing objectivism as The Answer this allows the objectivists to make all of that go away. It comforts and consoles them psychologically to imagine that there is an answer. And, as luck would have it, it's their answer!


gib wrote: I agree that, in a strictly logical sense, it's possible that the human brain is wired with the capacity to figure out the objective truth, but it's almost as if, with the objectivist, they think that the only reason they know this is because their brains have done it themselves (and fortuitously turned out to discover their truth).


We don't really know what [ultimately] the human brain is wired to figure out. We know only that it is clearly wired to connect the dots between "in my head" and "out in the world". And [to me] the objectivist mind here is rooted more in the mystery embedded in our subjunctive reactions to the world around us. And how, in turn, that is intertwined in those parts of the brain that are considerably more "primitive".

In other words, the part where philosophy gives way to human psychology gives way to the naked ape gives way to the very first instances of "mindful matter".

gib wrote: This is an essential character of 3rd person accounts, of objectification--objects are contingent, not necessary--so long as phenomena are explained in terms of smaller, more fundamental phenomena (smaller, more fundamental objects), the contingency is only pushed further down the line.

This is why I say that necessity is to be found in subjectivity--it's the only reason the ancient Greeks discovered the utility of logic in thought--necessity is to be found in mind, not matter--which is why I believe that consciousness is the basis for everything.


When it comes down to the deepest mysteries embedded in Existence Itself, how could we ever really know where contingency ends and necessity begins? Think about it: The human mind down to rocks down to atoms down to quantum interactions down to....God?

Or down to whatever brought into existence Existence Itself?!

Sure, it's fascinating to speculate about this. But [I suspect] no less futile.

iambiguous wrote:My point is that the objectivists here have figured out a way to trick themselves into believing that my dilemma is something that I have tricked myself into believing in order to avoid admitting that their own support for Trump or Clinton reflects the obligation of all rational and virtuous men and women.


gib wrote: We all have our particular reasons for believing what we believe--sometimes tricking ourselves, sometimes simply reporting what we experience (usually the latter involves the empirical and factual)--but I doubt anyone has any self-evident obligation to support Trump or Clinton. <-- In that respect, any support one conjures up for any politician is a form of self-trickery.[/color]


All I ask of folks here like Kropotkin and Uccisore is that they probe the extent to which the components of my own argument may well be relevant to them. But they won't go there. Though I have my own suspicions as to why.

On your own thread above we clearly see this objectivist frame of mind in action. And [I speculate] it is precisely the fact that I threaten it that uccisore and his ilk avoid at all cost the sort of discussion the we are having here.

Again, they have so much to lose if they abandon their own particular ideological font. "I" is the last thing they wish to confront. At best they can argue [as you point out] that not all subjective realities are equal. Yes, "reality transitions" are possible because there is a collection of objective facts that can be attached to any number of conflicting political prejudices.


gib wrote: Right, and in my books, "objective facts" are simply ideas that tend to pull one in a particular direction, very rarely allowing one to return. For example, if you believe the world is flat, and then someone shows you the objective facts that prove to you the world is round, it's very hard to go back.


Which just takes me back to that crucial, fundamental distinction I make between the world of either/or [the Earth is either round or flat] and the world of is/ought [how should Earthlings live their lives socially, politically, economically].

With the latter, however, what arguments/evidence can be accumulated such that one side or the other finds it "very hard to go back"?

I really don't understand how one cannot be a moral nihilist. But I also understand that far, far more aren't than are. So, one of the possibilities of course is that my thinking is flawed.


gib wrote: It may not be a matter of flawed thinking so much as not understanding certain other perspectives according to which there can be a morality. It's like the glass is half-full/half-empty distinction--it's not like one is right and the other is wrong (in fact they're both right)--except where the two perspectives are far more complex, therefore meaning that making the switch from one to the other is far more difficult if you're used to one and have relatively little experience with the other.


In any event, all I can do is to explore "frames of mind" that think about these relationships -- these existential relationships -- differently than I do. And they will either nudge me in a different direction or they won't.

And, as I often point out to folks like Phyllo, "for all practical purposes" they have me pinned to the mat. Why? Well, not only are they able to talk/think themselves into believing that they have chosen the right behaviors on this side of the grave, but, for some, they are able to connect the dots between virtue on this side of the grave and immortality and salvation on the other side of it.

None of that is within my reach. At least not "here and now".

iambiguous wrote:I don't argue that human interaction is meaningless, only that there does not appear to be an essential, objective meaning that intertwines 1] before I was born 2] my conscious existence now and 3] after I die into a single teleological truth.


gib wrote: Yep, and this is what I contest. I say it is all meaningful (given my beliefs of universal consciousness and principle #3 about meaning)--before, during, and after your short existence on this Earth.


And yet from my perspective this is but one more example of a particular man able to "talk/think himself into believing" something that "in his head" comforts and consoles him. I just don't see any actual substantive evidence that this is "in fact" true.

You "do believe in a sort of 'afterlife'". But, well, what exactly does that mean? It doesn't seem to convey anything that I am really able to sink my teeth into.

For all practical purposes in other words.

That you are able to believe it though seems to be the point. Or, rather, that's my point. But this is not a criticism. It is in fact an open admission that while you are able to believe it, I am not. Me, I'm still tangled up in my dilemma and staring down into the abyss that is oblivion.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby gib » Sun Dec 18, 2016 9:18 am

iambiguous wrote:Admittedly, in a determined universe, I have never really been able to wrap my head around "compatibilism". Assuming of course I am correctly understanding what it means.

You're not alone. Compatiblism is a compromise--you won't ever get compatibilists to admit this, but it's a concession that there really is no such thing as free will--not as traditionally defined--but the compatibilist will redefine free will to mean, essentially, getting what you want (or intend). They define "freedom" to mean the state in which having a desire or an intention results (deterministically) in that desire or intention being fulfilled. They define the lack of freedom as those occasion during which our desires or intentions are thwarted by extraneous deterministic forces. In other words, being "free" means that our desires/intentions aren't thwarted, and being "unfree" means that they are thwarted.

I always come back to this: that the manner in which I understand it now is nothing other than the only manner in which I ever could have understood it.

Well, sure! (given a deterministic universe).

In other words, given the manner in which I have come to understand the meaning of determinism.

Same with freedom. In a wholly determined universe, how would the definition/meaning that one gives to it be anything other than the only definition/meaning that one ever could have given to it? I just get "stuck" here all the time.

Why? Is it the same problem as before? That beyond this point, there doesn't seem to be a way to verify the validity of such definitions/meanings? That they would seem rational and sensical even if, in reality, they weren't?

To speak of "rationality" here seems, well, problematic. It all comes back to the mystery of mind. To mindful matter.

Bottom line: We will all go to the grave thinking one way or another about it. But it does not appear possible to demonstrate that how we think about it now is how all rational men and women are obligated to think about it. And if death does equal oblivion the extent to which any particular human rendition of "reality" equals rationality seems equally moot.


Well, this for me comes back to the question of: can we verify the rationality/validity of our thought processes? And I think we can; it's just that it only gets verified in the moment of thinking them (in fact, their verification is what drives the thought process). For example, a man tries to figure out how many eggs he has. He says: well, I have two eggs in my left hand and I have two more eggs in my right hand, so all together I seem to have four eggs. The only way he is able to come to that conclusion is if he sees the rationality in the mental calculation of 2 + 2 = 4, but that rationality and its verification only comes in the midst of thinking it. After thinking it, however, he is able to "black box" it, so to speak--that is, he is able to objectify the concept "2 + 2 = 4"--treat it as a "block", as it were, and use it as a starting point in some other line of contemplation (ex. what if 2 + 2 only seems to equal 4 but really it equals 5?). He is able to contemplate this only because the objectification of these concepts (which is another way of saying: forming second-order thoughts about first-order concepts) strips them of their inherent necessity (that which we saw in the midst of working through the concept, forming it) and replaces it with contingency. Thus, it becomes conceivable that *maybe*, in some way one doesn't quite understand, 2 plus 2 really does equal 5.

iambiguous wrote:In other words, while some may take a measure of psychological comfort in believing that...

gib wrote:...the apparent rationality of our thoughts is why our brains are determined to act as they do--it is why things can't be any other way.


...it does almost nothing to comfort me. And if I do believe that "in my head" "here and now" my reaction is only as it ever could have been, well, for all practical purposes, what does that actually mean?

You mean, what are you to conclude from this? Or: what makes the world deterministic?

And that [of course] is before we get to the second prong. In a world of conflicting goods embodied subjectively in dasein, what does it mean to speak of "rationality" here?


Yes, that's a whole other beast.

iambiguous wrote:From my frame of mind, it all comes down to matter interacting -- interacting necessarily -- in the only possible manner in which it can interact with other matter given the laws of matter. The matter in the mind and the matter in the engine are just different configurations of matter itself. That's always the part I can't get beyond.

You mean, the matter in the brain? Yes, they're both the same. But the distinction between the necessity/justification/rationality in the mind and the contingency in matter is not that between the interaction of matter in the car engine and that in the brain. <-- That distinction is, like you said, the same--just matter interacting with more matter. Where you find the necessity/justification/rationality is in the mind which (without going into identity theory) parallels the contingent interactions of matter with matter in the brain. Likewise, as a panpsychic, I believe a similar relation subsists between the matter of the engine interacting with more matter in that same engine and some form of subjective mental experience paralleling those interactions (when it comes to the subjective mental experience of other physical systems besides human brains, I refrain from assuming it is thought per se... or emotion, or sensation, or any of the familiar human experiences... but it is a quality of subjective experience nonetheless, a quality that, for all intents and purposes, I assume to be unimaginable to us). What this means, for me, is that while the matter of the engine interacting with more matter of the same engine remains contingent as always, the subjective experience parallel to those interactions contains the same brand of necessity/justification/rationality that we see in our own thought processes.

And in fact, it is this necessity/justification/rationality which inheres in all physical systems that I believe gives rise to the laws of matter as we experience/understand them.


Mind is matter able to invent the matter we call an "engine" but that does not make it any less matter in sync with that which matter must be: ever in accordance with it's own laws.

Therefore: who/what made the matter we call "mind". And for any possible reason and/or purpose?

Well, just to clear, I'm not a materialist, so I wouldn't call our mind "matter". I'm an idealist, which means I would call certain instances of mind "matter"--the instances we call "sensation".

All instances of mind are creates by antecedent instances of mind. What I mean by that is that, as should be obvious by a bit of introspective examination, there is a certain "flow" to mind--that one thought leads to another, that thoughts lead to emotion, and sometimes emotion to thought, and sensation to thought and sometimes to emotion, etc.--given the idea that there is subjective experience paralleling all physical systems, it follows that there are instances of mind that lead to sensations, the ones we consciously experience. A fire, for example, is a physical process that gives off light--that light enters our eyes, stimulates the retina, transducing to electric/chemical signals that travel up the optic nerve and finally impact the visual cortex at the back of the brain (upon when we experience vision). As a physical process, there is subjective experience that parallels it all the while. It is a stream of subjective experience whose quality morphs and transforms parallel to the morphing and transformations that the physical process goes through. Vision is just the final form that the quality of this subjective stream of experience morphs into once the physical process stimulates the visual cortex. That's how the "human" mind is created (of course, there is further explanation needed to account for why, only when vision is finally experienced, we become conscious of the experience--why, in other words, aren't we conscious of the entire stream of morphing subjective experience before it impinges on the visual cortex, but that's an additional branch of my theory).

As for the reason/purpose, that's just another term for my "necessity/justification/rationality". The reason/purpose for our minds, for the sensory experiences that give way to all the other forms of mind we have, is just the necessity/justification/rationality that comes before in the flow of experience;


You speculate that...

gib wrote:The brain is an organ just like any other organ--but in my view, it is a mistaken to think that the scientific laws that determine how the brain functions also determine how we think--rather, it is the other way around (AFAIC)--what we think determines the way the brain functions.


Well, this sounds a lot [to me] like the ghost in the machine. And how on earth would we then translate that into a context in which one mind argues for the "natural right" of the unborn to live while another mind argues for the "political right" of women to kill it?


For me, it's more like a machine in the ghost--physical matter in (or being generated by) a mind; as for how that translates into the contexts you're interested in: first, understand what I'm saying, and then you draw the implications of that for the context you're interested in.

iambiguous wrote:My visceral reaction: So what? <-- Again, just answering your questions. All of this is no less intertwined in the fact that the brain is matter and that matter obeys a set of laws. The mystery then shifts to the origin of these laws. God, for example?

Well, conveniently, yes. The source of the laws, as I've been saying, is the logic with which our experiences unfold, and as the pantheist I am, these experiences also count as God.

And why this set of laws and not another? For the same reason 2 + 2 != 5. Or, given the gap between what science knows now and all that would need to be known -- re QM, dark matter, dark energy, time and space, before the Big Bang etc -- how close are any of us "here and now" to grasping all this?


I don't believe science will get us any closer to the ultimate answer to these things. Science will bring us closer to the ultimate physical causes of things, but in my mind, this will only ever be material representations of subjective experiences (not always ours). The answers we're interest in lie in these subjective experiences.

iambiguous wrote:It means that I can well imagine others grasping the same situation and reacting very differently. <-- Oh, so it was your experience with John and Mary that woke you up to this fact? The objectivists on the other hand will try to tell you that there are reactions here that are more or less reasonable, more or less virtuous. And yet [of course] this is all measured using their own definitions and meanings. Their own "analysis". Their own assumptions and premises.

So would you say this is a matter of ignorance? Arrogance? I mean, making judgements without really knowing the people, knowing what they go through.

I am "detached" only in the sense that I am not able to confidantly attach my sympathies here. I recognize the extent to which my reaction is largely an existential contraption. And it is this reaction itself that so disturbs the objectivists. It begins to dawn on them that this might well be applicable to them too.

This sounds somewhat like what I said: you're uncertain that you ought to feel sympathy because you recognize it as an existential contraption/fabrication--only you don't seem to be deliberately trying to pull away from your sympathies.

And then, as with me, their own "I" here begins to crumble.


iambiguous wrote:Then we clearly have a "failure to communicate". There are the objective facts that can be ascertained regarding both contexts. And then there are the subjective/subjunctive reactions to the facts that precipitate conflicting moral/political agendas. Which precipitate behaviors that in turn come into conflict that precipitate actual consequences.

If philosophers were able to concoct an "analysis/argument" enabling both parties to concur on the optimal reaction, one party may still react to the contrary, but at least it could be demonstrated/shown that this reaction was [from the perspective of rational human beings] the wrong one. Or at least not the optimal one.


Sure, but if you're asking what I, as a subjectivist, would do in prong #2 situations, and particularly how I would use my subjectivism in such situations, there is a very clear answer. I won't necessarily answer the question: how ought I react in such situations, but I thought your inquiries were just your method of gathering insights that may get you closer to an ultimate solution out of your dilemma. I know my answers fall far from the mark, but so long as you keep asking your questions, I will answer them honestly.

iambiguous wrote:My point though is still the same here:

Whether you do agree with them or not is [from my point of view] no less an existential contraption rooted in dasein. Both sides make reasonable arguments: conflicting goods rooted in a conflicting set of premises.

And there does not appear to be an argument available that would enable us to grasp the "right answer". And the extent to which you [and others] don't think like this is the extent to which, unlike me, you [and others] are not entangled in this:

If I am always of the opinion that 1] my own values are rooted in dasein and 2] that there are no objective values "I" can reach, then every time I make one particular moral/political leap, I am admitting that I might have gone in the other direction...or that I might just as well have gone in the other direction. Then "I" begins to fracture and fragment to the point there is nothing able to actually keep it all together. At least not with respect to choosing sides morally and politically.


Yes, I don't believe anything I said denies this.

iambiguous wrote:Well, that's my point: suggesting the things philosophers think that may well be [for all practical purposes] impotent regarding the world of conflicting value judgments.


Yes, but not everything has to be potent. I suppose if we were in a war torn country, or we were starving, or in the middle of some kind of crisis, doing armchair philosophy might indicate backwards priorities (even then, that wouldn't necessarily stop you from believing in them, and if asked, why wouldn't you say: this is what I believe?).

For example: the question of whether intelligent life exists on other planets. Some of us have an opinion on the matter--for or against. But what use does this have when we're in the thick of prong #2 situations? If we find no use, are we obligated to push such opinions out of our minds, not think about them, repress them?

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote:Your whole approach will, when people are cooperative, lead you to other people's beliefs and values (objectivists or otherwise) but you shouldn't expect that what you find there will be obviously useful towards resolving prong #2 dilemmas. Most of the time, what you'll find is just the answers to your inquiries--you probe, they deliver; it's not fair to follow that up with: but how is that relevant to prong #2? They are merely answering your questions.


My reaction here is always the same though: to what extent are the answers that you give able to be demonstrated as applicable to all rational men and women; or, instead, reflect only that which you claim to know or claim believe "in your head".


And what if I were to say I claim to believe it "in my head"? Would you follow that up with: but that doesn't help me with my dilemma? To which I would say: It wasn't meant to. Am I to refrain from answering your question unless I know for certain that it will show you the way out of your dilemma?

iambiguous wrote:Here for example: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=191970

Classic objectivism. Both react to the Trump victory as they do because each is convinced that Trump comes closest to embodying their own political prejudices.

Only they are not seen as prejudices at all are they? Their own moral and political [and religious] values are construed instead as reflective of the whole, objective truth. Trump won because in a rational world he ought to have won.

But neither one of them will discuss this with me. Turd has me on ignore, and every time I broach my own narrative with Uccisore he merely scoffs and immediately falls back on defending his own ideological/objectivist agenda.

Again, both simply have too much to lose to go about this discussion as you and I are.


Reading through Turd's post there, my impression was that it was highly charged with emotion--he's very invested in what he's saying--and when this happens, considerations of whether your arguments and points are founded on rock solid objective reasoning and truth, whether they are nothing more than existential fabrications/contraptions, fly out the window--you're in a completely different realm of thought.

Interestingly, this ties back into what I was saying above: that sometimes we only find the reasoning and justifications for our views when we're in the midst of the experience--clearly, Turd is in the midst of the experience, going through the motions as it were--and in that state, he sees all the reasoning and justification he needs (sometimes feels the justification in the emotion). Again, though, this isn't formal logic--that is, as a logician would have it--not the kind of justification that would apply to all rational human beings--but just "that which holds the views together". <-- So long as you stay in that state of mind, it will feel as though you have something to dish up as far as "proving" your point of view goes.

iambiguous wrote:We don't really know what [ultimately] the human brain is wired to figure out. We know only that it is clearly wired to connect the dots between "in my head" and "out in the world". And [to me] the objectivist mind here is rooted more in the mystery embedded in our subjunctive reactions to the world around us. And how, in turn, that is intertwined in those parts of the brain that are considerably more "primitive".

In other words, the part where philosophy gives way to human psychology gives way to the naked ape gives way to the very first instances of "mindful matter".


Yeah, well, if you want to take it back to primitive brains and rudimentary ways of thinking, you get closer to objectivism; the human brain is wired to take reality--the way it is experienced--at face value; what you see is what you get. In other words, what you see is objectively real. And this carries through to what you think, what you feel, and everything else mental (this ties directly into element #2 of my definition of "experience": that it is being).

Subjectivity, relativism, points of view, and all that is something the human brain is capable of arriving at only after reflecting on its own experiences and drawing certain conclusions--namely, the conclusion that though some thing may seem objectively real, they are really subjective or relative, and may have no reality in existence whatsoever. <-- But this is not the default perspective--this is something only the sophisticated thinker, the abstract and philosophically minded, comes to grips with.

iambiguous wrote:When it comes down to the deepest mysteries embedded in Existence Itself, how could we ever really know where contingency ends and necessity begins? Think about it: The human mind down to rocks down to atoms down to quantum interactions down to....God?

Well... yeah. If you follow what I was saying above about the mind and its relation to God, this follows. Except that I wouldn't start at mind, follow it down to matter, then atoms, then quantum phenomena, then God. The line of reductionism that goes from rocks to atoms to quantum stuff is physical through-and-through. The line of reductionism that goes from mind as a whole, down to sensations (for example), down to vision, down to color perception, etc. is mental through and through (and at the peek of which I'd place God). But if you can imagine these reductive lines--the physical and the mental--paralleling each other, then imagine you flip it 90 degrees and form another line of reduction perpendicular to the first two, one that goes from the entire material reductive line to the entire mental reductive line; that is to say, all points on the physical reductive hierarchy reduce to all points on the mental reductive hierarchy.

^ According to this line of reduction--from the material to the mental--the mental is bedrock, the foundation of existence. And guess what? We are at the mental level. We are being itself. Being is not something hidden from us--like the atoms in a rock which require an electron microscope to be revealed--like Kant's noumenal forms hidden behind the phenomenal--and this is why I say it is completely exposed. Being is experience--it is necessarily felt. We find being in the very having of experience.


Or down to whatever brought into existence Existence Itself?!

Sure, it's fascinating to speculate about this. But [I suspect] no less futile.


Futile towards what end? Solving prong #2 dilemmas? Of course! I've admitted this. Finding the ultimate foundation of existence? It's futile in this regard if you assume that being is to be found behind the veil of perception, so to speak, like the Kantian noumenal behind the Kantian phenomenal--but this is the pivotal point around which my philosophy spins this assumption completely around. If you assume being starts with perception--and you can verily see that it does just by experiencing perception--then you have it before you even begin to contemplate it (and then contemplation steers you away from it).

Now, the being that is exposed to God--well, that's still beyond me--but at least what I do have, the being I am exposed to, serves as a sample of that--much like whatever you may discover about ordinary tap water works as a sample of that stuff you find in the ocean.

iambiguous wrote:Which just takes me back to that crucial, fundamental distinction I make between the world of either/or [the Earth is either round or flat] and the world of is/ought [how should Earthlings live their lives socially, politically, economically].

With the latter, however, what arguments/evidence can be accumulated such that one side or the other finds it "very hard to go back"?


Such arguments are a lot more scarce, I'll say that (though I'm not sure if any such arbitrary argument is equally persuasive one way or another than any other). But then you can bring in life experiences--particularly very intense, maybe traumatic experiences--and those will be highly persuasive, perhaps enough to be very hard to go back on. But these experiences can be matched by equally intense and equally traumatic experience that push one in the opposite direction. And one who has gone through such an experience, thereby being strongly persuaded towards one view or another, is just as susceptible to an opposing and equally strong experience that turns that completely around and converts him or her to the opposite view. <-- Objective facts aren't like this (although scientific reports are often like this--sometimes mistaken, sometimes very mistaken--and philosophically speaking, it makes sense to distinguish between scientific reports and objective facts).

iambiguous wrote:In any event, all I can do is to explore "frames of mind" that think about these relationships -- these existential relationships -- differently than I do. And they will either nudge me in a different direction or they won't.

And, as I often point out to folks like Phyllo, "for all practical purposes" they have me pinned to the mat. Why? Well, not only are they able to talk/think themselves into believing that they have chosen the right behaviors on this side of the grave, but, for some, they are able to connect the dots between virtue on this side of the grave and immortality and salvation on the other side of it.

None of that is within my reach. At least not "here and now".


What does that mean? Are you contemplating the implications that your moral nihilism has for your fate in the afterlife?

iambiguous wrote:And yet from my perspective this is but one more example of a particular man able to "talk/think himself into believing" something that "in his head" comforts and consoles him. I just don't see any actual substantive evidence that this is "in fact" true.

Well, you're right. I have talked myself into this belief. But that doesn't entail that I've lied to myself. One can--indeed, one often must--talk one's self into doing what is right or what makes sense--for example, exercising and eating right. <-- But this is typical good reasoning--it leads you to the truth.

And whatever it is you believe--whether you've talked yourself into it, learnt it from others, experienced it directly--it's always in the head--otherwise, you're not conscious of it.

And yes, it comforts and consoles me for several reasons: I feel I've put together something that works to explain the mind/body relation, something that not many philosophers can boast. I feel I have something that provides insight into some of the deepest truths of existence and spirituality. There are probably other reasons it brings me comfort. But I see no reason to conclude from this that it's wrong.


You "do believe in a sort of 'afterlife'". But, well, what exactly does that mean? It doesn't seem to convey anything that I am really able to sink my teeth into.

It just means that when we die, experience won't cease. This just follows from my belief that subjective experience accompanies all physical processes, including the decay of the body and the brain. I don't think we continue on as a person--with the same identity, memories, personality, etc.--but it isn't just an unconscious, blank state of nothingness. I know this has no bearing on the things that concern you--so you probably can't sink your teeth into it--but it is the answer to your question.

For all practical purposes in other words.

That you are able to believe it though seems to be the point. Or, rather, that's my point. But this is not a criticism. It is in fact an open admission that while you are able to believe it, I am not. Me, I'm still tangled up in my dilemma and staring down into the abyss that is oblivion.


I know. I've mainly been explaining my views in piecemeal fashion, primarily as answers to your question. This discussion isn't being designed to help you understand my views (though there's always my hope that it will happen eventually... to some degree in any case). If that were my aim, I'd direct you to my book. <-- I did design that with the aim of (hopefully) getting the reader to understand my view. And I did offer my book a couple times (maybe three?) in this thread, but other than that, I've only been giving you narrow vistas to my outlook (or perhaps, far too compacted summaries of the main points that underlay my outlook).

And again, I stress I'm no less tangled in your dilemma than you are (at least the second prong of it). If you could buy into my view, then it *might* help you feel less angst over your dilemma, but regrettably you'll find that it isn't the escape that you long for.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby iambiguous » Sat Dec 24, 2016 12:24 am

iambiguous wrote:Admittedly, in a determined universe, I have never really been able to wrap my head around "compatibilism". Assuming of course I am correctly understanding what it means.


gib wrote: You're not alone. Compatiblism is a compromise--you won't ever get compatibilists to admit this, but it's a concession that there really is no such thing as free will--not as traditionally defined--but the compatibilist will redefine free will to mean, essentially, getting what you want (or intend). They define "freedom" to mean the state in which having a desire or an intention results (deterministically) in that desire or intention being fulfilled. They define the lack of freedom as those occasion during which our desires or intentions are thwarted by extraneous deterministic forces. In other words, being "free" means that our desires/intentions aren't thwarted, and being "unfree" means that they are thwarted.


A language game by and large. Folks merely reconfigure the definitions to be in sync with that which they could only have reconfigured them to be in the first place. As opposed to not reconfiguring them -- which they could never have done anyway.

Edit: Really, how would/could we go about discussing this and not [ultimately] be perplexed? It's like trying to grapple with why something exist and not nothing. Or in comprehending the beginning and the end of time and space.

Same with freedom. In a wholly determined universe, how would the definition/meaning that one gives to it be anything other than the only definition/meaning that one ever could have given to it? I just get "stuck" here all the time.


gib wrote: Why? Is it the same problem as before? That beyond this point, there doesn't seem to be a way to verify the validity of such definitions/meanings? That they would seem rational and sensical even if, in reality, they weren't?


That whatever manner in which I respond to your point here is the only manner in which I ever could have responded to it. And calling that freedom.

Bottom line: We will all go to the grave thinking one way or another about it. But it does not appear possible to demonstrate that how we think about it now is how all rational men and women are obligated to think about it. And if death does equal oblivion the extent to which any particular human rendition of "reality" equals rationality seems equally moot.


gib wrote: Well, this for me comes back to the question of: can we verify the rationality/validity of our thought processes? And I think we can; it's just that it only gets verified in the moment of thinking them (in fact, their verification is what drives the thought process).


If we were/are only verifying [or falsifying] that which we were/are only ever going to verify or falsify, what does it mean to speak of it as rational/valid? It is what it is. Period. Our mental reactions would seem to be just along for the ride.

And, again, my main interest here is not in how many eggs someone has but in the role of volition when the discussion shifts to the morality of consuming them. Are the herbivores and the carnivores among us merely but two more sets of dominoes falling over on cue?

iambiguous wrote:In other words, while some may take a measure of psychological comfort in believing that...


gib wrote:...the apparent rationality of our thoughts is why our brains are determined to act as they do--it is why things can't be any other way.


...it does almost nothing to comfort me. And if I do believe that "in my head" "here and now" my reaction is only as it ever could have been, well, for all practical purposes, what does that actually mean?


gib wrote: You mean, what are you to conclude from this? Or: what makes the world deterministic?


I mean this: what does it mean to go back and forth about this if the exchange itself is only as it ever could have been? The distinction would [of necessity] be subsumed in the "immutable laws of matter". Unless, of course, in the staggering mystery embedded in the "multiverse" itself, the laws of matter are not immutable at all.

And that [of course] is before we get to the second prong. In a world of conflicting goods embodied subjectively in dasein, what does it mean to speak of "rationality" here?


gib wrote: Yes, that's a whole other beast.


Or not if matter is matter is matter.

iambiguous wrote:From my frame of mind, it all comes down to matter interacting -- interacting necessarily -- in the only possible manner in which it can interact with other matter given the laws of matter. The matter in the mind and the matter in the engine are just different configurations of matter itself. That's always the part I can't get beyond.


gib wrote: You mean, the matter in the brain? Yes, they're both the same. But the distinction between the necessity/justification/rationality in the mind and the contingency in matter is not that between the interaction of matter in the car engine and that in the brain. <-- That distinction is, like you said, the same--just matter interacting with more matter. Where you find the necessity/justification/rationality is in the mind which (without going into identity theory) parallels the contingent interactions of matter with matter in the brain.


Let's just say that this distinction is rather fuzzy given the meld between mind and matter in my own brain. It is true or false only in the sense that you and I react to it as we do. And yet in a wholly determined universe our reactions are only as they ever could have been. And once I ["I"] come back to that, I'm ["I'm"] stuck.

Here:

Mind is matter able to invent the matter we call an "engine" but that does not make it any less matter in sync with that which matter must be: ever in accordance with it's own laws.

Therefore: who/what made the matter we call "mind". And for any possible reason and/or purpose?


gib wrote: Well, just to clear, I'm not a materialist, so I wouldn't call our mind "matter". I'm an idealist, which means I would call certain instances of mind "matter"--the instances we call "sensation".


Which means exactly what in a world in which both our premises and our conclusions regarding this relationship are only as they ever could have been? What difference does it make what we call things if we could never have called them anything else?

gib wrote: All instances of mind are creates by antecedent instances of mind. What I mean by that is that, as should be obvious by a bit of introspective examination, there is a certain "flow" to mind--that one thought leads to another, that thoughts lead to emotion, and sometimes emotion to thought, and sensation to thought and sometimes to emotion, etc.--given the idea that there is subjective experience paralleling all physical systems, it follows that there are instances of mind that lead to sensations, the ones we consciously experience.


For the sake of argument, let's suppose that your conscious mind was able to arrive at this conclusion...freely. How would it still not be but a conclusion predicated on the assumptions that you make regarding what unfolds "inside your head"? It would still seem to come down to that which the neuroscientists are able to either verify or falsify. In other words, as to what is "in fact" true. And the closer they get to determinism [and that seems to be the direction they are heading] the closer we get to everything unfolding [in and/or out of our heads] only as they ever could have.

Including of course this exchange itself.

And there is still always that distinction to be made between the act of starting a fire and justifying a fire that is being condemned by others as an act of arson. For your own reasons you started it, and for their own reasons they insist that you ought not to have. Yet both sets of reasons are in sync with the laws of nature.

gib wrote: As for the reason/purpose, that's just another term for my "necessity/justification/rationality". The reason/purpose for our minds, for the sensory experiences that give way to all the other forms of mind we have, is just the necessity/justification/rationality that comes before in the flow of experience


Matter as tautology? With respect to those things we speculate about such that we needed to invent the words "ontology" and "teleology"?

You speculate that...

gib wrote:The brain is an organ just like any other organ--but in my view, it is a mistaken to think that the scientific laws that determine how the brain functions also determine how we think--rather, it is the other way around (AFAIC)--what we think determines the way the brain functions.


Well, this sounds a lot [to me] like the ghost in the machine. And how on earth would we then translate that into a context in which one mind argues for the "natural right" of the unborn to live while another mind argues for the "political right" of women to kill it?


gib wrote: For me, it's more like a machine in the ghost--physical matter in (or being generated by) a mind; as for how that translates into the contexts you're interested in: first, understand what I'm saying, and then you draw the implications of that for the context you're interested in.


Okay, but, to me, this sounds as though you are suggesting something analogous to the "soul" --- to a "spiritual" realm that somehow transcends materialism. To the part where "idealism" meets "God".

And my point here then becomes this: How am I to understand your point of view when I am convinced that your point of view is largely an intellectual contraption predicatecd on a particular set of premises that you believe "in your head". How can you demonstrate to me that, with respect to human interactions that come into conflict over value judgments, your speculations are relevant?


gib wrote: I don't believe science will get us any closer to the ultimate answer to these things. Science will bring us closer to the ultimate physical causes of things, but in my mind, this will only ever be material representations of subjective experiences (not always ours). The answers we're interest in lie in these subjective experiences.


The irony here being that a thousand years from now, scientists will be discussing much that we think we know is true about matter today in ways that we cannot [perhaps] even imagine. But how much closer will the philosophers be then from the philosophers today are from the philosophers back in the time of Plato?

Will their conjectures then be basically more of the same: things that are believed to be true [by and large] "in their heads". "Realities" that are still largely embedded in "worlds of words"?

iambiguous wrote:It means that I can well imagine others grasping the same situation and reacting very differently.


gib wrote: Oh, so it was your experience with John and Mary that woke you up to this fact?


Yes. Until then I always construed my reaction to conflicting goods as an objecivist: A Christian, a Unitarian, an Objectivist, a Communist, a Marxist, a Trotskyist, a Feminist. All that began to crumble.

The objectivists on the other hand will try to tell you that there are reactions here that are more or less reasonable, more or less virtuous. And yet [of course] this is all measured using their own definitions and meanings. Their own "analysis". Their own assumptions and premises.


gib wrote: So would you say this is a matter of ignorance? Arrogance? I mean, making judgements without really knowing the people, knowing what they go through.


I'd say it is one or another psychological rendition of this:

1] For one reason or another [rooted largely in dasein], you are taught or come into contact with [through your upbringing, a friend, a book, an experience etc.] a worldview, a philosophy of life.

2] Over time, you become convinced that this perspective expresses and encompasses the most rational and objective truth. This truth then becomes increasingly more vital, more essential to you as a foundation, a justification, a celebration of all that is moral as opposed to immoral, rational as opposed to irrational.

3] Eventually, for some, they begin to bump into others who feel the same way; they may even begin to actively seek out folks similarly inclined to view the world in a particular way.

4] Some begin to share this philosophy with family, friends, colleagues, associates, Internet denizens; increasingly it becomes more and more a part of their life. It becomes, in other words, more intertwined in their personal relationships with others...it begins to bind them emotionally and psychologically.

5] As yet more time passes, they start to feel increasingly compelled not only to share their Truth with others but, in turn, to vigorously defend it against any and all detractors as well.

6] For some, it can reach the point where they are no longer able to realistically construe an argument that disputes their own as merely a difference of opinion; they see it instead as, for all intents and purposes, an attack on their intellectual integrity....on their very Self.

7] Finally, a stage is reached [again for some] where the original philosophical quest for truth, for wisdom has become so profoundly integrated into their self-identity [professionally, socially, psychologically, emotionally] defending it has less and less to do with philosophy at all. And certainly less and less to do with "logic".[/quote]


iambiguous wrote:If philosophers were able to concoct an "analysis/argument" enabling both parties to concur on the optimal reaction, one party may still react to the contrary, but at least it could be demonstrated/shown that this reaction was [from the perspective of rational human beings] the wrong one. Or at least not the optimal one.


gib wrote: Sure, but if you're asking what I, as a subjectivist, would do in prong #2 situations, and particularly how I would use my subjectivism in such situations, there is a very clear answer. I won't necessarily answer the question: how ought I react in such situations, but I thought your inquiries were just your method of gathering insights that may get you closer to an ultimate solution out of your dilemma. I know my answers fall far from the mark, but so long as you keep asking your questions, I will answer them honestly.


Here things get particularly fuzzy for me. Why? Because, with respect to how I imagine [here and now] my own reaction to these situations, I am not able to imagine your reaction clearly at all. In other words, I am not able to imagine how you would react in such a way that those on conflicted sides of any particular moral conflagration would grasp "for all practical purposes" the point you are making.

In other words, it may not be necessary for you to react, but...but some won't take kindly to that. For the objectivists, you are either "one of us" or you are not. What I do is to attack objectivism itself. It's just that the only alternative I have to offer is my dilemma. And even I can clearly see how this might be construed as the "cure" that is worse than the disease. I am just not able to grasp them reacting to what you might tell them. And that is because "for all practical purposes" out in the world of actual existential conflicts I am still unable to comprehend what it is that you are saying.

But, again, that might be more the embodiment of my own inability to grasp how what you are saying is actually more reasonable than my own frame of mind.

This I will always acknowledge.

iambiguous wrote:Well, that's my point: suggesting the things philosophers think that may well be [for all practical purposes] impotent regarding the world of conflicting value judgments.


gib wrote: Yes, but not everything has to be potent. I suppose if we were in a war torn country, or we were starving, or in the middle of some kind of crisis, doing armchair philosophy might indicate backwards priorities (even then, that wouldn't necessarily stop you from believing in them, and if asked, why wouldn't you say: this is what I believe?).

For example: the question of whether intelligent life exists on other planets. Some of us have an opinion on the matter--for or against. But what use does this have when we're in the thick of prong #2 situations? If we find no use, are we obligated to push such opinions out of our minds, not think about them, repress them?


Yes, I basically agree. How we react to the relationships explored in this exchange -- in particular prong #2 contexts -- will always be situated out in a particular world: a world that is more or less awash in actual existential crises.

gib wrote:Your whole approach will, when people are cooperative, lead you to other people's beliefs and values (objectivists or otherwise) but you shouldn't expect that what you find there will be obviously useful towards resolving prong #2 dilemmas. Most of the time, what you'll find is just the answers to your inquiries--you probe, they deliver; it's not fair to follow that up with: but how is that relevant to prong #2? They are merely answering your questions.


My reaction here is always the same though: to what extent are the answers that you give able to be demonstrated as applicable to all rational men and women; or, instead, reflect only that which you claim to know or claim believe "in your head".


gib wrote: And what if I were to say I claim to believe it "in my head"? Would you follow that up with: but that doesn't help me with my dilemma? To which I would say: It wasn't meant to. Am I to refrain from answering your question unless I know for certain that it will show you the way out of your dilemma?


Here I am making the distinction between the intellectual assumptions concocted by those who embrace Religion or Reason or Ideology or Nature, and the extent to which, with respect to an actual context in which their values came into conflict with another [precipitating behaviors that came to clash], they note the manner in which they reacted to the conflict. How would they go about describing and then demonstrating why their own values were more reasonable, more virtuous, more natural?

How would they encompass the manner in which they were not entangled in my own dilemma?

iambiguous wrote:Here for example: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=191970

Classic objectivism. Both react to the Trump victory as they do because each is convinced that Trump comes closest to embodying their own political prejudices.

Only they are not seen as prejudices at all are they? Their own moral and political [and religious] values are construed instead as reflective of the whole, objective truth. Trump won because in a rational world he ought to have won.

But neither one of them will discuss this with me. Turd has me on ignore, and every time I broach my own narrative with Uccisore he merely scoffs and immediately falls back on defending his own ideological/objectivist agenda.

Again, both simply have too much to lose to go about this discussion as you and I are.


gib wrote: Reading through Turd's post there, my impression was that it was highly charged with emotion--he's very invested in what he's saying--and when this happens, considerations of whether your arguments and points are founded on rock solid objective reasoning and truth, whether they are nothing more than existential fabrications/contraptions, fly out the window--you're in a completely different realm of thought.


It is the "realm of thought" embodied by the objectivists. They would merely argue that since their reasoning is essentially true their emotions are just along for the ride.

What I find most interesting about folks like him is how they refuse even to probe the components of my own argument. He claims that I don't exist. Whatever that means. The irony is that with reactions like this, I come to surmise that there is a part of him that recognizes [if only subconsciously] the threat that I pose to his juggernaut frame of mind. He is wholly invested in his own particular "world of words" and is only interested thumping those who don't/won't go along. He is like a species of Intellectual that you can spot a mile away. He claims to study for studies hours and hours a day; and he clearly knows a lot about many things. But once you make the attempt to bring him out of the world of either/or, it all comes down to "one of me" or "one of them".

But it is precisely this that I am deconstructing. In other words, not whatever particular values that he subscribes to.

iambiguous wrote:We don't really know what [ultimately] the human brain is wired to figure out. We know only that it is clearly wired to connect the dots between "in my head" and "out in the world". And [to me] the objectivist mind here is rooted more in the mystery embedded in our subjunctive reactions to the world around us. And how, in turn, that is intertwined in those parts of the brain that are considerably more "primitive".

In other words, the part where philosophy gives way to human psychology gives way to the naked ape gives way to the very first instances of "mindful matter".


gib wrote: Yeah, well, if you want to take it back to primitive brains and rudimentary ways of thinking, you get closer to objectivism; the human brain is wired to take reality--the way it is experienced--at face value; what you see is what you get.


And that always takes me back [of course] to the question of determinism. Our brains may be considerably more sophisticated but they are no less matter. But: what exactly does that mean?

For example, I recently watched a documentary in which it was noted that an octopus can reconfigure both the color and the texture of its body to perfectly match its environment. How then does it's brain know to do this? Now, if human beings were able to invent a technology that duplicated this, we can imagine our own brain noting a new environment and then choosing the appropriate color and texture schemes. But how does the octopus brain [or a chameleon's] accomplish the same?

Well, perhaps [in a wholly determined universe] there is really no difference at all.

iambiguous wrote:When it comes down to the deepest mysteries embedded in Existence Itself, how could we ever really know where contingency ends and necessity begins? Think about it: The human mind down to rocks down to atoms down to quantum interactions down to....God?


gib wrote:
Well... yeah. If you follow what I was saying above about the mind and its relation to God, this follows. Except that I wouldn't start at mind, follow it down to matter, then atoms, then quantum phenomena, then God. The line of reductionism that goes from rocks to atoms to quantum stuff is physical through-and-through. The line of reductionism that goes from mind as a whole, down to sensations (for example), down to vision, down to color perception, etc. is mental through and through (and at the peek of which I'd place God). But if you can imagine these reductive lines--the physical and the mental--paralleling each other, then imagine you flip it 90 degrees and form another line of reduction perpendicular to the first two, one that goes from the entire material reductive line to the entire mental reductive line; that is to say, all points on the physical reductive hierarchy reduce to all points on the mental reductive hierarchy.

^ According to this line of reduction--from the material to the mental--the mental is bedrock, the foundation of existence. And guess what? We are at the mental level. We are being itself. Being is not something hidden from us--like the atoms in a rock which require an electron microscope to be revealed--like Kant's noumenal forms hidden behind the phenomenal--and this is why I say it is completely exposed. Being is experience--it is necessarily felt. We find being in the very having of experience.


My reaction to this sort of conjecture is really no different from my reaction to my own sort of speculation: Who knows?

Now, if there is a God [in whatever configuration] we might at least imagine that there is an answer. But I suspect that, in whatever configuration mere mortals invent Gods "in their heads", they do so in order that psychologically they have a font able to tug them in the direction of one or another rendition of life after death.

It's just that I have absolutely no capacity to demonstrate this beyond what "here and now" I believe in my head.

Then we just go around and around and around. To this for example: what on earth is matter doing with a psychological dimension?!!

Then it's back to this:

Sure, it's fascinating to speculate about this. But [I suspect] no less futile.


gib wrote: Futile towards what end? Solving prong #2 dilemmas? Of course! I've admitted this. Finding the ultimate foundation of existence? It's futile in this regard if you assume that being is to be found behind the veil of perception, so to speak, like the Kantian noumenal behind the Kantian phenomenal--but this is the pivotal point around which my philosophy spins this assumption completely around.


What I assume is that oblivion is just around the corner for me. What I assume is that I/"I" will soon be reconfiguring back to star stuff. That, in other words, both prong #1 and prong #2 will soon become moot for I/"I" for, among other things, all of eternity.

So, sure, if someone is able to demonstrate to me why this is not necessarily true at all, I'm all ears.

Now, how, in your own mind/brain have you actually accomplished that? How is your frame of mind not just one more intellectual contraption comprised basically of the manner in which you define the meaning of the words you use in your "analysis"...in your own particular set of assumptions?

I'm not saying that you haven't accomplished this...or that you can't...only that "here and now" I'm not convinced.

iambiguous wrote:In any event, all I can do is to explore "frames of mind" that think about these relationships -- these existential relationships -- differently than I do. And they will either nudge me in a different direction or they won't.

And, as I often point out to folks like Phyllo, "for all practical purposes" they have me pinned to the mat. Why? Well, not only are they able to talk/think themselves into believing that they have chosen the right behaviors on this side of the grave, but, for some, they are able to connect the dots between virtue on this side of the grave and immortality and salvation on the other side of it.

None of that is within my reach. At least not "here and now".


gib wrote: What does that mean? Are you contemplating the implications that your moral nihilism has for your fate in the afterlife?


It would seem reasonable that anyone who speculates about the existence of an afterlife is going to speculate in turn about the relationship between "before I die" and "after I die". In other words, is the part "after" in any way predicated on being judged regarding the part "before".

The whole point of God and religion.

It is in fact the entire point that I had in mind when I created this thread: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=186929

iambiguous wrote:And yet from my perspective this is but one more example of a particular man able to "talk/think himself into believing" something that "in his head" comforts and consoles him. I just don't see any actual substantive evidence that this is "in fact" true.


gib wrote: Well, you're right. I have talked myself into this belief. But that doesn't entail that I've lied to myself. One can--indeed, one often must--talk one's self into doing what is right or what makes sense--for example, exercising and eating right. <-- But this is typical good reasoning--it leads you to the truth.


On the other hand, regarding these things, how does one know if they have lied to themself unless the actual truth itself is able to be demonstrated?

After all, your rendition of God is but one of hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of others. And you will either connect the dots here between before you die and after or you won't. But, in the interim, that is not going to stop someone like me from asking you to demonstrate why your rendition and not all of the others.

And it is for you and you alone to determine "in your head" the extent to which your belief is [if only subconsciously] more a reflection of what you want to believe is true rather than something that you are actually able to "bring to life" more substantively/substantially for others.

I certainly would never judge you here. And I am always grateful to those who at least make the attempt. But I can only react to it given what I believe to be true [here and now] in my head.


You "do believe in a sort of 'afterlife'". But, well, what exactly does that mean? It doesn't seem to convey anything that I am really able to sink my teeth into.


gib wrote: It just means that when we die, experience won't cease. This just follows from my belief that subjective experience accompanies all physical processes, including the decay of the body and the brain. I don't think we continue on as a person--with the same identity, memories, personality, etc.--but it isn't just an unconscious, blank state of nothingness. I know this has no bearing on the things that concern you--so you probably can't sink your teeth into it--but it is the answer to your question.


But "experience" as perceived by/reacted to from what/whose perspective? If not "I"?

Instead my own reaction invariably revolves around this:

That you are able to believe it though seems to be the point. Or, rather, that's my point. But this is not a criticism. It is in fact an open admission that while you are able to believe it, I am not. Me, I'm still tangled up in my dilemma and staring down into the abyss that is oblivion.


gib wrote: I know. I've mainly been explaining my views in piecemeal fashion, primarily as answers to your question. This discussion isn't being designed to help you understand my views (though there's always my hope that it will happen eventually... to some degree in any case). If that were my aim, I'd direct you to my book. <-- I did design that with the aim of (hopefully) getting the reader to understand my view. And I did offer my book a couple times (maybe three?) in this thread, but other than that, I've only been giving you narrow vistas to my outlook (or perhaps, far too compacted summaries of the main points that underlay my outlook).


Admittedly, I engage in discussions of this sort precisely in order to determine the extent to which another point of view might succeed in yanking me up out of my dilemma. But I don't expect others to be motivated by that in turn.

Eventually the exchange will end [for any number of reasons] and we will get from it what we do.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
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iambiguous
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby gib » Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:20 am

iambiguous wrote:
Same with freedom. In a wholly determined universe, how would the definition/meaning that one gives to it be anything other than the only definition/meaning that one ever could have given to it? I just get "stuck" here all the time.


gib wrote: Why? Is it the same problem as before? That beyond this point, there doesn't seem to be a way to verify the validity of such definitions/meanings? That they would seem rational and sensical even if, in reality, they weren't?


That whatever manner in which I respond to your point here is the only manner in which I ever could have responded to it. And calling that freedom.


And if it's not freedom, can we not proceed anyway? Obviously, there would be no way of knowing whether you've got anything right or wrong (short of the very logic that leads you on your path of philosophical thought), but I don't think this is a matter of freedom or determinism. We'd probably be just as likely to make mistakes in our reasoning if we really were free, and have no better way to verify whether we were right or wrong. At least in the moment of thinking, we have something to go on, and it seems to work whether or not we can answer the question: is my response the only response I ever could have given?

iambiguous wrote:
Bottom line: We will all go to the grave thinking one way or another about it. But it does not appear possible to demonstrate that how we think about it now is how all rational men and women are obligated to think about it. And if death does equal oblivion the extent to which any particular human rendition of "reality" equals rationality seems equally moot.


gib wrote: Well, this for me comes back to the question of: can we verify the rationality/validity of our thought processes? And I think we can; it's just that it only gets verified in the moment of thinking them (in fact, their verification is what drives the thought process).


If we were/are only verifying [or falsifying] that which we were/are only ever going to verify or falsify, what does it mean to speak of it as rational/valid? It is what it is. Period. Our mental reactions would seem to be just along for the ride.

Or, as I think, they're driving the process.

And, again, my main interest here is not in how many eggs someone has but in the role of volition when the discussion shifts to the morality of consuming them. Are the herbivores and the carnivores among us merely but two more sets of dominoes falling over on cue?


Sure, we could say they are, but you can't tell me that when you do arithmetic in your head, there is no sense that you're following a rational thought process. And it's more than just that it seems like a rational thought process, but is validated as such... in the moment.

iambiguous wrote:
iambiguous wrote:In other words, while some may take a measure of psychological comfort in believing that...


gib wrote:...the apparent rationality of our thoughts is why our brains are determined to act as they do--it is why things can't be any other way.


...it does almost nothing to comfort me. And if I do believe that "in my head" "here and now" my reaction is only as it ever could have been, well, for all practical purposes, what does that actually mean?


gib wrote: You mean, what are you to conclude from this? Or: what makes the world deterministic?


I mean this: what does it mean to go back and forth about this if the exchange itself is only as it ever could have been? The distinction would [of necessity] be subsumed in the "immutable laws of matter". Unless, of course, in the staggering mystery embedded in the "multiverse" itself, the laws of matter are not immutable at all.


Well, if it's a question of what we are to conclude from this, my answer, as I've been putting forward, is that we can conclude that, in principle at least, it's still possible that our thought processes are still rational despite (or because of) the universe being determined. Unless we are forced to rule out the possibility which I'm proposing--that the rationality which inheres in our thought processes is why things are determined--we must conclude that rationality in a determined universe is still a logical possibility. (And incidentally, that would answer the other question: What makes the world deterministic?).

But I suppose you'd prefer to conclude with a bit more of a solid answer than just a logical possibility that holds only in principle. If we could definitively answer the questions 1) Is the universe exhaustively determined? And 2) What does that mean for rationality and exchanges like this one? Do you think you could move beyond this point in metaphysics (assuming the answer doesn't come out: all our seeming rationality is just superficial but beyond that it is meaningless)?


iambiguous wrote:From my frame of mind, it all comes down to matter interacting -- interacting necessarily -- in the only possible manner in which it can interact with other matter given the laws of matter. The matter in the mind and the matter in the engine are just different configurations of matter itself. That's always the part I can't get beyond.


iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote: You mean, the matter in the brain? Yes, they're both the same. But the distinction between the necessity/justification/rationality in the mind and the contingency in matter is not that between the interaction of matter in the car engine and that in the brain. <-- That distinction is, like you said, the same--just matter interacting with more matter. Where you find the necessity/justification/rationality is in the mind which (without going into identity theory) parallels the contingent interactions of matter with matter in the brain.


Let's just say that this distinction is rather fuzzy given the meld between mind and matter in my own brain. It is true or false only in the sense that you and I react to it as we do. And yet in a wholly determined universe our reactions are only as they ever could have been. And once I ["I"] come back to that, I'm ["I'm"] stuck.


This only makes sense to me in a materialist context in which it is often "fuzzy" when we are talking about mind and when we are talking about matter. But to me, the distinction has never been difficult to make.

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote: Well, just to clear, I'm not a materialist, so I wouldn't call our mind "matter". I'm an idealist, which means I would call certain instances of mind "matter"--the instances we call "sensation".


Which means exactly what in a world in which both our premises and our conclusions regarding this relationship are only as they ever could have been? What difference does it make what we call things if we could never have called them anything else?


The same difference it makes even if we were free to choice what we do and think. It doesn't follow from determinism that exchanges like this can't have the desired effect for one party or the other. So if you call mind "matter" and I don't, I can bring this up in a conversation and hopefully have the effect I want to have on your mind. In hindsight, we can still both look back on that and say: it could not have been any other way.

In any case, my point was that I don't think the laws of mind and the laws of matter are just equivalent. That doesn't mean it's not all deterministic, but I think the laws of mind (which, for me, funnel down to the laws of meaning) end up being represented as the laws of matter in sensation.

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote: All instances of mind are creates by antecedent instances of mind. What I mean by that is that, as should be obvious by a bit of introspective examination, there is a certain "flow" to mind--that one thought leads to another, that thoughts lead to emotion, and sometimes emotion to thought, and sensation to thought and sometimes to emotion, etc.--given the idea that there is subjective experience paralleling all physical systems, it follows that there are instances of mind that lead to sensations, the ones we consciously experience.


For the sake of argument, let's suppose that your conscious mind was able to arrive at this conclusion...freely. How would it still not be but a conclusion predicated on the assumptions that you make regarding what unfolds "inside your head"? <-- It is. It would still seem to come down to that which the neuroscientists are able to either verify or falsify. What do you mean "come down to"? I don't need to know anything about the neurosciences to arrive at conclusions in my head--I just need introspection. In other words, as to what is "in fact" true. And the closer they get to determinism [and that seems to be the direction they are heading] the closer we get to everything unfolding [in and/or out of our heads] only as they ever could have.

Right, but I still don't see why that makes such exchanges or such conclusions necessarily meaningless. Like I said, it's the meaning in our thoughts (or experiences generally) that makes the whole process deterministic.

Including of course this exchange itself.

And there is still always that distinction to be made between the act of starting a fire and justifying a fire that is being condemned by others as an act of arson. For your own reasons you started it, and for their own reasons they insist that you ought not to have. Yet both sets of reasons are in sync with the laws of nature.

Yes, they are.

gib wrote: As for the reason/purpose, that's just another term for my "necessity/justification/rationality". The reason/purpose for our minds, for the sensory experiences that give way to all the other forms of mind we have, is just the necessity/justification/rationality that comes before in the flow of experience


Matter as tautology? With respect to those things we speculate about such that we needed to invent the words "ontology" and "teleology"?

"Justification" at the very least.

You speculate that...

gib wrote:The brain is an organ just like any other organ--but in my view, it is a mistaken to think that the scientific laws that determine how the brain functions also determine how we think--rather, it is the other way around (AFAIC)--what we think determines the way the brain functions.


Well, this sounds a lot [to me] like the ghost in the machine. And how on earth would we then translate that into a context in which one mind argues for the "natural right" of the unborn to live while another mind argues for the "political right" of women to kill it?


gib wrote: For me, it's more like a machine in the ghost--physical matter in (or being generated by) a mind; as for how that translates into the contexts you're interested in: first, understand what I'm saying, and then you draw the implications of that for the context you're interested in.


Okay, but, to me, this sounds as though you are suggesting something analogous to the "soul" --- to a "spiritual" realm that somehow transcends materialism. To the part where "idealism" meets "God".

You could put it that way, but keep in mind I'm not a dualist. It's convenient when I'm first explaining this stuff to others that I explain it in dualist-sounding terms (mind paralleling matter), but at the end of the day I'm a monist--I believe matter is an instance of mind... but yes, insofar as that goes, mind "transcends" matter.

And my point here then becomes this: How am I to understand your point of view when I am convinced that your point of view is largely an intellectual contraption predicatecd on a particular set of premises that you believe "in your head". How can you demonstrate to me that, with respect to human interactions that come into conflict over value judgments, your speculations are relevant?


I don't know if they're relevant (as I've said before), but you shouldn't need to think of it as anything more than an intellectual contraption just to understand. Does an atheist need to think of "God" as anything more than an intellectual contraption to understand the theist's point of view?

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote: I don't believe science will get us any closer to the ultimate answer to these things. Science will bring us closer to the ultimate physical causes of things, but in my mind, this will only ever be material representations of subjective experiences (not always ours). The answers we're interest in lie in these subjective experiences.


The irony here being that a thousand years from now, scientists will be discussing much that we think we know is true about matter today in ways that we cannot [perhaps] even imagine. But how much closer will the philosophers be then from the philosophers today are from the philosophers back in the time of Plato?

Will their conjectures then be basically more of the same: things that are believed to be true [by and large] "in their heads". "Realities" that are still largely embedded in "worlds of words"?


So long as philosophers cannot deliver definitive results, like the scientist can, there will always be ebbing and waning between different philosophical positions, much like there is in politics between left-wing and right-wing. What I find interesting is how, as our thoughts and understandings of things become more sophisticate, new branches of philosophical thought come onto the scene. For example, the philosophy of language. <-- That was non-existent in the time of Plato. But yeah, these too will simply get thrown into the mix and contend endlessly for credibility.

However, some of these philosophies are compatible with science, others not. I think my philosophy is perfectly compatible with science and scientists may conjecture certain meanings on existence by adopting my theory.

iambiguous wrote:
iambiguous wrote:If philosophers were able to concoct an "analysis/argument" enabling both parties to concur on the optimal reaction, one party may still react to the contrary, but at least it could be demonstrated/shown that this reaction was [from the perspective of rational human beings] the wrong one. Or at least not the optimal one.


gib wrote: Sure, but if you're asking what I, as a subjectivist, would do in prong #2 situations, and particularly how I would use my subjectivism in such situations, there is a very clear answer. I won't necessarily answer the question: how ought I react in such situations, but I thought your inquiries were just your method of gathering insights that may get you closer to an ultimate solution out of your dilemma. I know my answers fall far from the mark, but so long as you keep asking your questions, I will answer them honestly.


Here things get particularly fuzzy for me. Why? Because, with respect to how I imagine [here and now] my own reaction to these situations, I am not able to imagine your reaction clearly at all. In other words, I am not able to imagine how you would react in such a way that those on conflicted sides of any particular moral conflagration would grasp "for all practical purposes" the point you are making.

In other words, it may not be necessary for you to react, but...but some won't take kindly to that. For the objectivists, you are either "one of us" or you are not. What I do is to attack objectivism itself. It's just that the only alternative I have to offer is my dilemma. And even I can clearly see how this might be construed as the "cure" that is worse than the disease. I am just not able to grasp them reacting to what you might tell them. And that is because "for all practical purposes" out in the world of actual existential conflicts I am still unable to comprehend what it is that you are saying.


And I've explained why: the core tenets around which my subjectivism revolves don't really connect directly to the typical kinds of conflict that arise in most prong #2 situations. It's like the example I gave earlier about the existence of intelligent life on other planets: some may have a strong opinion that intelligent life does exist on other planets, some may have strong opinions that it doesn't--but when was the last time you read headlines depicting some serious conflict between pro-intelligent-life advocates and con-intelligent-life advocates. Could we chock it up to the possibility that some controversies just don't have prominent rolls to play in typical prong #2 situations?

But then again, you can image one day a strong political movement unfolds in which pro-intelligent-life advocates gain a strong foothold in government--then people's lives start to be effected, and the way they will try to maneuver and negotiate their way through the new social, political, and economic environment will be by trying to argue cases and present proof for or against the existence of intelligent life on other planets. Then we might see numerous and significant examples of how positions on intelligent-lifism (as we might call it) play out in prong #2 situations. You can imagine the same thing for subjectivism (my brand or otherwise). In that case, the debates that serve as examples of how subjectivism figures in prong #2 conflicts might be a lot like the debates you see here at ILP--mine or otherwise--and in fact, I jumped into one just now: Trixie's Message to Iambiguous. <-- Perhaps watch how that one unfolds to see an example (as I'm sure you will)*.

Other than that, I find I really have to stretch the context in which my subjectivism holds in order to provide you with examples. I gave you some examples of how I might engage with others using alternatives to the "traditional objectivist approach" (where reverse psychology was my simplest analogy), and then I drew the connection between my subjectivism and my drug use, which I thought might serve as an example as drugs are a hugely hot topic in prong #2 arenas. <-- But I feel these are a stretch--I feel I'm not giving examples of how my subjectivism is directly brought to the table in prong #2 situations. Perhaps the only other way of answering your question is to invite you to search through ILP for debates I've gotten into with others over my subjectivism... but typically these don't go much beyond intellectual debates and disagreements. They do get heated, of course, but I wouldn't say they get "political" as most of the prong #2 situations you seem to be interested in get.

iambiguous wrote:Here I am making the distinction between the intellectual assumptions concocted by those who embrace Religion or Reason or Ideology or Nature, and the extent to which, with respect to an actual context in which their values came into conflict with another [precipitating behaviors that came to clash], they note the manner in which they reacted to the conflict. How would they go about describing and then demonstrating why their own values were more reasonable, more virtuous, more natural?

How would they encompass the manner in which they were not entangled in my own dilemma?

Here for example: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=191970

Classic objectivism. Both react to the Trump victory as they do because each is convinced that Trump comes closest to embodying their own political prejudices.

Only they are not seen as prejudices at all are they? Their own moral and political [and religious] values are construed instead as reflective of the whole, objective truth. Trump won because in a rational world he ought to have won.

This relates back to what I was saying earlier: about how the mind will hijack reason in order to serve personal agendas. Turd, Uccisore, and their ilk, are committed conservatists, and so it doesn't serve their purpose to put their basic assumptions into question. For them, it is more beneficial to treat them as self-evident objective facts and move on from there. To take your points seriously only works against their objectives and exploits their weaknesses.

But neither one of them will discuss this with me. Turd has me on ignore, and every time I broach my own narrative with Uccisore he merely scoffs and immediately falls back on defending his own ideological/objectivist agenda.

Again, both simply have too much to lose to go about this discussion as you and I are.


Yes, it doesn't serve their agenda.

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote: Reading through Turd's post there, my impression was that it was highly charged with emotion--he's very invested in what he's saying--and when this happens, considerations of whether your arguments and points are founded on rock solid objective reasoning and truth, whether they are nothing more than existential fabrications/contraptions, fly out the window--you're in a completely different realm of thought.


It is the "realm of thought" embodied by the objectivists. They would merely argue that since their reasoning is essentially true their emotions are just along for the ride.

Or justified based on the thoughts.

What I find most interesting about folks like him is how they refuse even to probe the components of my own argument. He claims that I don't exist. Huh? Whatever that means. The irony is that with reactions like this, I come to surmise that there is a part of him that recognizes [if only subconsciously] the threat that I pose to his juggernaut frame of mind. He is wholly invested in his own particular "world of words" and is only interested thumping those who don't/won't go along. He is like a species of Intellectual that you can spot a mile away. He claims to study for studies hours and hours a day; and he clearly knows a lot about many things. But once you make the attempt to bring him out of the world of either/or, it all comes down to "one of me" or "one of them".


I find most hardnosed conservatists are like this. Conservatists are far more prone to expect war than peace. They are therefore far more defensive. They don't want to be open minded to other points of view. They construe this as weakness, as subjecting themselves to the psychological tricks of the enemy. They are all too willing to risk living with paranoid delusions and ignorance for the sake of avoiding possible deception or "brainwashing". This ironically leads to the kind of aggression which typically instigates war and creates enemies, thereby making their paranoia into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

iambiguous wrote:We don't really know what [ultimately] the human brain is wired to figure out. We know only that it is clearly wired to connect the dots between "in my head" and "out in the world". And [to me] the objectivist mind here is rooted more in the mystery embedded in our subjunctive reactions to the world around us. And how, in turn, that is intertwined in those parts of the brain that are considerably more "primitive".

In other words, the part where philosophy gives way to human psychology gives way to the naked ape gives way to the very first instances of "mindful matter".

gib wrote: Yeah, well, if you want to take it back to primitive brains and rudimentary ways of thinking, you get closer to objectivism; the human brain is wired to take reality--the way it is experienced--at face value; what you see is what you get.


And that always takes me back [of course] to the question of determinism. Our brains may be considerably more sophisticated but they are no less matter. But: what exactly does that mean?

For example, I recently watched a documentary in which it was noted that an octopus can reconfigure both the color and the texture of its body to perfectly match its environment. How then does it's brain know to do this? Now, if human beings were able to invent a technology that duplicated this, we can imagine our own brain noting a new environment and then choosing the appropriate color and texture schemes. But how does the octopus brain [or a chameleon's] accomplish the same?

Well, perhaps [in a wholly determined universe] there is really no difference at all.


I wouldn't think so. What you're talking about is the mechanics of the brain--how the brain takes input from it's environment (in the form of electric and chemical signals), how it processes it through a complex network of neurons, and how it outputs the results back to the body so as to engage it in some kind of action (again in the form of electric and chemical signals). In that respect, I would think both human brains and those of all other animals work the same.

But the way I look at the relation between mind (or subjective experience) and the mechanics that determine the actions of matter is essentially that between cause and reason. We can easily imagine any arbitrary configuration of neural interconnections, any balance or variety of chemical interactions therein, and that will cause some kind of behavior for the organism overall. The subjective experience that comes along with that, as far as I'm concerned, is just the reason for the behavior. For example, I stub my toe and I jump up and down screaming "Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!" There is an obvious causal chain of events going on here. I stub my toe, that initiates a signal that travels up a neural line into my brain, it stimulates the pain centers in the somatosensory cortex and the anterior cyngulate gyrus, and those in turn send singals to the mortor cortex, which in turn send signals to the various muscles in my body and my voice box in order to coordinate the action of jumping up and down and screaming "Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!" That's the causal account. But what is my reason for jumping up and down and shouting "Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!" It's the fact that it hurts! The pain, which is obviously a subjective experience, is a reason for jumping up and down shouting "Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!"

My theory is that the range of possible "reasons" for behavior is limited only by the possible range of physical configurations a system can take, configurations which determine its behavior. This obviously means the range of subjective experiences which are possible in principle transcend by far the range we are familiar with. If you ask me: is it possible to see colors outside the familiar red-to-violet range we as humans are acquainted with? I will say yes, so long as you have an organism whose neural configurations are such that they cause that organism to behave as if it saw said color. What is the subjective experience of an octopus that changes color or skin texture in order to camouflage with its environment? I don't know. That kind of behavior is outside my repertoire of behaviors. But all this means to me is that the experience is likewise outside my repertoire of experiences, the ones my human brain allow me to have. But what I can say, if my theory is true, is that whatever the experience, it's the perfect reason for wanting to camouflage with the environment. It would be such that if I could experience it, I'd say "Ah, yes I can see how the octopus would want to change its colors and skin texture."

iambiguous wrote:Sure, it's fascinating to speculate about this. But [I suspect] no less futile.

gib wrote: Futile towards what end? Solving prong #2 dilemmas? Of course! I've admitted this. Finding the ultimate foundation of existence? It's futile in this regard if you assume that being is to be found behind the veil of perception, so to speak, like the Kantian noumenal behind the Kantian phenomenal--but this is the pivotal point around which my philosophy spins this assumption completely around.


What I assume is that oblivion is just around the corner for me. What I assume is that I/"I" will soon be reconfiguring back to star stuff. That, in other words, both prong #1 and prong #2 will soon become moot for I/"I" for, among other things, all of eternity.

So, sure, if someone is able to demonstrate to me why this is not necessarily true at all, I'm all ears.

Now, how, in your own mind/brain have you actually accomplished that? How is your frame of mind not just one more intellectual contraption comprised basically of the manner in which you define the meaning of the words you use in your "analysis"...in your own particular set of assumptions?

I'm not saying that you haven't accomplished this...or that you can't...only that "here and now" I'm not convinced.


What I'm confused about is why you think that the admission that this is all in my head means that it can't be real. I'm not saying I've proven it, or that I believe it necessarily must be true, just that I haven't ruled out the possibility.

Now one thing I can't understand is how one can have vivid experiences right in the thick of "here and now" and not see reality right in the midst of those experiences, how one can't see that reality is "completely exposed". Or in the case of thought, how one can't see the "logic" of one's own reasoning right in the midst of those very thoughts (again, not necessarily up to the specs a professional logician might expect, but at least a kind of verification of why one believes what one thinks). I'm thinking, of course, of the Cartesians and the Kantians, those who regard perception and experience with a strong skepticism, those who believe reality is to be found (if it can be found at all) outside experience. <-- I recognize a similarity between this and your skeptical position on the meaningfulness of thought in a deterministic universe, or your recognition of thought and ideas as intellectual contraptions. Sure, it's an intellectual contraption, but I think we in the West are still tainted by Cartesianism and Kantianism in the sense that we take this to imply that it is unreal, that any reality that is to be found is to be found outside these intellectual contraptions. This is why I find no problem in admitting that my subjectivism is an intellectual contraption without feeling that it is therefore false. My whole view revolves around the fact that any time we are confronted with reality at all--the whole reason we know about a reality--is that it comes embedded in our experiences.

Obviously, this doesn't mean that any intellectual contraption we whip up "in our heads" is by default real. I personally don't experience my subjectivist beliefs as inescapably true, just as metaphysical possibilities that neither I nor anyone else has been able, to my satisfaction, to rule out. I suspect that most people experience their more abstract/philosophical/metaphysical thoughts and beliefs in that way--as possibilities only--and when we find some, like the objectivists around here, boasting about the "facticity" of their views, about the objectively proven reality of their views, I see this as a psychological move serving some agenda (i.e. if you present your views as objective, as matters of fact, you're essentially confronting others with a much more challenging front). This is not always a trick, and indeed there are some beliefs and views that genuinely are experienced as objective fact (for example, one's birthday), but sometimes the presentation of our views as objective fact is more that--presentation--and not a true reflection of how they feel "in our heads".

iambiguous wrote:In any event, all I can do is to explore "frames of mind" that think about these relationships -- these existential relationships -- differently than I do. And they will either nudge me in a different direction or they won't.

And, as I often point out to folks like Phyllo, "for all practical purposes" they have me pinned to the mat. Why? Well, not only are they able to talk/think themselves into believing that they have chosen the right behaviors on this side of the grave, but, for some, they are able to connect the dots between virtue on this side of the grave and immortality and salvation on the other side of it.


It's all a matter of personal integrity. Some are raised in a particular community, are told that this is what we believe and these are the values we stand for, and so it behooves them to try to preserve/defend their integrity as part of that community, to think of or research as many rational arguments as they can, or present their views in as objective/factual manner as they can, and to preserve as much respectability in the eyes of others as possible. After years and years of doing this, they condition their minds to become convinced that they've got it right, that it is self-evident, that they're not just thinking but "seeing"--much like your list of psychological steps the objectivist goes through to arrive at this point.

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote: What does that mean? Are you contemplating the implications that your moral nihilism has for your fate in the afterlife?


It would seem reasonable that anyone who speculates about the existence of an afterlife is going to speculate in turn about the relationship between "before I die" and "after I die". In other words, is the part "after" in any way predicated on being judged regarding the part "before".

The whole point of God and religion.

It is in fact the entire point that I had in mind when I created this thread: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=186929


So it seems like you're kind of in a state of limbo regarding your resolve on this. Not that I'm any closer to knowing the truth about what awaits us in the afterlife, but my views do offer their own answer: experience continues in one form or another but the "I" dissolves. But like I said above, this is not certainty, but merely a metaphysical possibility that I have constructed in my head which simply hasn't been ruled it out. It just plays the roll in my head as the "default" answer I am accustom to giving, after admitting that I know nothing, when one asks: what do you think happens to us in the afterlife?

iambiguous wrote:And yet from my perspective this is but one more example of a particular man able to "talk/think himself into believing" something that "in his head" comforts and consoles him. I just don't see any actual substantive evidence that this is "in fact" true.

gib wrote: Well, you're right. I have talked myself into this belief. But that doesn't entail that I've lied to myself. One can--indeed, one often must--talk one's self into doing what is right or what makes sense--for example, exercising and eating right. <-- But this is typical good reasoning--it leads you to the truth.


On the other hand, regarding these things, how does one know if they have lied to themself unless the actual truth itself is able to be demonstrated?

After all, your rendition of God is but one of hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of others. And you will either connect the dots here between before you die and after or you won't. But, in the interim, that is not going to stop someone like me from asking you to demonstrate why your rendition and not all of the others.

Right, and the only true test is to present your views to others--to argue them, to debate them, to allow them to be torn apart--and the unfortunate thing with me is that I'm rarely able to get passed the first stages in expounding my views before the other person shrugs their shoulders in despair confessing that they don't understand. I'm barely able to explain the "dualist" rendition of my theory to you, let alone the monist rendition.

This is why I wrote a book. Hopefully in that, I've explained my views starting from a basic point of common understand that most educated philosophers can wrap their heads around, and proceed linearly in such a way that the ideas and arguments I put forward follow in a clear and sensical way. The challenge is to get people interested, which I find is near impossible without marketing.

^ It's the best I can do to put my views to the test. Without that, my views will most likely always seem to make sense to me and count as a plausible alternative to some of the other theories of consciousness (or God) out in the field. That being said, I do recognize their "head" character (i.e. being "in the head") so I will readily admit this with no qualms. I just don't see why being "in the head" is mutually exclusive with being "true". <-- That's what preserves it in my head.


And it is for you and you alone to determine "in your head" the extent to which your belief is [if only subconsciously] more a reflection of what you want to believe is true rather than something that you are actually able to "bring to life" more substantively/substantially for others.

Well, I think it goes without saying that whatever one believes, one wants to believe it (insofar as one experiences some drive to defend/prove it). They key here is, as I've said before, whether you can bring in good reasoning and clean argumentation in its defense. Wanting something to be true is not mutually exclusive with finding good reasons in support of it or clear proof of its truth. Say, for example, you're a pro-intelligent-lifist. You want to believe intelligent life exists on other planets--that may be your primary motive. Still, the argument that there are trillions upon trillions of planets out there, and that the odds of another planet capable of sustaining life and having had the chance to evolve intelligent life are reasonably high is still a good argument possessed of reason and strong logic. You may also go in search of empirical proof--and who knows, maybe one day you'll find it!--all despite you believed it because you wanted to.

You "do believe in a sort of 'afterlife'". But, well, what exactly does that mean? It doesn't seem to convey anything that I am really able to sink my teeth into.

gib wrote: It just means that when we die, experience won't cease. This just follows from my belief that subjective experience accompanies all physical processes, including the decay of the body and the brain. I don't think we continue on as a person--with the same identity, memories, personality, etc.--but it isn't just an unconscious, blank state of nothingness. I know this has no bearing on the things that concern you--so you probably can't sink your teeth into it--but it is the answer to your question.


But "experience" as perceived by/reacted to from what/whose perspective? If not "I"?


It is possible to have experience without the sense of an "I". This is what they say the experience of deep meditation is like. Or to take a more mundane example, what it's like to be gripped by a good movie. When you're "zoned" into a good movie, that's all that exists for you in that moment--just the series of events in the movie, the emotions, the thrills, the excitement--and the fact that you're sitting there in your recliner is completely lost from your consciousness. This loss of the "I" will be permanent in the afterlife--there will be nothing to reconstruct it--and there will be no words to describe what the experience will be like (certainly not that of being gripped by a movie).

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote: I know. I've mainly been explaining my views in piecemeal fashion, primarily as answers to your question. This discussion isn't being designed to help you understand my views (though there's always my hope that it will happen eventually... to some degree in any case). If that were my aim, I'd direct you to my book. <-- I did design that with the aim of (hopefully) getting the reader to understand my view. And I did offer my book a couple times (maybe three?) in this thread, but other than that, I've only been giving you narrow vistas to my outlook (or perhaps, far too compacted summaries of the main points that underlay my outlook).


Admittedly, I engage in discussions of this sort precisely in order to determine the extent to which another point of view might succeed in yanking me up out of my dilemma. But I don't expect others to be motivated by that in turn.

Eventually the exchange will end [for any number of reasons] and we will get from it what we do.


It also explains a lot about why I'm not able to help you understand. As I'm fond of saying, we believe in the things that serve our purposes--which suggests that we will only understand that which serves our purposes. The feeling when something "clicks" in our heads--that moment of "Ah ha! Now I get it!"--is the feeling of "that works for me"--it is the mind "accepting" what was just proposed to it. If I am not able to demonstrate to you how my subjectivism or my theory of consciousness would be applied in a prong #2 situation, then I have not helped you serve your purpose, and thus it would most likely not make sense to you. Your mind "rejects" it.

Correct me if I'm wrong: you're trying to get me to answer the question: Why would you believe that? Right? If it can't be demonstrated--thus at least putting it to some use in prong #2 situations--why do you cling to it? <-- While there probably is a lot about my views which just aren't making sense to you, it seems like its also a question of demonstration as well.

* At the time of my writing that, the thread hadn't degraded into a debate about who's the better programmer--me or Trixie. *sigh* Well, there's always the potential it might get back on track. :lol:
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby phyllo » Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:29 pm

Iambig wrote :
And, as I often point out to folks like Phyllo, "for all practical purposes" they have me pinned to the mat. Why? Well, not only are they able to talk/think themselves into believing that they have chosen the right behaviors on this side of the grave, but, for some, they are able to connect the dots between virtue on this side of the grave and immortality and salvation on the other side of it.
It works pretty much the way that selecting a move works in the game of chess. One is compelled to move ... If one does not move , the time simply runs out and the game is over. Similarly, one is compelled to think and to select behaviors.

One selects a chess move based on one's understanding and evaluation of the position. A skilled player will select a good move more often than an unskilled player. He won't always pick a good move but he will pick it statistically more often.
In any given position, some moves are better than others. In some positions, there are clearly winning moves and clearly losing moves but in many positions, there are many reasonable or 'good' moves and many 'bad' moves.

Similarly, in life there are often many 'good' choices and many 'bad' choices.
Gib replied :
It's all a matter of personal integrity. Some are raised in a particular community, are told that this is what we believe and these are the values we stand for, and so it behooves them to try to preserve/defend their integrity as part of that community, to think of or research as many rational arguments as they can, or present their views in as objective/factual manner as they can, and to preserve as much respectability in the eyes of others as possible. After years and years of doing this, they condition their minds to become convinced that they've got it right, that it is self-evident, that they're not just thinking but "seeing"--much like your list of psychological steps the objectivist goes through to arrive at this point.

Really? How does that work in my case (since my name came up)?

I was born in a Communist country and lived there until I was 7 years old. Religion was officially discouraged. We never went to church. I got baptized but that's all ... probably because it may have meant something to my great-grandparents.
Later in Canada, we went to a Baptist church because our landlord went every Sunday and we tagged along. I have no recollection of anything that was said during the service ... it made that much impression on me.
My parents never talked about God, religion or Jesus. I still don't know what my father thinks about God ... if anything.
Everything that I think about God is based on my research as a young adult.

Yet, I'm stuck with this 'objectivist' stereotype label that Iambig dumps on me. He even sees me as some kind of evangelical Christian. LOL.
It says more about him than me.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby gib » Sun Jan 08, 2017 11:05 pm

phyllo wrote:
Gib replied :
It's all a matter of personal integrity. Some are raised in a particular community, are told that this is what we believe and these are the values we stand for, and so it behooves them to try to preserve/defend their integrity as part of that community, to think of or research as many rational arguments as they can, or present their views in as objective/factual manner as they can, and to preserve as much respectability in the eyes of others as possible. After years and years of doing this, they condition their minds to become convinced that they've got it right, that it is self-evident, that they're not just thinking but "seeing"--much like your list of psychological steps the objectivist goes through to arrive at this point.

Really? How does that work in my case (since my name came up)?

I was born in a Communist country and lived there until I was 7 years old. Religion was officially discouraged. We never went to church. I got baptized but that's all ... probably because it may have meant something to my great-grandparents.
Later in Canada, we went to a Baptist church because our landlord went every Sunday and we tagged along. I have no recollection of anything that was said during the service ... it made that much impression on me.
My parents never talked about God, religion or Jesus. I still don't know what my father thinks about God ... if anything.
Everything that I think about God is based on my research as a young adult.

Yet, I'm stuck with this 'objectivist' stereotype label that Iambig dumps on me. He even sees me as some kind of evangelical Christian. LOL.
It says more about him than me.


I'm always wary about participating in a discussion with others when the topic is someone else. That someone might read this! :o :lol:

I re-read that passage and, yes indeed, Biggy did mention you.

I chose my words carefully when I said "Some are raised in a particular community..." trying not to implicate anybody but I guess you were already implicated. Sorry about that.

If you're story is true (which sounds interesting) it means you're an exception to this. I'm assuming your point is that you had no integrity to uphold, at least not with respect to religion, so must have gotten into religion for other reasons.

What was the communist country you were born in?
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby phyllo » Sun Jan 08, 2017 11:26 pm

If you're story is true (which sounds interesting) it means you're an exception to this. I'm assuming your point is that you had no integrity to uphold, at least not with respect to religion, so must have gotten into religion for other reasons.
There is a tendency to wrap up objectivists into nice tidy packages.

But according to Iambig, an objectivist is anyone who thinks there are rights and wrongs ... which covers a huge range of people.

Is the discussion of objectivists anything more than a discussion of a stereotype?
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phyllo
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby iambiguous » Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:56 am

Same with freedom. In a wholly determined universe, how would the definition/meaning that one gives to it be anything other than the only definition/meaning that one ever could have given to it? I just get "stuck" here all the time.


gib wrote: Why? Is it the same problem as before? That beyond this point, there doesn't seem to be a way to verify the validity of such definitions/meanings? That they would seem rational and sensical even if, in reality, they weren't?


That whatever manner in which I respond to your point here is the only manner in which I ever could have responded to it. And calling that freedom.


gib wrote: And if it's not freedom, can we not proceed anyway? Obviously, there would be no way of knowing whether you've got anything right or wrong (short of the very logic that leads you on your path of philosophical thought), but I don't think this is a matter of freedom or determinism.


But "right" and "wrong" itself would be subsumed in what could only have unfolded in a determined universe. You think what you think here because there was never an actual option for you to think something else. So, what does it really mean then to discuss/debate whether you [or I] are right or wrong? Or which of us is making a "mistake"?

To wit:

If we were/are only verifying [or falsifying] that which we were/are only ever going to verify or falsify, what does it mean to speak of it as rational/valid? It is what it is. Period. Our mental reactions would seem to be just along for the ride.


gib wrote: Or, as I think, they're driving the process.


Again, this distinction can be made, sure. But if what unfolds in the relationship between "in my head" and "out in the world" is "only as it ever could have been" than "I" would seem to be only along for the ride.

Or so it seems to me.

And, again, my main interest here is not in how many eggs someone has but in the role of volition when the discussion shifts to the morality of consuming them. Are the herbivores and the carnivores among us merely but two more sets of dominoes falling over on cue?


gib wrote: Sure, we could say they are, but you can't tell me that when you do arithmetic in your head, there is no sense that you're following a rational thought process. And it's more than just that it seems like a rational thought process, but is validated as such... in the moment.


Yes, but among the vegetarians who insist that consuming animal flesh is immoral and among the meat eaters who insist that consuming animal flesh is natural, arithmetic is not the point, is it?

And yet in a wholly determined universe they might as well be, right?

In other words...

...what does it mean to go back and forth about this if the exchange itself is only as it ever could have been? The distinction would [of necessity] be subsumed in the "immutable laws of matter". Unless, of course, in the staggering mystery embedded in the "multiverse" itself, the laws of matter are not immutable at all.


gib wrote: Well, if it's a question of what we are to conclude from this, my answer, as I've been putting forward, is that we can conclude that, in principle at least, it's still possible that our thought processes are still rational despite (or because of) the universe being determined. Unless we are forced to rule out the possibility which I'm proposing--that the rationality which inheres in our thought processes is why things are determined--we must conclude that rationality in a determined universe is still a logical possibility. (And incidentally, that would answer the other question: What makes the world deterministic?).


Maybe, but I can't seem to tear myself away from the assumption that in a wholly determined universe [multiverse] you are writing and I am reading only what could ever have been. And once "I" get "stuck" there, there would appear to be no exit.

It all seems to get sucked down into a "metaphysical" frame of mind that [for now] is beyond the capacity of "mere mortals" to grasp...let alone to resolve.

Thus when you speculate that...

gib wrote: This only makes sense to me in a materialist context in which it is often "fuzzy" when we are talking about mind and when we are talking about matter. But to me, the distinction has never been difficult to make.


...I have no real understanding regarding what "on earth" you talking about here. It is as though you have been able to make a distinction between "mind" and "brain" "in your head" but [to me] you are unable to demonstrate how "for all practical purposes" this is relevant to human interactions that come into conflict over value judgments rooted in dasein out in a particular political economy.

Which, of course, is what I am always inclined to bring these discussions back to.

You suggest that...

gib wrote: ...I can bring this up in a conversation and hopefully have the effect I want to have on your mind.


Hopefully? You either will or you will not succeed here. But if it has nothing to do with actual volition, hope is no less an immutable component of what could only have ever been. In other words, somehow matter has been able evolve into a life form able in turn to react to the world subjunctively. But no less mechanically.

For the sake of argument, let's suppose that your conscious mind was able to arrive at this conclusion...freely. How would it still not be but a conclusion predicated on the assumptions that you make regarding what unfolds "inside your head"? It would still seem to come down to that which the neuroscientists are able to either verify or falsify.


gib wrote: What do you mean "come down to"? I don't need to know anything about the neurosciences to arrive at conclusions in my head--I just need introspection.


But aren't the neuroscientists intent on discovering whether "introspection" itself either is or is just one more inherent manifestion of the laws of matter?

Consider for example dreams. While we are having them ["in" them] we are absolutely certain that these things are actually happening to us. Instead, it is all just unfolding "in our head". Literally. Chemical and neurological transactions simulating a "reality". Thus in a wholly determined universe our waking reality would be the same. We "think" and we "feel" that we are calling the shots, but in actuality...

But In actuality, what...?

And the closer [neuroscientists] get to determinism [and that seems to be the direction they are heading] the closer we get to everything unfolding [in and/or out of our heads] only as they ever could have.


gib wrote: Right, but I still don't see why that makes such exchanges or such conclusions necessarily meaningless. Like I said, it's the meaning in our thoughts (or experiences generally) that makes the whole process deterministic.


If something is "meaningful" to us in a particular way only because it could not have been construed as meaningful in any other way...

Let's just say that you and I react to the existential implcations of this in differing ways.

gib wrote:The brain is an organ just like any other organ--but in my view, it is a mistaken to think that the scientific laws that determine how the brain functions also determine how we think--rather, it is the other way around (AFAIC)--what we think determines the way the brain functions.


Well, this sounds a lot [to me] like the ghost in the machine. And how on earth would we then translate that into a context in which one mind argues for the "natural right" of the unborn to live while another mind argues for the "political right" of women to kill it?


gib wrote: For me, it's more like a machine in the ghost--physical matter in (or being generated by) a mind; as for how that translates into the contexts you're interested in: first, understand what I'm saying, and then you draw the implications of that for the context you're interested in.


Okay, but, to me, this sounds as though you are suggesting something analogous to the "soul" --- to a "spiritual" realm that somehow transcends materialism. To the part where "idealism" meets "God".


gib wrote: You could put it that way, but keep in mind I'm not a dualist. It's convenient when I'm first explaining this stuff to others that I explain it in dualist-sounding terms (mind paralleling matter), but at the end of the day I'm a monist--I believe matter is an instance of mind... but yes, insofar as that goes, mind "transcends" matter.


All I can note here is the extent to which I am unable to grasp any substantive/substantial sense of what "on earth" you are talking about. Not once the conversation swings around to prong 2 discussions. Though I'd be curious to note the reactions of neuroscientist to something like this. What questions would they ask you?

In other words...

How am I to understand your point of view when I am convinced that your point of view is largely an intellectual contraption predicatecd on a particular set of premises that you believe "in your head". How can you demonstrate to me that, with respect to human interactions that come into conflict over value judgments, your speculations are relevant?


gib wrote: I don't know if they're relevant (as I've said before), but you shouldn't need to think of it as anything more than an intellectual contraption just to understand. Does an atheist need to think of "God" as anything more than an intellectual contraption to understand the theist's point of view?


An atheist is able to note the manner in which a belief in God is manifested in any number of actual human behaviors. Behaviors that precipitate actual consequences in human interactions. After all, in discussing conflicting goods [as I often do] a belief in God is one particular font that "mere mortals" can use to justify how they do behave.

And it is in this context that I am trying to grasp the significance of the points that you are making.

gib wrote: I don't believe science will get us any closer to the ultimate answer to these things. Science will bring us closer to the ultimate physical causes of things, but in my mind, this will only ever be material representations of subjective experiences (not always ours). The answers we're interest in lie in these subjective experiences.


The irony here being that a thousand years from now, scientists will be discussing much that we think we know is true about matter today in ways that we cannot [perhaps] even imagine. But how much closer will the philosophers be then from the philosophers today are from the philosophers back in the time of Plato?

Will their conjectures then be basically more of the same: things that are believed to be true [by and large] "in their heads". "Realities" that are still largely embedded in "worlds of words"?


gib wrote: So long as philosophers cannot deliver definitive results, like the scientist can, there will always be ebbing and waning between different philosophical positions, much like there is in politics between left-wing and right-wing.


Yes, but the leftists and the rightists can wrap their words around actual events that are unfolding out in a particular world. And there are folks here who insist that their political narratives are in sync philosophically or theologically with the way things really are. For example, pertaining to Donald Trump's upcoming inauguration.

I am just trying to get closer to understanding how your own set of assumptions here might be conveyed to those on either side of the divide. In my opinion, I have no problems conveying my own narrative to them. It revolves around dasein, conflicting value judgments and the role of power out in this particular world.

iambiguous wrote:If philosophers were able to concoct an "analysis/argument" enabling both parties to concur on the optimal reaction, one party may still react to the contrary, but at least it could be demonstrated/shown that this reaction was [from the perspective of rational human beings] the wrong one. Or at least not the optimal one.


gib wrote: Sure, but if you're asking what I, as a subjectivist, would do in prong #2 situations, and particularly how I would use my subjectivism in such situations, there is a very clear answer. I won't necessarily answer the question: how ought I react in such situations, but I thought your inquiries were just your method of gathering insights that may get you closer to an ultimate solution out of your dilemma. I know my answers fall far from the mark, but so long as you keep asking your questions, I will answer them honestly.


Here things get particularly fuzzy for me. Why? Because, with respect to how I imagine [here and now] my own reaction to these situations, I am not able to imagine your reaction clearly at all. In other words, I am not able to imagine how you would react in such a way that those on conflicted sides of any particular moral conflagration would grasp "for all practical purposes" the point you are making.

In other words, it may not be necessary for you to react, but...but some won't take kindly to that. For the objectivists, you are either "one of us" or you are not. What I do is to attack objectivism itself. It's just that the only alternative I have to offer is my dilemma. And even I can clearly see how this might be construed as the "cure" that is worse than the disease. I am just not able to grasp them reacting to what you might tell them. And that is because "for all practical purposes" out in the world of actual existential conflicts I am still unable to comprehend what it is that you are saying.


gib wrote: And I've explained why: the core tenets around which my subjectivism revolves don't really connect directly to the typical kinds of conflict that arise in most prong #2 situations. It's like the example I gave earlier about the existence of intelligent life on other planets: some may have a strong opinion that intelligent life does exist on other planets, some may have strong opinions that it doesn't--but when was the last time you read headlines depicting some serious conflict between pro-intelligent-life advocates and con-intelligent-life advocates. Could we chock it up to the possibility that some controversies just don't have prominent rolls to play in typical prong #2 situations?


And yet if Carl Sagan's Contact ever becomes a reality, that extant event will trigger all manner of controversy regarding what we "ought" to do in the face of a civilization far, far more advanced than our own. If they came to me I would note all of the reasonable points/assessments made from various sides, and [no doubt] tumble down into my dilemma. My point however being that there is no one objective [optimal] resolution. Instead, these things are always embedded in conflicting goods, perceived subjectively/subjunctively from conflicting points of view.

How would you respond to them? I suspect however that to the extent your discussions with other here "don't go much beyond intellectual debates and disagreements", is the extent to which my own frame of mind is [subjectively] pointing in another direction. I'm not arguing that mine takes precedence over yours, only that our interests and motivations in exploring these things are different.

Classic objectivism. Both react to the Trump victory as they do because each is convinced that Trump comes closest to embodying their own political prejudices.

Only they are not seen as prejudices at all are they? Their own moral and political [and religious] values are construed instead as reflective of the whole, objective truth. Trump won because in a rational world he ought to have won.


gib wrote: This relates back to what I was saying earlier: about how the mind will hijack reason in order to serve personal agendas. Turd, Uccisore, and their ilk, are committed conservatists, and so it doesn't serve their purpose to put their basic assumptions into question. For them, it is more beneficial to treat them as self-evident objective facts and move on from there. To take your points seriously only works against their objectives and exploits their weaknesses.


Bingo. Or perhaps one day one or the other [or both] will actually set aside their dogmatic huffing and puffing and engage in a civilized and intelligent discussion of these relationships.

I recently watched a documentary in which it was noted that an octopus can reconfigure both the color and the texture of its body to perfectly match its environment. How then does it's brain know to do this? Now, if human beings were able to invent a technology that duplicated this, we can imagine our own brain noting a new environment and then choosing the appropriate color and texture schemes. But how does the octopus brain [or a chameleon's] accomplish the same?

Well, perhaps [in a wholly determined universe] there is really no difference at all.


gib wrote: I wouldn't think so. What you're talking about is the mechanics of the brain--how the brain takes input from it's environment (in the form of electric and chemical signals), how it processes it through a complex network of neurons, and how it outputs the results back to the body so as to engage it in some kind of action (again in the form of electric and chemical signals). In that respect, I would think both human brains and those of all other animals work the same.


The octopus is conscious of its environment. But its behaviors seem to revolve wholly around biology. Instinct. It changes color/texture in order to defend itself against predators. But I suspect that, concomittantly, it is not thinking "it's not moral for sharks to hunt us down." It's all might makes right, survival of the fittest. Thus to what extent is it really any different from our own species? And how do the mechanisms at play in the brain of an octupus differ from our own? With octopi there are no historical and cultural references. There is no equivalent of "nurture". Or an indocrination in the ways of the community. Much less a role for philosophy.

How then is the "causual account" experienced by the octopus very much the same and very much different from out own? It's one thing for a mind to think -- to think self-consciously -- "I have the capacity to camouflage my body. I see that I am entering a very different environment. It's time to make the necessary adjustments." And another thing altogether for a brain to make these adjustments more or less on automatic pilot.

Or, in a wholly determined universe, is that distinction more an illusion than anything else?

What I assume is that oblivion is just around the corner for me. What I assume is that I/"I" will soon be reconfiguring back to star stuff. That, in other words, both prong #1 and prong #2 will soon become moot for I/"I" for, among other things, all of eternity.

So, sure, if someone is able to demonstrate to me why this is not necessarily true at all, I'm all ears.

Now, how, in your own mind/brain have you actually accomplished that? How is your frame of mind not just one more intellectual contraption comprised basically of the manner in which you define the meaning of the words you use in your "analysis"...in your own particular set of assumptions?

I'm not saying that you haven't accomplished this...or that you can't...only that "here and now" I'm not convinced.


gib wrote: What I'm confused about is why you think that the admission that this is all in my head means that it can't be real. I'm not saying I've proven it, or that I believe it necessarily must be true, just that I haven't ruled out the possibility.


Because, if the discussion revolves around the possibility of life after death, there is a world of difference between someone telling me what he thinks is true about it -- that it does in fact exist -- "in his head" and what he can demonstrate as true for all rational men and women. Just as there is a world of difference [re prong #2] between someone who hasn't ruled out the possibility that abortion is either moral or immoral from someone who insists that if you don't rule out what he has ruled out "in his head" you are wrong. Words here are either connected empirically/materially/phenomenologically, etc., with the world or they are not.

Thus an analysis of this sort...

gib wrote: Now one thing I can't understand is how one can have vivid experiences right in the thick of "here and now" and not see reality right in the midst of those experiences, how one can't see that reality is "completely exposed". Or in the case of thought, how one can't see the "logic" of one's own reasoning right in the midst of those very thoughts (again, not necessarily up to the specs a professional logician might expect, but at least a kind of verification of why one believes what one thinks). I'm thinking, of course, of the Cartesians and the Kantians, those who regard perception and experience with a strong skepticism, those who believe reality is to be found (if it can be found at all) outside experience. <-- I recognize a similarity between this and your skeptical position on the meaningfulness of thought in a deterministic universe, or your recognition of thought and ideas as intellectual contraptions. Sure, it's an intellectual contraption, but I think we in the West are still tainted by Cartesianism and Kantianism in the sense that we take this to imply that it is unreal, that any reality that is to be found is to be found outside these intellectual contraptions. This is why I find no problem in admitting that my subjectivism is an intellectual contraption without feeling that it is therefore false. My whole view revolves around the fact that any time we are confronted with reality at all--the whole reason we know about a reality--is that it comes embedded in our experiences.

Obviously, this doesn't mean that any intellectual contraption we whip up "in our heads" is by default real. I personally don't experience my subjectivist beliefs as inescapably true, just as metaphysical possibilities that neither I nor anyone else has been able, to my satisfaction, to rule out. I suspect that most people experience their more abstract/philosophical/metaphysical thoughts and beliefs in that way--as possibilities only--and when we find some, like the objectivists around here, boasting about the "facticity" of their views, about the objectively proven reality of their views, I see this as a psychological move serving some agenda (i.e. if you present your views as objective, as matters of fact, you're essentially confronting others with a much more challenging front). This is not always a trick, and indeed there are some beliefs and views that genuinely are experienced as objective fact (for example, one's birthday), but sometimes the presentation of our views as objective fact is more that--presentation--and not a true reflection of how they feel "in our heads".


...is just that: an analysis.

My own interest still revolves around the relevance of these observations as they pertain to actual human social, political and economic interactions. The objectivists here will provide us with words -- a world of words -- that is rooted in God or Reason or Nature. What would interest me though is a discussion between you and I and someone like Uccisore/PK [sans the huffing and puffing] relating to that which motivates us to behave as we do when these berhaviors come into conflict around value judgments.

iambiguous wrote:In any event, all I can do is to explore "frames of mind" that think about these relationships -- these existential relationships -- differently than I do. And they will either nudge me in a different direction or they won't.

And, as I often point out to folks like Phyllo, "for all practical purposes" they have me pinned to the mat. Why? Well, not only are they able to talk/think themselves into believing that they have chosen the right behaviors on this side of the grave, but, for some, they are able to connect the dots between virtue on this side of the grave and immortality and salvation on the other side of it.


gib wrote: It's all a matter of personal integrity. Some are raised in a particular community, are told that this is what we believe and these are the values we stand for, and so it behooves them to try to preserve/defend their integrity as part of that community, to think of or research as many rational arguments as they can, or present their views in as objective/factual manner as they can, and to preserve as much respectability in the eyes of others as possible. After years and years of doing this, they condition their minds to become convinced that they've got it right, that it is self-evident, that they're not just thinking but "seeing"--much like your list of psychological steps the objectivist goes through to arrive at this point.


In other words [from my perspective] "personal integrity" is no less an existential contraption. There are aspects of it that one is, in fact, able to defend as true objectively and there are aspects that reflect merely subjective opinions -- things believed to be true "in your head" that may or may not be demonstrable to others.

gib wrote: It is possible to have experience without the sense of an "I". This is what they say the experience of deep meditation is like. Or to take a more mundane example, what it's like to be gripped by a good movie. When you're "zoned" into a good movie, that's all that exists for you in that moment--just the series of events in the movie, the emotions, the thrills, the excitement--and the fact that you're sitting there in your recliner is completely lost from your consciousness. This loss of the "I" will be permanent in the afterlife--there will be nothing to reconstruct it--and there will be no words to describe what the experience will be like (certainly not that of being gripped by a movie).


On the other hand, nothing quite brings you -- as "I" -- back to reality as in finding yourself in a situation where how you construe reality is challenged by another such that in behaving as you want to [or as you think a rational man or women ought to] the other seeks to impose his or her own sense of reality instead.

That's what I always come back to: How ought I to live?

And how and why did I arrive at the particular assumptions that I champion "here and now". And that's when I tumble over into this:

If I am always of the opinion that 1] my own values are rooted in dasein and 2] that there are no objective values "I" can reach, then every time I make one particular moral/political leap, I am admitting that I might have gone in the other direction...or that I might just as well have gone in the other direction. Then "I" begins to fracture and fragment to the point there is nothing able to actually keep it all together. At least not with respect to choosing sides morally and politically.

And the only viable option I then have is to explore the narratives of those who are not entangled in it.

And thus...

I engage in discussions of this sort precisely in order to determine the extent to which another point of view might succeed in yanking me up out of my dilemma.


gib wrote: As I'm fond of saying, we believe in the things that serve our purposes--which suggests that we will only understand that which serves our purposes.


Yes, but from my frame of mind a purpose is no less an existential contraption.

gib wrote: The feeling when something "clicks" in our heads--that moment of "Ah ha! Now I get it!"--is the feeling of "that works for me"--it is the mind "accepting" what was just proposed to it. If I am not able to demonstrate to you how my subjectivism or my theory of consciousness would be applied in a prong #2 situation, then I have not helped you serve your purpose, and thus it would most likely not make sense to you. Your mind "rejects" it.


Given the enormous complexity of human psychological interactions -- re the conscious, the subconscious and the unconscious components -- intertwined with Reptilian brain functions going all the way back to however [and why ever] "the minds" of men and women came into existence [given the evolution of life itself], it may well be [ultimately] futile to grasp the actual, objective relationship bnetween prong #1 and prong #2 communication. We can only do our best in trying to bridge the gaps.

gib wrote: Correct me if I'm wrong: you're trying to get me to answer the question: Why would you believe that? Right? If it can't be demonstrated--thus at least putting it to some use in prong #2 situations--why do you cling to it?


Yes, that is now basically what draws me to philosophy "here and now": ethics and mortality.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby iambiguous » Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:33 pm

phyllo wrote:
Iambig wrote :
And, as I often point out to folks like Phyllo, "for all practical purposes" they have me pinned to the mat. Why? Well, not only are they able to talk/think themselves into believing that they have chosen the right behaviors on this side of the grave, but, for some, they are able to connect the dots between virtue on this side of the grave and immortality and salvation on the other side of it.
It works pretty much the way that selecting a move works in the game of chess. One is compelled to move ... If one does not move , the time simply runs out and the game is over. Similarly, one is compelled to think and to select behaviors.


Note to others:

Again: What extraordinary insight of his am I missing here? How do the choices that we make in a game of chess work "pretty much the same" as the choices that we make when our value judgments are challenged by others on this side of the grave, knowing [as many religionists claim] that these choices will then be judged by God, an entity able to grant us immortality, salvation and divine justice?

Chess is just a game. The match [the conflict] revolves around clear-cut rules and the moves that we make either result in the chessman's equivalent of Heaven [a victory] or Hell [a loss].

The result clearly and unequivocally differentiates good choices from bad.

phyllo wrote: I was born in a Communist country and lived there until I was 7 years old. Religion was officially discouraged. We never went to church. I got baptized but that's all ... probably because it may have meant something to my great-grandparents.
Later in Canada, we went to a Baptist church because our landlord went every Sunday and we tagged along. I have no recollection of anything that was said during the service ... it made that much impression on me.
My parents never talked about God, religion or Jesus. I still don't know what my father thinks about God ... if anything.
Everything that I think about God is based on my research as a young adult.


How then is that [an existential snapshot of dasein] not but another rendition of this:

1] I was raised in the belly of the working class beast. My family/community were very conservative. Abortion was a sin.
2] I was drafted into the Army and while on my "tour of duty" in Vietnam I happened upon politically radical folks who reconfigured my thinking about abortion. And God and lots of other things.
3] after I left the Army, I enrolled in college and became further involved in left wing politics. It was all the rage back then. I became a feminist. I married a feminist. I wholeheartedly embraced a woman's right to choose.
4] then came the calamity with Mary and John. I loved them both but their engagement was foundering on the rocks that was Mary's choice to abort their unborn baby.
5] back and forth we all went. I supported Mary but I could understand the points that John was making. I could understand the arguments being made on both sides. John was right from his side and Mary was right from hers.
6] I read William Barrett's Irrational Man and came upon his conjectures regarding "rival goods".
7] Then, over time, I abandoned an objectivist frame of mind that revolved around Marxism/feminism. Instead, I became more and more embedded in existentialism. And then as more years passed I became an advocate for moral nihilism.


The distinction seems to revolve around your claim that in "researching" God and religion as a "young adult", you were able to obviate that component which I call "dasein".

You thought through these things and arrived at what you construe to be the optimal frame of mind. In other words, theological/philosophical assumptions about God and religion that [it would seem] all reasonable/rational men and women are obligated to share.

Well, okay, then demonstrate how and why what you think about God and religion "in your head" -- in your head "here and now" -- is in fact the optimal frame of mind.

Given all that is at stake here.

But do so by integrating your own thinking here into your own behaviors when your assumptions about God and religion come into conflict with the assumptions of others pertaining to very different Gods and very different religions.

And, as this pertains to a moral and political conflagration that we are all familiar with.

phyllo wrote: Yet, I'm stuck with this 'objectivist' stereotype label that Iambig dumps on me. He even sees me as some kind of evangelical Christian. LOL.
It says more about him than me.


On the contrary, for months now I have been trying to persuade you to bring your God down to earth. As this relates to your perceived fate beyond the grave. Which perforce relates to the choices that you make on this side of it. The latest:

How about you?

What "here and now" do you believe your own fate to be "beyond"? How is this related to your current belief in God? And what of those who reject your frame of mind -- the stuff that you claim to believe or know to be true "in your head"? What is to be their own fate?

phyllo wrote: I don't know how many times I'm supposed to say "I don't know", "It's not my decision", "It's not under my control" .
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby iambiguous » Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:46 pm

phyllo wrote:There is a tendency to wrap up objectivists into nice tidy packages.

But according to Iambig, an objectivist is anyone who thinks there are rights and wrongs ... which covers a huge range of people.


No, according to iambig, an objectivist is someone who thinks the manner in which they differentiate rights and wrongs [re theology, philosophy, nature or, if you're Sam Harris, science] is the optimal [or the only] manner in which all rational and virtuous folks are obligated to make that distinction.

True, this still covers a wide range of people. But that is only because there are literally hundreds upon hundreds of moral and political cliques and claques "out in the world" that do in fact insist that they and they alone have actually accomplished this task.

Really, just ask them.

Indeed, you can start with the ones right here. And not just the Kids.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby gib » Sat Feb 04, 2017 1:15 am

iambiguous wrote:But "right" and "wrong" itself would be subsumed in what could only have unfolded in a determined universe. You think what you think here because there was never an actual option for you to think something else. So, what does it really mean then to discuss/debate whether you [or I] are right or wrong? Or which of us is making a "mistake"?

If we were/are only verifying [or falsifying] that which we were/are only ever going to verify or falsify, what does it mean to speak of it as rational/valid? It is what it is. Period. Our mental reactions would seem to be just along for the ride.


gib wrote:Or, as I think, they're driving the process.


Again, this distinction can be made, sure. But if what unfolds in the relationship between "in my head" and "out in the world" is "only as it ever could have been" than "I" would seem to be only along for the ride.


I'm saying this doesn't follow. That the 'I' is only going along for the ride is not the only possible scenario. The 'I' may actually be the main force making things happen, thinking the thoughts it is thinking, feeling the way it feels, only that it wouldn't truly be doing so freely given a deterministic universe.

Freedom to me, the way we experience it, isn't really action coming out of a causal void--it's more the lack of experience of what causes precede you in the causal chain of events. It's more intention forming, goal setting, without giving any attention to what's forcing you to form those intentions or to set those goals.

But the idea that we have no way of verifying the rationality or the meaningfulness of our thoughts and actions just because the most basic verifications are "only as they ever could have been" hearkens back to Cartesian reasoning. It's not just skepticism over the world of our senses, but skepticism over rational thought. Descartes would have us question the seemingly self-evident thought: all circles are round. He argues that we have no way of ruling out the possibility that this is really delusion, or an evil demon intent on deceiving us. But if we have to question the self-evident truth of this thought--self-evident on its face--then what's to stop us from questioning any answer to this questioning? Suppose we were somehow able to get a satisfactory answer to this question--or your question about how can we trust the validity of our thoughts if they are only as they ever could have been--how would that answer not be subject to the same line of questioning, for the same reasons? It would seem, therefore, that such a question is insoluble.

But what I like to point out is that all this goes away the minute you refocus on the original sense of validity, the original rationality and meaning that lead you to the thought in the first place, the self-evident truth of the thought that all circles are round. You can just see that they are. You either accept the original sense of validity or you fall prey to an infinite regress of questioning from which their is no escape. What I'm offering with my theory is a reason to accept the former. It requires understanding the relation between mind and matter inversely to conventional wisdom--that being the idea that mind is an artifact of matter--such that mind is the foundation of all things and matter is an artifact of mind--but once you wrap your head around that, you see a way to simply trust the original sense of validity that comes with what we take to be our rational thought processes (among other kinds of mental processes).

iambiguous wrote:Yes, but among the vegetarians who insist that consuming animal flesh is immoral and among the meat eaters who insist that consuming animal flesh is natural, arithmetic is not the point, is it?


No, not in that scenario. It's quite a leap to go from the rationality of arithmetic to the moral prejudices of vegetarians and meat eaters. But what I'm saying is this: whatever it is that we've identified in rational thought that seems to hold it all together--call it logic, call it necessity, call it reason--it is the same basic thing that holds an apparently subjective and biased view together such as: eating meat is wrong. Philosophers over the ages have been able to demonstrate the necessity of logic, that is of rational thought, because they have been able to extract the rules of logic from rational thought--for example, modus ponens, DeMorgan's law, excluded middle, etc.--whereas this has proven to be exceedingly more elusive when it comes to other mental states, mental states much more invested in emotion, personal interest, background experiences, etc.--and for good reason: these mental states tend to be much more complicated and variegated across individuals. It's much like trying to study the laws of nature by observing a simple event like a rock falling vs. a highly complex event like a leaf blowing in the wind. The vegetarian may not be able to demonstrate why his views are the only objectively valid views to be had--in the vein you would press him to demonstrate, in the vein that all rational men and women would be obligated to observe--but he will strive to extract some set of rational arguments for his views as best he can. But in the end, these sorts of views are steeped in mental states whose "logic" is far more difficult to extract and demonstrate in such a way as to make them undeniable to all rational men and women. We can nevertheless "feel" the logic of such mental states in the way they seem to justify, or underlie, the conclusions we come to and the actions they illicit. We say: I feel that eating meat is wrong, and that feeling seems to justify protesting against meat eaters. It's only after the fact that we try to come up with rational arguments as a means of attempting to persuade others.

iambiguous wrote:Maybe, but I can't seem to tear myself away from the assumption that in a wholly determined universe [multiverse] you are writing and I am reading only what could ever have been. And once "I" get "stuck" there, there would appear to be no exit.


Well, the "maybe" indicates to me that you at least understand what I'm talking about (sort of, kind of, not really). So I take it the issue here is that you have no way of proving it?

iambiguous wrote:...I have no real understanding regarding what "on earth" you talking about here. It is as though you have been able to make a distinction between "mind" and "brain" "in your head" but [to me] you are unable to demonstrate how "for all practical purposes" this is relevant to human interactions that come into conflict over value judgments rooted in dasein out in a particular political economy.


Not to your satisfaction, that's clear, but notwithstanding the numerous examples I have given for how my subjectivism might tie into real prong #2 scenarios, I have also disclaimed numerous times that it isn't built to serve a purpose in prong #2 scenarios.

iambiguous wrote:Hopefully? You either will or you will not succeed here. But if it has nothing to do with actual volition, hope is no less an immutable component of what could only have ever been. In other words, somehow matter has been able evolve into a life form able in turn to react to the world subjunctively. But no less mechanically.


What does that have to do with hope? In a deterministic universe, where the throw of a dice is determined, I can still hope that I don't get snake eyes at a craps table.

iambiguous wrote:But aren't the neuroscientists intent on discovering whether "introspection" itself either is or is just one more inherent manifestion of the laws of matter?

Maybe. I think for sure they expect it to be a manifestation of the laws of matter. But I'm surprised. By now you should know what my response would be. I would say that whatever laws they uncover, it is the act of introspection that decides those laws.

^ I'm not saying mind has the ability to thwart those laws, or that it is any sense "free", just that the relation between mind and the laws of matter are the reverse of how conventional wisdom would have it.


Consider for example dreams. While we are having them ["in" them] we are absolutely certain that these things are actually happening to us. Instead, it is all just unfolding "in our head". Literally. Chemical and neurological transactions simulating a "reality". Thus in a wholly determined universe our waking reality would be the same. We "think" and we "feel" that we are calling the shots, but in actuality...

But In actuality, what...?


In actuality, it is determined by the laws of mind instead of the laws of matter... but they're still laws.

iambiguous wrote:If something is "meaningful" to us in a particular way only because it could not have been construed as meaningful in any other way...

Let's just say that you and I react to the existential implcations of this in differing ways.


I know. :D

iambiguous wrote:All I can note here is the extent to which I am unable to grasp any substantive/substantial sense of what "on earth" you are talking about. Not once the conversation swings around to prong 2 discussions.


Despite my numerous attempt to do so. I think the problem here is that you need an objectivist for that. You're attempting to engage with me using the same method you've used with all the objectivists you've encountered in the past, and you're finding it doesn't work with a subjectivist.

iambiguous wrote:An atheist is able to note the manner in which a belief in God is manifested in any number of actual human behaviors. Behaviors that precipitate actual consequences in human interactions. After all, in discussing conflicting goods [as I often do] a belief in God is one particular font that "mere mortals" can use to justify how they do behave.

Right, I forgot about that.

And it is in this context that I am trying to grasp the significance of the points that you are making.


Well, so far, three attempts to bring my views into this context for you come to mind: 1) the alternative to the "traditional objectivist approach" which I compared to reverse psychology, 2) the controversies surrounding drug use, and 3) my suggestion that you search for posts I've made in which I get into debates over my subjectivist views with others here at ILP. I believe we agreed that 1) could be chocked up to "moderation, negotiation, and compromise" which obviously doesn't suffice as the way out of your dilemma for you. I don't recall what the consensus was on 2) but I don't think you found it satisfactory either. As for 3), well, you tell me if you pursued that.

^ All that despite my ample warnings that my theories don't have any direct implications for prong #2 scenarios.

In this discussion, we come back to this point time and time again. And I will repeat what I always say at this point: perhaps we should drop the discussion. If you're only exclusively interested in how my views pan out in prong #2 situations, and I have to strive to come up with an appropriate response to you, then maybe we ought to call a spade a spade: I got nothing.

I usually follow that up with: but I'm still interested in general philosophical discussion anyway, so if you wish to continue, we can... but lately I've been thinking it's high time this discussion came to a close. I started out inquiring into your philosophy, your methods, your reasons for engaging with others, and why it seems to leave others with a bad taste in their mouths. <-- I think I got my answers to that. Not that it's left a bad taste in my mouth, but I think I understand where they're coming from.

So anyway, will continue, but with a eye for ways to bring this discussion to a close.

iambiguous wrote:Yes, but the leftists and the rightists can wrap their words around actual events that are unfolding out in a particular world. And there are folks here who insist that their political narratives are in sync philosophically or theologically with the way things really are. For example, pertaining to Donald Trump's upcoming inauguration.

I am just trying to get closer to understanding how your own set of assumptions here might be conveyed to those on either side of the divide. In my opinion, I have no problems conveying my own narrative to them. It revolves around dasein, conflicting value judgments and the role of power out in this particular world.


From the looks of it so far, your approach seems to be an inquisitive one--you seem bent on posing the question: how are you not wrapped up in the same dilemma as I am? This is not quite the same approach as most moral objectivists, the ones who engage in what I'm calling the "traditional objectivist approach"--that is, the approach of arguing the best case they can as to why they are right on particular moral matters and their opposition is wrong.

My own views don't compel me to preach my own morality to others, nor do they compel me to inquire as to how others are not caught up in the dilemma of prong #2 (or prong #1).

(Perhaps an attitude of "not preaching" might be what my views and values compel me to practice <-- I can see that stemming from my subjectivism and relativism, or any form of subjectivism or relativism for that matter.)

This is not to say I wouldn't react if I ended up in a prong #2 situation--if I become the target of persecution in some way--and if I were to deem it effective to try to convince my adversary that their treatment of me, or whatever views and values are compelling them to persecute me, is wrong, I might try in whatever way I can. I can't guarantee I would fall back on my theory of consciousness as my main source--I might just use a bit of common sense or conventional assumptions and values shared by most people--and I'm not even sure my reasonings would have a moral tinge or not... but I've explained all this before.

iambiguous wrote:And yet if Carl Sagan's Contact ever becomes a reality, that extant event will trigger all manner of controversy regarding what we "ought" to do in the face of a civilization far, far more advanced than our own. If they came to me I would note all of the reasonable points/assessments made from various sides, and [no doubt] tumble down into my dilemma. My point however being that there is no one objective [optimal] resolution. Instead, these things are always embedded in conflicting goods, perceived subjectively/subjunctively from conflicting points of view.

How would you respond to them?


Who? The pro/anti-intelligent life advocates? I'd probably side with the pro-intelligent life advocates. It just seems to me, with a universe so big and vast as ours, the odds are just in favor of intelligent life existing on other planets besides Earth. <-- But note that this has nothing to do with my theory of consciousness.

^ Again, I'm not saying I don't have ways of reacting in prong #2 situations, just that I can't think of very many that are rooted directly in my theory of consciousness.

^ Maybe the problem here is that we're focusing exclusively on my theory of consciousness. It was brought in to explain why I'm a subjectivist, which in turn was brought in because it seemed we had something in common--we are both non-objectivists. But if you're just looking for how I would react to a particular prong #2 situation, maybe bring one up and I'll do my best to tell you how I think I would react (off the top of my head). <-- Then perhaps we can trace that back to a morality or an "ism" I feel strongly about. I would think, however, that it wouldn't be anything out of the ordinary, certainly not the key to resolving your dilemma, and you could probably subject it to your usualy battery of inquiries.

iambiguous wrote:The octopus is conscious of its environment. But its behaviors seem to revolve wholly around biology. Instinct. It changes color/texture in order to defend itself against predators. But I suspect that, concomittantly, it is not thinking "it's not moral for sharks to hunt us down." It's all might makes right, survival of the fittest. Thus to what extent is it really any different from our own species? And how do the mechanisms at play in the brain of an octopus differ from our own? With octopi there are no historical and cultural references. There is no equivalent of "nurture". Or an indocrination in the ways of the community. Much less a role for philosophy.

How then is the "causual account" experienced by the octopus very much the same and very much different from out own? It's one thing for a mind to think -- to think self-consciously -- "I have the capacity to camouflage my body. I see that I am entering a very different environment. It's time to make the necessary adjustments." And another thing altogether for a brain to make these adjustments more or less on automatic pilot.

Or, in a wholly determined universe, is that distinction more an illusion than anything else?


Yes, I'd say it's more or less illusory--just degrees of complexity and predictability.

What you're getting at with the octopus is what I call "epistemic awareness"--to be contrasted with "experiential awareness"--it is not epistemically aware of why it changes colors, it has no knowledge of the sort. I don't think it even has the capacity for knowledge, or any form of cogitation. It can't think anything, let alone "well, time to camouflage." But the mind consists of more than just thoughts and knowledge. Pain, for example, is an experience that can only exist for sentient creatures, and to react to pain requires no knowledge or capacity to think.

The point I'm making with the octopus is that it has some kind of experience in response to cues from its environment--not knowledge per se, not thought, not necessarily any kind of experience humans are familiar with--but it's some kind of experience the quality of which illicit the specific behavior of camouflaging. We may not be able to imagine it, but if we could, we'd say "Ah, if I were experiencing that, I'd want to camouflage too."

And this can all happen in sync with basic mechanics and the laws of matter.

iambiguous wrote:Because, if the discussion revolves around the possibility of life after death, there is a world of difference between someone telling me what he thinks is true about it -- that it does in fact exist -- "in his head" and what he can demonstrate as true for all rational men and women. Just as there is a world of difference [re prong #2] between someone who hasn't ruled out the possibility that abortion is either moral or immoral from someone who insists that if you don't rule out what he has ruled out "in his head" you are wrong. Words here are either connected empirically/materially/phenomenologically, etc., with the world or they are not.


And yet if you keep pressing me to answer the same round of questions--what is my "ism", how do I defend it in prong #2 situations, how does it free me from the kind of dilemma you find yourself in, etc.--I will have to give the same answers. At some point, you will have to rest content.

iambiguous wrote:My own interest still revolves around the relevance of these observations as they pertain to actual human social, political and economic interactions. The objectivists here will provide us with words -- a world of words -- that is rooted in God or Reason or Nature. What would interest me though is a discussion between you and I and someone like Uccisore/PK [sans the huffing and puffing] relating to that which motivates us to behave as we do when these berhaviors come into conflict around value judgments.


As interesting as that might be, it still depends on which value judgments are raised--whether or not they touch on things close to this or that particular "ism" I may or may not hold.

iambiguous wrote:On the other hand, nothing quite brings you -- as "I" -- back to reality as in finding yourself in a situation where how you construe reality is challenged by another such that in behaving as you want to [or as you think a rational man or women ought to] the other seeks to impose his or her own sense of reality instead.

Well, it certainly imposes the psychological aspects of your views and values--as in, maybe this is all in my head.

That's what I always come back to: How ought I to live?

And how and why did I arrive at the particular assumptions that I champion "here and now". And that's when I tumble over into this:

If I am always of the opinion that 1] my own values are rooted in dasein and 2] that there are no objective values "I" can reach, then every time I make one particular moral/political leap, I am admitting that I might have gone in the other direction...or that I might just as well have gone in the other direction. Then "I" begins to fracture and fragment to the point there is nothing able to actually keep it all together. At least not with respect to choosing sides morally and politically.

And the only viable option I then have is to explore the narratives of those who are not entangled in it.


I hope you're not looking at me because, as I said before, I'm just as entangled in it as you, though I don't think I feel nearly as much angst over it as you do.

Maybe the key is to put more faith into your instincts that your intellect. If your intellect is only ever coming up with existential contraptions, then you can't really "figure out" how you ought to live--not in an abstract, analytical way. But we are all built with instincts that compel us to behave in ways that, more or less, guide us towards the basic things we need in life: food, comfort, friendship, health, dignity. <-- That's what we "ought" to strive for. Too much thought can sometimes stiffle that. Best to leave things to their own devices.

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote:As I'm fond of saying, we believe in the things that serve our purposes--which suggests that we will only understand that which serves our purposes.


Yes, but from my frame of mind a purpose is no less an existential contraption.


So then it should be easy for you to change.

iambiguous wrote:Given the enormous complexity of human psychological interactions -- re the conscious, the subconscious and the unconscious components -- intertwined with Reptilian brain functions going all the way back to however [and why ever] "the minds" of men and women came into existence [given the evolution of life itself], it may well be [ultimately] futile to grasp the actual, objective relationship bnetween prong #1 and prong #2 communication. We can only do our best in trying to bridge the gaps.


Not sure what you mean by this. What do you mean by prong #1 and prong #2 "communication"? I think we have a common understanding of what "prong #2" means given the ease with which we seem to be able to toss that term back and forth to each other, but we haven't talked much about prong #1, and I don't think you quite understand what I mean by that term (which itself is borrowed from what I gathered you meant by your "dilemma").

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote:Correct me if I'm wrong: you're trying to get me to answer the question: Why would you believe that? Right? If it can't be demonstrated--thus at least putting it to some use in prong #2 situations--why do you cling to it?


Yes, that is now basically what draws me to philosophy "here and now": ethics and mortality.


So you want me to answer the question: why do you cling to your theory?

That's a long drawn out story. Here's the abridged version:

When I was first putting the theory together, it was a way for me to try to put my mind back together from all the psychological damage the drugs were doing to me. It was an attempt to synthesize what I had been learning in school about neurology and the drug induced subjective experiences I was having. It was a way for me to restore some form of sanity (although I think most people would look at it as a form of insanity, but I just think of it as like a culture shift).

After I had stitched it together to my satisfaction, I realized I basically had a full blown theory of consciousness, one that I had never come across before. <-- This added an extra reason to hold onto it, one that I already mentioned earlier in this discussion: something I could contribute to philosophy. I knew that the question of consciousness--what it is and how it works--was a hot topic in philosophy, so I felt it was worth something.

That lead, after a while, to my book. Writing the book added yet another reason: I stuck my neck out. Now I have to cling to my words.

However, for the past few years, I've been regarding it as more of a distraction, particularly the book (I haven't yet finished volumes 2 and 3), and I don't really think I *need* it anymore. So along with my drug use, it's something I want to let go of (at least my obsession with the book writing). Like I said, however, it's not something I see a lot of logical holes in, and I haven't come across very many successful attempt to poke any holes in it, no fatal ones anyway, so "letting go" of it won't necessarily mean doubting or rejecting it. Rather, it just means it will just "sit" in my mind until something shoves it out (like a brick becoming unhinged from the dried mortar but without strong winds to actually push it from the wall). This is why I'm going to find it interesting to watch what happens after I completely publish volumes 2 and 3 <-- at that point, I plan to "let go" of it entirely. Maybe after that point, I'll find a ton of holes in it. <-- No longer serving my purpose and all.

Again, however, this doesn't necessarily help you with your purpose. As always, I'm just answering your questions. You asked why I cling to my theory, these are the answers. As you can see, out of all the reasons I listed--restoring my sanity, having something to contribute to philosophy, clinging to my words, and the fact that I'm still in the process of writing my books--very few of them help me in prong #2 situations. So though it answers your question, it doesn't help you to understand my view any better.

What I do understand about the way a mind like yours works (so I've gathered so far) is that you seem to require a depiction of how a person would practice their philosophy in a moral context. So correct me if I'm wrong, but you believe that the link between one's beliefs and values and their behavior vis-a-vis prong #2 situations is as follows: belief/value --> implications for morality --> prescription for behavior --> clash in prong #2 situations. Once you see how the clash pans out, and you listen to each side's arguments, you can then trace it back to beliefs and values. What you can't do is listen to how a person explains their beliefs and values apart from this context and come to an understanding of what they mean, at least not if their beliefs and values are several degrees deep into metaphysics and abstractions, the kind of which there is no obvious tangible demonstration.

If this is the case, then here's the disconnect for a theory like mine: belief/value = subjectivism/relativism --> implications for morality = morality is determined by one's conscience --> prescription for behavior = ??? --> clash in prong #2 situations = ???. <-- In other words, it's at the stage where one draws moral implications from my theory where the disconnect occurs. What my theory says about morality is that it is determined by one's conscience. What this means is that unlike other theories--whether objectivist or subjectivist--that might prescribe actual behaviors or characteristics--for example, racism is wrong, psychopaths are evil, etc.--my subjectivism only points to the conscience as the source and the determinant of the morality of certain behaviors and characters, but leaves it up to the individual and what their conscience tells them to determine what exactly is moral or immoral (the relativism is required here to make that logically consistent). This doesn't mean that I don't have a morality of my own, it just means I take my moral cues from my conscience, not my theory. And like I said above, the human conscience functions best when theory stays the hell out of it.

^ How would something like that help you?
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby iambiguous » Wed Feb 15, 2017 12:28 am

gib wrote:
Again, this distinction can be made, sure. But if what unfolds in the relationship between "in my head" and "out in the world" is "only as it ever could have been" than "I" would seem to be only along for the ride.


I'm saying this doesn't follow. That the 'I' is only going along for the ride is not the only possible scenario. The 'I' may actually be the main force making things happen, thinking the thoughts it is thinking, feeling the way it feels, only that it wouldn't truly be doing so freely given a deterministic universe.


Then we are back to the "God" conundrum. Is God the main force behind everything or did we invent God in order to have something to call the main force behind everything?

But what on earth can the difference really be here if whatever does unfold unfolds only as it ever could have unfolded. "We" invent "God" and both are along for the ride.

Again: Whatever that means. And then [for me] we are back to noting the distinction between what we think it means "in our head" and that which we are able to demonstrate that all reasonable men and women are obligated to believe in turn.

Only [somehow] the obligation has to be rooted in autonomy.

When you note that...

gib wrote:Freedom to me, the way we experience it, isn't really action coming out of a causal void--it's more the lack of experience of what causes precede you in the causal chain of events. It's more intention forming, goal setting, without giving any attention to what's forcing you to form those intentions or to set those goals.


....I always come back to that. Yes, here and now, this is what you believe in your head. But you are either able to demonstrate to others why they should believe it of themselves too or you are not.

And that comes down [for me] to the extent to which you can take those words out of your head and connect them empirically, phenomenally to the world that we live and interact in. Could Descartes have been successful here? Or are these speculations [from both sides] ever based on assumptions that mere mortals have no capacity to reconcile and resolve?

After all, why not, "I think as I only ever could have thought, therefore I am only as I ever could have been"?

gib wrote:But what I like to point out is that all this goes away the minute you refocus on the original sense of validity, the original rationality and meaning that lead you to the thought in the first place, the self-evident truth of the thought that all circles are round.


Yes, but are we not then back to speculating about the extent to which the refocusing itself is autonomous? You see what you must see. The infinite regress then going all the way back to whatever or whoever set into motion the immutable laws of matter. If in fact they are immutable. If in fact they have not always been around. But how then do we wrap our heads around that?

To wit:

time

For a period of two to three years between the ages of nine and twelve I was in thrall to puzzlement about time. I would lie awake in bed at night in the dark thinking something along the following lines. I know there was a day before yesterday, and a day before that and a day before that and so on...Before everyday there must have been a day before. So it must be possible to go back like that for ever and ever and ever...Yet is it? The idea of going back for ever and ever was something I could not get hold of: it seemed impossible. So perhaps, after all, there must have been a beginning somewhere. But if there was a beginning, what had been going on before that? Well, obviously, nothing---nothing at all---otherwise it could not be the beginning. But if there was nothing, how could anything have got started? What could it have come from? Time wouldn't just pop into existence---bingo!--out of nothing, and start going, all by itself. Nothing is nothing, not anything. So the idea of a beginning was unimaginable, which somehow made it seem impossible too. The upshot was that it seemed to be impossible for time to have had a beginning and impossible not for it to have had a beginning.

I must be missing something here, I came to think. There are only these two alternatives so one of them must be right. They can't both be impossible. So I would switch my concentration from one to the other, and then when it had exhausted itself, back again, trying to figure out where I had gone wrong; but I never discovered.

space

I realized a similar problem existed with regard to space. I remember myself as a London evacuee in Market Harborough---I must have been ten or eleven at the time---lying on my back in the grass in a park and trying to penetrate a cloudless blue sky with my eyes and thinking something like this: "If I went straight up into the sky, and kept on going in a straight line, why wouldn't I be able to just keep on going for ever and ever and ever? But that's impossible. Why isn't it possible? Surely, eventually, I'd have to come to some sort of end. But why? If I bumped up against something eventually, wouldn't that have to be something in space? And if it was in space wouldn't there have to be something on the other side of it if only more space? On the other hand, if there was no limit, endless space couldn't just be, anymore than endless time could.

Bryan Magee, Confessions Of A Philosopher


iambiguous wrote:Yes, but among the vegetarians who insist that consuming animal flesh is immoral and among the meat eaters who insist that consuming animal flesh is natural, arithmetic is not the point, is it?


gib wrote:No, not in that scenario. It's quite a leap to go from the rationality of arithmetic to the moral prejudices of vegetarians and meat eaters. But what I'm saying is this: whatever it is that we've identified in rational thought that seems to hold it all together--call it logic, call it necessity, call it reason--it is the same basic thing that holds an apparently subjective and biased view together such as: eating meat is wrong.


But in regard to "the same basic thing" we are still "stuck" [so far] in understanding 1] how matter evolved into a mind able to conclude that eating meat is wrong and 2] whether or not in fact eating meat is wrong.

With the latter [prong 2], dasein, conflicting goods and political economy seem to be the most reasonable components of any assessment. At least to me. I just don't know if I have come to that conclusion autonomously. And, more to the point, I don't see how I can go about determining it.

gib wrote:But in the end, these sorts of views are steeped in mental states whose "logic" is far more difficult to extract and demonstrate in such a way as to make them undeniable to all rational men and women. We can nevertheless "feel" the logic of such mental states in the way they seem to justify, or underlie, the conclusions we come to and the actions they illicit. We say: I feel that eating meat is wrong, and that feeling seems to justify protesting against meat eaters. It's only after the fact that we try to come up with rational arguments as a means of attempting to persuade others.


Logic may be to the words that we choose what arithmetic is to the laws of nature. Some words correspond literally to the world around us and other words are merely subjective/subjunctive reactions to that which we perceive "out in the world" to be. Or that may just be an illusion in that what we "feel" is also only that which we could ever have felt.

But: Do we or don't we have a way to prove any of this? It's just that the neuroscientists seem to be on more solid ground than the philosophers. Not that they could ever have not been?

And then back again to this:

iambiguous wrote:...I have no real understanding regarding what "on earth" you talking about here. It is as though you have been able to make a distinction between "mind" and "brain" "in your head" but [to me] you are unable to demonstrate how "for all practical purposes" this is relevant to human interactions that come into conflict over value judgments rooted in dasein out in a particular political economy.


gib wrote:Not to your satisfaction, that's clear, but notwithstanding the numerous examples I have given for how my subjectivism might tie into real prong #2 scenarios, I have also disclaimed numerous times that it isn't built to serve a purpose in prong #2 scenarios.


Perhaps others reading this thread might then be more inclined to probe the prong that most fascinates me.

iambiguous wrote:Hopefully? You either will or you will not succeed here. But if it has nothing to do with actual volition, hope is no less an immutable component of what could only have ever been. In other words, somehow matter has been able evolve into a life form able in turn to react to the world subjunctively. But no less mechanically.


gib wrote:What does that have to do with hope? In a deterministic universe, where the throw of a dice is determined, I can still hope that I don't get snake eyes at a craps table.


We simply think about these things differently. If the hope that I feel is inherently embedded in a mind that could only have evolved to feel that hope, it all just becomes "mechanistic" to me. We are machines no less than the machines that we invent. We have just evolved the capacity to delude ourselves that that we choose to think and feel and do is of our own free will.

Worse [perhaps] we have no capacity to actually resolve this other than in how "nature" has pre-wired us to resolve it.

We don't even really know what that might possibly mean. Teleologically for example.

Thus:

iambiguous wrote:But aren't the neuroscientists intent on discovering whether "introspection" itself either is or is just one more inherent manifestion of the laws of matter?


gib wrote:Maybe. I think for sure they expect it to be a manifestation of the laws of matter. But I'm surprised. By now you should know what my response would be. I would say that whatever laws they uncover, it is the act of introspection that decides those laws.


An act of introspection that they could only ever have had.

gib wrote: I'm not saying mind has the ability to thwart those laws, or that it is any sense "free", just that the relation between mind and the laws of matter are the reverse of how conventional wisdom would have it.


Still, from my perspective, one way or the other here is but one more rendition of "six of one, half a dozen of the other". Conventional or unconventional wisdom is but the illusion of wisdom in that things could only have been as they turned out to be. We may as well call the immutable laws of nature themselves "wise". To speak of someone being wise suggests the idea that they might have chosen or done something that was not wise. Instead, they were able to make the distinction autonomously and thus earned the accolade.

Consider for example dreams. While we are having them ["in" them] we are absolutely certain that these things are actually happening to us. Instead, it is all just unfolding "in our head". Literally. Chemical and neurological transactions simulating a "reality". Thus in a wholly determined universe our waking reality would be the same. We "think" and we "feel" that we are calling the shots, but in actuality...

But In actuality, what...?


gib wrote:In actuality, it is determined by the laws of mind instead of the laws of matter... but they're still laws.


How then is mind not matter? In fact, in speculating about this, it allows some to take/make that leap to God. But, in my view, only "in their head". They "think up" certain intellectual assumptions that "theoretically" lead to God.

But it can never really be taken wholly out of their head and communicated to others empirically, phenomenally. Other than by insisting that the world we experience around us is a necessary manifestation of God.

gib wrote:In this discussion, we come back to this point time and time again. And I will repeat what I always say at this point: perhaps we should drop the discussion. If you're only exclusively interested in how my views pan out in prong #2 situations, and I have to strive to come up with an appropriate response to you, then maybe we ought to call a spade a spade: I got nothing.


It might come to that. It depends on the extent to which it may or may not seem possible [from your end or mine] to bridge the gaps. With speculations regarding prong 1, I am in way over my head. I am not well educated [of late] regarding many of the technical points that you raise. The sort of stuff that revolves epistemologically around the "philosophy of mind". Instead, I am far, far more intrigued by the extent to which those who are proficient in making intelligent inferences here are able to bring their conclusions out into the world of conflicting goods.

So, sure, maybe we have taken this particular excahnge as far as we can go. Here and now.

On the other hand, perhaps it is really not for "you" or "I" to say. Autonomously as it were.

Here is what it still revolves around for me:

iambiguous wrote:Yes, but the leftists and the rightists can wrap their words around actual events that are unfolding out in a particular world. And there are folks here who insist that their political narratives are in sync philosophically or theologically with the way things really are. For example, pertaining to Donald Trump's upcoming inauguration.

I am just trying to get closer to understanding how your own set of assumptions here might be conveyed to those on either side of the divide. In my opinion, I have no problems conveying my own narrative to them. It revolves around dasein, conflicting value judgments and the role of power out in this particular world.


gib wrote:From the looks of it so far, your approach seems to be an inquisitive one--you seem bent on posing the question: how are you not wrapped up in the same dilemma as I am? This is not quite the same approach as most moral objectivists, the ones who engage in what I'm calling the "traditional objectivist approach"--that is, the approach of arguing the best case they can as to why they are right on particular moral matters and their opposition is wrong.


The divide here is [to me] of fundamental importance:

The objectivists among us are arguing that the distinction between "one of us" and "one of them" can be rooted in one or another rendition of "right makes might". But: if I succeed in yanking that out from under them they are left only with "might makes right" or "democracy and the rule of law". And they tend to be averse to that precisely because in my view their "objectivist mentality" is rooted far more in this particular psychological contraption:


1] For one reason or another [rooted largely in dasein], you are taught or come into contact with [through your upbringing, a friend, a book, an experience etc.] a worldview, a philosophy of life.

2] Over time, you become convinced that this perspective expresses and encompasses the most rational and objective truth. This truth then becomes increasingly more vital, more essential to you as a foundation, a justification, a celebration of all that is moral as opposed to immoral, rational as opposed to irrational.

3] Eventually, for some, they begin to bump into others who feel the same way; they may even begin to actively seek out folks similarly inclined to view the world in a particular way.

4] Some begin to share this philosophy with family, friends, colleagues, associates, Internet denizens; increasingly it becomes more and more a part of their life. It becomes, in other words, more intertwined in their personal relationships with others...it begins to bind them emotionally and psychologically.

5] As yet more time passes, they start to feel increasingly compelled not only to share their Truth with others but, in turn, to vigorously defend it against any and all detractors as well.

6] For some, it can reach the point where they are no longer able to realistically construe an argument that disputes their own as merely a difference of opinion; they see it instead as, for all intents and purposes, an attack on their intellectual integrity....on their very Self.

7] Finally, a stage is reached [again for some] where the original philosophical quest for truth, for wisdom has become so profoundly integrated into their self-identity [professionally, socially, psychologically, emotionally] defending it has less and less to do with philosophy at all. And certainly less and less to do with "logic".


And, thus, if this is the case, both philosophical realism and political idealism more or less collapse. Yet it is here that they have come [existentially] to embed "I". So, they have everything to lose here if my own frame of mind is deemed more reasonable. And I know this in part because I lost my own objectivist frame of mind to dasein, conflicting goods and political economy.

gib wrote:My own views don't compel me to preach my own morality to others, nor do they compel me to inquire as to how others are not caught up in the dilemma of prong #2 (or prong #1).


In other words, you still have a morality. So your own sense of identity here would seem no less threatened if my dilemma above is deemed a rational [even an optimal] perspective. Somehow you are able to connect the dots between "I" and an understaning of reality that allows you to avoid [or to at least minimize] the angst embedded in my dilemma. I just don't understand how that "works" "in your head" when your own values come into conflict with others. Despite your attempts to explain it. But, again, that may well be rooted more in my own failure than yours.

But, when you note, "I might just use a bit of common sense or conventional assumptions and values shared by most people", these are no less existential contraptions to me. They are situated out in a particular world [historically, culturally, experientially] and, sans God, are ever the subjective/subjunctive contraptions of mere mortals.

iambiguous wrote:The octopus is conscious of its environment. But its behaviors seem to revolve wholly around biology. Instinct. It changes color/texture in order to defend itself against predators. But I suspect that, concomittantly, it is not thinking "it's not moral for sharks to hunt us down." It's all might makes right, survival of the fittest. Thus to what extent is it really any different from our own species? And how do the mechanisms at play in the brain of an octopus differ from our own? With octopi there are no historical and cultural references. There is no equivalent of "nurture". Or an indocrination in the ways of the community. Much less a role for philosophy.

How then is the "causual account" experienced by the octopus very much the same and very much different from out own? It's one thing for a mind to think -- to think self-consciously -- "I have the capacity to camouflage my body. I see that I am entering a very different environment. It's time to make the necessary adjustments." And another thing altogether for a brain to make these adjustments more or less on automatic pilot.

Or, in a wholly determined universe, is that distinction more an illusion than anything else?


gib wrote:Yes, I'd say it's more or less illusory--just degrees of complexity and predictability.

What you're getting at with the octopus is what I call "epistemic awareness"--to be contrasted with "experiential awareness"--it is not epistemically aware of why it changes colors, it has no knowledge of the sort. I don't think it even has the capacity for knowledge, or any form of cogitation. It can't think anything, let alone "well, time to camouflage." But the mind consists of more than just thoughts and knowledge. Pain, for example, is an experience that can only exist for sentient creatures, and to react to pain requires no knowledge or capacity to think.


But I am still as perplexed as ever regarding that leap from a mind that revolves almost entirely around biological imperatives [the octopus and the shark] to a mind able to invent what we call "camouflage" in order to facilitate a successful outcome in, for example, what we call "war". We can even camouflage our intentions in our day to day interactions with others by adopting personas or by wearing masks or by playing language games. After all, what do all other creatures on earth know of "irony"?

But: how are these transactions governed [more or less] by the components of my own [presumably autonomous] understanding of dasein, conflicting goods and political economy? What can we know here? And how is what we can know able to effectively arbitrate when our values come into conflict?

iambiguous wrote:Because, if the discussion revolves around the possibility of life after death, there is a world of difference between someone telling me what he thinks is true about it -- that it does in fact exist -- "in his head" and what he can demonstrate as true for all rational men and women. Just as there is a world of difference [re prong #2] between someone who hasn't ruled out the possibility that abortion is either moral or immoral from someone who insists that if you don't rule out what he has ruled out "in his head" you are wrong. Words here are either connected empirically/materially/phenomenologically, etc., with the world or they are not.


gib wrote:And yet if you keep pressing me to answer the same round of questions--what is my "ism", how do I defend it in prong #2 situations, how does it free me from the kind of dilemma you find yourself in, etc.--I will have to give the same answers. At some point, you will have to rest content.


True, but at the same time others are following this exchange. And that which I am unable to communicate to you [or you to me] "here and now" might resonate more intelligibly to/for them. Perhaps there is a frame of mind [or will be] able to more effectively bridge the gaps between us.

That's what I always come back to: How ought I to live?

And how and why did I arrive at the particular assumptions that I champion "here and now". And that's when I tumble over into this:

If I am always of the opinion that 1] my own values are rooted in dasein and 2] that there are no objective values "I" can reach, then every time I make one particular moral/political leap, I am admitting that I might have gone in the other direction...or that I might just as well have gone in the other direction. Then "I" begins to fracture and fragment to the point there is nothing able to actually keep it all together. At least not with respect to choosing sides morally and politically.

And the only viable option I then have is to explore the narratives of those who are not entangled in it.


gib wrote:I hope you're not looking at me because, as I said before, I'm just as entangled in it as you, though I don't think I feel nearly as much angst over it as you do.


Angst itself is always situated out in a particular world. And it is experienced by a particular mind embedded in a particular set of circumstances. Two sets in particular:

1] the extent to which "here and now" you are ensconced in a set of circumstances in which your values are being challenged by another. Especially when the stakes are high.
2] how close you are to the abyss -- to death, to oblivion, to nothingness. To exploring the relationships that I probe here: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=186929

gib wrote:Maybe the key is to put more faith into your instincts that your intellect. If your intellect is only ever coming up with existential contraptions, then you can't really "figure out" how you ought to live--not in an abstract, analytical way. But we are all built with instincts that compel us to behave in ways that, more or less, guide us towards the basic things we need in life: food, comfort, friendship, health, dignity. <-- That's what we "ought" to strive for. Too much thought can sometimes stiffle that. Best to leave things to their own devices.


Unfortunately, I see these as little more than existential contraptions as well. The accumlation of experiences that we have, experiences that come to manifest themselves as, say, "intuition", are no less triggered by "I". We can take a leap, sure, but this is no less as subjective/subjunctive as a leap to God.

Or so it seems to me.

gib wrote:As I'm fond of saying, we believe in the things that serve our purposes--which suggests that we will only understand that which serves our purposes.


Yes, but from my frame of mind a purpose is no less an existential contraption.


gib wrote:So then it should be easy for you to change.


But no less problematic, no less entangled in my dilemma.

iambiguous wrote:Given the enormous complexity of human psychological interactions -- re the conscious, the subconscious and the unconscious components -- intertwined with Reptilian brain functions going all the way back to however [and why ever] "the minds" of men and women came into existence [given the evolution of life itself], it may well be [ultimately] futile to grasp the actual, objective relationship bnetween prong #1 and prong #2 communication. We can only do our best in trying to bridge the gaps.


gib wrote:Not sure what you mean by this. What do you mean by prong #1 and prong #2 "communication"? I think we have a common understanding of what "prong #2" means given the ease with which we seem to be able to toss that term back and forth to each other, but we haven't talked much about prong #1, and I don't think you quite understand what I mean by that term (which itself is borrowed from what I gathered you meant by your "dilemma").


This is basically the crux of our exchange. I don't really know what you do mean when you make this distinction. Human reality revolves, first and foremeost, around subsistence, around reproduction, around defense. And that revolves around making choices. Now, these choices are made by minds able to choose. And to choose in a way that, if one presumes some level of autonomy, are very, very different from the choices made by every other living creature on earth. Why? Because the choices that we make seem to transcend mere biological imperavtives. We think not only of the way the world is but how it might also be otherwise. And that is right around the corner from how it ought to be otherwise. And somethow prong #1 and prong # 2 are intertwined here.

But how?

gib wrote:What I do understand about the way a mind like yours works (so I've gathered so far) is that you seem to require a depiction of how a person would practice their philosophy in a moral context. So correct me if I'm wrong, but you believe that the link between one's beliefs and values and their behavior vis-a-vis prong #2 situations is as follows: belief/value --> implications for morality --> prescription for behavior --> clash in prong #2 situations. Once you see how the clash pans out, and you listen to each side's arguments, you can then trace it back to beliefs and values. What you can't do is listen to how a person explains their beliefs and values apart from this context and come to an understanding of what they mean, at least not if their beliefs and values are several degrees deep into metaphysics and abstractions, the kind of which there is no obvious tangible demonstration.


First, of course, there is the question of whether how one explains their beliefs and values is only ever as they could could have explained them. In that case [it would seem] the distinction between prong #1 and prong #2 is necessarily subsumed in this. In other words, from my frame of mind, it is a distinction without a difference. Unless there is in fact a frame of mind -- God -- able to make one.

But it would seem that the bottom line for all of us is that in whatever manner we come to encompass mind "theoretically", the moment we choose to interact with others our minds are going to encounter other minds that reject particular thoughts and feelings and behaviors that we choose.

Then what?

Then the maner in which I construe the meaning of dasein, conflicting goods and political economy seems entirely relevant. But how is that related to the ontological nature of my "mind" itself?

You note:

gib wrote:If this is the case, then here's the disconnect for a theory like mine: belief/value = subjectivism/relativism --> implications for morality = morality is determined by one's conscience --> prescription for behavior = ??? --> clash in prong #2 situations = ???. <-- In other words, it's at the stage where one draws moral implications from my theory where the disconnect occurs. What my theory says about morality is that it is determined by one's conscience. What this means is that unlike other theories--whether objectivist or subjectivist--that might prescribe actual behaviors or characteristics--for example, racism is wrong, psychopaths are evil, etc.--my subjectivism only points to the conscience as the source and the determinant of the morality of certain behaviors and characters, but leaves it up to the individual and what their conscience tells them to determine what exactly is moral or immoral (the relativism is required here to make that logically consistent). This doesn't mean that I don't have a morality of my own, it just means I take my moral cues from my conscience, not my theory. And like I said above, the human conscience functions best when theory stays the hell out of it.


And, as ever, I come back to this: What "on earth" does that mean? The super-ego as I understand it is above all else an existential fabrication/contraption rooted in dasein rooted out in a particular world historically, culturally and experientially. From the cradle to the grave.

Far, far, far more than the ego and the id.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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iambiguous
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby gib » Sat Feb 18, 2017 6:53 am

iambiguous wrote:Then we are back to the "God" conundrum. Is God the main force behind everything or did we invent God in order to have something to call the main force behind everything?

But what on earth can the difference really be here if whatever does unfold unfolds only as it ever could have unfolded. "We" invent "God" and both are along for the ride.


I'm not sure I understand this argument. It sounds like you're saying that we're either completely free or we have no causal efficacy in the universe whatsoever. But that's like saying a piston in a car engine isn't contributing anything to making the car run because it is bound by the laws of physics. True, it has no free will, but it's still a participant in the overall activity of the car engine, it is one of the forces causing the car to run.

iambiguous wrote:Yes, but are we not then back to speculating about the extent to which the refocusing itself is autonomous? No, why would we be. You see what you must see. The infinite regress then going all the way back to whatever or whoever set into motion the immutable laws of matter. <-- Just for the record, that's not the infinite regress I was talking about. If in fact they are immutable. If in fact they have not always been around. But how then do we wrap our heads around that?


You will only ever be able to ask these questions when you're not in the midst of having the experience (seeing the reality of things, thinking the truth of axiomatic proposition, experiencing the badness of pain, etc.). When you pull away from the experience and focus rather on the concept of the experience, you will be able to contemplate all kinds of possibilities that the experience itself rules out. The experience itself is its own verification. It's like wondering if pain really is undesirable or we're just made to think so because we could not have not thought so. When you actually feel pain, you see that it's undesirable. When you actually visualize two objects and two other objects, you see that there are four objects all together. How can you visualize two objects and two more objects and at the same time be visualizing five objects? But you can certainly pull away from that visualization and contemplate the abstract notion that *maybe* 2 + 2 = 5 and we're just determined to think it's really 4. If you stay in that abstract state of contemplation, you'll never get the verification you so strongly desire.

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote:No, not in that scenario. It's quite a leap to go from the rationality of arithmetic to the moral prejudices of vegetarians and meat eaters. But what I'm saying is this: whatever it is that we've identified in rational thought that seems to hold it all together--call it logic, call it necessity, call it reason--it is the same basic thing that holds an apparently subjective and biased view together such as: eating meat is wrong.


But in regard to "the same basic thing" we are still "stuck" [so far] in understanding 1] how matter evolved into a mind able to conclude that eating meat is wrong and 2] whether or not in fact eating meat is wrong.

With the latter [prong 2], dasein, conflicting goods and political economy seem to be the most reasonable components of any assessment. At least to me. I just don't know if I have come to that conclusion autonomously. And, more to the point, I don't see how I can go about determining it.


Yes, I realize my answer doesn't help you here. But this is one of those case where it was just the answer to your question.

iambiguous wrote:But: Do we or don't we have a way to prove any of this? It's just that the neuroscientists seem to be on more solid ground than the philosophers. Not that they could ever have not been?


Thank God for that.

iambiguous wrote:An act of introspection that they could only ever have had.


Yes, by laws of mind (ex. I feel like introspecting).

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote:I'm not saying mind has the ability to thwart those laws, or that it is any sense "free", just that the relation between mind and the laws of matter are the reverse of how conventional wisdom would have it.


Still, from my perspective, one way or the other here is but one more rendition of "six of one, half a dozen of the other". Conventional or unconventional wisdom is but the illusion of wisdom in that things could only have been as they turned out to be. We may as well call the immutable laws of nature themselves "wise". To speak of someone being wise suggests the idea that they might have chosen or done something that was not wise. Instead, they were able to make the distinction autonomously and thus earned the accolade.


You realize "conventional wisdom" is just an expression.

By now it should be clear I don't require the will to be free for my ideas to hold.

iambiguous wrote:How then is mind not matter?


Why should it be? Obviously, the correlation between mind and matter means that certain instances of one are instances of the other, but there is also a matter of scope here. The materialist, in believing that mind reduces to matter, would say that mind is an instance of matter, but matter exhausts a greater scope in the sense that some instances of matter are not mind. As I would have it, the correlation is the reverse of this: I believe that matter reduces to mind, and therefore I would say that matter is an instance of mind (sensation in particular) but mind exhausts a greater scope in the sense that some instances of mind are not instance of matter (abstraction, for example).

There is also the sense in which all instances of mind can be represented as matter, but I would not confuse the representation for that which is represented. For instance, even though I said above that abstraction is an instance of mind that isn't an instance of matter, abstraction can still be represented as matter--it only needs to be translated into sensory form (in particular, a sensory experience of certain brain activity, the kind neuroscientists will tell you corresponds to abstract thinking). But at the end of the day, brain activity is a sensory experience, not abstract thought.

iambiguous wrote:In fact, in speculating about this, it allows some to take/make that leap to God. But, in my view, only "in their head". They "think up" certain intellectual assumptions that "theoretically" lead to God.


In my case, the concept of God that I reached was a side implication that fell out of my theory--what I was aiming for was to explain consciousness.

iambiguous wrote:In other words, you still have a morality. Of course! So your own sense of identity here would seem no less threatened if my dilemma above is deemed a rational [even an optimal] perspective. Somehow you are able to connect the dots between "I" and an understaning of reality that allows you to avoid [or to at least minimize] the angst embedded in my dilemma. I just don't understand how that "works" "in your head" when your own values come into conflict with others. Despite your attempts to explain it. But, again, that may well be rooted more in my own failure than yours.


That's because I don't identify myself with my morality. The 'I' we have been discussion, as it concerns me, is 'I' as a subjectivist. If you were able to tear down my subjectivism, I might undergo some kind of prong #1 crisis. But as it concerns my morality, that isn't rooted in any "ism" that I hold strongly to--rather, it is rooted in emotions and instincts--the kind I assume most human beings share in common--I feel guilty about hurting people, I would never steal from a child, I would feel horrible about raping a woman, I could never bring myself to kill another person--as a social animal, all these things are instinctually wired into my brain. They're not the kind of thing that get switched on or off by a rational argument (though arguments and "isms" can override them, but that requires years of conditioning and a lot of social pressure). It's like I said above, my subjectivism points me to my conscience for moral instruction, but my conscience draws only on feelings, intuition, instinct, etc., and only the most basic, universal kinds.

So on the point of what happens when my own values come into conflict with others--first of all, I don't go out looking for trouble, trouble would have to find me (i.e. I'd have to be confronted by a group that seemed to think my basic moral instincts and intuitions were outrageously wrong). Then it's a question of what I would do in such a situation. Would I try to argue back? Argue back with points about why my morality is right? Points that I would have to whip up on the spot? Would I try to ignore them? Evade the situation? And what if they persisted? If they persisted, then maybe I ought to fall back on the law for protection, call the police, etc. <-- But that's not the same as defending my morality with my best rationality cap. But to get to your point, I suppose we are to imagine that I would raise certain arguments in defense of why my morality, rooted in instinct and intuition as it would be, is right and theirs is wrong. And then if I took your point about dasein and the groundlessness of arguments such as the ones I would make into consideration, it probably wouldn't bother me so much because I would be very much aware that I'd be coming up with those arguments only as a strategic maneuver in order to get out of the sticky situation I ended up in--in other words, I wouldn't care whether I was ultimately right or ultimately wrong--as long as my arguments worked to convince them of their mistakes and allow me to escape the situation. This doesn't render me into a prong #1 crisis because, as I said, I don't identify myself with my morality, or with the arguments I would have to whimsically come up with on the spot in that situation. I don't invest a lot of value in those arguments, in other words, so I don't undergo an identity crisis if they turn out to be vacuous.

iambiguous wrote:But, when you note, "I might just use a bit of common sense or conventional assumptions and values shared by most people", these are no less existential contraptions to me. They are situated out in a particular world [historically, culturally, experientially] and, sans God, are ever the subjective/subjunctive contraptions of mere mortals.


Yes, but in a prong #2 situation, where I'm forced to argue certain points in order to get out of a sticky situation, the fact that they're existential contraptions is not what concerns me, its whether the arguments work or not to get me out of the situation. I'm trying to convince them, not myself.

iambiguous wrote:But I am still as perplexed as ever regarding that leap from a mind that revolves almost entirely around biological imperatives [the octopus and the shark] to a mind able to invent what we call "camouflage" in order to facilitate a successful outcome in, for example, what we call "war". We can even camouflage our intentions in our day to day interactions with others by adopting personas or by wearing masks or by playing language games. After all, what do all other creatures on earth know of "irony"?


Thought, and the wonders it helps us achieve, are, at base, no different than the octopus's apparently "instinctual" sensations and experience--like I said, it's just a matter of complexity and predictability. Whereas the octopus's knee jerk reaction (almost literally) of camouflaging in response to the detection of a predator is more or less as predictable as pressing a button, the human reaction to some kind of threat, say in a war, is far less predictable because, when he brings thought to the table as a tool for strategizing and self-defense, he can come up with all kinds of intelligent and unique responses. Thought is just a far more complex and versatile mental experience.

The only reason it seems to provide us with a sense of "really" knowing reality for what it is is because it provides us with an extension of our experience of reality, an extension from the reality provided to us by sensory experience. But would you say that sensory experience feels any less like an acquaintance with reality than thought? And isn't sensation just a complex of simpler elements of sensory data--color, lines, light, dark, hot, cold, soft, hard, loud, quiet, etc.--the octopus's experience is just a simpler version of this. Only the quality of its experiences are different from anything we are familiar with, and so we cannot imagine what it feels like. But if we could--and this is my point--we would say: Ah, that would make me want to camouflage too--just like the sensation of burning on the hand would make one want to pull away from a hot stove, even though from the point of view of an alien species, this might look like a mechanical reaction (which it is, but no less accompanied by real experience, experience that serves as the reason or justification for engaging in the behavior).

iambiguous wrote:But: how are these transactions governed [more or less] by the components of my own [presumably autonomous] understanding of dasein, conflicting goods and political economy? What can we know here? And how is what we can know able to effectively arbitrate when our values come into conflict?


These metaphysical musings have never been about knowledge for me. They have only ever been about trying to make sense out of abstract confusing philosophical thought, making a cohesive meaningful picture that could pass as "possible"--if nowhere else than "in your head"--it's an exercise in putting to rest the confusion or the lack of understand over things that can't be verified or demonstrated anyway. <-- What else you gonna do with these thing? :lol:

iambiguous wrote:Unfortunately, I see these as little more than existential contraptions as well. The accumlation of experiences that we have, experiences that come to manifest themselves as, say, "intuition", are no less triggered by "I". We can take a leap, sure, but this is no less as subjective/subjunctive as a leap to God.


Are you sure about that? Are you sure what I'm calling the "conscience", or "intuition", can't be traced to certain areas in the brain, or certain patterns of brain activity? If neuroscientists were able to map the kinds of experiences I'm associating with the "conscience" or "intuition" to brain areas or brain activity, would that count as a "demonstration" for you? Would that convince you that they are more than just existential contraptions?

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote:So then it should be easy for you to change.


But no less problematic, no less entangled in my dilemma.


Ah, yes. Change to what, should be the question.

Still though, my point was that you still have a purpose--whether or not the word "purpose" denotes an abstract concept, and therefore an existential contraption--your brain is trying to accomplish something here, help you to survive in some way. It will accept certain points, certain arguments, and it will reject others--all depending on whether they help or hinder what it is you're trying to accomplish. If it hinders, it will resist accepting, and this will be experienced as "not making sense". <-- This was my point. You're saying that you don't see how changing your purpose, what you're trying to accomplish, will show you a way out of your dilemma. I'm saying: give it chance. If I'm right about our purposes, what we are trying to accomplish, determining what our brains can make sense out of and what they can't, then changing our purpose, what we are trying to accomplish, can unexpectedly make that which previously didn't make sense all of a sudden make sense. You may all of a sudden see a way out of your dilemma.

^ This seems to be a catch-22 you're stuck on--you seem to be insisting that one make sense out of one's suggested way out of your dilemma before you can bring yourself to try their approach, but trying their approach is the only way that you are going to make sense out of their suggestion.

iambiguous wrote:This is basically the crux of our exchange. I don't really know what you do mean when you make this distinction. Human reality revolves, first and foremeost, around subsistence, around reproduction, around defense. And that revolves around making choices. Now, these choices are made by minds able to choose. And to choose in a way that, if one presumes some level of autonomy, are very, very different from the choices made by every other living creature on earth. Why? Because the choices that we make seem to transcend mere biological imperavtives. We think not only of the way the world is but how it might also be otherwise. And that is right around the corner from how it ought to be otherwise. And somethow prong #1 and prong # 2 are intertwined here.

But how?


I don't know how they're intertwined, but this is what I've understood characterizes your dilemma:

1) We are dasein-based creatures who are entangled in a world in which we come into conflict over contradicting beliefs and value judgements, and that there appears to be no objective way of demonstrating who is ultimately right and who is ultimately wrong, or whether there even is a right and wrong. <-- That is certainly a dilemma. It's the prong of your dilemma I'm calling "prong #2".

2) Upon realization of 1), one questions one's own beliefs and values, one realizes that if all such beliefs and values have only ever been existential contraptions, arrived at arbitrarily, then this applies to one's own beliefs and values no less than it does to everyone else's. Thus, insofar as one has identified him- or herself with one's own beliefs and values, one begins to question one's own identity--the 'I' fragments. <-- This too is certainly a dilemma, an even more profound one. It's the prong of your dilemma I'm calling "prong #1".

The point to emphasize here is that in order to become entangled in prong #1, it would seem necessary to first be entangled in prong #2. So insofar as prong #1 and prong #2 may or may not be intertwined, I think there is a point at which they meet. First, one undergoes the dilemma of prong #2, then when one draws the implications of that to one's self, he or she undergoes the dilemma of prong #1. They seem to meet where prong #2 leads one to prong #1 through the former's implications for the latter.

iambiguous wrote:And, as ever, I come back to this: What "on earth" does that mean? The super-ego as I understand it is above all else an existential fabrication/contraption rooted in dasein rooted out in a particular world historically, culturally and experientially. From the cradle to the grave.


Well, again, what if one day, neuroscientists are able to point to specific spots in the brain, or identify certain patterns of brain activity, and say: that is the conscience? Would that make a difference to you?
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby iambiguous » Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:12 am

gib wrote:
iambiguous wrote:Then we are back to the "God" conundrum. Is God the main force behind everything or did we invent God in order to have something to call the main force behind everything?

But what on earth can the difference really be here if whatever does unfold unfolds only as it ever could have unfolded. "We" invent "God" and both are along for the ride.


I'm not sure I understand this argument. It sounds like you're saying that we're either completely free or we have no causal efficacy in the universe whatsoever. But that's like saying a piston in a car engine isn't contributing anything to making the car run because it is bound by the laws of physics. True, it has no free will, but it's still a participant in the overall activity of the car engine, it is one of the forces causing the car to run.


We can never be completely free given the gap between that which we might desire/want "in our head" and that which we either are or are not able to acquire. Options are everything out in the world of actual human interactions.

But: If the desires/wants/thoughts/feelings etc., that emanate from inside our head could only have ever done so then the "causal efficacy" embodied in "I" here is just another kind of piston to me.

Unless of course mindful matter has a property that sets it apart from mindless matter in interacting in sync with matter's immutable laws.

It would be as though there was an omniscient God "out there somewhere" who does know everything that we are ever going to think and feel and do. We think and we feel and we do things and, then, just as with the car, our lives move forward. Only we are programed by the all-knowing God to think that this is all of our own volition.

But, sure, maybe I'm not thinking this through in the optimal manner. And yet what "on earth" can that possibly mean in a wholly determined universe?

"Compatibilism" just doesn't "click" for me. No, we are not pistons in an automobile engine. But, still, as with the pistons, we do only that which we are "designed" to do.

Either that or I am making sense of it all only as I ever could have.

iambiguous wrote:Yes, but are we not then back to speculating about the extent to which the refocusing itself is autonomous?

gib wrote: No, why would we be.


Because everything that we do is inherently in sync with that which we could only have done. You focus on something because you must focus on it. Matter then unfolds over time as it must creating a new condition prompting you to refocus on it as you must.

Again, maybe you are relating something important here that I keep missing. But if I cannot not miss it what then does that really mean?

gib wrote: You will only ever be able to ask these questions when you're not in the midst of having the experience (seeing the reality of things, thinking the truth of axiomatic proposition, experiencing the badness of pain, etc.). When you pull away from the experience and focus rather on the concept of the experience, you will be able to contemplate all kinds of possibilities that the experience itself rules out.


From my frame of mind, I am either able to pull away from an experience because that is something I can choose to do of my own volition, or my mind [still in sync with the immutable laws of matter] has evolved to the point where I am able to fool myself into thinking I have done so of my own volition.

gib wrote: The experience itself is its own verification. It's like wondering if pain really is undesirable or we're just made to think so because we could not have not thought so. When you actually feel pain, you see that it's undesirable. When you actually visualize two objects and two other objects, you see that there are four objects all together. How can you visualize two objects and two more objects and at the same time be visualizing five objects? But you can certainly pull away from that visualization and contemplate the abstract notion that *maybe* 2 + 2 = 5 and we're just determined to think it's really 4. If you stay in that abstract state of contemplation, you'll never get the verification you so strongly desire.


I always come back to this though: If you are writing only that which you ever could have written here and now and I am reading only that which I ever could have read here and now, pulling back from it is just another inherent component of an exchange that is rooted in whatever brought into existence the immutable laws of matter themselves.

iambiguous wrote:But: Do we or don't we have a way to prove any of this? It's just that the neuroscientists seem to be on more solid ground than the philosophers. Not that they could ever have not been?


gib wrote: Thank God for that.


Which then begs the question about the mind of God. Is it in sync with the immutable laws of matter? In other words, did God invent these laws more or less than He discovered them?

iambiguous wrote:How then is mind not matter?


gib wrote: Why should it be?


More to the point: How do we address it without first having access to whatever it is that is wholly responsible for the existence of existence itself?

You suggest that...

gib wrote: Obviously, the correlation between mind and matter means that certain instances of one are instances of the other, but there is also a matter of scope here. The materialist, in believing that mind reduces to matter, would say that mind is an instance of matter, but matter exhausts a greater scope in the sense that some instances of matter are not mind. As I would have it, the correlation is the reverse of this: I believe that matter reduces to mind, and therefore I would say that matter is an instance of mind (sensation in particular) but mind exhausts a greater scope in the sense that some instances of mind are not instance of matter (abstraction, for example).

There is also the sense in which all instances of mind can be represented as matter, but I would not confuse the representation for that which is represented. For instance, even though I said above that abstraction is an instance of mind that isn't an instance of matter, abstraction can still be represented as matter--it only needs to be translated into sensory form (in particular, a sensory experience of certain brain activity, the kind neuroscientists will tell you corresponds to abstract thinking). But at the end of the day, brain activity is a sensory experience, not abstract thought.


But how would this abstract "analysis" be integrated into the reality of our exchange itself? How would you typing these words and me reading them be fully explained such that you could walk us through the mind/matter interactions based on the actual analytic components [assumptions] of the argument?

And, thus, I'm back again to this: what on earth do you mean here?

Pertaining either to, say, the choice to abort a baby [prong 1] or the reaction to the abortion as a moral quandary [prong 2]?

iambiguous wrote:In other words, you still have a morality. So your own sense of identity here would seem no less threatened if my dilemma above is deemed a rational [even an optimal] perspective. Somehow you are able to connect the dots between "I" and an understaning of reality that allows you to avoid [or to at least minimize] the angst embedded in my dilemma. I just don't understand how that "works" "in your head" when your own values come into conflict with others. Despite your attempts to explain it. But, again, that may well be rooted more in my own failure than yours.


gib wrote: That's because I don't identify myself with my morality. The 'I' we have been discussion, as it concerns me, is 'I' as a subjectivist. If you were able to tear down my subjectivism, I might undergo some kind of prong #1 crisis. But as it concerns my morality, that isn't rooted in any "ism" that I hold strongly to--rather, it is rooted in emotions and instincts--the kind I assume most human beings share in common--I feel guilty about hurting people, I would never steal from a child, I would feel horrible about raping a woman, I could never bring myself to kill another person--as a social animal, all these things are instinctually wired into my brain. They're not the kind of thing that get switched on or off by a rational argument (though arguments and "isms" can override them, but that requires years of conditioning and a lot of social pressure).


Somehow you seem able to yank this conception of "I" out of my own dilemma [if that is what you are doing] but I simply don't grasp what you are talking about here "for all practical purposes". Like me, you are out in a particular world embodying particular values that evolved from the complex intertwining of nature and nurture. The part about dasein, conflicting goods and political economy doesn't just go away for me.

Had the genes and the memes been differrent in your life you might have no compunction at all in raping someone, in hurting someone, in killing someone.

In fact, this is the part of my own rendition of "I" that most disturbs the objectivists. Somehow they must convince themselves that they do the right thing because 1] there is a right thing to do and 2] they do it because they are a good person.

But this is still all just an existential contraption to me.

gib wrote: So on the point of what happens when my own values come into conflict with others--first of all, I don't go out looking for trouble, trouble would have to find me (i.e. I'd have to be confronted by a group that seemed to think my basic moral instincts and intuitions were outrageously wrong). Then it's a question of what I would do in such a situation. Would I try to argue back? Argue back with points about why my morality is right? Points that I would have to whip up on the spot? Would I try to ignore them? Evade the situation? And what if they persisted? If they persisted, then maybe I ought to fall back on the law for protection, call the police, etc. <-- But that's not the same as defending my morality with my best rationality cap. But to get to your point, I suppose we are to imagine that I would raise certain arguments in defense of why my morality, rooted in instinct and intuition as it would be, is right and theirs is wrong. And then if I took your point about dasein and the groundlessness of arguments such as the ones I would make into consideration, it probably wouldn't bother me so much because I would be very much aware that I'd be coming up with those arguments only as a strategic maneuver in order to get out of the sticky situation I ended up in--in other words, I wouldn't care whether I was ultimately right or ultimately wrong--as long as my arguments worked to convince them of their mistakes and allow me to escape the situation. This doesn't render me into a prong #1 crisis because, as I said, I don't identify myself with my morality, or with the arguments I would have to whimsically come up with on the spot in that situation. I don't invest a lot of value in those arguments, in other words, so I don't undergo an identity crisis if they turn out to be vacuous.


From my frame of mind all of this is subsumed in dasein. Each individual out in a particular world evolves a particular identity that intertwines all of the countless variables rooted in both nature and nurture. They choose this rather than that. Subjectively/subjuntively. An "I" fabricated as a child into an existential contraption ever evolving over time from the cradle to the grave in a world bursting at the seams with contingency, chance and change.

iambiguous wrote:But, when you note, "I might just use a bit of common sense or conventional assumptions and values shared by most people", these are no less existential contraptions to me. They are situated out in a particular world [historically, culturally, experientially] and, sans God, are ever the subjective/subjunctive contraptions of mere mortals.


gib wrote: Yes, but in a prong #2 situation, where I'm forced to argue certain points in order to get out of a sticky situation, the fact that they're existential contraptions is not what concerns me, its whether the arguments work or not to get me out of the situation. I'm trying to convince them, not myself.


Then [from my frame of mind] you are entangled in my dilemma. You have just managed to create a greater distance between "I" and "angst".

I too embrace "whatever works". I just don't know if that reflects the optimal frame of mind or if in fact there is an objective argument out there that I am simply not privy to here and now.

iambiguous wrote:But I am still as perplexed as ever regarding that leap from a mind that revolves almost entirely around biological imperatives [the octopus and the shark] to a mind able to invent what we call "camouflage" in order to facilitate a successful outcome in, for example, what we call "war". We can even camouflage our intentions in our day to day interactions with others by adopting personas or by wearing masks or by playing language games. After all, what do all other creatures on earth know of "irony"?


gib wrote: Thought, and the wonders it helps us achieve, are, at base, no different than the octopus's apparently "instinctual" sensations and experience--like I said, it's just a matter of complexity and predictability. Whereas the octopus's knee jerk reaction (almost literally) of camouflaging in response to the detection of a predator is more or less as predictable as pressing a button, the human reaction to some kind of threat, say in a war, is far less predictable because, when he brings thought to the table as a tool for strategizing and self-defense, he can come up with all kinds of intelligent and unique responses. Thought is just a far more complex and versatile mental experience.


Far less predictable, but only because we lack the capacity to compute it. But the computation may still exist. It's like being able to predict precisely what the weather will be at any particular location a year from now. All of the weather variables will interact only as they must in order to create those exact weather conditions. Or, rather, will if human behaviors are just more matter in the equation. We just don't have the capacity to calculate it. But [in my mind] there is still that enigmatic distinction between how the octopus computes its camouflage and how we do.

Matter evolved from the simple to the complex, sure, but how does that really describe this distinction in such a way that we can more clearly grasp the difference between an octupus changing color in order to evade a shark and you or I camoflaging our personality in order to evade someone out to do us harm?

iambiguous wrote:Unfortunately, I see these as little more than existential contraptions as well. The accumlation of experiences that we have, experiences that come to manifest themselves as, say, "intuition", are no less triggered by "I". We can take a leap, sure, but this is no less as subjective/subjunctive as a leap to God.


gib wrote: Are you sure about that? Are you sure what I'm calling the "conscience", or "intuition", can't be traced to certain areas in the brain, or certain patterns of brain activity? If neuroscientists were able to map the kinds of experiences I'm associating with the "conscience" or "intuition" to brain areas or brain activity, would that count as a "demonstration" for you? Would that convince you that they are more than just existential contraptions?


All I can do here is note how existentially I have to come to embody by own judgments in this contraption:

1] I was raised in the belly of the working class beast. My family/community were very conservative. Abortion was a sin.
2] I was drafted into the Army and while on my "tour of duty" in Vietnam I happened upon politically radical folks who reconfigured my thinking about abortion. And God and lots of other things.
3] after I left the Army, I enrolled in college and became further involved in left wing politics. It was all the rage back then. I became a feminist. I married a feminist. I wholeheartedly embraced a woman's right to choose.
4] then came the calamity with Mary and John. I loved them both but their engagement was foundering on the rocks that was Mary's choice to abort their unborn baby.
5] back and forth we all went. I supported Mary but I could understand the points that John was making. I could understand the arguments being made on both sides. John was right from his side and Mary was right from hers.
6] I read William Barrett's Irrational Man and came upon his conjectures regarding "rival goods".
7] Then, over time, I abandoned an objectivist frame of mind that revolved around Marxism/feminism. Instead, I became more and more embedded in existentialism. And then as more years passed I became an advocate for moral nihilism.


And then to note that the extent to which this can be traced to "certain areas in the brain, or certain patterns of brain activity" is the extent to which it may all just be the illusion of autonomous choice.

If my brain "is trying to accomplish something" and "I" really am just along for the ride then my own "survival" is just one more domino in that long, long, long chain going all the way back to whatever the hell this might possibly mean.

iambiguous wrote:This is basically the crux of our exchange. I don't really know what you do mean when you make this distinction. Human reality revolves, first and foremost, around subsistence, around reproduction, around defense. And that revolves around making choices. Now, these choices are made by minds able to choose. And to choose in a way that, if one presumes some level of autonomy, are very, very different from the choices made by every other living creature on earth. Why? Because the choices that we make seem to transcend mere biological imperatives. We think not only of the way the world is but how it might also be otherwise. And that is right around the corner from how it ought to be otherwise. And somehow prong #1 and prong # 2 are intertwined here.

But how?


gib wrote: I don't know how they're intertwined, but this is what I've understood characterizes your dilemma:

1) We are dasein-based creatures who are entangled in a world in which we come into conflict over contradicting beliefs and value judgements, and that there appears to be no objective way of demonstrating who is ultimately right and who is ultimately wrong, or whether there even is a right and wrong. <-- That is certainly a dilemma. It's the prong of your dilemma I'm calling "prong #2".


Yep. Yet even here making the assumption that some level of autonomy is a factor at play in the choices we make.

gib wrote: 2) Upon realization of 1), one questions one's own beliefs and values, one realizes that if all such beliefs and values have only ever been existential contraptions, arrived at arbitrarily, then this applies to one's own beliefs and values no less than it does to everyone else's. Thus, insofar as one has identified him- or herself with one's own beliefs and values, one begins to question one's own identity--the 'I' fragments. <-- This too is certainly a dilemma, an even more profound one. It's the prong of your dilemma I'm calling "prong #1".


What is completely "arbitrary" -- fortuitous -- is the particular world into which we are "thrown" at birth: historically, culturally, experientially. And, then, from the cradle to the grave, "I" is always situated -- situated existentially in particular contexts. And within each context there are those things/relationships that seem applicable to all of us. The world of either/or. But then in interacting, we encounter the world of is/ought. And our reactions here seem to be considerably more problematic, subjective, subjunctive.

gib wrote: The point to emphasize here is that in order to become entangled in prong #1, it would seem necessary to first be entangled in prong #2. So insofar as prong #1 and prong #2 may or may not be intertwined, I think there is a point at which they meet. First, one undergoes the dilemma of prong #2, then when one draws the implications of that to one's self, he or she undergoes the dilemma of prong #1. They seem to meet where prong #2 leads one to prong #1 through the former's implications for the latter.


Would that there could be a link here to, say, a youtube video in which the point that is being made is illustrated step by step by step as it pertains to human interaction as that pertains to the relationship between the two prongs.

iambiguous wrote:And, as ever, I come back to this: What "on earth" does that mean? The super-ego as I understand it is above all else an existential fabrication/contraption rooted in dasein rooted out in a particular world historically, culturally and experientially. From the cradle to the grave.


gib wrote: Well, again, what if one day, neuroscientists are able to point to specific spots in the brain, or identify certain patterns of brain activity, and say: that is the conscience? Would that make a difference to you?


I'd wonder then if we could determine if they did so of their own volition.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby gib » Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:26 am

iambiguous wrote:But: If the desires/wants/thoughts/feelings etc., that emanate from inside our head could only have ever done so then the "causal efficacy" embodied in "I" here is just another kind of piston to me.


Right... So if I decide to pick up the remote and turn on the TV, it may not have really been a choice, but it was still 'I' who did it.

iambiguous wrote:
iambiguous wrote:Yes, but are we not then back to speculating about the extent to which the refocusing itself is autonomous?


gib wrote:No, why would we be.


Because everything that we do is inherently in sync with that which we could only have done. You focus on something because you must focus on it. Matter then unfolds over time as it must creating a new condition prompting you to refocus on it as you must.


It's not a matter whether or not the refocusing is determined, it's what you see when you refocus. I'm saying that you can only question the validity of what you would see when you refrain from refocusing.

iambiguous wrote:I always come back to this though: If you are writing only that which you ever could have written here and now and I am reading only that which I ever could have read here and now, pulling back from it is just another inherent component of an exchange that is rooted in whatever brought into existence the immutable laws of matter themselves.


Then you're stuck.

iambiguous wrote:More to the point: How do we address it without first having access to whatever it is that is wholly responsible for the existence of existence itself?


Address what? Mind? We have immediate direct access to our own minds. Why do we need access to that which is responsible for the existence of existence itself?

iambiguous wrote:But how would this abstract "analysis" be integrated into the reality of our exchange itself? How would you typing these words and me reading them be fully explained such that you could walk us through the mind/matter interactions based on the actual analytic components [assumptions] of the argument?


Read my book.

iambiguous wrote:And, thus, I'm back again to this: what on earth do you mean here?

Pertaining either to, say, the choice to abort a baby [prong 1] or the reaction to the abortion as a moral quandary [prong 2]?


That's not what prong #1 is--again, prong #1 is the dilemma of the 'I' fragmenting, not aborting babies.

I don't know how my analysis of the relation between mind and matter pertains to the choice of aborting babies or the reaction to abortions as a moral quandry. Again, I was just answering your question "How then is mind not matter?"

iambiguous wrote:Somehow you seem able to yank this conception of "I" out of my own dilemma [if that is what you are doing] but I simply don't grasp what you are talking about here "for all practical purposes". I'm saying my morality isn't linked to an "ism". Like me, you are out in a particular world embodying particular values that evolved from the complex intertwining of nature and nurture. The part about dasein, conflicting goods and political economy doesn't just go away for me.

That seems to be because you think all morality is based on one or another "ism".

Had the genes and the memes been differrent in your life you might have no compunction at all in raping someone, in hurting someone, in killing someone.

But you're not talking to that alternate version of me. You asked about my morality.

In fact, this is the part of my own rendition of "I" that most disturbs the objectivists. Somehow they must convince themselves that they do the right thing because 1] there is a right thing to do and 2] they do it because they are a good person.

I'm saying I do these things because I feel like it.

But this is still all just an existential contraption to me.


iambiguous wrote:Then [from my frame of mind] you are entangled in my dilemma. You have just managed to create a greater distance between "I" and "angst".

YES!!! :clap:

I too embrace "whatever works". I just don't know if that reflects the optimal frame of mind or if in fact there is an objective argument out there that I am simply not privy to here and now.


Even if there was, I'm not sure how you would accept it given that you haven't yet resolved your problem of our place in a deterministic universe.

iambiguous wrote:But [in my mind] there is still that enigmatic distinction between how the octopus computes its camouflage and how we do.


There certainly is a distinction.

iambiguous wrote:Matter evolved from the simple to the complex, sure, but how does that really describe this distinction in such a way that we can more clearly grasp the difference between an octopus changing color in order to evade a shark and you or I camoflaging our personality in order to evade someone out to do us harm?


There is the scientific way of explaining it and then there is the philosophical/subjectivist way:

The scientific way would simply be to peer into the octopus's biology and figure out how the neurons are interconnected and how certain chemicals are released and bound to neural receptors and what neural pathways connect to what glands, organs, parts of the octopus's body, etc. and finally how that results in the skin changing color. Then we would compare that to what goes on in a human brain that makes us figure out and attempt to camouflage.

The philosophical/subjectivist way is a lot more daunting task. And my theory of mind would simply say that it is driven by an experience that is particular to the octopus and foreign to us--that means we cannot imagine it--but if we could, we would experience it as maybe a desire to camouflage, or an imperative to secrete certain hormones. And keep in mind, what we recognize as "camouflage", the octopus may recognize as something completely different.

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote:Are you sure about that? Are you sure what I'm calling the "conscience", or "intuition", can't be traced to certain areas in the brain, or certain patterns of brain activity? If neuroscientists were able to map the kinds of experiences I'm associating with the "conscience" or "intuition" to brain areas or brain activity, would that count as a "demonstration" for you? Would that convince you that they are more than just existential contraptions?


All I can do here is note how existentially I have to come to embody by own judgments in this contraption:

1] I was raised in the belly of the working class beast. My family/community were very conservative. Abortion was a sin.
2] I was drafted into the Army and while on my "tour of duty" in Vietnam I happened upon politically radical folks who reconfigured my thinking about abortion. And God and lots of other things.
3] after I left the Army, I enrolled in college and became further involved in left wing politics. It was all the rage back then. I became a feminist. I married a feminist. I wholeheartedly embraced a woman's right to choose.
4] then came the calamity with Mary and John. I loved them both but their engagement was foundering on the rocks that was Mary's choice to abort their unborn baby.
5] back and forth we all went. I supported Mary but I could understand the points that John was making. I could understand the arguments being made on both sides. John was right from his side and Mary was right from hers.
6] I read William Barrett's Irrational Man and came upon his conjectures regarding "rival goods".
7] Then, over time, I abandoned an objectivist frame of mind that revolved around Marxism/feminism. Instead, I became more and more embedded in existentialism. And then as more years passed I became an advocate for moral nihilism.

And then to note that the extent to which this can be traced to "certain areas in the brain, or certain patterns of brain activity" is the extent to which it may all just be the illusion of autonomous choice.


This doesn't really answer my question. If the "conscience" or "intuition" can be shown to be an experience that arises from specific brain activity, would you still call it an existential contraption? <-- That was the question. If yes, then everything is an existential contraption, even the concrete world you see before you (it too is experienced because of brain activity--specifically in the visual cortex). If no, then what I'm calling the conscience and intuition is grounded in something a little more concrete than abstract existential contraptions.

iambiguous wrote:I'd wonder then if we could determine if they did so of their own volition.


But then this would apply to any brain part. Indeed, it would apply to any scientific statement. It would apply to you when you think you've identified something definitively. This line of questioning is the ultimate in Cartesian skepticism. You ought even to be skeptical about your own arguments about dasein. <-- Why do you even think they make sense when you only think them because you couldn't have ever not thought them?
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby iambiguous » Sat Mar 04, 2017 12:07 am

gib wrote:
iambiguous wrote:But: If the desires/wants/thoughts/feelings etc., that emanate from inside our head could only have ever done so then the "causal efficacy" embodied in "I" here is just another kind of piston to me.


Right... So if I decide to pick up the remote and turn on the TV, it may not have really been a choice, but it was still 'I' who did it.


So, in a wholly determined world, how does the human mind wrap itself around the following distinction:

1] The remote control -- an inanimate object -- is a device programmed to turn on the TV.
2] I choose to use the remote control to turn on the TV.

The remote control has no conscious understanding of what it means to turn the TV on. I do. But I turn the television on only because I could not not have turned it on. Anymore than a properly functioning remote control could not have turned on a properly functioning television.

How am "I" here not then but one more necessary component of this entirely material sequence?

Would not the matter that we call "mind" need to be equipped with a quality that we have come to call "free will" or "autonomy" or "volition"?

Let's just say that "compatibilists" are able to grasp this sort of thing in a manner that I am not. At least not "here and now".

...everything that we do is inherently in sync with that which we could only have done. You focus on something because you must focus on it. Matter then unfolds over time as it must creating a new condition prompting you to refocus on it as you must.


gib wrote: It's not a matter whether or not the refocusing is determined, it's what you see when you refocus. I'm saying that you can only question the validity of what you would see when you refrain from refocusing.


What I see however is only what I was ever going to see. Why? Because I was never able -- of my own volition -- to refrain from refocusing.

And here I just go around and around and around.

Thus:

iambiguous wrote: If you are writing only that which you ever could have written here and now and I am reading only that which I ever could have read here and now, pulling back from it is just another inherent component of an exchange that is rooted in whatever brought into existence the immutable laws of matter themselves.


gib wrote: Then you're stuck.


Yes, but am I stuck because I am failing to think this through properly -- in a manner such that I would not be stuck? Or is being "stuck" the only thing that I was ever going to be anyway?

iambiguous wrote:More to the point: How do we address it without first having access to whatever it is that is wholly responsible for the existence of existence itself?


gib wrote: Address what? Mind? We have immediate direct access to our own minds. Why do we need access to that which is responsible for the existence of existence itself?


How is the human mind not just but one more component of Existence? What makes it extraordinary is that, as far as we know, it is the only matter able to become conscious of itself as matter encompassing whatever it is that allowed matter to exist.

The question here [as I see it] is the extent to which the mind is able achieve at least some level of autonomy.

iambiguous wrote:Somehow you seem able to yank this conception of "I" out of my own dilemma [if that is what you are doing] but I simply don't grasp what you are talking about here "for all practical purposes". Like me, you are out in a particular world embodying particular values that evolved from the complex intertwining of nature and nurture. The part about dasein, conflicting goods and political economy doesn't just go away for me.


gib wrote: That seems to be because you think all morality is based on one or another "ism".


What I believe is that morality is based on the necessity to create "rules of behavior" in any particular human community. And this is derived from the fact that we come into the world with wants and needs that "out in the world of actual human interactions" come into conflict. Sometimes the conflict revolves around ends, sometimes around means. But each of us has accummlated a "sense of reality" here. I just happen to predicate my own on the manner in which I have come to understand the meaning of dasein, conflicting goods and political economy. And that has precipitated my dilemma above.

Then [obviously] I come to venues like this one in order to explore one or another alternative "sense of reality". What else is there?

Had the genes and the memes been differrent in your life you might have no compunction at all in raping someone, in hurting someone, in killing someone.


gib wrote: But you're not talking to that alternate version of me. You asked about my morality.


From my frame of mind, your morality is just another existential contraption. And unless others are willing to acknowledge the extent to which "I" here is just a fabricated concoction rooted existentially out in particular worlds awash in contingency, chance and change, they are able to "think themselves" into believing that their "I" somehow reflects this "real me", the "me" that has come to grasp the one true distinction between right and wrong, good and bad.

The fact is that given the extent to which there are variables in your life that you do not either fully understand or are not fully in control of, these "alternatives" were always possible, are still always possible. One new experience and your moral sense of reality can become subsumed in an entirely new sense of "reality".

Thus:

In fact, this is the part of my own rendition of "I" that most disturbs the objectivists. Somehow they must convince themselves that they do the right thing because 1] there is a right thing to do and 2] they do it because they are a good person.


gib wrote: I'm saying I do these things because I feel like it.


And I'm suggesting that the subjunctive "I" is no less an existential contraption.

iambiguous wrote:Then [from my frame of mind] you are entangled in my dilemma. You have just managed to create a greater distance between "I" and "angst".


gib wrote: YES!!!


But, again, from my frame of mind, this too is no less an existential contraption. To the extent that I am able to nudge others here to my own frame of mind is the extent to which the "angst" may well creep in. After all, I didn't just wake up one morning and tumble over into my dilemma. And my reaction to it has as well evolved over the years.

I too embrace "whatever works". I just don't know if that reflects the optimal frame of mind or if in fact there is an objective argument out there that I am simply not privy to here and now.


gib wrote: Even if there was, I'm not sure how you would accept it given that you haven't yet resolved your problem of our place in a deterministic universe.


That's true. On the other hand, doesn't that quandary ever and always hover over all of us?

iambiguous wrote:Matter evolved from the simple to the complex, sure, but how does that really describe this distinction in such a way that we can more clearly grasp the difference between an octopus changing color in order to evade a shark and you or I camoflaging our personality in order to evade someone out to do us harm?


gib wrote: There is the scientific way of explaining it and then there is the philosophical/subjectivist way:

The scientific way would simply be to peer into the octopus's biology and figure out how the neurons are interconnected and how certain chemicals are released and bound to neural receptors and what neural pathways connect to what glands, organs, parts of the octopus's body, etc. and finally how that results in the skin changing color. Then we would compare that to what goes on in a human brain that makes us figure out and attempt to camouflage.


But would not the scientists basically do the same regarding human camoflage? We may well just be octopi with brains able to delude oursleves that we are able to be more clever when we trick our opponents. But, really, biologically, isn't it just the same sequence of matter intertwining only as it ever could have out in any particular world. For any particular species.

gib wrote: The philosophical/subjectivist way is a lot more daunting task. And my theory of mind would simply say that it is driven by an experience that is particular to the octopus and foreign to us--that means we cannot imagine it--but if we could, we would experience it as maybe a desire to camouflage, or an imperative to secrete certain hormones. And keep in mind, what we recognize as "camouflage", the octopus may recognize as something completely different.


Maybe, but I'm back to trying to imagine the sequence unfolding if, unlike the octopi, we do possess some level of autonomy. And, even then, to the extent that we might feel the need [the desire] to camoflage oursleves in our interactions with others there are still the parts embedded in dasein, conflicting goods and political economy.

gib wrote: This doesn't really answer my question. If the "conscience" or "intuition" can be shown to be an experience that arises from specific brain activity, would you still call it an existential contraption?


No, in that case the only "contraption" would appear to be Existence itself.

But then we are back again to this: What does that mean?

But, sure, you can argue that in a wholly determined universe, everything and anything is an "existential contraption". But how would be define the meaning of a word like "contraption" as it applies to Existence Itself?

iambiguous wrote:I'd wonder then if we could determine if they did so of their own volition.


gib wrote: But then this would apply to any brain part. Indeed, it would apply to any scientific statement. It would apply to you when you think you've identified something definitively. This line of questioning is the ultimate in Cartesian skepticism. You ought even to be skeptical about your own arguments about dasein. <-- Why do you even think they make sense when you only think them because you couldn't have ever not thought them?


Since my arguments about dasein are clearly just another existential contraption, even if it could be shown that I have some capacity to think and feel of my own volition that it is a reasonable frame of mind, I am still acknowledging that it may well not be.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby gib » Sun Mar 12, 2017 3:26 am

iambiguous wrote:So, in a wholly determined world, how does the human mind wrap itself around the following distinction:

1] The remote control -- an inanimate object -- is a device programmed to turn on the TV.
2] I choose to use the remote control to turn on the TV.

One involves the feeling of choosing, the other... well who knows what it feels like. But make no mistake, there is no reason to assume the feeling of choosing is real choosing... at least not in the sense of breaking with the laws of physics.

The remote control has no conscious understanding of what it means to turn the TV on. I do. But I turn the television on only because I could not not have turned it on. Anymore than a properly functioning remote control could not have turned on a properly functioning television.

How am "I" here not then but one more necessary component of this entirely material sequence?

Would not the matter that we call "mind" need to be equipped with a quality that we have come to call "free will" or "autonomy" or "volition"?

No, it needn't. It only needs to be equipped with the feeling of being free.

Let's just say that "compatibilists" are able to grasp this sort of thing in a manner that I am not. At least not "here and now".


Remember, compatibilists only believe that free will is the condition under which you get what you want or intend, not that it defies the laws of nature.

iambiguous wrote:What I see however is only what I was ever going to see.


Yeah, because it's real.

iambiguous wrote:Yes, but am I stuck because I am failing to think this through properly -- in a manner such that I would not be stuck? Or is being "stuck" the only thing that I was ever going to be anyway?


Those aren't mutually exclusive.

iambiguous wrote:What I believe is that morality is based on the necessity to create "rules of behavior" in any particular human community. And this is derived from the fact that we come into the world with wants and needs that "out in the world of actual human interactions" come into conflict. Sometimes the conflict revolves around ends, sometimes around means. But each of us has accummlated a "sense of reality" here. I just happen to predicate my own on the manner in which I have come to understand the meaning of dasein, conflicting goods and political economy. And that has precipitated my dilemma above.


Morality as "rules of behavior" that a community arrives at and agrees upon in order to maintain a semblance of social cohesion is definitely very different from feelings of guilt or inspiration, of anger or love, of pressure from society or a desire to help society. It's the latter which I'm calling "morality" and they all play a pivotal roll in constituting one's conscience. To me, the conscience is just a set of feelings, instincts, and intuitions, not a set of clearly defined rules. At best, it is a set of tendencies. That's why for me, there is no "objective morality." Instead there are feelings that arise "in the moment"--senses of right and wrong, of guilt or sympathy--that, at least in my case, so happen to coincide with what most people call "moral" and "immoral".

iambiguous wrote:From my frame of mind, your morality is just another existential contraption.


Are you telling me you've never felt guilt? Never felt inspired to help another person?

iambiguous wrote:But, again, from my frame of mind, this too is no less an existential contraption. To the extent that I am able to nudge others here to my own frame of mind is the extent to which the "angst" may well creep in. After all, I didn't just wake up one morning and tumble over into my dilemma. And my reaction to it has as well evolved over the years.


We're both trying to nudge each other closer to each of our respective frames of mind. What seems strange to me is why you would want to bring another person into a state of angst rather than allow that other person to being you out of angst. I can appreciate that most likely it's because you feel that if you could just get another person to understand what it's like to suffer the angst of your dilemma, they might be able to offer a way out of it--and that you feel you cannot take a blind leap and trust that another person's advise or point of view is more than just an existential contraption, that you need to see it for yourself first.

^ This is the crux of your problem. You're so ready to dismiss the advice others give you in response to your requests for it, so ready to dismiss the answers to the questions you yourself pose, in virtue of the fact that they're just going to come across as "existential contraptions" that you don't even allow yourself the opportunity to be persuaded by them. If you could only be persuade, for example, that 2 + 2 really does equal 4, you'd have an epiphany: Hmm... maybe that does make sense after all... and then all the quandaries about whether it only makes sense because it could not have ever not made sense go away. You suddenly see why it makes sense--why it has to make sense. <-- The logic is there, the answers are there. You just have to allow yourself to believe in something objective again.

I can understand where you're going with this. Obviously, my 2 + 2 = 4 example is just a place to start--math 101 so to speak--and I understand how it's hard to see the manner in which the logical of that example carried over to the logic of whether abortion is morally right or morally wrong. But that's where my relativism comes in. Once you think in relativistic terms, it's incredibly easy: abortion is right for the pro-choice faction, but wrong for the pro-life faction.

You think Turd ever questioned whether the validity his thoughts were really grounded or just forced upon him because he could never have not had those thoughts? You remember that example? The rant you linked us to at which Turd was ranting something about politics? He seemed pretty certain in his convictions, didn't he? You think that state of mind came along with even a remote sense of self-doubt? I don't think so. His post reads like he's absolutely cock-sure of his opinion. Why? Because all the validity you need is in the moment of having the experience--whether that be a thought, like Turd's, or feelings of guilt and inspiration, like mine, or feeling trapped in a dasein-based dilemma, like yours... it's not really a matter of whether these thoughts, feelings, insights, etc. are really valid or not--they're valid on their face--it's a question of how you can have conflicting, yet still valid, thoughts, feelings, insights, etc.--the pro-life advocates being right and at the same time the pro-choice advocates also being right. <-- And again, relativism fixes this nicely.

iambiguous wrote:But would not the scientists basically do the same regarding human camoflage? We may well just be octopi with brains able to delude oursleves that we are able to be more clever when we trick our opponents. But, really, biologically, isn't it just the same sequence of matter intertwining only as it ever could have out in any particular world. For any particular species.


Yes, but again, I don't know why you think this has to be a "delusion". Just as the piston is still a player in the operations of the engine, the 'I' is still a player in our contrived plans on how to camouflage. Yes, it all comes down the natural laws, but you seem to think of these laws as "outside" the immanent physical systems that they govern. The way I see it is that our conscious subjective reasons for camouflaging, and hashing out the plans for how to camouflage, are the laws of nature that make it happen.

iambiguous wrote:No, in that case the only "contraption" would appear to be Existence itself.

But then we are back again to this: What does that mean?

It's what's in front of you.

But, sure, you can argue that in a wholly determined universe, everything and anything is an "existential contraption". But how would be define the meaning of a word like "contraption" as it applies to Existence Itself?


I'd drop the term of opt for "hallucination".

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote:Why do you even think they make sense when you only think them because you couldn't have ever not thought them?


Since my arguments about dasein are clearly just another existential contraption, even if it could be shown that I have some capacity to think and feel of my own volition that it is a reasonable frame of mind, I am still acknowledging that it may well not be.


Because that's the only thing you can do. But then doesn't that seem reasonable? Doesn't it seem to "verify" your convictions? (hint, hint, nudge, nudge ;) ).
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