Something Instead of Nothing

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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:47 pm

Ecmandu wrote:You didn't respond to the content of my post.


Sorry about that: :banana-dance: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :banana-dance:
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 MagsJ » Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:51 am

Lol
Image
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Ecmandu » Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:14 am

MagsJ wrote:Lol


Ahh.. I see.

So here's the deal people.

Unless you can construct a non zero sum, non consent violating reality ...

Well... let me back up.

Logic is more powerful than god. And logic is not aware of itself.

People who weaponize philosophy will be damned by their own spirits.

I come as a witness to having been through this before.

It is not my curse, it is a curse you place upon yourselves.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:46 am

Ecmandu wrote:
Ahh.. I see.

So here's the deal people.

Unless you can construct a non zero sum, non consent violating reality ...

Well... let me back up.

Logic is more powerful than god. And logic is not aware of itself.

People who weaponize philosophy will be damned by their own spirits.

I come as a witness to having been through this before.

It is not my curse, it is a curse you place upon yourselves.


Admittedly, this actually is something instead of nothing.

If you count barely.

Seriously, though, do you honestly believe that this post encompasses a coherent point of view? Or are you just jerking my chain? Or maybe mocking the sort of philosophy that is, in fact, largely incomprehensible in regard to the lives that we actually live from day to day.

Or are you just being ironic?

After all, I have had folks in the past string me along with this sort of thing. I looked like a fool responding to stuff that was being conveyed in a completely unintelligible and meaningless manner. Deliberately, in other words.

Is that it?

On the other hand, if your points actually are brilliant, I'll be the first to apolgize. Well, after someone is able to explain to me why they are.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Ecmandu » Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:47 am

Ecmandu wrote:
MagsJ wrote:Lol


Ahh.. I see.

So here's the deal people.

Unless you can construct a non zero sum, non consent violating reality ...

Well... let me back up.

Logic is more powerful than god. And logic is not aware of itself.

People who weaponize philosophy will be damned by their own spirits.

I come as a witness to having been through this before.

It is not my curse, it is a curse you place upon yourselves.


Let me explain this a little better.

If you're a well informed person, you will know that taking a machete to your arm will chop it off.

I tell you the truth.

As you plead for others for chopping your own arm off, that you don't know why it occurred. They won't care. In this way, when your soul gets mangled by weaponizing philosophy, people will not care.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:49 am

Ecmandu wrote:Let me explain this a little better.

If you're a well informed person, you will know that taking a machete to your arm will chop it off.

I tell you the truth.

As you plead for others for chopping your own arm off, that you don't know why it occurred. They won't care. In this way, when your soul gets mangles by weaponizing philosophy, people will not care.


Among other things, define "better". :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 Ecmandu » Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:58 am

iambiguous wrote:
Ecmandu wrote:Let me explain this a little better.

If you're a well informed person, you will know that taking a machete to your arm will chop it off.

I tell you the truth.

As you plead for others for chopping your own arm off, that you don't know why it occurred. They won't care. In this way, when your soul gets mangles by weaponizing philosophy, people will not care.


Among other things, define "better". :wink:


I'm using it here in a utilitarian manner.

I'm telling you in no uncertain terms the cold hands of logic upon you. You still think this is some type of game. Games are ornamental in males, when males use ornamentation, it strangles the whole species.

I'm not going to destroy life to get a female to consent to sex with me. I already know the punishments. Just like chopping your arm off with a machete, I am no longer stupid there, or much of anywhere. Deal with it. You call me a kid. My processing speed is so much faster than yours that I can process thousands of years of cognitive age in a day.

And you know what. I'm beyond wanting followers, I'm trying to reconstruct existence itself. I'm using a biofeedback system to perfect my reconstruction.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Ecmandu » Mon Nov 05, 2018 3:13 am

Read my last post...

viewtopic.php?p=2712275#p2712275

The problems I'm working currently are about continuity of consciousness, narrative continuity and object permanence with hyper dimensional mirrors.

And to be honest, compared to that, you are twiddling pencils in your fingers.

I have to absorb and listen to every soul in existence, every moment of every day, and you wouldn't even feign to imagine the shit that crawls out from under the woodwork. I put my spirit, not just my life, on the line, every moment of everyday to make life better for all existents forever.

It's very hard work, and everyone wants to abuse you for it. It's not a complex, it's actually true.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby gib » Thu Nov 08, 2018 5:40 am

iambiguous wrote: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.


We are? I thought we were just dabbling in a bit of abstract philosophy. Well, if you want an alternate method than science to resolve the determinism vs. free will problem, try philosophy (I guess). But of course, that don't work either, does it. I guess we're hooped!

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

a) Not everyone's speculations are of equal caliber (look at Ecmandu).

b) I'm not concerned about what others speculate is true.


It makes for fascinating discussions, sure, <-- Bingo! 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.


That's fine with me.

iambiguous wrote: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.


The point of separating out different meanings of "freedom" is to be able to talk about a kind of freedom that isn't mutually exclusive with physical determinism (that's why they call it compatibilism). If you perform an fMRI scan on a person who is asked to perform some action out of free choice, you will find deterministic operations going on in his brain. What I'm calling "psychological freedom" is simply the psychological state of making a decision to do, say, or think something and finding that this decision is carried out just as intended. <-- But no one said this requires rising above the laws of nature as they would play out in the brain. It's just a type of brain state that leads to certain behaviors.

iambiguous wrote:Originally? Yes, 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.


It is, but I thought you needed some clarification on the distinction between metaphysical freedom and psychological freedom (weren't you asking about that?).

iambiguous wrote:Well, in a wholly determined universe, my certainty is only as it ever could have been.


So is your inconsistency.

iambiguous wrote: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?


And how is it you know what they will come up with 1,000 years from now? You could say this for anything you don't want to concede in the argument. I'm telling you what quantum physicists are telling us today. But because it doesn't fit with your deterministic picture of the world, you get to fluff it off with another one of your denial tactics? In your words "there's not much then that any particular human mind can't speculate is true."

What this tells me is that you cherry pick. If I point to evidence that suggests our world may not be fully deterministic after all, you jump ahead 1,000 years when scientists will allegedly (re)discover a Newtonian clockwork universe. But if I agree with you that the world is fully deterministic, you don't even bring up the fact that this view of nature was debunked that same 118 years ago (ironic that you brought up that quote).

The truth is, we don't know if the world is fully deterministic or not. That you cling to such a view despite your alleged self-professed ignorance on the topic tells me you don't know how to follow your own nihilistic perscription.

iambiguous wrote:This entails understanding things about the emergence of consciouness and mind that is still beyond our grasp.


Ah, so there is more to understanding consciousness and mind than what you've lead on. If there is more to grasp about the emergence of consciousness and mind even in a non-deterministic context, then determinism can't be what makes it decidedly problematic (though it probably doesn't help).

iambiguous wrote: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?

:angry-banghead:

I can only assume here you are making an important point that I keep missing. Nope, but you are missing it. 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?


Don't think too hard about this. It's not that important a point. We just disagree on the compatibility of meaning with determinism. You say: no freedom, no meaning. I say: no freedom, yes meaning. My run down on psychological determinism above was just to show how you could have meaning with determinism. When you respond: yes gib, but even your explanation is a part of the deterministic chain that governs the course of events, I read that as: but it's still determinism. And I think: yes, that was my point.

iambiguous wrote: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.


That’s not my concern. This is simply the answer to your question. Philosophy is notorious for touching on topics that aren’t empirically verifiable. This is one of them.

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


Plato’s cave analogy is very fitting here. You can think of matter as the shadows cast on Plato’s cave wall, and the objects that cast the shadows as the experiences had by the universe that matter represents (the representational relation is quite the same; matter represents the universe’s experiences like the shadows represent the objects in Plato’s cave).

The light which makes the shadows possible would be analogous to meaning. All experiences are meaningful, and this gives rise to what I call “flow” or “entailment”—the metamorphosis of experience from one quality to another. This is nicely represented by the flow of energy in matter, and in the brain, the flow of signals from one neural centre to another. When Information impinges on the eye, signals are sent to the occipital lobe at the back of the brain. This is where vision occurs. Then signals are propagated to higher cortical regions so that we can recognize more complex and abstract features—such as shapes, 3D cues, movement, and identities. Signals will further propagate to other brain regions so that we can think and feel about the things we see (or sense in any other way). Physically, we see a flow of energy. Subjectively, we experience a change in experiences. This change is driven by meaning. The meaning is each experience “entails” the meaning in the next. Experience A means experience B. <— The logic of experience. This “entailing” of one experience by another is represented by physical laws—one physical event “causing” another.

When we observe a fire, we see the flickering of flames, hear the crackle, and feel the heat. All this is possible because of the flow of physical energy—light, sound waves, and the heating of the air around the fire. Even before this energy flow impinges on our senses, it represents the entailment of experience—this time had by the universe, not us. All physical events between the flickering of flame and the stimulation of our senses represent experiences of some foreign quality being had by the universe. The way these physical events change represents the way the experiences morph from one quality to another, driven by meaning and entailment, until they finally take the form of a visual, auditory, or tactile sensation. <— That experience is represented by the signals that enter our brains from the sense.

Natural law is like the observation of repeating patterns in the shadows. If the prisoners in Plato's cave notice repeating patterns in the shadows, they might come up with a concept similar to natural laws. But obviously, these patterns are themselves representation--not of objects per se but repeating patterns in the activity of those objects, which someone free to roam about the cave might identify as the real natural laws. In the case of my theory of experience, this would be analogous to patterns of entailment between experiences--qaulities of experiences which consistently entail the same subsequent qualities (similar to a syllogism: the two premises "Socrates is a man," and "All men are mortal," consistently entail "Socrates is mortal"... and they do so because of what the premises mean).

I realize this is not the answer you're looking for, but it is the answer. You and I, Biggy, are like the prisoners in Plato's cave. I'm trying to convey to you a theory about what creates the shadows. I have to bring in concepts like "objects" and "light". You don't understand so you ask: explain these "objects" and "light" in terms of the shadows. And I try to tell you that I did: the objects and light create the shadows, but beyond that, they don't exist as shadows. If I could, I'd throw up my hands and say: what else can I tell you?

iambiguous wrote:What crucial component of "compatibilism" am I missing here?


I think it's the "compatible" part.

iambiguous wrote: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?


Woaw, hold on there now. While I grant your helpless role in a deterministic universe, I do not grant that your responses to my questions are themselves natural laws--as though your first response will inevitably be your every response. People change their minds all the time. They give different responses on different occasions. If on one day, they feel like avoiding a question, they can turn around and decide to answer the question the next day. You're not special, Biggy, you can change your mind too. If you persistently refuse to answer my questions, that's only stubbornness, not a law of nature. All you need is to want to answer my questions and you will.

iambiguous wrote: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?


Not to you answering my questions. Whether a tactic you use to avoid a question is common sense or not is completely irrelevant. Most tactics depend on some truth or common sense in order to be used (otherwise, they'd be totally ineffectual). What makes it a tactic, as opposed to simply a statement that helps the discussion move forward, is that your motives in using it are other than to help the discussion move forward--you're trying to avoid answering a question which you know would put your main points into doubt.

(You need to read Nietzsche.)

iambiguous wrote: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.


Ah, then we suffer the same affliction. I too know what it's like to not *really* believe my own speculations (which is why I have so much trouble answering your question about how I close the gap between what's true in my head and what's true out there). However, from what I gather, the difference between you and I is that you're plagued by this while I'm at peace with it. I feel like we're reading from a book--each a reflection of the thoughts that run through our minds--we both recognize our books as just words on paper with (possibly) no bearing on the reality outside the book. You're bothered by this and wonder what then is the point of reading. I'm not bothered as I still think the book is a good read.

And I'm still curious what your book says, but alas, to you there's no point in reading it (except the parts you want to read).

iambiguous wrote: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.


Hey, if you don't want to take responsibility for your denial and your avoidance of my questions, be my guest.

iambiguous wrote:You tell me:

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


Well, I can see what he's saying. He's raising Aristotle's law of non-contradiction--a thing can't be and not be at the same time. If you choose to eat cornflakes, you can't, at the same time, chose to not eat cornflakes.

But I understand your point to be a little border than that. You're saying that if you choose to eat cornflakes, you were always going to choose to eat cornflakes from the dawn of time (thus it wasn't really a choice).
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Ecmandu » Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:31 pm

Iambiguous, as I'm stating in another thread.

Numbers aren't objects that can hit you over the head. You're not going to ever say, "look here's where the number 4 is!" Try bringing that down to earth! I don't insult you when you use numbers.

I'm simply using your own logic and rhetorical style.

Consent violation is much more solid than a number, yet you wave it off as so abstract as to only be a world of words. You can try to jab at me every moment you get. It's obvious to everyone who's been reading these exchanges that I have demonstrations against your abstractions, and all you're really left with as content to ALL of your posts, is insults.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Ecmandu » Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:41 pm

Gib, I already addressed that point in my post.

If I choose cornflakes, it couldn't have happened any other way AT THE POINT Of choice, this doesn't necessarily imply that no choice was made.

Even in the instance that we have agency, at the point of choice, it can be interpreted as determinism, because now it can't be or ever could have been made differently. To say this only means determinism as iambiguous is doing, is being intellectually dishonest

Another way to say this is that once a choice is made, the probability field collapses to zero
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby gib » Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:02 pm

Ecmandu wrote:Gib, I already addressed that point in my post.


So you did. And I interpreted it in just the way you stated. That's the law of non-contradiction.

Biggy has a different idea in mind (I think). He's coming from physical determinism where everything--even the choices we make in the future--are pre-determined.

I don't know if he's right--the world may be fully determined, or it may not be--but I think you're right: when you choose to do X, you can't also choose to do not-X.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Ecmandu » Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:34 pm

gib wrote:
Ecmandu wrote:Gib, I already addressed that point in my post.


So you did. And I interpreted it in just the way you stated. That's the law of non-contradiction.

Biggy has a different idea in mind (I think). He's coming from physical determinism where everything--even the choices we make in the future--are pre-determined.

I don't know if he's right--the world may be fully determined, or it may not be--but I think you're right: when you choose to do X, you can't also choose to do not-X.


The point of my post, is that it's certainly indeterminant....

Iambiguous cannot tell me for certain that a choice wasn't made with agency just because the probability field needs to collapse.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:35 pm

gib wrote:
iambiguous wrote: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.


We are? I thought we were just dabbling in a bit of abstract philosophy. Well, if you want an alternate method than science to resolve the determinism vs. free will problem, try philosophy (I guess). But of course, that don't work either, does it. I guess we're hooped!


Why on earth was a complex human language invented in the first place? Well, given the evolution of life on earth we are equipped biologically to create it. Other species of animals may have more or less complex sounds that can be created to more or less impart information to each other. But nothing like ours. Still, what all such sounds have in common is the communicating of practical information about the world around us. Information allowing us to sustain our existence: acquiring food, water, shelter and protection. Sounds/words conveyed that facilitate reproducing the species.

The part about exchanging abstract philosophy came considerably later. And only for our own species. Philosophers talk about that which it is rational or logical to say. That which we either can or cannot know. But the bottom line [mine anyway] will always revolve around the extent to which we either can or cannot connect the dots between the words we use and the world we live in.

We can think and say and feel almost anything about "something" and "nothing". About mind and matter. But what can we demonstrate to others is true or not true in regards to a particular context?

And, sure, if all one is interested in is exchanging "worlds of words" that conjure up some really fascianting possibilities [and discussions], fine. My "thing" here, however, is always in connecting those speculations to that which others have to say about the existential relationship between identity, value judgments and political power.

And, on this thread, probing the extent to which we can ascertain whether these exchanges are autonomous or not. Going back eventually to an understanding of Existence itself: Why something instead of nothing? Why this something and not another?

If exchanging conjectures embedded largely in intellectual contraptions is more someone else's "thing", there are always going to be plenty of folks around in places like this to go in that direction.

gib wrote: The point of separating out different meanings of "freedom" is to be able to talk about a kind of freedom that isn't mutually exclusive with physical determinism (that's why they call it compatibilism).


But if all we do talk about here is only that which we were ever able to talk about here, what kind of "freedom" is that?

We make choices based on the assumption that, unlike the choices that hedgehogs and rats and spiders make, ours are "thought out" and not just the biologically imperative. Most are convinced we have the capacity to choose something else entirely. But what if that is in turn just an illusion built into human psychology built into the laws of matter.

So, the two main questions would seem to be 1] is this true? and 2] if it is, how could matter become conscious/mindful of itself as matter in exchanges like this one?

How on earth do we come to grips with this in any other way than as we are always meant to? Or, sure, not meant to?

Even using the word "compatible" here would seem to be only as it ever could have been used in a wholly determined universe.

In other words, how is this part...

gib wrote: If you perform an fMRI scan on a person who is asked to perform some action out of free choice, you will find deterministic operations going on in his brain. What I'm calling "psychological freedom" is simply the psychological state of making a decision to do, say, or think something and finding that this decision is carried out just as intended. <-- But no one said this requires rising above the laws of nature as they would play out in the brain. It's just a type of brain state that leads to certain behaviors.


...not just inherently [necessarily] ensconced in the only reality there could ever have been?

If what any of us "say" about any of this is just "a type of brain state" and the brain itself is just more matter in sync with whatever brought matter into existence in the first place, well, what exactly does that mean in regard to the words we choose to sustain this exchange?

Again and again: I admit the problem here may well be my own incapacity to grasp your point in a world in which I do in fact have the autonomous capacity to grasp it if only I could.

On the other hand, how are "intellectual freedom", "psychological freedom" and "metaphsical freedom" in the brain not analogous to a battery, an alternator and a starter in an automobile engine.

Yes, the brain is able to make the sort of choices that brings into existence the parts of an automobile engine. But just as the parts of an automobile engine interact only as they ever could, so do the parts of the human brain.

There's a part here I can clearly recognize as different. But there is also a part that thinks, "it's a distinction without a difference". Why? Because whatever the parts of anything, they were never, ever going to not interact as nature intended.

Then, of course, this: Is there an aspect of nature that can in fact freely intend things? Which most call God.

iambiguous wrote:Well, in a wholly determined universe, my certainty is only as it ever could have been.


gib wrote: So is your inconsistency.


Exactly!!!

iambiguous wrote: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 how is it you know what they will come up with 1,000 years from now?


I don't know. But my point revolves more around the extent to which what we think we know now and what they'll think they'll know then is only ever what the minds of men and women were ever configured to know by the laws of matter.

But who doubts that a 1,000 years from now this knowledge will be considerably more sophisticated?

But I do not have a deterministic take on these relationships. I'm just not sure. Meaning I'm just not sure if I could ever have not been unsure.

But look what is at stake here.

For example, your take on mind over matter [encompassed in your book] is either the result of autonomous thinking, or thinking that was never able to be anything other than what it could only have been. You accomplished only what you never could have not accomplished.

Which is why I suspect that folks whose lives are in the toilet [for whatever reason] can take comfort in a determined universe, while those who go on to accomplish considerably more are going to be wary of it. Success that is thought to be earned or success that is seen to be just another bunch of dominoes toppling over onto to each other mechanically is hardly the same thing, right?

gib wrote: If I point to evidence that suggests our world may not be fully deterministic after all, you jump ahead 1,000 years when scientists will allegedly (re)discover a Newtonian clockwork universe. But if I agree with you that the world is fully deterministic, you don't even bring up the fact that this view of nature was debunked that same 118 years ago (ironic that you brought up that quote).


Again, choose a context in which human interactions unfold. Note for us the evidence you subscribe to indicating that the choices being made are not determined. And the part about the irony you note is unclear. The quote notes the gap between what any particular generation thinks it knows about the laws of nature and what subsequent generations come to update considerably. I merely point out that this is likely to continue on into the future. But: is the past, the present and the future here anything other than what only ever could have been?

And that is what philosophers and scientists and theologians have been grappling with now for thousands of years: The part where matter becomes mind and the extent to which mind as matter is or is not in sync with immutable laws. Or in sync with one or another God.

gib wrote: The truth is, we don't know if the world is fully deterministic or not. That you cling to such a view despite your alleged self-professed ignorance on the topic tells me you don't know how to follow your own nihilistic perscription.


This is ridiculous from my point of view. My frame of mind here is entirely ambiguous and ambivalent. More to the point: how could it not be given that I [like you] are grappling with these things while profoundly, problematically embedded in the gap between what we think we know about these relationships and all that can be known about them?

And, in my opinion, you are starting to steer the exchange in the direction of making me the argument. I'm the problem here. You have patiently explained to me a more reasonable manner in which to think about these things but I won't come on board.

And, sure, I'll be the first to admit that the problem may well be my own inadequate intellectual capacity. Either inherently or not.

Of course determinism is still "decidedly problematic". Just as is human autonomy and free will. And the last thing I am going to be here is an objectivist about it.

All I ask of folks here is that they bring their speculations about it out into the world of actual human interactions. And not merely exchange general descriptions embedded in worlds of words.

As for this part: :angry-banghead:

The assumption here seems to be that while this is a reasonable reaction of yours in regard to my point of view, the same can't be said regarding my own reaction to yours.

Whereas I am the first to admit that no mere mortal on planet earth has actually succeeded in pinning the whole truth down here. Hell, the human mind may well not even be able to.

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?


gib wrote: Don't think too hard about this. It's not that important a point. We just disagree on the compatibility of meaning with determinism. You say: no freedom, no meaning. I say: no freedom, yes meaning.


In a determined universe, we think [can think] only as hard as we were ever going to think. But, so much more importantly [to me], what we think and the meaning that we think that we impart to others is also only as it was ever going to be. Thus to make the distinction that you do is just another inherent manifestation of nature unfolding.

Meaning in which there was never any capacity on our part to mean something else?

iambiguous wrote: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.


gib wrote: That’s not my concern.


Obviously. But: how obvious is it in turn that there was never really any possibility that it could have been of concern to you?

gib wrote: Philosophy is notorious for touching on topics that aren’t empirically verifiable. This is one of them.


Yes, but this one is a particulary Big Question. It revolves around the extent to which anything that we think, feel or do was ever within our capacity to not think, feel and do.

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


gib wrote: Plato’s cave analogy is very fitting here. You can think of matter as the shadows cast on Plato’s cave wall, and the objects that cast the shadows as the experiences had by the universe that matter represents (the representational relation is quite the same; matter represents the universe’s experiences like the shadows represent the objects in Plato’s cave) The light which makes the shadows possible would be analogous to meaning. .


Or you can think of matter as encompassing everything that Plato had ever done --- this being the only manner that he could ever have done it. Inside the cave, outside the cave. Darkness, light. Shadows, the objects casting them. Ultimately, it's all the same stuff interacting as it only ever could have.

But: If that's not the case, to what extent can actual autonomous men and women learn lessons from Plato's philosophy. For all practical purposes. Which parts are we able to freely concur with and which parts are we able to freely reject. And, most important of all to me, how are his ideas to be integrated into the lives that we live from day to day.

In particular, relating to my thing here: How ought one to live in a world of conflicting goods?

In regard to this part however...

Gib wrote:All experiences are meaningful, and this gives rise to what I call “flow” or “entailment”—the metamorphosis of experience from one quality to another. This is nicely represented by the flow of energy in matter, and in the brain, the flow of signals from one neural centre to another. When Information impinges on the eye, signals are sent to the occipital lobe at the back of the brain. This is where vision occurs. Then signals are propagated to higher cortical regions so that we can recognize more complex and abstract features—such as shapes, 3D cues, movement, and identities. Signals will further propagate to other brain regions so that we can think and feel about the things we see (or sense in any other way). Physically, we see a flow of energy. Subjectively, we experience a change in experiences. This change is driven by meaning. The meaning is each experience “entails” the meaning in the next. Experience A means experience B. <— The logic of experience. This “entailing” of one experience by another is represented by physical laws—one physical event “causing” another.

When we observe a fire, we see the flickering of flames, hear the crackle, and feel the heat. All this is possible because of the flow of physical energy—light, sound waves, and the heating of the air around the fire. Even before this energy flow impinges on our senses, it represents the entailment of experience—this time had by the universe, not us. All physical events between the flickering of flame and the stimulation of our senses represent experiences of some foreign quality being had by the universe. The way these physical events change represents the way the experiences morph from one quality to another, driven by meaning and entailment, until they finally take the form of a visual, auditory, or tactile sensation. <— That experience is represented by the signals that enter our brains from the sense.

Natural law is like the observation of repeating patterns in the shadows. If the prisoners in Plato's cave notice repeating patterns in the shadows, they might come up with a concept similar to natural laws. But obviously, these patterns are themselves representation--not of objects per se but repeating patterns in the activity of those objects, which someone free to roam about the cave might identify as the real natural laws. In the case of my theory of experience, this would be analogous to patterns of entailment between experiences--qaulities of experiences which consistently entail the same subsequent qualities (similar to a syllogism: the two premises "Socrates is a man," and "All men are mortal," consistently entail "Socrates is mortal"... and they do so because of what the premises mean).


....you're right. This is not the answer I am looking for. Why? Because it is basically just another intellectual contraption to me. It's not really about understanding actual human interactions unfolding in a particular context construed from conflicting points of view. In noting the material interactions in the brain [chemical, neurological] when we experience something, we are still at a loss in understanding whether this knowledge includes or precludes human autonomy.

We just don't know.

After all, in a determined universe, what does it mean for all practical purposes for us to speculate about where the shadow end sand the light begins? It will happen only where it was ever always going to.

Once my own mind begins to acknowledge the possibility of that, however, then it seems reasonble to assume that all of my subsequent thoughts feelings and behaviors become merely the next dominoes in line. Just like yours.

Still, my own mind [here and now] is not able to sustain any degree of certainly at all about this.

Gib wrote:You and I, Biggy, are like the prisoners in Plato's cave. I'm trying to convey to you a theory about what creates the shadows. I have to bring in concepts like "objects" and "light". You don't understand so you ask: explain these "objects" and "light" in terms of the shadows. And I try to tell you that I did: the objects and light create the shadows, but beyond that, they don't exist as shadows. If I could, I'd throw up my hands and say: what else can I tell you?


Okay, but if this exchange itself is "imprisoned" in the laws of matter unfolding only as the laws of matter necessitate, then the arguments themselves are only as they necessarily could have been.

iambiguous wrote: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?


gib wrote: Woaw, hold on there now. While I grant your helpless role in a deterministic universe, I do not grant that your responses to my questions are themselves natural laws--as though your first response will inevitably be your every response. People change their minds all the time. They give different responses on different occasions. If on one day, they feel like avoiding a question, they can turn around and decide to answer the question the next day. You're not special, Biggy, you can change your mind too.


Around and around we go. If I change my mind only because my mind [as brain matter] was only ever going to change in sync with the laws of matter, what is that change but more of the same?

gib wrote: If you persistently refuse to answer my questions, that's only stubbornness, not a law of nature. All you need is to want to answer my questions and you will.


At times, you strike me as someone who, in charging others with not answering your question, is more concerned instead with others giving you the right answers. Your answers. Also, the assumption seems to be that my wanting to is within my capacity. If I really wanted to, I would. Even though I am still not certain that my wanting to do anything is embedded in what is deemed by some to be my "freedom of choice".

Let's try this: Note what you construe to be the most important question here that I have not answered.

iambiguous wrote: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?


gib wrote: Not to you answering my questions. Whether a tactic you use to avoid a question is common sense or not is completely irrelevant. Most tactics depend on some truth or common sense in order to be used (otherwise, they'd be totally ineffectual). What makes it a tactic, as opposed to simply a statement that helps the discussion move forward, is that your motives in using it are other than to help the discussion move forward--you're trying to avoid answering a question which you know would put your main points into doubt.


How does any of this make the gap between what you and I think we know about these relationships and all that can be known about them go away? Until that is grasped how on earth would anyone be able to determine if and when the discussion is moving forward.

Think, for example, of sending astronauts to the moon. A hundred years ago, what the human race knew about building a rocket and a capsule that could accomplished that, was not up to the task. But over the decades that gap was closing. Increasingly, we could determine if if the discussions moved forward because the science and the technology really did become demonstrably more sophisticated. And then we reached the moon. Mission accomplished.

But how much closer is the human species to bridging the gap between what we know here and now about human autonomy and all that there is to know in order to in fact demonstrate once and for all that we possess it.

And that's before we get to the part that most interest me: the relationship between human autonomy and human morality.

And, come on, what could Nietzsche tell us definitively about that?

iambiguous wrote: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: Ah, then we suffer the same affliction. I too know what it's like to not *really* believe my own speculations (which is why I have so much trouble answering your question about how I close the gap between what's true in my head and what's true out there). However, from what I gather, the difference between you and I is that you're plagued by this while I'm at peace with it.


What are you suggesting here...that while acknowledging that, like me, you recognize the gap between what you think is true in your posts here, and all that can be known about existence itself may be significant, you're "at peace" with that?

Okay, then good for you. Me, I can't imagine a sense of equillibrium or equanimity here given that gap. I can only resign myself to the fact that soon enough I will tumble over into the abyss that is oblvion and be bothered by it no more.

I don't myself imagine some God or some transcending "mind" up there/out there that "I" will somehow become a part of. It's still just an essentially meaningless world on this side of the grave and the obliteration of "I" for all time to come on the other side.

Unless, of course, someone here can persuade me to think otherwise.

iambiguous wrote:You tell me:

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


gib wrote: Well, I can see what he's saying. He's raising Aristotle's law of non-contradiction--a thing can't be and not be at the same time. If you choose to eat cornflakes, you can't, at the same time, chose to not eat cornflakes.


Okay, but to what extent was my choice to either eat or not to eat cornflakes [like my choice to either post or not to post these words here] within my capacity to not make?

For me compatibilism seems to revolve around the assumption that a choice has been made and a meaning has been concocted for that choice --- but there was never any possibility of it ever being any other way.

Thus, from my frame of mind, Ecmandu can take comfort in the fact [if it is a fact] that there was never any possibility of him not posting what he does.
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 Nov 10, 2018 4:44 pm

ambiguous wrote:Why on earth was a complex human language invented in the first place? Well, given the evolution of life on earth we are equipped biologically to create it. Other species of animals may have more or less complex sounds that can be created to more or less impart information to each other. But nothing like ours. Still, what all such sounds have in common is the communicating of practical information about the world around us. Information allowing us to sustain our existence: acquiring food, water, shelter and protection. Sounds/words conveyed that facilitate reproducing the species.

The part about exchanging abstract philosophy came considerably later. And only for our own species. Philosophers talk about that which it is rational or logical to say. That which we either can or cannot know. But the bottom line [mine anyway] will always revolve around the extent to which we either can or cannot connect the dots between the words we use and the world we live in. 

We can think and say and feel almost anything about "something" and "nothing". About mind and matter. But what can we demonstrate to others is true or not true in regards to a particular context? 

And, sure, if all one is interested in is exchanging "worlds of words" that conjure up some really fascianting possibilities [and discussions], fine. My "thing" here, however, is always in connecting those speculations to that which others have to say about the existential relationship between identity, value judgments and political power. 

And, on this thread, probing the extent to which we can ascertain whether these exchanges are autonomous or not. Going back eventually to an understanding of Existence itself: Why something instead of nothing? Why this something and not another?

If exchanging conjectures embedded largely in intellectual contraptions is more someone else's "thing", there are always going to be plenty of folks around in places like this to go in that direction. 


All this makes good sense to me. Just keep in mind that we sometimes have to move into tangents and talk about the purely abstract non-demonstrable stuff just to get clarity on each other’s meanings.

iambiguous wrote:But if all we do talk about here is only that which we were ever able to talk about here, what kind of "freedom" is that? <— The psychological kind.

We make choices based on the assumption that, unlike the choices that hedgehogs and rats and spiders make, ours are "thought out" and not just the biologically imperative. Most are convinced we have the capacity to choose something else entirely. But what if that is in turn just an illusion built into human psychology built into the laws of matter.

Some people might think of it that way, but the ability to think things through before acting isn’t the defining marker of psychological freedom to me. Here, we and the hedgehogs are in the same boats. It’s the absence of feeling forced. The hedgehog freely chooses (psychologically) to eat food just as I freely choose (psychologically) to eat food. But if a larger animal steels that food away, the hedgehog was forced to abandon his food, just as I would be forced to abandon my food if a thief stole it from me.

So, the two main questions would seem to be 1] is this true? and 2] if it is, how could matter become conscious/mindful of itself as matter in exchanges like this one?

As I said, I don’t know if it is true, but I’m granting it for the sake of this argument.

How on earth do we come to grips with this in any other way than as we are always meant to? Or, sure, not meant to?

Even using the word "compatible" here would seem to be only as it ever could have been used in a wholly determined universe.


iambiguous wrote:On the other hand, how are "intellectual (political) freedom", "psychological freedom" and "metaphsical freedom" in the brain not analogous to a battery, an alternator and a starter in an automobile engine. 


Well, political freedom has to do with laws and government, so it has absolutely nothing to do with batteries or car parts. Psychological freedom might have to do with, I don’t know, a state the car engine might be in?

iambiguous wrote:There's a part here I can clearly recognize as different. But there is also a part that thinks, "it's a distinction without a difference". Why? Because whatever the parts of anything, they were never, ever going to not interact as nature intended. 


Yeah, I know, that’s all you’re concerned about. But for someone who feels so strongly that these discussions should be brought into the world of real men and woman struggling for political power and (what was it?) conflicting goods, you sure seem to be barking up the wrong tree. If you want to deal with the majority of people in their day-to-day struggles in the world of politics, economics, religioun, etc., I’d highly recommend adopting the “psychological” definition of freedom. That’s what most people understand and will be most receptive to.

(Even if you could get them to understand and believe in metaphysical freedom, or the lack thereof, they wouldn’t care about it.)

iambiguous wrote:But I do not have a deterministic take on these relationships. I'm just not sure. Meaning I'm just not sure if I could ever have not been unsure.


Then why do you speak as though determinism is a given?

iambiguous wrote:And the part about the irony you note is unclear.


The irony is that the quote you sited supports the indeterminism of quantum mechanics and throws out the hard determinism of classical mechanics.

iambiguous wrote:The assumption here seems to be that while this is a reasonable reaction of yours in regard to my point of view, the same can't be said regarding my own reaction to yours.


If that is my assumption, it is only because I could not not have that assumption.

(^ I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to use that. :D)

iambiguous wrote:n a determined universe, we think [can think] only as hard as we were ever going to think. But, so much more importantly [to me], what we think and the meaning that we think that we impart to others is also only as it was ever going to be. Thus to make the distinction that you do is just another inherent manifestation of nature unfolding.


You only said that, Biggy, because you were never going to not say that.

iambiguous wrote:Obviously. But: how obvious is it in turn that there was never really any possibility that it could have been of concern to you?


If it’s not obvious, it’s only because it was never not going to be not obvious.

iambiguous wrote:Yes, but this one is a particulary Big Question. It revolves around the extent to which anything that we think, feel or do was ever within our capacity to not think, feel and do.


Hey Biggy, you know what I just realized? Check it out: you only think that because you were never going to not think that. <— Now that’s deep, eh bro?

iambiguous wrote:At times, you strike me as someone who, in charging others with not answering your question, is more concerned instead with others giving you the right answers. Your answers. I just want clarity. Whether you answer with a yay or a nay, I get a fuller understanding of your point. When you avoid answering, it’s just frustrating. Also, the assumption seems to be that my wanting to is within my capacity. We need not assume that. If I really wanted to, I would. Even though I am still not certain that my wanting to do anything is embedded in what is deemed by some to be my "freedom of choice". 


We need not infer freedom of choice. I am just saying that you’re not special. Other people do it all the time, and whether they do it because the laws of matter forced them to or they really did make a free choice to do it, you’re human like the rest of us, and there is no reason you, at some future time, can’t make a similar switch.

iambiguous wrote:Let's try this: Note what you construe to be the most important question here that I have not answered.


I would very much like an answer to my question: do you think that in order to have a subjective experience, one must be able to choose that subjective experience (this was the example about choosing to see a banana as blue).

iambiguous wrote:How does any of this make the gap between what you and I think we know about these relationships and all that can be known about them go away? Until that is grasped how on earth would anyone be able to determine if and when the discussion is moving forward.


I mean that I ask you questions in order to get clarity on your points. This, to me, would be a great help in moving the discussion forward. So when you avoid answering them, this to me stifles the discussion.

iambiguous wrote:And, come on, what could Nietzsche tell us definitively about that?


I would think Nietzsche would be amongst the top reads in your repertoire of philosophical material. He was a moral philosopher of the highest grade, and spoke numerously on free will and determinism.

But that’s not why I bring him up. He also taught how to see through the logic of people’s arguments to their motives. He taught to question not what people were saying but why they were saying it. People, he said, argue philosophies and other intellectual points, not to uncover and disseminate the truth, but to gain power. The existence of God is irrelevant to the preacher, only that his flock be made believers, for in that case he gains power over them. Now, in your case, Biggy, I don’t think you’re trying to gain power, but to avoid weakness. In avoiding my questions with the tactic: it’s futile to answer your questions, gib, because whatever answer I give you, it will be the only answer I was ever able to give you—you avoid exposing weaknesses in your arguments. That’s why I can agree with your point—it probably would be the only answer you could give to my question—but like the existence of God to the preacher, that is irrelevant to your true motive, which is to avoid exposing a weak spot in your argument.

iambiguous wrote:What are you suggesting here...that while acknowledging that, like me, you recognize the gap between what you think is true in your posts here, and all that can be known about existence itself may be significant, you're "at peace" with that?

Yes, most people are.

Okay, then good for you. Me, I can't imagine a sense of equillibrium or equanimity here given that gap. I can only resign myself to the fact that soon enough I will tumble over into the abyss that is oblvion and be bothered by it no more. 

I don't myself imagine some God or some transcending "mind" up there/out there that "I" will somehow become a part of. It's still just an essentially meaningless world on this side of the grave and the obliteration of "I" for all time to come on the other side.


I imagine the problem for you, Biggy, is more than just that there is a gap, but a paradox. The way you argue your points comes across as though you think that in a world of pure materialism and unyielding physical laws, of cold lifeless matter and accidental events, there cannot be free will, consciousness, mind, and meaning. While I acknowledge that there is a gap between what I think I know and all that I would need to know (in order to finally know “the truth”), I am able to entertain certain possibilities—ways in which there might be free will, consciousness, mind, and meaning—so the gap isn’t paradoxical to me. <— This is enough to allow me to live with the unknown with some measure of peace.

I guess you could say it’s like a scientist who suddenly comes upon a theory for some unexplained anomaly that he and his peers have been studying. His peers are mystified by it—they can’t explain it—it flies in the face of everything they know about science. But this one scientist has a theory that allows him to make sense out of it even though, at present, it is only an intellectual contraption in his mind. He can readily admit that he doesn’t know if the theory is true—it hasn’t been tested yet—and so the anomaly is, strictly speaking, still unexplained, but it doesn’t bother him nearly as much as it seems to bother his peers.

iambiguous wrote:For me compatibilism seems to revolve around the assumption that a choice has been made and a meaning has been concocted for that choice --- but there was never any possibility of it ever being any other way.


“A meaning has been concocted”… meaning what? A meaning for “choice”? <— That’s exactly what compatibilism is: a concocting of a new meaning for words like “choice”, “freedom”, “will”… such that they become compatible with determinism.

^ That’s what I’ve been trying to explain. “Freedom” doesn’t mean “freedom from physical laws” anymore (never did, really). It means freedom from external forces (or sometimes internal) trying to make your life difficult—people trying to force you against your will… or natural forces like gravity forcing you to stay on the ground despite your best efforts to fly. But to make yourself a cheese and ham sandwich? There’s no external forces stopping you there, so you are free to make yourself a cheese and ham sandwich.

^ Essentially, compatibilism is getting back to grass roots, the layman’s understanding of freedom. It asks the question: what does the layman think he is free to do? What does he want freedom from? And the answer is very rarely: the laws of nature. So long as he is free from this or that (thugs, gravity, corrupt government), the compatibilist will take that definition of freedom and focus his philosophy around it.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Sun Nov 11, 2018 10:27 pm

gib wrote:
ambiguous wrote:But if all we do talk about here is only that which we were ever able to talk about here, what kind of "freedom" is that?

The psychological kind.


Here we are clearly stuck. If the things I think, feel and do are all intertwined necessarily in a brain intertwined necessarily in the laws of matters, what is the point of making such a distinction? Other than because "I" was never able not to make it?

Human emotional and psychological reactions occur in dreams as well. But how are they not entirely determined by brain matter? And how can we determine that, with the brain awake, it's different?

We make choices based on the assumption that, unlike the choices that hedgehogs and rats and spiders make, ours are "thought out" and not just the biologically imperative. Most are convinced we have the capacity to choose something else entirely. But what if that is in turn just an illusion built into human psychology built into the laws of matter.


gib wrote: Some people might think of it that way, but the ability to think things through before acting isn’t the defining marker of psychological freedom to me. Here, we and the hedgehogs are in the same boats. It’s the absence of feeling forced. The hedgehog freely chooses (psychologically) to eat food just as I freely choose (psychologically) to eat food. But if a larger animal steels that food away, the hedgehog was forced to abandon his food, just as I would be forced to abandon my food if a thief stole it from me.


But if feeling forced is the only option the brain is equipped to create, you are bascially forced to feel forced. The larger animal and the thief would be no less compelled to think and feel and act as they do in a wholly determined universe.

I just don't grasp this "psychological freedom" the way you do.

I mean, sure, there it is, this feeling that I am freely choosing to type these words here and not others. But how can it be demonstrated to me that this sense of autonomy is the real deal?

iambiguous wrote:On the other hand, how are "intellectual (political) freedom", "psychological freedom" and "metaphsical freedom" in the brain not analogous to a battery, an alternator and a starter in an automobile engine.


gib wrote: Well, political freedom has to do with laws and government, so it has absolutely nothing to do with batteries or car parts. Psychological freedom might have to do with, I don’t know, a state the car engine might be in?


Why is is not reasonable to argue that the brain parts interact only as matter must there in creating the car parts that interact only as matter must in the engine?

The car parts as mindless matter are not conscious of making choices of course but that's the mystery of mind: matter able to convince itself that the choosing is autonomous.

Thus...

iambiguous wrote:There's a part here I can clearly recognize as different. But there is also a part that thinks, "it's a distinction without a difference". Why? Because whatever the parts of anything, they were never, ever going to not interact as nature intended.


gib wrote: Yeah, I know, that’s all you’re concerned about. But for someone who feels so strongly that these discussions should be brought into the world of real men and woman struggling for political power and (what was it?) conflicting goods, you sure seem to be barking up the wrong tree.


My point here however is that I am conflicted. I am of "two minds". A part of me is convinced that any autonomy we do possess in the is/ought world is circumscribed by the manner in which I construe the components of my own moral philosophy. But another part of me is not even convinced that we possess autonomy in the either/or world.

There is no wrong tree here for me. There is only this: not being able to pin down the extent which "I" am in fact in possession of any capacity to determine my own life.

gib wrote: If you want to deal with the majority of people in their day-to-day struggles in the world of politics, economics, religioun, etc., I’d highly recommend adopting the “psychological” definition of freedom. That’s what most people understand and will be most receptive to.


Again, the presumption here [from my frame of mind] is that if I do adopt this definition, it is only becasue I could not have chosen not to.

But I have no way [here and now] in which to know this beyond all doubt. And neither do you.

Unless of course your take on all of this is in fact the most rational way in which to assess it. But if that were the case you would still have to devise an argument such that it can be demonstrated in turn that all rational men and women are obligated to embrace it in turn.

gib wrote: Even if you could get them to understand and believe in metaphysical freedom, or the lack thereof, they wouldn’t care about it.


But: were they ever able to care about it?

iambiguous wrote:But I do not have a deterministic take on these relationships. I'm just not sure. Meaning I'm just not sure if I could ever have not been unsure.


gib wrote: Then why do you speak as though determinism is a given?


If I thought like that, I would never pursue my other aim here: groping with the existential parameters of this: How ought one to live?

Instead, with respect to "free will", I am drawn and quartered by arguments that make at least some sense from both sides.

iambiguous wrote:And the part about the irony you note is unclear.


gib wrote: The irony is that the quote you sited supports the indeterminism of quantum mechanics and throws out the hard determinism of classical mechanics.


Well, I thought its main point revolved around the extent to which even scientists gropping to comprehend the either/or world can ever really be certain that what they think they understand now will be sustained for long into the future.

iambiguous wrote:The assumption here seems to be that while this is a reasonable reaction of yours in regard to my point of view, the same can't be said regarding my own reaction to yours.


gib wrote: If that is my assumption, it is only because I could not not have that assumption.

(^ I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to use that. :D)


Yes, that's what we are attempting to come to grips with here: the extent to which any reactions from any of us were/are within our capacity to have been other than what they were/are instead.

iambiguous wrote:Yes, but this one is a particulary Big Question. It revolves around the extent to which anything that we think, feel or do was ever within our capacity to not think, feel and do.


gib wrote: Hey Biggy, you know what I just realized? Check it out: you only think that because you were never going to not think that. <— Now that’s deep, eh bro?


How deep though? Is it in fact true...going all the way back to whatever it is that explains the existence of existence itself?

I am only suggesting that not only do I not know how deep it is, but that neither do you. There are only those who actually do think that their own TOE here and now either encompasses it or comes closer than anyone else.

The objectivists in other words. And whether with respect to the either/or world or the is/ought, their main aim is, in my view, to attain and then to sustain a psychological frame of mind that, to whatever degree, comforts and consoles them.

Then it comes down to whether or not they were ever able to not do this.

gib wrote: We need not infer freedom of choice. I am just saying that you’re not special. Other people do it all the time, and whether they do it because the laws of matter forced them to or they really did make a free choice to do it, you’re human like the rest of us, and there is no reason you, at some future time, can’t make a similar switch.


But then we're still stuck with trying to figure out what it means to be human in a world in which none of us can really know for sure if what we do figure out is only that which we were ever only able to figure out. And even then we don't know how wide the gap is between "in our head" and "all there is to know about existence itself."

iambiguous wrote:Let's try this: Note what you construe to be the most important question here that I have not answered.


gib wrote: I would very much like an answer to my question: do you think that in order to have a subjective experience, one must be able to choose that subjective experience (this was the example about choosing to see a banana as blue).


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

The banana is blue because someone painted it blue, or because you have taken LSD, or because your brain is diseased, or because you are dreaming it is blue.

It still comes down to whether with respect to any of these contexts there is an element of autonomy present.

iambiguous wrote:How does any of this make the gap between what you and I think we know about these relationships and all that can be known about them go away? Until that is grasped how on earth would anyone be able to determine if and when the discussion is moving forward.


gib wrote: I mean that I ask you questions in order to get clarity on your points. This, to me, would be a great help in moving the discussion forward. So when you avoid answering them, this to me stifles the discussion.


Automobile mechanics asking questions to gain clarity regarding an engine that isn't working...how is that the same or different from philosophers and scientists asking questions to gain clarity regarding the choices that they make in fixing it? What particular questions would pin down once and for all if these choices could have been otherwise?

In other words, with some questions, there is only so much clarity to be had. We reach points in the discussions where one person's clear thinking is anything but that to others.

And the "free will" antinomy is certainly one of those.

gib wrote: [Nietzsche] also taught how to see through the logic of people’s arguments to their motives. He taught to question not what people were saying but why they were saying it. People, he said, argue philosophies and other intellectual points, not to uncover and disseminate the truth, but to gain power. The existence of God is irrelevant to the preacher, only that his flock be made believers, for in that case he gains power over them. Now, in your case, Biggy, I don’t think you’re trying to gain power, but to avoid weakness. In avoiding my questions with the tactic: it’s futile to answer your questions, gib, because whatever answer I give you, it will be the only answer I was ever able to give you—you avoid exposing weaknesses in your arguments.


Given the sheer complexity embedded in the psychological parameters of any particular one of us, this may or may not be an accurate asessment of my own motivations and intentions here.

On the other hand, from my frame of mind here and now, I -- "I" -- am convinced that on this side of the grave we live in an essentially meaningless world and that on the other side of it I -- "I" -- is obliterated for all time to come.

So, to the extent that anyone is able to point out the weaknesses of this assessment, I can only be grateful.

On the other other hand, to the extent that we do in fact live in a wholly determined universe, I can only assume that this asessment was the only one I was ever going to make. At least up until now. I may well be "destined" to change my mind down the road.

So, how "weak" or "strong" is that assumption?

What can be exchanged here clearly?

And I suspect that the peace of mind that you and "most others" are able to sustain here is embedded in a psychological defense mechinism that revolves around one or another rendition of this: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296

But how on earth can any of us know for sure?

gib wrote: I imagine the problem for you, Biggy, is more than just that there is a gap, but a paradox. The way you argue your points comes across as though you think that in a world of pure materialism and unyielding physical laws, of cold lifeless matter and accidental events, there cannot be free will, consciousness, mind, and meaning. While I acknowledge that there is a gap between what I think I know and all that I would need to know (in order to finally know “the truth”), I am able to entertain certain possibilities—ways in which there might be free will, consciousness, mind, and meaning—so the gap isn’t paradoxical to me. <— This is enough to allow me to live with the unknown with some measure of peace.


Maybe.

But what still works best for me is the rather simple understanding that whether or not I have free will, it doesn't make food taste any less delicious or music sound any less exhilarating or films enchant me any less intensely....

...or in regard to all of the other things that I do which bring me enormous satisfaction and fulfillment. That's the part I fall back on. All of the distractions available to us to take us out of our more debilitating frames of mind.

As with the scientist and his new theory. The thoughts and the feelings that he or she experiences "in the moment" are such that "free will" is the last thing that is likely to come to mind.

Still, with oblivion [free will or not] they're all gone too.

iambiguous wrote:For me compatibilism seems to revolve around the assumption that a choice has been made and a meaning has been concocted for that choice --- but there was never any possibility of it ever being any other way.


gib wrote: “A meaning has been concocted”… meaning what? A meaning for “choice”? <— That’s exactly what compatibilism is: a concocting of a new meaning for words like “choice”, “freedom”, “will”… such that they become compatible with determinism.


Still, the part that "spoils" it for folks like me, is in imagining that all of this chooing, all of these new meanings given, were not as a result of me actually freely accomplishing this but only as the result of all the dominoes in my head toppling over onto each other as they only ever could have.

The experience is still there, but only because it could never have not been there.

In other words, this seems to work for you...

gib wrote: That’s what I’ve been trying to explain. “Freedom” doesn’t mean “freedom from physical laws” anymore (never did, really). It means freedom from external forces (or sometimes internal) trying to make your life difficult—people trying to force you against your will… or natural forces like gravity forcing you to stay on the ground despite your best efforts to fly. But to make yourself a cheese and ham sandwich? There’s no external forces stopping you there, so you are free to make yourself a cheese and ham sandwich.


...in a way that really doesn't make much sense to me. I'm simply not free to make a ham and cheese sandwich if I was always ever going to make it. If thinking that I am free is in turn the only way I was ever able to think about it, then this feeling of "compatibilism" is in turn illusory.

So, this part...

gib wrote: Essentially, compatibilism is getting back to grass roots, the layman’s understanding of freedom. It asks the question: what does the layman think he is free to do? What does he want freedom from? And the answer is very rarely: the laws of nature. So long as he is free from this or that (thugs, gravity, corrupt government), the compatibilist will take that definition of freedom and focus his philosophy around it.


...is just another intellectual contraption that your brain was determined to concoct in order to sustain the illusion that a part of you -- the psychological "I" -- might have chosen something different.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Ecmandu » Sun Nov 11, 2018 10:56 pm

Are you guys kidding with those walls of text?

viewtopic.php?p=2712564#p2712564

That's the answer.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Sun Nov 11, 2018 10:59 pm

Ecmandu wrote:Are you guys kidding with those walls of text?

viewtopic.php?p=2712564#p2712564

That's the answer.


You can only thank your lucky stars that your posts are only as they ever could have been. :lol:
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Ecmandu » Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:10 pm

iambiguous wrote:
Ecmandu wrote:Are you guys kidding with those walls of text?

viewtopic.php?p=2712564#p2712564

That's the answer.


You can only thank your lucky stars that your posts are only as they ever could have been. :lol:


You might want to look up the word, "indetermenancy" someday, maybe then, you can actually reply to what i wrote and proved.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:19 pm

Ecmandu wrote:You might want to look up the word, "indetermenancy" someday, maybe then, you can actually reply to what i wrote and proved.


I can only curse my unlucky stars that this post is only as it ever could have been. :banana-dance:
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby gib » Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:37 am

iambiguous wrote:Here we are clearly stuck. I don't think we were ever moving. If the things I think, feel and do are all intertwined necessarily in a brain intertwined necessarily in the laws of matters, what is the point of making such a distinction? Other than because "I" was never able not to make it?


For you? None. For everyone else? Tons.

iambiguous wrote:I just don't grasp this "psychological freedom" the way you do.


Sure you do. You just don't like. So you block it out.

I haven't quite grasped what you're ultimate aim in pursuing this all-encompassing determinism is, but given your interest in bringing the topic to the lives and struggles of human beings competing with each other and making moral judgement on each other, I'm going to guess that you want to prove to the world that no one is at fault for anything... ever... and thereby undermine all moral judgements. And here I come with my proposal of alternate meanings of freedom and ruin everything. How can no one be at fault for anything if yet another form of freedom rears its ugly head, a form by which we can continue to make moral judgements?

^ That's your motive, I believe, and so the only form of freedom you'll accept is the impossible kind.

iambiguous wrote:My point here however is that I am conflicted. I doubt that. I am of "two minds". A part of me is convinced that any autonomy we do possess in the is/ought world is circumscribed by the manner in which I construe the components of my own moral philosophy. But another part of me is not even convinced that we possess autonomy in the either/or world.

If I didn't know any better, I'd say it was the whole you.

There is no wrong tree here for me. There is only this: not being able to pin down the extent which "I" am in fact in possession of any capacity to determine my own life.


I think you like it that way.

iambiguous wrote:If I thought like that, I would never pursue my other aim here: groping with the existential parameters of this: How ought one to live?


Prove it to me. The next time you remind us that you do or say or think X because you could never have not done or said or thought X, try coupling that with a statement underscoring what you would do if free will were real. You can begin with "On the other hand..." But I'll bet my children's education fund, I'll never see you say it.

iambiguous wrote:Yes, that's what we are attempting to come to grips with here: the extent to which any reactions from any of us were/are within our capacity to have been other than what they were/are instead.


Ah, but... are we attempting to come to grips with this because we are freely choosing to? Or is it because we could never have not attempted to come to grips with it?

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

iambiguous wrote:How deep though? Is it in fact true...going all the way back to whatever it is that explains the existence of existence itself?


If my answer to that question is the only answer I was ever able to give, what would be the point in giving it?

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote:I would very much like an answer to my question: do you think that in order to have a subjective experience, one must be able to choose that subjective experience (this was the example about choosing to see a banana as blue).
But how does this not immediately take us on to the next question: do you think that what you do think here is something that you chose to think "of your own free will"?

Everything takes you to that question, Biggy.

The banana is blue because someone painted it blue, or because you have taken LSD, or because your brain is diseased, or because you are dreaming it is blue.

^ Is this really your answer? Ha! You couldn't even answer the question! Your brain distorted what you read. In a panic over the prospect of being shown up, your brain convert this: "Do you think that in order to have a subjective experience, one must be able to choose that subjective experience?"... to this: "Why is the banana blue?"

It still comes down to whether with respect to any of these contexts there is an element of autonomy present.


Not really.

iambiguous wrote:In other words, with some questionspeople, there is only so much clarity to be had.


iambiguous wrote:To, to the extent that anyone is able to point out the weaknesses of this assessment, I can only be grateful.


We're all human, Biggy, and I think we'd all take comfort in knowing that we'll be taken care of by a benevolent God after we die, but there are some things we cling to more than hope in a blissful afterlife. Stakes in an argument, for example. You've clung to your nihilistic position for so long, and spoke in defence of it so many times, I think at this point, you'd prefer to be right despite knowing the implications that has for your "I".

iambiguous wrote:What can be exchanged here clearly?


A lot more than you're allowing for.

iambiguous wrote:And I suspect that the peace of mind that you and "most others" are able to sustain here is embedded in a psychological defense mechinism that revolves around one or another rendition of this: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296


That doesn't sound too peaceful. If I may suggest, maybe it's just not having to be confused by how the world works. I have an understanding of how the world works on a fundamental metaphysical level. I may be right, I may be wrong. But once engraved into my mind, how can I undo this understanding? And why would I? Just for the sake of taking the hard road? Of being tormented by confusion and existential angst? <-- No thanks.

iambiguous wrote:...in a way that really doesn't make much sense to me. I'm simply not free to make a ham and cheese sandwich if I was always ever going to make it. If thinking that I am free is in turn the only way I was ever able to think about it, then this feeling of "compatibilism" is in turn illusory.


Not if you understand what it's saying.

And again, the feeling of freedom is no more an illusion than a dark room is the illusion of emptiness.

iambiguous wrote:...is just another intellectual contraption that your brain was determined to concoct in order to sustain the illusion that a part of you -- the psychological "I" -- might have chosen something different.


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

With your sense of freedom, there is no way to distinguish between a man in his kitchen ready to make a sandwich and a starving prisoner begging a cruel guard for something to eat. In your view, they are both equally unfree to do anything. To everyone else, this makes all the difference in the world.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby MagsJ » Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:49 am

Can we stick to debating and not psychoanalysing others.. thanks.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby phyllo » Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:09 pm

What's the difference between a person who believes in determinism and one who believes in compatabilism/free will?

On the plus side:
The determinist feels that he is not responsible/accountable for his life.

The non-determinist feels that he has control of his life.

On the minus side:
The determinist feels that he lacks control of his life.

The non-determinist feels the pressure of responsibility and accountability.

Which feeling do you prefer to have?

To what extent do these beliefs alter a life?
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby gib » Thu Nov 15, 2018 5:10 am

MagsJ wrote:Can we stick to debating and not psychoanalysing others.. thanks.


Aw, why you gotta ruin our fun, Mags?

Tell you what... Biggy, do you like psychoanalyzing me? I like psychoanalyzing you. If we both agree to accept each other's psychoanalyzations (because it's fun), can we continue?

phyllo...

phyllo wrote:What's the difference between a person who believes in determinism and one who believes in compatabilism/free will?

On the plus side:
The determinist feels that he is not responsible/accountable for his life.

The non-determinist feels that he has control of his life.

On the minus side:
The determinist feels that he lacks control of his life.

The non-determinist feels the pressure of responsibility and accountability.

Which feeling do you prefer to have?

To what extent do these beliefs alter a life?


Some very profound questions there. I prefer to feel in control of my life. Even as a determinist (which I'm not sure I am), one can feel in control of one's life. The only sense in which determinism entails no control over one's life is if one believes all the determining factors controlling one's self are outside one's self (or not one's self). But you can still say: it was me who did it, and yet think of yourself as just a cog in a wheel. You can still identify yourself as a link in the chain of cause and effect, and therefore any effect you have on the events that follow from your action comes from you. You can say: I made that happen, I was in control of it. What you can't say with determinism is: I could have done otherwise.

But it's true that if you believe you could not have done otherwise, you don't really bear any responsibility for your actions, and so the determinist may be free of that.
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He was right, dead right, as he sped along, but he's just as dead as if he were wrong.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby MagsJ » Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:17 am

gib wrote:
MagsJ wrote:Can we stick to debating and not psychoanalysing others.. thanks.

Aw, why you gotta ruin our fun, Mags?

Tell you what... Biggy, do you like psychoanalyzing me? I like psychoanalyzing you. If we both agree to accept each other's psychoanalyzations (because it's fun), can we continue?

Only if, and only in this thread.. it is not an unconditional/applies to all threads consensus.
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