Something Instead of Nothing

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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby were34 » Sun Nov 25, 2018 9:22 am

Mad Man P wrote:
iambiguous wrote:Let's bring the discussion out into the world of actual flesh and blood human interactions. We choose different things. Why? And how are these choices understood differently by those who embrace determinism, by those who embrace fatalism and by those who embrace autonomy.


Well fatalism discounts your actions and choices as being deterministic of your ultimate fate... that some things were always meant to be, whether you ran into traffic every chance you got or only sat at home playing video games, those fated things would happen.

Determinism states everything that happens is determined by everything that happened before... so your thoughts, actions and choices would very much play a role in determining your ultimate fate, but those same thoughts, actions and choices would too have been determined by previous thoughts actions and choices as well as the influences of the outside world etc.

People who believe in autonomy as distinct from determinism/randomness believe themselves to be supernatural, imposing their will on the natural world through their bodies but remain, partly, apart from and immune to the influences of the natural world and thus remain autonomous. They have trouble reconciling neurological disorders, the effects of drugs and brain chemistry with this view and often contort themselves into odd shapes to try and maintain it... either by denying those things and instead claiming other supernatural forces at play, claiming that such brain manipulations only make it difficult or impossible for us to command our bodies, but our will and mind remain intact or some other such invention.

Now having said all that...

I have to ask you... what is the minimum requirement for a choice?

Let's say a man has a woman and her baby held hostage at gunpoint and gives you two options, which you magically know to be true:
1) He shoots you, then he kills both of them right here and now in front of you as you bleed out
2) You ask him nicely... and he will let them go, hand you the gun and turn himself in to the police

Now you could argue, that those are only options if we discount you... you being who you are and having the values that you do, would (I hope) "chose" option 2 every single time without fail. That this is a foregone conclusion and would be perfectly predictable to anyone who knew you in the least.

Yet those are still options, no?
and that remains a choice, no?

So let us say that we take ourselves to be part of our brains...
You may ask yourself, should I go make myself a snack or sit here and read MMP's post, given determinism are those even choices?
If we discount your character (in this case those brain parts), do you have options about what to do next?
The answer is yes (even given determinism)... but just like the example above, if we knew your character well enough... the choice would likewise be perfectly predictable.

You suggest that this seems like a trick of language... but I honestly fail to see how.
The one making the choices is YOU... So if your character should turn out to be immaculately definable and thereby perfectly predictable... how does that in any way change the nature of choice?


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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Sun Nov 25, 2018 9:29 pm

phyllo wrote:
If you google "rationality in philosophy" you get this: https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=ra ... i=scholart

So, down through the ages, any number of very, very intelligent minds have grappled with pinning down what "rational" means.
Yeah, I can google stuff but I was trying to get information from you.


And I told you above:

To me rational means something that can be demonstrated to be true for all of us. Going all the way back to an understanding of why there is something and not nothing. And why it is this something and not another.

And then the extent to which these descriptions are or are not only that which we were ever able to convey in what may or may not be a wholly determined universe.


phyllo wrote: Determined or non-determined would appear to have nothing to do with the meaning of 'rational'.


Note to others:

Can any of you make sense of this? How does one discuss the question of human autonomy without bringing it out into the world that we live in? Without making at least some attempt to differentiate between that which is deemed to be or not to be rational thinking, feeling, saying and doing?

What really important point here is he trying to yank me in the general direction of understanding? And how is that point in turn yanked down from the clouds of abstraction and rendered meaningful to the lives that we live?

To me rational means something that can be demonstrated to be true for all of us.


phyllo wrote: I will assume that by "something" you mean thoughts and actions since objects can't have the property of being rational.


I mean that in the minds of all of us are things that we believe are true and things that we claim to know. And as long as you don't interact with others, you can go to the grave smugly believing and knowing these things.

Though, sure, for some there's the part about God. The part where He judges what you think you believe and know on the other side of the grave.

Now, as soon as you interact with others, however, there's the possibility that what you think you believe and know is not what they think they believe and know.

So, for all practical purposes, what else is there but our capacity to demonstrate [in whatever manner] that which it appears all rational men and women would seem to be obligated to believe and know. How else could we possibly interact socially, politically and economically in the least dysfunctional manner?

But then we'll still need a context, right?

It's just that on this thread there is also a discussion revolving around whether any of these posts were ever able to be anything other than what they are.

For example, reconfigured given that at the time of posting we could have freely chosen to change our minds about something and posted something else entirely.

phyllo wrote: Right away, you have the problem with 'demonstrations'. It's difficult to demonstrate a lot of things. For example, you can't demonstrate advanced mathematics and science to people who are not intelligent enough to understand it, even if those people can be considered 'rational' in every respect. So who are you demonstrating it to? Other mathematicians and scientists. Right? The demonstration is only accessible to a small group.


True. Some things are considerably more difficult to demonstrate than others. But my point is that in the either/or world a demonstration is always possible. Why? Because the objective truth is either one thing or another. Then it's just a question of a mind like Newton's reconfiguring historically into a mind like Einstein's reconfiguring historically in a mind like..........?

Ah, but then there's the is/ought world, right?

phyllo wrote: Also, it's usually difficult to demonstrate perfectly ordinary events. If I say that I say a deer on the road today, then without photographs, video or other witnesses, I have no way to demonstrate it. Does it mean that it's an 'irrational' statement? No.


I have addressed this point before. Yes, even in the either/or world we would still need a God around. And that is precisely because mere mortals are not themselves omniscient. There are any number of perfectly rational beliefs that are beyond our demonstrating.

For example, look at how many juries believed that sending someone to death row was the right thing to do because they believed he was guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt". Then it was determined later [with new evidence] that he is innocent.

Mere mortals will always be constricted in this sense. But the crucial point [mine] is that there is in fact an objective truth able to be determined by the right minds in the right set of circumstances. Joe was murdered or he wasn't. Jim committed the murder or he didn't. The fact that different people have conflicting beliefs about it doesn't make the truth go away. But that's why Gods need to be invented. He knows EVERYTHING!

But let's shift the discussion back to the deer. The deer in the road having been intentionlly shot and killed by a hunter instead accidentally by a car. Is the killing and consumption of deer a rational behavior? What might be the objective truth here?

phyllo wrote: Then there is the difference between true/false statements and rational/irrational statements. A rational statement may well be false.


Okay, but we will still need an actual context in order to substantiate what we think we believe or know.

Going all the way back to an understanding of why there is something and not nothing. And why it is this something and not another.


phyllo wrote: Again, that seems to have nothing to do with meaning of 'rational'.


I can only assume here that you are making a point that is beyond my comprehending.

The word rational came into existence here on planet earth when the human brain evolved to the point where it could find that word useful in subsisting from day to day. Do this, don't do that if you want to stick around. And then eventually the minds of men evolved to the point where philosophy was invented and the word rational became a component in the epistemologists toolbox. The part embedded in all of the discussions here: https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=ra ... i=scholart

But how on earth [and throughout the rest of the universe] could this not somehow be connected to an understanding of why there is something instead of nothing, and why it is this something and not another?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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

Postby phyllo » Sun Nov 25, 2018 9:49 pm

I can only assume here that you are making a point that is beyond my comprehending.
Okay, let's leave it there.
But how on earth [and throughout the rest of the universe] could this not somehow be connected to an understanding of why there is something instead of nothing, and why it is this something and not another?
I'll let you figure it out if you think that it's important.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby gib » Mon Nov 26, 2018 5:04 am

iambiguous wrote:The only kind of response I expect is one that either nudges my own thinking in the direction of that response or it doesn't. Well, that covers the whole spectrum, dun'it? The alien is pointing out that you had no capacity to not not be bothered by it. But that changes nothing, true.

The difference however [from my frame of mind] is the hypothetical assumption that the aliens can choose autonomously to be or not be bothered by something. Thus if you were somehow able to leave the planet earth and be in a part of the universe where the human will is not just on automatic pilot, you would grasp the disctinction more clearly.


Would I? What's the difference between how the illusion of free will feels and how the real thing feels? What is it about the real thing that would make the distinction more clear?

iambiguous wrote:It's like the folks in Flatland. They are compelled to view the world through two dimensions. But there actually does exist a three dimensional world. And for all we know [re string theory] there are many more dimensions besides.


So you're saying there's things about the real thing (real free will) that we who don't have it can't even imagine?

iambiguous wrote:If nothing changes other than in the manner in which it must change in a wholly determined universe what does our choosing to change something mean?


It means we aren't really choosing (not rocket science).

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote:Second, I wouldn't put it in terms of "being closer to the truth". Rather, I would say "making more sense"--and only in regards to specific philosophical puzzles. It's a theory primarily designed to solve the mind/metter problem, and it has far reaching implications for the nature of existence--ironically, answering the question: why something rather than nothing.


And then I like to point out the gap between a "general description" such as this and attempts to bring words of this sort out into the world of actual human interactions.


Be my guest.

iambiguous wrote:Okay, fair enough. I can't possibly ask more of you than this.


Thank you!!! :D

iambiguous wrote:But in the either/or world [assuming there is one] there is a right side and a wrong side to choose. One's answer is relative to that which can in fact be demonstrated to be the case for all rational human beings. With human minds, however, one can still be convinced that the wrong answer is the right answer "in his head". And, most crucially, he behaves in accordance with what he thinks is true. And it is human behavior that precipitates actual consequences.


That's right. So it comes down to that which is powerful enough to persuade a person to change his or her mind, and that which will never be powerful enough to persuade a person to change his or her mind.

iambiguous wrote:Here of course all there is, is someone [anyone] asking you to demonstrate that what you believe is true is in fact true. And then to the extent that this might provide some measure of "comfort and consolation" -- peacefullness -- for some and not for others. But it's still more than I am able to conjecture: "I" desintegrating back into star stuff. Not completely gone, but, come on, who is kidding whom.


Weren't you just asking out of curiosity?

iambiguous wrote:Clearly that is one way to look at at. Just as there are clearly other conflicting narratives. But how does that fit into "I" interacting with "we" interacting with "them" interacting on this particular planet in this particular solar system in this particular galaxy in what may or may not be this particular universe going back to something instead of nothing going back to the reason it is one rather than another going back to or not going back to God.


Biggy, I was being serious. Put your questions aside for a sec, and give what I said some thought. It's one of the rare moments when I'm trying to help you. Take it. Although you've most likely thought of this tons of times before, you also keep bringing up the fact that you feel stuck in this dilemma of yourself, that life is not made peachy and rosy by it. If I didn't know any better, I'd say you're depressed. See a doctor. Maybe you need medication. I'm not bringing this up as just another statement to be thrown into the philosophical mix. I'm serious. If you're as bothered by this as you claim to be, I think you need help.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Mon Nov 26, 2018 9:06 pm

Mad Man P wrote:
iambiguous wrote:Let's bring the discussion out into the world of actual flesh and blood human interactions. We choose different things. Why? And how are these choices understood differently by those who embrace determinism, by those who embrace fatalism and by those who embrace autonomy.


Well fatalism discounts your actions and choices as being deterministic of your ultimate fate... that some things were always meant to be, whether you ran into traffic every chance you got or only sat at home playing video games, those fated things would happen.

Determinism states everything that happens is determined by everything that happened before... so your thoughts, actions and choices would very much play a role in determining your ultimate fate, but those same thoughts, actions and choices would too have been determined by previous thoughts actions and choices as well as the influences of the outside world etc.


For all practical purposes, this is basically a distinction without a difference to me. If I was never able to not run into traffic or sit at home playing video games, what difference does it make what we call it? If my "thoughts, actions and choices" are determined by my previous "thoughts, actions and choices" are determined by my previous "thoughts, actions and choices" are deterrmined by going back through the evolution of life on earth going back to whatever brought into existence the existence of existence itself, then it all seems to be unfolding only as it ever could have.

Again, the difference being that no matter is quite like brain matter. That's still the main quandary to me. How can -- how did -- matter evolve into minds able ponder such things as this?

Mad Man P wrote: People who believe in autonomy as distinct from determinism/randomness believe themselves to be supernatural, imposing their will on the natural world through their bodies but remain, partly, apart from and immune to the influences of the natural world and thus remain autonomous. They have trouble reconciling neurological disorders, the effects of drugs and brain chemistry with this view and often contort themselves into odd shapes to try and maintain it... either by denying those things and instead claiming other supernatural forces at play, claiming that such brain manipulations only make it difficult or impossible for us to command our bodies, but our will and mind remain intact or some other such invention.


Well put. But, in my view, it still doesn't pin down whether or not these "thoughts, actions and choices" are in sync with a brain wholly in sync with the laws of matter.

Mad Man P wrote: I have to ask you... what is the minimum requirement for a choice?

Let's say a man has a woman and her baby held hostage at gunpoint and gives you two options, which you magically know to be true:
1) He shoots you, then he kills both of them right here and now in front of you as you bleed out
2) You ask him nicely... and he will let them go, hand you the gun and turn himself in to the police

Now you could argue, that those are only options if we discount you... you being who you are and having the values that you do, would (I hope) "chose" option 2 every single time without fail. That this is a foregone conclusion and would be perfectly predictable to anyone who knew you in the least.


"Magically know to be true"? I don't really understand your point. Mine is this: that whatever I choose, I am either not able to not choose it, or I am able to act autonomously on the values I have accumulated existentially and make what most will insist is the "right" choice.

Let's consider a hypothetical I raised with Gib...

Imagine that earth is in a part of the universe where everything -- everything -- is wholly determined by the laws of matter. Aliens from a part of the universe where autonomy prevails note the option that I chose. They are freely debating among themselves whether that was the right thing to do while pointing out that in making the choice myself, I was never really "metaphysically" able to choose other than what I did. But: my brain/mind has deluded me into thinking that "psychologically" I freely chose either 1 or 2.

Mad Man P wrote: So let us say that we take ourselves to be part of our brains...
You may ask yourself, should I go make myself a snack or sit here and read MMP's post, given determinism are those even choices?


Why not? Mindless matter interacts only as it must. It doesn't choose to act. But mindful matter embodied in the brain is able to convince itself that it can and does choose among multiple options.

But if it was only able to convince itself to choose the only possible option for this particular brain/mind in this particular context, it's not at all a choice in the manner in which choosing is contrued by those convinced that mind has somehow evolved to acquire autonomy.


Mad Man P wrote: If we discount your character (in this case those brain parts), do you have options about what to do next?
The answer is yes (even given determinism)... but just like the example above, if we knew your character well enough... the choice would likewise be perfectly predictable.


Discount my character?

I don't follow this. If we were only able to either discount or not discount it, and this was inherently embedded in the evolution of all the matter that came before that choice, it was only ever going to be what it only ever could have been. The illusion of freely willing to or not to.

Mad Man P wrote: You suggest that this seems like a trick of language... but I honestly fail to see how.
The one making the choices is YOU... So if your character should turn out to be immaculately definable and thereby perfectly predictable... how does that in any way change the nature of choice?


An "immaculately definable" character? What "on earth" does this mean? Note a context in which human interaction unfolds. How would you describe this given the choices that are being made? And how would it be "perfectly predictable"?

As for the choice, is it in fact just an inherent manifestation of nature having evolved into the human brain, or is there something in this brain that takes matter to a whole other level?

And how on earth can we know the answer to something like this assuming we do have the capacity to make the choices we do of our own volition.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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 iambiguous » Mon Nov 26, 2018 9:25 pm

phyllo wrote:
I can only assume here that you are making a point that is beyond my comprehending.
Okay, let's leave it there.


Done.

But how on earth [and throughout the rest of the universe] could this not somehow be connected to an understanding of why there is something instead of nothing, and why it is this something and not another?


phyllo wrote: I'll let you figure it out if you think that it's important.


Done.



Note to others:

Seriously, how can anyone actually imagine that the gap between what we think we know here and now and all that there is to know about the existence of existence itself, is not of fundamental importance?

Back to this:

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know.

And though Rumsfeld [as I recall] noted this in connection to the war in Iraq, it is clearly applicable in turn to an ontological understanding of Reality itself.
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 phyllo » Mon Nov 26, 2018 9:50 pm

Seriously, how can anyone actually imagine that the gap between what we think we know here and now and all that there is to know about the existence of existence itself, is not of fundamental importance?
You switched to something else again.

You changed from "understanding of why there is something instead of nothing, and why it is this something and not another" to "the gap between what we think we know here and now and all that there is to know about the existence of existence itself".

Do you not notice that you do this? Are you just unfocused? Are you intentionally trying to attribute a position to me that I don't actually hold?
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Mad Man P » Mon Nov 26, 2018 10:54 pm

iambiguous wrote:If my "thoughts, actions and choices" are determined by my previous "thoughts, actions and choices" are determined by my previous "thoughts, actions and choices" are deterrmined by going back through the evolution of life on earth going back to whatever brought into existence the existence of existence itself, then it all seems to be unfolding only as it ever could have.

Again, the difference being that no matter is quite like brain matter. That's still the main quandary to me. How can -- how did -- matter evolve into minds able ponder such things as this?


We can easily miss the forest for the trees... which is more and more what I suspect is going on here.

A mountain is, just like an ocean, made up of electrons neutrons and protons and if we define them by the "matter" that makes them up... we can fool ourselves into thinking they are exactly the same thing.

But they are not exactly the same and they are not defined solely by the "matter" that makes them up, this kind of reading is a form of sophistry...
It's how that matter is organized that qualifies something as stone or water, and the volume of it that makes it a mountain or an ocean.

So too with people. We are not merely "neurons" or "brain matter"... we are a particular and very complex organization of neurons and chemicals and more fundamentally protons, neutrons and electrons...

You can organize things in such a way that you create a system. Systems, as you complicate them, are governed by ever more distinct rules than their fundamental building blocks.
Protons, neutrons and electrons have rules but the biological systems that are made up of those things have their own set of distinct rules, then the organism made up of biological systems have their own rules... and so on and so forth.

We are many layers of systems deep when we get to human brains... so trying to understand how humans work by looking at how protons, neutrons and electrons work is at best a tremendous misunderstanding of our nature.

Mad Man P wrote: I have to ask you... what is the minimum requirement for a choice?

Let's say a man has a woman and her baby held hostage at gunpoint and gives you two options, which you magically know to be true:
1) He shoots you, then he kills both of them right here and now in front of you as you bleed out
2) You ask him nicely... and he will let them go, hand you the gun and turn himself in to the police

Now you could argue, that those are only options if we discount you... you being who you are and having the values that you do, would (I hope) "chose" option 2 every single time without fail. That this is a foregone conclusion and would be perfectly predictable to anyone who knew you in the least.


"Magically know to be true"? I don't really understand your point.
Mine is this: that whatever I choose, I am either not able to not choose it, or I am able to act autonomously on the values I have accumulated existentially and make what most will insist is the "right" choice.


I must admit I'm beginning to suspect foul play on your part. "magically know to be true" was a weird thing to get hung up on and confused by as it was tangential to the question I posed you...

But in case this was an honest misunderstanding and my question wasn't clear, I'll ask it again differently.

What is the minimum requirement for an act of choice?

Could you be given options such that the "choice" you will make between them is a given?
Like say "you are an empathetic person" might be one of your characteristics.
So when given the option to torture someone for the fun of it or NOT torture someone it would be a foregone conclusion that you would choose to NOT torture?

In other words can you have characteristics that would make certain choices a certainty? As in you cannot logically posses this characteristic and simultaneously make a different choice.
If so, would that mean it was never a choice?
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Jakob » Tue Nov 27, 2018 3:56 pm

Mad Man p - a warning. I have never observed any honesty in Iambiguous' approach, no intention to do justice to his conversation partners.

He is on here to score "hits". His own thread, the mundane irony thing, consists strictly of titles of commercial products and some inane non comment on each of them. He is here strictly for the Google bots.

You're about the two hundredth person to try to talk to him with a lot of good will and you'll come out of it like all of us - pissed off at how someone can be so empty.

I was reading through your posts and felt I might as well inform you. He is here to steal your energy for the hollow purpose of bot-fame. A species of parasite that the Internet brought forth.

Edit-
But I suppose you must have been here before, having joined in 2005.

I was not here.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Jakob » Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:03 pm

Now there will be a "note to others" in guous' next post.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Tue Nov 27, 2018 6:59 pm

gib wrote:
iambiguous wrote:The alien is pointing out that you had no capacity to not not be bothered by it. But that changes nothing, true.

The difference however [from my frame of mind] is the hypothetical assumption that the aliens can choose autonomously to be or not be bothered by something. Thus if you were somehow able to leave the planet earth and be in a part of the universe where the human will is not just on automatic pilot, you would grasp the distinction more clearly.


Would I? What's the difference between how the illusion of free will feels and how the real thing feels? What is it about the real thing that would make the distinction more clear?


Well, that would depend entirely of course on the extent to which the aliens are able to demonstrate that where they reside autonomous minds do in fact exist. Although even here you may or may not have the capacity to grasp what they tell/show you. Or the whole experience might be encompassed in a sim world or in a dream or while on LSD or because your brain was damaged in some manner.

After all, can mere mortals ever really be certain of anything until they are able to comprehend the existence of everything?

iambiguous wrote:It's like the folks in Flatland. They are compelled to view the world through two dimensions. But there actually does exist a three dimensional world. And for all we know [re string theory] there are many more dimensions besides.


gib wrote: So you're saying there's things about the real thing (real free will) that we who don't have it can't even imagine?


I'm saying that anything that I might say or that you might say here would seem to be necessarily embedded in Don Rumsfeld's "unknown unknowns".

But if we don't have free will anything that we imagine would seem to be only that which we were ever able to imagine.

iambiguous wrote:If nothing changes other than in the manner in which it must change in a wholly determined universe what does our choosing to change something mean?


gib wrote: It means we aren't really choosing (not rocket science).


The autonomous aliens note that we do in fact choose. Just as, when we watch something on TV or at the movies, we note the characters on the screens choosing. But they choose only that which the directors [and the writers] compel them to choose. Their choices are scripted. So, the questions we need to ask here are these: are the choices that we make scripted by God? by nature? by our own free will?

Me, I don't know. I'm not really sure what to believe. "Deep down inside" I'm still convinced that I am in possession of at least some measure of volition. But in the dream I just woke up from I was just as certain of that then.

iambiguous wrote:But in the either/or world [assuming there is one] there is a right side and a wrong side to choose. One's answer is relative to that which can in fact be demonstrated to be the case for all rational human beings. With human minds, however, one can still be convinced that the wrong answer is the right answer "in his head". And, most crucially, he behaves in accordance with what he thinks is true. And it is human behavior that precipitates actual consequences.


gib wrote: That's right. So it comes down to that which is powerful enough to persuade a person to change his or her mind, and that which will never be powerful enough to persuade a person to change his or her mind.


Again, that might be God or the immutable laws of matter embedded inherently in nature or...or what?

Sure, the power might revolve around my own autonomous mind. My capacity to think something through and arrive at the most rational conclusion. After all, look at the technology around us. Some folks were unequivocally able to make choices that brought it all into existence. And I'm sure they would accept no other explanation but that they accomplished this because they freely made the right choices.

And there will in turn be those who accomplish nothing in life able to convince themselves that this is only because they were never able to accomplish something.

So, beyond all doubt, which one is it?

iambiguous wrote:Here of course all there is, is someone [anyone] asking you to demonstrate that what you believe is true is in fact true. And then to the extent that this might provide some measure of "comfort and consolation" -- peacefulness -- for some and not for others. But it's still more than I am able to conjecture: "I" disintegrating back into star stuff. Not completely gone, but, come on, who is kidding whom.


gib wrote: Weren't you just asking out of curiosity?


Was I ever able not to?

iambiguous wrote:Clearly that is one way to look at at. Just as there are clearly other conflicting narratives. But how does that fit into "I" interacting with "we" interacting with "them" interacting on this particular planet in this particular solar system in this particular galaxy in what may or may not be this particular universe going back to something instead of nothing going back to the reason it is one rather than another going back to or not going back to God.


gib wrote: Biggy, I was being serious. Put your questions aside for a sec, and give what I said some thought. It's one of the rare moments when I'm trying to help you. Take it.


Here [once again] the assumption is that how you construe all of this is somehow more reasonable than the manner in which I do. And that if I will only try harder to understand your own frame of mind, I might be helped. All the while assuming in turn that this exchange is unfolding "metaphysically" only as it ever could have, producing human minds able to convince themselves "psychologically" that it is all unfolding instead because they choose for it to unfold one way rather than another.

And even though this choice is really just an illusion it is still no less a choice.

Unless, perhaps, you are just being ironic? :wink:

gib wrote: Although you've most likely thought of this tons of times before, you also keep bringing up the fact that you feel stuck in this dilemma of yourself, that life is not made peachy and rosy by it. If I didn't know any better, I'd say you're depressed. See a doctor. Maybe you need medication. I'm not bringing this up as just another statement to be thrown into the philosophical mix. I'm serious. If you're as bothered by this as you claim to be, I think you need help.


Depressed? Hardly. I have many, many distractions that bring me tons of fulfilment. Here and now. But there it is: oblivion. Getting closer and closer. And a "frame of mind" on this side of the grave having convinced itself that human existence is essentially meaningless in an is/ought world in which I have brought into existence [in my head] the components of a moral philosophy that is either entirely grim or entirely liberating.

I don't wallow in this sort of thing. But the questions truly do fascinate me. Just as they fascinate others here.

Only my "I", unlike your "I" and their "I" is considerably more fractured and fragmented. And, therefore, as long as I don't bring you over to my point of view, you can sustain a measure of "comfort and consolation" that continues to escape me.

I merely speculate that, in an autonomous world, it is this soothing psychological frame of mind that is actually behind their philosophy.
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 » Tue Nov 27, 2018 7:25 pm

phyllo wrote:
Seriously, how can anyone actually imagine that the gap between what we think we know here and now and all that there is to know about the existence of existence itself, is not of fundamental importance?
You switched to something else again.

You changed from "understanding of why there is something instead of nothing, and why it is this something and not another" to "the gap between what we think we know here and now and all that there is to know about the existence of existence itself".


How on earth are they not profoundly intertwined?

You are either making a point here that I do not yet grasp or you are only being ironic.

Which is why I always suggest that we bring these abstractions "down to earth". Note a context in which someone is choosing to do something. How is that related to the question of how [as some spectulate] all that there is exploded into existence out of nothing at all.

Something/everything out of nothing? Something that evolved into minds able to contemplate either the ontological or the teleological implications of that for our day to day interactions with others?

How does a mere mortal even begin to grasp this relationship?

phyllo wrote: Do you not notice that you do this? Are you just unfocused? Are you intentionally trying to attribute a position to me that I don't actually hold?


Actually, I am trying to understand what your position is here? And then the extent to which you can demonstrate that it is not a position that you were only ever able to have but one that is derived [at least in part] from autonomy and free will.

Or [as I suspect] do you think about this in the manner in which you think about Communism?
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 » Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:27 pm

Mad Man P wrote:
iambiguous wrote:If my "thoughts, actions and choices" are determined by my previous "thoughts, actions and choices" are determined by my previous "thoughts, actions and choices" are deterrmined by going back through the evolution of life on earth going back to whatever brought into existence the existence of existence itself, then it all seems to be unfolding only as it ever could have.

Again, the difference being that no matter is quite like brain matter. That's still the main quandary to me. How can -- how did -- matter evolve into minds able ponder such things as this?


We can easily miss the forest for the trees... which is more and more what I suspect is going on here.

A mountain is, just like an ocean, made up of electrons neutrons and protons and if we define them by the "matter" that makes them up... we can fool ourselves into thinking they are exactly the same thing.

But they are not exactly the same and they are not defined solely by the "matter" that makes them up, this kind of reading is a form of sophistry...
It's how that matter is organized that qualifies something as stone or water, and the volume of it that makes it a mountain or an ocean.

So too with people. We are not merely "neurons" or "brain matter"... we are a particular and very complex organization of neurons and chemicals and more fundamentally protons, neutrons and electrons...


Okay, but unlike the matter in rocks and water, the matter in the human mind has somehow become aware that the brain is composed of all the elements that make up matter in turn. But put together in a way that appears to be qualitatively different than the matter in rocks and water.

How then to explain the difference?

Mad Man P wrote: You can organize things in such a way that you create a system. Systems, as you complicate them, are governed by ever more distinct rules than their fundamental building blocks.
Protons, neutrons and electrons have rules but the biological systems that are made up of those things have their own set of distinct rules, then the organism made up of biological systems have their own rules... and so on and so forth.

We are many layers of systems deep when we get to human brains... so trying to understand how humans work by looking at how protons, neutrons and electrons work is at best a tremendous misunderstanding of our nature.


Even if this is entirely true, it doesn't explain why this set of rules and not another. Or demonstrate that the rules that exist either do or do not permit human minds to choose with some measure of autonomy.

And it doesn't encompass the optimal or the only rational manner in which to grasp our "nature" going all the way back to the "nature" of existence itself.

Basically your argument [to me] is just another bunch of words defining and defending another bunch of worlds in "general desription" intellectual contraptions that resolve nothing relating to the conflicting points of view that inundate actual human interactions out in particular contexts.

Mad Man P wrote: I have to ask you... what is the minimum requirement for a choice?

Let's say a man has a woman and her baby held hostage at gunpoint and gives you two options, which you magically know to be true:
1) He shoots you, then he kills both of them right here and now in front of you as you bleed out
2) You ask him nicely... and he will let them go, hand you the gun and turn himself in to the police

Now you could argue, that those are only options if we discount you... you being who you are and having the values that you do, would (I hope) "chose" option 2 every single time without fail. That this is a foregone conclusion and would be perfectly predictable to anyone who knew you in the least.


"Magically know to be true"? I don't really understand your point.
Mine is this: that whatever I choose, I am either not able to not choose it, or I am able to act autonomously on the values I have accumulated existentially and make what most will insist is the "right" choice.


Mad Man P wrote: I must admit I'm beginning to suspect foul play on your part. "magically know to be true" was a weird thing to get hung up on and confused by as it was tangential to the question I posed you...


You're the one who brought it up.

And then this part:

Let's consider a hypothetical I raised with Gib...

Imagine that earth is in a part of the universe where everything -- everything -- is wholly determined by the laws of matter. Aliens from a part of the universe where autonomy prevails note the option that I chose. They are freely debating among themselves whether that was the right thing to do while pointing out that in making the choice myself, I was never really "metaphysically" able to choose other than what I did. But: my brain/mind has deluded me into thinking that "psychologically" I freely chose either 1 or 2.


Would they not note in turn that the question you posed to me and the manner in which I chose to answer was only ever as it could have been down on a planet existing in a part of the universe in which everything -- everything -- unfolds only as it ever could have.

Mad Man P wrote: But in case this was an honest misunderstanding and my question wasn't clear, I'll ask it again differently.

What is the minimum requirement for an act of choice?


Well, in a wholly determined universe, the minimum requirement would seem to the existence of matter able to delude itself that it is freely choosing among various options. Or matter having evolved into human brains actually able to precipitate a human consciousness that has somehow acquired the capacity to choose of it's own volition.

Now, who among us here is able to demonstrate that it is unequivocally one rather than the other?

Mad Man P wrote: Could you be given options such that the "choice" you will make between them is a given?


Given options from who or what? God? Nature? Our own minds?

Mad Man P wrote: Like say "you are an empathetic person" might be one of your characteristics.


Is this a characteristic I freely chose to embody, or is the entirety of my character a material, physical, phenomenal mechanism wholly in sync with the laws of matter?

I don't know. But you seem to think that you do. But you have no way [beyond a world of words in my view] in which to demonstrate it.

Or, rather, nothing that has so far convinced me.


Mad Man P wrote: So when given the option to torture someone for the fun of it or NOT torture someone it would be a foregone conclusion that you would choose to NOT torture?


Some would choose to do so, most would not. Why? How do we determine the extent to which, in an autonomous world, such choices are not embedded [as I believe] in the existential contraption that is dasein? And how do I determine that the choice to bring this up was or was not the only choice that I was ever able to make?

Mad Man P wrote: In other words can you have characteristics that would make certain choices a certainty? As in you cannot logically posses this characteristic and simultaneously make a different choice.
If so, would that mean it was never a choice?


Back to the autonomous aliens. What would they suggest?

Indeed, how are the philosophical tools that we call logic and knowledge applicable in discussions such as this?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby phyllo » Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:29 pm

How on earth are they not profoundly intertwined?

You are either making a point here that I do not yet grasp or you are only being ironic.

Which is why I always suggest that we bring these abstractions "down to earth". Note a context in which someone is choosing to do something. How is that related to the question of how [as some spectulate] all that there is exploded into existence out of nothing at all.

Something/everything out of nothing? Something that evolved into minds able to contemplate either the ontological or the teleological implications of that for our day to day interactions with others?

How does a mere mortal even begin to grasp this relationship?
Abstract. Scholastic. No practical value.

Nobody knows how or why it "exploded into existence".

Why would I keep talking about it after I have made that statement? What could I possibly say that is meaningful?

Sure, I could say that "God did it" and that's my model of the universe. I could say that "it just happened out of nothing" and that's my model. Or "it always existed and it self-organized" and that's my model.

That's my answer. It's as settled as it can be. What else?

Next.
And then the extent to which you can demonstrate that it is not a position that you were only ever able to have but one that is derived [at least in part] from autonomy and free will.
But I don't give a shit about demonstrating anything to anyone.

I'm not preaching anything.

Determinism and free will are irrelevant to me. Those labels are worthless. I have to make exactly the same decisions in exactly the same way whether I have free will or not.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:50 pm

Jakob wrote:Mad Man p - a warning. I have never observed any honesty in Iambiguous' approach, no intention to do justice to his conversation partners.

He is on here to score "hits". His own thread, the mundane irony thing, consists strictly of titles of commercial products and some inane non comment on each of them. He is here strictly for the Google bots.

You're about the two hundredth person to try to talk to him with a lot of good will and you'll come out of it like all of us - pissed off at how someone can be so empty.

I was reading through your posts and felt I might as well inform you. He is here to steal your energy for the hollow purpose of bot-fame. A species of parasite that the Internet brought forth.

Edit-
But I suppose you must have been here before, having joined in 2005.

I was not here.
-"Bill Clinton"


Here we go again. As with Mr Reasonable, Jacob will pop up occasionally on a thread like this to warn others about me.

Of course he doesn't actually respond substantively to the points that I raise. Instead the entirety of his point is clearly to make me the point.

Then he commenses to huff and puff about all the terrible things he has discovered about me. He offers no actual instances of this in the posts that I contribute here. He simply knows this to be true.

I can only speculate about his motive. All I know is that over the years any number of objectivists of his ilk have felt duty bound to thump me. Call it say the Satyr Syndrome.

But I suspect that even they are not fully aware of how this propensity is derived largely from the fact that bit by bit I am deconstructing their own precious I.

The more they imagine themselves as "I" instead, the less solid ground they have to stand on. They have invested so much in their own particular objective narrative that it truly disturbs them how the points I raise may well be applicable to them too.

Unless of course I'm wrong. But how on earth could I [or anyone] ever possibly know that beyond all doubt?

Then it's back to this: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296

Unless of course I'm wrong about that too.
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 » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:37 pm

phyllo wrote:
How on earth are they not profoundly intertwined?

You are either making a point here that I do not yet grasp or you are only being ironic.

Which is why I always suggest that we bring these abstractions "down to earth". Note a context in which someone is choosing to do something. How is that related to the question of how [as some speculate] all that there is exploded into existence out of nothing at all.

Something/everything out of nothing? Something that evolved into minds able to contemplate either the ontological or the teleological implications of that for our day to day interactions with others?

How does a mere mortal even begin to grasp this relationship?


Abstract. Scholastic. No practical value.


Well, in regard to grappling with that which brought into existence the existence of existence itself, how can we not be but abstract or scholastic? I mean, it's not like we can go to youtube and watch videos of existence coming into existence while scientists, philosophers and theologians discuss and debate the meaning of it.

phyllo wrote: Nobody knows how or why it "exploded into existence".


Yeah, that's kind of my point. But: If nobody knows why or how existence itself came to be, what are the odds that they understand the nature of our own existence here and now?

phyllo wrote: Why would I keep talking about it after I have made that statement? What could I possibly say that is meaningful?


Aren't we all in the same boat here? We continue to discuss and debate the meaning of things that appear to be beyond our reach. But, then, what else is there? We are among the few inhabitants on planet earth who frequent venues such as this. We can't get these "big questions" out of our head and then, somehow, existentially, we become more and more drawn to them. Doing the best that we can to "think them through".

Then it's back to André Gide: "Trust those who seek the truth but doubt those who say they have found it.”

That's where we are always stuck with questions this big.

phyllo wrote: Sure, I could say that "God did it" and that's my model of the universe. I could say that "it just happened out of nothing" and that's my model. Or "it always existed and it self-organized" and that's my model.

That's my answer. It's as settled as it can be. What else?


But the focus of late on this thread is the extent to which, in regard to the model that we do choose here, was it ever really within our capaicty not to choose it?

Here even my own "existential contraption" -- "I" -- is merely another cluster of dominoes toppling over only as they ever could have.

And then the extent to which you can demonstrate that it is not a position that you were only ever able to have but one that is derived [at least in part] from autonomy and free will.


phyllo wrote: But I don't give a shit about demonstrating anything to anyone.

I'm not preaching anything.

Determinism and free will are irrelevant to me. Those labels are worthless. I have to make exactly the same decisions in exactly the same way whether I have free will or not.


That's not the point of course. Instead, the point [mine] revolves around whether you do have to make exactly the same decisions in exactly the same way.

And if you have no interest in demonstrating what you think you know and believe, you may well have never been able to acquire that interest. But if it is is within your capacity to have or not have an interest in particular things, if you don't give a shit about demonstrating what you believe or know is true then you are basically arguing that what anyone thinks they believe or know is as far as it need go.

Instead, I am more in sync with the idea that given human autonomy all we have is our capacity to demonstrate that what we think we know or believe in our head all rational men and women are obligated to believe and know in turn.

Then I segue here from the either/or world to the is/ought world.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby phyllo » Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:31 pm

Well, in regard to grappling with that which brought into existence the existence of existence itself, how can we not be but abstract or scholastic? I mean, it's not like we can go to youtube and watch videos of existence coming into existence while scientists, philosophers and theologians discuss and debate the meaning of it.
What?
You're constantly telling people to bring abstractions "down to earth". You just did it in the last post: "Which is why I always suggest that we bring these abstractions "down to earth".

So what were you asking for if it can't be done, by your own admission? #-o
Yeah, that's kind of my point. But: If nobody knows why or how existence itself came to be, what are the odds that they understand the nature of our own existence here and now?
You don't need to understand "how existence came to be". You can understand lots of things about your own existence and the existence of other people, animals, plants and objects without that particular knowledge. It's not essential for living.
We continue to discuss and debate the meaning of things that appear to be beyond our reach.
You continue to repeat the same stuff. Calling it "discussion" is a stretch.
But, then, what else is there? We are among the few inhabitants on planet earth who frequent venues such as this. We can't get these "big questions" out of our head and then, somehow, existentially, we become more and more drawn to them. Doing the best that we can to "think them through".
Round and round you go ...never getting anywhere.
If people want to do that with you, it's up to them.

But notice how many of your discussion partners turn away with frustration and disgust.
But the focus of late on this thread is the extent to which, in regard to the model that we do choose here, was it ever really within our capaicty not to choose it?
You ask the same question over and over.
That's not the point of course. Instead, the point [mine] revolves around whether you do have to make exactly the same decisions in exactly the same way.

And if you have no interest in demonstrating what you think you know and believe, you may well have never been able to acquire that interest.
Show of hands ... how many posters here are interested in this point or bothered by it?
But if it is is within your capacity to have or not have an interest in particular things, if you don't give a shit about demonstrating what you believe or know is true then you are basically arguing that what anyone thinks they believe or know is as far as it need go.
I think that's true ... I can't make anyone believe what he doesn't want to believe. I can't make him want to know more. He has to be motivated. He has to have an interest. He has to want more knowledge. He has to want to change.

I can't teach someone who does not want to learn.
Instead, I am more in sync with the idea that given human autonomy all we have is our capacity to demonstrate that what we think we know or believe in our head all rational men and women are obligated to believe and know in turn.
Yeah. So you say. (It doesn't make any sense for a nihilist to talk about "obligations". But whatever.)
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:30 am

Jakob wrote:Now there will be a "note to others" in guous' next post.



Note to God:


Smite him!!! :banana-linedance:
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 Antithesis » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:56 am

If the universe ends in a big freeze, there may as well be nothing.

https://www.universetoday.com/36917/big-freeze/
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Mad Man P » Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:32 am

iambiguous wrote:How then to explain the difference?


Why do you ask a question to which the answer is located in the next paragraph of my post?

Mad Man P wrote: You can organize things in such a way that you create a system. Systems, as you complicate them, are governed by ever more distinct rules than their fundamental building blocks.
Protons, neutrons and electrons have rules but the biological systems that are made up of those things have their own set of distinct rules, then the organism made up of biological systems have their own rules... and so on and so forth.

We are many layers of systems deep when we get to human brains... so trying to understand how humans work by looking at how protons, neutrons and electrons work is at best a tremendous misunderstanding of our nature.


Even if this is entirely true, it doesn't explain why this set of rules and not another. Or demonstrate that the rules that exist either do or do not permit human minds to choose with some measure of autonomy.


Well evolution attempts to explain why these systems and not other systems came into being... as for your concept of autonomy, as you have presented it, seems to be logically impossible outside of solipsism...

You see, we need to define our terms and stick with those definitions in order to have a productive conversation... I need to understand what it is you are saying to me and you need to understand what I am saying to you.
If you say 2+2=3 the first thing I'd ask you is how you define those terms.
if you say "...." I count 3 periods in the quoted section then I can see how you got your results, but you and I seem to have a different understanding of what that symbol means.

When you say "there can be no choice/autonomy in a deterministic universe" I have to check to see if those words means something different to you before we can argue about whether you added things up wrong or not.

Well, in a wholly determined universe, the minimum requirement would seem to the existence of matter able to delude itself that it is freely choosing among various options. Or matter having evolved into human brains actually able to precipitate a human consciousness that has somehow acquired the capacity to choose of it's own volition.

Now, who among us here is able to demonstrate that it is unequivocally one rather than the other?


No one can demonstrate anything unequivocally... so that's a silly question to hinge this on.

We could however examine the logical consistency of such perspectives as well as the practical value of said definitions.

You, for example, seem to have defined autonomy in such a way that it is made LOGICALLY impossible outside of solipsism...
what value is there in such a definition? what use does that have?

Mad Man P wrote: Like say "you are an empathetic person" might be one of your characteristics.


Is this a characteristic I freely chose to embody, or is the entirety of my character a material, physical, phenomenal mechanism wholly in sync with the laws of matter?

I don't know. But you seem to think that you do. But you have no way [beyond a world of words in my view] in which to demonstrate it.

Or, rather, nothing that has so far convinced me.


I am not attempting to convince you... I'm attempting to make sense.
If you refuse to be reasonable or refuse to apply a charitable interpretation to what I say by ignoring the context in which it was said, for example, I'm perfectly happy to leave you unconvinced.

Indeed, how are the philosophical tools that we call logic and knowledge applicable in discussions such as this?


If they cannot be brought to bear, that marks the end of our conversation...

Edit:
It occurs to me that I did not provide an explanation as to why I say your definition is only logically possible given solipsism.

It's quite simply this:
If autonomy means to choose your own character, then there is no character to the thing that chooses, which means it cannot be defined, if it cannot be defined it has no borders, if it has no borders it is "reality"... whatever reality we take ourselves to be in, whether entirely materialistic, dualistic, supernatural, deterministic or utterly random it is all of that reality. It cannot be merely a "part" of that reality because then we could define "the part" that it was but the moment it has a character, it is no longer autonomous... I imagine you would say it is enslaved to it's own character.
"I'm just saying that if we want to have a fruitful discussion, we all need to know what the fuck we're talking about" - Carleas

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby gib » Thu Nov 29, 2018 3:29 am

iambiguous wrote:Well, that would depend entirely of course on the extent to which the aliens are able to demonstrate that where they reside autonomous minds do in fact exist. Although even here you may or may not have the capacity to grasp what they tell/show you. Or the whole experience might be encompassed in a sim world or in a dream or while on LSD or because your brain was damaged in some manner.


Well, if there is a difference, I can't tell. Must mean I don't have it.

iambiguous wrote:Here [once again] the assumption is that how you construe all of this is somehow more reasonable than the manner in which I do. And that if I will only try harder to understand your own frame of mind, I might be helped. All the while assuming in turn that this exchange is unfolding "metaphysically" only as it ever could have, producing human minds able to convince themselves "psychologically" that it is all unfolding instead because they choose for it to unfold one way rather than another.

And even though this choice is really just an illusion it is still no less a choice.

Unless, perhaps, you are just being ironic? :wink:


You are literally incapable of having a human conversation.

iambiguous wrote:Depressed? Hardly. I have many, many distractions that bring me tons of fulfilment. Here and now. But there it is: oblivion. Getting closer and closer. And a "frame of mind" on this side of the grave having convinced itself that human existence is essentially meaningless in an is/ought world in which I have brought into existence [in my head] the components of a moral philosophy that is either entirely grim or entirely liberating.


Then what's all this talk about a grim outlook that provides you no comfort. You keep engaging others as if to ask for their help in "liberating" you. Are you troubled by your grim outlook in any way?

Remind me not to feel sorry for you again.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby phyllo » Thu Nov 29, 2018 4:49 am

Then what's all this talk about a grim outlook that provides you no comfort. You keep engaging others as if to ask for their help in "liberating" you. Are you troubled by your grim outlook in any way?

Remind me not to feel sorry for you again.
:laughing-rolling:
This just never gets old.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby Meno_ » Thu Nov 29, 2018 11:04 am

phyllo wrote:
Then what's all this talk about a grim outlook that provides you no comfort. You keep engaging others as if to ask for their help in "liberating" you. Are you troubled by your grim outlook in any way?

Remind me not to feel sorry for you again.
:laughing-rolling:
This just never gets old.




Because it's Cantor's Paradox over again. Is there an absolute set that includes all sets within it'self.

The universal absolute and the relative singular does has a down to earth example.

The circle is always imperfect to a degree that's commensurate with the number of fractions pie is carried to exact that accuracy.

Therefore use of pie makes the ideal circle demonstrative of the lack of utility requirement on demonstrating that absolute.

The same goes for morality and ethical standards. Which determines which is not a propositional requirement, since it uses singular logic to prove propositional requirements. That can not be done, but that In itself does not do away with the proposition : that circles do not in it's self contain anything but approximations, in fact such demonstrations are not required, and hence don't disprove themselves as either within a bounded requirement without which their utility becomes negated for lack of.

Its philosophical repetition which can not in situ demonstrate its absolute inclusion.

The excuded requirement posits an automatic absolute negation. Which in trying to identify some measure of rational model, fails, because of limiting the idea of absolute self-containment.

The down to earth answer becomes a relative doubt for this schema to identify a standard,which is not an absolute set.

Nihilism consists in an absolutic ontological set requirement over a relative ontic existence, and they are inscribed as:
emanating in aesthetic sources, such as Kierkegaard had it.

For references , the historical changes can be assessed, as preferential, rather then referential and determined.

It is a choice made toward a useful model, but not necessarily a perfect, or a rational model.

It has to involve intentionality, not as a requirement, but also a choice.

Philosophy can be discarded as well in the defining this movement , but if it is, then sophistry remains as the only modus operans.

A sophist becomes someone who needs to get out of the boundedness of nihilism, but there is no bound, identified reason, because such is the power that a leap would require, where doubt can not generate the sufficient will to overcome it.

The power required to exercise the will is muted by doubt. Historically, this has ample evidence, and not to recognize it, has caused misfortune and tragedy true and thorough.

Parting shot: please excise on being hard on sophistry, and it has come down through the ages as a separate school, but the Birth of Tragedy was perfectly right on with Nietzschen accuracy.
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Re: Something Instead of Nothing

Postby iambiguous » Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:29 pm

Mad Man P wrote: You can organize things in such a way that you create a system. Systems, as you complicate them, are governed by ever more distinct rules than their fundamental building blocks.
Protons, neutrons and electrons have rules but the biological systems that are made up of those things have their own set of distinct rules, then the organism made up of biological systems have their own rules... and so on and so forth.

We are many layers of systems deep when we get to human brains... so trying to understand how humans work by looking at how protons, neutrons and electrons work is at best a tremendous misunderstanding of our nature.


Even if this is entirely true, it doesn't explain why this set of rules and not another. Or demonstrate that the rules that exist either do or do not permit human minds to choose with some measure of autonomy.


Mad Man P wrote: Well evolution attempts to explain why these systems and not other systems came into being... as for your concept of autonomy, as you have presented it, seems to be logically impossible outside of solipsism...


Evolution [on earth] starts with figuring out how [presumably] mindless matter configured into living matter. And we don't even know for certain if life originated on earth or came from some object crashing into us eons ago. And then how living matter configured into human brains. And then how brains configured into minds. Minds on the level of human consciousness. Minds that, in my view, only a fool would insist they completely understand in relationship to the evolution of life in relationship to the existence of the universe in relationship to an understanding of existence itself.

As for my conception of autonomy...isn't that in turn embedded in a complete understanding of Reality itself? Not unlike, for example, yours?

How do we grapple with human logic beyond that which we are able demonstrate it is in fact logical to believe? And for that we would need an actual existential context. So, pick one.

Then folks like Gib come along and suggest that mind itself somehow set it all into motion.

Mad Man P wrote: You see, we need to define our terms and stick with those definitions in order to have a productive conversation... I need to understand what it is you are saying to me and you need to understand what I am saying to you.


I agree, but: How on earth could we possibly come up with a set of definitions applicable to grappling definitively with human autonomy when we do not appear to have the capacity even to determine [and then to demonstrate] that accomplishing something like this is in and of itself within our capacity autononously?

Think of all the definitions that we can acquire in relationship to understanding the sport of baseball and the sport of basketball. But if we shift the discussion to whether baseball is a better sport than basketball, what set of definitions could we come up with in order to understand logically the meaning of "better"?

Same with a discussion revolving around this discussion itself. What entirely rational definition of "auntonmy" could be pinned down to determine whether that discussion was or was not only as it ever could have been?

Now, I'll be the first to admit that technically my arguments here may well be flawed. But what else is there? Others are either able [freely or mechanically] to make me understand this or they are not. And if they can't they can always [freely or mechanically] give up on me and move on to others.

But I suspect that none of us are likely to grasp these relationships wholly. And [it seems] the only way this will be decided is if they succeed in convincing the world at large that their narrative here is either the optimal or the only rational/logical/epistemologically sound explanation in sync with a complete understanding of existence itself.

Mad Man P wrote: If you say 2+2=3 the first thing I'd ask you is how you define those terms.
if you say "...." I count 3 periods in the quoted section then I can see how you got your results, but you and I seem to have a different understanding of what that symbol means.


Again, we need a context. Two apples plus two apples equals four apples. Given the extent to which we can all agree on what those words mean. Or you can say that two apples plus two apples equals one jar of applesauce.

Or you can note that two doctors performing two abortions equals four doctors performing four abortions.

But if we shift to the morality of abortion and some argue that freedom equals the natural right of the fetus to be born while others insist that freedom equals the political right of pregnant women to kill them, which definition of freedom here is the most [or the only] rational, logical, epistemoligically sound definition?

And then when we shift gears again in examining our capacity to sustain this very exchange autonomously, which set of definitions is able to be demonstrated to be the most [or the only] rational, logical and epistemologically sound one around?

Mad Man P wrote: When you say "there can be no choice/autonomy in a deterministic universe" I have to check to see if those words means something different to you before we can argue about whether you added things up wrong or not.


Then I'm back to the autonomous aliens. The part that once again you have not yet commented on. This part:

Let's consider a hypothetical I raised with Gib...

Imagine that earth is in a part of the universe where everything -- everything -- is wholly determined by the laws of matter. Aliens from a part of the universe where autonomy prevails note the option that I chose. They are freely debating among themselves whether that was the right thing to do while pointing out that in making the choice myself, I was never really "metaphysically" able to choose other than what I did. But: my brain/mind has deluded me into thinking that "psychologically" I freely chose either 1 or 2.

Would they not note in turn that the question you posed to me and the manner in which I chose to answer was only ever as it could have been down on a planet existing in a part of the universe in which everything -- everything -- unfolds only as it ever could have.


Well, in a wholly determined universe, the minimum requirement would seem to the existence of matter able to delude itself that it is freely choosing among various options. Or matter having evolved into human brains actually able to precipitate a human consciousness that has somehow acquired the capacity to choose of it's own volition.

Now, who among us here is able to demonstrate that it is unequivocally one rather than the other?


Mad Man P wrote: No one can demonstrate anything unequivocally... so that's a silly question to hinge this on.


On the contrary. Having to acknowledge that gap between what we think we know here and now about these things and all that there is to be known about the existence of existence itself could not possibly be of more importance.

It is just so exasperating to admit that, isn't it? Then we are stuck with figuring out a way to narrow that gap. Knowing that this may well not even be within the capacity of the human mind here and now. Yet there are those among us will go to the grave convinced that their own "philosophy of life" or their own understanding of "existence itself", was the right one.

But, again, that speaks more to the existential parameters of human psychology to me. And even here that may well only be as it ever could have been

Mad Man P wrote: We could however examine the logical consistency of such perspectives as well as the practical value of said definitions.


Okay, choose a context. Note a set of circumstances where human beings interact and come up with a set of definitions that will allow us to fully understand them, describe them, pass judgment on them.

Mad Man P wrote: You, for example, seem to have defined autonomy in such a way that it is made LOGICALLY impossible outside of solipsism...
what value is there in such a definition? what use does that have?


Its value either lies in the manner in which I have concluded autonomously that it is valuable to me or that conclusion itself is the only one that I was ever able to come to.

Mad Man P wrote: Like say "you are an empathetic person" might be one of your characteristics.


Is this a characteristic I freely chose to embody, or is the entirety of my character a material, physical, phenomenal mechanism wholly in sync with the laws of matter?

I don't know. But you seem to think that you do. But you have no way [beyond a world of words in my view] in which to demonstrate it.

Or, rather, nothing that has so far convinced me.


Mad Man P wrote: I am not attempting to convince you... I'm attempting to make sense.


Then it comes down to the extent to which you are able to demonstrate that the sense you do make of all this, is that which all rational men and women are obligated to make. Or to demonstrate that the obligation itself is either in sync with human autonomy or in sync with a wholly determined universe.

Folks like Gib here [if I understand him] seem to argue that "metaphysically" we are not free. But that the evolution of matter is such that "psychologically" the human "I" is at least able to note that they made a choice. Even if that was the only choice they ever could have made.

Mad Man P wrote: If you refuse to be reasonable or refuse to apply a charitable interpretation to what I say by ignoring the context in which it was said, for example, I'm perfectly happy to leave you unconvinced.


Again, making me the issue -- the problem -- here. If we assume human autonomy then I am freely making the wrong assumptions because you are making the right ones. The sensible ones. And if human interactions are wholly determined given the actual existence of the immutable laws of matter, my failure to grasp "choices" here as you and others do, was never going to not be the case.

Indeed, how are the philosophical tools that we call logic and knowledge applicable in discussions such as this?


Mad Man P wrote: If they cannot be brought to bear, that marks the end of our conversation...


But how do we determine the extent to which any of us do bring them to bear was within our capacity not to?

Mad Man P wrote: Edit:
It occurs to me that I did not provide an explanation as to why I say your definition is only logically possible given solipsism.

It's quite simply this:
If autonomy means to choose your own character, then there is no character to the thing that chooses, which means it cannot be defined, if it cannot be defined it has no borders, if it has no borders it is "reality"... whatever reality we take ourselves to be in, whether entirely materialistic, dualistic, supernatural, deterministic or utterly random it is all of that reality. It cannot be merely a "part" of that reality because then we could define "the part" that it was but the moment it has a character, it is no longer autonomous... I imagine you would say it is enslaved to it's own character.


Utterly, utterly abstract. So, again:

Choose a context. Note a set of circumstances where human beings interact and come up with a set of definitions that will allow us to fully understand them, describe them, pass judgment on them.

That will allow us to make an attempt to determine and to demonstrate that one's "character" is not just another aggregation of dominoes intertwined with all the other aggregation of dominoes going back to a complete understanding of existence itself.
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 iambiguous » Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:50 pm

gib wrote:
iambiguous wrote:Well, that would depend entirely of course on the extent to which the aliens are able to demonstrate that where they reside autonomous minds do in fact exist. Although even here you may or may not have the capacity to grasp what they tell/show you. Or the whole experience might be encompassed in a sim world or in a dream or while on LSD or because your brain was damaged in some manner.


Well, if there is a difference, I can't tell. Must mean I don't have it.

iambiguous wrote:Here [once again] the assumption is that how you construe all of this is somehow more reasonable than the manner in which I do. And that if I will only try harder to understand your own frame of mind, I might be helped. All the while assuming in turn that this exchange is unfolding "metaphysically" only as it ever could have, producing human minds able to convince themselves "psychologically" that it is all unfolding instead because they choose for it to unfold one way rather than another.

And even though this choice is really just an illusion it is still no less a choice.

Unless, perhaps, you are just being ironic? :wink:


You are literally incapable of having a human conversation.

iambiguous wrote:Depressed? Hardly. I have many, many distractions that bring me tons of fulfilment. Here and now. But there it is: oblivion. Getting closer and closer. And a "frame of mind" on this side of the grave having convinced itself that human existence is essentially meaningless in an is/ought world in which I have brought into existence [in my head] the components of a moral philosophy that is either entirely grim or entirely liberating.


Then what's all this talk about a grim outlook that provides you no comfort. You keep engaging others as if to ask for their help in "liberating" you. Are you troubled by your grim outlook in any way?

Remind me not to feel sorry for you again.


Et tu, Gib?

What kind of post is this? A series of retorts?

Look, if you no longer respect my intelligence, okay, fine. But if this is actually what I have reduced you to in responding to me, then once again it is time for you to move on to others. Those more worthy of your time.

Posts in which the points I raise are abandoned and replaced with snide comments that make me the point, are of less and less of interest to me.

So, decide.

Assuming of course that this is within your capacity as metaphysically determined but psychologically free human being to decide. :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

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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