Silhouette! Experientialism!

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Silhouette! Experientialism!

Postby Ecmandu » Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:51 pm

You asked me why I disagree with your concept of experientialism.

In short, your concept deals with a bottom up concept. Basically, evolution 2.0.

The problem I have with this, is that if something is novel, then it’s unprecedented and by being unprecedented in all of existence (even if it came from something else) came from nothing at all.

You also argue, in terms of experientialism that the universe is continuous, but then state that in order for us to conceive it, we must use the discrete. Well, if the universe is continuous, how is it possible for any being to even abstract the discrete ?! (They must be super natural)

And this is where we butt heads.

My solution that resolves all these problems is eternal forms. Now, with eternal forms, I’m thousands of years late in the game, but, then again, with evolution you are a couple hundred years late in the game. (Although I think there was an Ancient Greek philosopher who had a rudimentary idea of evolution).

So... either something comes from nothing (completely novel) (something coming from nothing)

Or!

Eternal forms exist! Take your pick!

The other reason I think eternal forms exist as templates is because we could not possibly conceive categories if categories didn’t always exist. Without categories, everything in all of existence would need a new name!

I’ll stop there for now.
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Re: Silhouette! Experientialism!

Postby Magnus Anderson » Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:32 pm

Can I borrow your thread, Ecmandu?

I don't want to post this in John's thread (it would be off-topic) and I don't want to start a new one because it looks like yours will do the job.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=195793&start=525#p2769237

Silhouette wrote:Simple experiment: observe your surroundings. Consider the scientific explanation of what is going on: light bounces off everything, and the rays that enter your eyes' pupils project a flat image onto your retina. What you "see" goes on in your brain with regards to the flat information that your retina passes on. It's a 2D area of vision of various shades, and if like me you're lucky enough to not be colourblind, various colours too. The image is a continuous variation of shades and/or colours. A competent artist will instruct you never to draw black lines to distinguish one feature from another if you want to paint or draw a realistic looking picture. Photographs are the same - there is a contuous variation of shades and/or colours with no "gaps" in between. It's like a continuous steady fluctuation of visual data. You have to focus on one "part" of it to distinguish it from another, but whenever you go to lengths to distinguish it from another part, there is never a distinct dividing line. This is actually a huge difficulty for AI technology - the distinction of sensory data is infamously difficult to parse.

The same goes for sounds, touch, smells, tastes - the entire sensory plethora that constitutes overall "experience". It is continuous, thus "Continuous Experience".

Let me know if that helped or not.


I am not sure it helped me much. I understand what you're saying, but at the same, I still don't know what you mean when you say that experience is continuous.

I assume that you use the word "experience" to refer to what we subjectively see, hear, smell, feel and so on.

I assume that this image can be used to represent an experience of looking at a tiger.

But what does it mean to say that such an experience is continuous? What makes this two-dimensional array of colored dots a continuous experience?

You say that an experience is said to be continuous if there are no gaps of nothingness separating its parts. But I don't know what a gap of nothingness is ):

John tried to help:

By “continuous experience”, he means no gaps in between moments of time. But, as I pointed out, those “gaps” are timeless, which means you can get a feeling of continuous experience despite the indivisible unit of time like in a movie film. Each frame is a discrete indivisible unit that when played in sequence gives the sensation of “continuous experience”.


According to him, the experience of a movie played at a normal frame rate such as 30 FPS is an instance of a continuous experience whereas the experience of the same movie played at 1 FPS is an instance of a discrete experience.

But according to you, all experience is continuous, including the experience of playing a movie at a super low frame rate.

So I am lost.
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Re: Silhouette! Experientialism!

Postby Ecmandu » Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:40 pm

Magnus, you can borrow all of it (free of charge) =)
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Re: Silhouette! Experientialism!

Postby Fixed Cross » Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:16 pm

Ecmandu wrote:You asked me why I disagree with your concept of experientialism.

In short, your concept deals with a bottom up concept. Basically, evolution 2.0.

The problem I have with this, is that if something is novel, then it’s unprecedented and by being unprecedented in all of existence (even if it came from something else) came from nothing at all.

You also argue, in terms of experientialism that the universe is continuous, but then state that in order for us to conceive it, we must use the discrete. Well, if the universe is continuous, how is it possible for any being to even abstract the discrete ?! (They must be super natural)

And this is where we butt heads.

My solution that resolves all these problems is eternal forms. Now, with eternal forms, I’m thousands of years late in the game, but, then again, with evolution you are a couple hundred years late in the game. (Although I think there was an Ancient Greek philosopher who had a rudimentary idea of evolution).

So... either something comes from nothing (completely novel) (something coming from nothing)

Or!

Eternal forms exist! Take your pick!

The other reason I think eternal forms exist as templates is because we could not possibly conceive categories if categories didn’t always exist. Without categories, everything in all of existence would need a new name!

I’ll stop there for now.

But you are stuck in time. Beyond time, things are seen to come from themselves.

their essence is their origin.
their self-enjoyment? Maybe.
The strong do what they can, the weak accept what they must.
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Re: Silhouette! Experientialism!

Postby Ecmandu » Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:55 pm

Fixed Cross,

Like I said to John Bannan,

Space is otherness.
Time is patterned change.

Can any being exist without these?
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Re: Silhouette! Experientialism!

Postby Fixed Cross » Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:48 pm


Yes, it can.
How, you ask -
the answer is he same as to the thread right below this one in the forum now;

What do you make of Coincidence? (Life's Odd Mystery)
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Re: Silhouette! Experientialism!

Postby promethean75 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 2:17 am

We can't know much about time until/unless we know... or I should say can either prove or disprove a theory of origin for the universe. For instance if there was indeed a creation event, there'd be metaphysical issues to deal with regarding how and from whence such an event could happen (if time didn't yet exist). On the other hand, if a material universe is eternal - meaning some substance will always exist - and consists of moving parts (hasn't reached maximum entropy), time would exist... if there were intelligent creatures to observe this movement of things against a background.

Wait lemme explain.

Kant mentions we don't necessarily experience time when we observe the position of the hands change. Rather we see a physical thing move into another position, that's all.

Time is a kind of psychologistic side effect of our peculiar mode of apperception, maybe. In a sense it's purely a posteriori... and yet we conceive of it as a rational and logical concept identifying a real phenomena that exists independently of our experience.

But finally, the problem is this; we can't experience the history or the future of the universe, so could never know, a posterior, the origins. Theory is not enough here. And yet when we do experience what we call time, we're only watching something move (as kant points out).

Bit of a pickle there.
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Re: Silhouette! Experientialism!

Postby Silhouette » Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:42 pm

So the objection to Experientialism in the OP is to do with novelty.

Continuous Experience isn't anything in particular, whether novel, precedented or whatever - it's just "there". It's what existence "looks like" in a sense (but not restricted to just the sense of sight of course).

Ways in which it can be conceptually divided up into discrete experiences (e.g. "objects") can be as novel as you like, but it's the same Continuous Experience, just "seen" differently (again, not necessarily restricted to just the sense of sight).

But on the subject of sight, an example of all this might be the different way different cultures conceive of colours. It's the same spectrum, but with the distinctions between discrete colours conceived of differently.

Even "novelty" is a discrete experience itself - it's like a kind of feeling of surprise, interest, awe, inspiration etc. It doesn't make the Continuous Experience itself any more or less novel, it's just a discrete part the experience which can be intellectually understood in discrete terms like "novel".

Magnus Anderson wrote:I understand what you're saying, but at the same, I still don't know what you mean when you say that experience is continuous.

The image you linked could be intellectually understood as an experience of looking at a tiger, the experience of looking at leaves/dirt/the bottom of a tree, or simply an experience of looking at an array of colours and shades etc. If we're being specific as to what it is that we're experiencing, we're zoning in on particular parts "of interest" and ignoring others.

The understanding of the experience as being "of a particular thing" or "of particular things" requires that you divide up the image into parts. Ultimately the colours blend into each other seamlessly, within and without the actual image, across your computer screen and beyond that throughout your entire field of vision - intermingled with all the other "types" of sensory data that can divide up the experience of existing as a whole. To see "specifically a tiger" we have to pretend that there is a separation between the body of the tiger and its environment. It's all a seamless flow but instead we focus on specific points of interest and construct a mental map of "what it is". It's similar to the notorious challenge of getting computers to recognise objects - it's much harder than you might think to meaningfully split up an array of pixels, except for us there aren't even pixels to give even that degree of starting structure.

Before we do all that work, it's all just "experience" that's "there", not necessarily 2D or anything - until we intellectually interpret the experience in that way, to make it meaningful.

As for the movie FPS analogy - it might be true that we can interpret our sense of sight as receiving static images at a certain constant rate, but the "experience of seeing" isn't an experience of those gaps. Even if we can intellectually understand sight as having gaps between each "frame", we never see those gaps. We just continuously see - that's the experience. Even understanding that aspect of experience as "vision" is an intellectual dissection of Continuous Experience into specific particular senses. Before doing that, simply experiencing in some raw, innocent, primal way, experience is just a holistic mess of undefined continuity.
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Re: Silhouette! Experientialism!

Postby Magnus Anderson » Sun Oct 11, 2020 4:06 pm

Silhouette wrote:To see "specifically a tiger" we have to pretend that there is a separation between the body of the tiger and its environment.


It seems to me you are claiming that the tiger is not really separate from its environment but that we nonetheless believe that it is.

I am inclined to disagree. I assume that what you mean by "separate" is that the two terms, "tiger" and "its environment", refer to non-interesecting portions of reality. But I am not exactly sure that's what you mean, so I need your assistance here, assuming you're willing to provide it.

The other thing that I find disagreeable is the apparent attitude that it is desirable to choose to believe something that is false over something that is true. Given that you know that the tiger is not separate from its environment, why do you choose to believe the opposite -- that they are separate? Why do you choose to logically contradict yourself? I have a vague impression that this is somehow related to Abstraction is falsification? thread.

Before we do all that work, it's all just "experience" that's "there", not necessarily 2D or anything - until we intellectually interpret the experience in that way, to make it meaningful.


I think it's what it is despite what anyone thinks it is. Indeed, even if noone ever thought about it, it would still be what it is. That said, if it is a two-dimensional array of color values on any day, then that's what it is on any other day.
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Re: Silhouette! Experientialism!

Postby Silhouette » Mon Oct 12, 2020 10:11 pm

Magnus Anderson wrote:It seems to me you are claiming that the tiger is not really separate from its environment but that we nonetheless believe that it is.

I am inclined to disagree. I assume that what you mean by "separate" is that the two terms, "tiger" and "its environment", refer to non-interesecting portions of reality. But I am not exactly sure that's what you mean, so I need your assistance here, assuming you're willing to provide it.

The other thing that I find disagreeable is the apparent attitude that it is desirable to choose to believe something that is false over something that is true. Given that you know that the tiger is not separate from its environment, why do you choose to believe the opposite -- that they are separate? Why do you choose to logically contradict yourself? I have a vague impression that this is somehow related to Abstraction is falsification? thread.

Calling it a tiger has already conceptually separated it from its environment. That which we are able (and which is useful) to conceive of as "Tiger" is experientially seamless with that which we are able to conceive of as "Environment".

But let me back up a little here - what we seem to need to be able to establish first here is the nature of something's existence, if any, before it is known to exist: a classic metaphysical distinction between Ontology and Epistemology.

The standard "realist" conception of the world is that there exists noumenal reality independent of any person's phenomenalogical perception of it - to use the Kantian terms.
I expand on the obvious argument that there is no direct access to the noumenal - making it unfalsifiable.
On one hand, something has to exist before it is possible to know it exists, but on the other hand the existence of anything at all is an expression of at least some degree of knowledge (of existence). So upon examination, the two appear to be intertwined - perhaps it could even be said that existence alone is the lowest possible expression of knowledge, and that all degrees of knowledge likewise imply existence plus a little bit more information than existence alone?

But the possibility of existence, without any degree of knowledge at all, cannot be said (especially as a point of knowledge) to be independent of any human knowledge at all.

So does the tiger exist independently of any knowledge of it?
On that point, do values exist independently of any knowledge of them?

In line with the above rationale, the tiger cannot exist in the "realist" sense (independently of knowledge), which lands it squarely in the realm of experience - which is a subtance of simultaneously both existence and knowledge. It exists insofar as it is known and vice versa.
So what of value?
Likewise value cannot exist prior to knowledge - it must become knowledge dialectically with its existence. It's an inversion of logic to firstly and correctly note that there is existence in the form of experience, and secondly to come to realise that valuation is occurring, only to conclude that the valuation must therefore have been occurring all along, even prior to our knowledge of it. That would posit value as existing before knowledge, which I just showed to be a logical error. Value may be attributed in hindsight to describe impulses that we subsequently recognise to have been part of our experiences - but to know it "as value" requires a reflective awareness, which is most definitely not overly fundamental. Can value exist prior to knowledge? No, but it can become known to exist after "knowledge of knowledge" has become possible. To retrospectively apply value in this process of its creation can be done for the purposes of utility, but to invert the logic in such a way defies truth. It is only definitely true to define value subsequently to existence and knowledge.

This is as good an example as any of what you referred to as desiring to choose to believe in something that is false over something that is true.

That is the beauty of utility: one is apparently able to choose to believe in that which is false without suffering an opportunity cost relative to choosing to believe only in that which is true. In fact - I happen to believe that there are multiple ways to choose to believe in that which is false, which in practice can actually give you an advantage over sticking devoutly and only to truth. It's utility that enables us to distort the truth of what "is" into something else - which is what enables progression away from what merely "is (known)". I'll probably regret saying this too prematurely, but pushing the scope of this point a little too far too quickly, this is exactly how the myth of "free will" comes to life - as an example of an abandonment of truth in favour of utility, for the purposes of enabling a slowing of entropy.

But let me know if there's still anything that bothers you about the foundations before we get ahead of ourselves.
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Re: Silhouette! Experientialism!

Postby Meno_ » Mon Oct 12, 2020 10:36 pm

Silhouette said:


"That is the beauty of utility: one is apparently able to choose to believe in that which is false without suffering an opportunity cost relative to choosing to believe only in that which is true. In fact - I happen to believe that there are multiple ways to choose to believe in that which is false, which in practice actually give you an advantage to sticking devoutly and only to truth. It's utility that enables us to distort the truth of what "is" into something else - which is what enables progression away from what merely "is (known)". I'll probably regret saying this too prematurely, but pushing the scope of this point a little too far too quickly, this is exactly how the myth of "free will" comes to life - as an example of an abandonment of truth in favour of utility, for the purposes of enabling a slowing of entropy."


yes, but only at a point at at a limited 'spacetime' as indicated above , of at a level of maximally induced specificity, where limits are maximally near to indistinct pattern recognition.

Above and below that they are informidable.
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Re: Silhouette! Experientialism!

Postby Magnus Anderson » Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:51 pm

Silhouette wrote:Calling it a tiger has already conceptually separated it from its environment. That which we are able (and which is useful) to conceive of as "Tiger" is experientially seamless with that which we are able to conceive of as "Environment".


I don't know what you mean when you say "experientially seamless".

You are apparently claiming that the claim "The tiger is separate from its environment" is false. If such is the case, I think it would be useful to define what you mean by "separate". To me, to say that the tiger is separate from its environment is to say that they occupy two different non-intersecting portions of space . (Alternatively, since what we're dealing with here is visual experience and not physical space, it can be interpreted to mean that the part of the picture we call "tiger" does not intersect with the part of the picture we call "environment".) Is that what you mean? Or do you mean something else? Because if that's what you mean, then I don't know how you can argue against that claim. If you mean something else, then I'd have to know what is it that you mean.
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Re: Silhouette! Experientialism!

Postby promethean75 » Tue Oct 13, 2020 5:13 pm

Well I think the tiger would be part of the collection of things and processes that constitute the environment. You could really split hairs here and say that the moment a nervous system evolves in an organism, you have the origin of the concept 'me' as opposed to the whole ecosystem. Even an amoeba notices a difference... or I should say 'responds differently', to a single stimulus in a whole system of interrelated causal processes. Things and subjects that have mass can be defined as individual phenomena... but really... reely, the world which we perceive through great diversity is an illusion. Everything is reely one environment that develops with perfect causal necessity. In cosmological terms, it's all good.
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Re: Silhouette! Experientialism!

Postby Meno_ » Tue Oct 13, 2020 5:56 pm

Promethean said:


"Even an amoeba notices a difference... or I should say 'responds differently"


True, but response and conscious awareness are as different as today's overly dependant reliance of behaviorism from conscious awareness of those differentials that tie the analogy together.

In reference to self concept, it probably could be said that the initial emergence of the self image primarily in the amoebas interactions with the environment, but that is a far cry to extend that to self consciousness.

But than again, is this arguable? Even if we introduce perception as an element, can the difference be any more 'cognative' then that exhibited on the level of perception-mostly as an optical differentiation of patterned behavior.?
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Re: Silhouette! Experientialism!

Postby Magnus Anderson » Tue Oct 13, 2020 6:52 pm

promethean75 wrote:Well I think the tiger would be part of the collection of things and processes that constitute the environment. You could really split hairs here and say that the moment a nervous system evolves in an organism, you have the origin of the concept 'me' as opposed to the whole ecosystem. Even an amoeba notices a difference... or I should say 'responds differently', to a single stimulus in a whole system of interrelated causal processes. Things and subjects that have mass can be defined as individual phenomena... but really... reely, the world which we perceive through great diversity is an illusion. Everything is reely one environment that develops with perfect causal necessity. In cosmological terms, it's all good.


It's not one way or another, it's both. There's one universe (whole) and within it many different things (parts.) That's not a contradictory statement.
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Re: Silhouette! Experientialism!

Postby Silhouette » Tue Oct 13, 2020 10:27 pm

Magnus Anderson wrote:I don't know what you mean when you say "experientially seamless".

You are apparently claiming that the claim "The tiger is separate from its environment" is false. If such is the case, I think it would be useful to define what you mean by "separate". To me, to say that the tiger is separate from its environment is to say that they occupy two different non-intersecting portions of space . (Alternatively, since what we're dealing with here is visual experience and not physical space, it can be interpreted to mean that the part of the picture we call "tiger" does not intersect with the part of the picture we call "environment".) Is that what you mean? Or do you mean something else? Because if that's what you mean, then I don't know how you can argue against that claim. If you mean something else, then I'd have to know what is it that you mean.

My claim is that it's more true that "experience is continuous" than, in the case of your image, "there is a tiger that is separate from its environment" - but the latter is more useful.
Hopefully you see the distinction between this and the more binary "tiger separate from environment = false" that you suggest.

All of visual experience, physical space, and any other sensory types of experience etc. is what we're dealing with here. Physical space is an experience too, interpretted from more than just the visual. The only suggestion of physical space at all in the first place comes from experience. As with my argument about Realism in my last post, physical space cannot be said to exist with any certainty before knowledge of it - because certainty is a form of knowledge informed by experience. It's all interpretation of existence, which is in the form of experience - even space itself.

But even accepting the experience of space as a noumenal property, at what point does a tiger become its environment? The more precise we get, the less clear the answer. Perhaps at the tip of each strand of fur? Look closer, and is it this nanometre or the next? How about at the scale of atoms? Is that one part of the tiger or the one next to it? What about the space between subatomic particles? And quantum uncertainty between position and momentum? Tiger or environment becomes more like a question of probability...
But even if we don't go down that route, what about the air that the tiger breathes in? At what point does the oxygen become part of the tiger? When does the Carbon Dioxide leave the Tiger's blood? Is it part of the Tiger when it's in the blood? What about the fur it might shed? At what point is it Tiger and when is it loose enough from the skin to no longer be Tiger? Is it fur or Tiger even when it is attached? Extend that even to limbs that it could lose due to an attack or accident - which is Tiger? We need to "Ship of Theseus" the fuck out of this question. What about the bacteria that make up a significant proportion of the Tiger, without which the Tiger could not survive? The food and drink it consumes? The shit it shits? Is "Tiger" merely a collection of all these parts, or is it all these parts together? Which can it lose before it can no longer be Tiger? We could reduce and reduce all these parts to even smaller parts, likewise we could increase and increase what constitutes a part to even greater than a Tiger. Is it a Tiger or a jungle? A planet?

"What is what" defies precision - it seems only more "clear" the less we regard: "over here is definitely Tiger, and over here definitely isn't". In this way, in order to gain one kind of certainty, we lose another - and vice versa. It's a trade-off: neither interpretation more true than the last. Some interpretations are more useful for some things, some more useful for others.

Experientialism was designed to take into account all of these age-old thought experiments.
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Re: Silhouette! Experientialism!

Postby Ecmandu » Wed Oct 14, 2020 12:19 am

I’ve taught this to silhouette before, and it’s ignored.

Everything is infinitely different than everything else.

If we didn’t have categories, we’d have a new name, not only for everything, but everything at different times.

Silhouette’s experientialism doesn’t take this simple fact into account.

For one; his pet theory experientialism is just utilitarianism (through evolution). So it’s not a very unique idea even though it has a different name.

But he doesn’t look deeper.

Did evolution create categories or did we discover what was already there to begin with?

That last question is a mindfuck for a person like silhouette.
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Re: Silhouette! Experientialism!

Postby Magnus Anderson » Wed Oct 14, 2020 7:57 am

Silhouette wrote:My claim is that it's more true that "experience is continuous" than, in the case of your image, "there is a tiger that is separate from its environment" - but the latter is more useful.


That "Experience is continuous" is "more true" suggests to me that it is false but that it is less false (i.e. closer to being true) than the other statement which is "There is a tiger that is separate from its environment".

Neither "Trump's face is white" nor "Trump's face is black" is true to reality but one of the two statements is closer to being true due to the fact that one of the two colors is closer to the actual color of Trump's face (which is orange.)

Hopefully you see the distinction between this and the more binary "tiger separate from environment = false" that you suggest.


I don't see the distinction other than perhaps that "Experience is continuous" is also false.

Physical space is an experience too


I wouldn't say so. "Physical space" is not a term referring to a kind of experience, but rather, a term referring to something that can (but does not have to) be experienced.

But even accepting the experience of space as a noumenal property, at what point does a tiger become its environment? The more precise we get, the less clear the answer. Perhaps at the tip of each strand of fur? Look closer, and is it this nanometre or the next? How about at the scale of atoms? Is that one part of the tiger or the one next to it? What about the space between subatomic particles? And quantum uncertainty between position and momentum? Tiger or environment becomes more like a question of probability...


The precise location of the line that divides the tiger from its environment is determined in part by the manner in which we define the two terms, "tiger" and "environment". Depending on how they are defined, the two portions of physical space, one of which is occupied by that which we call "tiger" and the other by that which we call "environment", may or may not be interesecting (and thus may or may not have a clear dividing line.)

You can define the terms in such a way that they refer to two different but intersecting regions. Even in such a case, it wouldn't be wrong to say that "The tiger is separate from its environment" provided that what we mean by "separate" is not strictly separate but "almost separate" as in "The two regions are interesecting but the intersection area is between 0 and some super small number".

But you can also define the two terms in such a way that they refer to two different non-intersecting regions. Indeed, the statement "This tiger's environment" refers to that which occupies certain (perhaps all) portions of physical space that are not occupied by the tiger. The problem here is merely figuring out the exact boundaries of the physical space occupied by the tiger which is caused by the fact that the term "tiger" is insufficiently defined. Give it a more complete definition and you will move one big step towards solving the problem.

But even if we don't go down that route, what about the air that the tiger breathes in? At what point does the oxygen become part of the tiger? When does the Carbon Dioxide leave the Tiger's blood? Is it part of the Tiger when it's in the blood? What about the fur it might shed? At what point is it Tiger and when is it loose enough from the skin to no longer be Tiger? Is it fur or Tiger even when it is attached? Extend that even to limbs that it could lose due to an attack or accident - which is Tiger? We need to "Ship of Theseus" the fuck out of this question. What about the bacteria that make up a significant proportion of the Tiger, without which the Tiger could not survive? The food and drink it consumes? The shit it shits? Is "Tiger" merely a collection of all these parts, or is it all these parts together? Which can it lose before it can no longer be Tiger? We could reduce and reduce all these parts to even smaller parts, likewise we could increase and increase what constitutes a part to even greater than a Tiger. Is it a Tiger or a jungle? A planet?


All of this (together with "Ship of Theseus") is merely an issue of definitions.
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Re: Silhouette! Experientialism!

Postby Silhouette » Wed Oct 14, 2020 8:04 pm

Magnus Anderson wrote:That "Experience is continuous" is "more true" suggests to me that it is false but that it is less false (i.e. closer to being true) than the other statement which is "There is a tiger that is separate from its environment".

Neither "Trump's face is white" nor "Trump's face is black" is true to reality but one of the two statements is closer to being true due to the fact that one of the two colors is closer to the actual color of Trump's face (which is orange.)

So we agree that statements can be truer or less true to reality.

Your objection seems to be with a statement like "Experience is continuous" being truer than a statement like "There is a tiger that is separate from its environment". You suggest the inverse is true.

Magnus Anderson wrote:I don't see the distinction other than perhaps that "Experience is continuous" is also false.

How false? Completely false? Only an insignificant or significant degree more false?

The distinction I was making was between the binary "completely true vs completely false" and a continuum of relatively more or less falseness/trueness - which you seemed to be on board with.

Magnus Anderson wrote:I wouldn't say so. "Physical space" is not a term referring to a kind of experience, but rather, a term referring to something that can (but does not have to) be experienced.

Ah, you see this brings me back to the point I was just making.

Physical space "not having to be experienced" suggests a noumenal existence independent of phenomenal experience - which I just showed can't work, because the statement that physical space doesn't have to be experienced is a statement of knowledge. The same goes for any ontological statement or understanding/conception of existence.
Go ahead and explain or even try to conceive of "physical space" without reference to any experience whatsoever. Kinda hard, huh? It's impossible - hence why experience is the concrete form of the abstract notion of existence. In order to explain or conceive of physical space, it is necessary to have first experienced it, and only then explain/conceive of it in terms of experience - and only then can we invert this logical progression to claim "as knowledge" that some kind of existence can be known to have preceded our experience even though we didn't know it at the time, and didn't even have any way of knowing it without experience. Do you see the problem here?

Magnus Anderson wrote:The precise location of the line that divides the tiger from its environment is determined in part by the manner in which we define the two terms, "tiger" and "environment". Depending on how they are defined, the two portions of physical space, one of which is occupied by that which we call "tiger" and the other by that which we call "environment", may or may not be interesecting (and thus may or may not have a clear dividing line.)

You can define the terms in such a way that they refer to two different but intersecting regions. Even in such a case, it wouldn't be wrong to say that "The tiger is separate from its environment" provided that what we mean by "separate" is not strictly separate but "almost separate" as in "The two regions are interesecting but the intersection area is between 0 and some super small number".

But you can also define the two terms in such a way that they refer to two different non-intersecting regions. Indeed, the statement "This tiger's environment" refers to that which occupies certain (perhaps all) portions of physical space that are not occupied by the tiger. The problem here is merely figuring out the exact boundaries of the physical space occupied by the tiger which is caused by the fact that the term "tiger" is insufficiently defined. Give it a more complete definition and you will move one big step towards solving the problem.

All of this (together with "Ship of Theseus") is merely an issue of definitions.

As you say, "the problem here is merely figuring out the exact boundaries of the physical space occupied by the tiger" being "insufficiently defined".
As I explained, attempts to approach a more and more complete definition result in more and more ambiguity (e.g. with the Heisenburg uncertainty principle that I glossed over in my last post but didn't name). In a sense, trying to get more precise has the perhaps unintended consequences of getting less precise, rendering problematic your solution of simply proceeding by defining "tiger" more sufficiently.

The Ship of Theseus clearly demonstrates the problem of the existence of precise definitions at all (especially as we transition between more macro reference frames and more micro frames of reference). Trying to get more and more precise with definitions is shown to be unable to solve the thought experiment - and the same goes for tigers etc.

Experientialism demonstrates this problem by first positing the existence of "distinct" non-intersecting bodies, and acknowledging the "gap" (or as you refer to it: the intersection area between 0 and some super small number) that separates the two bodies, seemingly allowing them to be thought of as distinct. It then asks what separates each body from this gap? If the answer is another gap, then this question can be asked again ad infinitum. If the answer is "nothing" then there is no longer any gap to separate distinct entities, and therefore the "transition" must be seamless i.e. continuous. There is no separation, not even any "gaps of nothingness" (I seem to remember that term confused you, so I'm explaining it to you here), so there are no precise grounds to regard the bodies as discrete. For intersecting bodies there's either this same continuity between them, or there's this same continuity via any "gaps" that you might still be trying to use to precisely distinguish one body from the other. Where does one body end and any gap begin? Get more and more precise to arrive at any gap between this body and the previous gap, and the problem perpetuates infinitely like with fractals.

The unavoidable realisation from these arguments is that the most true thing you can observe about experience is that it is continuous. It's less true to divide this continuity up - you need to be less precise for it to seem justifiable to treat bodies as discrete from one another because the more precise you get, the more clear it becomes that it's all continuous.
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Re: Silhouette! Experientialism!

Postby Magnus Anderson » Wed Oct 14, 2020 10:02 pm

Silhouette wrote:So we agree that statements can be truer or less true to reality.


That's correct.

Your objection seems to be with a statement like "Experience is continuous" being truer than a statement like "There is a tiger that is separate from its environment". You suggest the inverse is true.


I am saying that the statement "There is a tiger that is separate from its environment" is true. I am not saying the other statement is false because I do not even know what it means.

How false? Completely false? Only an insignificant or significant degree more false?


You said that it's "more true". That to me indicates that you think it's false. Of course, that may not be the case; but when someone says that a statement is "more true" instead of simply saying that it is "true", I assume it's because they don't think it's true. And if a statement isn't true, it is false.

The distinction I was making was between the binary "completely true vs completely false" and a continuum of relatively more or less falseness/trueness - which you seemed to be on board with.


The truth value of any given statement can be expressed in more than one way.

For example, the truth value of "Trump's face is white" can be expressed in any of the following ways:

1) it's not true
2) it's false
3) it's more true than "Trump's face is black"
4) it's less true than "Trump's face is orange"

They are all accurate descriptions.

Physical space "not having to be experienced" suggests a noumenal existence independent of phenomenal experience - which I just showed can't work, because the statement that physical space doesn't have to be experienced is a statement of knowledge. The same goes for any ontological statement or understanding/conception of existence.
Go ahead and explain or even try to conceive of "physical space" without reference to any experience whatsoever. Kinda hard, huh? It's impossible - hence why experience is the concrete form of the abstract notion of existence. In order to explain or conceive of physical space, it is necessary to have first experienced it, and only then explain/conceive of it in terms of experience - and only then can we invert this logical progression to claim "as knowledge" that some kind of existence can be known to have preceded our experience even though we didn't know it at the time, and didn't even have any way of knowing it without experience. Do you see the problem here?


The noumenal existence you speak of -- putting aside the Kantian misuse of the word "noumenon" to refer to something that exists outside of mind -- refers to "potential experience" or "that which can be experienced under specific circumstances".

To say that a tree exists at a certain point in time is to say that it is possible to experience it at that point in time (provided you do what is necessary to do in order to experience it.)

That's why we can say that a tree exists even if we're not looking at it (because it is possible to experience it during that period of time.)

Actual experience (that which is normally called "experience") and potential experience (things-in-themselves) are two different things. Physical objects belong to the second category.

As I explained, attempts to approach a more and more complete definition result in more and more ambiguity (e.g. with the Heisenburg uncertainty principle that I glossed over in my last post but didn't name). In a sense, trying to get more precise has the perhaps unintended consequences of getting less precise, rendering problematic your solution of simply proceeding by defining "tiger" more sufficiently.


Sure, it might be difficult for people to define their terms and their attempts to develop complete definitions may be counter-productive; but what exactly does that prove?

By definition, the tiger's environment is that which surrounds -- environs -- the tiger. It refers to that which occupies portions of space that are NOT occupied by the tiger. So by definition alone, any given tiger and its environment occupy two different non-intersecting portions of physical space, which means they are two separate, non-overlapping, things. That people cannot determine whether certain portions of space are those occupied by the tiger or not does not change that fact. Whichever way they settle it, the environment would be that which is separate from the tiger.

Experientialism demonstrates this problem by first positing the existence of "distinct" non-intersecting bodies, and acknowledging the "gap" (or as you refer to it: the intersection area between 0 and some super small number) that separates the two bodies, seemingly allowing them to be thought of as distinct. It then asks what separates each body from this gap? If the answer is another gap, then this question can be asked again ad infinitum. If the answer is "nothing" then there is no longer any gap to separate distinct entities, and therefore the "transition" must be seamless i.e. continuous. There is no separation, not even any "gaps of nothingness" (I seem to remember that term confused you, so I'm explaining it to you here), so there are no grounds to regard the bodies as discrete. For intersecting bodies there's either this same continuity between them, or there's this same continuity via any "gaps" that you might still be trying to precisely distinguish one body from the other.


The gap is a conceptual one.

There's no need for a physical line between the tiger and its environment, and another physical line between that first physical line and the tiger, and yet another physical line between that second physical line and the tiger, and so on.

"The tiger is separate from its environment" merely means that the two portions of physical space are non-intersecting. It says nothing about there being a physical line (or gap) separating the two portions. That's how I interpret that statement and I believe that's also how others interpret it.

If you want to use the word "separate" to mean something else, that's fine by me, but then you can't use that to reject the above statement.
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Re: Silhouette! Experientialism!

Postby Silhouette » Thu Oct 15, 2020 12:59 am

Magnus Anderson wrote:I am saying that the statement "There is a tiger that is separate from its environment" is true. I am not saying the other statement is false because I do not even know what it means.

You said that it's "more true". That to me indicates that you think it's false. Of course, that may not be the case; but when someone says that a statement is "more true" instead of simply saying that it is "true", I assume it's because they don't think it's true. And if a statement isn't true, it is false.

So we're in agreement that "more true" or "less true" are valid with respect to reality, but you also say "more true" indicates false?
And since "more true" is truer than "less true", then presumably "less true" is also false by the same logic?
So is any relative degree of truth "false", except absolutely true?

Surely "more true" is simply "less false", and "less true" is "more false"?
That doesn't mean both are flat-out "false".
Perhaps you're saying they're degrees of false? But "absolutely true" is "more true" than any other degree of truth, yet "absolutely true" being "more true" here doesn't mean "false".

I'm not using "more true" as "false". I literally mean there are degrees of truth (and falsity), and "more true" can mean anything up to and including absolutely true. My claim is that Continuous Experience is how "absolutely true" is experienced. Since it's "absolutely true", it's also "more true" than discrete experiences - and also, some ways of interpretting discrete experiences are more or less true than others: they are all true/false relative to Continuous Experience.

I acknowledge that you've been attempting to argue against my points, but are you experiencing any degree of understanding of the arguments that I'm making whatsoever?

Magnus Anderson wrote:The noumenal existence you speak of -- putting aside the Kantian misuse of the word "noumenon" to refer to something that exists outside of mind -- refers to "potential experience" or "that which can be experienced under specific circumstances".

You've experienced how annoyed I get when people when people mistakenly tell me I'm saying something other than what I'm saying as fact. I'd rather avoid being annoyed, so if you'd help me out with that, I'd appreciate it. I don't like being annoying, nor the effect it has on others, but most importantly how little it helps the discussion of facts. Moving swiftly on.

Noumena are already defined as beyond phenomena, which are the only means by which we have access to reality and the only means by which we can derive knowledge. It's only logical that if something is inaccessible and beyond our means to derive knowledge of it, that it's unknowable. Sure, by virtue of being unknowable, noumena are "outside of the mind" as a consequence, but I'm well aware that that's not the definition. We're supposed to "otherwise know" of noumena at least "indirectly" - as though they can conceptually exist "within our minds" without being directly knowable, but this doesn't work for the reasons I already explained. Any conception whatsoever that we attempt of noumena will be in terms of experience - it's impossible to conceive of noumena without any reference whatsoever to experience: conception itself is an experience. As such, even "indirect" knowledge of noumena has to be knowledge of phenomena.

Magnus Anderson wrote:To say that a tree exists at a certain point in time is to say that it is possible to experience it at that point in time (provided you do what is necessary to do in order to experience it.)

That's why we can say that a tree exists even if we're not looking at it (because it is possible to experience it during that period of time.)

Actual experience (that which is normally called "experience") and potential experience (things-in-themselves) are two different things. Physical objects belong to the second category.

Okay, so the problem with "potential experience" is that it's always "beyond experience" until it's being actually experienced.

The reason we think that non-actual experience is "potential" is because we're actually experiencing either a memory of it having been actually experienced "before" (though the memory occurs in the present), or we're actually experiencing the belief in someone else's actual experience of it - and/or we experience a belief in the reliability of the conceptual model of causation for such an experience to happen again. These are all "actual" experiences - that's the direct verification required of the absolutely true - anything else is unfalsifiable. To conceive of actual experiences as some other kind of potential experience twists this truth into a useful conceptual model, but it's not as true.

Magnus Anderson wrote:Sure, it might be difficult for people to define their terms and their attempts to develop complete definitions may be counter-productive; but what exactly does that prove?

By definition, the tiger's environment is that which surrounds -- environs -- the tiger. It refers to that which occupies portions of space that are NOT occupied by the tiger. So by definition alone, any given tiger and its environment occupy two different non-intersecting portions of physical space, which means they are two separate, non-overlapping, things. That people cannot determine whether certain portions of space are those occupied by the tiger or not does not change that fact. Whichever way they settle it, the environment would be that which is separate from the tiger.

It proves that precision over what "portions of space" are "NOT occupied by the tiger" is a counter-productive pursuit, the more you attempt to refine it.
We can be a lot more sure that the centre of the tiger least environs the tiger compared to the tip of its whisker, and the further away from the tiger that the environment is, the more sure we can be that it's unoccupied by the tiger - both subject to what we attempt to precisely define as tiger and not environment (and vice versa), which we've established gets increasingly grey the more black and white we try and make it. Or is that "centre of the tiger" more heart than tiger, or less tiger than jungle etc. depending on how macro/micro we're defining things?
Again you're distinguishing the ability of people to determine something from "the fact", which I showed to be logically inconsistent: existence purported to be pre-knowledge is a statement of knowledge, and knowledge is something that requires existence. So it matters "which way we settle it" - the environment cannot be separate from the tiger "as a fact" if determining this as knowledge is problematic. If there's an epistemic problem, there's an ontological one.

Magnus Anderson wrote:The gap is a conceptual one.

There's no need for a physical line between the tiger and its environment, and another physical line between that first physical line and the tiger, and yet another physical line between that second physical line and the tiger, and so on.

"The tiger is separate from its environment" merely means that the two portions of physical space are non-intersecting. It says nothing about there being a physical line (or gap) separating the two portions. That's how I interpret that statement and I believe that's also how others interpret it.

If you want to use the word "separate" to mean something else, that's fine by me, but then you can't use that to reject the above statement.

A "conceptual" gap is an experience. No physical lines are needed - even the existence at all of physical lines in nature is a highly dubious proclamation.

I've already explained that non-intersection of two bodies means mutual intersection with a gap, and as I explained, the precise bounds between the bodies and the gap are also highly dubious. Forget lines - the harder you look, the more indistinct it is whether one bit of what could be tiger is environment and vice versa, and the less clear it is if you're talking about tiger, part of tiger, or what tiger is part of. Just like you might not be able to see the tiger for the jungle, you might not be able to see the tiger for carbon atoms. You have to be general and imprecise to interpret your statements about separating two portions in the way others interpret it, which as you say is how you're interpretting it. I'm well aware how people normally conceive of distinctions - I'm just saying that upon examination, these ways are significantly flawed in the ways I'm arguing, and can easily be resolved through Experientialism.

I believe it would help the discussion if you were able to confirm if you have any understanding at all of my points, so I can better gauge if I need to be explaining some bits differently than how I already am - because I'm becoming conscious that I'm starting to repeat the best ways I can think of to explain these points and I really can't see how you could be failing to see their sense. You don't have to agree on an emotional level, I'm just interested if you see my points at all on an intellectual level.
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Re: Silhouette! Experientialism!

Postby Magnus Anderson » Thu Oct 15, 2020 10:24 am

This is first part of my response.

Silhouette wrote:So we're in agreement that "more true" or "less true" are valid with respect to reality, but you also say "more true" indicates false?


Not necessarily.

"Trump's face is orange" is both 1) true, and 2) more true than "Trump's face is white". So the two, "true" and "more true", are not mutually exclusive.

I merely assumed that you used "more true" instead of "true" because you thought the statement is actually false.

And since "more true" is truer than "less true", then presumably "less true" is also false by the same logic?


"Less true" necessarily means false. (Note that in everyday use the word "false" does not mean "completely false". It merely means "not completely true".)

"[M]ore true" can mean anything up to and including absolutely true.


I agree with that.

My claim is that Continuous Experience is how "absolutely true" is experienced. Since it's "absolutely true", it's also "more true" than discrete experiences - and also, some ways of interpretting discrete experiences are more or less true than others: they are all true/false relative to Continuous Experience.


Noted. That means my assumption was wrong.

Noumena are already defined as beyond phenomena, which are the only means by which we have access to reality and the only means by which we can derive knowledge. It's only logical that if something is inaccessible and beyond our means to derive knowledge of it, that it's unknowable.


I am not sure what the underlined means. The way I see it, it simply means "potential experience" or "experience that can occur under certain circumstances".

Sure, by virtue of being unknowable, noumena are "outside of the mind" as a consequence, but I'm well aware that that's not the definition.


Kantian noumenon is defined as "a posited object or event that exists independently of human sense and/or perception". That means "outside of the mind".

I merely hinted at the (irrelevant) fact that the word "noumenon" comes from the Greek word "nous" which means "mind". "Noumenon" originally referred to that which is thought as opposed to that which appears. It had nothing to do with what's outside of mind. But Kant or whoever misread Kant misused the word and it became the norm.

We're supposed to "otherwise know" of noumena at least "indirectly" - as though they can conceptually exist "within our minds" without being directly knowable, but this doesn't work for the reasons I already explained.


I am not following you.

Any conception whatsoever that we attempt of noumena will be in terms of experience - it's impossible to conceive of noumena without any reference whatsoever to experience: conception itself is an experience. As such, even "indirect" knowledge of noumena has to be knowledge of phenomena.


I insist that Kantian noumenon means no more than "potential experience".

I also insist that potential experience is not the same as actual experience. Potential experience means "experience that can occur under certain circumstances" whereas actual experience means "experience that occurs at present time". Every actual experience is an instance of potential experience (if someone has an experience, it means that such an experience can be had) but the opposite is not the case (if an experience can occur, it does not mean someone is having such an experience.)

I think one of your points is that there's only actual experience. Correct me if I'm wrong.
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Re: Silhouette! Experientialism!

Postby Magnus Anderson » Thu Oct 15, 2020 4:40 pm

The second part of my response.

Silhouette wrote:It proves that precision over what "portions of space" are "NOT occupied by the tiger" is a counter-productive pursuit, the more you attempt to refine it.


It is my belief that you made a claim that the statement "The tiger is separate from its environment" is false (but useful.)

Can you confirm that?

What I've been asking you to do is to explain what that statement means. (I need to understand what you believe before I can ask for an argument in support of what you believe.)

The way I interpret that statement, and I am sure the way most people would interpret it, is that it is saying that the portion of reality represented by the term "tiger" and the portion of reality represented by the term "tiger's environment" occupy two different non-intersecting portions of physical space.

Is this what you mean by that statement?

So far, I haven't seen a clear "Yes" or "No" from you.

If this is what you mean, then the statement is true by definition because the term "tiger's environment" is defined in such a way that it refers to that which occupies those (but not necessarily all) portions of physical space that are NOT occupied by the tiger. This is regardless of how the term "tiger" is defined. Even if the term "tiger" is not completely defined (which I can accept to be the case) and even if it is impossible for people to complete the definition (which I don't agree to be the case though I can agree that some, perhaps many, people find that task to be rather difficult), the term "tiger's environment" still refers to something that is separate from the tiger.

We can be a lot more sure that the centre of the tiger least environs the tiger compared to the tip of its whisker, and the further away from the tiger that the environment is, the more sure we can be that it's unoccupied by the tiger - both subject to what we attempt to precisely define as tiger and not environment (and vice versa), which we've established gets increasingly grey the more black and white we try and make it. Or is that "centre of the tiger" more heart than tiger, or less tiger than jungle etc. depending on how macro/micro we're defining things?


The heart of the tiger belongs to the tiger -- it's part of the tiger. His internal organs, his eyes, his paws, his tail, etc all belong to him.

And if that tiger happens to be in your room, then you are not part of the tiger but part of its environment. And not only you but also your table, your TV, your kitchen counter, your shoes, your bed and so on. Plenty of things we know with certainty to belong to the tiger's environment (and not to the tiger.)

For most but not all portions of reality, the definition of the word "tiger" allows us to determine whether they belong to a tiger or not. For some, however, the word is insufficiently defined -- that's the so-called "grey area". The grey area problem is resolved by filling the gaps in the definition.

Again you're distinguishing the ability of people to determine something from "the fact", which I showed to be logically inconsistent: existence purported to be pre-knowledge is a statement of knowledge, and knowledge is something that requires existence. So it matters "which way we settle it" - the environment cannot be separate from the tiger "as a fact" if determining this as knowledge is problematic. If there's an epistemic problem, there's an ontological one.


I am not sure what you're saying here but that the tiger is separate from its environment is a definitional truth -- something that you can deduce from definitions alone. There's absolutely nothing problematic about it. It's as problematic as the problem of "What's the result of 2 + 2?"

A "conceptual" gap is an experience.


How is that an experience?

I've already explained that non-intersection of two bodies means mutual intersection with a gap


What does "mutual intersection with a gap" mean?

the harder you look, the more indistinct it is whether one bit of what could be tiger is environment and vice versa


The harder you look, the more you run into those portions of reality that you cannot classify as either belonging to the tiger or belonging to the tiger's environment. The fact that you cannot classify them does not mean you can classify them both ways (which is what the word "indistinct" suggests to me.)
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