Something Instead of Nothing

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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby gib » Mon Oct 22, 2018 2:49 am

iambiguous wrote:But how meaningful is a discussion that starts and stops only as it ever could have? And if life itself "goes on" only as it ever could have then meaning itself would seem to be just another manisfestation of a reality produced by a brain wholly in sync with the laws of matter.


I fail to see why things being determined negate their being meaningful. And regardless, even if this seems perplexing, we know there is meaning because we apprehend it in the everyday conversation we have with people.

(Here, I'm talking about meaning as in the meaning of our words and ideas, the content of our communication, not the "grand purpose of existence" which I think is a very confused interpretation of "meaning".)

iambiguous wrote:But if that apprehension is embodied only in the illusion of autonomy...


I don't think the apprehension of meaning is embodied in the illusion of autonomy. As I said earlier, I don't think there is any illusion of autonomy, only the lack of experiencing our determined state. We infer our autonomy on the rare occasions when we're being philosophical only by virtue of not being informed by our senses (or any other experience) that we are determined. But this inference can occur quite independently of apprehending meaning in the things we say and communicate to each other.

We are like computers. Computers communicate to each other. A client makes a request to a server for a website. The server apprehends the meaning of the request: the client wants such-and-such website. And it delivers the website. All this without any assumptions on the client's or the server's part that they are acting freely or determined (and in fact, they are clearly determined if any machine is).

iambiguous wrote:Okay, but how do we determine and then demonstrate that this isn't also just embedded in a wholly determined universe? The mystery is still matter able to evolve to the point of becoming mindful of things like this. The part about "dualism". The ghost in the machine. And, then, for some, the soul.


Indeed, this is a conundrum. I'm not sure how matter evolved to be mindful, but I also don't think we need to understand this in order to acknowledge that it is so.

And personally, I don't think matter did evolved to be mindful; I think mind always existed and evolved into a form that perceives the rest of the universe as matter.

iambiguous wrote:Are we then the equivalent of this -- "designed" by nature to choose this instead of that? But only because we were never really able not to?


Quite possibly.

iambiguous wrote:We simply don't know what brought about the existence of existence itself.


Well, I'm saying such a notion is incoherent.

iambiguous wrote:After all, how does the human mind come to grips with either scenario: exiastence always existing or existence coming into existence out of nothing at all.


I'll admit, they both tax the brain, but I've always found the former easier to wrap my head around. I'm able to imagine a universe with no beginning without feeling there is an irrevocable paradox in the idea. If we have no problem accepting that the universe may go on forever, then imagining a universe with no beginning is just the inverse of that.

But the really smart guys in the physics communities tell us that not only does the universe have a beginning but time began with it... which means there was no "before"... which means no "coming into existence"... we are simply prohibited from imagining a "before" as we would be imagine something that never was.

iambiguous wrote:"Redness" and "softness" are attributes of matter evolving into minds. Once all such matter is gone redness and softness goes with it. The crucial question is still the extent to which they were thought up autonomously by minds able to freely choose "blueness" and "hardness" instead.


I think even if we did have autonomy, we wouldn't be choosing to see red as we do or feel softness as we do. There are some thing we (supposedly) choose and some things we don't. I choose to kick a rock when I'm angry. I don't choose to experience stubbing my toe as painful (though it is an experience had by a mind).

And besides, my argument was more about language than the mental/subjective character of "red" and "softness". To say red is given red conveys the wrong idea. To saying existence was given existence conveys the wrong idea.

iambiguous wrote:But we are still back [eventually] to whether these subjective/objective distinctions are or are not just more dominos toppling over given the extent to which mind as matter must obey the laws of matter. Naturally, as it were.


Well, I think if this proves anything, it's that objectivity is the illusion.

iambiguous wrote:Again, this can only be fully grasped to the extent to which neuroscientists are able to fully grasp it.


That's not necessarily true. If I'm right about mind evolving to see matter, then no amount of research in the neuroscience will get us any closer to understanding the true relationship between matter and mind. We are making a false assumption, as far as I'm concerned, about the brain producing consciousness. I believe it is the other way around. I have no proof of this, but it does offer me one scenario that works as an alternative to everything you have proposed.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby barbarianhorde » Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:25 pm

surreptitious75 wrote:
gib wrote:
If we think of a lack of existence as a thing ( which we inevitably do ) it becomes apparent that such a thing is impossible
( a lack of existence implies no things ) and so what we must have instead is a lack of a lack of existence which is just existence

Existence is not a thing but a state of being or state of mind
It cannot be a thing because it has no property or dimension

the existence of a thing is the thing....
the is of a thing exists the thing
the thing of an is exists the thing
the thing of existence is the thing
the thing of a thing is the existence
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby gib » Tue Oct 23, 2018 2:21 am

barbarianhorde wrote:well that matters in writing philosophy.


It does but it's not something to dwell over.

barbarianhorde wrote:Thats just the same as observing that something exists. But thats not a reason as to why it exists. Its like why are you sitting at the table? Because I am not not sitting at the table. If that impresses you as an answer I think you never asked the question.


No, it's more like "Because I can't be not sitting at the table," with a bit of explanation why--namely, that if a lack of existence means no things, and if all our concepts take the form of "things" (whether we realize it or not), then the concept of the lack of existence is impossible.

barbarianhorde wrote:Its a bad formulation of the idea, as your explanation verifies.


Maybe, but I got the gist of it.

surreptitious75 wrote:Existence is not a thing but a state of being or state of mind
It cannot be a thing because it has no property or dimension


Existence is a state of mind? Really? <-- You'll have to explain that one to me.

What makes a thing a thing is more mental than physical (maybe that's what you mean). Elsewhere in this thread, it was noted that even solid objects like rocks are 99% empty space, and the particles that take up what little space there is are more like waves of probability than material particles. What you said of existence could be said about almost anything.

A thing becomes a thing when it becomes a noun--which is to say, we give it an identity according to which we can say: it is this, and not that. It becomes a thing when we give it an essence. We can do this with concrete things and abstract things, and everything between, including the universe itself.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby barbarianhorde » Tue Oct 23, 2018 1:21 pm

Gib, "cant" is nowhere given. That's just an assumption from a logician whose working with a bunch of incomplete knowledge.
And also I'm gonna be annoying about that these arguments are too exact to have a gist.

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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Fri Oct 26, 2018 6:04 pm

gib wrote:
iambiguous wrote:But how meaningful is a discussion that starts and stops only as it ever could have? And if life itself "goes on" only as it ever could have then meaning itself would seem to be just another manifestation of a reality produced by a brain wholly in sync with the laws of matter.


I fail to see why things being determined negate their being meaningful. And regardless, even if this seems perplexing, we know there is meaning because we apprehend it in the everyday conversation we have with people.


Then we simply don't come to the same conclusion about it. When something happens only because it could never not have happened, and when we react to it as meaningful only in the way that we ever could have reacted to it as meaningful, it's just not the same [to me] as living in a world where something happens only because some chose freely to make it happen because they believed that other autonomous human beings were free to share their own meaning and understanding of it or to freely choose another meaning and understanding altogether.

When both meaning in and meaning out are inherently in sync with the laws of matter, it's a whole different kind of meaning from one in which I'm convinced that it is meaningful to me only becasue I have freely chosen to accept one meaning rather than another.

If Jane freely chooses to have an abortion and Jan freely chooses to believe this means she should be arrested for premeditated murder, that's different [for me] than Jane and Jan behaving as they do and then reacting to those behaviors as meaningful only in the way that they ever could have.

gib wrote: (Here, I'm talking about meaning as in the meaning of our words and ideas, the content of our communication, not the "grand purpose of existence" which I think is a very confused interpretation of "meaning".)


If, in a wholly determined universe, the "grand purpose of existence", embedded and embodied in any particular human mind, is only what it was ever going to be, how are distinctions between thoughts and feelings and behaviors here to be made? All aspects of our interactions are just different kinds of dominoes toppling over as they were "designed" to by whatever or whoever brought into existence, existence itself.

But, again, I'll be the first to admit that I am missing something here. But then I'm back to whether or not I ever had the capacity to not miss it. Is it my fault for thinking this all through incorrectly in a world where thinking anything through at all is just part of the very fabric of reality?

iambiguous wrote:But if that apprehension is embodied only in the illusion of autonomy...


gib wrote: I don't think the apprehension of meaning is embodied in the illusion of autonomy. As I said earlier, I don't think there is any illusion of autonomy, only the lack of experiencing our determined state. We infer our autonomy on the rare occasions when we're being philosophical only by virtue of not being informed by our senses (or any other experience) that we are determined. But this inference can occur quite independently of apprehending meaning in the things we say and communicate to each other.


The difficulty I have here is that your point is entirely abstract. Let's consider your argument as it relates to the recent spate of bombing scares here in America. From your frame of mind was there ever a possibility that the bomber could have chosen to do something else?

Is there the possibility that how each of us initially reacted to what he chose to do might reconfigure into a different reaction because we are able [autonomously] find a different meaning in it all?

We're now in the mind of the person creating and mailing the bombs. How is your point above relevant to the choises that he makes?

gib wrote: We are like computers. Computers communicate to each other. A client makes a request to a server for a website. The server apprehends the meaning of the request: the client wants such-and-such website. And it delivers the website. All this without any assumptions on the client's or the server's part that they are acting freely or determined (and in fact, they are clearly determined if any machine is).


Okay, but suppose someone uses the computer in order to make contact with websites that offers the "client" access to hardcore child pornography. He is caught doing this and is arrested. It's in the news and many people recognize him and react to him.

In the tangle of all these interactions was there ever the possibilty of it all unfolding any differently in a wholly determined universe? Now, if it is presumed that mere mortals have some measure of autonomy here, it is easy to imagine any number of alternative sequences. But [from my way of thinking] if mind is just more matter in sync with the "immutable laws of matter", it just is what it was only ever going to be.

This part:

iambiguous wrote:Okay, but how do we determine and then demonstrate that this isn't also just embedded in a wholly determined universe? The mystery is still matter able to evolve to the point of becoming mindful of things like this. The part about "dualism". The ghost in the machine. And, then, for some, the soul.


gib wrote: Indeed, this is a conundrum. I'm not sure how matter evolved to be mindful, but I also don't think we need to understand this in order to acknowledge that it is so.


Then [for me] we're back to whether this acknowledgement was ever going to be anything else.

gib wrote: And personally, I don't think matter did evolved to be mindful; I think mind always existed and evolved into a form that perceives the rest of the universe as matter.


Then [for me] we're back to the gap between what you think you know is true "in your head" and your capacity to demonstrate that all rational men and women are obligated to think the same.

And to the extent that one is able to believe in this infinite mind is the extent to which one can imagine their own mind somehow being in sync with it. In either a God or a No God world. And that can be a comforting and consoling frame of mind. And that can be the reason [psychologically] that one comes to think something like this in the first place.

iambiguous wrote:We simply don't know what brought about the existence of existence itself.


gib wrote: Well, I'm saying such a notion is incoherent.


Well, that just begs the quesrion. What does it mean to be coherent given the gap between what you think you know about existence "here and now" and all that would need to be known about it in order to attain a fully coherent understanding of it?

And how coherent will the arguments proposed by the "really smart guys [and gals]" in the physics community today appear to those in the same community 100, 1,000 or 10,000 years from now?

Given all the things we are still really fuzzy about regarding QM, dark matter, dark energy and the multiverse?

And other stuff like this: https://www.livescience.com/34052-unsol ... ysics.html

From the introduction:

In 1900, the British physicist Lord Kelvin is said to have pronounced: "There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement." Within three decades, quantum mechanics and Einstein's theory of relativity had revolutionized the field. Today, no physicist would dare assert that our physical knowledge of the universe is near completion. To the contrary, each new discovery seems to unlock a Pandora's box of even bigger, even deeper physics questions.

iambiguous wrote:"Redness" and "softness" are attributes of matter evolving into minds. Once all such matter is gone redness and softness goes with it. The crucial question is still the extent to which they were thought up autonomously by minds able to freely choose "blueness" and "hardness" instead.


gib wrote: I think even if we did have autonomy, we wouldn't be choosing to see red as we do or feel softness as we do. There are some thing we (supposedly) choose and some things we don't. I choose to kick a rock when I'm angry. I don't choose to experience stubbing my toe as painful (though it is an experience had by a mind).

And besides, my argument was more about language than the mental/subjective character of "red" and "softness". To say red is given red conveys the wrong idea. To saying existence was given existence conveys the wrong idea.


Langauage and ideas are just manifestations of the evolution of matter into minds. Unless you or others are able to demonstrate that, what, mind came first?

It still comes down [for me] to whether redness and softness are seen to be more preferable than bluenss and hardness because someone believes they are able to freely make that choice. And that in fact given the actual existence of human autonomy, they were able to.

iambiguous wrote:But we are still back [eventually] to whether these subjective/objective distinctions are or are not just more dominos toppling over given the extent to which mind as matter must obey the laws of matter. Naturally, as it were.


gib wrote: Well, I think if this proves anything, it's that objectivity is the illusion.


It would seem to be an illusion to me as well in a No God world. Nature, reality, existence etc., just are what they are. With no autonomous minds around to insist that they are other than that.

That would appear to be the whole point of inventing Gods. But how did matter evolve from the Big Bang into a "mind" able to think up Gods?

iambiguous wrote:Again, this can only be fully grasped to the extent to which neuroscientists are able to fully grasp it.


gib wrote: That's not necessarily true. If I'm right about mind evolving to see matter, then no amount of research in the neuroscience will get us any closer to understanding the true relationship between matter and mind. We are making a false assumption, as far as I'm concerned, about the brain producing consciousness. I believe it is the other way around. I have no proof of this, but it does offer me one scenario that works as an alternative to everything you have proposed.


But then [in my view] this is where we are "stuck": in figuring out that which either is or is not necessarily true about matter evolving into minds capable of creating an exchange like this one.

And then this part: death.

Once we do go to the grave is our access to the whole truth here gone forever? Or is this eternal mind of yours somehow able to keep us in the game?
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 gib » Sat Oct 27, 2018 9:45 pm

iambiguous wrote:When both meaning in and meaning out are inherently in sync with the laws of matter, it's a whole different kind of meaning from one in which I'm convinced that it is meaningful to me only becasue I have freely chosen to accept one meaning rather than another.


Still don't get it. Why does one have to choose a meaning in order to get a meaning. If someone says "horse", I interpret that to mean the animal we call horse. But I don't feel like I'm choosing to interpret it that way, as if I could choose some other interpretation like turtle or cat, I feel like that's just the meaning of the word, and the one who uttered the word meant precisely and only that.

And besides, even if I did feel like I was choosing the meaning, how is that any different than the feeling of choosing an action (like raising my arm)? Is raising my arm not really raising my arm if I'm actually determined to do so?

iambiguous wrote:If Jane freely chooses to have an abortion and Jan freely chooses to believe this means she should be arrested for premeditated murder, that's different [for me] than Jane and Jan behaving as they do and then reacting to those behaviors as meaningful only in the way that they ever could have.


That's meaning qua implication (as opposed to meaning qua content of language); but still, same arguments apply. If I believe that seeing lightening means there will be thunder soon, does it not really mean that if I'm actually determined to believe that?

iambiguous wrote:The difficulty I have here is that your point is entirely abstract. Let's consider your argument as it relates to the recent spate of bombing scares here in America. From your frame of mind was there ever a possibility that the bomber could have chosen to do something else?

It depends on what you mean by choose. For the sake of this argument, I'll say no. The bomber was not free to do something else in the sense that choosing implies violating the laws of nature.

Is there the possibility that how each of us initially reacted to what he chose to do might reconfigure into a different reaction because we are able [autonomously] find a different meaning in it all?

no... again, in the sense of choice implying the violation of the laws of nature.

We're now in the mind of the person creating and mailing the bombs. How is your point above relevant to the choises that he makes?


The bomber did what he did without any thought to whether he was doing it freely or being forced by the laws of nature. He just did it. If in fact he was totally determined by the laws of nature, there is no reason to assume that fact had to be present in his consciousness at any point. Being forced doesn't entail feeling forced.

If you could oblige me and flesh out this scenario with how meaning fits in (i.e. are we talking about the meaning of his thoughts, his purpose in acting, the meaning in the message he wishes to convey in doing the bombing?) I'll add more to my response.

For now, let me add the following analogy to clarify my point: if you look into a dark room, do you see anything? No, you don't. But is this the same as the illusion that the room is empty? Compare this to a room that is lit up and full of objects, but you are hallucinating its emptiness. <-- This I would call an illusion. The feeling that we act freely is not really the illusion of freedom, but simply blindness to being determined by the laws of nature. Nature keeps us in the dark about her workings. This just keeps us ignorant. Some of us may infer on the basis of this ignorance that we are really free, that there are no laws of matter governing our thoughts and behavior, just as some might infer that the room is empty on the basis of its darkness, but this is just a mistaken assumption, not an illusion. Many people say that the brain must give us the illusion of freedom in order for us to be convinced that we are free (and I suppose making the inference of being free is done by the brain, but this is a thought, not the way our actions feel), as if there is a special brain part whose sole function is to produce the feeling of freedom, but I question why this assumption is necessary. The brain doesn't need to do anything in order for us to simply not feel the determining forces that govern the operations of the brain, it just has to refrain from adding the feeling of being forced into our experiences and thoughts. It just has to keep us in the dark.

This is why I say the apprehension of meaning in our thoughts and our communication doesn't require the illusion of freedom. We are not consciously making choices every time we interpret a meaning or try to convey a meaning, as if saying to ourselves: ok, I'm going to choose to interpret it this way, and now I'm going to choose to convey this and not that. We don't tell ourselves anything beforehand. We just do it. We don't feel forced to do it, but this is more an absence than a presence--the absence of feeling forced, not the presence of feeling free. The forces that work through nature do so blind to any concerns of freedom or determinism. They just do. We are no different. The feeling of freedom we have in our actions are just us doing--doing without thinking about either our freedom or our determinism.

iambiguous wrote:Then [for me] we're back to whether this acknowledgement was ever going to be anything else.


And that negates it? Let's say your acknowledgement about the fact that mind seems to have evolved from matter was never going to be anything else. You're still acknowledging that mind seems to have evolved from matter (if anything, it only makes it more emphatic).

iambiguous wrote:Well, that just begs the quesrion. What does it mean to be coherent given the gap between what you think you know about existence "here and now" and all that would need to be known about it in order to attain a fully coherent understanding of it?

And how coherent will the arguments proposed by the "really smart guys [and gals]" in the physics community today appear to those in the same community 100, 1,000 or 10,000 years from now?

Given all the things we are still really fuzzy about regarding QM, dark matter, dark energy and the multiverse?

And other stuff like this: https://www.livescience.com/34052-unsol ... ysics.html

From the introduction:

In 1900, the British physicist Lord Kelvin is said to have pronounced: "There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement." Within three decades, quantum mechanics and Einstein's theory of relativity had revolutionized the field. Today, no physicist would dare assert that our physical knowledge of the universe is near completion. To the contrary, each new discovery seems to unlock a Pandora's box of even bigger, even deeper physics questions.


Science does indeed crunch out, from time to time, some bizarre mind-warping secrets of nature. But even if one day scientists announced: existence did, in fact, come into existence at a time before which there was no existence, I would still regard that as an incoherent notion.

iambiguous wrote:It still comes down [for me] to whether redness and softness are seen to be more preferable than bluenss and hardness because someone believes they are able to freely make that choice. And that in fact given the actual existence of human autonomy, they were able to.


So what does that mean to you? That you are not able to experience red unless you can choose to experience it as blue? When you look at a banana, you see it as yellow, right? But are you not really seeing it as yellow because you can't will for it to become blue in your perception?

iambiguous wrote:Once we do go to the grave is our access to the whole truth here gone forever? Or is this eternal mind of yours somehow able to keep us in the game?


No, I think it would throw us into a totally different game (an afterlife). I imagine that experience would continue but our individuality would dissolve; all experiences unique to the human mind would fade--experiences like sensations, memories, emotions, concepts, pains and pleasures, etc.--and give way to a whole set of new experiences. We would essentially become one with the universe.

It wouldn't be all that different from what happens to our bodies after we die. Over time, the body "dissolves" and returns to nature--there will be no more iambiguous or gib, not even as a corpse--but the matter which once constituted our bodies will live on--all the atoms and particles will be dispersed into the environment--and we could say we become one with nature.

But that's my theory--it's not the point of this thread--unless you want to go there.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Mon Oct 29, 2018 8:58 pm

gib wrote:
iambiguous wrote:When both meaning in and meaning out are inherently in sync with the laws of matter, it's a whole different kind of meaning from one in which I'm convinced that it is meaningful to me only becasue I have freely chosen to accept one meaning rather than another.


Still don't get it. Why does one have to choose a meaning in order to get a meaning.


If the meaning that we either choose or get is the only meaning that was ever going to be chosen or gotten, what does it mean to speak of meaning then at all?

If the person setting up dominoes to topple over into a particular design was never able to not set them up to topple over into a particular design, what does it mean to praise him for this accomplishment when there was never a possiblity that we would not praise him?

gib wrote: If someone says "horse", I interpret that to mean the animal we call horse. But I don't feel like I'm choosing to interpret it that way, as if I could choose some other interpretation like turtle or cat, I feel like that's just the meaning of the word, and the one who uttered the word meant precisely and only that.


But all of this is unfolding only as it ever could have. That's the part I keep going back to.

Imagine, for example, that you and I are just characters in some fantastic Sim world. We are doing what we do only becasue we are required or programmed to given the intention of the entity that created us as characters in the Sim world itself.

Just as the brain creates characters in our dreams. Characters that we interact with as though it were not a dream at all. As though "in the moment" this was really happening to us. Meanwhile we are sound asleep in our beds.

gib wrote: And besides, even if I did feel like I was choosing the meaning, how is that any different than the feeling of choosing an action (like raising my arm)? Is raising my arm not really raising my arm if I'm actually determined to do so?


If what determines you to think or to feel or to do anything is wholly [and solely] in sync with the manner in which, say, the character in the Terminator thinks and feels and does things, what then does that mean about our choices?

iambiguous wrote:If Jane freely chooses to have an abortion and Jan freely chooses to believe this means she should be arrested for premeditated murder, that's different [for me] than Jane and Jan behaving as they do and then reacting to those behaviors as meaningful only in the way that they ever could have.


gib wrote: That's meaning qua implication (as opposed to meaning qua content of language); but still, same arguments apply. If I believe that seeing lightening means there will be thunder soon, does it not really mean that if I'm actually determined to believe that?


If our reaction to Jane's abortion and our reaction to the bolt of lightning is all in sync with nature -- nature designing us to react as we do only because we were never able to react any other way -- then "determination" is just another domino to me.

"I'm determined to do this" in a world where determination itself is just a frame of mind in sync with the evolution of mindless matter into mindful matter. But still no less matter embedded in what some insist are "immutable laws".

Unless "mind matter" is a very, very different thing.

iambiguous wrote:The difficulty I have here is that your point is entirely abstract. Let's consider your argument as it relates to the recent spate of bombing scares here in America. From your frame of mind was there ever a possibility that the bomber could have chosen to do something else?


gib wrote: It depends on what you mean by choose. For the sake of this argument, I'll say no. The bomber was not free to do something else in the sense that choosing implies violating the laws of nature.


By "choice" here I mean the distinction between choosing to mail bombs given a capacity to choose not to, or the illusion of choice in a world where he was never going to not mail them.

Is there the possibility that how each of us initially reacted to what he chose to do might reconfigure into a different reaction because we are able [autonomously] find a different meaning in it all?


gib wrote: no... again, in the sense of choice implying the violation of the laws of nature.


But that seems to be precisely the situation if we do live in a wholly determined universe.

We make choices. We note the choices of others. But there was never any possibilty of choices other than those being made without violating the laws of nature.

We're now in the mind of the person creating and mailing the bombs. How is your point above relevant to the choises that he makes?


gib wrote: The bomber did what he did without any thought to whether he was doing it freely or being forced by the laws of nature. He just did it. If in fact he was totally determined by the laws of nature, there is no reason to assume that fact had to be present in his consciousness at any point. Being forced doesn't entail feeling forced.


What does this matter if everything that we think and feel and do is only that which we are ever able to think and feel and do? Whether the bomber thinks that he is choosing to do what he does because it's the right thing to do or because he sees Trump as a father figure or because he just likes to terrorize others, there was never any possibility of him not doing it. What unfolds inside his head was never able to not unfold as it did.

Same with the dark room. Whatever is in or is not in it and whatever we think is in or is not in it, the illusion that seems to revolve around the belief that we have some measure of autonomy in a universe in which in fact we don't, is that anything we think, feel and do here was something we could have chosen not to think and feel and do. That we have the capacity to shape meaning here "freely".

As for the role of the brain in all this consider: https://philosophynow.org/issues/127/Fr ... modulation

How then does the science here factor into what we think we freely choose to think and feel and do?

If we just "do it" only because we could not just do anything else, what does that tell us about meaning then?

iambiguous wrote:Then [for me] we're back to whether this acknowledgement was ever going to be anything else.


gib wrote: And that negates it? Let's say your acknowledgement about the fact that mind seems to have evolved from matter was never going to be anything else. You're still acknowledging that mind seems to have evolved from matter (if anything, it only makes it more emphatic).


Sorry, but I keep coming back to the fact that in a wholly determined unverse, anything that I acknowledge was the only thing that I was ever going to acknowledge. The only thing I was ever able to acknowledge.

iambiguous wrote:Well, that just begs the quesrion. What does it mean to be coherent given the gap between what you think you know about existence "here and now" and all that would need to be known about it in order to attain a fully coherent understanding of it?

And how coherent will the arguments proposed by the "really smart guys [and gals]" in the physics community today appear to those in the same community 100, 1,000 or 10,000 years from now?

Given all the things we are still really fuzzy about regarding QM, dark matter, dark energy and the multiverse?

And other stuff like this: https://www.livescience.com/34052-unsol ... ysics.html

From the introduction:

In 1900, the British physicist Lord Kelvin is said to have pronounced: "There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement." Within three decades, quantum mechanics and Einstein's theory of relativity had revolutionized the field. Today, no physicist would dare assert that our physical knowledge of the universe is near completion. To the contrary, each new discovery seems to unlock a Pandora's box of even bigger, even deeper physics questions.


gib wrote: Science does indeed crunch out, from time to time, some bizarre mind-warping secrets of nature. But even if one day scientists announced: existence did, in fact, come into existence at a time before which there was no existence, I would still regard that as an incoherent notion.


Yes, but your regard here is no less profoundly embedded in the gap between what you think you know here and now about existence and all that the human mind is capable of knowing about it. Thousands of years into the future.

Acknowledging in turn that the evolution of matter into mind may well never have that capacity.

iambiguous wrote:It still comes down [for me] to whether redness and softness are seen to be more preferable than bluenss and hardness because someone believes they are able to freely make that choice. And that in fact given the actual existence of human autonomy, they were able to.


gib wrote: So what does that mean to you? That you are not able to experience red unless you can choose to experience it as blue? When you look at a banana, you see it as yellow, right? But are you not really seeing it as yellow because you can't will for it to become blue in your perception?


What it has come to mean to me is less the point [mine here] than whether what it has come to mean to me is something that was in my capacity to freely choose.

If not then everything -- including this exchange -- is subsumed in whatever existence turns out to be. In a universe governed by laws such that it could only ever have been that.

iambiguous wrote:Once we do go to the grave is our access to the whole truth here gone forever? Or is this eternal mind of yours somehow able to keep us in the game?


gib wrote: No, I think it would throw us into a totally different game (an afterlife). I imagine that experience would continue but our individuality would dissolve; all experiences unique to the human mind would fade--experiences like sensations, memories, emotions, concepts, pains and pleasures, etc.--and give way to a whole set of new experiences. We would essentially become one with the universe.


Here then we are back to speculating about whether whatever it is that does happen is within our capacity to freely choose or was never going to not happen given whatever "I" becomes as matter when the brain decomposes back into star stuff.

That and your capacity to demonstrate that what you do believe above can be reconfigured into actual evidence that goes beyond the assumptions in the argument itself.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Meno_ » Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:36 am

There is a major presumption in this whole question , whichever its sliced, or from what point of view its approached.

The something or nothing problem differentiated the two aspects, from the most basic of all knives, from literal to the most figured way, and there we have it , and in the middle , the premonition of existential despair at not able to include any reasonable will, intent, or even cause. I am not attacking nihilism out of a formless slab, but through a well formed structural process.

The presumption of separatebility, of exclusion makes the idea of nothingness odd, from the point of view that strictly, something cal.p.n indeed come from nothing.

It can be exemplified by a positive structural semantic as if such could minimally be represented, but isn't it a vain effort when the missing variables are short cutter within a structural hierarchy where more and more assumptions sneak in where there was substance before?

In fact, the exclusion or negation of the primal substance into its antithesis was basically a pejorative effort to foreshadow the post modern outcome of a total negation of the Absolute?

It took thousands of years to get to this point, and even a slice of the slicest differential is denied as making a difference.

How absurd, when the immensity of the Absolute is considered as having noticeable or, measurable limits


In the middle of it all. , the Scholastics covered the question with faith, and Nietzsche-Husserl-Heidegger-Sartre tried to reform the original unity, via a separation of causes into the ones intentional and unintentional (developmental) and the result? A nihilistic vacuum.

But is this difference as unnecessary as the original?

That myth becomes reality has bad connotations , as if myths have no relation to causation . But there is a reason for myths and that is, to objectify or make real from supposition. That such supposition was necessary at the time they were borne, proves the very cause for not only for their existence, but for their very being.

Myths were spinned out of reality to enable existence assure its being.

Given substantial unity rather then primordial opposition , the reason for something to be or not becomes clearer.


There are those who object to the formal argument, and there is nothing wrong with that, except they remystify the magic into short cutted language , and that is also related to a looping feedback system as bad as St.Anselm.

So the answer is , its nothing when it's argued from reductive antithesis, but is something when opining for/from the original presumption, when the subject becomes its own object.

I think 'instead' is to strong and implicative of this very process, to be an ironically reductive , word , colluding and destruturing in a hidden landscape shows up as an apparent possible reason.






Abstract
I agree with much of Habermas's article ‘The Language Game of Responsible Agency and the Problem of Free Will,’ but concentrate on disagreements. (i) He is wrong to think the language game of neuroscience is somehow at odds with the language game of rational intentionality. I argue that they give different levels of description of the same system. He also has too narrow a conception of contemporary neurobiological research. (ii) He is mistaken in thinking there is a ‘performative contradiction’ in engaging in research that presupposes free will in order to disprove free will. (iii) His ‘epistemic dualism’ is irrelevant to the issue. (iv) He has some misconceptions about the world in general, especially about ‘downward causation.’ He seems to think that the physical world is deterministic. It is not. Quantum indeterminacy pervades the entire universe. We have the illusion of determinism because in some systems the quantum indeterminacies cancel out at the macro level. Is the brain a deterministic system? Right now we do not know.


The best that can be said at this point is, that there is no certain knowledge about it.



Apologia for cutting in, but adding this in order to give more objectivity about it, sadly, 'objective' and 'object' have through the years have been cleavaged to the extent. that sifnidyong one from the other has developed more and more insignificant.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby gib » Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:41 am

iambiguous wrote:If the meaning that we either choose or get is the only meaning that was ever going to be chosen or gotten, what does it mean to speak of meaning then at all?


I wonder if maybe you're conflating two different problems. There's the problem of determinism vs. free will, and then there's the problem of mind vs. matter. It's not uncommon for people to talk about these two problems as coming together. Where there's consciousness, one assumes, there's also free will. It would make sense to question the basis for meaning if the laws of matter brought consciousness into question (how can consciousness arise out of cold lifeless matter blindly obeying natural laws?). No consciousness, no meaning--at least as far as I'm concerned. But I don't think of the two problems as irrevocably intermingled. I believe in the logical possibility of having consciousness without free will. This is why I've been confused so far in this exchange. You've brought the basis of meaning into question on the grounds that things will occur only as they will ever occur, but for me this only speaks to the free will vs. determinism question. But if you mean to say that without free will, we cannot have consciousness either, I see where we are talking passed each other. For me, the problem of mind coming from matter is invoked more by matter being cold and lifeless, blind as it were, not that its laws ensure that things unfold only as they ever were going to unfold.

^ That being said, I will admit that the mind/matter problem is one of the great yet unsolved problems of philosophy, and despite what they say, the physicalist haven't come close to solving it. But my contribution is to suggest that it is unsolved because everyone is trying to crack it backwards. Don't ask how does mind come from matter, ask how matter comes from mind. I maintain there is a way out of this one but it requires starting with idealism. With that, I can have mind, matter, and meaning.

iambiguous wrote:If the person setting up dominoes to topple over into a particular design was never able to not set them up to topple over into a particular design, what does it mean to praise him for this accomplishment when there was never a possiblity that we would not praise him?


See, that's a meaningful question to me. It speaks to free will, not meaning. Praise is something we give a person if he or she has done something on purpose. So it makes sense to question if a man is praiseworthy given that everything, including his actions, unfolds only as it was ever going to unfold.

And if that's the case, we would have to say no: it makes no sense to praise him.

iambiguous wrote:If what determines you to think or to feel or to do anything is wholly [and solely] in sync with the manner in which, say, the character in the Terminator thinks and feels and does things, what then does that mean about our choices?


It says we don't really make choices. Still, when the Terminator raises his arm, he does in fact raises his arm. When I mean to say "horse", even if I was never going to say or meaning anything else, I still in fact mean horse (given, of course, that we're only talking about the free will vs determinism issue, not the mind/matter issue).

iambiguous wrote:By "choice" here I mean the distinction between choosing to mail bombs given a capacity to choose not to, or the illusion of choice in a world where he was never going to not mail them.


Yeah, I think that's what they call metaphysical freedom--freedom from natural law.

I bring up the meaning of freedom because there's also psychological freedom (or compatibilism)--the feeling of not being forced into something--and political freedom--having freedom from the law to pursue our goals and lives. But if we're talking about metaphysical freedom--the idea that we can violate or rise above the laws of nature--then I say no, we are not free in that sense.

iambiguous wrote:If we just "do it" only because we could not just do anything else, what does that tell us about meaning then?


Again, I fail to see the relevance to meaning. To free will, yes, but not to meaning. Is this another case of confounding two philosophical problems? The free will vs. determinism problem (which doesn't really say much about meaning) and the mind/matter problem (in which meaning is all wrapped up).

iambiguous wrote:Sorry, but I keep coming back to the fact that in a wholly determined unverse, anything that I acknowledge was the only thing that I was ever going to acknowledge. The only thing I was ever able to acknowledge.


Are you saying that if we are determined to acknowledge something, that something could be anything (whatever the laws of matter dictate)? Like the laws of matter might lead me to acknowledge that I'm made of cheese--as real and justified as this may seem to me--I only believe it because the laws of matter haphazardly lead me to it.

iambiguous wrote:Yes, but your regard here is no less profoundly embedded in the gap between what you think you know here and now about existence and all that the human mind is capable of knowing about it. Thousands of years into the future.


Sure, but given that we aren't there yet, I'm going to place my bets on what makes sense to me now. To say there was existence before there was existence is untenable to me... so I won't buy it. If I'm wrong, I'll just be very confused.

iambiguous wrote:What it has come to mean to me is less the point...


Ok, but if you don't answer my questions, it becomes all the more difficult for me to understand whatever point you are making.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:00 pm

gib wrote: I believe in the logical possibility of having consciousness without free will. This is why I've been confused so far in this exchange. You've brought the basis of meaning into question on the grounds that things will occur only as they will ever occur, but for me this only speaks to the free will vs. determinism question. But if you mean to say that without free will, we cannot have consciousness either, I see where we are talking passed each other. For me, the problem of mind coming from matter is invoked more by matter being cold and lifeless, blind as it were, not that its laws ensure that things unfold only as they ever were going to unfold.


What I come down to is the part about the day to day interactions of entities with brains. Brains having now reached the point where, given the evolution of life on earth, "minds" are able to speculate as to whether or not the behaviors that "I" choose are or are not the only behaviors I was ever able going to choose. Something apparently that is by far more the purview of human minds.

The "for all practical purposes" assessment given any particular interactions that we are able to note only because we were never able not to note them. All this "technical" stuff however may or may not be over the heads of any particular one of us. But if it was never within our capacity to react to that part any other way than in sync with the laws of matter, all aspects of existence would seem to be merely a manifestation of it.

Then back again to Existence itself. Why and how it began. Or why and how it always was.

gib wrote: That being said, I will admit that the mind/matter problem is one of the great yet unsolved problems of philosophy, and despite what they say, the physicalist haven't come close to solving it.


I agree completely. And what if the final solution is beyond the capacity of mindful matter to solve. On the other hand, my having noted this [as with the exchange itself] is only an infinitesimally tiny speck in the aggregate Reality.

gib wrote: But my contribution is to suggest that it is unsolved because everyone is trying to crack it backwards. Don't ask how does mind come from matter, ask how matter comes from mind. I maintain there is a way out of this one but it requires starting with idealism. With that, I can have mind, matter, and meaning.


Either way though it still comes down to that which can in fact be demonstrated as true for all of us. Once we acknowledge that the arguments we propose in places like this are true or not true only to the extent that the definition and the meaning that we give to the words comprising the argument are in sync with the optimal or the only rational understanding of existence itself, what then?

Then it must come down to demonstrable evidence.

And that may well be beyond us autonomously. Whatever unfolds unfolds only as it must. As it only ever could have.

iambiguous wrote:If the person setting up dominoes to topple over into a particular design was never able to not set them up to topple over into a particular design, what does it mean to praise him for this accomplishment when there was never a possiblity that we would not praise him?


gib wrote: See, that's a meaningful question to me. It speaks to free will, not meaning. Praise is something we give a person if he or she has done something on purpose. So it makes sense to question if a man is praiseworthy given that everything, including his actions, unfolds only as it was ever going to unfold.

And if that's the case, we would have to say no: it makes no sense to praise him.


But the conundrum here lies precisely in our seeming inability to know for certain which it is: truly praiseworthy or entirely mechanical.

I, you, we, they just don't know [perhaps can't know] if anything at all lies within the parameters of what is construed to be "free will".

For now, all we can do is, for all practical purposes, to assume that some measure of "I" is autonomous. And my own chief contribution here revolves largely around the speculation that, in the is/ought world", "I" is more an existential contraption than a frame of mind able to be embodied philosophically in one or another deontological assessment.

iambiguous wrote:If what determines you to think or to feel or to do anything is wholly [and solely] in sync with the manner in which, say, the character in the Terminator thinks and feels and does things, what then does that mean about our choices?


gib wrote: It says we don't really make choices. Still, when the Terminator raises his arm, he does in fact raises his arm. When I mean to say "horse", even if I was never going to say or meaning anything else, I still in fact mean horse (given, of course, that we're only talking about the free will vs determinism issue, not the mind/matter issue).


On the other hand:

Kyle to Sarah: Listen, and understand! That Terminator is out there! It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop...ever, until you are dead!

An observer notes the terminator making choices...just as Kyle and Sarah do. But it is presumed that Kyle and Sarah are free to make alternate choices. Just as most of us assume that we are too.

I'm just considerbly more uncertain about that part. Which then just begs the question: was I ever able to not be considerably more uncertain?

Then around and around the debate goes. Going all the way back to...what exactly?

iambiguous wrote:By "choice" here I mean the distinction between choosing to mail bombs given a capacity to choose not to, or the illusion of choice in a world where he was never going to not mail them.


gib wrote: Yeah, I think that's what they call metaphysical freedom--freedom from natural law.


Well, the word meta "comes from the Greek words that literally mean 'beyond nature'."

And what then is beyond nature if not one or another approximation/manifestation of God? But that only raises yet more quandaries regarding human freedom given an omniscient God.

gib wrote: I bring up the meaning of freedom because there's also psychological freedom (or compatibilism)--the feeling of not being forced into something--and political freedom--having freedom from the law to pursue our goals and lives. But if we're talking about metaphysical freedom--the idea that we can violate or rise above the laws of nature--then I say no, we are not free in that sense.


If human psychology is just another manifestation of nature's laws, then feeling or not feeling free is only that which we are compelled to feel or not feel in any given context.

iambiguous wrote:If we just "do it" only because we could not just do anything else, what does that tell us about meaning then?


gib wrote: Again, I fail to see the relevance to meaning. To free will, yes, but not to meaning. Is this another case of confounding two philosophical problems? The free will vs. determinism problem (which doesn't really say much about meaning) and the mind/matter problem (in which meaning is all wrapped up).


And I don't see any real practical distinction. If meaning is ultimately mechanical this would seem to mean that anything -- anything -- that happens, happens only because it was never going to not happen. From the "behavior" of stars and planets to the thoughts that we think and the feelings that we emote. It's all just Nature.

It's just that the human mind is like no other matter here in that it is able to become conscious of it. But: only conscious of it as it was ever able to become conscious of it? Nothing would seem to be outside the scope of a material reality embedded in whatever made it what it must be.

Unless of course you and others are able to demonstrate that what made it what it is is mind itself. But: What "on earth" does that mean? For all practical purposes.

Either relating to the either/or world or the assumptions I make regarding the is/ought world. Which may well be a distinction without a difference in a wholly determined universe.

iambiguous wrote:Sorry, but I keep coming back to the fact that in a wholly determined unverse, anything that I acknowledge was the only thing that I was ever going to acknowledge. The only thing I was ever able to acknowledge.


gib wrote: Are you saying that if we are determined to acknowledge something, that something could be anything (whatever the laws of matter dictate)? Like the laws of matter might lead me to acknowledge that I'm made of cheese--as real and justified as this may seem to me--I only believe it because the laws of matter haphazardly lead me to it.


Look at all of the extraordinary "realities" that are able to be experienced in dreams, or on LSD, or in mental institutions, or through any number of diseased minds. The point then is this: what of those realities that we presume exist when we think we are free to create only the most rational sense of reality?

Is that really within the command of any particular "I"? And, sure, each of us will embed ourselves in a "reality" that "makes the most sense" to us.

We just can't pin down what that means [ultimately] given the gap between what we think it means "here and now" in our head, and all that would need to be known about existence itself in order to know for sure.

iambiguous wrote:What it has come to mean to me is less the point...


gib wrote: Ok, but if you don't answer my questions, it becomes all the more difficult for me to understand whatever point you are making.


Some questions can be answered. In other words, we are reasonably able to established if the answers are correct. But many of the questions embedded in exchanges like this will have conflicting answers that we may or may not be able to pin down.

But that is basically my point of course.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Ecmandu » Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:43 pm

Things happen. Yes.

Iambiguous interprets "things happen" as a lack of freewill.

The moment we realize we may not have freewill, is the moment we receive freewill.

Now not all will is free. In order to smoke a cigarette, I must have a body with a mouth and lungs. That doesn't mean there is no freewill, it's a misuse and abuse of the term. Which iambiguous floats on.

Iambiguous is not a profound or intellectually honest being.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby gib » Sat Nov 03, 2018 5:35 am

iambiguous wrote:Either way though it still comes down to that which can in fact be demonstrated as true for all of us...


And that's where I meet my limit. My understand of my own views is mine alone. All I can do is tell you what they are, to attempt to explain them to the best of my ability. But I will not attempt to demonstrate them as I myself acknowledge the possibility of being wrong.

iambiguous wrote:But the conundrum here lies precisely in our seeming inability to know for certain which it is: truly praiseworthy or entirely mechanical.


Well, we're making assumptions, aren't we? Aren't we assuming mechanical determinism?

But to acknowledge that this is an assumption is to concede that we really don't know.

iambiguous wrote:Well, the word meta "comes from the Greek words that literally mean 'beyond nature'."


Ironic, isn't it?

The literal origins of the word comes from the second part of Aristotle's book (or was it a second book?). The first part was called physis--a treatment on physical nature--and the second part meta-physis--literally: after physis, the book. It touched on topics such as causation, numbers, logic, being, substance, and God. In other words, all that is on a level of abstraction removed from the empirical.

You yourself have noted how this debate is beyond demonstration. We are forever caught in a vicious cycle of debate over what is the truth: are we free or are we determined? This is because it is not a question for empirical science to answer.

iambiguous wrote:And what then is beyond nature if not one or another approximation/manifestation of God? But that only raises yet more quandaries regarding human freedom given an omniscient God.


Well, Aristotle did include a treatment on God in his metaphysics, but the "meta" here denotes more a division between the empirically demonstrable and the abstract (though if you're a die hard Platonist, this may make no difference).

iambiguous wrote:If human psychology is just another manifestation of nature's laws, then feeling or not feeling free is only that which we are compelled to feel or not feel in any given context.


Yes, we are sometimes metaphysically compelled to be psychologically free.

iambiguous wrote:And I don't see any real practical distinction. If meaning is ultimately mechanical this would seem to mean that anything -- anything -- that happens, happens only because it was never going to not happen. From the "behavior" of stars and planets to the thoughts that we think and the feelings that we emote. It's all just Nature.


Quantum physicists say that the world may not be exhaustively determined after all. They say that at the subatomic level, nature displays some non-deterministic behavior--like a particle chosing random locations when its position is measured. <-- Does this make any difference to you? Does the prospect that there are instances of non-determinism in nature make the emergence of consciousness, and therefore meaning, any more intelligible to you?

But returning to a fully deterministic picture, I am able to imagine what I call psychological determinism--the having of mental/subjective experiences that are themselves totally determined. For example, if I choose to order a salad at a restaurant, I may tell myself that this was choice, but isn't it just my desire for salad that made me order salad? Or if I stop at a red light, I may tell myself I chose to stop at the red light, but wasn't it just my training from driving school and my desire not to get killed or cause harm to others that made me stop at the red light? Or if I choose to give some change to a homeless person, was it not really feelings of sympathy or maybe guilt that made me give the homeless person change? In other words, I can imagine how a person can be fully determined to do and think everything he does by psychological forces (experiences, desires, memories, thoughts, emotions, values, etc.), and I don't have to bring in any concepts involving physical/material forces (like neurons, brain chemicals, matter, etc.). While I can't say I understand how matter gives way to mind, I don't see that as necessarily bringing with it free will. But I do think so long as you have at least thought, you have meaning. So if these material systems and mechanical forces create minds with the ability to think, however mechanical those thoughts still are, those thoughts will be meaningful.

iambiguous wrote:Look at all of the extraordinary "realities" that are able to be experienced in dreams, or on LSD, or in mental institutions, or through any number of diseased minds. The point then is this: what of those realities that we presume exist when we think we are free to create only the most rational sense of reality?


Yes, this is possible. But this hinges more on the possibility of insanity, not determinism. I can dream, hallucinate, be deluded, or just be wrong, with or without free will. You think those who believe in free will don't believe in dreaming (or believe that all our dreams are real)? What you are touching on here is classic Cartesian skepticism--the inability to disprove that evil demons mess with our minds. I'm satisfied that there is no way out of Cartesian skepticism. I'm not even sure how Descartes ever reasoned his way out of doubting that all circles are round. It's a fundamental problem with knowledge, the infinite regress we inevitably spirally down when we question how we know that we know.

That's if you grant Cartesian skepticism which hinges of Descartes' theory of mind (as a substance distinct from matter and being insufficient in itself to validate its own content). But one doesn't have to take a Cartesian stance on things. One can take his or her experiences at face value, as providing its on validation from the beginning (yes, even in dreams <-- I told you, you need to be a relativist).

iambiguous wrote:Some questions can be answered. In other words, we are reasonably able to established if the answers are correct. But many of the questions embedded in exchanges like this will have conflicting answers that we may or may not be able to pin down.


Can we at least give it a shot? Here's what lead to my question:

gib wrote:
iambiguous wrote:It still comes down [for me] to whether redness and softness are seen to be more preferable than bluenss and hardness because someone believes they are able to freely make that choice. And that in fact given the actual existence of human autonomy, they were able to.


So what does that mean to you? That you are not able to experience red unless you can choose to experience it as blue? When you look at a banana, you see it as yellow, right? But are you not really seeing it as yellow because you can't will for it to become blue in your perception?


You see why I asked the question? We were discussing subjectivity. What you said suggested to me that you don't believe subjectivity can exist unless it is freely chosen by the experiencer... which would seem to imply you don't believe you see a banana as yellow unless you can choose to see it as another color. Now, you can say: yes gib, that's what I believe. Or you can say: no gib, you got it all wrong... or you can take a moment and try to rephrase what you said so that it is more aligned with what you actually believe. Either way, it will help me to more clearly understand your view.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby surreptitious75 » Sat Nov 03, 2018 3:46 pm

gib wrote:
iambiguous wrote:
It still comes down [ for me ] to whether redness and softness are seen to be more preferable than blueness and hardness because some
one believes they are able to freely make that choice. And that in fact given the actual existence of human autonomy they were able to

So what does that mean to you ? That you are not able to experience red unless you can choose to experience it as blue ? When you look at a
banana you see it as yellow right ? But are you not really seeing it as yellow because you cant will for it to become blue in your perception ?

You see why I asked the question ? We were discussing subjectivity . What you said suggested to me that you dont believe subjectivity can exist unless it is freely chosen by the experiencer ... which would seem to imply you dont believe you see a banana as yellow unless you can choose to see it as another color. Now you can say yes gib that is what I believe. Or you can say no gib you got it all wrong ... or you can take a moment and try to rephrase what you said so that it is more aligned with what you actually believe. Either way it will help me to more clearly understand your view

He is not saying he should be able to manipulate the physicality of an object but that he should be able to define the effect the object has on him

For example he sees a bunch of bananas. Now he cannot do anything about the fact they are bananas but he can exercise free will from an aesthetic
or dietary perspective. Whether he likes the shape and colour and taste of them in other words. He is not trying to change them into something else
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby gib » Sat Nov 03, 2018 4:03 pm

surreptitious75 wrote:He is not saying he should be able to manipulate the physicality of an object but that he should be able to define the effect the object has on him


Exactly! The banana can stay yellow as it always was (well, it was probably green before and will turn brown), but I'm asking: does he think in order to have the subjective experience of seeing yellow, he should be able to see it as blue (i.e. in his perception).

surreptitious75 wrote:For example he sees a bunch of bananas. Now he cannot do anything about the fact they are bananas but he can exercise free will from an aesthetic
or dietary perspective. Whether he likes the shape and colour and taste of them in other words. He is not trying to change them into something else


Same question then. Does he think that in order to have a mind with free will he should be able to choose whether he likes the bananas or hates them?
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby surreptitious75 » Sat Nov 03, 2018 4:41 pm

iambiguous wrote:
It still comes down [ for me ] to whether redness and softness are seen to be more preferable than blueness and hardness because some
one believes they are able to freely make that choice. And that in fact given the actual existence of human autonomy they were able to

Here he is talking about choosing between different colours and textures and whether free will can be exercised
In that respect it can definitely be exercised so it is a value judgement between competing sensory perceptions

However while he may have red as his favourite colour that does not mean he can turn any object red at will
Equally while he may have soft as his favourite texture that does not mean he can turn any object soft at will

On a more fundamental level the logical conclusion of this is the ability not to change reality but to perceive it in the most positive way
To make value judgements between choices and consistently know the right one to choose and therefore improve the quality of ones life
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:30 pm

gib wrote:
iambiguous wrote:Either way though it still comes down to that which can in fact be demonstrated as true for all of us...


And that's where I meet my limit. My understand[ing] of my own views is mine alone. All I can do is tell you what they are, to attempt to explain them to the best of my ability. But I will not attempt to demonstrate them as I myself acknowledge the possibility of being wrong.


Limitations. That is basically what it always comes down to in the end. The limitations of language. The limitations of philosophical discourse. The limitations embedded in the gap between what we think we know about "something instead of nothing" and all there is that can be known about it.

But, really, what else is there other than "to the best of our ability" making an attempt to demonstrate that what we think is true "in our head" is in turn true for all other rational men and women? A demonstration that involves actual empirical evidence that can be tested [and perhaps replicated] by others.

In other words, "to the best of our ability" attempting to close the gap between assumptions made in arguments that are basically just intellectual contraptions -- a relationship between words -- and more substantive demonstrations that connect the words we choose to the world that we live and interact in.

Which is what any number of neuroscientists are attempting to do by going well beyond the intellectual contraptions embedded in arguments: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroscience

iambiguous wrote:Well, the word meta "comes from the Greek words that literally mean 'beyond nature'."


gib wrote: Ironic, isn't it?

The literal origins of the word comes from the second part of Aristotle's book (or was it a second book?). The first part was called physis--a treatment on physical nature--and the second part meta-physis--literally: after physis, the book. It touched on topics such as causation, numbers, logic, being, substance, and God. In other words, all that is on a level of abstraction removed from the empirical.

You yourself have noted how this debate is beyond demonstration. We are forever caught in a vicious cycle of debate over what is the truth: are we free or are we determined? This is because it is not a question for empirical science to answer.


The debate may be beyond demonstration if the evolution of life on earth has resulted [so far] in a human brain incapable of grasping a TOE able to be connected empirically to whatever explains existence itself.

We just don't know.

But if not the attempts of empirical science to grapple with this, what then? God? Deism? Pantheism? This seminal "mind" you speak of? How are you able to go beyond the argument that your own assumptions here encompass a reasonable answer?

Sooner or later such things as "causation, numbers, logic, being, substance, and God" become factors in our flesh and blood existential interactions --- or they remain merely abstractions.

The mystery still goes back to mind as matter able to concoct such things with or without some measure of autonomy.

iambiguous wrote:If human psychology is just another manifestation of nature's laws, then feeling or not feeling free is only that which we are compelled to feel or not feel in any given context.


gib wrote: Yes, we are sometimes metaphysically compelled to be psychologically free.


Sounds rather fated, destined, bounded, decreed to me. Unless the part encompassed in "meta" is able to be fully disclosed.

iambiguous wrote:And I don't see any real practical distinction. If meaning is ultimately mechanical this would seem to mean that anything -- anything -- that happens, happens only because it was never going to not happen. From the "behavior" of stars and planets to the thoughts that we think and the feelings that we emote. It's all just Nature.


gib wrote: Quantum physicists say that the world may not be exhaustively determined after all. They say that at the subatomic level, nature displays some non-deterministic behavior--like a particle chosing random locations when its position is measured.


That is QM as we think we understand it today. We just don't know what physicists will think they understand about it a thousand years from now. Let alone in regard to closing the gap between what any particular human mind thinks it knows and all that actually can be known going back to an explanation of existence itself.

What appears to be instances of non-determination may well just reflect our incomplete -- perhaps woefully incomplete -- understanding of these interactions.

And there is always the possibility that all of it is nothing more than the laws of matter playing themselves out only as they ever could have.

And here I also like to speculate about the mindful matter of beings that may well inhabit any number of planets throughout the universe. What would they have to contribute here?

As for all of this...

gib wrote: But returning to a fully deterministic picture, I am able to imagine what I call psychological determinism--the having of mental/subjective experiences that are themselves totally determined. For example, if I choose to order a salad at a restaurant, I may tell myself that this was choice, but isn't it just my desire for salad that made me order salad? Or if I stop at a red light, I may tell myself I chose to stop at the red light, but wasn't it just my training from driving school and my desire not to get killed or cause harm to others that made me stop at the red light? Or if I choose to give some change to a homeless person, was it not really feelings of sympathy or maybe guilt that made me give the homeless person change? In other words, I can imagine how a person can be fully determined to do and think everything he does by psychological forces (experiences, desires, memories, thoughts, emotions, values, etc.), and I don't have to bring in any concepts involving physical/material forces (like neurons, brain chemicals, matter, etc.). While I can't say I understand how matter gives way to mind, I don't see that as necessarily bringing with it free will. But I do think so long as you have at least thought, you have meaning. So if these material systems and mechanical forces create minds with the ability to think, however mechanical those thoughts still are, those thoughts will be meaningful.


...I'm still pretty much at a loss in understanding why you think this is significant given a world in which abolutely nothing above was ever going to not happen.

And, sure, the problem may well be me not understanding something being conveyed here that, were I able to understand it, my own thinking might change.

But then back to whether or not that in itself was never not going to unfold only as it ever could.

iambiguous wrote:Look at all of the extraordinary "realities" that are able to be experienced in dreams, or on LSD, or in mental institutions, or through any number of diseased minds. The point then is this: what of those realities that we presume exist when we think we are free to create only the most rational sense of reality?


gib wrote: Yes, this is possible. But this hinges more on the possibility of insanity, not determinism. I can dream, hallucinate, be deluded, or just be wrong, with or without free will.


True. But it makes all the difference in the world if one day it is determined definitively that it was all only as it ever could have been.

A thought experiment...

Imagine that hard deteriminsm exists only on planet earth. Everything that happens on the planet could only have happened as it did.

Intelligent creatures from a planet in which free will does exist observe us. They note us using words like insanity, freedom, justice, true, false, good, bad. They see us relating to each other in countless different ways. One of them says, "Look at those creatures going about the business of interacting with each other day after day. They don't even realize that they were never able to think or to feel or to do anything other than that which they were oblgated to do given the material laws that govern them."

Okay, how would you explain to them the part where the physical laws are, instead, governed by an even more transcending "mind"? Or how might someone like Descartes react to it? Mind separate from matter? Mind creating matter? Mind and matter seamlessly intertwined in one or another teleological explanation for existence? For something instead of nothing?

Here's what lead to my question:


gib wrote:
iambiguous wrote:It still comes down [for me] to whether redness and softness are seen to be more preferable than bluenss and hardness because someone believes they are able to freely make that choice. And that in fact given the actual existence of human autonomy, they were able to.


So what does that mean to you? That you are not able to experience red unless you can choose to experience it as blue? When you look at a banana, you see it as yellow, right? But are you not really seeing it as yellow because you can't will for it to become blue in your perception?


gib wrote: You see why I asked the question? We were discussing subjectivity. What you said suggested to me that you don't believe subjectivity can exist unless it is freely chosen by the experiencer... which would seem to imply you don't believe you see a banana as yellow unless you can choose to see it as another color.


The part I can't wrap my head around is whether or not I was ever able to wrap my head around it in any other way than I did given that everything that I think and feel before, now and later is merely intertwined necessarily in the laws of matter unfolding in a wholly determine universe. In other words, what if I could not not have "believed subjectivity can exist unless it is freely chosen by the experiencer."

My mind [like the yellow banana] is just another prop in whatever the ontological explanation for existence is. An explanation that nature may or may not permit us to grasp someday.

gib wrote: Now, you can say: yes gib, that's what I believe. Or you can say: no gib, you got it all wrong... or you can take a moment and try to rephrase what you said so that it is more aligned with what you actually believe. Either way, it will help me to more clearly understand your view.


Or I can point out that, in a wholly determined universe, anything I might say is only that which I was ever only able to say.

But, if there is an element of autonomy in this exchange between us, any argument I might attempt to reconfigure is still going to be embedded in the gap between what I think I know about these relationships and all that would need to be known in order to understand them in a fully coherent manner.

Yes, as you note above, we can "at least give it a shot". But "shots" of this sort are exchanged regarding any number of philosophical antinomies we come upon in venues like this.

The distinction I then make is between those who recognize just how profoundly problematic our own arguments must be, and those who insist that their explanation really does pin "something instead of nothing" to the mat.

And that's before we get to the question that most intrigues me: how ought one to live in a world bursting at the seams with conflicting goods?

If there is a measure of autonomy in the choices we make.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Ecmandu » Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:57 pm

You're playing a sneaky word game here.

If I choose to eat cornflakes instead of not, it still is the only event that actually occurred, and by virtue, the only event that could have occurred, that automatically happens the instance the choice is made.

This sneaky trick you're using, in no way removes agency.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Sat Nov 03, 2018 11:34 pm

Ecmandu wrote:You're playing a sneaky word game here.

If I choose to eat cornflakes instead of not, it still is the only event that actually occurred, and by virtue, the only event that could have occurred, that automatically happens the instance the choice is made.

This sneaky trick you're using, in no way removes agency.


Beat it, Kid!

Oh, right, I already tried that. :wink:
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 gib » Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:40 pm

iambiguous wrote:But if not the attempts of empirical science to grapple with this, what then? God? Deism? Pantheism? This seminal "mind" you speak of?


Pick your poison.

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote:Yes, we are sometimes metaphysically compelled to be psychologically free.
How are you able to go beyond the argument that your own assumptions here encompass a reasonable answer?


I don't even try. I just believe on a mix of reason and faith.

iambiguous wrote:Sounds rather fated, destined, bounded, decreed to me. Unless the part encompassed in "meta" is able to be fully disclosed.


I don't know why they call it "meta". I guess because it refers to freedom from physical laws, which are abstractions (metaphysical). Psychological freedom on the other hand would be empirically verifiable. It's the difference between a purse snatcher who steels an old lady's purse and an old lady who willfully gives her purse to someone (say her husband). In one case, the old lady is "forced" to give her purse away. In the other, she "chooses". You can verify this empirically in any number of ways (bring in an fMRI machine if you need to). In my opinion, this is the quintessential scenario that describes the layman's understanding of the distinction between freedom and unfreedom, and the original philosophical concepts of being "free" and "unfree". Originally, the debate was never about physical laws. It's always about being free from something, or free to do something, and no one ever cared about being free from physical laws, just from purse snatchers, militias, and corrupt governments. <-- That's why a separation of the different kinds of "freedom" in debates like these is so important. But yes, technically, we are never free in the metaphysical sense of being free from physical laws.

iambiguous wrote:That is QM as we think we understand it today. We just don't know what physicists will think they understand about it a thousand years from now. Let alone in regard to closing the gap between what any particular human mind thinks it knows and all that actually can be known going back to an explanation of existence itself.

What appears to be instances of non-determination may well just reflect our incomplete -- perhaps woefully incomplete -- understanding of these interactions.

And there is always the possibility that all of it is nothing more than the laws of matter playing themselves out only as they ever could have.


For someone who claims to be the first to admit his fallability, you sure seem pretty certain those quantum physicists are wrong.

And you're avoiding the question (again). Just suppose, for the sake of argument, that non-determinism could sometimes happen in nature. Would the emergence of consciousness and minds in those instances suddenly become intelligible to you?

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote:But returning to a fully deterministic picture, I am able to imagine what I call psychological determinism--the having of mental/subjective experiences that are themselves totally determined. For example, if I choose to order a salad at a restaurant, I may tell myself that this was choice, but isn't it just my desire for salad that made me order salad? Or if I stop at a red light, I may tell myself I chose to stop at the red light, but wasn't it just my training from driving school and my desire not to get killed or cause harm to others that made me stop at the red light? Or if I choose to give some change to a homeless person, was it not really feelings of sympathy or maybe guilt that made me give the homeless person change? In other words, I can imagine how a person can be fully determined to do and think everything he does by psychological forces (experiences, desires, memories, thoughts, emotions, values, etc.), and I don't have to bring in any concepts involving physical/material forces (like neurons, brain chemicals, matter, etc.). While I can't say I understand how matter gives way to mind, I don't see that as necessarily bringing with it free will. But I do think so long as you have at least thought, you have meaning. So if these material systems and mechanical forces create minds with the ability to think, however mechanical those thoughts still are, those thoughts will be meaningful.


...I'm still pretty much at a loss in understanding why you think this is significant given a world in which abolutely nothing above was ever going to not happen.


Significant in relation to what? We're on the topic of meaning, and whether or not it matters that absolutely nothing above was ever going to not happen. I'm explain why it doesn't. There's not really anything significant beyond that.

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote:Yes, this is possible. But this hinges more on the possibility of insanity, not determinism. I can dream, hallucinate, be deluded, or just be wrong, with or without free will.
True. But it makes all the difference in the world if one day it is determined definitively that it was all only as it ever could have been.


Not really.

iambiguous wrote:Okay, how would you explain to them the part where the physical laws are, instead, governed by an even more transcending "mind"? Or how might someone like Descartes react to it? Mind separate from matter? Mind creating matter? Mind and matter seamlessly intertwined in one or another teleological explanation for existence? For something instead of nothing?


I don't know how Descartes would explain it to them, but for my part, I'd offer them my book. But after listening to them complain about how it's too long, and couldn't I just give my abridged version, I'd say the following: physical laws, as we observe them, are material (or sensory) representations of the "logic" of experiences being had by the universe. It isn't the formal logic of thought (i.e. that which logicians study in university) but all experiences have their own flavor of logic, and it is expressed to us via sensory experience, and we (our brains) interpret that as matter interacting with matter and matter undergoing change. Once we discover that there are repeating patterns in these interactions and changes, repeating patterns that don't seem to ever break, then we have discovered the "logic" of those experiences, and in the representation, which is all we're given, we call it "natural law".

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote:You see why I asked the question? We were discussing subjectivity. What you said suggested to me that you don't believe subjectivity can exist unless it is freely chosen by the experiencer... which would seem to imply you don't believe you see a banana as yellow unless you can choose to see it as another color.


The part I can't wrap my head around is whether or not I was ever able to wrap my head around it in any other way than I did given that everything that I think and feel before, now and later is merely intertwined necessarily in the laws of matter unfolding in a wholly determine universe. In other words, what if I could not not have "believed subjectivity can exist unless it is freely chosen by the experiencer."

My mind [like the yellow banana] is just another prop in whatever the ontological explanation for existence is. An explanation that nature may or may not permit us to grasp someday.


Well, I tried.

iambiguous wrote:Or I can point out that, in a wholly determined universe, anything I might say is only that which I was ever only able to say.


But you're not saying anything. You're avoiding the question. And yes, I know that if you are avoiding the question, it is only because you were never not going to avoid the question. But it's still avoiding the question. And I am left just as unclear about whether you believe you have subjective experiences or not. This tactic doesn't help clarify your point. It just helps you to continue feeling justified in using the tactic.

iambiguous wrote:But, if there is an element of autonomy in this exchange between us, any argument I might attempt to reconfigure is still going to be embedded in the gap between what I think I know about these relationships and all that would need to be known in order to understand them in a fully coherent manner.

^ Yes, the knowledge gap you so frequently bring up. Another tactic.

Yes, as you note above, we can "at least give it a shot". But "shots" of this sort are exchanged regarding any number of philosophical antinomies we come upon in venues like this.

The distinction I then make is between those who recognize just how profoundly problematic our own arguments must be, and those who insist that their explanation really does pin "something instead of nothing" to the mat.


If you really believed what you just said, you wouldn't even be saying it. You'd remain silent. If the point you're making is about the futility of explaining anything in virtue of the gap between what you think you know and all that you would need to know in order to pin the topic under discussion to the mat, or perhaps that such an explanation was never not going to be given anyway, then what you just said is no exception. If you really believe in all that, you might as well not say anything. But yet, there are things in this exchange you choose to explain, and there are things you avoid explaining like the plague (hiding behind these "futility" tactics). I don't buy it, Biggy. I wonder if you buy it.

It isn't that you're wrong in anything you say; it's that there are motives behind the things you say, and you're trying to hide those motives behind a mask of impartiality and mere inquisition. But there are things you want to believe and things you don't, positions you want to hold to and positions you want to deny. You have no problem agreeing with and giving answers to the things that support your positions, but when it comes to the things you wish to deny, you avoid acknowledging and giving answers to them.

I think Ecmandu is right, you play word games. The only thing I wonder is: do you play them with yourself?
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Ecmandu » Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:42 pm

I think it's more than simply word games with iambiguous...

I think he's field testing synthetic philosophy built in an lab, that is going to be used to make drones over the world.

I find it very interesting his projection on me: he calls consent violation (the most visceral feeling all beings have in existence) "a world of words" "not down to earth". synthetic philosophies will always suffer projections and contradictions. He is the world of words he's accusing me of.

I'm more terse with iambiguous because I do not appreciate his psychopathic intent to circumvent living philosophy.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:52 pm

gib wrote:
iambiguous wrote:But if not the attempts of empirical science to grapple with this, what then? God? Deism? Pantheism? This seminal "mind" you speak of?


Pick your poison.


Meaning what exactly? Either the words that we choose to encompass an argument about "something instead of nothing" can be connected somehow to the lives that we live or they can't.

That's what we are really grappling with here: the day to day lived relationship between words and worlds.

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote:Yes, we are sometimes metaphysically compelled to be psychologically free.
How are you able to go beyond the argument that your own assumptions here encompass a reasonable answer?


gib wrote: I don't even try. I just believe on a mix of reason and faith.


Well, in that case there's not much then that any particular human mind can't speculate is true.

It makes for fascinating discussions, sure, but sooner or later what you think is true [or what you think you know] "in your head" is either able to be substantiated or not. After all, where you draw the line between reason and faith isn't likely to be where others will. Instead, what is exchanged by and large are assumptions. Intellectual contraptions as it were.

iambiguous wrote:Sounds rather fated, destined, bounded, decreed to me. Unless the part encompassed in "meta" is able to be fully disclosed.


gib wrote: I don't know why they call it "meta". I guess because it refers to freedom from physical laws, which are abstractions (metaphysical). Psychological freedom on the other hand would be empirically verifiable.


But we have no way of establishing definitively if the verification process is not in itself merely an inherent manifestation of a determined universe. If mind is just brain and brain is just more matter, it would all seem to be essentially/objectively intertwined in whatever laws might exist that makes matter -- necessarily -- what it is and always will be.

gib wrote: It's the difference between a purse snatcher who steels an old lady's purse and an old lady who willfully gives her purse to someone (say her husband). In one case, the old lady is "forced" to give her purse away. In the other, she "chooses". You can verify this empirically in any number of ways (bring in an fMRI machine if you need to). In my opinion, this is the quintessential scenario that describes the layman's understanding of the distinction between freedom and unfreedom, and the original philosophical concepts of being "free" and "unfree".


Yes, that is how most make the distinction. But if the distinctions made were never able not to be made by each individual they are "for all practical puorposes" distinctions without a difference. I think and feel this way about it. You think and feel that way ablout it. But neither one of us were ever able not to.

gib wrote: Originally, the debate was never about physical laws. It's always about being free from something, or free to do something, and no one ever cared about being free from physical laws, just from purse snatchers, militias, and corrupt governments.


Originally? In a world where all matter [mindful or otherwise] interacts necessarily as it only ever could, how is this distinction in and of itself not just but one more intrinsic manifestation of Existence.

gib wrote: That's why a separation of the different kinds of "freedom" in debates like these is so important. But yes, technically, we are never free in the metaphysical sense of being free from physical laws.


Again, to the extent that I understand you, you make a distinction here that I am simply unable to grasp. That "separation" we make is in turn just another manifestion of matter intertwined in what we call "existence" or "reality". Some think that they note this distinction/separation "freely" but that is only an illusion built into however one goes about explaining how physically/materially/phenomenally brains configured into minds given the evolution of life on Earth.

iambiguous wrote:That is QM as we think we understand it today. We just don't know what physicists will think they understand about it a thousand years from now. Let alone in regard to closing the gap between what any particular human mind thinks it knows and all that actually can be known going back to an explanation of existence itself.

What appears to be instances of non-determination may well just reflect our incomplete -- perhaps woefully incomplete -- understanding of these interactions.

And there is always the possibility that all of it is nothing more than the laws of matter playing themselves out only as they ever could have.


gib wrote: For someone who claims to be the first to admit his fallability, you sure seem pretty certain those quantum physicists are wrong.


Well, in a wholly determined universe, my certainty is only as it ever could have been. As for QM back to this:

In 1900, the British physicist Lord Kelvin is said to have pronounced: "There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement." Within three decades, quantum mechanics and Einstein's theory of relativity had revolutionized the field. Today, no physicist would dare assert that our physical knowledge of the universe is near completion. To the contrary, each new discovery seems to unlock a Pandora's box of even bigger, even deeper physics questions.

And that was only 118 years ago. Do you really imagine that a 1,000 years from now physicists will be coming to the same conclusions about QM that are being made today?

gib wrote: And you're avoiding the question (again). Just suppose, for the sake of argument, that non-determinism could sometimes happen in nature. Would the emergence of consciousness and minds in those instances suddenly become intelligible to you?


This entails understanding things about the emergence of consciouness and mind that is still beyond our grasp. And, again, you need to note a particular context involving particular minds choosing particular behaviors. Aspects of which are construed to be more or less intelligble from particular points of view.

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote:But returning to a fully deterministic picture, I am able to imagine what I call psychological determinism--the having of mental/subjective experiences that are themselves totally determined. For example, if I choose to order a salad at a restaurant, I may tell myself that this was choice, but isn't it just my desire for salad that made me order salad? Or if I stop at a red light, I may tell myself I chose to stop at the red light, but wasn't it just my training from driving school and my desire not to get killed or cause harm to others that made me stop at the red light? Or if I choose to give some change to a homeless person, was it not really feelings of sympathy or maybe guilt that made me give the homeless person change? In other words, I can imagine how a person can be fully determined to do and think everything he does by psychological forces (experiences, desires, memories, thoughts, emotions, values, etc.), and I don't have to bring in any concepts involving physical/material forces (like neurons, brain chemicals, matter, etc.). While I can't say I understand how matter gives way to mind, I don't see that as necessarily bringing with it free will. But I do think so long as you have at least thought, you have meaning. So if these material systems and mechanical forces create minds with the ability to think, however mechanical those thoughts still are, those thoughts will be meaningful.


...I'm still pretty much at a loss in understanding why you think this is significant given a world in which abolutely nothing above was ever going to not happen.


gib wrote: Significant in relation to what? We're on the topic of meaning, and whether or not it matters that absolutely nothing above was ever going to not happen. I'm explain why it doesn't. There's not really anything significant beyond that.


If significance and meaning pertaining to the interactions above are essentially in sync with all the other domioes toppling over onto each other in the march of matter through time, how is your explanation [and my failure to understand it] not just another teeniest and tiniest part of it all?

I can only assume here you are making an important point that I keep missing. But: was there ever any capacity on my part not to miss it? Am I actually "destined" to get it at some point in the future? Would anything at all here have ever been other than what it is if either of us had some measure of autonomy?

I don't know. And to the best of my knowledge, no one else seems to either. We just take our existential "leaps" to one or another frame of mind.

gib wrote:Yes, this is possible. But this hinges more on the possibility of insanity, not determinism. I can dream, hallucinate, be deluded, or just be wrong, with or without free will.


True. But it makes all the difference in the world if one day it is determined definitively that it was all only as it ever could have been.


gib wrote: Not really.


To you maybe. But if how you think you understand all of this here and now is the only manner in which you were ever able to think you understand all this here and now, well, that seems pretty significant to me.

iambiguous wrote:Okay, how would you explain to them the part where the physical laws are, instead, governed by an even more transcending "mind"? Or how might someone like Descartes react to it? Mind separate from matter? Mind creating matter? Mind and matter seamlessly intertwined in one or another teleological explanation for existence? For something instead of nothing?


gib wrote: I don't know how Descartes would explain it to them, but for my part, I'd offer them my book. But after listening to them complain about how it's too long, and couldn't I just give my abridged version, I'd say the following: physical laws, as we observe them, are material (or sensory) representations of the "logic" of experiences being had by the universe. It isn't the formal logic of thought (i.e. that which logicians study in university) but all experiences have their own flavor of logic, and it is expressed to us via sensory experience, and we (our brains) interpret that as matter interacting with matter and matter undergoing change. Once we discover that there are repeating patterns in these interactions and changes, repeating patterns that don't seem to ever break, then we have discovered the "logic" of those experiences, and in the representation, which is all we're given, we call it "natural law".


How is this not just another intellectual contraption in which words define and defend each other by going around and around tautologically in presumptuous circles? The logic doesn't seem to be connected to any empirical interactions such that experiments and predictions can be made. Such that others can replicate them pertaining to other physical interactions out in the world that we live in.

How do the points mainfest themselves in nature manifesting itself in turn through "natural laws"?

iambiguous wrote:Or I can point out that, in a wholly determined universe, anything I might say is only that which I was ever only able to say.


gib wrote: But you're not saying anything. You're avoiding the question. And yes, I know that if you are avoiding the question, it is only because you were never not going to avoid the question. But it's still avoiding the question.


This is the part that still completely baffles me. You seem to be acknowledging the possibility that, in a determined universe, I was never not going to avoid the question. But my point instead is that I was never not able to avoid the question.

Yes, that is still avoiding the question, but, well, come on! I'm back in a world in which we know that the Terminator was never able not to attempt to kill Sarah Connor, but we are still justified in calling his behavior immoral in a world where we were never able not to do so.

Note to others:

What crucial component of "compatibilism" am I missing here?

gib wrote: And I am left just as unclear about whether you believe you have subjective experiences or not. This tactic doesn't help clarify your point. It just helps you to continue feeling justified in using the tactic.


If the manner in which I think and feel about my own subjective experiences is the only manner in which I was ever able to think and feel about them "here and now", what exactly would be established in making yet another attempt? Wouldn't that in turn be just the next series of dominoes to topple over in this exchange? In what constitutes the wholly determined trajectory of my own particular "I" from the cradle to the grave?

From my frame of mind, the part about subjective experiences is embedded existentially in the components of my moral philosophy out in the is/ought world.

iambiguous wrote:But, if there is an element of autonomy in this exchange between us, any argument I might attempt to reconfigure is still going to be embedded in the gap between what I think I know about these relationships and all that would need to be known in order to understand them in a fully coherent manner.


gib wrote: Yes, the knowledge gap you so frequently bring up. Another tactic.


A tactic? As though pointing out that there is certainly a gap between what either one of us think we know about these relationships and all that there actually is to be known about them, isn't just plain old common sense!

Are you actually suggesting that, in regard to what you speculate about here and in your book, this gap is not really relevant at all?

The distinction I then make is between those who recognize just how profoundly problematic our own arguments must be, and those who insist that their explanation really does pin "something instead of nothing" to the mat.


gib wrote: If you really believed what you just said, you wouldn't even be saying it. You'd remain silent.


But my point here is that I have no capacity myself to "really believe" any of my own speculations. At best "here and now" they can seem reasonable to me. But "I" am no less the embodiment of the gap I point to.

gib wrote: If the point you're making is about the futility of explaining anything in virtue of the gap between what you think you know and all that you would need to know in order to pin the topic under discussion to the mat, or perhaps that such an explanation was never not going to be given anyway, then what you just said is no exception.


Exactly!!!

The real distinction here then is between the overwhelming preponderance of human beings who 1] don't think about these things at all or 2] fall back on one or another God/religion, and that teeny, tiny percentage of folks like us who do think about them.

But thinking about the questions is one thing, actually imagining that our own answers are the right ones, another thing altogether.

You will either continue this exchange in an effort to further persuade me of your conclusions or you will conclude that you have gone about as far as you can and move on to others.

If so, no problem. Lots of folks here have taken that route. And, sure, that may well say more about me than them. I never dispute that.

All I can do [while waiting for godot] is to move on to the next one myself.

gib wrote: It isn't that you're wrong in anything you say; it's that there are motives behind the things you say, and you're trying to hide those motives behind a mask of impartiality and mere inquisition. But there are things you want to believe and things you don't, positions you want to hold to and positions you want to deny. You have no problem agreeing with and giving answers to the things that support your positions, but when it comes to the things you wish to deny, you avoid acknowledging and giving answers to them.


Now all I need then is someone able to convince me that any of this was ever really within my capacity to change, to reconfigure into something else. Otherwise I can only assume that I had no actual capacity at all.

Much like everyone else in other words.

gib wrote: I think Ecmandu is right, you play word games. The only thing I wonder is: do you play them with yourself?


How ironic. Over and again I keep trying to persuade him to bring his own words out into the world that we live in. For us though that revolves more around the issue of objective morality.

On this thread, he just posted this:

Ecmandu wrote:You're playing a sneaky word game here.

If I choose to eat cornflakes instead of not, it still is the only event that actually occurred, and by virtue, the only event that could have occurred, that automatically happens the instance the choice is made.

This sneaky trick you're using, in no way removes agency.


You tell me:

How is this post not just a bunch of words that some might even construe to be gibberish?

Did I really choose to eat cornflakes instead of scrambled eggs because it was within my capacity autonomously to weigh the situation freely and come to the conclusion that this time, cornflakes?

Or was I always going to choose cornflakes then because that "choice" was the only one wholly in sync with the laws of matter?

I merely insist with him that we take quandaries like this out into 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 iambiguous » Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:56 pm

Ecmandu wrote:I think it's more than simply word games with iambiguous...

I think he's field testing synthetic philosophy built in an lab, that is going to be used to make drones over the world.

I find it very interesting his projection on me: he calls consent violation (the most visceral feeling all beings have in existence) "a world of words" "not down to earth". synthetic philosophies will always suffer projections and contradictions. He is the world of words he's accusing me of.

I'm more terse with iambiguous because I do not appreciate his psychopathic intent to circumvent living philosophy.



You forgot the part where it's all about me getting the philosophy chicks. :wink:

Note to Gib [and others]:

What really, really important point am I missing here? Make sense of it all for me.
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 Ecmandu » Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:02 pm

I'll address another one of iambiguouses tricks

(Iambiguous, read my post above your last one that I'm replying to)

You're synthesizing endless doubt, that logic can only be infinitely regressive, even if people give you axiomatic solutions, you just say, "well is that what people will say a million years from now?"

And in a million years, iambiguous will say, "well is that what people will say a trillion years from now?"

Ad infinitum.

Like I said, I think iambiguous is like the manufactured war on terror that never ends, he's trying to use synthetic philosophy and rhetoric built in a lab (beta testing it) for a one world government.

I've seen mind viruses like this before.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:39 pm

Ecmandu wrote:I'll address another one of iambiguouses tricks

(Iambiguous, read my post above your last one that I'm replying to)

You're synthesizing endless doubt, that logic can only be infinitely regressive, even if people give you axiomatic solutions, you just say, "well is that what people will say a million years from now?"

And in a million years, iambiguous will say, "well is that what people will say a trillion years from now?"

Ad infinitum.

Like I said, I think iambiguous is like the manufactured war on terror that never ends, he's trying to use synthetic philosophy and rhetoric built in a lab (beta testing it) for a one world government.

I've seen mind viruses like this before.


Really, my thanks to anyone able to demonstrate he is not just making this stuff up as he goes along. Or [worse] that he isn't.

My own personal opinion is that it is posters of his ilk who have driven most of those who truly do love philosophy out of here. The Kids. Intellectual drivel by and large. Post after post after numbing post. Garbage for the most part.

Or, perhaps, the problem here is really posters of my ilk.

The bane of all "serious philosophers"?

Unless of course I'm wrong.
Last edited by iambiguous on Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Ecmandu » Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:41 pm

iambiguous wrote:
Ecmandu wrote:I'll address another one of iambiguouses tricks

(Iambiguous, read my post above your last one that I'm replying to)

You're synthesizing endless doubt, that logic can only be infinitely regressive, even if people give you axiomatic solutions, you just say, "well is that what people will say a million years from now?"

And in a million years, iambiguous will say, "well is that what people will say a trillion years from now?"

Ad infinitum.

Like I said, I think iambiguous is like the manufactured war on terror that never ends, he's trying to use synthetic philosophy and rhetoric built in a lab (beta testing it) for a one world government.

I've seen mind viruses like this before.


Really, my thanks to anyone able to demonstrate he is not just making this stuff up as he goes along. Or [worse] that he isn't.

My own personal opinion is that it is posters of his ilk who have driven most of those who truly do love philosophy out of here. The Kids. Intellectual drivel by and large. Post after post after numbing post. Garbage for the most part. Or, perhaps, the problem here is really posters of my ilk.

The bane of all "serious philosophers"?

Unless of course I'm wrong.


Isn't that interesting ? You didn't respond to the content of my post. Namely, the infinite regress troll that you do.
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