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Thread: Objectivity is relatively simple

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rav View Post
    But isn't it more philosophically problematic to declare that there is an independently existing physical world apart from the mind, than it is to merely declare that there is, in fact, a mind?

    Don't get me wrong. I'm not a solipsist. But I do acknowledge that I can be more certain that there is content in my mind than I can be regarding the proposition that there is content outside of and apart from it.
    You would have to declare that there's a mind in the first place, for it to be independent from the physical world would you not? The statement you made seems the same to me, maybe I misunderstood.

    If you accept a purely physical world and accept that the current model is the most accurate prediction of the world, then you accept that the mind cannot be distinct from our brain. The concept of mind then, although incredibly useful, has to be inadequate just as our current model is.

    Atoms, matter, energy are also very useful concepts but are inadequate and due to change. Because these concepts can (and most likely will) change, and because we each (as individuals) have a different concept associated with each of these word, it follows that they must be subjective.
    Last edited by Literphor; 04-16-12 at 02:00 PM.

  2. #42
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    A duplicate post. Why can't we delete them?

  3. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Literphor View Post
    You would have to declare that there's a mind in the first place, for it to be independent from the physical world would you not? The statement you made seems the same to me, maybe I misunderstood.
    "I think, therefore I am". It's really that simple. If there was only one true statement I could possibly make, it would have to be that one. Whatever I am, I am most definitely here, and whatever the mind is, I definitely have one. Nothing else is quite so self evident.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rav View Post
    "I think, therefore I am". It's really that simple. If there was only one true statement I could possibly make, it would have to be that one. Whatever I am, I am most definitely here, and whatever the mind is, I definitely have one.
    If you've already accepted the world must be a certain way then I certainly can't change your mind. It's a shame that you don't even wish to entertain the possibility your mind isn't actually as you perceive it to be. Have you considered the notion that the concept of "I" and "think" will also change as our understanding of the universe changes?

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by wynn View Post
    Of course you can.

    Click the edit button in the left upper corner below your screen name, then in the right lower corner of the edit window is a button for advanced options; from advanced options, there is a delete option, at the top, that you need to check.

    In fact, you can delete already from the quick edit window.
    Thank you Wynn but that was the first place I checked.

  6. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by Literphor View Post
    If you've already accepted the world must be a certain way then I certainly can't change your mind. It's a shame that you don't even wish to entertain the possibility your mind isn't actually as you perceive it to be. Have you considered the notion that the concept of "I" and "think" will also change as our understanding of the universe changes?
    Sure, but again, whatever "I" am, I definitely exist, and whatever "thinking" actually is, I can certainly do it. So what I'm saying is that although my perspective on the nature of such things can certainly change, there doesn't seem to be such a thing as information that once learned of will blink my self (and my mind along with it) out of existence. In other words, it makes no sense to suggest that my experience is not actual.

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rav View Post
    Sure, but again, whatever "I" am, I definitely exist, and whatever "thinking" actually is, I can certainly do it. So what I'm saying is that although my perspective on the nature of such things can certainly change, there doesn't seem to be such a thing as information that once learned of will blink my self (and my mind along with it) out of existence. In other words, it makes no sense to suggest that my experience is not actual.
    Just because you acknowledge that things must exist doesn't mean that you yourself are thinking objectively. Can you discern between these two statements?

    "I think therefore I am"
    "Particle interactions cause brain states which produce a phenomenon known as consciousness".

    They're both essentially talking about the same thing, but one statement is more objective than the other.


    I'm starting to lose scope of what we're discussing. I thought the problem was subjectivity vs. objectivity, not the epistemology of mind. If the statement "I think therefore I am" is a concept, one who's meaning can change with time and between individuals, then it should logically follow that the statement is subjective. All statements we make are subjective, because of this simple understanding. Any knowledge garnered from them must also be subjective shouldn't they?


    Understand that we cannot think objectively, at all. So even though future neuroscience may be able to explain away every sensation and thought process a person may have we'll still continue to think subjectively and therefore cannot commit ourselves to what we believe to be more true. Even if we can explain away "I", sensations and thought using neuroscience, it doesn't mean those concepts will be any less useful to us. Even if we know "I" doesn't exist in its own right, our mind must continue to use the concept as it's a property of our subjectivity. Can you imagine the universe in a way where you're not an observer? Of course not, because we can't think objectively.

    Maybe it'll be easier if you think of the mind as some sort of software. Yes it's really effective but by the end of the day it's indiscernible from algorithms (DNA -> particles) and the hardware that incorporates it (physical law).
    Last edited by Literphor; 04-16-12 at 06:35 PM.

  8. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by wynn View Post
    It seems that your hostility even convinces you that you are right.

    You project things into people's words that they did not say, and then criticize them for it.
    Yet you don't seem to be able to muster clarifying what you've said in any way. Either way, your contribution is just useless. If you cannot properly define terms you use in your argument, then you have no argument. At least none but a solipsist argument.

  9. #49
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    I think that objectivity is subjective.
    As more people agree on something, so that truth becomes more objective.

  10. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by Literphor View Post
    If the statement "I think therefore I am" is a concept, one who's meaning can change with time and between individuals, then it should logically follow that the statement is subjective.
    That's not really what I'm talking about. I am simply saying that while experiences are subjective, it is an objective fact that I have them.

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rav View Post
    That's not really what I'm talking about. I am simply saying that while experiences are subjective, it is an objective fact that I have them.
    Math is about the closest thing to objectivity as we'll get.

    Subjectively you are having experiences. More objectively (but still subjective) particle interactions are occurring. The most objective we'll ever get (and it's still subjective) is to fully describe the universe using only math terms. A purely mathematical explanation is, most likely, going to be our most accurate model of the universe. We could not mentally deploy this model, because our brain doesn't work that way. We'd continue to use concepts that we know is inaccurate, because its useful. So even though experiences/mind/existence/space-time/particle/matter is really <Enter futuristic mathematical proof here> they will continue to "exist" because we are subjective beings.


    Lets just agree to disagree. I can't think of any other way to describe it.

  12. #52
    Quote Originally Posted by Syne View Post
    Yet you don't seem to be able to muster clarifying what you've said in any way. Either way, your contribution is just useless. If you cannot properly define terms you use in your argument, then you have no argument. At least none but a solipsist argument.
    And I suppose you believe you are being totally objective when you say the above?

    That it's not just your opinion that my contribution is "just useless."
    You believe that it is objectively so, and that everyone who doesn't agree with you, is just being subjective ...

  13. #53
    Quote Originally Posted by Literphor View Post
    I'm starting to lose scope of what we're discussing. I thought the problem was subjectivity vs. objectivity, not the epistemology of mind.
    I think that bringing in problems of epistemology is inescapable.


    Can you imagine the universe in a way where you're not an observer? Of course not, because we can't think objectively.
    Which is why the view from nowhere is not a real possibility for us, even though we aspire for it.

    We're bound to a perspective, and this makes us necessarily subjective.


    Maybe it'll be easier if you think of the mind as some sort of software. Yes it's really effective but by the end of the day it's indiscernible from algorithms (DNA -> particles) and the hardware that incorporates it (physical law).
    Moreover, the mind has a measurable effect on the brain. For example, people who worry a lot, or people who meditate a lot turn out to have changed brains.

    The mind-brain dualism worked out in the context of the belief that the brain is set, and only deteriorates over time. But with the discovery of neuroplasticity, this idea is challenged.

  14. #54
    Quote Originally Posted by wynn View Post
    And I suppose you believe you are being totally objective when you say the above?

    That it's not just your opinion that my contribution is "just useless."
    You believe that it is objectively so, and that everyone who doesn't agree with you, is just being subjective ...
    There are such things as subjective truths, Wynn.

  15. #55
    Quote Originally Posted by JDawg View Post
    There are such things as subjective truths, Wynn.
    While, you, of course, believe that whatever you say, is objective truth.
    And heaven help anyone who doesn't agree with you!

  16. #56
    You can tell when Wynn's point has been defeated without even looking at the other's person's post. If Wynn's response is a sarcastic non-sequitur, it is in lieu of an admission that she's stumped.

  17. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Literphor View Post
    Math is about the closest thing to objectivity as we'll get.
    Mathematics, Boolean algebra, logic are tools (functions, operators).
    All are based on axioms, self evidence.
    The problem is reduced to the question what are the axioms, self evidence.

  18. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by wynn View Post
    We are epistemically dependent: we depend on other people to provide us with words and concepts in which we think; we depend on others for a number of things we consider "true," things which we do not and cannot test for ourselves, but consider them to be true anyway.
    I concur entirely. We are epistemically dependent in this sense, and in much more profound ways. We are "epistemically dependent" for our being significantly advanced in consciousness from animals, it seems to me. A feral child hasn't even the ability to communicate.

    Quote Originally Posted by wynn View Post
    In order for us to have epistemic autonomy (and thus be able to be objective), we would have to be completely independent of other people: we would have to be able to live by ourselves, alone, without any input from others, we would have to invent our own language (without any reference to any human language), our own methodology for assessing truths etc.
    This is roughly what you mean by "epistemic autonomy". And I concur with the implication that it's impossible. It is in fact absurd. For instance, there is no such thing as a private language. Language is inherently social. It's incoherent to imagine someone developing a "private" language, so the quest for "epistemic autonomy" can't even get underway.

    Quote Originally Posted by wynn View Post
    IRL, people function on the basis of their ego(tism), not necessarily truth. But they nevertheless use philosophical terms, and expect to be given philosophical credence.
    I can't imagine anyone who wants to maintain that he is "philosophically certain" in the sense that you've been suggesting. (I am still looking for a definition of philosophical certainty.) Yet many people still maintain that they are certain, that they know the truth, and so on. In rationally weighed and considered matters, the pronouncement of certainty is in fact correct. For instance, the proposition that "we are epistemically dependent" is true. Do you disagree? Few people disagree with mathematical truths and logical truths (non-contradiction, excluded middle, etc.), but there are plenty of other truths behind which there is no strictly demonstrative method of arriving at a conclusion. For instance, most people are certain that they exist, that they have parents, and that they will die. Since all of those claims are true, their certainty (taken as a proposition) is perfectly reasonable.

    Quote Originally Posted by wynn View Post
    Who is right? Who is being objective? Who is merely acting out their egotism?
    There is no single method for testing who is correct. But what's the point? (Again, I thought you were implying some kind of skeptical position.)

    Quote Originally Posted by wynn View Post
    They are certain only in a psychological sense, not necessarily also in a philosophical sense.
    Again, if a necessary condition of "philosophical certainty" is "epistemic autonomy" as you described, then philosophical certainty is impossible. But again, what's the point? We still know, with certainty, a tremendous number of true propositions. I could go on and define another kind of certainty, say "self-certainty," which is the certainty of an omniscient and omnipotent being. Then I could contend that people are certain but that they are neither philosophically certain nor self-certain. But again, what's the point? They are still certain according to the standard meaning and use of the word; they still know true things without fear of doubt.

  19. #59
    Quote Originally Posted by Literphor View Post
    Math is about the closest thing to objectivity as we'll get.

    Subjectively you are having experiences. More objectively (but still subjective) particle interactions are occurring. The most objective we'll ever get (and it's still subjective) is to fully describe the universe using only math terms. A purely mathematical explanation is, most likely, going to be our most accurate model of the universe. We could not mentally deploy this model, because our brain doesn't work that way. We'd continue to use concepts that we know is inaccurate, because its useful. So even though experiences/mind/existence/space-time/particle/matter is really <Enter futuristic mathematical proof here> they will continue to "exist" because we are subjective beings.


    Lets just agree to disagree. I can't think of any other way to describe it.
    It's not that I don't understand what you're saying, it's just that I think you're missing the fact that the one thing you can be absolutely certain of, more certain of than anything else (including the usefulness of mathematics), is that you are an actually existing entity that has experiences. If there is only one thing that it is absurd to question the reality of, it is that, since even the act of questioning itself can not occur if it is not already true.

    Of course, you can only be certain of your own existence, and not mine or anyone else's. In fact we are making all sorts of assumptions the moment we assign the quality of actual existence to anything other than ourselves, just as I am doing now by accepting that you are another entity, like me, that also actually does in fact have experiences. So when I say that it is a fact that "people" have experiences, I can't really back that up, and must ultimately concede that maybe it only appears that they do. But when I say that it is a fact that "I" have experiences, well, I think it's best illustrated by considering a scenario within which I might try to demonstrate to myself that I don't. "I don't think, therefore I'm not... Errr, that was idiotic".

    But let's go ahead and make an assumption, and build something on it. Let's assume that there is more than just the individual who self evidently exists and has experiences. Let's assume that we all do. That we are a collective of individuals who self evidently exist and have experiences. Because the individual does, after all, have to make at least one assumption to free themselves from a solipsist stance. If we accept the existence of this collective as an actual fact, then it follows that it is an actual fact that members of this collective are having experiences. If you're going to call this a subjective fact, then everything is. But that's not really your argument is it, that there is no such thing as an objectively real world in which things actually occur independently of our perception of them?

    Anyway, it doesn't really matter. It's just interesting philosophical discourse, and we are indeed free to disagree

  20. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by wynn View Post
    And I suppose you believe you are being totally objective when you say the above?

    That it's not just your opinion that my contribution is "just useless."
    You believe that it is objectively so, and that everyone who doesn't agree with you, is just being subjective ...
    Why can't you just define the terms you want to bandy about as if they are a thought-terminating clique? I never said anything about my opinion being objective, so this is a pointless straw man.

    Do you know how to form a simple argument?

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