Objective Reality

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by fess, Nov 13, 2008.

  1. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

    Firstly, it is anything but clear how the former's existence is not contingent upon the latter. That's exactly the point: there can be no non-experiential experience of a property.

    But most importantly, the words I emphasized in your comments clearly illustrate the contradiction. You're correct, qualia are human concepts, and as such, exists solely therein. Your second statement contradicts your first directly. One can never know whether or not a certain quality is present in the absence of a perceiver because a perceiver is always required to note it.
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  3. Crunchy Cat F-in' *meow* baby!!! Valued Senior Member

    Of course we can. We know that objects and events have differences. Whether or not we know what they are, we certainly know those differences exist and they exist with or without a human to detect and label those differences.

    Incorrect. Meaning is the relationship between two or more variables. Those relationships exist whether or not a human is present to detect those relationships and label them.

    The same property is there regardless of the detection abilities of a life form on Earth. Humans cannot see the infrared wavelength; however, it doesn't change the reality is that warm blooded life on Earth emit information on the infrared wavelength (a property of mammals).
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  5. Crunchy Cat F-in' *meow* baby!!! Valued Senior Member

    1. Lock yourself in a room where you are the sole sapient observer.
    2. Place a clock in front of you and observe what the time is.
    3. Inject yourself with a healthy dose of general anesthesia.
    4. When you come to, observe the clock again.

    You cannot observe the general anesthetic once it's in your body; yet, it's turning-off-consciousness property will most certainly work and the clock observation will verify it.

    I agree and those properties are still there whether or not they are experienced.

    Again, I don't see how my original statement is contradictory in the least. It boils down to three specific notions:

    1) Difference exists.
    2) Humans can detect differences and communicate them.
    3) Those differences exist without humans to detect them.

    While I do agree that humans might not know with 100% certainty that a specific quality is present in a specific system without observation; I can say with 100% certainty that qualities exist regardless of whether or not there are humans to observe them (which is the focus of the thread).
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  7. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member


    All well and good, but you've failed to notice that this experiment says nothing about clocks. At best it directs us to look at human perception.

    You cannot prove this. No-one can.

    I suggest you familiarize yourself with some simple syllogistic logic then.
    You say that qualia are contingent upon a human observer, and then maintain that qualia exist regardless of a human observer. This is contradictory.

    The first two are correct. The third is unsubstantiated, and unprovable.

    No you cannot. Again, your two statements here are contradictory.
  8. Gustav Banned Banned

    what if you discard certainty and instead, assign probabilities and likelihoods with regards to the premise being referenced?
  9. Crunchy Cat F-in' *meow* baby!!! Valued Senior Member

    It's not intended to. The point was that the quality of the anesthesia cannot be observed yet you could demosntrate it to yourself after the quality had "completed its course".

    I can. Humans are observably the product of evolution. Earth is observably older than all life on Earth. Planetary formation and evolution work based on qualities of reality that we observe today. For planetory formation and evolution to produce Earth and humans, those qualities had to exist before there were people to experience them.

    I think I see what you are saying and this is born of a mis-understanding of what I was trying to communicate. I'll paraphrase. The concept of qualia is contingent on a huamn observer. What qualia represents is not.

    I proved it two paragraphs above.

    Last edited: Nov 16, 2008
  10. Mr. Hamtastic whackawhackado! Registered Senior Member

    observe, observe, observe. Observation is all questionably accurate perception. If it must be observed, it can not be proven to exist in the absence of observation. It is just that simple. Perhaps you would like to prove that something exists that can not be observed. Causation is unprovable in anything in my knowledge. Even now, I must question my own existence, despite my ongoing observation.

    Probability is simply admission to the fact that evidence of existance is relative at best.
  11. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    Differences in how they are experienced, either directly by us or via some sort of device that extends what we experience. And any labeling will be in words that are descriptions of those experiences.

    But we cannot speak about things we cannot experience or we are acting like those who have faith in God.

    It has a property. I know it does. I cannot describe it because I cannot experience it.

    But we used technology to extend our abilities there. I am not saying that properties do not exist except if we perceive them. I am saying that we cannot talk about them. And a property we cannot talk about is meaningless.

    Before we understood infra red vision it would was impossible to talk about it. We might notice that snakes could do things in 'complete darkness' we could not understand, but we would not have labeled that infra red vision.

    You are mixing up two things. I am not saying that everything is dependent on our experiencing it. But if we cannot experience it we cannot talk about it. And we cannot know it is there, unless we are talking about faith.
  12. Crunchy Cat F-in' *meow* baby!!! Valued Senior Member

    That's not true. We cannot, for example, observe virtual particles; however, we can prove their existence by observing their effects (net pressure). There was a point in Earths history where no life existed. That is an observation we can make today. We can also observe planetary formation today and what properties of the cosmos must be present for that to occur. Earth formed before life was present; therefore, those very same properties existed far before there were humans to observe them.

    You cannot observe the existence of cosmic proeprties before life on Earth existed; however, those properties can be demonstrated to exist by the mere fact that Earth formed way before a human observer eexisted.

    This line of thinking might have more to do with your brain defects than anything else. Most people I am aware of whom have healthy brains don't have these issues.

    Probability is the likelihood that something is the case or will happen.
  13. Crunchy Cat F-in' *meow* baby!!! Valued Senior Member

    This is quite correct. And the reason they are experienced as difference is because they relate to each other as difference.


    We can speak quite well about the past, but that is not something we can experience no? It's not the same as faith now is it? More below...

    Yes! And as a result we learn about different properties and learn that for humans to exist, those properties must have been present before humans were present to observe them.

    The primary assertion of the thread is that properties don't exist except when humans perceive them. That's is solely what I have been disagreeing with.

    Theres are a few cases to consider. If a particular property is not known to humans then I agree. The reason is because there is no subject matter to talk about. If a particular property is known then we can talk about it for time periods where we did not directly observe the property. In all cases we can assert that properties exist.

    Technically, that *unknown* property still has meaning (i.e. it has its relationships in place). But if we have no knowledge of it then there's just no knowledge to talk about.

    Correct. But then again, as you have probably noticed this is not something I was ever disagreeing with. I am disagreeing with the OP.

    One or both of us are certainly mixing something up. The OP is saying that properties (any kind) don't exist without a person to perceive them. That is solely what I have been disagreeing with.

    Regarding specific properties, we certainly cannot describe one that we have never before observed. We can however observe one at point t on a timeline and describe it on any other point t - n or t + n. This is especially important in regards to the OP.

    * Humans can observe right now at point t that all objects have properties.
    * We can also observe that those properties are necessary for things like planetary formation.
    * We can observe that Earth formed before there were humans.
    * We therefore know that properties existed before there were humans to observe them at t - n.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2008
  14. Mr. Hamtastic whackawhackado! Registered Senior Member

    No probability reaches 100%, however. If it did, there would never be need for curioisty or consideration or speculative thought.
  15. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    But this is true BECAUSE 'those properties' include the human perception portion. I am not saying there is no rock before humans see it. But any definition of rock, any description of the properties of that rock is filled with us. It is not properties that we notice, but rather a property is something described within a relationship called noticing or perceiving. I hope you understand the distinction. Sure, an alien might come and experience that rock, but really, what the hell did I just say. Rock is a concept build out of OUR perceptions and any property that we think of includes our way of perceiving. To say that the alien will come and 'see that rock' is to used words that are built out of our perceptions. We are talking about experience we know nothing about. We are claiming psychic abilities.

    One can say, this is a very effective way of talking about it and make quibbles about certainty, but OK. That is not my point. Even those properties that we are talking about in this case are not present when we are not there. An apple is not red when we are not there. Certain electromagnetic phenomena take place in our absence, but even these, when we look at what language is doing, are concepts built out of our experiencing.

    You have to understand. I am precisely NOT making claims about what is there or not there without perception. I am not saying it is this way or is not that way. I am not, therefore, saying, things do not exist when we are not around.

    I am saying that we cannot say what properties they have without perceivers because properties are descriptions of what perceivers experience in their presence.

    OK. You disagreed with me. But then I was disagreeing with you. So perhaps we each or one of us made assumptions based on facets of the context we missed or should have noticed. Kind of an appropriate kind of error given the topic.

    Any of our properties don't exist. In other words the phenomenon of red or heaviness or whatever is not present. And, in the end, all the properties we use to describe things are about experiences we have. They are not about a thing-in-itself.
  16. Crunchy Cat F-in' *meow* baby!!! Valued Senior Member

    This is partially true; however, it is moot because for a cause to exist there has to be difference among the objects in a system; otherwise, they couldn't produce a cause.

    Then you're talking about something completely different than the topic. The OP essentially asserted that reality doesn't exist without a human observer and I disagreed.

    The ability to collect energy and adapt to your environment all by yourself.

    It is 100% probable that you woke up this morning.
  17. Crunchy Cat F-in' *meow* baby!!! Valued Senior Member

    The OP of the thread is not stating that the concept of properties only exists with a human observer (which would be a true statement). He is stating that the objective differences of objects don't exist without a human observer. We just happen to observe those differences and label them.

    Don't get wound up in linguistic semantics. When I say properties exist without a human observer I am referring to the objective differences of objects not the human concept.

    I don't know if I made it clear in my last post but I never disagreed with this

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    . My sole disagreement was with the OP which (to simplify it) stated that things don't exist without a human to observe them.

    Yep, it's the old context switcharoo. When I say property do I mean the human concept or external object?

    Another twist. Those experiences we have are the result of stimulus from external information. Without that information there would be no external stimulus so we can absolutely say that differences in external information exist and we can talk about those differences. When something is given a property of color, it is explicitly referring to the wavelengths of generated / interacted massless energy packets. We can abstract that, call a particular wavelength "Red", and remember what the experience is like; however, there is nonetheless concrete objective information that would be referenced with a property of 'color'.
  18. Gustav Banned Banned

    objective shit is a consensus of opinion
    a plurality of minds
    a work in progress and assigned more weight than subjective crap
    works for the most part i think
  19. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

    Aaaah. Now this explains a lot.
    You're right, I was misunderstanding your position. Given this clarification, I'd say that we're more in agreement than it appears. With you, I'll maintain that we each have our individually mediated representation of a particular quality, and while this may seem to indicate some 'objective' property, to grant that there is such, is untenable. You see, what you've done here is to introduce yet another level to the onion skin, to wit: that whatever one's individual perception of a quality may be, there is something 'beneath' that perception that is somehow inherent in the object in question. How very Kantian. Also, very problematic.
    This is a sensible, but unprovable assumption.

    Again, you did (and can-) not.
  20. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    Yes, I understand that. I just think that's about as far as we can go. We can't talk about those differences because once we talk we are describing how differences are experienced, and even that word differences is a part of that.

    I just emphasized words in your description that have perceiver connotations. Which is pretty much the whole description. All that remains are a conjunction and a negation. In fact even the conjunction 'of' relates to how perceives experience properties as emerging from or belonging to objects. Properties could be abstracted in another way where we do not separate properties from their objects.

    If all you are saying is that stuff goes on when we are not there, I tend to agree. But I still think we cannot meaninfully talk about that. We can only make predictions about what it will be like when we come back.
  21. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    another way to put that is to say, when we list the properties of something we are saying what is experienced. if there is no one there experiencing it that experiencing does not happen and it is hubris to say what is really happening.
  22. Mr. Hamtastic whackawhackado! Registered Senior Member

    What about the probability that I did not exist until a moment ago? How would I get up if I didn't exist in the first place?
  23. Crunchy Cat F-in' *meow* baby!!! Valued Senior Member

    It's a bit more than that. If the concensus of opinion is that a roaring fire will not burn you if you stand in it then objective reality is going to disagree.

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