Objectivity is relatively simple

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Mind Over Matter, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. Literphor I is for ignorance Registered Member

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    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: Apr 16, 2012
  2. Literphor I is for ignorance Registered Member

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    A duplicate post. Why can't we delete them?
     
  3. Rav Valued Senior Member

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    "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. Literphor I is for ignorance Registered Member

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    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. Literphor I is for ignorance Registered Member

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    Thank you Wynn but that was the first place I checked.
     
  6. Rav Valued Senior Member

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    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. Literphor I is for ignorance Registered Member

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    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: Apr 17, 2012
  8. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    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. Emil Valued Senior Member

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    I think that objectivity is subjective. :D
    As more people agree on something, so that truth becomes more objective.
     
  10. Rav Valued Senior Member

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    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. Literphor I is for ignorance Registered Member

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    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. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    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. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    I think that bringing in problems of epistemology is inescapable.


    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.


    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. Balerion Banned Banned

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    There are such things as subjective truths, Wynn.
     
  15. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    While, you, of course, believe that whatever you say, is objective truth.
    And heaven help anyone who doesn't agree with you!
     
  16. Balerion Banned Banned

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    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. Emil Valued Senior Member

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    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. Mind Over Matter Registered Senior Member

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    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.)

    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. Rav Valued Senior Member

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    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. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    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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