The book 'Why the World does not Exist'

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Buket, Jul 17, 2016.

  1. Buket Registered Member

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    Have you read the book 'why the world does not exist' by Markus Gabriel? What do you think about the book?
     
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  3. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    It doesn't exist.
     
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  5. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Cool. So clickbait titles have made it to real world print.
     
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  7. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    So, he argues that we can discover the universe by holding up fantasy literature as equally legitimate as The Scientific Method.

    It seems he is unaware of the difference between studying fiction and studying reality.

    That seems a rather important distinction to be capable of in modern society, let alone in writing a book.
     
  8. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    I haven't read it. So glancing over a review will have to suffice.

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    That would be a strawman if not for the assessment shooting itself in the foot by then clarifying the arrogance as just a "suggestion". Such would be a philosophical stance or attitude potentially held by this or that individual scientist, but not embedded in the practice of science itself. It sounds like the target might actually be scientism. The activity of science in and of itself has no personal psychology sporting political / ideological ambitions. Brackets added by me below, since Johnson seems similarly getting carried away with global ascription when it comes to scientism:

    Philip E. Johnson: Science is a wonderful thing in its place. Because science is so successful in its own territory, however, [some] scientists and their allied philosophers sometimes get bemused by dreams of world conquest. Paul Feyerabend put it best: "[Some] scientists are not content with running their own playpens in accordance with what they regard as the rules of the scientific method, they want to universalize those rules, they want them to become part of society at large, and they use every means at their disposal--argument, propaganda, pressure tactics, intimidation, lobbying--to achieve their aims." Samuel Johnson gave the best answer to this absurd imperialism. "A cow is a very good animal in the field; but we turn her out of a garden." --Dennett's Dangerous Idea

    No. Continental and anglophone philosophers alike routinely misinterpreted Kant's scheme as a form of indirect realism. As an analogy, this error would be vaguely akin to asserting that the brain is the "true version" of the world which one experienced in a dream last night. The brain isn't a world, and the experienced dream isn't an attempt to represent the brain. The latter is simply the higher-level source of the dream. So what you empirically encounter or methodologically uncover in a dream would indeed be the "facts" of that world (however inconsistent the affairs might be at times upon reviewing the events after waking up). Bob Hope being the POTUS in the dream-world isn't something to be doubted or made false by that Bob Hope being "caused" by a transcendent neural pattern. The former is not a representation of the latter.

    By virtue of lacking relationships, the noumenal side of things [in themselves] obviously can't constitute a world. Only via the "side" where they can influence each other does that result in inter-dependent phenomena which are distinguished from each other by having their own locations in a space / time framework, which thereby does yield a (natural) world.

    Traditional conceptions of the Greek's transcendent stratum may have treated such as some kind of world and that it was also the "true world" as opposed to the one of appearances. In the course of bridging his own work with the past tradition, Kant intermittently flipped back and forth from the expressions of older schools of thought to the expressions of his new one. That's the result of the confusions, like where "world" started being perversely affiliated with the noumenal, things in themselves, etc. With the resulting, wrong-headed indirect realism interpretation.

    Kant: The dictum of all genuine idealists from the Eleatic school to Bishop Berkeley, is contained in this formula: "All cognition through the senses and experience is nothing but sheer illusion, and only, in the ideas of the pure understanding and reason there is truth." The principle that throughout dominates and determines my Idealism, is on the contrary: "All cognition of things merely from pure understanding or pure reason is nothing but sheer illusion, and only in experience is there truth."

    IOW, whatever these current and older era guys want to speculatively project upon a transcendent stratum with their reasoning, it's not going to divest the experienced world of its internal fact-hood. Now arguably, relativism and the epistemological grounds or pre-conditions from which sensed data and circumstances are interpreted may make "truth" or "accuracy" dependent upon context in regard to some things. But that's a problem purely falling out of the connections characteristic of this presented and explorable world itself. It doesn't stem from a noumenal level and the misguided "this cosmos is an imperfect representation of the real / original one" theme.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2016
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  9. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    No. I'm not sure why I would want to. I'm aware that his writings are generating a lot of talk among 'continental' philosophers, but that style of philosophy doesn't interest me.

    I have other books that I'd rather read.

    Here's an interview with him in which he explains some of his ideas.

    http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/why-the-world-does-not-exist-but-unicorns-do/

    I've just now skimmed it and here's my quick (and probably superficial) take-away:

    He appears to argue that the idea of existence seems to divide the world into things that exist and things that don't and comments "that's a weird world picture". As Gabriel has it, the tradition that follows Kant tries to avoid that by saying that if something exists, then it is found in the world (the field of possible experience in Kant's scheme). If it doesn't, it doesn't. So existence is not a property of some things and not others.

    Gabriel's brainstorm was to ask whether the world exists in these terms. Is the world found in the world? No? Then it doesn't exist. So according to Gabriel, Kant's explanation of existence doesn't work. (Gabriel seems to spend a lot of time talking about Kant, probably because he was emphasized in Gabriel's German education.)

    So what does 'exist' mean for Gabriel? Apparently he gives it a logical spin, interpreting it Fregean-style in terms of word reference, "... a realist interpretation of Fregean senses according to which Fregean senses are what we capture in true thought which grasps that things are such and so". (It probably sounded more plausible when Frege was saying it, because Frege was talking about mathematics and what he believed were objective mathematical relationships.)

    Gabriel appears to me to generalize this idea. If it is true to say that a unicorn is a white horse with a single horn on its forehead, then unicorns must exist in some nonphysical sense. He says "...for something to exist in the universe (to be physical say) does not apply to lots of things that actually exist, such as numbers, unicorns in my dreams, witches in Faust, or the Federal Republic of Germany".

    Gabriel adamantly denies that he's talking about conceptual schemes. He insists that the objects, the truth-makers of these discourses have objective and not just subjective existence.(Presumably like mathematical relationships seemingly do.)

    But apparently for Gabriel, science is just one way of dividing up the world such that true scientific statements can be made about it. Literature divides the world up differently such that true literary statements can be made about it. (He denies that he's a post-modernist.)

    I should probably conclude this post by saying that Gabriel doesn't seem to really be denying that the world exists as the subject line suggests, but rather is collapsing the imaginary together with the actual (an occupational hazard for German idealists, I guess) and saying in effect that everything that we can think about or talk about exists.

    It doesn't seem to have anything to do with quantum mechanics, pantheism or Christopher Langan.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2016
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  10. Buket Registered Member

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    He says everything except the world exists

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    weird
     
  11. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    He seems to just be saying that if 'exists' means 'to be part of the contents of the world' (where 'the world' means the totality of reality), then 'the world' in its entirety wouldn't seem to exist given that definition.
     
  12. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    perception matters
     
  13. Buket Registered Member

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    What does 'world is not found in the world thus it does not exist' mean?
     
  14. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Who knows?

    As before, without context, we can only guess what the author might mean.

    (And no, I am not intrigued enough by these snippets to pick up the book.)
     
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  15. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    See post #8
     
  16. Buket Registered Member

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    This is Markus Gabriel's talk about his book. What do u think about it?
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2016
  17. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    What do you think about it?
     
  18. Buket Registered Member

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    To me, it is word play but some one else can find it meaningful.
     
  19. Buket Registered Member

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    Has anyone watched this?
     
  20. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    Do you think the word play is a means of driving home some subtle point, or is he just basking in the ingenuity of his intellect.
     
  21. Buket Registered Member

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    I think he is basking in the ingenuity of his intellect. What do u think?
     
  22. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    You realize that's not complimentary, right? It's essentially intellectual self-pleasuring.
     
  23. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    On a web forum that's still arguably a casual setting (i.e., not an official classroom or workshop), few if any would want to spend time transcribing quotes from a video to serve as specific references to what they're addressing. So you should provide an interview that has been transcribed, too: https://philosophynow.org/issues/113/Markus_Gabriel

    This "new realism" movement of contemporary philosophy (not the older version with the same label) has only existed since 2012, of which Gabriel's "world-less" strain is only one contribution. So it's a bit futile to be asking a science forum to offer anything meaningful about it other than gut reactions -- which would be worthless for in-depth discussions transpiring on a full-blown academic-oriented philosophy board. But if you really want lengthy opinions and analysis about how effective Gabriel's species of new realism is in countering or replacing postmodernism (which is what this seems to boil down to), the latter type place is where you need to go. Granting that they would even be informed about an overall trend only four years old.

    "For new realism, the assumption that science is not systematically the ultimate measure of truth and reality does not mean that we should abandon the notions of reality, truth or objectivity, as was posited by much twentieth century philosophy. Rather, it means that philosophy, as well as jurisprudence, linguistics or history, has something important and true to say about the world. In this context, new realism presents itself primarily as a negative realism: the resistance that the outside world opposes to our conceptual schemes should not be seen as a failure, but as a resource – a proof of the existence of an independent world. If this is the case, however, this negative realism turns into a positive realism: in resisting us reality does not merely set a limit we cannot trespass, but it also offers opportunities and resources. This explains how, in the natural world, different life-forms can interact in the same environment without sharing any conceptual scheme and how, in the social world, human intentions and behaviors are made possible by a reality that is first given, and that only at a later time may be interpreted and, if necessary, transformed."
     

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