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coberst
2006-May-29, 09:02 PM
Scientific Realism

I think that scientific realism can be characterized as a conviction that the world exists independent of our awareness of it and that we are capable of discovering stable knowledge about this world.

Descartes, in his search for absolute truth, has left us with the legacy of a mind/body dichotomy. Descartes ‘discovered’ that there are two kinds of substances—bodily substance, which is extension in space and mental substance, which is thought having no spatial essence. Descartes has imprinted upon Western philosophy the belief that there is a mutually exclusivity between mind and body.

It seems to me that Western philosophical tradition has gone through all sorts of intellectual contortions to accommodate this bifurcation. This philosophically created anomaly, ‘disembodied scientific realism’, has never been seriously dealt with until cognitive science has recently proposed ‘embodied scientific realism’ as a system of thought that has treated the bifurcation by eliminating the bifurcation.

Cognitive science argues for an embodied realism as opposed to philosophy’s metaphysical realism. Embodied realism provides us with a link between our ideas and the worlds we experience. “Our bodies contribute to our sense of what is real”.

Spatial-relations concepts are not part of the world but are embodied and provide us with our ability to make sense of the world. “They characterize what spatial form is and define spatial inference.”

Quotes from “Philosophy in the Flesh” by Lakoff and Johnson.

WaxRubiks
2006-May-29, 09:10 PM
Is there such a thing as an 'object' or 'thing' or is everything a 'process', a process in which we are involved which defines us and the rest of the Universe? Is this what you are asking?

HenrikOlsen
2006-May-29, 09:45 PM
"Object", "thing" and "process" are all parts of the way the human mind conceptualizes the world, they don't "really" exist as those isolated phenomena.

WaxRubiks
2006-May-29, 09:48 PM
that's right, A 'chair' isn't just a chair, it is all the things that it can be used for, it is the way it is made etc


edit- are there any nouns or is it verbs, all the way down?

R.A.F.
2006-May-29, 10:07 PM
IMO, the presence of humanity is not required for the Universe to exist.

Hey! That's kinda profound. :)

WaxRubiks
2006-May-29, 10:11 PM
but what would the word "exist" mean in this context?

R.A.F.
2006-May-29, 11:21 PM
...and what does the word "mean", mean??

These "Coberst threads" strike me as the mental equivalent of unfocusing one's eyes.

Fram
2006-May-30, 07:03 AM
In Dutch we have the expression (loosely translated) "set your brain on zero and your look on infinity"... Normally, it is not a good thing to do :D
These threads do look like an infinite series of different ways to say and promote the same thing, a kind of reversal of the infinite monkey question.
Someone asked if coberst had met Brumsen, but perhaps Isaias Gonzalez would be a good companion as well!

farmerjumperdon
2006-May-30, 12:46 PM
What does it mean to be "Coberst-ed?"

Just having fun. The topics are interesting, but the ideas are presented like one of those posters where you can only see the subject by intentionally losing your focus.

My opinion, it's all process. And when heat death does come, nothing will exist - not even space.

Argos
2006-May-30, 01:10 PM
The subjects he raises are interesting, though.


I think that scientific realism can be characterized as a conviction that the world exists independent of our awareness of it

Don´t tell this to a quantum physicist. :)

HenrikOlsen
2006-May-30, 01:22 PM
Awareness has not place in quantum physics, that's only because of badly understood popularisations and the unfortunate choice of the word observing.

WaxRubiks
2006-May-30, 01:27 PM
what would have been a better and more accurate word?

HenrikOlsen
2006-May-30, 01:33 PM
Good question, the problem with "observing" is that in common use it implies a concious observer, which cause confusion by apparently implying that concious awareness has any relevance.
This causes such silliness as discussing whether the cat in Shrödinger's though experiment counts as an observer, and whether it would change the experiment if it was drugged unconcious.


Reality is that which doesn't go away when you stop believing in it.

Argos
2006-May-30, 01:39 PM
Awareness has not place in quantum physics,

To be quite precise, I´m not even sure awareness has a place in the brain (http://www.qedcorp.com/pcr/pcr/hampen.html) itself.

WaxRubiks
2006-May-30, 01:58 PM
The discussions, that I have read, about whether the cat in the Schrödinger experiment is alive and dead at the same time, miss the point that we only have a vague understanding about what "knowledge" actually is.

Before we open the box we don't "know" what the state of the cat, but what does it actual mean to "know"?

Damburger
2006-May-30, 02:18 PM
It seems the argument is flawed - even assuming there is no distinction between 'internal' and 'external' phenomena, we are still at the mercy of our falliable sense and therefore can't determine the existence of any objective reality.

Gruesome
2006-May-30, 02:51 PM
...we are still at the mercy of our falliable sense and therefore can't determine the existence of any objective reality.

I would agree with the first part and disagree with the second.

While it is quite possible for two individuals to come to different conclusions, reality is the ultimate judge. If both test their premises and one receives positive results and the other negative, it could well be said that we have taken, at least, a small step toward uncovering objective reality. Provided, of course, one looks at the results with harsh objectivism.

"In order to live, man must act; in order to act, he must make choices; in order to make choices, he must define a code of values; in order to define a code of values, he must know what he is and where he is – i.e. he must know his own nature (including his means of knowledge) and the nature of the universe in which he acts – i.e. he needs metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, which means: philosophy. He cannot escape from this need; his only alternative is whether the philosophy guiding him is to be chosen by his mind or by chance." -Ayn Rand

Damburger
2006-May-30, 03:06 PM
I would agree with the first part and disagree with the second.

While it is quite possible for two individuals to come to different conclusions, reality is the ultimate judge. If both test their premises and one receives positive results and the other negative, it could well be said that we have taken, at least, a small step toward uncovering objective reality. Provided, of course, one looks at the results with harsh objectivism.


That paragraph is litered with descriptions of percetion 'receives positive results', 'uncovering', 'looks at the results'.

Every experiment you do can only occur in a world which you can only know about through unverifiable sense. Thus those experiments are subject to the same falliablity as direct observation.

The only thing you can check by experimentation is the internal consitency of what you perceive.



"In order to live, man must act; in order to act, he must make choices; in order to make choices, he must define a code of values; in order to define a code of values, he must know what he is and where he is – i.e. he must know his own nature (including his means of knowledge) and the nature of the universe in which he acts – i.e. he needs metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, which means: philosophy. He cannot escape from this need; his only alternative is whether the philosophy guiding him is to be chosen by his mind or by chance." -Ayn Rand

This is not a philosophical argument. It is an appeal to consequences, and contains flawed reasoning: You do NOT need a code of values to make choices and Rand doesn't show how you do. She just assumes it.

Ayn Rand was stupid. She was simply someone who convinced themselves their own views on things were irrefutable facts. 'Objectivism' should be called 'Opinionism'

If you want an example of how her opinion on reality contradicted the reality we see around us, consider her views on smoking. She considered it a powerful symbol of mans domination of nature. Nature rebutted with a dose of terminal lung cancer. I'm siding with nature on this one :)

Doodler
2006-May-30, 03:34 PM
Why does this thread leave me thinking "The 60's are calling, they want their LSD back"? :)

coberst
2006-May-30, 03:40 PM
Is there such a thing as an 'object' or 'thing' or is everything a 'process', a process in which we are involved which defines us and the rest of the Universe? Is this what you are asking?


We have in our Western philosophy a traditional theory of faculty psychology wherein our reasoning is a faculty completely separate from the body. “Reason is seen as independent of perception and bodily movement.” It is this capacity of autonomous reason that makes us different in kind from all other animals. I suspect that many fundamental aspects of philosophy and psychology are focused upon declaring, whenever possible, the separateness of our species from all other animals.

This tradition of an autonomous reason began long before evolutionary theory and has held strongly since then without consideration, it seems to me, of the theories of Darwin and of biological science. Cognitive science has in the last three decades developed considerable empirical evidence supporting Darwin and not supporting the traditional theories of philosophy and psychology regarding the autonomy of reason. Cognitive science has focused a great deal of empirical science toward discovering the nature of the embodied mind.

The three major findings of cognitive science are:
The mind is inherently embodied.
Thought is mostly unconscious.
Abstract concepts are largely metaphorical.

“These findings of cognitive science are profoundly disquieting [for traditional thinking] in two respects. First, they tell us that human reason is a form of animal reason, a reason inextricably tied to our bodies and the peculiarities of our brains. Second, these results tell us that our bodies, brains, and interactions with our environment provide the mostly unconscious basis for our everyday metaphysics, that is, our sense of what is real.”

All living creatures categorize. All creatures, as a minimum, separate eat from no eat and friend from foe. As neural creatures tadpole and wo/man categorize. There are trillions of synaptic connections taking place in the least sophisticated of creatures and this multiple synapses must be organized in some way to facilitate passage through a small number of interconnections and thus categorization takes place. Great numbers of different synapses take place in an experience and these are subsumed in some fashion to provide the category eat or foe perhaps.

Our categories are what we consider to be real in the world: tree, rock, animal…Our concepts are what we use to structure our reasoning about these categories. Concepts are neural structures that are the fundamental means by which we reason about categories.

Quotes from “Philosophy in the Flesh”.

P.S If we take a big bite out of reality we will, I think, find that it is multilayered like the onion. There are many domains of knowledge available to us for penetrating those layers of reality. Cognitive science is one that I find to be very interesting.

R.A.F.
2006-May-30, 03:52 PM
Why does this thread leave me thinking "The 60's are calling, they want their LSD back"? :)

Well, someone has "dropped" something, and I think it's broken.


Cognitive science has focused a great deal of empirical science toward discovering the nature of the embodied mind.

This sounds just like something Tom Cruise would say. :lol:

Moose
2006-May-30, 04:08 PM
This sounds just like something Tom Cruise would say. :lol:

You're just being glib, R.A.F. Glib I say. :D

hhEb09'1
2006-May-30, 04:13 PM
P.S If we take a big bite out of reality we will, I think, find that it is multilayered like the onion. There are many domains of knowledge available to us for penetrating those layers of reality. Cognitive science is one that I find to be very interesting.Me too. But biting reality seems to find it more like a pomegranate. OK, maybe a cross between the two. Yeah, that's it.

R.A.F.
2006-May-30, 04:23 PM
If you bite reality too hard, reality tends to bite back.

Gruesome
2006-May-30, 04:57 PM
That paragraph is litered with descriptions of percetion 'receives positive results', 'uncovering', 'looks at the results'.

Every experiment you do can only occur in a world which you can only know about through unverifiable sense. Thus those experiments are subject to the same falliablity as direct observation.

The only thing you can check by experimentation is the internal consitency of what you perceive.

Huh?

Does this mean that since I perceive men landed on the moon, that they actually didn't? And how did they manage to pull it off if all the perceptions leading up to the event were erroneous, as you say?


You do NOT need a code of values to make choices and Rand doesn't show how you do.

You need a code of values to make wise choices. She doesn't explain it in that quote, but I figure the moderators don't want me posting the 40 or so pages where she explains her reasoning. Look it up later, I guess.


Ayn Rand was stupid. She was simply someone who convinced themselves their own views on things were irrefutable facts. 'Objectivism' should be called 'Opinionism'

If you want an example of how her opinion on reality contradicted the reality we see around us, consider her views on smoking. She considered it a powerful symbol of mans domination of nature. Nature rebutted with a dose of terminal lung cancer. I'm siding with nature on this one :)

Flawed logic. Deductive reasoning is supposed to move from the general to the specific, not the other way around.

Peace, out.

Damburger
2006-May-30, 05:34 PM
Huh?

Does this mean that since I perceive men landed on the moon, that they actually didn't? And how did they manage to pull it off if all the perceptions leading up to the event were erroneous, as you say?


Woosh. What I actually said is that perceiving impartial experiments does not get around the fundamental untestabilty of what you perceive.



You need a code of values to make wise choices. She doesn't explain it in that quote, but I figure the moderators don't want me posting the 40 or so pages where she explains her reasoning. Look it up later, I guess.


Please, not 40 pages of Rand. Our collective (yeah, I said it) IQs would drop 15 points. Its worse if it means 'wise' choices anyway, because it sounds like she is excluding the existence of stupidity - against the empirical evidence of her own existence :lol:



Flawed logic. Deductive reasoning is supposed to move from the general to the specific, not the other way around.

Peace, out.

You think that was an attempt at deductive reasoning?

Gillianren
2006-May-30, 06:33 PM
If you want an example of how her opinion on reality contradicted the reality we see around us, consider her views on smoking. She considered it a powerful symbol of mans domination of nature. Nature rebutted with a dose of terminal lung cancer. I'm siding with nature on this one :)

I didn't know that, but I find it deeply satisfying. I loathe that woman's work.