A team of scientists studies my daughter.....

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Pineal, Dec 4, 2011.

  1. Pineal Banned Banned

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    They use a wide range of medical, behavioral, psychological tests to determine her qualities.

    Is there someone outside of what is considered scientific data that I perceive when I see my daughter - or even a stranger's daughter who I spend a little time with - that this team will not notice.

    Note: when I say notice in reference to what the scientists' notice, I mean things that would be considered scientifically valid observations.

    Of course this team will likely notice things that I am not aware of. That she tends to be sullen after lunch - when I tend to be a work - that she has this or that ration of hormones in her blood. Why all sorts of things.

    But then, isn't there something that we as fellow humans notice about each other - and not just fellow humans but also animals, specific landscapes, plants - that is knowledge of these other beings, but is considered projection, qualia, sentimental attachments or reactions and not scientifically valid?

    If I can perceive things about fellow humans, some that can be put into words - though live metaphors may be necessary - some I cannot put into words, that goes beyond at least current science, might there not also be parallel knowledge about non-human life forms.

    In a sense this is a kind of Mary's room question.....

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary's_room

    though my bone of contention is not with physicalism, per se, here, but rather the eradication of all things called subjective as not being real or as real as hypothetically objective science - especially its metaphysics and especially as current science is generally conflated with some final understanding.
     
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  3. Arioch Valued Senior Member

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    Subjective experiences are certainly real in some respect, in that they are actually experienced by an individual(or the next best thing, the person remembers experiencing them when they didn't). However that doesn't mean that they reflect reality or that they're indicative of anything.

    In other words, can you perceive things about your daughter that science can't detect yet? It's very likely, humans are very good at picking up moods and emotions from people from just their facial expressions and body language(something like eighty percent of all communication is nonverbal), and while science can detect many of these things with various machines, it doesn't do so as quickly(though it could detect an underlying cause which you would miss). But this in no way invalidates a materialistic worldview as we can explain why you could find those things without relying on anything immaterial.
     
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  5. Pineal Banned Banned

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    I appreciate the measured response and it helps me be clearer. In a sense I mean, is there something categorical I can pick up that they cannot - as scientists, that is.

    IOW I am not holding this hypothetical groups of scientists to an ideal of perfection. Especially with my daughter, I might notice patterns their research might miss, though on other occasions they might catch. They do another 6 hours of videotaping or whatever. I assume that good human observers will pick up certain things that will be missed by such a team on occasion, even regularly.

    My point was more, can I pick up things that are categorically missed? Something, for example, about the essential nature of my daughter or a particular horse or grove of trees.
     
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  7. Arioch Valued Senior Member

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    Anything that would require time to discover(such as a change in overall appetite or sleeping patterns) or that would require previous knowledge of the subject you are likely to pick up before they do simply because you know your daughter better than they do. You know what she likes, the way she talks, how she acts under certain stimuli. The fact that you know her better means that you will notice changes in routine before they do.

    As for "essential natures" I'm afraid I don't really accept that concept in the first place so I may not be the best person to ask.
     
  8. Pineal Banned Banned

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    For example the specific feel of a person when you fall in love with them. A specific feel that can be called up later, even after the in-love feelings are decades past. Metaphorically I could say it is a timbre or scent phenomenon. Though I tend to experience it with an image of the person triggering that specific feeling of who they are. I am pretty sure even the non-supernaturally inclined experience these things, even if they think of them as purely emotional, not really having to do with objective qualities of the beloved.

    But that said, I realized a problem with the thread. I have bitten off perhaps more than my OP should try to chew.

    Psychologists are blending objective - behaviorist - and subjective - more interpretive perceptions. They are already out of the objective camp or have one foot in both worlds. So this makes my task much harder than it really needs to be.
     
  9. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Modern science is the new feudalism.
     
  10. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I don't understand the question. What's a "someone"? What kind of being should one expect a 'someone' to possess?

    So your contention does appear to be with physicalism.

    You seem to me to be arguing for a broader ontology that includes the emotional, aesthetic, subjective, personal, ethical (and religious as well?) aspects of life as irreducible elements of being, alongside and in addition to the inventory that physics recognizes and out of which scientific understanding is constructed.
     
  11. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Such as a true self, "Buddha nature," that which is beyond aging, illness and death.
     
  12. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    The next question would obviously be, what's a "Buddha nature"?

    Pineal seemed to be suggesting, correctly in my opinion, that something fundamental about people is probably going to be left out of laboratory reports about their physical states, no matter how complete those reports might theoretically be.

    My question about what a "someone" is was meant to inquire into what the nature of the thing might be that's supposedly being left out.

    Is it some kind of stuff? Is it something that we should be adding to our ontological inventory, alongside and separate from all of the items that physics recognizes? (That's the move towards mind-body dualism.)

    Or is the personal aspect that the scientific report is leaving out more akin to a perspective, a first-person subjective way of experiencing something, as opposed to abstractly conceptualizing it in terms of theoretical language. In other words, is the distinction that we are looking for to be found in the difference between experiencing something and thinking about it? (That's how I address Frank Jackson's 'Mary black and white' argument that Pineal referred to.)

    A physicalist scientific approach can obviously explain that distinction. Actually seeing color first-hand is going to be a whole different neural process, a very different kind of brain event, than thinking scientifically about the brain states associated with color. The visual cortex will be involved in the one, the linguistic and associative functions in the other. We should probably expect the two events to be subjectively different and we should be able to explain why that difference exists.

    Explaining something isn't the same thing as doing it. I don't think that anyone would want to argue that thinking about the neurophysiology of color perception will ever replace the experience of actually seeing color for one's self. Artists can rest easy, the brain scientists aren't going to put them out of business. That seems to be a big part of Pineal's concerns about science.

    In the Buddhist context, it's probably equivalent to the distinction between becoming an expert in Buddhist philosophy, and actually engaging in a meditation practice for one's self.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  13. Anti-Flag Pun intended Registered Senior Member

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    I saw a movie like that once.... If I were you I'd stop those scientists now.
     
  14. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    I think then that in the context of a group of scientists studying a person, what they don't notice, but which is scientifically observable otherwise, is a genuine and personally fulfilling relationship with the studied person.

    A person has friends, relatives, colleagues, acquaintances, etc. etc.

    But the relationship between the studied person and the scientist who studies that person is nothing like those relationships.
    It may be personally fulfilling for the scientist, but it is on principle a non-relationship for the studied person (as typically, the studied person is supposed to behave "naturally," as if the scientists who study her wouldn't be there at all).

    What does Pineal's daughter have from the relationship she at least nominally has with those scientists? Nothing, unless they payed to study her.
    The scientists, on the other hand, get from that relationship with her that they get to do their work.
     
  15. Pineal Banned Banned

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    Should have read 'something'.
    Sure, you could say that. Though the physical is an expanding set of 'things' and phenomena, so even if only the physical is real, such a team could be missing something.

    Probably the easiest position for me to defend would be that a conservative epistemological position would be, even from a scientific standpoint, that there might be things missed by such a team, given that science is not a finished area of study.
     
  16. Pineal Banned Banned

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    Wow! What a great read. Not what I meant, but I love that you could find a sensible way to interpret my error. Thank you.
     

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