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Thread: The last and final argument about reality.

  1. #13351
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaurieAG View Post
    The MIR one is:-

    Time goes on both ways forever,
    despite all mortal human endeavour,
    infinity will be reached, never ever.

    Which is just the difference between proper power functions and improper power functions, between local laws vs 'universal' laws, between a flat surface vs a curved surface which is also the difference between our calculated universal matter and our observed universal matter ().
    That sounds like a Haiku about Calculus??
    "It's only a model....?" :-)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3dZl3yfGpc

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    That book looks like an excellent reference for this thread, to connect it with the history of philosophical thinking on the topic. Personally, I'd love to have a crack at their arguments, because I have still yet to see a realist properly characterize the antirealist argument in a coherent way. One problem is, they generally try to equate it with solipsism, which isn't the point at all-- the solipsist says all you can know is that you yourself exist, and therefore it is only your own reality that can be known to exist, but of course that all rests on a questionably coherent and certainly useless meaning for the term "know." If we instead use a useful meaning of the term, we can know all kinds of other things and call them real-- in ways that clearly depend on our minds. After all, what could more obviously depend on our minds than the ability to know things? And if knowing depends on how our minds work, then why is knowing I exist any different from knowing you exist? It's just a conclusion my mind comes up with, either way, using whatever basis I am choosing to say I know something.

    Alternatively, if we try to stick to a kind of absolute meaning of know, like the silly philosophical definition of justified true belief, we certainly cannot even know that we exist. To see the truth of that claim, simply imagine a sequence in intelligence from an amoeba to a spider to a dog to a human, and ask, at what point in that sequence do we have a creature that knows it exists, in the sense of having a justified true belief that it exists? You can say that you don't know the minds of those other creatures, so you can only tell that you know that you have a justified true belief that you exist. But in admitting that, you have given up the argument, because you have admitted that your claim on knowing you exist rests on how your mind works, so the way your mind works affects what you mean by existence, and by extension, what you mean by reality. So what's so special about having a justified true belief that I exist, and not an equally justified true belief that you exist? Then people might try to say "I can just tell", but how is that some absolute meaning of knowing? It's clearly mind dependent, but more to the point here, any person who says they can "just tell" that a rock exists can make precisely the same argument as the solipsist. So what we can see is, solipsism has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with antirealism, it is a classic case of a straw man argument.

    The other way that realists mess up the antirealist argument is that they think all antirealists must reject the concept of reality altogether (following the poor choice of term "antirealism").
    So they think the issue is whether or not reality exists, but in fact, the issue is what is the meaning of the very concept of existence. You cannot start with a realist meaning of existence and then start critquing antirealism, yet this is what they generally do. Instead, you must recognize an antirealist meaning of existence-- existence is what makes sense to the special ways our minds work to say exists. Use that meaning, and then try to critique antirealism! That's what I'd like to see a realist try to do, but I never see it.

    So of course the issue was never about the true nature of actual reality, be it mind-dependent or mind-independent. Antirealism starts with a basic skepticism that the very concept of "the actual reality" is a kind of pretense in the first place. This should not surprise us, in science we create all kinds of pretenses that we know are pretenses but we use them to great effect anyway (that the Earth is a sphere, that mathematical axioms hold for real things, that we can talk about this electron here vs. that electron over there, that time marches on continuously, etc.-- and that's just a list of things that our best theories already tell us cannot be true in any absolute sense, never mind the things we have no idea about yet). So I never understand why people are so surprised to find that the "actual reality" notion is also one of these common useful pretenses, it's what we should have come to expect by now for all of our useful constructs.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2019-Sep-19 at 01:29 PM.

  3. #13353
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    That book looks like an excellent reference for this thread, to connect it with the history of philosophical thinking on the topic. Personally, I'd love to have a crack at their arguments, because I have still yet to see a realist properly characterize the antirealist argument in a coherent way. One problem is, they generally try to equate it with solipsism, which isn't the point at all-- the solipsist says all you can know is that you yourself exist, and therefore it is only your own reality that can be known to exist, but of course that all rests on a questionably coherent and certainly useless meaning for the term "know." If we instead use a useful meaning of the term, we can know all kinds of other things and call them real-- in ways that clearly depend on our minds. After all, what could more obviously depend on our minds than the ability to know things? And if knowing depends on how our minds work, then why is knowing I exist any different from knowing you exist? It's just a conclusion my mind comes up with, either way, using whatever basis I am choosing to say I know something.

    Alternatively, if we try to stick to a kind of absolute meaning of know, like the silly philosophical definition of justified true belief, we certainly cannot even know that we exist. To see the truth of that claim, simply imagine a sequence in intelligence from an amoeba to a spider to a dog to a human, and ask, at what point in that sequence do we have a creature that knows it exists, in the sense of having a justified true belief that it exists? You can say that you don't know the minds of those other creatures, so you can only tell that you know that you have a justified true belief that you exist. But in admitting that, you have given up the argument, because you have admitted that your claim on knowing you exist rests on how your mind works, so the way your mind works affects what you mean by existence, and by extension, what you mean by reality. So what's so special about having a justified true belief that I exist, and not an equally justified true belief that you exist? Then people might try to say "I can just tell", but how is that some absolute meaning of knowing? It's clearly mind dependent, but more to the point here, any person who says they can "just tell" that a rock exists can make precisely the same argument as the solipsist. So what we can see is, solipsism has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with antirealism, it is a classic case of a straw man argument.

    The other way that realists mess up the antirealist argument is that they think all antirealists must reject the concept of reality altogether (following the poor choice of term "antirealism").
    So they think the issue is whether or not reality exists, but in fact, the issue is what is the meaning of the very concept of existence. You cannot start with a realist meaning of existence and then start critquing antirealism, yet this is what they generally do. Instead, you must recognize an antirealist meaning of existence-- existence is what makes sense to the special ways our minds work to say exists. Use that meaning, and then try to critique antirealism! That's what I'd like to see a realist try to do, but I never see it.

    So of course the issue was never about the true nature of actual reality, be it mind-dependent or mind-independent. Antirealism starts with a basic skepticism that the very concept of "the actual reality" is a kind of pretense in the first place. This should not surprise us, in science we create all kinds of pretenses that we know are pretenses but we use them to great effect anyway (that the Earth is a sphere, that mathematical axioms hold for real things, that we can talk about this electron here vs. that electron over there, that time marches on continuously, etc.-- and that's just a list of things that our best theories already tell us cannot be true in any absolute sense, never mind the things we have no idea about yet). So I never understand why people are so surprised to find that the "actual reality" notion is also one of these common useful pretenses, it's what we should have come to expect by now for all of our useful constructs.
    Complete and excellent as usual. My personal addition thinking also of Dawkin’s new book, is that critics fail to credit the agnostic, cannot know, cannot test, the role of gods in knowledge, or non human agency as a less colourful phrase. The failure of dialog between deists and atheists leaves this gap which is the true son of solipsism and kind of taboo in science.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Perhaps it could be said that the heart of deism is a simple fundamental belief that there are things going on much deeper than we can understand or directly participate in. It seems to me the agnostic could be of two different flavors in reaction to this. One flavor could be sympathetic to this general concept, but hesitant to accept any particular or specific version of the things that are so far from our understanding or participation. The other flavor could reject that there is anything deeper than what we understand already, beyond a few more decimal places in the accuracy of our predictions. I think any self-identified agnosticist should specify which flavor they belong to, because those are quite different reactions to the concept of deism.

    But my point in reference to this thread is that any agnosticist or deist can have any stance on the question of realism. Antirealism is not fundamentally agnostic, though the brand of it espoused in this thread is certainly associated with scientific thinking. But both deists and agnosticists can think scientifically when confronted with a scientific question, and the rest is basically just personal preference. So I think the flaw in how scientific thinkers address this issue is they see an overlap that dictates that all scientific thinkers must be either agnosticists or downright atheists, when in fact the two really have nothing at all to do with each other. Deists, agnostics, and atheists alike, must all understand the difference between scientific knowledge and chosen beliefs, and all seem to fall short of that ideal in their own ways.

  5. #13355
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    The Haiku challenge:
    Here is one:

    Reality, you see,
    Is all in mind as models,
    Predictably.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  6. #13356
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    Antirealism
    is what we all mean by real
    but we don't know it

  7. #13357
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Antirealism
    is what we all mean by real
    but we don't know it
    What a classic!
    (Its a true pity that almost no-one will ever see that though .. ie: how can anyone say that Antirealism is what's real? .. a rhetorical question here).

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    Reality you see,
    Is how we mean it,
    Demonstrably.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Perhaps it could be said that the heart of deism is a simple fundamental belief that there are things going on much deeper than we can understand or directly participate in. It seems to me the agnostic could be of two different flavors in reaction to this. One flavor could be sympathetic to this general concept, but hesitant to accept any particular or specific version of the things that are so far from our understanding or participation. The other flavor could reject that there is anything deeper than what we understand already, beyond a few more decimal places in the accuracy of our predictions. I think any self-identified agnosticist should specify which flavor they belong to, because those are quite different reactions to the concept of deism.
    I think the key to the relevance of your request here, also involves accepting that both these versions of agnosticism represents two classifications of thoughts, both of which still extend to include the belief in the existence of 'something deeper' which is more than just yet another personal belief(?) As soon as one gets the insight of: 'oh .. agnosticism .. that's just another belief I hold', there is also a thunderclap of: '.. therefore there's no point in using any of those beliefs as a basis of discarding someone else's' .. and there's just no point in pursuing that .. Ie (as an example): its not a matter of being sympathetic (or not) to Deistic concepts and thence being hesitant to accept any versions of such things .. its more a matter of seeing the whole belief structure and choosing not to pursue the matter further upon recognition of that. The source of the motivation for withdrawal from such conversations, is entirely different.
    PS: (I think this is what you conclude with, at the end of your next paragraph, anyway .. I just realised that).

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G
    But my point in reference to this thread is that any agnosticist or deist can have any stance on the question of realism. Antirealism is not fundamentally agnostic, though the brand of it espoused in this thread is certainly associated with scientific thinking. But both deists and agnosticists can think scientifically when confronted with a scientific question, and the rest is basically just personal preference. So I think the flaw in how scientific thinkers address this issue is they see an overlap that dictates that all scientific thinkers must be either agnosticists or downright atheists, when in fact the two really have nothing at all to do with each other. Deists, agnostics, and atheists alike, must all understand the difference between scientific knowledge and chosen beliefs, and all seem to fall short of that ideal in their own ways.
    Yep .. I agree. The lack of experiencing the inconvenient insight about the intrusion of yet more beliefs (which I mentioned above), may be the reason behind the observed persistance of the conflation of agnosticism and atheism with scientific knowledge(?)
    (Insights brought on by holding clear (useful) distinctions in mind, tend to disrupt persistently held misconceptions, I think).

  10. #13360
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    Nightly I see the Moon-
    The Universe gazes back.
    I feel myself real.
    Last edited by plant; 2019-Sep-20 at 12:47 AM.
    "It's only a model....?" :-)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3dZl3yfGpc

  11. #13361
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    "It looks real to me",
    Is what I say to those who
    Pay for my brain's vat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by plant View Post
    That sounds like a Haiku about Calculus??
    Nah, more like the difference between finite/infinite or mortal/immortal, and the recognition that we can think about infinity as much as we like but we will never physically reach infinity. Even in calculus there are special caveats.

    If no distinction is made between the two, like in MDR alone, there are problems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    "It looks real to me",
    Is what I say to those who
    Pay for my brain's vat.
    love it !!! best so far.
    "It's only a model....?" :-)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3dZl3yfGpc

  14. #13364
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    Real scientists won’t
    Grieve reality as mind,
    Just know you believe.

    It seems to be just me and my teacher who like the rhyme on sixth and seventeenth. It adds an English twist to a Japanese form, and adds discipline but hey, it’s still 10001 .
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    It seems to be just me and my teacher who like the rhyme on sixth and seventeenth. It adds an English twist to a Japanese form, and adds discipline but hey, it’s still 10001 .
    In Japanese 'hai' means lung and 'ku' means phrase so the name just reflects ancient oral traditions. I can recall reading a story, sorry no reference, about an ancient emperor who didn't tolerate people wasting his time so any interview progressed one breath/sentence at a time, with continued breathing/speaking at the discretion of the emperor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaurieAG View Post
    In Japanese 'hai' means lung and 'ku' means phrase so the name just reflects ancient oral traditions.
    Im not sure where you heard that, but Im almost certain its wrong. The hai is written 俳, a kanji also used for actor, 俳優, and means something like clever. Its actually a fairly modern term, made up about a century ago I think. Its true as you state that lungs is also pronounced hai, but as Im sure you know, Japanese has tons of homonyms thanks to the wholesale important of Chinese hanzi into a language without tones...


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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I’m not sure where you heard that, but I’m almost certain it’s wrong. The hai is written 俳, a kanji also used for actor, 俳優, and means something like “clever”. It’s actually a fairly modern term, made up about a century ago I think. It’s true as you state that lungs is also pronounced hai, but as I’m sure you know, Japanese has tons of homonyms thanks to the wholesale important of Chinese hanzi into a language without tones...
    It was from a SEIKO translator with a core 1000 word dictionary (English, French, Spanish, Romanji and Kanji). That was the result I received when I typed in 'hai' and 'ku' separately.

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    I see. If you type hai by itself, you will probably get lung first because the hai in haiku is never used by itself. Im surprised you didnt get the most common use of hai, which is yes.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    (Its a true pity that almost no-one will ever see that though .. ie: how can anyone say that Antirealism is what's real? .. a rhetorical question here).
    Yes, for most who have not seen this thread, the phrase "realistic antirealism" seems like an oxymoron-- and "objective reality" doesn't!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    its not a matter of being sympathetic (or not) to Deistic concepts and thence being hesitant to accept any versions of such things .. its more a matter of seeing the whole belief structure and choosing not to pursue the matter further upon recognition of that.
    That's fair, I'm sure many agnostics are simply skeptical or even suspicious of the whole process of forming beliefs on faith, though they can realize this is a personal choice they are making and don't need to dismiss someone else making a different choice. But it's very hard to completely avoid taking things on faith, because, in the spirit of Aristotle's syllogism:
    If you would philosophize, then you would philosophize
    If you would not philosophize, then you would philosophize
    We could equally say
    If you would take something unevidenced on faith, then you would take something unevidenced on faith
    If you would not take something unevidenced on faith, then you would take something unevidenced on faith.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    But it's very hard to completely avoid taking things on faith, because, in the spirit of Aristotle's syllogism:
    If you would philosophize, then you would philosophize
    If you would not philosophize, then you would philosophize
    We could equally say
    If you would take something unevidenced on faith, then you would take something unevidenced on faith
    If you would not take something unevidenced on faith, then you would take something unevidenced on faith.
    This works:-
    All men are mortal.
    Socrates is a man.
    Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

    This works:-
    All men are mortal.
    Ken G is a man.
    Therefore, Ken G is mortal.

    This doesn't work for obvious reasons.
    If Ken G would philosophize, then Ken G would philosophize
    If Ken G would not philosophize, then Ken G would philosophize

    This also doesn't work for the same obvious reasons.
    Ken G could equally say
    If Ken G would take something unevidenced on faith, then Ken G would take something unevidenced on faith
    If Ken G would not take something unevidenced on faith, then Ken G would take something unevidenced on faith.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syllog...stic_fallacies

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaurieAG View Post
    This doesn't work for obvious reasons.
    If Ken G would philosophize, then Ken G would philosophize
    If Ken G would not philosophize, then Ken G would philosophize.
    It works because not philosophizing presents a void that can be, and quickly would be in Ken's case, filled by philosophizing, if only to determine why he wasn't. [I think this might be more Aristotle than Socrates, IIRC.]
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

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    Reminded:
    Sometimes I sits and thinks,
    And sometimes I just sits.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    It works because not philosophizing presents a void that can be, and quickly would be in Ken's case, filled by philosophizing, if only to determine why he wasn't. [I think this might be more Aristotle than Socrates, IIRC.]
    George, I agree about Aristotle, the quote was from the wiki link on my post. The case used there is generic, for all men, as opposed to just one special case in Ken G's original example i.e. you, or not Ken G, which isn't the same as we or all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaurieAG View Post
    George, I agree about Aristotle, the quote was from the wiki link on my post. The case used there is generic, for all men, as opposed to just one special case in Ken G's original example i.e. you, or not Ken G, which isn't the same as we or all.
    Perhaps I'm missing the point you're making, which won't surprise since I tend to bounce in and out due to work loads.

    Syllogisms are useful because they help define sets or boundaries for specific groups to help define the parts within or without the groups. Philosophy, since it's a subjective-base concept and not a material object, is one of those rare things that has few if any boundaries. So a syllogism of it can be kinda humorous.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

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    In form, Aristotle's syllogism is similar to:
    Those who think 2+2 equals 4 can use the axioms of mathematics to show that 2+2 does equal 4.
    Those who think 2+2 does not equal 4 can use the axioms of mathematics to show that 2+2 does equal 4.
    It's a perfectly good syllogism, assuming one knows that the axioms of mathematics can be used by anyone to show that 2+2=4.

    The purpose of Aristotle's syllogism is to show that having an opinion about philosophy requires philosophizing, so there is a fundamental inconsistency in the argument of those who discredit philosophizing on grounds that there is something inherently wrong with doing it.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2019-Sep-27 at 10:07 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    In form, Aristotle's syllogism is similar to:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syllog...stic_fallacies
    In simple syllogistic patterns, the fallacies of invalid patterns are:

    (1) Undistributed middle: Neither of the premises accounts for all members of the middle term, which consequently fails to link the major and minor term.
    (2) Illicit treatment of the major term: The conclusion implicates all members of the major term (P meaning the proposition is negative); however, the major premise does not account for them all (i.e., P is either an affirmative predicate or a particular subject there).
    (3) Illicit treatment of the minor term: Same as above, but for the minor term (S meaning the proposition is universal) and minor premise (where S is either a particular subject or an affirmative predicate).
    (4) Exclusive premises: Both premises are negative, meaning no link is established between the major and minor terms.
    (5) Affirmative conclusion from a negative premise: If either premise is negative, the conclusion must also be.
    (6) Negative conclusion from affirmative premises: If both premises are affirmative, the conclusion must also be.
    (6) Existential fallacy: This is a more controversial one. If both premises are universal, i.e. "All" or "No" statements, one school of thought says they do not imply the existence of any members of the terms. In this case, the conclusion cannot be existential; i.e. beginning with "Some". Another school of thought says that affirmative statements (universal or particular) do imply the subject's existence, but negatives do not. A third school of thought says that the any type of proposition may or may not involve the subject's existence, and though this may condition the conclusion, it does not affect the form of the syllogism.

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    Aristotle's argument is clear enough-- those who claim philosophy is of no value are philosophizing, and hence are contradicting the value of their own argument. That's the meaning of what he said, and it's quite true.

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    I'm also philosophizing if I say that philosophy has value, so all I'm really saying is that philosophy has value if philosophy has value.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Aristotle's argument is clear enough-- those who claim philosophy is of no value are philosophizing, and hence are contradicting the value of their own argument
    .. and thereupon, (hopefully), they then get to see that there is no point, (or value), in arguing about their own contradictions too, eh?

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