Something Instead of Nothing

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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Meno_ » Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:41 pm

Iambiguous: I really don't want to interject because it makes me look like too persistent. But for the sake of philosophical truth, isn't my persistence grounded in this particular con text within Your ground in the either/or, particularly as it concerns morality, whereas we should be beyond that by now? Your uncertainty feeds absolute predicates which dis unite an evolving spatial-temporal demarcation at least in essence?
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:56 pm

phyllo wrote:If you tell Iambig that he is not responding to posts, he uses determinism to rationalize it as "he could not have responded in any other way".


I don't "use" determinism. I grapple with trying to understand the extent to which the human mind may or may not be able to determine the extent to which we think, and feel and behave with some measure of "free choice".

Also, my own experience with objectivists of your ilk is that, when they accuse you of not responding to their posts, what they are really bitching about is that they don't recognize the words that you choose as the words that they would choose.

This thread then revolves more around the extent to which such exchanges were ever within our capacity to control.

And here, I am, admittedly, drawn and quartered. I am simply unable to come to any conclusion that settles it.

phyllo wrote:He appears to want to remove power, control and responsibility from the individual and place it somewhere else.


No, I wish to entertain an argument able to convince me that whatever it is that I think I want to grasp about human responsibility, it is within my power to entertain alternatives and then to choose that which I believe [autonomously] is the most reasonable point of view.

That is until, in having new experiences, I come to freely choose a conflicting point of view.

That is until someone is able to demonstrate substantively that which all rational men and women are oblgated to believe is true.

Unfortunately, so far, that's not been you.

phyllo wrote:If I see a complex machine making decisions, then I would tend to assign it agency. Iambig seems to see a reason to take away agency from humans.


I take away something only if I can be convinced that there was something that autonomous minds are able to freely take away.

And then the part where some seem compelled [literally or otherwise] to attach their own agency to one or another God or one or another political ideology or one or another philosophical contraption or one or another rendition of nature.

I'm still trying to understand how that pertains to you out in the world of conflicting goods.
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: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Meno_ » Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:18 pm

I don't "use" determinism. I grapple with trying to understand the extent to which the human mind may or may not be able to determine the extent to which we think, and feel and behave with some measure of "free choice".
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Meno_ » Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:20 pm

Meno_ wrote:I don't "use" determinism. I grapple with trying to understand the extent to which the human mind may or may not be able to determine the extent to which we think, and feel and behave with some measure of "free choice".


Sorry, that was Your quote.



So You are trying to determine freedom of choice to the extent that it remains from the part that has pre-determined it. Right?
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:28 pm

phyllo wrote:
Iambig wrote :
Instead, the point is that you have managed to convince yourself that there is a right answer to be had here. So, again, why not yours. It's the part about having an answer -- any answer -- that propels the objectivist mind.


The right answer is that there is no right answer. Right?


Over and over and over again with you: The right answer pertaining to what particular context understood from what particular conflicting points of view?

On this thread though it gets all that more problematic because we are discussing the extent to which any answer reflects at least some measure of human autonomy pertaining to every context.

You seem to insist that I seem to insist that how I view this is how I think that all rational men and women are obligated to view it. Whereas in reality -- remember that? -- I don't think that at all. Quite the opposite given the manner in which I keep pointing out over and over and over again the depth of the ambivalence I am embedded in when thinking about it at all.

phyllo wrote: No wait a minute, the correct attitude would seem to be "I don't know whether there is a right answer or not". That would lead to a calm peaceful state of mind. There would be no reason to attack 'objectivists' for their beliefs since you don't know if they are right or wrong.


No, I make a distinction between answers [in the either/or world] that seem to be apllicable to all rational men and women and answers [in the is/ought world] that do not.

Here though the question revolves more around answers [any answers, all answers] as but more dominoes toppling over given that the mind is the brain and the brain is just more matter in sync with matter's immutable laws.

But:

Not only do I not know the answer to this, I can't even imagine the minds of any mere mortals on this tiny little rock in the vastness of what may or may not be the multiverse, actually thinking that they have one!

The fucking answer!!!


phyllo wrote: You've convinced yourself that a right answer is impossible for "mere mortals". How dare they think that there is a "fucking answer".

No uncertainty there. Never : maybe they're right, maybe they're wrong, maybe the concept of right and wrong is not applicable.


I've convinced myself that I don't know if any answer is ever anything other than the only answer that could ever have been.

As for the "concept" of right or wrong, how is that either in sync or not in sync with that which can be demonstrated to actually be right or wrong for all rational human beings. Out in the world of conflicting goods.

And that's when you insist that all of those who don't think about things like Communism as you do have the wrong answers.
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: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby phyllo » Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:15 pm

Over and over and over again with you: The right answer pertaining to what particular context understood from what particular conflicting points of view?
Over and over again with you ... can there be right and wrong answers in the general sense? You know, that there is an answer to at least one question in the field of identity, etc. One fucking right answer. And can there be wrong answers?

(This is where you ask me how it would be demonstrated. But I'm asking you first. You must have figured out the problem with demonstrations since you have the idea that it can't be demonstrated.)
You seem to insist that I seem to insist that how I view this is how I think that all rational men and women are obligated to view it. Whereas in reality -- remember that? -- I don't think that at all. Quite the opposite given the manner in which I keep pointing out over and over and over again the depth of the ambivalence I am embedded in when thinking about it at all.

Yeah. You say that you are ambivalent but you don't sound like it. I think an ambivalent person would tend to shut up or at least phrase his posts very differently.

And then there is the fact that you keep finding something wrong with the objectivists who don't think as you do.
I've convinced myself that I don't know if any answer is ever anything other than the only answer that could ever have been.
Notice how the pile grows. Now you need "the only answer that could ever have been" instead of just "a fucking answer".
As for the "concept" of right or wrong, how is that either in sync or not in sync with that which can be demonstrated to actually be right or wrong for all rational human beings. Out in the world of conflicting goods.
And here it has to "be demonstrated to actually be right or wrong for ALL RATIONAL HUMAN BEINGS". Pile it on.

What about one rational human being? For a start.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby gib » Sun Nov 18, 2018 1:49 am

Mad Man P wrote:My point is, whatever that conception of self may or may not be, it has absolutely no bearing on the concept of determinism... it may be rendered impossible by determinism, it may be only possible given determinism... either way it does not constitute a change in the concept of determinism.


In that case, there is never two kinds of any "ism". Say good bye to Protestantism and Catholicism. If X-ism is defined as the belief in X, then that settles what X-ism is. So long as a person believes in X, he or she is an X-ist. If that person happens to also believe in Y, and another X-ist disagrees with Y, we can't say there are two kinds of X-ists--those that believe Y and those that don't--there is only one kind of X-ist--those that believe in X. And there may be some who also believe Y, and some who don't, but if Y has no bearing on X, we can't say there are two kinds of X-ists.

But doesn't this seem kind of absurd in some cases? Take materialism, for example. There are two kinds (or so a philosophy professor at university taught us): eliminativists and reductivists. The eliminativists believe that the only thing we can legitimately say is real are the most fundamental building blocks of matter (or whatever turns out to be real)--particles, energy, whatever--whereas the reductivists believe that we can say that the things built on top of the most fundamental building block of matter (or whatever turns out to be real) are also real. For example, an eliminativist would say there is no spoon, only the particles arranged in the shape of a spoon, whereas the reductivists would say the particles that make up the spoon are indeed real but so is the spoon they make up. But both believe in the essential part of materialism that makes it materialism: that the world is ultimately no more than matter. According to you, we have no right to say materialists can be divided into reductivists and eliminativists. There is only one kind of materialist: those who believe that the world is ultimately just matter. But there happens to be materialists who are also eliminativists, and there are materialists who are also reductivists. Their views on eliminativism and reductivism, however, ought to be treated separately from their views on materialism.

^ To me, this itself is just semantics. We can say that there is only one kind of materialist, and independently of that, eliminativists and reductivists, or we can say there are two kinds of materialists: eliminativists and reductivists--ultimately, we're saying the same thing but in different words--semantics. The latter way of saying it doesn't entail that the meaning of materialism changes depending on if you're an eliminativist or a reductivist--it stays the same--both believe the world is nothing more than matter--but it adds additional information about what in the world of matter they believe is real.

Now, I would agree that not all such divisions are useful. Saying that there are two kinds of humans--those under 6 feet tall and those over 6 feet tall--is pretty useless (depending on the context); but saying there are two kinds of humans--males and females--can be a lot more useful. In the case of determinism and whether the self is a participant in the system or an outsider just watching from the sides, I think it can be very useful to make the distinction. It has implication for some of the most contentious topics the determinist likes to engage in: are we in control?

Mad Man P wrote:There is a HUGE difference between arguing over what the definition of "self" ought to be (semantics) and how best to model the phenomenon that we choose to call self.
We have made great strides toward understanding the workings of our brain and there's a lot left that we do not know... but whether any of that information pertains to understanding the nature of "self" depends entirely on how we define "self".

When someone says they define self as being a person's soul and you define it as being their brain... the disagreement can be about SEMANTICS (an absolute waste of everyone's time) or it can be about the existence of souls and what role they play.


This is true, but it's rare that each person's definition goes unmentioned. When someone says that the self goes on after death, it's pretty clear they mean a soul. I don't think anybody believes that the body goes off somewhere after we die. And if the definition isn't clear in the course of the discussion, it usually comes up very soon. And then the discussion can turn to whether the soul exists or not (or whatever you want to talk about).
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Mad Man P » Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:56 am

phyllo wrote:
My point is, whatever that conception of self may or may not be, it has absolutely no bearing on the concept of determinism... it may be rendered impossible by determinism, it may be only possible given determinism... either way it does not constitute a change in the concept of determinism.
How did the "concept of determinism" become so powerful that it drives the existence of "concept of self"? Why doesn't the "concept of self" maybe render the "concept of determinism" impossible/possible?


Dude I don't even understand how what you just said has anything to do with what I said previously. It's such a confused reading of what I said that I now suspect you just want to argue for the sake of arguing... but I'm going to assume it's a misunderstanding and I'll try to express it differently, in case it might help.

If my concept of self is one wherein the essence of it is let's say "supernatural" and I have a conception of reality wherein there is no supernatural dimension, then neither concept needs to be adjusted by the other...
they can co-exist AS concepts and do not at all relate to each other in any way.
The same way the concept of absolute darkness is utterly unaffected by the concept of absolute light... forming one concept does not alter the other...

Someone saying "I'm a determinist" and then denying there is any agency within this model is either denying the existence of complex organisms or more likely playing a language game where those organisms do not qualify as "agents" because of how that term is defined.

If it's a language game... it's a waste of everyone's time to argue about it... a rose by any other name and all that jazz.
"I'm just saying that if we want to have a fruitful discussion, we all need to know what the fuck we're talking about" - Carleas

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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Mad Man P » Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:29 am

gib wrote:Now, I would agree that not all such divisions are useful. Saying that there are two kinds of humans--those under 6 feet tall and those over 6 feet tall--is pretty useless (depending on the context); but saying there are two kinds of humans--males and females--can be a lot more useful. In the case of determinism and whether the self is a participant in the system or an outsider just watching from the sides, I think it can be very useful to make the distinction. It has implication for some of the most contentious topics the determinist likes to engage in: are we in control?


I'm with you 100% and if you follow that logic to its conclusion.. the only distinctions worth making are the ones with consequences.

I'm not saying people don't get really upset and bicker over semantics and split into different camps and I can't argue with your point that it is in fact useful to distinguish between said camps
but I can and do argue that it's a fucking pointless distinction to bicker about.

In the case of determinism there is only one version... what people are bickering about is whether or not that version is compatible with their individual notions of free will, agency and self.
A question which is answered by defining those terms... so there really is nothing to bicker about except about which definition everyone should use...
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Gloominary » Sun Nov 18, 2018 4:44 am

gib

(what does finitely regressive mean?)

It means the cosmos has an origin.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Gloominary » Sun Nov 18, 2018 4:49 am

Iambiguous

Still more bizarre [for me] is in imagining a universe where even our own conscious minds are only cognizant of that which they could only ever have been cognizant of. Our awareness of the universe, in other words, is not something that we choose autonomously to be cognizant of. It is just another manifestation of the immutable laws of matter.

Maybe we are autonomous.
All, most or much of the stuff scientists and philosophers struggle to explain,including our brains/minds and behavior, might be inexplicable, not because we're too limited to explain it, but because it's partly, or fully spontaneous.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Gloominary » Sun Nov 18, 2018 4:52 am

And all paranormal phenomena, insofar as it exists, rather than having conspiratorial, extra-terrestrial or spiritual explanations, might have a partly, or fully spontaneous explanation.

The universe may be (un)consciously playful, mischievous...whimsical, on occasion.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby gib » Sun Nov 18, 2018 6:18 am

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote:Ah, but... are we attempting to come to grips with this because we are freely choosing to? Or is it because we could never have not attempted to come to grips with it?
Exactly! Some think that their own attempts are freely chosen, while others think that, in thinking this, the attempts in and of themselves are just another manifestation of what we still don't know about how mindless matter could have evolved into brain matter evolving into human minds.


But you only say this because you were never not going to say it.

iambiguous wrote:Agreeing with you about what?


Whatever you said yes to here:

Biggy says yes.png
Biggy says yes.png (73.12 KiB) Viewed 2034 times


iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote:And BTW, why are you agreeing with me? What happened to the gap between what you think you know "in your head" and all that would be needed to know in order to say for sure what we are attempting to come to grips with?


But how would anything that we either agree or disagree about not still be embedded in the gap between what we think we know about these things here and now and all that can be known in about them in order to assess the reality of existence essentially, necessarily?


That's my question to you.

iambiguous wrote:I'm basically at a loss regarding why you can't own up to this profoundly significant chasm.


I'm at a loss regarding why you think I'm not owning up to it. I'm just not troubled by it.

iambiguous wrote:But how does this not immediately take us on to the next question: do you think that what you do think here is something that you chose to think "of your own free will"?

Everything takes you to that question, Biggy.

No, everything takes me to the question of how it can be determined that "everything" -- "anything" -- here was or was not ever within my capacity to have chosen otherwise.


That's just a generalization of the same question.

iambiguous wrote:Note to others:

What sort of answer is he after here? Please provide me with the manner in which you would answer him instead. So that I can make comparisons.


Yes or no will do.

iambiguous wrote:Sure, maybe. But all I can do here is to respond to the best of my ability. That's the best of your ability? For me, Thank you!!! --> there is no question that we choose our subjective experiences. <-- Thank you!!! Instead, the question is the extent to which it is possible that "I" could have freely chosen another experience instead. Or that I could have freely chosen to react to the experiences of others otherwise.


Clarity at last!!! Thanks Biggy! You see, now I understand your position a bit better. So I see the banana as yellow because I choose to, but I could not have made any other choice (which is why it doesn't feel like a choice)... does that mean it's not really a choice, or that we only have one choice? And if it's not really a choice, does that make meaning impossible? As in, I see the banana as yellow, but that doesn't mean anything--certainly not that the banana is yellow.

iambiguous wrote:But I'm the one who has to live from day to day with what I have "here and now" thought myself into believing is true about these things. And, your own contentions to the contrary, it is a really, really, really grim point of view.


Let me tell you something about human nature, Biggy: we may get a certain measure of comfort out of the thought that there is a benevolent God watching over us, or an afterlife of everlasting bliss, or that we are free to make choices in this world, or that what we think we know is directly connected with the truth. But we are creatures of evolution, creatures built for survival. We are predominantly focused on finding means of survival in this world. So while all the above may give us a certain measure of comfort, there are far more pressing things to worry about. What good would it do us in the game of survival to count on an afterlife to secure our survival and well being? What good would it do us to believe in freedom from the laws of nature when the laws of nature are what we count on to predict and control our world? What good would it do us to worry about knowing the absolute truth about the very essence of ontology when all we really need to know is what's immediately in front of us and how to maneuver through the world in order to survive? If anything, evolution wants us to to have a grim outlook on the afterlife, for how better to motivate us to put off death for as long as possible? Evolution would want us to believe in the laws of physics, for how better to enable us to predict and control our world, thereby making survival that much easier.

For this reason, we are far more inclined to cling to and defend our beliefs and values regardless of whether they bring us comfort or are really, really, really grim. How pleasant or depressing our beliefs and values are is a very small factor in what motivates us to cling to or reject our beliefs and values. Evolution doesn't mind putting its children through a lot of shit--forced to endure a painful life with an asbolutely grim outlook--so long as our survival is ensured. And we are given the tools by which to do this to ourselves. We are creatures of thought. Cogitation is one of our most useful tools of survival. We try to figure things out, and once we do--once we've formed a cognitive model of the world that informs our values and our actions--we cling to it like a newborn to its mother. And if we don't figure it out ourselves, we learn it from others--through our upbringing, through frequent contact with our social groups, through trusted authorities, etc. <-- This means that our beliefs and values perform and very powerful social function. Clinging to our beliefs, therefore, is not only a matter of fearing ignorance or being wrong, but of maintaining harmony and cohesiveness with our community. It helps communication immensely, and oils the wheels of friendly socialization, of healthy relationships, or being accepted. This is primarily why we cling to our beliefs and value, why it matters very little how delightful or grim they are. When our beliefs and values are torn apart, a terrible sense of insecurity settles in; we feel naked, defenseless, forced to grope in the dark. And we risk the scorn of our peers who will ultimate outcast us. While it may be a grim prospect that we are not really free, or that the knowledge gap is unbridgeable, or that the obliteration of the 'I' upon death is inevitable, the tearing down of our beliefs and values is absolutely horrifying.

The fact of the matter is, you could easily believe in whatever you want. Believing in something based on faith is one of the most natural things the human mind can do. Other people do it all the time. And I keep telling you, Biggy, you're not special. You could convince yourself that you have an answer. Whatever seems the most plausible. Make all that grimness go away. There's not really a lot stopping you except an instinct, one that we all share, to cling to whatever beliefs and values you've been clinging to up until now.

iambiguous wrote:Bingo. You admit that your own answers here may be right, may be wrong. But [from my frame of mind] that's not the point. Instead, the point is that you have managed to convince yourself that there is a right answer to be had here. So, again, why not yours. It's the part about having an answer -- any answer -- that propels the objectivist mind.


I don't get it. Are you saying that my "I may be right, I may be wrong," attitude implies that I have the answer? Or that there is an answer out there and it may be mine but it may not?

I'm not sure how taking a "I may be right, I may be wrong" attitude is compatible with a "I am right, period" attitude. I can only surmise, therefore, that you mean this attitude of mine implies I think there is an answer out there (and maybe I have it, maybe I don't).

But I don't think it even implies that. If I'm right, then there is an answer out there and it's mine. If I'm wrong, then *maybe* there's an answer out there that isn't mine, or maybe there is no answer. Maybe the truth is beyond human comprehension.

I struggled with this for a while when trying to flesh out the logic of my theory of mind. The question for me was: how can I propose to know anything about the things outside my mind when my own theory says that 1) such knowledge would really be just another mental artifact inside my mind (an intellectual contraption as you put it), and that 2) anything outside my mind is necessarily incomprehensible (except maybe for other people's minds)? But then I stumbled upon a whole new way of thinking about the relation between knowledge and the known. I call it the "key and lock" model--to be contrasted with the "copy" model. It says that our concepts and knowledge of the things outside our minds are not to be thought of as "copies" of those things, but as keys to a lock. The concept or knowledge in the head is like a key and the things conceived or known are like the lock for that key. <-- The point being that they didn't have to "match" but that there could still be a connection between them, that the one could belong to the other.

^ But anyway, the point is that as my theory stands today, I have a way of conceptualizing a connection between what I think I know "here and now" and what there actually is out there in the world. I know I haven't explained it in enough detail for you to get it, but there it is. Still, it doesn't provide me with a right to say I know I'm right. The keys I have in my mind *may* be the right ones for the locks out there, but they may not be. And this includes the very "key and lock" model that allows me to say this. If the key and lock model is wrong, then I'm back to square one--having to take seriously the prospect that what I think I know here and now can't match anything out there--and this remains a possibility even while taking comfort in what my key and lock model of knowledge allows me to believe.

iambiguous wrote:The fucking answer!!!

To me, that's analogous to insisting that you believe in the existence of the fucking God! And then demonstrating that He does in fact fucking exist!!


Fuck yeah!!!

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote:You phrase it: "I could have chosen different, if I wanted to."--the catch being that your wanting to is the determining force that decides your choosing one way or another. That we were destined to choose one way over another is neither here nor there with compatibilism.


But my wanting to is or is not no less entangled in my having to want to.


That's exactly what I just said.

See Biggy, you seem to have a tendency to take agreement between us and turn it into disagreement. I consistently agree with you that whatever I think, say, or do, I think, say, or do because I could never have not thought, said, or done it. And yet, in response to that very statement, you bring it up as an objection: but whatever you think, say, or do, you think, say, or do because you were never not going to think, say, or do it--as if that counters what I just said. I get the impression you think that if you repeat this a critical number of times, some light switch is going to go off in my mind, and I'm going to realize how wrong I am... despite that I'm actually agreeing with you.

This is why I've said more than once that our contention is not over something that we agree with or disagree with, but over the fact that I'm comfortable with all this and you are not. While I'm OK with the fact that anything we think, say, or do may be only as we were ever going to think, say, or do, you seem to bring it up to point out that we have not gotten rid of that fact... as if I'm going to say: oh geez, you're right, and here I thought we had risen above that pesky truism. No, I'm saying I have no idea how we're going to rise above it, and I don't care. Sorry I can't help you.

But I also get the impression your issue isn't really with determinism, but with knowledge. You seem to need to know that what you think here and now is the truth, that what seems real to you here and now is reliable. You seem to bring up determinism, or that whatever you think here and now is a consequence of the laws of matter making your brain think whatever you think here and now, as the final thing to grapple with before you can move forward. You seem to regard the laws of matter--the dominoes that topple over--as accidental, as arbitrary. That is, that because everything obeys physical laws, nothing is done "on purpose" or "with intent" or "according to a plan". And the next step for you seems to be: everything we think, feel, and experience is equally accidental, equally arbitrary. So while I may work through a mathematical proof on paper, convinced that the logic holds through-and-through, that the premises I start with do in fact lead to the conclusions, it may just be as random and accidental as a bunch of sentences haphazardly slapped together. As in: I have black hair, therefore my mother likes ice cream, thus the government is corrupt. <-- A bunch of accidental propositions randomly slapped together to match the accidental events in my brain which made me think them slapped together by the laws of matter.

^ Is this what ultimately concerns you? If so, I would say your principle concern isn't over determinism but the reliability of knowledge. You want to know that the mathematical proof you go over isn't in reality just a bunch of randomly slapped together accidents of thought, that the reason you see in it is real. You suffer a case of classical Cartesian skepticism. Read his Meditation I--he convinces himself to doubt everything along very similar lines that you do. He manages to pull himself out of it in Meditation II, but his method wouldn't work for you: he convinces himself that if anything's real, it's the 'I'. And well, we all know how you feel about the 'I'. In any case, the point is that the fallibility of knowledge (or any mental experience) is a problem for both determinists and free will proponents. Our brains can make us think the things we think (or feel, or experience) no less in a non-deterministic universe as in a deterministic universe. Or maybe there are no such things as brains. Maybe God controls everything we think and experience, making us hallucinate brains when we open up human craniums. Or maybe we're in the Matrix. Maybe we're being fed the image of a material world but the truth is that the world isn't material at all. Just like dreams, right? All this is possible regardless of whether we're determined by laws (physical or otherwise) or are free to choose whatever we want. If we have free will, we make mistakes on account of being misinformed by false experiences. If we are determined, we make mistake on account of not being able to not make mistakes. But at the end of the day, it's a question of the reliability of our experiences and knowledge.

I will just say that though the things that go on in the universe are accidental (in the sense that no one intended them), this does not mean arbitrary or random. The fact that things play out according to physical laws means that there is an order to things. Take computers, for example. We have built computers to do complex mathematics and logical information processing. It is quite predictable that when you enter "4 + 4" into a computer, you will get 8. This is only possible because computers follow the laws of physics. Why can't the same be said of the human brain? Sure, it isn't perfect, but isn't it plausible that the human brain evolved to have the ability to think rationally and think of the world in terms that make logical sense. Wouldn't it have to if the world itself is governed by physical laws that require a keen intelligence and rational thinking in order to maneuver around and control it? Wouldn't brains that think in a haphazard fashion, despite how much sense they think they are making to themselves, come to an abrupt end when they fail natures tests? There probably were brains like that in the past, but they died--that's how evolution works. Now, I realize this is just another intellectual contraption but I hope it at least offers you a way of thinking about determinism that doesn't have to imply that reason and logic are ultimately illusory.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby phyllo » Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:49 pm

Someone saying "I'm a determinist" and then denying there is any agency within this model is either denying the existence of complex organisms or more likely playing a language game where those organisms do not qualify as "agents" because of how that term is defined.
This seems to be based on the idea that there is an "orthodox" determinism which is ... static? agreed on? understood? exactly reflecting reality?

Instead, I think it means different things to different people ... even to "real" philosophers.

Agency is closely connected whenever the discussion arises
If it's a language game... it's a waste of everyone's time to argue about it... a rose by any other name and all that jazz.

You seem to think that philosophy and "language games" are hard categories with well defined boundaries. I see them as much more fuzzy with considerable overlap.
The same way the concept of absolute darkness is utterly unaffected by the concept of absolute light... forming one concept does not alter the other...
I don't even agree with this because the definitions of the concepts are going to be based on how you approach it. They could be connected. One notices it when digging deeper into the meaning of the words "absolute", "darkness" and "light".

But let's agree to disagree or whatever. Moving on.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:29 pm

Mad Man P wrote:
phyllo wrote:But the discussion is really about why Iambig doesn't see a door where others do see a door.


It's not that he is saying there is no door in the picture... he just won't call it a "door", he thinks the word "door" means something else, something that does not exist in the picture... but he is very much looking at the same picture.


If there is an actual door, I will see it just as you two do. Instead, my focus is on the extent to which I am choosing to see it given that I could have freely chosen not to see it. Or given that this choice -- all of our choices -- are really only as they ever could have been.

How is this in fact demonstrated definitively such that no reasonable men and women could doubt it?

And if you see a door in a dream? How is this either the same or different from seeing a door once awake? How is the relationship between the brain and the mind the same or different?

Of course some here insist that I have a firm point of view regarding all of this.

And that is simply preposterous. As with my arguments regarding "I" in the is/ought world, my arguments here are profoundly problematic. If only because of that ubiquitous gap between what I think I know here and now and all that can be known about these relationships.

Still [I suspect] what seems to agitate some folks here more than others is my suggestion that their own "I" may well be considerably less substantial than they think it is.
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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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Meno_ » Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:52 pm

This post should rather be named Philosophy Instead of Sophism.

No ruffled feathers intended.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Sun Nov 18, 2018 9:43 pm

phyllo wrote:
Over and over and over again with you: The right answer pertaining to what particular context understood from what particular conflicting points of view?
Over and over again with you ... can there be right and wrong answers in the general sense? You know, that there is an answer to at least one question in the field of identity, etc. One fucking right answer. And can there be wrong answers?


I am of the belief [here and now] that "generally speaking" mathematics, the laws of nature, empirical facts and the logical rules of human language, provide us with answers that seem clearly to be either right or wrong. Objectively.

But: In a No God world even this can be questioned if we go far enough out on the ontological limb: sim worlds, demonic dreams, solipsism...

Then going back to gap between what we think we know about existence here and now and all that can be known about it.

As for our identities, there are any number of demonstrable facts that we can provide for others. Things that are in fact true about us. And doctors can examine us to determine the parts that are true "naturally", biologically.

This thread however focuses more on the extent that, in a world in which something rather than nothing seems to be the case, our thoughts and feelings about this something are truly our own, freely, autonomously.

phyllo wrote: You say that you are ambivalent but you don't sound like it. I think an ambivalent person would tend to shut up or at least phrase his posts very differently.


No, an ambivalent person would seem more likely to grapple with the ambivalence itself. In particular someone like me. Why? Because clearly my thinking is at odds with the preponderence of others.

All I can do then is to explore the significance of that. Though, sure, there is not much chance that I will be able to persuade folks like you from thinking what you will about my motivation and intention.

After all, you are someone who seems to believe in God and objective morality. What if I am able to persuade you not to? And here on this thread I am questioning your very capacity to pursue these relationships autonomously. It's the part about seeing "I" as an existential contraption in the is/ought world that seems most disturbing to you. Well, what if even this "I" is just a mechanical contraption in a wholly determined universe.

In other words, one way to look at our exchanges, is that you have much to lose in being unable to anchor "I" as you do here and now. Whereas as "I" have so much to gain if I can jettison the hole and the nothingness that is oblivion and the dominoes that may well be toppling over in my head at this very moment.


I've convinced myself that I don't know if any answer is ever anything other than the only answer that could ever have been.


phyllo wrote: Notice how the pile grows. Now you need "the only answer that could ever have been" instead of just "a fucking answer".


No, I've convinced myself that here and now I don't know if, in regard to any of my wants and needs, they are truly my own autonomous choices.

Making them my fucking wants and needs doesn't change that.

As for the "concept" of right or wrong, how is that either in sync or not in sync with that which can be demonstrated to actually be right or wrong for all rational human beings. Out in the world of conflicting goods.


phyllo wrote: And here it has to "be demonstrated to actually be right or wrong for ALL RATIONAL HUMAN BEINGS". Pile it on.


Isn't that the whole point of moral and political objectivism? Or of those philosophical objectivists here convinced that how they grasp the relationship between the human brain and the human mind has in fact been demonstrated to be the right answer for all rational men and women? Why? Because they have, first and foremost, convinced themselves of it!

With you it's Communism, with them it's the understanding of existence itself!!

phyllo wrote: What about one rational human being? For a start.


Okay, note a context. Note behaviors in conflict. Note your own distinction between rational and irrational interaction.

Then note the manner in which you are convinced that these interactions are truly autonomous.
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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Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby phyllo » Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:38 pm

You keep refering to "rational human beings" but you never establish what that actually means. Given your philosophy, it seems unlikely that you can make a distinction between rational and irrational.

Now you want me to do it for you. #-o
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:11 pm

phyllo wrote:You keep refering to "rational human beings" but you never establish what that actually means. Given your philosophy, it seems unlikely that you can make a distinction between rational and irrational.

Now you want me to do it for you. #-o


Here we go again...

1] first you seem willing to exchange substantive posts regarding one or another philosophical issue
2] then over time something analogous to contempt seems to creep into your posts...I become the issue
3] then you abandon the exchange -- actually responding to the points I raised above -- for a "retort" like this one
4] then you steer clear of me altogether until the next "round"

Or, rather, so it seems to me.

As for the part about "rational human beings", my aim is always to zero in on an actual contexts in which behaviors come into conflict. And then to explore the extent to which any particular behavior might be called rational or irrational. And then in exploring how that might be demonstrated beyond "general description" arguments embedded in intellectual contraptions.

On this thread however the focus is on autonomy itself. Are these exchanges the embodiment of autonomous human beings able to freely choose one set of words rather than another? Or, instead, is it merely a manifestation of a seeming "psychological freedom" that we think we have, but that, given the assunmption that mind is brain and brain is just more matter, we really don't.

And in how that might be demonstated one way or the other once and for all.
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
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Meno_ » Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:06 am

Would you guys settle on the legal definition ?


This hypothetical person referred to as the reasonable/prudent man exercises average care, skill, and judgment in conduct that society requires of its members for the protection of their own and of others' interests.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby phyllo » Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:22 am

Here we go again...

1] first you seem willing to exchange substantive posts regarding one or another philosophical issue
2] then over time something analogous to contempt seems to creep into your posts...I become the issue
3] then you abandon the exchange -- actually responding to the points I raised above -- for a "retort" like this one
4] then you steer clear of me altogether until the next "round"

Or, rather, so it seems to me.
For one thing, you repeat yourself. It's like I'm reading the same things over and over. If I try to shift to something new, then you either don't understand, or you ignore it completely or you ignore it by shifting to something you prefer to talk about.

And then there is the fact that you don't seem to remember anything that I have written. I wrote several times about my ideas of self which seem to be completely lost on you. What you remember seems to be mostly a stereotype person - not me. This is particularly evident when you bring up my 'supposed' thoughts about God, religion and communism.

It feels like you have known me for a week instead of the years that I have been posting.

Yeah, after a while I get enough of it.
As for the part about "rational human beings", my aim is always to zero in on an actual contexts in which behaviors come into conflict. And then to explore the extent to which any particular behavior might be called rational or irrational. And then in exploring how that might be demonstrated beyond "general description" arguments embedded in intellectual contraptions.
If you can't distinguish good and bad in general (or in a context), then how can you possibly distinguish rational and irrational in general (or in a context)???

Really. Seriously. This is fundamental.

Think about what you are asking.

You can't explore it because you have no basis for deciding what is rational and what is irrational. There is no way to get off the starting line.
:confusion-shrug:
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby phyllo » Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:25 am

Meno_ wrote:Would you guys settle on the legal definition ?


This hypothetical person referred to as the reasonable/prudent man exercises average care, skill, and judgment in conduct that society requires of its members for the protection of their own and of others' interests.
Sure. One can start there.

But will he?
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Mad Man P » Mon Nov 19, 2018 7:24 am

iambiguous wrote:If there is an actual door, I will see it just as you two do. Instead, my focus is on the extent to which I am choosing to see it given that I could have freely chosen not to see it. Or given that this choice -- all of our choices -- are really only as they ever could have been.


You're only reiterating the implications of a deterministic world. Everything from the smallest event to the most complex are only as they ever could have been.

But consider that our species forms low resolution mental models of the world and the mechanics that propel one event into the next, and that this allows us to imagine alternative outcomes of past events and predicting outcomes of some future events.

That is not to say they ever could have been different.. but our ability to imagine it being different if only we had done x instead of y, is how we might adjust our behavior and navigate the world.

Even if every thought or action we ever have or take is predetermined, it does not change the process by which they arrived...

It is parts of this process we might take ownership of and the results of those parts that we could call "choice"
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:25 am

These were certainly my experiences: 1)
phyllo wrote: For one thing, you repeat yourself. It's like I'm reading the same things over and over. If I try to shift to something new, then you either don't understand, or you ignore it completely or you ignore it by shifting to something you prefer to talk about.
Right: Repetition if it applies or not. And as if one has not understood what is repeated.

2)
And then there is the fact that you don't seem to remember anything that I have written. I wrote several times about my ideas of self which seem to be completely lost on you. What you remember seems to be mostly a stereotype person - not me. This is particularly evident when you bring up my 'supposed' thoughts about God, religion and communism.
Right: does not really notice his discussion partners.

It feels like you have known me for a week instead of the years that I have been posting.

Yeah, after a while I get enough of it
And when you get irritated, he interprets this as his discussion partner feels threatened. Not once can he consider that it might be for the reasons given. He certainly leaves open that his interpretation might be incorrect, but cannot manage to actually consider ANY OTHER INTERPRETATION for why others get angry. And despite his own philosophy he will happily tell someone else what they believe and what their minds are like. Through the mists of dasein he only finds one thing, every time.

Oh, thank God my time with this is over.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Meno_ » Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:24 pm

Meanwhile, lets remember that the forum is not an proxy referendum on Imbigious, but on a forum on Something Instead of Nothing.

Where he becomes of interest, ( to me, at least) is, his referentiality descending further then an existential nihilism. This holding is perceived by the ontological reduction(eidectic)- leveling out below the dualistic: either/or , pre-ontic phase of phenomenology, wherein existence is currently analyzed and treated.

That sounds high fallutin' but what it implies is that the cognitive faculties are dealing on the level of residual and part (cut) dissemblances rather then with current accepted familiar language structures, which have by now have 'leapt' to the basic core of meaning.

This 'leaping' has to occur, in order to fill in the missing parts, and the effort to leap within a constrained level of acceptance of a medicum of reasonableness on the basis of absolute certainty, ignores the weakness that such absolution is never completely possible.

In moral terms, particularly with religious overtones, such tolls in the never-ending search for IT, the Being. , not only in It's self, but within It's Self.

This is an admirable effort, a purely Platonic or Neo-Platonic effort, one that a purist would hold.

But this forum's intention , I presume does not, can not lower to a point which is much lower than an existential plane , congruent, or at least compatible with Sartre's ' Being and Nothingness'. With Nietzsche, it is above a moral equivalent, its beyond good and evil, even if Sartre was his contemporary.

Limits of the modern reify into boundaries between the Enlightement and the Post Modern, and the idea just posted, I think by Phylo, that we can imagine a non determined world, even if knowing that exist facto, it will be interpreted as statistically determined, may give credence to a difference between such a forward hyposthetized look into a possible past occurance, OR, give the opposite view of a completely locked in , intractable lack of any freedom whatsoever.

There is this difference, and the new choices are 3: nothing(nihilism); something (leaping unwisely headlong), or, using new partial differences schemes to change not perhaps the hard drive structure, but the rebuilding a slowly disintegrating and archaic structure piece by piece.

.
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